Destined to be the Next CEO?

“CEO NEXT DOOR” is based on a study of 2,600 leaders,  and uncovers the 4 behaviors that transform ordinary people into world-class leaders.  The book is broken into 3 main sections: 1. Master Behaviors: What makes a great CEO, making decisions, the impact and reliability of a CEO.  2. Get to the top dream job: Career catapults,  launching a career, standing out, and closing the deal. 3.  Navigating challenges: hidden hazards, working with a team and dealing with the board.  I would recommend this book for anyone looking to further their career in corporate leadership.  This book has some interesting insights on how to use interpersonal skills in the workplace and use them for your advantage. I received this book from blogging for books, for my honest review.




I’m fairly new to plant based/vegan cooking and have heard of Chloe Coscorelli, one of the long time pioneers of vegan cooking, so naturally I was thrilled to open up “Chloe FLAVOR” her newest cookbook.  When reading the “Introduction”, I immediately felt the love and passion coming from Chole’s creative approach to vegan cooking.  She claims to have personally tweaked each recipe tens of hundreds of times so the reader can execute the recipes with success. She even offers to be reachable at all hours via social media with any questions that come up while cooking!  Who does that? I own dozens of cookbooks and this open door approach is a FIRST! So let’s dive in.

Chloe’s recipes are anything but boring, with many “traditional” recipes designed especially for the vegan cook, this means no dairy, milk, eggs or meat products but a big “yes” to familiar flavors.  With over 250 pages, the book is packed full of recipes which are suitable for all cooking levels including recipes for breakfast, snacks, sides, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, drinks, and ice cream and desserts.  The ingredient lists are fairly simple and the directions are not overly complicated and yet an advanced cook will also find many of the recipes appealing as well.  There are a lot of beautiful color photographs for most of the recipes, but not every recipe is pictured.

A few of the recipes I can’t wait to try are: Charred Chili Lime Street Corn, Oven Fries, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Beans and Greens with Scallion Biscuits, Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce, Burnt Garlic Un-Fried Rice, Firehouse Chili with Corn Bread Muffins, Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream, Georgia Peach Pie, and Lemon Cheesecake with Wild Blueberry Sauce.

I appreciate the creativity and wide array of recipes in the book.  Although I do not use very much soy or tofu/tempeh products, and tend to stay away from using too much oil including coconut oil and coconut milk, I was still able to find dozens of recipes which would suit my preferences. While there are some nutritious healthy recipes and gluten free suggestions, there are also a good amount of not so healthy (white flour, high sugar, high fat) but indulgent recipes for when you feel like you might want to splurge or impress guests.  I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in cutting out dairy or animal products from their every day diet and would like to cook more creatively with plant based ingredients, or for someone who would like to have some good reliable vegan recipes on hand for company, entertaining, etc.  I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for my honest review.




“Power Plates” by Gena Hamshaw


Generally plant based cooking takes prep and thought to pre plan meals but Gena Hamshaw brilliantly shares ways to combine protein, fat, complex carbs and produce, into nutritionally balanced meals.  With 100 recipes including meal plans and prep ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the reader is sure to find something enticing and healthful to make.  I’ve already found so many great recipes which are fabulously tasty and healthy. I switched over to a plant based diet a year ago but since the switch, it has been difficult to find recipes which are good.  Additionally, it takes hours and hours to scour the internet and cookbooks to find new ideas.  This book has definitely opened up my world of discovery in the plant based cooking arena. This wealth of recipes have saved me from the doldrums of cooking the same dishes over and over again and have breathed a fresh new perspective on plant based cooking for me. I enjoy the resource of so many great mouthwatering recipes in one book!  The only thing I wished  is that the recipes contained a nutritional information breakdown such as grams of protein, etc.  A note about the book itself, the pages of the book have a nice heavy weight and the colors, beautiful photography and font add to the book having a nice overall clean and crisp feel.

I particularly loved the author’s food prep and freezing tips such as freeze leftover canned coconut milk in ice cube trays, in the past my leftover always ends up getting thrown out.  I also love the suggestion to add kombu to dry beans while they are cooking to help them become easier to digest.

