Sunday, March 1, 2020

Past Due Reviews [2]

The Easy 5-Ingredient Vegan Cookbook: 100 Healthy Plant-Based Recipes by Nancy Montuori

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 
Maximum flavor. Minimum effort. Totally vegan.

You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen or buy expensive ingredients to create delicious, creative, plant-based meals. The Easy 5-Ingredient Vegan Cookbook is dedicated to providing you with nutritious recipes from the 5 main food groups essential for a healthy vegan diet.

The most common barriers to eating plant-based foods are a learning curve and time, so each of these 5-ingredient cookbook recipes includes no more than five components, supplemented with simple staples you can keep on hand: olive oil, vegetable broth, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Recipes like Stuffed Dates with Cashew Cream, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Burgers, and Easy Corn Chowder couldn’t be easier to prepare. Hit the ground running with a 5-ingredient cookbook designed for maximum health and wellness―and convenience.

This 5-ingredient cookbook includes:

Make it your own―Recipes include tips to make the meal even tastier or easier―or offer a different spin.
Nutritious blueprint―Success begins with an overview of the vegan lifestyle and advice on selecting the best vegan ingredients, from healthy fats to protein replacements.
No fuss―These simple 5-ingredient cookbook recipes help you conveniently integrate more plants into your diet.
Let this 5-ingredient cookbook be your guide to a simple, healthy vegan lifestyle.


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Easy 5-Ingredient Vegan Cookbook is a lie. When you read the title, what do you think? I thought it meant the recipes would require five ingredients. If that's what you thought too, then you can join me in being wrong. After reading the synopsis, I learned that it "includes no more than five ingredients, supplemented with a bunch of simple staples you can keep on hand", which is very misleading. It screamed simplicity, but very few recipes are actually simple.

However, The Easy 5-Ingredient Vegan Cookbook contains a recipe that quickly became a reoccurring meal in our day-to-day lives: Vegan Egg Yolk and Toast. This recipe requires eight ingredients, but the last three are salt, pepper, and bread, so I'll let it slide (staple ingredients, haha). It's not easy to make, because there are a lot of components, but it is delicious! It actually tasted like eggs sunny side up. Another wonderful aspect? The ability to prepare it the night before, so all you have to do the next morning is make the toast and press the tofu. It cuts a step out of the overall recipe, so it feels more manageable when you're on a time crunch.

I also tried the Vegan Whipped Cream (only three ingredients), but that one flopped. I tried to make it on two separate occasions (once for pancakes, and again for waffles), but it didn't work either time. The coconut cream never formed "stiff peaks," and it made very little (nowhere near the promised two cups). I barely managed to coat the kid's waffles (it was a lot like spreading butter) before it was all gone. There are a few other recipes I'd like to try, but I'm still pretty miffed about being mislead. (★★★☆☆)
Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids - - Building Vocabulary Through Etymology, Definitions & Stories by Jess Zafarris

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Where do words come from?--Learning new words by understanding their stories

The English language is made up of words from different places, events, and periods of time. Each of those words has an exciting story to tell us about where, when, how, and why they came about.
Once Upon a Word is packed with easy-to-understand definitions and awesome word-origin stories. With this dictionary for kids, you can understand the history and meaning of English words, improve your vocabulary and spelling, and learn to play with language.

Explore how weird words like
gnome, fun words like zombie, and common words like caterpillar came to exist. Discover why some words sound funnier than others (like cackle, sizzle, and twang) and why some groups of words start with the same few letters (like hydrate, hydrogen, and fire hydrant). In this dictionary for kids, there's a whole world of English words to uncover!

This unique dictionary for kids includes:

Roots & branches--Learn about the building blocks that make up words, called roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Kid-friendly definitions--Look up definitions designed for your reading level in this dictionary for kids.

Word snack--Find out where your favorite food words got their start, from
bacon to marshmallow, spaghetti, yogurt, and beyond. 

See how the English language evolved--from its beginnings to today--with this colorful dictionary for kids.


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

We. Love. This. Book! Once Upon a Word has made my son curious about words and their origins, and I love how kid-friendly the content is. He's a little bummed when certain words aren't listed, but it's a minor quibble. For example, he wanted to know where the word violin came from, but it goes from villain to virtuous. We just read about vampire and venom instead! Edit 03/04/20: A kind person pointed out that violin is located on page 250! It's in a separate section for music.

