Valentine’s Day Gift Guide — Delicious Food Gifts!

Still looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?  Sweets are always a fun gift to give, even if you don’t know the person’s particular tastes.  Giving a fun assortment of candies, cookies or other treats will please a loved one (or loved ones)!

Below are some of my favorites to give and receive:

From the Heart Gift Tower
From the Heart Gift Tower From the Heart Gift Tower ($49.99 USD) —This gift tower contains four beautiful boxes overflowing with delicious French chocolate truffles, caramel filled chocolates, our gourmet handcrafted popcorn and so much more. Included is:

  • Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Kettle Corn by – 1.4 oz. – Gourmet kettle corn coated in freshly ground cinnamon and dusted with sweet brown sugar.  
  • French Chocolate Truffles by Truffle Basket – 3.5 oz. – Elegant, French truffles that are hand rolled and dusted with cocoa powder.
  • Dark Chocolate & Caramel Smothered Grahams by Annalie’s Chocolates – .65 oz. – Crunchy graham crackers are topped with gooey caramel before getting dipped into a bath of rich, dark chocolate.
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels by Sanders – .5 oz. – Sweet, buttery caramel is coated with decadent dark chocolate and delicately sprinkled with gourmet sea salt.
  • Milk Chocolate Lindor Truffle Bar by Lindt & Sprungli – 3.5 oz. – Squares of milk chocolate are filled with smooth and creamy milk chocolate truffle centers – it’s the perfect bar to share with your Valentine since the bar is made up of individual pieces!
  • Sweet Onion Kettlecorn by – 1.8 oz. – Sweet and savory come together perfectly in this flavor of our hand popped corn – sweet sugar, a sprinkling of salt and our proprietary blend of sweet onion seasoning make foryour new favorite snack.
  • Chocolate Wafer Petites by Dolcetto – .7 oz. – Bite-sized pillow cookies that wrap around centers of creamy chocolate.
  • (5) Lindor White Chocolate Truffles by Lindt & Sprungli – Delicate white chocolate shells encase irresistibly smooth and creamy white chocolate centers.

This gift and so many more including spa gifts, wine and beer gifts and so many other yummy food gifts are available at

Whaddyaluv Chocolate Valentine’s Bar ($4.95 USD) –Give this limited edition bar to someone you love this Valentine’s day! We added a pinch of salt and threw in some cacao nibs for some added crunch. The result is an amazing chocolate square that will delight your taste-buds over and over.

Ingredients: Pure Cacao Beans, Cane Sugar, Cacao Butter, Himalayan Salt, Cacao Nibs.

Purchase at

Cheryl's Hearts and Flowers Treats Box
Cheryl’s Hearts and Flowers Treats Box

Cheryl’s Hearts and Flowers Treats Box ($35.36 USD) — I love Cheryl’s Cookies!  I have a Valentine’s assortment I order coming tomorrow, yay! I will be giving and keeping some of the cookies because they are individually wrapped.  I think this gift box is so cute and perfect to give.  Cheryl’s Cookies are so soft and fresh, perfect for everyone on your list!


  • Two fudge brownie minis
  • Two buttercrisp cookies
  • Two chocolate chip cookies
  • Two confection pretzel clusters
  • One buttercream frosted ladybug cutout
  • One Cheryl Oh sandwich cookie
  • One white buttercream frosted flower-shaped cutout
  • One Valentine decorated gourmet pretzel

Purchase at

What are you giving the special people in your life?




Holiday Gift Guide — Cool Gifts For The Hard To Buy For Part 2!

There is still time to purchase some cool gifts for the people you love!  Below is a mix of items — a personal card gift, stylish readers and a beauty parody book:


10-card AwesomeBox for $19 (Save 25% with coupon code: HOLIDAYGIFT)– What’s included:

  • New, beautifully designed box.
  • Add pictures from Instagram, Facebook, your phone or computer.
  • Sequence your cards to tell a compelling story.
  • Add music to your card to co-create a custom playlist.