The book is packed full of ideas and mouthwatering recipes. A few of the recipes which enticed me and were the, “Warm Chop Salad, with peanut dressing“, pg. 81, “Winter Salad, with bulgur, radicchio and toasted almonds“, pg. 85, “Sesame Citrus Soba Salad“, pg. 86, which I have yet to try. In one week I have already found some outstanding favorites which I will add to my regular rotation, “Mulligatawny”, pg. 127 (a whole new take on lentil and rice soup), “Wholemeal Muffins“, pg. 50, “Deli Bowls” which include a chickpea “deli style” salad which is mouthwatering,  pg. 169, and  “French Toast”, pg. 57.  Every single recipe I’ve tried has knocked it out of the park in flavor!  Gena makes plant based cooking rewarding and delicious, the “French Toast” is even better than I remember an egg and dairy milk based French toast ever being.  I never knew I could achieve such flavors!

I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for my honest review.


“Everyday Watercolor”, Jenna Rainey


Jenny Rainey’s 30 day guide to watercolor is a great book for beginners or anyone who would love to pick up where they may have left of after an introductory/high school course to painting.

For me, it has been 25 years since my high school art class which covered many mediums. Although I have dabbled with watercolor here and there over the years, I have truly never taken a formal class in watercolor and I’ve always been curious.

This book introduced me to new concepts and theory exercises which were quite foreign to me such as blending and shading. Some of the concepts were easy to understand, and some of them harder, especially with just reading but not practicing along which may help.  I’ve always just jumped right into painting and have not taken the time to train my hand in practicing brush strokes and blending colors. I look forward to practicing the 30 day lessons and seeing how the lessons change how I view color and painting.

This would be a great book for anyone interested in a DYI guide to watercolor painting.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

“The Cottage Kitchen” by, Marte Marie Forsberg


Marte Marie Forsberg shares time honored and treasured family recipes in her book, “The Cottage Kitchen”.  With family roots from an Island off of the coast of Norway and now living in the English country side, Marie’s cooking style is rustic yet refined, classic yet with some modern twists, making the best use of seasonal herbs, produce and meats from farms and local farmers markets.  In the cookbook, Marie shares stories of her childhood when times were more simple and people foraged in the forest or garden for meal planning creating warm and memorable meals.  She shares many of her mother’s recipes who sounded like a cook who just knew how to pair ingredients to make memorable meals.  I am sure that was the author’s inspiration in creating winter, spring, summer and autumn menu’s, and of course, afternoon tea.  I was hoping to see some sandwiches in the afternoon tea section, but instead found many elevated and decadent desserts.  I enjoyed reading the book although found very few recipes I can cook given my plant based eating style as the book relies heavily on dairy, poultry, and meat products.  Nevertheless, I will be sharing this book with a family member who loves to cook and lived in England for many years.  I think he will thoroughly enjoy the book, recipes, and pictures.  I received this book for my honest opinion from “Blogging for Books”.

“The Grand Central Market Cookbook” by, Adele Yellin and Kevin West



Food Halls are a Foodie’s Dream…and The Grand Central Market in Los Angeles is one of those places where you can find lots of options for ethnically diverse cuisine or gourmet treats under one roof.  Whether you are from Los Angeles and have experienced the market first hand, or you live miles away and want live vicariously through this book, either way the book will transport you to the food stalls and the recipes will share a taste of what makes this food hall so great.

The recipes span from breakfast, tacos, carbs, happy hour, meat and fish, vegetables, and sweets.  Just like The Grand Central Market, the book also provides a little something for everyone including some vegan dishes which I was most interested in!  The pages are colorful and the read on the history of the Market is rich.  It is great to have “inside access” to so many great recipes!  This book is a gem for anyone who loves food history, and cooking.

I received this book for my honest review from “Blogging for Books”.

“How to Set a Table”, Potter


A paperback covered in a textured fabric that feels like linen, “How To Set A Table” is a great small sized guide to how to set a casual to formal table as well as entertain in a variety of settings.

I love that the author does not assume that everyone knows the proper etiquette of where to place flatware, glasses, and napkins on a table.  Yes, the book covers all of the basics, and it is a great reference to have on hand or share with a newlywed or someone interested in entertaining.

I loved the pictures of the different table settings and floral arrangements, and I was inspired to add more linens to my table, as well as decorate my breakfast bar area for my next gathering.

