Saturday, January 12, 2019

Accessible Fine Dining Guest Post






THINKING IN MEALS, NOT IN DISHES (an excerpt from Accessible Fine Dining by Noam Kostucki)


When I was a kid, I remember my dad taking me to restaurants where he knew the chef. The waiter would bring us the menu, and my dad would tell him we didn’t need it. He would ask the waiter to tell the chef that we have this amount of money or that, and to serve us the best for that amount. At first, I was shocked: “but I didn’t even see what’s on the menu? How do I know I will like it? I want to choose my dinner!”. Then, the waiter brought us the tiniest plate of food I had ever seen. There was no way I was going to be full from that dinner. Four hours and thirteen plates later, I was full and amazed. I had tasted so many different things that I was in heaven. Not every single dish was the best, but there was at least one dish I still remember almost 20 years later. It was a Chinese-style spoon filled with roasted duck. The chef asked us to hold the spoon in our hand and walked around sprinkling something on top before allowing us to eat it The barbeque roasted duck sparkled and exploded in our mouths. It was unbelievable. Later that night, he revealed his trick to me, and I was blown away. That’s how I discovered the concept of discovery menus: let the chef give you the best dishes that they can cook. Let them decide what different types of dishes they want to bring you, and it will become a full evening, very much like going to the theatre or opera.

As a result, one of the things I dislike most about going to restaurants is having to choose what I’m going to eat. It feels like a burden. I want to be satisfied and happy, but I don’t want to always eat the same thing. Do I go for a dish I know I will like or do I try something that seems strange and interesting? Most of all, how do I know which dish the chef prepares best? When you go to a restaurant and eat one dish, there is a lot of pressure for that one dish to be amazing. If it’s not, all you have is one plate that you don’t like. By serving people a lot of small dishes, you grab people’s attention, and you keep them awake. The best part is that different guests will have different preferences. That’s why one of my favorite part of dinner is when I ask at the end what is everyone’s single favorite dish. It’s fascinating to see the different opinions people have, and by serving a lot of dishes, you give people something to choose from. If they remember just a single dish from the entire dinner, in my eyes, you have succeeded not only as a chef, but as an artist.


Book Details:
Book Title: Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with Chef Quentin Villers
Category: Adult Non-fiction , 128 pages
Genre: Creative Cookbook / Fine Dining
Publisher: Amazon
Release date: Dec 10, 2018
Tour dates: Jan 7 to 31, 2019
Content Rating: G
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Book Description:

Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as "25 dishes to travel around the world", featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.

Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.

For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.

The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.

We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.

If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.
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Buy the Book:





Watch the book trailer:





Meet the Authors:


Noam Kostucki

MY NAME IS NOAM KOSTUCKI AND I CREATE SPACES FOR MAGIC TO HAPPEN.

I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others, and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.

I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.

I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.

As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.

My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers


Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Connect with the Authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 7, 2019




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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Accessible Fine Dining + Giveaway



Book Details:
Book Title: Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with Chef Quentin Villers
Category: Adult Non-fiction , 128 pages
Genre: Creative Cookbook / Fine Dining
Publisher: Amazon
Release date: Dec 10, 2018
Tour dates: Jan 7 to 31, 2019
Content Rating: G
Picture

Book Description:

Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as "25 dishes to travel around the world", featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.

Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.

For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.

The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.

We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.

If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.
Picture

Buy the Book:





Watch the book trailer:





Meet the Authors:


Noam Kostucki

MY NAME IS NOAM KOSTUCKI AND I CREATE SPACES FOR MAGIC TO HAPPEN.

I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others, and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.

I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.

I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.

As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.

My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers


Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Connect with the Authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Feb 7, 2019




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Monday, January 7, 2019

In This Ground - TLC Book Tour

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis: Just as his indie-rock band was poised to make it big, Ben Dirjery traded it all in for fatherhood and the stability of a job at Bolster Hill Cemetery. Now closing in on fifty, the former guitarist finds himself divorced and at loose ends, and still haunted by the tragic death of his former band’s lead singer, who is buried, literally, under Ben’s feet. Then Ben’s daughter begins questioning a past he has tried to bury. If he can face her questions, he might finally put to rest his guilt over his bandmate’s death, and bring music back into his life.


Enter to win a copy of In This Ground.  I am going to make this really simple.  Leave me a comment on whether you have participated in a knitting bomb, were ever in a band, or have harvested mushrooms to enter to win your copy of In This Ground, by January 14th midnight (EST). 