We all want to give the most meaningful gift possible, but sometimes it can be a challenge coming up with something both fresh and heart-warming. AwesomeBox is the ultimate solution to creative gift giving!

AwesomeBox allows users to build a customized box of memories, stories and photos packaged into a one-of-a-kind printed gift. Group gifts with family or friends is easy with AwesomeBox! In fact, our favorite part about the AwesomeBox experience is how easy it is to get everyone involved in the gift giving process. I love AwesomeBox for celebrating someone special for Christmas.

It’s so simple to create, and the memories last a lifetime. In three simple steps, you’ll have the perfect gift:

  1. Create private online webpage to honor your special someone.
  2. Invite friends and family to upload photos and heartfelt messages from around the world.
  3. AwesomeBox turns everything into a box of 10 to 100 colorful printed cards that they’ll pore over for years!

Create the most touching group gift that will be laughed and cried over for years! AwesomeBox is the perfect gift starting at $19 for a 10-card box.

The Lennon from
The Lennon from

The Lennon from ($15.95 USD) —  Inspired by the late, great Beatles musician who made round glasses a pop culture phenomenon, our Lennon reader is fittingly a best seller too! This full framed style has a lightweight plastic frame with a retro inspired, round shape. Available in a variety of solid or two-tone fade colors to please everyone from the musician to the teacher.

Available at

Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas that Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious
Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas that Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious

Glop: Nontoxic, Expensive Ideas that Will Make You Look Ridiculous and Feel Pretentious by Gabrielle Moss ($19.99 USD) — A wickedly funny, full-color, illustrated sendup of the trendy lifestyle publication GOOP.

What is Glop?

Glop is a business and a website. But Glop is also a feeling. It’s about picking the right expensive organic eye cream that will make you a tall, thin, wealthy blonde WASP who fits seamlessly into the top tiers of high society and sits next to Bono at a 42-course seitan tasting dinner held in a sex dungeon deep beneath the North Pole. Glop is about being conscious to the tiny details of our lives—what to eat, where to buy your cashmere yoga pants, which juice cleanse will remove the most mercury toxins from both your body and your cashmere yoga pants. Glop is about you.

Purchase this funny book at


Holiday Gift Guide — Fun Books That Make Great Gifts Part 2

Looking for a great book for someone who loves a fun gift? There are some cool gift books out there.  When you know what someone likes or what their sense of humor is, a book can be a really personal gift.

Below is a list of some of the books I’ll be giving this year:

Emoji Pride and Prejudice: Epic Tales in Tiny Texts
Emoji Pride and Prejudice: Epic Tales in Tiny Texts

Emoji Pride and Prejudice: Epic Tales in Tiny Texts by Jane Austin ($12.99 USD) What would happen if the characters of Pride and Prejudice could text each other? Would Elizabeth call Mr. Darcy a [poop]? Would Darcy drink and dial and accidentally reveal his true feelings [heart]? In this laugh-out-loud re-telling of Jane Austen’s famous work, you’ll get a condensed modern interpretation of the world’s greatest love story . . . all told through texts and emojis. Featuring hundreds of classic and new emojis along with a removable poster (featuring all the emojis), this is the perfect gift for the Austen lover. Available at

Flying Dogs
Flying Dogs

Flying Dogs by Julia Christe ($14.99 USD) — An expansion of the photo essay that went viral and was featured everywhere from the Guardian to the Huffington Post and Today Show, this fun and stunning photography book captures adorable dogs from a unique perspective: mid-air. This hilarious collection of photos is perfect for any animal lover. And never fear! Vets and the dogs’ owners were always on site. Available at

Pusheen Coloring Book
Pusheen Coloring Book

Pusheen Coloring Book by Claire Belton ($12.99 list price, on sale at for $11.69) — Pusheen returns in a delightful coloring book perfect for fans of I Am Pusheen the Cat. The Internet’s favorite chubby, tubby tabby is back in a purr-fectly cute coloring book featuring adorable kitty drawings that will charm cat lovers and coloring book fans everywhere! Purchase at

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2017
The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2017
Life Works Itself Out: (And Then You Nap)
Life Works Itself Out: (And Then You Nap)

Life Works Itself Out: (And Then You Nap) by Keiya Mizuno and Naoki Naganuma ($14.99 list price, $11.32 on sale at — Humans could learn a thing or two from cats—and Life Works Itself Out is here to relay all of kittendom’s accumulated wisdom to mankind, one loveable photo and wise aphorism at a time.

