Get Your Bake On

Get your Bake On: Sweet and Savory Recipes from my home to yours by Brian Emmett (Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s Site)
Genre: Cookbook Cover.Final
ISBN: 9781476772561
Published May 26th 2015 by Gallery Books (first published April 28th 2015)
Rating: 4/5

I flipped through GYBO and wanted to jump up and down I was so excited about all the amazing recipes. Cheese and Chive soufflés? Blueberry Almond scones? Banana Tea bead, Tomato tart… So many cool things.

I feel like this book was made for me because one of the things Emmett said about his baking was he liked sweet items, but he also liked to take traditionally sweet things and make them savory: for example, the Savory Bacon Cheddar Chive scones sound awesome and are totally on my “to-bake” list (what, you don’t have a to-bake list? what’s wrong with you?) and Salted Peanut Cookies? Why didn’t I think of that?

The instructions are very reader friends and clear, and you don’t have to be an experienced baker to follow the directions (though you have to have serious patience and lots of time to make the traditional Croissants. Like seriously? Who ever thought that process up?).

The only reason this book isn’t 5 stars is because there are only a few pictures. in the middle of the book is a photo section where some of Emmett’s recipes are beautifully and colorfully photographed. And I totally understand how expensive and time consuming it would be to photograph ever. single. recipe. But I’m a visual person. I flip through photos and decide what to make on the photos, not the titles of the recipes.

However, even without every recipe being shown, they all sound great, and was really excited about using this book.

150717_0001The recipe I tried was the Blueberry Almond scones. I didn’t have lemon juice for the glaze, so I made a vanilla-almond glaze with butter and cream, and I used gluten free flour (because I was making breakfast for a GF friend). I also miss-read the amount of almonds I was supposed to use, and ended up using double the amount. But they turned out phenomenal. Ugly, since I don’t have a rolling pin and I didn’t have any flour to dust the cutting board. Also I only have one cookie sheet so I used some muffin tins– they sort of turned into “drop scones”—but they were delish.

(I forgot to take a photo of the finished product… but here is a shot of my ugly scones in the oven…)

This book is totally on my favorite cookbook list and I will absolutely use more of these recipes.

About Brian Emmett


Cook up some delicious, down-home goodness with this cookbook of more than seventy-five sweet and savory recipes from Brian Emmett, grand prize winner of CBS’s The American Baking Competition.

In 2013, Brian Emmett burst onto the culinary scene with his charm, confidence, and superior baking and cooking skills on season one of The American Baking Competition. He won over the hearts of Americans nationwide, who watched this enthusiastic husband and father immerse himself in his passion—and, ultimately, take home the illustrious title of “Top Amateur Baker.”

Now, in Get Your Bake On, Brian shares over seventy-five recipes that leave no doubt as to why he was crowned champion on the show. This cookbook encompasses a hearty mixture of The American Baking Competition favorites, brand-new concoctions, and Emmett family recipes passed down through generations. Staying true to the show’s theme, there are plenty of sweets: From miniature tarts to his famous Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookie, Brian’s baked goods are sure to satisfy even the most demanding of sweet tooths. But Get Your Bake On also features a strong savory element with classic, feel-good recipes such as Sunday Brunch Strada and Beef Chili with Buttermilk Cornbread.

So grab a spoon, America—Brian’s back, and he’s ready to dish!

Author Watch: Gail Carriger

Who: Gail Carriger (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

What she writes: YA Steampunk, Romance, Adventure, Hilariousness, Supernatural adventures. Seriously I want to live in her world.

I have read: The Custard Protocol book 1, Finishing School book 1, book 2, book 3


I had the awesome opportunity to interview Ms. Carriger!

What draws you to the supernatural? Your stories wouldn't not be the same without your characters being werewolves or vampires.

I like to spoof Gothic classics so there is also good dose of comedy in my work – giggling readers are good. For me vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are a great way to access this. For one thing, they fit so well in with the premise of the science of the soul. For another, they are all monsters with strong Victorian literature ties; they strike me as quintessentially Victorian. So I decided to twist it around and explore a world where such supernatural creatures were accepted as part of society – what, then, becomes the monster?

Were there any books or people who drastically impacted you as a writer? Was it positive or negative influence?