One (or more) Sentence Summary: WOW! I loved In This Ground.  I couldn't get enough of the characters and how their stories all intertwined.  In This Ground has a very unusual setting - a cemetery.  However, it makes so much sense as you read it. I absolutely loved all the connections to Nick Graves, a  former band's lead singer (I can't say more or I will spoil it) buried at the cemetery.  I am a knitter, and  couldn't believe there was even a knitting bomb in the book at the cemetery.  Even the knitting bomb was intertwined with all the characters past and present.  The connection between the mushrooms and green burials brought tears to my eyes.  All the stories and characters are connect to the Unknown Vagrant grave and Nick Graves (former band leader) and so well done. I honestly couldn't get enough of In This Ground.  Absolutely loved it.

In This Ground remained me of my favorite Mitch Albom's book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. I want a sequel to In This Ground!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: 100% yes! 




Beth Castrodale has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. Her novels include Marion Hatley, a finalist for a Nilsen Prize for a First Novel from Southeast Missouri State University Press (published by Garland Press in 2017), and In This Ground (Garland Press, 2018). Beth's stories have appeared in such journals as Printer’s Devil Review, The Writing Disorder, and the Mulberry Fork Review. Get a free copy of her novel Gold River when you sign up for her e-newsletter, at http://www.bethcastrodale.com/gold-river/.


Connect with Beth

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Please check out all the other reviews on the tour:  
Monday, January 7th: Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, January 9th: Bibliotica
Thursday, January 10th: Books and Bindings
Monday, January 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 15th: The Book Diva’s Reads – author guest post
Wednesday, January 16th: Booklover Book Reviews
Thursday, January 17th: @crystals_library
Monday, January 21st: Eliot’s Eats
Tuesday, January 22nd: Really Into This and @mountain_reader_
Wednesday, January 23rd: Lit and Life
Thursday, January 24th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, January 28th: Book By Book
Tuesday, January 29th: Erica Robyn Reads



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Monday, December 10, 2018

From Runway to Love

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis (from Amazon): From bestselling romantic comedy author Melissa Baldwin comes the final installment in the Love in the City Series! 

Living the dream life as a model in New York City used to be enough for gorgeous Olivia Fulton. Now even the fame isn't enough to bring her out of her funk. A series of events bring Olivia face to face with the regrets of her past. Add in the collapse of her three-year relationship and reconnecting with long-lost friends, and Olivia may finally be able to learn--the hard way of course--that everything she thought was important really isn't.

A surprising love interest begins to teach Olivia about the person she truly wants to be. However, this is not compatible with her current life, and in order to be that person, Olivia may have to give up everything she's worked for. Torn between terror and exhilaration, Olivia must now decide if she's capable of this type of change. Will she even be able to open her heart to love again?


One (or more) Sentence Summary: The 3rd book in Love in the City series didn't let me down.  I have like Olivia from the very beginning and now it is her time to shine (she is so use to being in the spot light)!  I really enjoyed how the story (and love) developed between her and Colin.  Olivia comes face to face with what she wants out of life by reflecting where she has been.  Colin is going through similar reflections and together they find their way.  It isn't an easy journey for Olivia or Colin, but she comes out as a star and he comes out pretty darn well too! 

Of course all three girls are in From Runway to Love. You don't need to read the first two, but they are so good, I recommend you do!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would like to read the Broadway series and Summer of Seasons series next.





Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember...or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women. She is a best selling author of thirteen Romantic Comedy and Cozy Mystery novels and novellas.



When she isn't deep in the writing zone, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, indulging in fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.


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Monday, December 3, 2018

All You Need Is Love

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis (from Amazon): From bestselling romantic comedy author Melissa Baldwin comes the second installment in the Love in the City Series! 

CJ Evans has worked hard to overcome many of the devastating challenges that life has thrown at her, and she has come a long way. Despite the aftermath of her broken engagement and the strained relationship with her mother, she has recently mended lost friendships and has become a successful entrepreneur of a business she is truly passionate about. But could all of this progress be lost when her mother presents her with a blindside she never would have expected?

CJ realizes she can no longer avoid her past, and she must finally face the heartbreak, inadequacy, and unresolved events to continue to move forward. This includes embarking on a new career path and opening her heart to a love she's always been hoping for.

CJ's journey is one of growth, trust, and taking risks. And in the end she may realize that to be truly happy--all you need is love.


