Friday, November 16, 2012

Home Dairy by Ashley English

book cover
Home Dairy:
All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter, & More
by Ashley English

ISBN-13: 9781600596278
Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Lark Crafts
Released: March 1, 2011

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Now you can make your own delicious dairy products, whether you keep milking animals yourself or simply buy milk fresh from the grocer. It's one of the easiest, budget-friendly and most rewarding ways of getting closer to the foods you eat. You'll be able to enjoy delicious whipped butters, healthful yogurt with beneficial probiotics, incomparable cheeses, and sweet ice creams.

Taking a friendly, hold-your-hand approach, Ashley English shares all the nitty-gritty details and learned-from-experience tips discovered on her own dairy-making journey, from the necessary tools to the best possible ingredients. Ashley also introduces you to dairy-makers who chose this exciting homemade lifestyle and offers many of her own kitchen-tested recipes.

My Review:
Home Dairy is a guide on how to make your own cheeses and dairy products. The author provided enough information that a complete beginner can use this guide. It's a very colorful book with lots of pictures (of tools, finished products, etc.) and easy-to-follow and -understand instructions. I was curious about how cheeses are made, and I learned a lot of interesting information. When I saw how easy it is to make kefir, I tried the kefir recipe #2, and it worked perfectly. I felt like I wouldn't have any trouble following other recipes in the book, but I haven't tried any others yet.

The book gave a short history of milk, then discussed the various ingredients and tools used in the later recipes. She gave several methods for making butter and then recipes for making butters (whipped, cultured, compound, browned) and ghee. She then discussed and gave recipes for cultured dairy (yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sour cream, creme fraiche, quark). Next she discussed the basic cheese-making techniques and gave recipes for beginner's cheeses (queso blanco, cream cheese, mascarpone, feta, paneer, ricotta, cottage cheese, chevre, mozzarella). Then were recipes for advanced cheeses (cheddar, swiss, parmesan, gorgonzola) and how to make a homemade cheese press. Finally, recipes for ice cream, foods that use cheese in the recipes, and body care products that use milk.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gray Matter by David Levy, MD

book cover
Gray Matter:
A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer...
by David Levy
with Joel Kilpatrick

ISBN-13: 9781414339757
ebook: 304 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: February 21, 201

Source: Free ebook "bought" some time back through Sony's ebook store.

Book Description from Goodreads:
A blend of medical drama and spiritual insight, "Gray Matter" is a fascinating account of Dr. David Levy's decision to begin asking his patients if he could pray for them before surgery. Some are thrilled. Some are skeptical. Some are hostile, and some are quite literally transformed by the request. Each chapter focuses on specific cases, with a detailed description of the patient's diagnosis and the procedure that will need to be performed, followed by the prayer "request."

Readers get to look over Dr. Levy's shoulder as he performs the operation, and then we wait--right alongside Dr. Levy, the patients, and their families--to see the final results. Dr. Levy's musings on what successful and unsuccessful surgical results imply about God, faith, and the power of prayer are honest and insightful. As we watch him come to his ultimate conclusion that no matter what the results of the procedure are, "God is good," we cannot help but be truly moved and inspired.

My Review:
Gray Matter is an autobiography about a neurosurgeon's journey of faith and how his willingness to follow God's leading to reach out in faith has transformed how he practices medicine. It's very suspenseful. We follow specific cases from the consultation and Levy's offer to pray (or talk about forgiveness), how they respond, him performing the procedure, and waiting to see how the patient came out of the surgery. The surgery scenes weren't gory unless talk about veins, arteries, coils, and glue get to you.

I found the book very touching and encouraging. I usually don't read books where the author is on the cover as the focus if often totally on them. However, this book was as much about each patient and on God working in their and the author's life as it was about Levy. Levy came across as humble and open as he told about his failures as well as his successes. He discussed how he came to add prayer to his medical practice and then later offer to help walk certain patients through forgiving others.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks it sounds interesting. It's very much a Christian book, but the author came across as genuinely concerned for others, not condemning, so even non-Christians might enjoy it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And the winner is...

It's time to announce the winner of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. Including Twitter entries, we had 11 entries. Using a random number generator and numbering the entrants in the order I received them, the winner is:


Congratulations! I'll be contacting you for your address.

For those who didn't win, you can always buy a copy of these books from your favorite bookstore or see if they have them at your local library.