Monday, August 26, 2013


Now that summer is approaching, Crussh is the book that you want to have. It has delicious recipes to make juices, smoothies and boosters, and the book is packed with nutrition and flavor. Based on recipes from the fresh juice and smoothie shop that is popular in the United Kingdom, Crussh is packed with original, and easy (but good-for-you) blends. The recipes can be made with a juicer or traditional or high-powered blender, and has loads of information about all the nutrients and ingredients that you want to try to incorporate into these great drinks. Blends like Love Juice, Simple Morning Juice, Strawberry & Mango Juice, and Pomelo Tango are delicious and easy to make. Watermelon Refresher, Guava Thai, Veggie Invigorator, Honeydew & Cucumber, Peachy Roast Smoothie, and Postachio Cacao Smoothie are all wonderful options for cooling of during the peak of the summer heat. Honestly, there is not a bad recipe in this book – it is packed with delicious suggestions, easy directions, and loads of inspiration. If you only buy one recipe book this season, make it Crussh – you will be thrilled by the fresh fruit and veggie blends all summer long.

Banana Brulee Pancakes

Although Saturday morning seems like it is a long way away, looking forward to these pancakes will make the week fly by. They are a delicious blend of creme brulee and pancakes – the bananas are creamy and the brown sugar forms a delicious crust. While these aren’t the prettiest things to look at, they are so delicious, you won’t have them around for long. Also, because there is syrup in the batter and brown sugar on top, you really don’t need any additional syrup, but feel free to pour it on to your heart’s content. Also, I realize that misting pancakes sounds really weird, but it helps the brown sugar to stick to the bananas even better. Banana Brulee Pancakes 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 Tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3/4 cup water 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 2 bananas, peeled and thinly sliced 3 Tablespoons brown sugar Water to mist (in a small mister/spray bottle) Coconut oil for spatula 1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix water and syrup. Add the liquids to the large bowl and mix thoroughly (don’t over-beat). 2. Heat an electric griddle to 350 (a skillet will work, but not as well because it requires non-stick spray or oil). Pour 1/2 cup of the batter onto the griddle, spreading in a circle with the back of the ladle. Drop in 6 to 8 banana slices. Allow the pancake batter to bubble up indicating that the bottom is cooked. Sprinkle brown sugar onto the top side, mist 3 to 4 times with water, then gently flip over – the brown sugar will become golden. Allow the pancake to cook completely, then gently remove with a spatula that has been brushed with coconut oil. Serve with butter and syrup if desired.

The Spark

Kristine Barnett is a modern day hero, and her memoir, The Spark, is an inspiring, heart-warming look at one mother’s efforts to save her son from being lost to autism. When her first child, Jake, was born he seemed like an ordinary, curious child, but by age two, he began to exhibit troubling signs. Before turning three, Jake who had become isolated and introverted despite the buzy-ness of Kristine’s in-home day-care, began different therapy work in an attempt to help him grow and develop mentally and socially, and move beyond his precocious textbook reading behavior. After Jake begins pre-school, however, Kristine becomes disheartened by his lack of progress and by the teacher’s message that Jake should stop bringing alphabet flash cards to class because it was unlikely that he would ever read, much less tie his own shoes. Hearing this, Kristine became determined to work with Jake and prepare him for mainstream kindergarten despite her husband Michael’s fears. With boundless energy, Kristine devises a plan to invite autistic children from around the community so that all of them can grow in confidence and social skills, and Jake will have a support network and a way to prepare for kindergarten. Through this program, Kristine not only ignites Jake’s passion for astronomy, but also inspires countless children and parents around her community. Because of Kristine’s unwavering dedication, Jake is able to fit into a mainstream classroom in the fall of his kindergarten year, and before she knows it, he is sitting in on college classes. The Spark is an incredibly inspiring book and Kristine’s positive attitude is contagious, despite all of the hardships that the family must go through. This book is a reminder that every child has the potential to thrive when their interests are sparked, and is absolutely one of the best books that I have read all year. This is a must for all parents, especially parents of special needs children.

