Recipe Book Review: Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

Book cover for Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr.

Title: Tanya Bakes
Author: Tanya Burr
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 30, 2016
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Following the phenomenally successful Love, Tanya, Tanya Burr is back with her very first cookbook. In Tanya Bakes, she shares her passion for baking along with all her favourite recipes. As well as cakes and bakes, readers will love Tanya’s delicious and simple puddings, loaves and pastries.

From everyday staple bakes to sweet treats for special occasions, Tanya’s got the perfect recipe, every time:
– Tanya’s Ultimate Celebration Cake
– Banoffee Pie
– Salted Caramel Cheesecake
– Rhubarb and Custard Muffins
– Earl Grey Tea Loaf
– Tanya’s Nanny’s Apple Pie
– Smarties Flapjacks

So make yourself at home in the kitchen with Tanya and treat yourself, your friends and family to something delicious!

Goodreads | Amazon

If you are a fan of YouTube, you have most likely become familiar with Tanya Burr and her hilarious and informative lifestyle channel. When I was asked by Penguin Random House Canada if I wanted to review this cookbook, I obviously jumped at the chance. This book has the most beautiful images, and it is one that contains some fantastic recipes that even the most inexperienced of chefs can attempt. There are also lots of personal stories attached to the recipes, which make for quite a fun and enlightening read. My only criticism of this book would be that for the average North American reader, this book contains British cooking measurements. This will require the user to convert measurements if the required tools aren’t at hand.

Tanya Bakes has got to be one of the most gorgeous cookbooks that I have ever seen, and I am quite a fan of the genre. The images are so full of life and the pictures just seem to pop with excitement. It is so enjoyable to flip through a book of recipes and see gorgeous images of how the recipe will look when it is all finished. Definitely my favourite aspect of this book.

What is really fun and interesting about Tanya Bakes is the narrative that is included in the book. Tanya shares lots of life stories and inspiration as to why certain recipes are included in the book. This is something that takes this book into the memoir or autobiography  genre, as readers learn little tidbits about Tanya’s childhood and present day life.


Australian Toasted Banan Bread

I typically attempt a few recipes from the cookbooks that I am reviewing, as I find that the process is just as important as the layout. The instructions for the recipes are clear and concise. There are tons of different types of desserts and even some wonderful seasonal recipes to try. I did give the Australian Toasted Banana Bread a whirl, as the ingredients were something I had on hand and the result was phenomenal. Although, I do prefer it untoasted myself. It was a bit time consuming to convert the ingredients, though. There are some great converters online and I did find one site that I found useful for this recipe if you are interested in making something from a cookbook that has different measurements than you are accustomed to.

Tanya Bakes is a gorgeous book that is sure to be enjoyed by all of her fans and those who love to bake. I am looking forward to taking a look at Tanya’s newest cookbook as well, as it centres around my favourite time of the year: Christmas!

ARC Review: The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion


I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Dinner Plan: The Keepers Guide to Weeknight Meals and More
Authors: Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): From the authors of the IACP award-winning cookbook KEEPERS, an entirely new and personalized approach to tackling the dinner dilemma:

Between juggling work, family activities, mismatched schedules, and often bare refrigerators, there are all sorts of situations that make weeknight cooking a universally challenging—and frustrating—experience. The Dinner Plan offers five meal strategies—Make-Ahead, Staggered, One-Dish, Extra-Fast, and Pantry—that will help get dinner on the table no matter what the workweek throws at you. The 135 recipes—from main dishes to sides to salads and “lifesaver” condiments—provide lots of practical options whether time is super-tight, you haven’t had a chance to run to the store, or everyone is coming home at a different time.

And most importantly, all of the recipes are “keepers”—brag-worthy, reliable, crowd-pleasing preparations that you’ll confidently turn to again and again. Shrimp Scampi, Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas, Foolproof Carbonara, and Mexican Skillet Lasagna are just a few examples of doable recipes that will earn their place in any busy cook’s repertoire. Rounded out with plenty of tips and a bonus section on healthful snacks called The Forgotten Meal, The Dinner Plan is every home cook’s indis­pensable weeknight dinner guide.

Goodreads | Amazon

If there is one thing that I am always on the hunt for, it is a recipe that is quick, delicious, and simple to make. The Dinner Plan is a well-organized, eye-catching book that has some fantastic suggestions to get a healthy dinner ready no matter what your day has in store. The ideas take into account all sorts of different lifestyles, but they are most definitely geared towards family meals.

What sets The Dinner Plan apart from other time-saving cookbooks isn’t really the actual recipes. In fact, it is in the way the recipes are categorized as to whether it is a make-ahead, staggered, one-dish, pantry, or extra-fast. Knowing what type of ingredients are needed and the time commitment needed to prepare certain dishes takes the guess-work out of where to start. There are also tips included in the book that include what sorts of ingredients and equipment to buy.

If you have a family that eats at different points of the evening, you will most likely find a dish that will satisfy the needs of your family. Making a meal that can be served at any point of the day, or easily reheated makes some of these recipes really unique. For instance, the Kitchen Sink Burritos that I prepared can be made fairly quickly and then the fixings can be set out for anyone to put together at their own leisure. This recipe is also a much lighter and cheaper version than the ones you can purchase at a local burrito bar, as there are no added preservatives.


The Dinner Plan is an interesting take on how to serve dinner to your family when life just seems to get in the way. If you are on the hunt for suggestions on how to eat healthy meals for a busy lifestyle, this may be the book for you. It will give you a new perspective on how to make meals without the stress over the time commitment involved.