Tamora Pierce. When I was 8 the first book in her Song of the Lioness series came out. Up until that point I’d never read a fantasy book where the central character was a girl who kicked ass. Then, when I was 14, it changed my life again. It was the means by which I became friends with the ladies who still beta my stories to this day.

What are you reading right now?

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss. It's my book group pick for July. I run a monthly read along via my blog and Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/232416?group_id=115842

Would you ever consider writing outside of your current world or genre?

Yes. In fact I have a little audio book project called Crudrat. Not yet in print but perhaps some day. https://gumroad.com/l/pgdBi

What is your favorite kind of tea? And what do you eat with it?

Twining gold label (black box) English Breakfast imported from the UK. It is stronger and milder in flavor than the American (or red box) version. I take it milky but very strong with no sweetener. It's basically an Assam leaf. I prefer Indian teas as a rule. I actually prefer to drink it alone, although sometimes I'll have a little biscuit. Chewy NOT crisp, and generally not chocolate. Something like a tiny snicker-doodle would be ideal.


About Gail Carriger

(From her website)

Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy in three series: two adult, the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol, and one YA, the Finishing School series. Her books are published in eighteen different languages. She has twelve NYT bestsellers via six different lists (including #1 in Manga). She has received the Alex Award from the ALA (for her debut Soulless) and the Prix Julia Verlanger and the Elbakin Award from French readers. She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of tea.

Life or Death

Life or Death, by Michael Robotham, narrated by John Chancer (Amazon, Goodreads, Audible)
Genre: Thriller
ISBN: 9781478959410
Published March 10th 2015 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2014)
Rating: 4

From Goodreads:

Audie was sentenced to 10 years for a robbery in which four people died, including two members of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered from the robbery, and everybody believes Audie knows where the money is.
For 10 years Audie has been beaten, stabbed, and threatened by inmates and guards, all desperate to know the secret. The day before he is due to be released, Audie suddenly vanishes.
The hunt for Audie, and the money, is on. But Audie's not running to save his own life--instead, he's trying to save someone else. In what promises to be his most popular thriller yet, Robotham has created the ultimate underdog hero, an honorable criminal shrouded in mystery and ready to lead readers on a remarkable chase.

Life or Death started out super exciting, then it died for about a half a chapter and I had a really hard time getting back into it. That’s not to say it was exciting, but the characters felt a little distant at first. I couldn’t figure out what was going on in Audie’s head, so I didn’t connect with him very well at first. Once I got past that rough part, and as the story grew I learned more and more what was going on, I was totally addicted.

The story follows Audie Palmer, an unlikely criminal who turns out to be much more than expected. He is fighting very hard for something that doesn’t make sense on the surface… it’s not until you dive deeper with him that you realize just how much more there is to the story. So much love, so much hate, so much deceit.

I loved the way the story came together at the end. As I said, there were some chapters I had trouble getting into at first, but when the story ended, I wanted to applaud.

Music Spotlight: Asher

Asher: The Instrumental EP by Anchor

Asher was stunning. Each track is named after a piece of nature, and embodies said name perfectly. While listening to Sun I felt the sun on my face. It is moving and stunning and beautiful. I’m looking forward to choreographing some of these pieces.

Beautiful background or focal music, relaxing and elegant, worshipful and enjoyable.

I downloaded the album from Noisetrade (seriously if you aren’t visiting Noisetrade daily you need to get on that). They’re on my favorites list now.

About Anchor

(From their website) Anchor Worship is a team of musicians who together, lead worship throughout Central California. At the heart of the team's foundation is scripture Hebrews 6:19 which says; we have this hope as an anchor for our souls. Hope, along with faith and love are the three things that last eternally according to the Scriptures (1 Corin. 13:13). Each one of them must play a role in every aspect of our lives. Hope gives way to a positive and impactful way of life. It changes your outlook on everything. It ignites a passionate response in worship, knowing that He is coming back again. Anchor Worship is grounded in this; that the body of Christ, would light up a passion in every part of worship; so His light and love would be visible.

Unreview: The Sherlock Holmes Devotional

The Sherlock Holmes Devotional: Uncovering the Mysteries of God by Trisha White (Amazon, Goodreads)
Genre: Devotional
ISBN: 978-1630589127
Published: July 1st 2015 by Shiloh Run Press
Rating: 1 out of 5. DNF.