Mindful Living

Mindful Living is Miraval’s latest book which focuses on healthy living for the body and soul. This book has a little bit of everything so that everyone (even those who cannot travel to the famed spa) can find a special something, and by walking readers through a year of health with everything from exercises in mindfulness to reducing the risk for common ailments. Additionally, spa treatments and recipes throughout the book make this a complete healthy living experience. For example,an Organic Flourish Body Scrub will help get you relaxed and a recipe for Purple Potatoes, Chives, and White Truffle Oil will help to satisfy your appetite in a healthy way in January. With a focus each month on mental health, spa treatments, healthy cooking, exercise, and advice from experts, Mindful Living helps to pack in a year of healthful living. This is a great book for anyone looking to be inspired for an entire year and is packed with insights and little gems to bring the spa and mindfulness right to your home.

The Ward

Jordana Frankel has crafted a beautifully disturbing dystopian world in The Ward. Ren, the unlikely heroine in a future New York that has been flooded and abandoned by the rest of the nation, is a brusque, hardened orphan who is determined to succeed in the world of roof racing. She is willing to risk her life racing across abandoned roof tops because she knows two things: she is immune to the sickness that sweeps through her ward, and her best friend, Aven, is not. Although hard to like at times, Ren is determined, and risks her life in every race so that she can earn money to save her “sister”. What others don’t know, though, is that Ren is a mole, secretly working for the “Blues” (the law enforcement who control the city), scouting for “fresh (water that has not been contaminated and polluted, and may be suitable for drinking). When offered a chance to earn more money scouting for fresh, however, Ren doesn’t pass it up, knowing that every dollar she earns will go toward helping Aven feel better. What Ren doesn’t expect when she begins a race and takes a detour to scout for “fresh” is that she will uncover a tangled web of lies and deception, and will risk the discovery of her own secrets. After Aven is hospitalized, Ren realizes that she must find the solution before time runs out. Because of her unwavering devotion to the only person who has ever cared for her, Ren is willing to sacrifice her freedom and safety in order to uncover the truth about the disease, the city, and the water. The Ward is a fast paced novel that is engaging and cinematic in tone. Honestly, even though it is hard to like Ren (whose street-wise attitude and rough exterior belie a genuinely compassionate soul), she grows on you, and sucks you into her world with all of its twists and turns. This book is original and gripping – the perfect read for summer!

Rich Cocoa BBQ Sauce

I know that the thought of cocoa in BBQ sauce sounds odd, but it is the perfect ingredient to make a rich sauce that is perfect for burgers, sandwiches, or (my personal favorite), a vegan “meatloaf”. This BBQ sauce is absolutely delicious and subtle flavorful enough to become a quick favorite. Rich Cocoa BBQ Sauce ¼ cup finely diced onions 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1 ½ cup vegetable broth ¾ cup ketchup 2 Tablespoons molasses ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons chipotle or chile sauce 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard 1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil to medium-high heat and cook onions for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant. 2. Add the remaining ingredients whisking cocoa to completely incorporate, reduced heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened and reduced slightly.

Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

I know that this is another BBQ sauce recipe, but as the days get warmer, it just seems more and more fitting. This sauce has brown sugar in it, but only enough to balance out the tang of the vinegar. It is subtly sweet and gives the perfect flavor to any summer barbecue. Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce ½ finely diced onions 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil 1 ½ cups vegetable broth ½ cup ketchup ¼ cup packed brown sugar 2 ½ Tablespoons Smoky Chipotle Mustard 1 teaspoon molasses 1 teaspoon liquid smoke or South African Smoke Seasoning blend 1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil to medium-high heat and cook onions for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant. 2. Add the remaining ingredients, reduced heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until thickened and reduced slightly.