Category Archives: 1 book 1 idea

So I’m Reading This Book… (And Giving One Away)

Let’s just say “grey” is on the cover. From the very first page it’s clear this book is hot! It’s full of things I never imagined doing. Things that look exotic and dangerous, yet so tempting.

I got so excited, I told my husband I’d try something new for him this week. I mean, this Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling? I can’t wait to get busy with it.

I love the visual emphasis. This books photos are both seductive (you know you want me) and instructive Cooking Light Visual Guide to Grilling(grilled lettuce is supposed to look the way it does in the photo).

The book starts off with a primer on grilling and smoking. The obligatory burger chapter follows, but goes beyond the same old, same old. Spicy Poblano  Burgers with Picked Red Onions and Chipotle Cream, anybody?

The book also includes chapters on meats, poultry, fish and shellfish as well as vegetables and fruits.

Ten days later….

So far I’ve tried the Grilled Romaine (twice), Chicken Shawarma, Brown Sugar and Mustard Salmon, and Grilled Flank Steak with Onions, Avocado and Tomatoes. Each recipe was a hit with three of the four people in my family (the fourth mostly eats hot dogs and pasta, so it’s barely worth counting his opinion).

When the right season hits, I want to try Caramelized Fresh Figs with Sweet Cream.

I like that the recipes are simple and easy to follow. And, hello, Cooking Light! These dishes won’t weight you down.

I appreciate the many photos, or visual guides, in the book. And I’ve learned a few foodie facts thanks to the many how-to tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the book.

Often, the larger food photos are dotted with bits of information about the role of various ingredients, for example, in the spread featuring Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, a blurb on the photo explains that fresh grated lemon rind intensifies the tangy flavor of the marinade.

This book is my grilling Bible for the summer of 2012.

In fact, I like it so much, I asked if I could give one away to a lucky reader (hopefully a carnivore, though as noted above, there are plenty of recipes for all types of eaters). But grilled meat? Yum!

Win your own copy of Cooking Light: Way to Cook Grilling, The Complete Visual Guide to Grilling

To enter:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing a favorite grilling tip (or whatever). Comment by 11:00 PM CST on May 29, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly $24.95.

You can also have up to four optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. We send updates every now and then featuring favorite tidbits from the blog as well as tips on home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs. Come back to let me know.

Winner will be chosen and notified by June 2, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the PR agency working with this book.

And since I started this post sexy talk, let me end with this shot I grabbed at one of the ethnic markets in town. (Sorry, no butt recipes in the book.)

butt beef

As part of the Reluctant Renovator blogaversary celebration, check out these other giveaways!

Type-A Parent Conference Pass

Serta Mattress Set

Lands’ End Swimsuit




Eat Your Roses: 1 Book, 1 Idea

Eat Your Roses Book CoverAs I ponder how we might make our yard and lawn greener and more practical, I’ve come across yet another book to add to my grow-your-own arsenal, Eat Your Roses…Pansies, Lavender and 49 other Delicious Edible Flowers. Written by Denise Schreiber, the woman who created the Edible Flower Foods Fest, the big idea in this book is that there are a whole lot of edible flowers. More than I realized.

The book provides the common and scientific names for the edible flowers, along with a color photograph of each, a description as well as an explanation of its sensory appeal and its edible uses. Schreiber even includes recipes for newbs like me.

Next year that lilac tree is going to do more than just look and smell pretty in the back yard. I’m going to turn those lovely flowers into a syrup…or something.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to facilitate a review.

Legal Guide to Home Renovation: 1 Book, 1 Idea

As we’re thinking about renovation, design and decor, we’re perusing a lot of books. ABA Legal Guide to Home RenovationWe don’t have time for full reports on all of them, but we’re trying to share at least one stand-out idea per book. This week, we’re looking at the Legal Guide to Home Renovation: Everything you need to know about the law, insurance, permits and contracts.

This American Bar Association publication is chock full gems for newbie renovators like us. I thought it would be all legalese boring, yada yada yada, but no, it’s really great. Chapters cover planning, finding a contractor, acting as your own contractor, securing permits, writing contracts and resolving disputes.

This book is a recommended read for those are are planning to go where they’ve never gone before, renovation-wise.

The Edible Front Yard: One Book, One Idea

Though I don’t think it will happen in 2011, I continue to be intrigued by the concept of replacing the Edible_front_yard_Solerfront lawn with something more functional. Ivette Soler’s The Edible Front Yard: The mow-less grow-more plan for a beautiful bountiful garden is yet another book that fuels my desire.

The book opens with inspirational words, planning tips and ideas for plants (great section on ornamental edibles balancing both the looks of plants as well as the food they produce) in addition to overall design, but the “reality check” is not provided until chapter 6.

Seems to me that that section should come earlier in the book, Soler raised concerns that I hadn’t considered like, what will the neighbors think? and do local codes codes prohibit gardens or structures like fences in front yards?

If we decide to make a front yard garden, we’ll be digging deeper into this handy book.

Do you or your neighbors have a edible estate?

The Sustainable Home: One Book, One Idea

The book we’re perusing this week is The Sustainable Home by Cathy Strongman. I’m Sustainable_home_cathy_strongmannot sure we agree with the book’s full title “the essential guide to eco building, renovation and decoration,” but it does provide useful green tips on everything from construction materials to floor surfaces.

The book also serves up detailed information on 30 sustainable homes around the world. Many of the highlighted houses are interesting, but few seemed warm and inviting. Good house porn though, if you’re into pictures.

Geek House: One Book, One Idea

As we’re thinking about renovation, design and decor, we’re perusing a lot of books. We don’t have time for full reports on all of them, but we’re trying to share at least one stand-out idea per book. This week, we’re looking a Geek House: 10 Hardwares hacking projects for around the home by Barry and Marcia Press. Written in 2005, which is to say it’s hopelessly out of date, the book provides tips on DIY tech projects for nearly every room in the house.

I’d love instructions for hacking a 1950’s phonograph/radio console combo to play MP3s. How cool would that be. Hmmm. And then we could get our 1928 player piano to do the same (though unlike the console, it lacks speakers, so maybe not?)