Every once in a while I read a book that is just trying way too hard to be cool. Sadly, this is one of those books.

Sherlock Holmes was an amazing detective. The Bible is an amazing book. So why not make a Sherlock Holmes devotional? The answer is because the two are about totally different things, and when you try to make a secular thing spiritual, you end up with poison.

I requested this book with suspicion (the same publisher had a bunch of other awesome-looking books, and this was the only one I was iffy about), but I hoped it would surprise and maybe impress me. Sadly, it’s actually worse than I imagined.

For example: The first devotional is about the Case of the Cardboard Box, where a woman has a package delivered to her with two severed ears. The devotional goes on to praise Sherlock for solving the crime, and then diverts to “We can hear the voice of God. Sherlock said the ear is amazing. See how these two are connected?” And yes obviously that’s a paraphrase. But it was the point of the devotional.

In staying in this same idea, let me tell you a story and give you a practical on how it made me feel.

Did you know in the Appalachian mountains, some people put Mountain Dew in their babies bottles? It’s cheaper than milk and the kids get addicted to it young. Obviously it causes major health issues like diabetes and sever obesity, the kids end up loosing their teeth before they even break skin, and (though I haven’t researched it, I’m sure) that some have died.

In the same way, the Bible tells us that newer Christians thrive on smaller amounts of doctrine, simple statements of truth. In the new testament, a Christian not moving past that stage is considered an adult still drinking baby milk. But the milk isn’t enough, and eventually, their faith will die if they don’t move forward. So Mountain Dew is like Baby Milk. See how the two are connected?

Sorry, but this book isn’t baby food. It’s poison. I love Sherlock and I love Jesus. But I find this book offensive.

The Last Wish

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, Narrated by Peter Kenney. (Amazon, Goodreads, Audible)
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
ISBN: 9780316029186
Published: May 5th 2015 by Hachette Audio (first published January 1st 1992)
Rating: 4.5

From Goodreads:
Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.
And a cold-blooded killer.
His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.
But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.
The international hit that inspired the video game: The Witcher

I love Geralt. I want to be a Witcher when I grow up. How much better can life get? Having magic super-powers, hunting down monsters for money, traveling the world on horseback…

And yet Geralt gets so much stink for what he does. C’mon, he’s taking care of the monsters for you, and you’re going to call him names and ask him to leave town and despise him just on principle? Really, you guys.

The magical land where this Witcher lives and hunts is full of monsters of all sorts—more than you can imagine. The world is changing and it’s becoming harder for him to live and find work. Geralt travels with his horse through cursed forests and strange towns, unraveling one mystery at a time, and learning more about himself with every step.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because it ended a bit abruptly, like it was the end of a chapter, not the end of the book. The chapters were a bit odd too, and at first I thought maybe I missed a track here or there. Since it was based off a video game, it was a bunch of smaller adventures. I would have liked to see the different stories tied together a little more clearly.

Narrator Peter Kenney did a great job, as always (He also narrated Touch by Claire North). I loved his voice for Gerald and for his goofy friend, for the funny towns people he meets on the road, for the monsters. A good narrator isn’t afraid to throw you into the story and use their voice to get you there.I

All in all, loved The Last Wish and I’m super excited about the rest of this series!

Colorful Crochet Lace

Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments and accessories by Mary Jane Hall  (Amazon, Goodreads, Ravelry, Author Blog)
Genre: Crochet, intermediate
ISBN: 9781620336984
Published: July 24, 2015 by Interweave
Rating: 5

Generally speaking when I get a craft book, I like 99% of the patterns. There are always a few that I’m not big on, or just not impressed by. But this book is different: I love every single pattern, and want to make them all in a bunch of different colors. Like I’m not even joking. And I even got my boyfriend to look through all the pictures too and he was like “oooh you should make that. Ooh that would be so pretty on you. Oooh look at that one.” It was kind of adorable.

There were a few things that made me really love this book. Yes the patterns themselves were lovely, but one of the things about them was the hook size wasn’t microscopic. When I go online and search for “Crochet lace,” a lot of times the patterns I find are very tight-gauge. Fingering weight yarn, tiny hooks, itty bitty details, slow progress. These patterns were mostly G, H, and I hooks, so they will work up pretty quickly.

