9/3/12

Molly Crew Review: Everyday Cooking

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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s  Schoolhouse Review Crew doesn’t just have a home school crew!  This is the first Schoolhouse Review Crew: Molly Crew product.  Everyday Homemaking asked the Molly Crew to review either the Everyday Family Chore System book or the Everyday Cooking book.  My girls and I used and reviewed the cooking e-book.

Though this is a book filled with recipes it is more than just a collection of recipes.  It’s a resource handbook full of tips and suggestions to make home schooling and home making NOT mutually exclusive.  It’s an exceptionally good day at my house if I get school done, some laundry done and we have a hot, home cooked meal for dinner.  Thanks to Everyday Cooking and some kitchen management the exceptional is becoming more commonplace.

About the Book: Author Vicki Bentley is herself a busy home school mom with many children (both her own and foster children!).  This 100 page cookbook is divided into the following recipe sections: “Appetizers & Dressings”, “Bread & Grains”, “Main Dishes & Soups & Sides”and “Desserts & Snacks.” In addition there are sections for  “Timesaving Tips”, “Breakfast Ideas”, “Meal Planning and Shopping Tips” and more including a “Basic Skills Checklist.”  It is available in both e-book (PDF) format ($14.99) and coil bound with glossy cover ($17.99)  You can view sample recipes at the website. 

Using the e-book: Normally I struggle when I have to use a PDF format book on the computer.  I didn’t try this on my NOOK because I didn’t want to use the NOOK in the kitchen.  (My NOOK is the e-ink Simple Touch withOUT the glowlight).   But having this book in PDF format was not an issue.  In fact I think I prefer it.  This way I could print out only the pages that we really wanted and I didn’t have a whole cook book on my shelf taking up space.

We tried the “cheese garlic biscuits”, “sausage gravy” and “hamburger gravy” because those were nearly identical to my recipes and I used the cook book more like a teaching tool.  I am one who never truly follows a recipe and also makes some type of change.  I’m a “dump cook” and rarely measure anything.  I cook by smell, look and feel/touch.   I think Mrs. Bentley cooks in a similar fashion.   For the Chicken Schnitzel recipe she states: “I never measure any of this, so this is a guestimate.”  She goes on to explain that her friend showed her how to make it.  This is exactly how I cook <grin>.

We also tried some new recipes: “Unstuffed-cabbage” which was a huge hit.  I used slightly less cabbage than the recipe said and it was fine.  The recipe also stated that it would serve 6-8.  We’re a family of 6 and it was very generous.  We had some left over for my husband to take to lunch the next day.  We also tried “Chicken and Noodle Casserole”.  My family enjoyed it but it wasn’t really what I was expecting.  I also tweaked it so much that I am going to have make it again because I don’t think I really made “Chicken and Noodle Casserole” I think I made “Tess made it up Chicken Stroganoff.”

For lunch one day we tried the “Mandarin Spinach Salad”.  I didn’t have fresh mushrooms so we just omitted those but this was a very tasty salad.  Here’s a picture:

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We’ve tried a few other recipes as well but I think our favorite has been the “Baked Oatmeal”.  This so easy to make.  I haven’t made it but my girls have each made it at least once each.   “Baked Oatmeal” has made it on our rotating breakfast menu.  It’s especially good with raisins. 

Some things that frustrated me:

  • Many of the recipes did not give information on number of servings.  For example neither the basic muffin recipe nor the pancake recipe told me how many muffins or pancakes the recipe makes.  Some recipes did give numbers such as 6 round Belgian Waffles.
  • many of the recipes said “Sucanat or honey”.  It is my understanding that Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) can be substituted one for one with refined white sugar and both are dry but honey is a liquid.  It is my understanding that you cannot substitute honey for sugar one to one.  The substitution also affects the texture of the product as well as needing to adjust other liquid ingredients for the right ratio.  I wish that Vicki addressed this.  Perhaps she does exchange them one for one?

Some things I love about this cookbook!:

  • She cooks very similar to me!  I strive for eating more whole foods, less processed foods and a combo of from scratch and convenience.
  • I love that she includes recipes for homemade things like onion soup mix and canned cream of something soup
  • I love the “Basic Skills Checklist”  I have printed off one for each of my “big” girls so that we can track the different things they can cook on their own.
  • Several of the recipes in the book are very similar to my own recipes.  I do not have my recipes written down and have had difficulty trying to teach them to my daughters.  With this cookbook, I can hand the recipe to the cook and say “change this. Add that but follow these instructions.”  We’re able to use this cookbook like an instruction manual.

My Bottom Line: I really like this cookbook.  I don’t agree that this is a wholefoods cookbook.  There are many whole food recipes but there are also many recipes that use highly processed ingredients.  For me though that is the reality of life.  This is a great tool for a family transitioning from a diet with lots convenience foods to a diet that has more whole foods.  We have liked everything we’ve tried.  I confess that it also feels great to read a cookbook that validates some of the tips and tricks I use (such as slicing chicken breasts in half lengthwise to preserve the width or how to cook a hard boiled egg.)  Be sure to check out the product page for a link for a peek inside the book.

Click on the banner below to read what other Crew Members had to say about the books Everyday Cooking or Everyday Chores.

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this e-book free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pointing out that there are a few items without quantities, such as the muffins -- I'll be sure to go through and correct that for the next printing! On the honey -- you are right that it often changes the texture, depending on the item, but I included subs for those who just don't even want the Sucanat; in small quantities it often can be swapped evenly, or I tried to give amounts.

    And you are so right that this is not a straight whole foods cookbook -- I like to tell folks that the emphasis is on whole foods, but we are not purists, so you'll find our favorite Jello salad and sugar icing! :)

    What a thoughtful and thorough review. Happy cooking!

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