A mega-bestseller in Japan (where it has sold more than 700,000 copies), this book is filled with inspirational quotes and entertaining four-color photographs of cats that range from the heartwarming to the humorous. Whether you’re feeling down and looking for a lift, or you need some lighthearted life advice, who better to turn to than man’s TRUE best friend—the trusty feline. The purr-fect pick-me-up or gift book, Life Works Itself Out will have cat lovers pawing through its pages over and over again. Purchase at

Creative Origami & Beyond
Creative Origami & Beyond

Creative Origami & Beyond by Jenny Chan ($19.95 list price, on sale at for 15.36) — A centuries-old art form, origami has taken on new depth in today’s art world, influencing trends in fashion, interior design, exhibition art, and more. Creative Origami & Beyond takes this traditional art form to new levels, guiding readers through a dynamic exploration of numerous ways to fold paper. This inspiring, interactive project book demonstrates both traditional and contemporary origami methods – from working with unique materials and creating custom origami papers to crafting amazing works of art. A general introduction to origami and an overview of basic folding techniques sets the foundation for the book, which is divided into six engaging sections, including modular origami, giant origami, tiny origami, wet origami, and more. Each chapter, taught by an expert origami artist, features clever exercises and prompts to inspire and spark creativity, while step-by-step origami projects for creating wall art, jewelry, decorative objects, and more, help turn origami novices to pros. Includes eight pages of patterned origami paper to help get you started.

Available at, Barnes & Noble and other great book sellers

The Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover
The Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover

The Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover by by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris ($9.98) — The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand. Available at

Do you purchase books as gifts?  Have you found any great ones lately?

Holiday Gift Guide — Cool Gifts For The Hard To Buy For!

Still looking for that perfect gift?  There are so many great, unusual gifts out there that are perfect for the amazing people on your list!

Below is a natural beauty subscription box, a gorgeous watch and classic cookies. They would all make great gifts:

Goodbeing Subscription Box
Goodbeing Subscription Box

Goodbeing is a trial and discovery service providing expertly curated, trial sized healthy beauty (ie: screened for less than healthy ingredients), personal care and natural wellness products.

Not your average beauty subscription service, Goodbeing rigorously pre-screens every product, ensuring only cleaner, high performance beauty & wellness products make the cut.  What’s more, Goodbeing customizes more heavily than most – allowing members to opt in or out of entire categories of products and to specify their unique skin, hair & makeup needs and preferences for a truly personalized experience.

Goodbeing allows members to choose their box type – All Beauty, All Wellness (coming soon) or a Combo Box and allows members to choose 1-2 of the items they receive each month, or, they can opt out to retain the surprise.

With plans as low as $5.95 per month (new A Little Goodbeing option launching soon) to $21 a month (standard Goodbeing monthly plan) it’s ideal for holiday giving.

Learn more at

Timex Miami Chronograph
Timex Miami Chronograph

Timex Miami Chronograph ($95 USD) –This gorgeous watch comes with the following features:

  • Sleek Sophisticated Design
  • Chronograph Measures to 1/20th Second
  • 42mm Case Size
  • Stainless Steel Bracelet
  • Quick-Date® Feature
  • 30 Meter Water Resistance

Purchase at

Malt Shop Cookies
Malt Shop Cookies

Malt Shop Cookies (in tins from $24.99 to $39.99) Malted Milk is best known as that sweet, finishing touch flavor that gave birth to every Malt Shop, Soda Fountain, Diner and Lunch Counter all across the USA. But Malted Milk also acts as its own all natural, preservative. No artificial stuff needed. So your cookies stay soft and fresh. And yes, all of the cookies are completely all natural.