Another thing I really liked was the French names and theme running through the book. All the patterns were elegant, light, delicate, and sweet. Some of them were gorgeous and sexy in addition! Even the layout of the patterns themselves was elegant.

Lastly there was both graphs for the lace, and the written instructions, for both kinds of people. I can’t just follow a pattern, and I can’t just look at a graph. But with both, I’m good.

I’m super excited about this book. Check back with me in a few weeks to see what I’ve made!

Author Watch: Kelly Gay

Who: Kelly Gay (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook)

What he writes: Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi, Adventures, and Thriller (with a bit of romance!)

I have read: The Better Part of Darkness, The Darkest Edge of the Dawn, The Hour of Dust and Ashes

About Kelly

Kelly Gay has written one of the best Urban Fantasy books I’ve ever read: the Charlie Madigan series is fun, hilarious, and exciting. She also writes a YA series under the name Kelly Keaton. You can see all her books at her website.

I interviewed Kelly back in 2011. Here are a few of my favorite things she said:

Why and when did you begin writing?Gay-Kelly

I began making up stories from the time I was four years old and was six when I wrote my first story down. The 'why' is harder to answer because it's really something that feels intrinsic to who I am. I write because I have to, because the ideas in my head demand to get out and become a reality on paper. I began writing with dreams of publication in my teens and later, more seriously, in my twenties. The goal has always been to create stories for a living. 

What inspired you to write your series?

I just had these ideas in my head about a world where the paranormal had come out of the closet, and this single mom character who was faced with sacrifice and choices. I felt compelled to explore her more, to see how a single mom, urban fantasy heroine would cope and it kind of took off from there.

What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Don't get caught up in finding the "right" process to write your fiction, in what size font to use, if you should outline, if you should plot as you go . . . etc.  There is no one right way to do it. Everyone's process is different. Do what feels comfortable to you. Concentrate on learning what makes a great story great by reading, reading, reading, and then studying books you really love, dissecting them, seeing how they address pacing and plot and characters... Great books are amazing tools for learning how to craft great stories yourself.

Read the rest of the interview here.

50 Yards of Fun!

50 Yards of Fun: Knitting toys from Scrap Yarn by Rebecca Danger
Genre: Intermediate knitting
ISBN: 9781604683035
Published: September 17th 2013 by Martingale
Rating: 5

I found this book at a local ACMoore or maybe a Michaels (Can’t remember which). And since I’m a sucker for little crafts and using up remnants, and since I had a coupon, I snatched it up.

I absolutely love it.

I’ve made two of the little critters so far (a fish, and a cat) but I crochet them, using the same basic body and shaping methods. I want to knit the ninja for my sister and the bowling set for my mom.

The characters and toys are adorable and enchanting. Each one is photographed and adorably named (Nitro Ninja, Olive-sized Owl, Weensy Woodland Friend, etc) and the patterns are really easy to follow.

Author Watch! Kelly Barnhill




Who: Kelly Barnhill (Website, Goodreads, Amazon)

What she writes: Fairytails the way they were meant to be

I have read: Iron Hearted Violetkbarnhill


About Kelly

Kelly Barnhill is a gifted writer, teacher, and baker (I knew I liked her!). Among her children's books are Iron Hearted Violet, The Witches Child, and Mrs. Sorenson and the Sasquatch. She also writes nonfiction for children (again, school teacher) and some adult fiction, poems, and essays. In her free time she explores the great outdoors in various ways.

Author Watch–Look out for these guys!

The Author Watch series is a series of posts about my favorite authors! These are the people who I pre-order their books (and if any of you know me personally, you know I never buy anything full price unless I have to). I absolutely adore all these wonderful people and I want to share with you why I love them.
How it works: When I read a book I love by you (or two, or five) I do a post called Author Watch! It’s kind of like an extended Bio page. I will link the reviews I’ve written on your books, your website, other links, etc. Then I will link that post here to your name.
Please note: all authors are in alphabetical order by last name. This post was updated 12/26/15.

