Monday, 17 October 2016

Book Review: Teaching Others to Defend Christianity by Cathryn S. Buse

Teaching Others to Defend Christianity comes from NASA engineer Cathryn Buse. Buse noticed that many of her colleagues had deep doubts and criticisms about Christianity. Searching for a way to communicate God's love to the logic minded, Buse wrote Teaching Others to Defend Christianity to fill a gap she felt lacking in most ministries. Eventually, Buse founded Defend the Faith Ministry to help others learn how to better explain their faith in Jesus.

In Teaching Others  Buse moves the critical thinking reader from a belief in an absence of any god to belief in the Christian God and the redeeming love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ in six logic based lessons. Buse expertly applies the laws of logic, philosophical principles and  scientific facts to lead the reader down a path of realizing the Christian truth. She breaks down proven or everyday sceanarios using logic principles and then applies those same principles to faith. A lesson I found particularly interesting was lesson 5 which proves the validity of the New Testament through internal evidence, external evidence and bibliographical evidence. At the conclusion of each chapter is a series of thought provoking questions designed to further reinforce the lessons learned in the chapter.

The book is designed to be a teaching tool to for those wanting to teach people how to lead their friends and colleagues logically from atheism to to belief in Jesus. However, I think it is a great tool for those wanting a better understanding of the "whys" and "how comes" behind their faith or deal with the questions and criticisms presented by the media and/or atheist friends.

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Book Review: Finding Father Christmas/Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

Gunn richly paints the story of Miranda Carson's search for a father who doesn't know she exists. Miranda travels to England at Christmas time with only a photo and the name of a photography studio. She meets a cast of characters who help her along the way, one of which follows her into the next novel as a love interest. In both novels, Gunn uses delightful imagery to pain quaint and cheery Christmas scenes and lovable characters. It is easy to see why her books were chosen to become a Hallmark movie. I thought both stories were lovely and I have high hopes for Kissing Father Christmas, although it doesn't star Miranda as the protagonist.

I was glad that Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas were bound in the same volume. It makes a lovely stocking stuffer. Also, I think I would have been disappointed if  I had to purchase the novels separately as I believe they were originally attended. Separately, I feel as they are more like novellas than novels. I think Finding and Engaging work together perfectly as one story.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

ATM Favorite Cookbook: Victuals by Ronni Lundy

I was thrilled the moment I unearthed this book from its packaging. The cover is beautiful. The recipes are delicious. The research is well done and the stories beautifully told. It wonderfully explains the food of the past and present NC mountains. Can we just say that I am in love with this book?

This is one beauty that will not be leaving my shelf. Victuals is what you get when a well written history books and a delightful cookbook come together as one.

I made a huge list of recipes that I wanted to try from this book but thus far I have made:

Remembrances of Jerry's Past Chili- This chili was fabulously meaty. I can see why it inspires memories. My husband would have preferred more heat but I think it can go either way.

Doorbell Pork with Hominy and Greens. I subbed spinach for this but it turned out just as I imagined. My pork chops looked pretty much like the picture. This recipe is a prime example of how well written the recipes are and how simple they are to follow.

Cornbread- My cornbread turned out gritty. This is most likely user error. It smelled heavenly, thanks to the bacon grease.

Cornbread Soup- I thought this soup was a brilliant idea but I didn't really care for it. I thought the combination of buttermilk, leeks and celery was just too tangy for my liking.

Chipped Ham with Bigger Isn't Better Buttermilk Biscuits- The gravy is delicious. The biscuits are superb and simple and I will definitely be adding them to my repertoire.

Chicken and Dumplings-These are all the way from scratch y'all. And they are banging. Good flavor and the chicken was so juicy. I didn't have a lemon so I used an orange. Perfection. I'd make the roasted chicken again as a standalone main. It was so easy! I still can't get over how tender and juicy the chicken was.

I think I loved this book so much because, I, too, am from the porch sitting people that Lundy shares stories about and I dream of being a porch sitter in the hills of North Carolina. Victuals has inspired me to check out Mr. Lundy's other books.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Opinions are 100% mine and 100% honest.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Try the World Box 3: Italy

My 3rd Try the World box came last week!

For those new to Try the World, it's a subscription service where each month you receive a box with 7-8 products from that month's featured country. Boxes cost $39 a month. You can read about my other Try the World boxes here.

This month's featured country was Italy. I was so excited when I made this discovery as I love to eat Italian food but don't cook it very often because...nerves!

Here's what came in this month's box:

From left to right: truffle zest (retails at $12.90), balsamic vinegar, hazelnut cream (retails at $10.50) and pesto (retails at $8.90) 

From left to right/back to front: pappardelle (retails at $8.00), coffee, amaretti (retails at $6.90), and mushroom risotto (retails around $13.00)

I didn't search prices on all of items and we already hit over $40 in value. I have gotten more than my money's worth with every box. Also, I love that Try the World sends items I may not think to try on my own.

This is my 3rd box and each box has had a healthy mix of ready to cook items (risotto), pantry staples (vinegar) and treats (amaretti).

Out of this book, I think I will make:

  • Pesto pappardelle (pesto and pasta)
  • Risotto (risotta and truffle zest)
  • Tiramisu (with the coffee)
  • Hazelnut Zabaglione (hazelnut cream)
If you'd like to give Try the World a whirl, you can sign up HERE. I will get $15 store credit for anyone who signs up with that link.

Any questions? Or recipe ideas?