Each order will arrive at the recipient’s doorstep in a beautiful gift bag or gift tin that has been completely customized by you with a picture and message that’s right on The Gift bag or Gift Tin. Send photos of you, the kids, the dog, the cat –whatever you like. Then let the Malted Milk cookies do the rest.

Malt Shop Cookies are currently available in three unique flavors:
• Double Chocolate with Malted Milk
• Chocolate Chip with Malted Milk
• Mocha Chocolate with Malted Milk

Purchase at

Order Gorgeous Personalized Christmas Cards at The Stationery Studio!


Who is that gorgeous family in that cute card you ask?  Well, it’s mine (minus my eldest daughter who has moved away)!  We took the photo on our trip to Ireland this summer.  And I am excited to showcase it in my gorgeous The Stationery Studio Christmas card. You can create a card in this style here.

These are so easy to create and order!  And they came super fast.  Right now, The Stationery Studio has a bunch of Black Friday deals, including up to 30% off of holiday cards plus free shipping!  And if you don’t have a photo to use, don’t worry.  There are lots of cute designs, too.

They also sell stationery, address labels and stamps, napkins, etc.  Check them out at

I received the Christmas cards in exchange for my honest review.


Holiday Gift Guide — Unique Gift Ideas

I have received such wonderful gifts to review for my gift guides.  Even though I usually review beauty products, I like to show a variety during the holiday season.

I have been sent the below products for my honest review. They are Outlander swag, sweet dog treats, and wine that gives back.


The Making of Outlander: The Series, The Official Guide to Seasons One & Two ($49.95 USD) –Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with this official, fully illustrated companion to the hit Starz television series based on the bestselling novels.

Outlander Crown & Thistle Sculpted Pin ($12.95 USD) — When the Scottish thistle and the majestic crown come together, you are treated to this beautiful Outlander Crown and Thistle Sculpted Pin. 1.75” in size and made from antiqued bronze, this lapel pin will delight any fan of the popular series and will make a wonderful accessory for the person looking to add some Scottish culture to their clothing.

Outlander 12 Oz Ceramic Mug ($12.95 USD) — magine waking in the morning to the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands and sitting out on your porch, sipping your coffee before you start the day. Perhaps you prefer an afternoon tea or a cup of hot cocoa on those chillier nights. No matter what the case may be, you’ll love having the Outlander 12 oz. Ceramic Mug to enjoy all these refreshing moments. Featuring Claire and Jamie, this high quality stoneware is both dishwasher and microwave safe.

Purchase these and many more items including clothing, coasters, magnets and DVD’s at

Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs
Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs


Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs Caramel Apple Pie Dog Treat ($5.49 USD) –Introduce your dog to a unique taste he’ll come to crave with Bil-Jac Dessert JACS Caramel Apple Pie Flavored Treats. The best part about these treats is that they are as healthy and nutritious for your dog as they are delicious.

Dessert Jacs are deliciously indulgent and healthy snacks. Real Chicken is the #1 Ingredient. My Great Dane loved them!  They are small so I sprinkled them on her dry food.

Learn more about Bil-Jac at


EOD Cellars Wine Master Blaster Red
EOD Cellars Wine Master Blaster Red

EOD Cellars Wine Master Blaster Red ($32 USD) — EOD Cellars wine that is specially bottled to support the EOD Warrior Foundation. A portion of the proceeds of your purchase price will go directly to the foundation.

The Master Blaster Red is a 2010 blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petite Verdot, and Zinfandel. It is so rich and yummy!  Great for the upcoming holidays or as a gift.

Purchase at




Holiday Gift Guide — Home Gift Ideas

I love to post about beauty gifts for the holidays, but there are so many other fantastic gifts to give!  Including items for your home that are comfortable and convenient!

