Bite by Bite


Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party is the debut cookbook by Peter Callahan who has been in the catering business over 25 years and has catered for many well-known celebrities. Callahan’s cookbook is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Each appetizer recipe is beautifully presented with a full page color photograph. What makes this stand out from other cookbooks is the unique presentation of each appetizer. Most of the appetizers are miniature versions of common dishes, such as lasagna, pancakes, hot dogs, Caesar salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. Each appetizer is presented in an imaginative, visually stunning manner. The seemingly mundane dish of baked beans is presented in miniature bacon cups. Barbecue chicken is served on wooden skewers in a tray of wheatgrass. Lemonade is presented in hollowed out lemons with lemon candy sticks and straws. At the end of the book Callahan also has a chapter with appetizer menus for several different types of party themes such as “Untraditional Thanksgiving Dinner.” Each theme comes with helpful tips about planning and serving. No doubt if you had a party using these recipes and presentations, guests would be talking about your party for a long time to come! This cookbook however is probably best for experienced cooks. Many of the recipes are time and labor intensive and contain unusual ingredients. Although, even if you don’t cook a single appetizer from the book, it is thoroughly enjoyable to browse. Just don’t read it on an empty stomach!

World of Pies by Karen Stolz


“With each slice from World of Pies, we taste the sweet and sour events of Roxanne Milner’s life as she grows from a precocious nine-year-old to a mature adult…Set in Annette, Texas, this short novel serves stories of Roxanne’s small town life…” Library Journal

Roxanne is our guide through moments of tenderness, poignancy and humor and some pretty great baking moments, recipes included. “If Karen Stoltz’s first novel were a pie, it would be the lemon meringue of your childhood, sunny but a bit tart inside, and topped with a dreamy confection…” Mary Willis Walker

Almost Time to Plant


It’s a bit early, but there are already hints of Spring. My husband has seedlings started under growlights, fueling our dreams of fresh tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and peppers. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver tells about her family attempting to live for a year on homegrown and local food. They garden, can, and raise chickens. As you can see in the picture, she even inspired my husband to invite a few friends over and make cheese! There are several books out on the subject of food, but no one else can write quite like Kingsolver. You can read this for the ideas, but you’ll enjoy the story along the way.

P.S. The cheese was yummy!

Chick lit, recipes included


Some of us are Anglophiles, but some of us are also Maineophiles (no, that’s not really a word). When I picked up The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline, and saw that the setting is Mt. Desert Island, Maine, I settled in for a fun read. And that’s exactly what this book is, fun and witty.

Angela Russo is a 33 year old New Yorker, drifting through her life as an event planner. After yet another dismal blind date, she finds herself tempted into an online romance with a Maine sailing instructor. Anglela gets so distracted by her fantasy romance that her career literally “goes up in flames” when she forgets to take out fire insurance at a fancy event. With no job, no boyfriend and no regrets, Angela packs up and moves to Maine to live with her online boyfriend. You can probably guess that her life in Maine doesn’t quite work out as planned, but her adventures are very entertaining.
As a little bonus, Angela’s recipes from her Italian grandmother are included.