Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook


Although I have not fully committed to the Trim Healthy Mama diet, I follow some of their Facebook posts and have seen the promotions for this new cookbook. When I saw it offered on Blogging for Books I decided to give it a try.

The cookbook is a hefty one with just over 500 shiny and colorful pages. Most of the recipes are illustrated with photos that made me want to try them. There are also photos of Serene, Pearl, and their families. The introductory chapter gives a brief overview of the plan and describes equipment and ingredients that would help make the plan easier to implement.

These gals have come up with some unique recipes that are designed to prevent burnout and boredom while following the plan. Several of the recipes include some unusual and unexpected ingredients but those who have tried them give them a thumbs up. Who would have ever dreamed of using okra in their brownies? That is next on my list to try just as soon as I get some of the baking mix.

I tried the recipe for Pay Off Day Candies after finding an online recipe for making my own Gentle Sweet™. I had all the components and did not want to order another sweetener if I didn’t have to do so. The recipe was fairly simple and turned out well. It was tasty with no artificial aftertaste. I will certainly make it again.

I do have a couple of complaints about the recipes. My first complaint is that many of the recipes call for Trim Healthy Mama ingredients and although the recipes indicate that the cook can substitute other ingredients, there are no specific directions for doing so. I also noticed that some of the recipes do not have detailed instructions which could result in problems for inexperienced cooks. For instance the candy recipe I used just said to cook until the mixture reaches the desired color. No instructions for temperature or even an estimate of how long it will take. I have cooked long enough that I knew what I was doing but these days, many women do not have that kind of experience.

Overall, I believe the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook will be helpful with its wide variation of recipes and ideas. Like many THM advocates claim – losing weight doesn’t have to be boring!

This book was provided for review by Blogging for Books.


In their debut cookbook, the Trim Healthy Mama’s share hundreds of delicious, healthy recipes to help readers successfully slim down while eating well.  This companion cookbook to the bestselling Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just what readers have been waiting for. It features simple, mouthwatering, recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner—including slow cooker and one-pot meals, hearty soups and salads, omelets and waffles, pizzas, breads and many indulgent sweet treats. With  pantry-stocking advice, time-saving tips & info on how to cook for the entire family, the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook offers a delicious and nutritious way to make trim and healthy meals!

A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge


With a leisurely plot that is meant to be savored, “A Table by the Window” is an extraordinary reading experience. From the delightful quotes at the beginning of each chapter to the tempting heirloom recipes scattered through Juliette’s story, I enjoyed every page.

This novel provided an inside look behind the scenes of a successful restaurant as well as the many details involved in preparing to open a new restaurant. The family dynamics of the D’Alisa crew were wonderful with plenty of drama and humor to go around. I enjoyed Juliette’s journey of self-discovery and all the details of her online dating experience. A family mystery added even more interest and depth to the story.

I would love to try out some of the delicious looking recipes but am forcing myself to ignore them due to current dietary restrictions. My only other complaint is that I have to wait for the next installment of this series to find out what happens with Juliette and Neil. I don’t always enjoy the delay!

This book was provided for review by Blogging For Books.


Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love

A Table By The WindowThe youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

Read an excerpt from “A Table by the Window HERE.

Praise for A Table by the Window

“Food writer Juliette D’Alisa adores her temperamental, trilingual family of restaurateurs, but she could do without their bossy skepticism of her online love interest who’s so unlike them. Rainy, windy Portland has never felt quite as warm as it does when Juliette navigates long-distance romance, career decisions, and a genealogical mystery. A delectable tale from Hillary Manton Lodge, A Table by the Window includes recipes that are like a warm welcome to the D’Alisa family table.”
Meg Moseley, author of Gone South and When Sparrows Fall

“Warm, witty, and a culinary delight! Hillary Manton Lodge’s crisp writing reminds me of a vintage romantic comedy but with contemporary appeal as the story unfolds with perfect pacing and recipes to make you drool. More than once I found myself wishing I had a pastry chef in my own kitchen. Wonderfully romantic in all the best ways!”
Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Sweet Dreams

“Not since Under the Tuscan Sun have I read a book that I both tasted and felt to such an enchanting degree. Author Hillary Manton Lodge has woven a captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover not only herself, but the truths behind an old-world family legacy. With a touch of whimsy, the perfect helping of romance, and a hearty sprinkle of laugh-out-loud humor, A Table by the Window is a delight.”
Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series

“An endearing, smart, must-read novel! A Table by the Window is a delicious tale that had me slowing down so I could savor it longer. Major props to Hillary Manton Lodge for not only taking me on a beautiful journey alongside Juliette, but for making a non-foodie like myself want to take up a new hobby.”
Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows

“Hillary Manton Lodge combines a perfect voice, endearing characters, and delectable recipes into a heart-winning story. A Table by the Window hooked me from the first page to the very last word. Bravo, Hillary!”
Leslie Gould, best-selling and Christy Award–winning author

Hillary Manton LodgeHillary Manton Lodge is the author of Plain Jayne, a Carol Award Finalist, and Simply Sara, an ECPA bestselling book. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism, Hillary discovered the world of cuisine during her internship at Northwest Palate magazine. A storyteller at heart, in her free time she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, watching foreign films, and exploring new walking trails. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon.

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee


I usually restrict my book reviews to Christian fiction but when I was offered Friendship Bread through the Amazon Vine program, it seemed to be an intriguing but safe choice. As it turned out, Friendship Bread was a thoroughly delightful story – well written with an interesting plot and a stellar cast of characters. Although it is not a faith based book, I found nothing in its pages that should offend the Christian reader. It is a wholesome tale centered around family, friends, and community with central themes of friendship, reconciliation and doing the right thing.

Friendship Bread has several primary characters whose lives intersect in one way or another. As it begins Julia Evarts, a young mother who has been isolated from friends and family since the death of her son, receives a plate of Amish Friendship Bread and a package of starter. Little can anyone imagine the events that one package of starter will set in motion and the lives that will be changed as a result.

Not only is Friendship Bread a warm and tender story but the author has included recipes for the starter, basic Friendship Bread, and several variations. If that is not enough for you, the companion website offers a wealth of recipes, hints, and ideas.

This book was provided for review by the Amazon Vine Program.


An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.

One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.

Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.

When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.

In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.

About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.

Read an excerpt from Friendship Bread HERE.

Learn more about the author, the book, and friendship bread:

Darien Gee is an author, wife, and mother of three. She’s a Libra Monkey, a chocoholic, and of late, an Amish Friendship Bread addict. A former California resident, Darien served on the board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and ZYZZYVA, an award-winning literary journal. She’s an alum of Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her next Avalon novel, Memory Keeping, will be published in 2012 by Ballantine Books.