Bamboo By Relax Home Life – Bamboo Pillow With Shredded Down Alternative and Stay Cool Cover (King)
Bamboo By Relax Home Life – Bamboo Pillow With Shredded Down Alternative and Stay Cool Cover (King)

Bamboo By Relax Home Life – Bamboo Pillow With Shredded Down Alternative and Stay Cool Cover (King) ($31.97 USD) –Innovative Double Zipper Design Allows YOU to adjust the height of the pillow making it your OWN Custom Pillow!!Provides relief from issues of snoring, insomnia, migraines, neck and back pain, allergies, and TMJ. Machine washable extremely soft bamboo cover. Sizes: Queen 18″x30″, King 18″x36″. Filled with Quality Poly Fiber. Breathable, molds and aligns to any sleeping style, including stomach, back, and side sleepers.

Purchase at www.relaxhomelife.comHere is a link for 15% off the Bamboo By Relax Home Life Shredded Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow.

The Shower Sidekick
The Shower Sidekick

The Shower Sidekick ($29.95 USD) —  a portable, adjustable stand that allows you to comfortably shave your legs in the shower. The product is made of aluminum metal and high-grade plastic so it’s sturdy, but it’s also lightweight, so you can easily take it to the gym, to a hotel or bring it with you to the dorm showers with your shower caddy. Initially it comes in 2 different colors, and it makes a great gift for any woman (or man) in your life.

Available at

The SnapPower Charger (starting at $20) allows you to easily convert your outlet coverplate into an attractive USB charger. It requires no wires or batteries and leaves all outlets free for use.

The SnapPower Guidelight (starting at $15) can safely and easily transform an outlet coverplate into a convenient night light. They automatically turn on and off by a sensor and are equipped with energy-efficient LED lighting for perfect nighttime illumination.

Purchase at


Holiday Gift Guide — Fun Books That Make Great Gifts!

I love cool books with activities!  I know that adult coloring books are the rage right now, but there are other great books to give this holiday season.

Below is an extreme dot to dot book, amazing paper ornaments to trim the tree with, a book to teach you how to make beautiful flowers and a self-help activity book:


Dot to Dot NYC
Dot to Dot NYC

Dot to Dot NYC ($14.95 USD) — Follow the numbers, grab your crayons and markers, and discover and decorate the capital of the world… Hidden just beyond sight in this adventurous dot to dot coloring book lie epic New York City landmarks to be revealed and completed by you, the intrepid artist. Intricate and detailed, the final results are delicate and beautiful while stunning in their complexity. Within these pages you will find yourself visiting the rides of Coney Island, the towers of the famous NYC skyline, the commute along the Staten Island Ferry, the wilderness of the Bronx Zoo, the groove of the Apollo Theater, and the art deco elegance of the Chrysler Building, among so much more!

Purchase at


Paper Holiday ($14.95 USD) — the 7th in the PaperMade series—will be an instant holiday favorite. Each of the pages has a unique design that is pre-cut, scored, and beautifully illustrated. The ornaments simply punch out and fold up into 3D shape, with easy-to-follow instructions right on the page. Each design has different shapes and colors of hooks too, to best attach to a tree, mantle, or any place that needs holiday cheer!

Purchase at

The Art of Paper Flowers by Bobby Pearce
The Art of Paper Flowers by Bobby Pearce

The Art of Paper Flowers by Bobby Pearce ($26.99 List Price $17.48 at Amazon) Paper is pretty much the least expensive craft material you’ll find. It’s also one of the most versatile. With a pile of colored sheets, a pair of scissors, and The Art of Paper Flowers, you can create gorgeous bouquets to give away or keep for yourself. For anyone who’s an avid home crafter or future home-decor online vendor, this book will get your creative juices flowering, err, flowing.

The Art of Paper Flowers makes it easy for anyone to create beautiful roses, orchids, tulips, and more–completely out of paper. There are thirty-five flowers included in the book, and each pattern is accompanied by a complete list of materials required, step-by-step instructions for creating the flower, original paper-folding techniques from the author, full-size patterns, and color photos for reference. Additionally throughout the book, there are interesting bits of trivia, myths, or folklore for each delicate flower. The book also includes a foreword by Rosie O’Donnell.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other great stores!

