Mini-reviews: The Make-Ahead Cook and all things Mason-Dixon Knitting

Happy Holidays, dear readers! I’ve got a few short book reviews for you today.

IMG_3130First up is The Make-Ahead Cook from America’s Test Kitchen. Long-time readers of this blog will know that this is right up my alley because I am always looking for ways to get delicious food on the family table and keep life as simple as possible at the same time. The cover displays the eight strategies explored in the book: preparing meals ahead so they are ready to cook when you get home, making stews and braises ahead for reheating at meal time, oven-ready casseroles, shopping smart to get multiple meals from a minimal amount of ingredients, cooking a big roast on the weekend and basing additional meals on the leftovers, slow-cooker favorites, and cooking larger batches so you can freeze some for future meals. I’ve only just begun trying the recipes in this book, but with the extensive testing it’s gone through, I know this book will keep its place on the top shelf. I’ll do a cookbook follow-up this summer.

If you’re in the mood for more recipes, check out Wisconsin Whisk, a group of food bloggers to which I’m pleased to say that I belong. From this link, you can see featured recipes and get info on all the member blogs.

IMG_3124Next up is Mason-Dixon Knitting, the blog and the books. I found them in a round-about way. When my children were still wee, I was one day out at a bookstore to Get Out Of The House Without Children and determined to treat myself to a new knitting book. Happily there was a large selection at the bookstore, and eventually I pulled Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne’s first book off the shelf. ‘Mason-Dixon Knitting, what an unusual name for a knitting book,’ I thought.’What in the world are they knitting?’

Ha. It was the name of their blog…because Kay lives in Manhattan and Ann lives in Nashville. And they are knitting up a great time, which I didn’t know previously because of aforementioned mama busyness. I was immediately delighted by their sense of humor, friendly writing style, and the fun projects. So my new book led me to the blog, instead of the other way round, and it’s still my favorite knitting blog! I very happily got their second book, Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines, a few years later.

Their newest project is A Coloring Book for Knitters with drawings by Juliana Horner. You don’t need to read the blog or books to enjoy this grown-up coloring book, but regular MDK readers will see familiar projects and themes (and pets;). I started paging through the book from the back and nearly panicked:’Ack! They HAVE to have lopi sweaters…whew, there they are at the front. Of course, they’d never forget those.’ I think I’ll use that page to try out color combinations for the next lopi sweater I’ll knit. Yup, just as soon as it stops being 50-60F in December.

Since it’ll be a while until gardening gets equal coverage in my blog, I’ll leave you with a new header picture: blueberry leaves in the fall!



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