One (or more) Sentence Summary: I was so happy to get to ready book 2 of the Love in the City series.  CJ was not my favorite of the three characters from the first book, On the Road to Love, but I loved her in All You Need Is Love.  We really get to know CJ and what makes her tic.  All I can say, is goodness....we find out a lot and it is not what I would have ever pieced together.  It is pure craziness.  I don't know how she deals with her mother!!  I also love who she ends up with (no clue here).  

Loved how the three girls are still featured in book 2 and how it is stands on its own too.  All You Need Is Love is a quick and fun read.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Can't wait to read book 3 in the Love in the City series.



Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember...or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women. She is a best selling author of thirteen Romantic Comedy and Cozy Mystery novels and novellas. When she isn't deep in the writing zone, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, indulging in fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Seven Steps to Heal Your Thyroid








Book Details:

Book Title: Seven Steps to Heal Your Thyroid: A Proven Plan to Increase Energy, Elevate Mood & Optimize Weight by Dr. Meghna Thacker
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 164 pages
Genre: Health and Wellness
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: November 15, 2018
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

If you are someone who has low energy and has to push yourself to get through your day or suffer from mood swings that may alternate between depression and bursts of anger, or has a difficult time losing weight after trying all the diets and exercise programs out there, then this book is for you.

The Seven Steps to Heal Your Thyroid gives you a Step by Step approach to get to the root cause of your thyroid problem and helps to find the solution along the way. The first step begins with introducing you to how your Thyroid Gland works and which hormones does it produce and what influences its function. In step two, you will learn about the different naturopathic treatments to heal your thyroid problem. Step three will address the important role of our gut and how conditions like leaky gut are related to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Step four addresses the Environmental influences on the thyroid. In Step five you will understand why it is important to keep all the hormones balanced, not just the thyroid. Step six addresses the important aspect of stress and emotional health and its affect on the thyroid function and last but not least, Step Seven brings it all together by treating the person as a Whole. Finding the balance in Trinity of Life- Mind, Body & Spirit.

I have written this book from both my personal struggle with this condition which went un-diagnosed for years and my clinical experience treating patients for more than a decade. I hope that you find it helpful.


Buy the Book:



Add to Goodreads






Dr Thacker is a compassionate healer and has a passion to help people with thyroid disease, drawn from her personal struggles with this condition. She has created a protocol, Seven Steps to Heal Your Thyroid for everyone to feel like themselves again while increasing their energy, elevating their mood and optimizing their weight. She is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in the State of Arizona.

She graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine from Tempe, AZ in 2007 upon completion of her Bachelors in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery from Mumbai, India in 2002.

She has worked at Sottopelle for more than a decade and learned the pellet therapy from the pioneer, Dr. Gino Tutera himself. Her focus in practice is balancing hormones in women and treating thyroid disorders, naturally.

Besides her work, she loves to spend time with her husband and two boys. She loves dancing and outdoor activities like ATV riding.

She believes that Life is about finding Balance in this Trinity- Body, Mind & Soul

Life is simple. Life can be simple again.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Ends Dec 8, 2018





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Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Kennedy Debutante

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~



Synopsis (from Amazon): A captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America's greatest political dynasties.

London, 1938. The effervescent "It girl" of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy moves in rarified circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the 20th century's most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose, the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe, and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire.
 
But their love is forbidden, as Kick's devout Catholic family and Billy's staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. When war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick gets work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties lie--with family or with love . . .



One (or more) Sentence Summary: I loved the Kennedy Debutante.  It seems there is so much that is written about (and even learn about it in school) the Kennedy boys, but I hate to admit it, I never really thought about the Kennedy girls and don't believe I knew anything about Kick. I absolutely loved her spirit.

The book starts out with Kick being introduced to the London society, where her father is stationed as the US ambassador of UK.  The book takes us through Kick falling in love, struggling with the religion differences between herself and her boyfriend, her career as a writer, the war, the lost of her older brother, the struggles with her sister Rose Mary, her strained relationship with her mother and much more.  

I love the time period of the book.  It reminds me of the Crown, which is a great show.  I am so happy I learned about Kick.  I think she was a lady before her time.  She had so much spirit.  


Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would be interested in read Kerri's next book. I really liked her writing style and found The Kennedy Debutante to be very interesting.  




Kerri Maher is also the author of This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World under the name Kerri Majors. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and founded YARN, an award-winning literary journal of short-form YA writing. A writing professor for many years, she now writes full-time and lives with her daughter in Massachusetts, where apple picking and long walks in the woods are especially fine.


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