Pick Me Up: A Pep Talk for Now and Later
Pick Me Up: A Pep Talk for Now and Later

Pick Me Up: A Pep Talk for Now and Later ($15 List Price, now $10.05 at Amazon) — On the heels of his internationally successful first book, 1 Page at a Time, graphic designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz delivers another intimate and engaging journal for anyone who loves to explore ideas, record thoughts and feelings, and capture those fleeting but amazing moments of everyday life.

Unlike a linear journal, this book can be opened up to any page, encouraging and engaging readers time and time again through continued use. Rather than simply complete tasks and turn pages, users are encouraged to leave their mark, and if they land on the same page days or weeks later, they can review, reflect, and revise their previous response.

Feeling lonely? Pensive? Peeved? Questioning? This deceptively simple book offers perspective, hope, and a twist of existential metaphor – and is perfect to pick up again and again.

Holiday Gift Guide — Fashion and Accessory Ideas!

Have you started your shopping yet?  I have definitely been making lists and have started thinking about what I am going to give this year.

Fashion and Accessories are great gifts for the fashionable ladies on your list.  Below are some amazing picks:

SlimSation Slimming Jean
SlimSation Slimming Jean

SlimSation Slimming Jean ($74 USD) –Black Denim, but in other colors, too! Now even your jeans can feel fabulous all day long! Try this style in light indigo for Spring! These are so comfy and look really nice.  I wore them with short black boots and a nice top and they were great for work!  They can also be dressed down.

  • 32″ inseam
  • 14.5″ average leg opening (varies slightly by size)
  • Stretch and comfort with your every move
  • Machine wash – cold
  • Imported

Purchase at

Dawn Gem Earrings - Rose Gold Square Stud Earrings With Ombre Purple Amethyst
Dawn Gem Earrings – Rose Gold Square Stud Earrings With Ombre Purple Amethyst

Dawn Gem Earrings – Rose Gold Square Stud Earrings With Ombre Purple Amethyst ($42 USD) — Simple square hammered studs.  Various shades of purple amethyst puddle at the base of the square. These are so pretty and delicate.  Great for girls and women of all ages, because they are special but not too bold.

14k rose gold filled

Purchase at

Luca + Danni x Dana-Farber Butterfly and Teddy Bear Bangles; ($28 USD)  Luca + Danni, a handcrafted America-made jewelry company, is donating 100% of proceeds of two exclusive bracelets to benefit Cancer Research through Dana-Farber. As a bit of background the founder of Luca + Danni lost his younger brother to Leukemia. His brother always dreamed of evolving their family jewelry business by starting their own brand. The older brother left his career on Wall Street and created Luca + Danni in his memory. This partnership with Dana-Farber (where his younger brother was treated) is a way for him to give back – and he hopes others will as well.


Holiday Gift Guides — Books For All Ages

Books are such fantastic gifts. I love to give them as much as I love to receive them.

Below are fun books that will make great gifts.  There is one YA fiction and two awesome food-related books:


Weregirl By C. D. Bell ($17.99, on sale for $14.99) — This cool YA novel is the perfect gift for preteens up to adults!  I’m giving it to my (will be) 13 year old for Christmas.  She loves supernatural books!  The synopsis is:

High school junior Nessa Kurland is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of dying Tether, Michigan. Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether’s overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.

Instead, Nessa’s freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf.

In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? WEREGIRL’s Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.

