Everyday Celebrations From Scratch
Cookbook review by guest writer Bobbie Kitto
Edited by Linda Kissam
Plus Two recipes included: LEMONY BASIL PESTO and Spa Citrus and Burrata Salad “Italiano”
Every day is a reason for celebration as author Maria Provenzano sees it. She is a nationally known lifestyle expert seen on the Hallmark Channel’s Emmy-nominated show Home & Family for six years.
Just reading her forward in her book Everyday Celebrations from Scratch is enough to inspire you to look at each day as an opportunity to celebrate small victories with family and friends. She states that was the goal in writing this book. Enjoy each moment of each day and show others how to appreciate just being together if only for a cup of coffee with a friend or having the girls over for a Spa Day at home.
The book is divided into five parts. Maria starts us off with reassessing our days of the week with a new attitude. Like Making Messes Mondays (don’t panic mom it is designed to not only let the kids be creative, but also helpful in the kitchen) Taco Tuesday, Pasta Wednesday, Takeout Thursday (one of my favorites) Friday Fete (let’s party), and Wonderfully Sweet Weekend. By giving each day a theme it is easier to be creative with the meal planning and also gives the family or friends something special to look forward to on that day of the week. It could even turn into that special day everyone makes a point to show up for dinner because of the feeling they get when people gather for a special purpose. Even if it is to have that special recipe you make only on Taco Tuesday or Spaghetti Wednesday.
The next chapter is devoted to Celebrating Family with a power breakfast, creative kid time, and family picnics. In this chapter you’ll find some of the author’s favorite family recipes and tips on creating family memories.
Chapter 3 Celebrates Friendship. Here you will find suggestions for an Optional Book Club (you don’t have to have read the book to come to the gathering) and a Self-Care to Share Spa Day with your friends who need a day of pampering too. My favorite section in this chapter is Forever Friends. She gives some excellent suggestions on how to help a friend through tough days and how to celebrate the good days.
Maria, in Chapter 4. shows how you can make even sporting events memorable moments no matter how the game ends.
|Chapter 5 is full of fun ways to celebrate the seasons and not just the holidays.
I gave this book a 4 plus because it is not truly a cookbook but a lifestyle book with special recipes. To get the best out of this book I would suggest you tap onto this link and enjoy Maria’s presentation about her new book https://youtu.be/ObgDnAE3x8g . Here you will see her demonstrate two of her favorite recipes Lemony Basil Pesto (page 197) and Spa Citrus & Burrata Salad “Italiano” (page 51).
Take this special lifestyle cookbook for a spin through these two recipes.
Spa Citrus and Burrata Salad “Italiano”
2 grapefruit 2 oranges
2 (8 ounce) balls of burrata
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/3 cup chopped or torn basil
Edible flowers, optional
Olive oil to taste
Honey to taste
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste, optional
Cut the grapefruit and oranges by cutting off the outer peel and the pith. Cut the fruit into about 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, or segment the grapefruit and the oranges by using a knife to cut off the peel, then use a small sharp knife to cut between each segment to remove the pieces of the fruit. Whichever way you prefer. Place the burrata onto a platter and use your hands to break it up into smaller pieces around the platter. Place the cut grapefruit and oranges around the burrata. Sprinkle the mint and basil over citrus and burrata. Place the edible flowers around the platter. Lightly drizzle olive oil and honey over the top and then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the flavors and add more of anything you like.
LEMONY BASIL PESTO
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 heaping cups fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat, tossing/stirring frequently. Toast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly brown. Be careful—this can happen quickly. Allow the pine nuts to cool. Place the Parmesan cheese, basil, cooled pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic cloves into a food processor. Process all of the ingredients together for about 15 seconds. With the mixer running slowly, pour in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process again to mix. If the pesto is too thick, add more olive oil. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
# # #
Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own.