Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Simply Novelli - Quick & Easy French Classics

As some of you may know, I like to cook even though I'm not the best cook in the world. I would say that I'm a fairly good cook and I enjoy it so that's all that matters to me. I'm also a person who loves to learn new ways of cooking or new recipes. I'm an adventurous eater so I love trying things that I've never eaten before.

So when I received the book Simply Novelli by Jean-Christophe Novelli, I was so excited to take a look and try my hand at some delicious French classics. I've always been in awe of French cuisine but it always seemed very daunting for someone at my skill level. However Mr. Novelli's book makes learning these French classics very accessible to all of us everyday regular type of cooks. The subtitle of the book is "Quick & Easy French Classics" and Mr. Novelli has written this book in a style that makes the recipes easy to follow.
Cassoulet de Cabillaud - Cassoulet of Cod

Visually, the book is stunning! It's a hardcover of medium size and it's very easy to keep the pages open as you are following a recipe. The photographs are amazing! They look as if you could just reach right into the page and have a taste of this delicious food.

I was intrigued to try my hand at one of the recipes so I made the Tomato & Bread Soup. It was delicious! It took a very little time to make and the ingredients were easy to find. Some of the ingredients were things that I already had on hand and the others were easily accessible.

Tartiflette - Creamy Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

The ingredients list for this tasty soup are as follows: extra virgin olive oil, one leek, garlic, tomatoes, stale bread, vegetable stock, basil, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper. This soup serves 6-8 and the total time needed to make it is about 25 minutes including prep time.

There are so many amazing dishes in this book and I plan to try a great number of them if not all of them. They all look delicious and nothing seems to be beyond a regular home cook like me.

Poire au Vin Rouge - Pears Poached in Red Wine

Christmas is only a week away now and I think that this book would be great for any of the foodies in your life. Or if you'd like to try your hand at some French cuisine you should get it for yourself. To me it's more than a book, it's an experience!

Simply Novelli by Jean-Christophe Novelli, is available at Amazon .

Monday, December 02, 2013

Book Review: Better Body Workouts for Women

Recently I was sent a book for review called, Better Body Workouts for Women, by Dean Hodgkin and Caroline Pearce. It's described as a complete guide to fitness, weight loss & performance on the cover. When I picked up the book that line got my attention because it struck me as an all encompassing idea of fitness. Well when I read the book I found out that this was definitely the case. I wondered beforehand how motivational a book would be versus a DVD or some other vehicle of delivery and I found the book to be very effective.

This book is very user friendly and boasts a variety of step by step color photographs to show readers the correct way to perform the various exercises. Along with each photograph there is a note about the exercise focus so that readers can know what each exercise is targeting. There is also short paragraph to describe the exercise, along with a note about whether any equipment is needed. Many of the exercises do not require any equipment in order to be effective. Some exercises use a medicine ball, Swiss ball, weights or simply a chair. I am no athlete or a dedicated exerciser yet, but I found the exercises very accessible and there is room for progression definitely.
Better Body Workouts for Women is an excellent book because it has programs for increasing strength, endurance, power and agility as well as strategies for accelerating muscle development. The book also concentrates on breaking through those plateaus that we all hit in fitness programs. The instructions and tips are easy to understand and it makes for interesting reading before you try out the exercises.

I love the first couple of paragraphs of the introduction page. They are as follows:

'Warning! This book contains advice for women who are serious about fitness. If you are not looking to dramatically change the shape of your body and your outlook, put this book back on the shelf and walk away!

Okay, so that's a bold statement to make, but it's only fair you know that this is not just another tome to sit alongside other titles in the fitness genre. Rather, this book is for the woman who is exercising regularly but who feels somewhat in a routine rut, or the one who has found that the law of diminishing returns has begun to apply, whereby she stops seeing results despite sticking rigorously to her routine.'

I liked that the book started off like this because it shows you what the aim of the book is and it helps the reader decide if this book is for them. I like the honesty that is presented in the introduction.

The chapters within the book highlight a variety of subjects and are as follows:

Chapter 1 Training Essentials
Chapter 2 Fitness Assessments
Chapter 3 Nutrition Matters
Chapter 4 Warming Up and Cooling Down
Chapter 5 All In Aerobics
Chapter 6 Go Anaerobic
Chapter 7 Going Strong
Chapter 8 Power Up
Chapter 9 Get Agile
Chapter 10 Personalise Your Programme
Chapter 11 Sample Workouts and Programmes
Chapter 12 Training Diary

I really enjoyed reading this book and trying out some of the various exercises. As I mentioned earlier, I am not one who works out regularly like I should, but I do believe that Better Body Workouts for Women is a good tool for me and I hope that it can be for some of you.

We are getting close to Christmas soon and this is a great gift to give to someone who is wanting to get into shape. Or it can be a great gift that you give to yourself if you want to get in shape in the new year.

I am going to continue to use this book as a guide in my own fitness goals because it is very accessible and offers a wealth of information between its covers.

Visit to purchase your copy of this new and helpful book.

*Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.