C. D. Bell’s WEREGIRL is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical.

Purchase at


Our Table
Our Table
Our Table by Renee Muller ($34.99 USD Artscroll) — A tavola in Italian means “at the table.”  The table is where we gather to talk, to socialize, to catch up, and most importantly…eat! At our table is where it all comes together because it’s not just about the food, its about stopping whatever we are doing and carving out some much-needed time to nourish our souls and bodies in the company of loved ones. Food stylist and recipe columnist, Renee Muller, invites home cooks to come to the table and partake in some her family’s favorite kosher recipes in her beautiful new cookbook, Our Table.  Renee’s recipes are refreshingly simple, distinctively delicious and crafted from common ingredients and vividly presented with beautiful full color photos.
Throughout the pages of Our Table, Renee walks readers through each recipe with subtle suggestions, insights and techniques that turn good food into great food.  Recipes are arranged in chapters such as: Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Fish & Dairy, Meat, Chicken & More, Snacks & Sides, and Desserts and Breads, providing everything needed to create an easy weeknight meal or a special holiday dinner. Some of the recipes in Our Table include:
  • Buttery Chocolate Scones
  • Mushroom Barley Soup Done Right
  • Crunchy Asian Salad
  • Silan, Lemon, and Mustard Salmon
There is also a special selection of recipes with links to online video tutorials, just as if Renee was right in the kitchen cooking with you!  “Many times while writing down recipe instructions, I wished I could just invite my readers to join me in my kitchen and cook with me.  That thought led me to create a variety of videos of some of the recipes so you can view them as you want and see some of the techniques I use when cooking my recipes.”
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants
L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants by George Geary ($45 USD Santa Monica Press) — From Trader Vic’s to Perino’s, there are stories to tell and food to talk about. Best-selling cookbook author and chef, George Geary, takes readers on a journey to where the rich and famous ate in the golden age of Hollywood in his new book, L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS, an illustrated history Los Angeles’ landmark eateries. The book features over 100 celebrity favorite recipes, from classic eateries such as the Musso & Frank Grill and The Brown Derby in the 1920s, to the see-and-be-seen crowds at Chasen’s, Romanoff’s, and Ciro’s in the mid-twentieth century, to the dawn of California, chef-inspired restaurants Ma Maison and Spago. L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS is a celebration of where Hollywood royalty ate, drank, and played.
Geary gives us an insider’s tour of Hollywood through its restaurants, sprinkling in fun facts and trivia such as Bob Hope’s favorite place to enjoy a hot fudge sundae after hosting the Academy Awards, or where a table was sawed off to accommodate a pregnant Lana Turner, to the soda fountain where composer Harold Arlen wrote “Over the Rainbow” for The Wizard of Oz.  And what book on L.A.’s restaurants would be complete without tales of ice cream sundaes at C.C. Brown’s, cafeteria-style meals at Clifton’s Cafeteria, late-night breakfasts at Ben Frank’s, or mai tais at Don the Beachcomber?
Some of the restaurants Geary has featured include: Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakery, Formosa Café, Tick Tock Tea Room, Miceli’s, Coconut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, Cyrano, Chez Jay, Hamptons, L’Orangerie, Tam O’Shanter Inn, Bullock’s Wilshire Tea Room, Zebra Room at the Town House of Lafayette Park, Don the Beachcomber, Cock ‘n Bull, Hollywood Palladium, Scandia, La Scala, Trader Vic’s at the Beverly Hilton, Dan Tana’s, Le Dome, and many more.  L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS provides an interesting history of each restaurant profiled, from their original address and phone number to who designed it and a few of their famous recipes.  Here are just a few of the over 100 iconic recipes included in the book:
  • Crab Crepes Bengal – Trader Vic’s
  • Crabmeat Cocktail – Ciro’s
  • Cobb Salad – The Brown Derby
  • Maude Salad – Chasen’s
  • Braised Short Ribs – Musso & Frank Grill
  • Coq Au Vin – Taix French Restaurant
There are also some classic cocktail recipes such as:
  • The Zombie – Don the Beachcomber
  • Irish Coffee – Chez Jay
  • Moscow Mule – Cock ‘n Bull
Most of the locations chronicled in L.A.’S LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS no longer exist, but George Geary has brought their memories and tastes back to life with updated recipes that remind us why customers kept coming back to their favorite haunts time and again.