Kelly Barnhill
Holly Black
M. R. Carey
Gail Carriger
Cassandra Clare
Cressida Cowell
Dianne Dixon
Jaclyn Dolamore
Warren Ellis
Kelly Gay
John Green
Ka Hancock
Kristan Higgins
Peter Higgins
Tom Holt
Ellen Hopkins
Kristen Hubbard
Francis Knight
Tahereh Mafi
Myra McEntire
Claire North
Caragh M. O’Brien
Graham Parke
James Sheehan
Sarah Sundin
Laini Taylor
Ian Tragillis
Moira Young

Image from: http://www.history.hku.hk/cchu9003/lecture09.html. Text added.

Promotion: Get Your Bake On!

May 26, 2015 by Gallery Books
ISBN: 9781476772561

“Emmett, winner of CBS's The American Baking Competition, shares 75 recipes that have been passed down through the generations of his family. Dessert classics, such as lemon meringue pie and a yellow cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, are offset with savories including chicken pot pie, Chicago and New York–style pizzas, and a "Mile-High" quiche. Fans of The American Baking Competition will recognize the "Petit Four Flag Cake"…Emmett offers clear instructions on his popular "Peanut-Vanilla Chiffon Roll with Peanut Praline and Gold-Dusted Peanuts" and carefully walks home bakers through the multiple steps, including making a chocolate-peanut mousse, chocolate ganache glaze, peanut praline, and gold-dusted peanuts. His down-to-earth tone makes this a good buy for those new to baking.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Distinguished by its ease of use and down-home midwestern ’tude…[with] family-type-introductions to each type of dish…Good tips on techniques precede every chapter…The proof of his talent is in the collection: For the most part, the inclusions are standard Americana, often with a twist.  Try oatmeal muffins for a breakfast differentiator, maple mascarpone frosting on a carrot, and poppy-seed sugar-plum rolls (translation: filled donuts).  Demyth-ifying the craft of baking.”

Whip up some delicious down-home goodness with GET YOUR BAKE ON: SWEET AND SAVORY RECIPES FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, a cookbook of sweet and savory recipes from Brian Emmett, who burst onto the culinary scene with his charm, confidence, and superior baking and cooking skills on CBS’s The American Baking Competition™.  He won the hearts of Americans nationwide, who watched this enthusiastic husband and father immerse himself in his passion—and, ultimately, take home the illustrious title of America’s Best Amateur Baker.

Now in GET YOUR BAKE ON, Brian shares over seventy-five recipes that leave no doubt as to why he was crowned champion of the show.  This cookbook encompasses a hearty mixture of The American Baking Competitionfavorites, brand-new concoctions, and Emmett family recipes passed down for generations.  Staying true to the show’s theme, there are plenty of sweets.  From Poppy Seed Sugar Plum Rolls to his famous Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brian’s baked goods are sure to satisfy even the most demanding of sweet tooths.

GET YOUR BAKE ON also features a strong savory element with classic, feel-good recipes such as Sunday Brunch Strata and Sky-High Cheese and Chive Soufflés.  Some of these delicious treats include:

· Pies and Tarts…Lemon Meringue Pie
· Scones, Muffins, and Biscuits…Blueberry and Almond Scones
· Breads and Pizzas…Focaccia with Fresh Thyme
· Cookies, Bars, Biscotti, and Brownies…Salted Peanut Cookies
· Cakes…Cheesecake with Caramel-Apple Topping
· Pastry and Pie Dough…Apple Cider-Spiked Pie Dough
· Soufflés and Custards…Sunday Brunch Strata
“This is by far one of the favorites with my family and friends, but not just for brunch!  It’s a hit for tailgating, Bunco night, bowling leagues, housewarming parties, baby showers…you are sure to be the MVP at any event if you show up with this amazing casserole.  It’s great because you can assemble all the ingredients the day before, refrigerate, and then bake fresh in the morning.  It’s also easy to change up the ingredients, use different cheeses, substitute the meats with seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or spinach, or add fresh herbs such as chopped parsley or basil as garnish for a beautiful presentation.”

With Brian Emmett’s GET YOUR BAKE ON, readers are expertly equipped to gather with friends and family for any occasion and enjoy the most savory food.  So grab a spoon, America—Brian’s back, and he’s ready to dish!

Brian Emmett, the ultimate foodie and home entertainer, has been baking, cooking, serving, and designing unique culinary experiences for family and friends for over twenty years.  He lives near Chicago with his wife and daughters.

Facebook: brianemmettbake
Twitter: @BrianEmmettBake
Website: brianemmetbake.com


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.