Review: GBP Homestyle in a Hurry & A GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I am so excited to FINALLY get to tell you that my friends at Gooseberry Patch have asked me to be on their team of reviewers for new releases!! It has been so hard to hold that in. I love all my Gooseberry Patch books and have contributed recipes to them for years. To be able to review new books as they come out for my readers is such a treat for me.

Last week the Fed Ex guy delivered to my door.....HOMESTYLE in a HURRY. I was told in advance that this was one of the titles I would get to review. I was very curious about this book. Do you remember me saying that I was a member of the slow food club? How do you get something so wonderful and comforting as HOMESTYLE in a hurry? I approached this book in a very careful manner. I looked over the contents....Busy-Day Breakfasts (sure, we have busy days and rushed mornings around Faithfulness Farm for sure), Quick Bites (someone always looking for something QUICK to nosh on), No-Fuss Soups & Sandwiches (certainly can find occasions for No-Fuss), Speedy Sides & Salads (did someone say, SPEEDY?, I think I can use those this week), Dinner in a Dash (between hustle and bustle I might have time for a dash) Easy-as-Pie Desserts (now they are going for my all know how I feel about PIE!). As I began browsing the recipes, I see many that caught my eye.

Since we are in the days leading up to Christmas and you all know I have been a bit....behind, I thought I would use this book to help me through a few of my commitments. I have a small brunch to host and a church potluck to bring a couple dishes to. The recipes looked to be the perfect answer to help me thru these events without having to devote more time than I had.

The brunch was simply going to be a few of my dear friends coming over to catch up for a couple hours. I needed a simple to put together menu. I decided on Kicked-Up Eggs (click for printable recipes) from Beckie Apple (Grannis, AR), some fresh berries and Sour Cream Scones from Elaine Anderson (Aliquippa, FL) with some of my homemade strawberry jam and butter and of course lots of fresh, strong coffee. Very simple. The book cover states "Hearty, satisfying recipes for busy families...from fridge to table in 30 minutes or less!". I was really going to test that. My guests were due to arrive at 11:00 and I did not step foot into my kitchen until 10:15. I found both recipes to use basic pantry ingredients. My first thought was to use some fresh mushrooms I have in the fridge in place of the canned one called for in the egg recipe but caught myself. Using the canned ones, was part of the *in a hurry* and I am glad I used the canned. If you really were in a hurry, you could easily substitute pre chopped, frozen peppers and onions in place of the fresh. In any case, I had this all in the skillet within about 5 minutes.

I love scones and was drawn to the Sour Cream Scones my first flip thru the book. A very basic scone recipe with the addition of sour cream and eggs to richen it up. This recipe went together lickity-split and were in the oven just as quick. My only deviation from the recipe was to use parchment paper on my baking sheet.

This scone recipe would also be awesome with the addition of dried fruit and/or some citrus zest but was simply perfect with strawberry jam!

I was out of the kitchen within the alloted 30 minutes and was truly able to enjoy myself. My sweet guests raved about the food. I could not have created a more wonderful brunch even if I had spent the entire morning in the kitchen with more fussy recipes and menu selections.

With brunch complete, I needed to make a side dish and a dessert to take to a church potluck. Again, with some gift wrapping needing done and some bookkeeping chores needing done, I wanted to get into the kichen and get my assigned dishes accomplished so that I could get on with other things.

I had decided on Broccoli-Bacon Toss from Rose Griep (Oil City, PA) and Caramel Apple Cake from Gloria Robertson (Midland, TX).

So back into the kitchen I head and assemble the cake in a matter of about 3 minutes. I had some concerns. You know how *dry* angel food cake mix is 1 can of pie filling ever going to hydrate all that mix? It did and really with very little mixing. I simply used a silicone scaper and did all the mixing with that. Into the oven with that and then I started chopping the veggies for the salad.

I love broccoli salads and this one was a little different than most I've made in the past. The dressing was very simple. The chopping was the most time consuming part of this recipe and that really was not a big deal.

Once together, I got to sample a serving. I noticed when putting this together that there was NO salt or pepper called for in the dressing. Do not be tempted to add some without tasting. Between the bacon, the cheeses and sunflower seeds, it is plenty salty enough. Pepper is a great addition. All said, this is a very yummy version of classic salad.

Thirty minutes in the oven and the cake is done. Cooled slightly and I poured over the caramel sauce. I baked a small ramakin as a sample and my daughter hung around until that was cooled enough for a taste! She pronouced it YUMMY but said that a dollop of whipped cream would be a great addition. I'll take some to the potluck.

I very much enjoyed HOMESTYLE in a HURRY. Truth be told, we all have days when getting a meal together is a challenge because of TIME. This book offers lots of tasty recipes to assist you on those days! I will be referring to it again VERY soon!

Whew..are you still with me dear reader? You deserve a metal or maybe a chance to WIN this wonderful cookbook BEFORE you can even buy it and I won't be able to resist sweetening the prize with a homemade apron! Here is what you need to do to get up to THREE chances to win -

1) Leave a comment -- I LOVE comments!
2) Follow or tell me you already do!
3) Friend me on FACEBOOK!

I'll announce the winner on December 27th. Oh, and stay tuned because I am already working on another review (and there will be another book to giveaway).