Cookbook Review: Holiday Cookies by Elisabet Der Nederlanden


I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
Authors: Elisabet Der Nederlanden
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies.

This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

Goodreads | Amazon

I know that it might seem a little early to be thinking ahead to the holidays, but they really are creeping up on us faster than you think! If there is one thing that I love the most about the Christmas season, it is the the treats. Holiday Cookies is actually more than a comprehensive little book of holiday cookies. This book contains recipes for cookies that can become favourites all year round. Chock full of tips for how to ensure the best experiences working with any cookie recipe, and how to package them for gift-giving makes this my new go-to book for the holidays.

If you are one for getting your baking done before the season begins, you will be happy to have Holiday Cookies for inspiration. There are some classic recipes that everyone will enjoy, such as gingerbread cookies and shortbread. However, there are some really interesting Swedish recipes that are a little bit different from the standard North American treats. I have already bookmarked the recipe for pepparkakor, as I love how the author has reminisced about her childhood and importance of family baking with this one. Also, pepparkakor is featured in one of my favourite childhood books, Pippi Longstocking, so I am excited to give these a try.

brownieOne of the recipes that caught my attention was Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich Cookies. It is quite a mouthful to say, yet these are just as tasty as they sound! The recipe was simple and straightforward, requiring ingredients that are more than likely to be found in your cupboard.


Holiday Cookies is the perfect book of recipes for your holiday treat making this year. There are bound to be some old favourites included in this one, and most likely some interesting new cookies to try. The recipes are easy to follow and will absolutely get you in the holiday spirit.


ARC Review: Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good


I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Stock the Crock: 100 Must-Have Slow-Cooker Recipes that Home Cooks Can’t Live Without
Author: Phyllis Good
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Amazon): The ultimate resource for a new generation of slow-cooker fans from the New York Times bestselling author who has sold 12 million cookbooks!

Stock the Crock brings together the expertise of America’s most popular slow-cooker authority with a fresh collection of 100 essential, innovative, and easy-to-prepare recipes-each with variations allowing readers to customize the dish according to their dietary needs. You’ll find beloved classics, as well as dishes you might be surprised can be done successfully in a slow cooker. (Hello, slow-cooker creme brulee!) Whether you are looking to accommodate gluten-free, paleo, or vegetarian diets, or prefer slow-cooker meals perfectly sized for one or two people, this cookbook provides smart ideas, more than 100 recipe photos, and cooking hacks that will change the way you use your favorite fuss-free cooking appliance. Learn simple make-ahead tricks, convenient baking tips, and how to make two recipes at once using the same cooker, so you can simplify cooking and spend more time enjoying your family and friends around a wonderful, delicious meal.

Goodreads | Amazon

Stock the Crock is the perfect cookbook for anyone new to using a slow-cooker, or for those looking for some different ideas to shake up their routine. The book includes tips for how to choose the right device for a recipe, and how to alter a recipe to make it work for different dietary needs. There are a variety of recipes that range from simple soups to yummy desserts, making this a must-have for fans of the crock pot.

I don’t use my crock pot often, but after reading this recipe book, I am inspired to try using it more often. With a little prep earlier in the day, it is definitely a great way to enjoy a healthy meal after a busy day. I really enjoyed all of the ideas that are included in the book about choosing the right size of crock pot. I never considered that some recipes are better suited to a smaller appliance. Also, each recipe includes a method to make the recipe for vegetarians and picky eaters. I love this because I often see a recipe that looks perfect only to discover that there is an ingredient that doesn’t fit with my tastes.


Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Red Onions

I have only tried the Butternut Squash Soup recipe so far and it was super easy and really tasty. I have also bookmarked quite a few others to try. The variety of things that you can pop into a crock pot is actually mind blowing. There is also a recipe to create brownies in a slow-cooker and I am really curious to find out if this actually works!

If you are looking for a way to enjoy homemade meals and don’t have the time to spend preparing them, this cookbook has some great ideas to get you started. I am going to be ordering a copy of this one for my own kitchen, as it is so versatile and practical. I highly recommend Stock the Crock to anyone interested in learning how to make the best use of a slow-cooker.

ARC Review: Room Love by Heather Wutschke


I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Room Love: 50 DIY Projects to Design Your Space
Author: Heather Wutschke
Publisher: Capstone Young Reader
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A floor, a ceiling, and four boring walls? No more! Get creative, show your room some love, and turn your personal space into your happy place. Show off your style and personality with DIY pizzazz to makeover furniture, create one-of-a-kind decor, and organize your stuff with dozens of projects and ideas to make your room as unique as you are

Goodreads | Amazon

I am always looking for ways to improve the spaces in my house, and Room Love has quite a few inexpensive little ideas that are fun DIY projects. Many of the ideas are geared towards tweens, however there are some great organizational tips that can be useful to anyone. If you have some washi tape, scrapbook paper and acrylic paint on hand, you are well on your way to get started on many of Wutschke’s projects.

shelfI have recently begun to organize my bookshelves and I was really inspired by the washi tape embellishment idea in Room Love. What is so great about washi tape is its versatility and the ability to remove it easily if needed. I never considered using it in my decorating before, and it is such a fun idea!




The layout of this DIY book is so pretty and has lots of pictures with step-by-step directions that can be followed with ease. It is one that will appeal to pre-teens that are wanting to jazz up their space a little bit without having to purchase expensive supplies. It is a definite gift for the tween DIYers on your list!