Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review: "Learn, Laugh, Cook" by Mandy Fernandez

When I heard that my blogging friend, Mandy, had written and self-published a cookbook based on her recent cooking experiences, I knew that I'd have to order a copy for myself. Mandy's humour and thirst for new experiences shine through on her personal blog, Mandy's Life After 30 and her cooking blog, Learn, Laugh, Cook. I've never had the chance to meet her personally, but I'm sure that if I did we'd have a great time.

Learn, Laugh, Cook is her debut cookbook, and it doesn't follow the typical cookbook pattern. She has separated it into three sections, the aptly named "Learn", "Laugh", and "Cook".

In "Learn" we learn a little about Mandy's personal motivations for learning how to cook. After working full-time, she found herself in a new State as a stay-at-home mom for the first time in her life. She found that she wanted to cook healthier foods for her family rather than depending on takeout and prepared meals. In 'Learn" Mandy shares some of the tips and tricks that she has picked up in the past year. I personally found her freezer tips intruiging. I have a big chest freezer that sees very little action and I love the idea of cooking foods and preparing vegetables and being able to freeze some for later for an easy, healthy meal.

In "Laugh" Mandy's trademark wit and humour shine through as she shares some funny stories and poems that relate to her own cooking experiences. For more funny cooking experiences be sure to check out her cooking blog, especially this post (it had me laughing out loud!).

In "Cook" Mandy shares with us her favourite recipes, many of those being her own personal "lightened up" versions. I especially appreciated that her versions were a lighter version of her favourites considering that I'm always interested in cooking healthier versions of food for myself and for my family, but am not willing to sacrifice taste. Sections in "Cook" include "Muffins and Breads", "Breakfast", "Soups and Stews", "Dips and Dressings", "Salads", "The Main Course", and "Desserts". I'm especially excited to try the "Ham Tetrazzini" and the "Slim Caesar Salad Dressing".

My review wouldn't be complete without my review of the ordering and shipping process. I purchased my copy from LuLu.com and paid for it with PayPal. LuLu let me know that it would take them about 2-3 days to print my copy and then another couple of weeks for it to get to me (I chose the most inexpensive shipping option and live in Canada). I found the checkout process to be effortless, and my copy arrived, true to word, in about two weeks from the date that I ordered it. I was happy with the efficiency of the entire process.

Learn, Laugh, Cook is a handy tool for any cook, especially for those who are just starting out or who are looking for ways to cook healthier food for their families with minimal prep and effort. I was initially concerned that I wouldn't find recipes that suit my family's taste (Mandy is from a Southern background, while I am not) but my fears were unfounded- there are tons of recipes in here that I'm excited to try that are suitable for a variety of tastes. Ready to own your own copy? You can order Learn, Laugh, Cook here.

Check back tomorrow when I interview the author and give away one copy of Learn, Laugh, Cook!

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