I would recommend this little guide as a bridal shower gift, or a gift for anyone who loves to entertain.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

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Vegan Oatmeal, Date and Walnut Scones


I have adapted one of my favorite traditional Irish scone recipes to a completely vegan recipe!  I adore Noel McMeel’s, “Irish Pantry” cookbook, and I’ve been making his “Orange and Oat Scones”, pg. 107,  for years.  Now that my husband and I have transitioned into plant based eating, we missed this cherished Sunday or weekday morning treat!  On a recent trip to Whole Foods I found a Vegan Oatmeal, Date and Walnut Scone in their pastry case, the ingredient list reminded me of McMeel’s recipe, but at $2.25 a scone, they are expensive! Whole Foods Scones are quite rich and sweet, I’ve cut down a lot of that fat and sugar, and still came out with a great scone.  The recipe is quite simple to pull together, especially if you have a stand mixer… a good arm, a large bowl and wooden spoon will also do the trick.  This is a great make ahead recipe because the scones taste great baked straight from the freezer to oven.  Freezing gives the coconut oil time to get cold and create a slightly lighter texture.  If time is a constraint, bake them right away and they will be great.

Makes 8 large scones or 16 small scones


  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup water (may need a few extra tablespoons to moisten the dough)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

Method:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Combine flours, turbinado sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.
  2. Add coconut oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract and mix about 15-20 seconds or until you see large pea sized to sand like crumbs and the oil has been properly mixed into the flour.
  3. Lightly mix in oats and orange zest.
  4. Stir in water, dates and walnuts until just moistened.  If the dough is crumbly or dry, add more water, if the dough is too moist add a dusting of flour. Do not over mix or the dough will be tough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a clean surface or parchment paper and gently form into an 8 inch round for 8 large scones, or divide the dough in half into two- 6 inch rounds.  Be careful to press the dough together so it stays in a uniform circle, but not so much so that it is overworked.   Cut the circle(s) of dough into 8 triangular wedges as you would a cut a pie.  Sprinkle the wedges with turbinado sugar and place them on a parchment lined sheet tray until frozen, or bake right away.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 12-15 minutes or until bottoms are deeply golden brown.  Follow the same baking instructions for frozen scones just add a few extra minutes but look for the same signs for doneness, slightly browned tops and golden brown bottoms.  Serve warm or store covered for up to 5 days. This makes a great grab and go snack and they are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.  Enjoy!

“Sweet Potatoes” by, Mary Frances Heck


The hardcover book measuring at just 8.5 inches tall, has about 60 recipes and may just have you wondering what to make first. From basic recipes like baked and fried sweet potatoes, to main dishes-even a sweet potato burger, and desserts like sweet potato ice cream, the book is packed full of ideas of how to use your next bag of sweet potatoes.  I was hoping to see more plant based/ vegan recipes,  although there are a few which piqued my interest such as “Thai style Noodle Curry” pg. 51 and “Sweet Potato Tacos”, pg. 102.

I was also truly hoping for labeled and pictured potatoes showing the outside skin and inside flesh so that I would finally know the visual difference between a Yam and a Sweet Potato. I also was really interested in learning about all of the different sweet potato varieties, nuances, pairings, etc. Even though the book does have an intro which describes some differences, the labeled pictures showing the varieties, which I wanted so desperately, were not very plentiful.

While this is a fun and somewhat basic guide with plenty of recipes on how to use Sweet Potatoes, it left me wanting more plant based recipes and I did not feel it was comprehensive enough, especially given the title.  I was ultimately left somewhat uninspired and no recipe grabbed my attention enough for me to make it right away.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest opinion.

Amazing Cashew, Almond, Coconut and Flax Seed Granola



Granola is so easy to make but most store bought versions are full of sweeteners and oil.  People are amazed when they hear I make granola but it is ridiculous how simple it is and how much better it is than store bought.  I love this recipe because it is relatively low on sweeteners and oil, and if you want you can even lower the honey and brown sugar quantity to make it less sweet.  This is a little expensive to make with the premium nuts, but it makes a batch which lasts us several weeks in our household.  Eat this with milk, use as a topping for frozen fruit acai style bowls ,  or just eat it plain.  Either way, this will be a hit!

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F before assembly.  The recipe only takes minutes to combine.  Place first 5 ingredients: oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, flax seed, in a large bowl.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix until combined.  Toss the sugar mixture onto the oat mixture and stir gently till combined.  Spread mixture in a thin layer on 2 parchment paper lined sheet pans.  Toss every 15 minutes till golden brown approximately 30-40 minutes total.  Let cool and store in sealed container.  Will keep for weeks.


  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded or large flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar depending on how sweet you want it I usually use a “loose” unpacked 1/2 cup just shy of the top
  • 1/2 cup honey (use pure maple syrup if you do not like honey)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, I use coconut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbls vanilla