Once Upon a Word started a game we've dubbed Name That Word. One of us will read a definition, and everyone else will guess what the word is. It makes the monsters think and come up with words they might not normally use, or they learn something new (always a good thing). Jacob and I will make silly guesses, or say something to get them going in the right direction, if they're having trouble. We have a lot of fun with it! The definitions usually contain the word, or some variation of it and its origins, so we say "blank" to make it a little more challenging (at least during the first round).

The illustrations in this book are also fantastic! There aren't a lot of them, but I really like what's there! The book is pleasing to look at and enjoyable to flip through. It snags your attention and makes you want to stop on certain pages (there's one for each letter). I'm really happy I had an opportunity to read and review Once Upon A Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids--Building Vocabulary Through Etymology, Definitions & Stories, and recommend it for families that have children interested in words and language (or just people that like knowing where things come from). (★★★★★)
The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids: 500 Wild Facts! by Ginjer Clarke

Synopsis (via Goodreads): From anteaters to zebras—incredible facts packed with pictures

Are you a budding zookeeper or veterinarian, or are you just WILD about animals? Everything that animal books for kids ages 9-12 should be,
The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids is packed with colorful photos and 500 ferocious facts about creatures from all over the world.

Unlike other animal books for kids ages 9-12, all the super cool facts inside are organized by type of animal, so you can quickly find the critters you want to study.

Animal books for kids ages 9-12 should be fun and educational. In this one, you’ll learn super cool facts like:

Snow leopards keep themselves warm by wrapping their tails around their bodies like scarves. Fireflies use their lights to talk to each other. Immortal jellyfish can live forever. They grow to adulthood and then shrink back to babies, over and over again.

Look no further for fun and colorful animal books for kids ages 9-12—this one has you covered.


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

My main issue with The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids: 500 Wild Facts! was the formatting. The information was all over the place, so it's hard to know where to look. I kept feeling like was going to overlook one of the facts, since there's no order to the layout or the way it's presented. Additionally, the fonts were crazy, which I guess is supposed to entice children, but it was more obnoxious than anything else. The only consistency was how inconsistent everything was. 

Despite my issues with the book's presentation, the kids really enjoyed the content. It's a lot of random facts that most people would never think to consider, and often sound too unbelievable to be true. "When two prairie dogs first meet, they lock teeth, and it looks like they're kissing." I want to know why they lock teeth, but this book doesn't explain any of its facts. If you're going to introduce a child to something new, I think you should back up your information with evidence and examples.

The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids is simple in its delivery, but effective with it's entertainment. The monsters frequently pull this book out on their own just to look at the pictures. Occasionally, they'll ask what something is, if it looks particularly interesting, but they're usually content to just look at the pages. (★★★⋆☆)


  1. Well I probably need that Vegan cook book (or any vegan cookbook really lol) but yeah I hate it when titles are misleading like that! 5 ingredients should be 5 ingredients dammit! And hey you asshole kids- get off my lawn! Haha

    1. I've been trying to limit the number of cookbooks I accept/request, because you can definitely have too many! I'm trying to only keep the books I use often, and for more than one or two recipes. :) Misleading titles are the bane of every readers existence. ;)

  2. Boo for the cookbook! That is totally misleading. I would be angry as well! For some reason I've had very similar luck (or lack thereof) with cookbooks like this one.

    1. Right?? The all promise one thing and deliver another. Why is it so hard to market a book for what it's actually about?? You're just upsetting people and likely missing the appropriate audience.

  3. Too bad about the vegan cookbook. I'll have to see if Hoopla has it so I can try the yolk and toast recipe. Ready Whip makes a couple of non-dairy whipped toppings now. I haven't tried the coconut milk one yet, but the other one is pretty good. It's hit and miss finding them though because they sell out quickly. ๐Ÿฐ

    The word book looks amazing! I want to read it myself. ☺

    1. If you can't find the recipe, I can email it to you! It's more than five ingredients, but the instructions are easy enough. You just have multiple things going at once. Bread toasting, tofu pressing, "egg" making. ;)


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless