Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond

Kale and Caramel by Lily Diamond feature image

No rain, no flowers. •  In her first book, Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, thirty-something writer, photographer, and natural wellness blogger Lily Diamond shares recipes for 80 nourishing vegetarian and vegan dishes and DIY beauty products made all the more magical for the moving stories of heartbreak, healing and joy she serves alongside. Chapters are organized by the aromatic herbs and flowers discussed within — in the first section it’s basil, cilantro, fennel, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme; in the second section, lavender, jasmine, rose and orange blossom. Tips for sourcing, storing, pairing, and infusing into oils, honey, sugar and salt make for a comprehensive and approachable guide that encourages readers to play. Lily is as down-to-earth as they come, and her voice, her brand of wildness “that tends to manifest in quiet river skinny-dipping, or playing fast and loose in the kitchen, or not wearing pants all day, or singing to Beyoncé at the top of my lungs” charmed me as much as her recipes.  Continue reading “Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond”

Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series

Jenny Han Simon and Schuster ft image

I came late to the party for Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. I just finished reading all three books for the first time, unlike those who’ve been following along since the titular book debuted in 2014. P.S. I Love You came a year later, and the final book — Always and Forever, Lara Jean — just this Spring. And I can’t say I’m mad about it, because the waiting would have been torture. (Note: Simon and Schuster Canada sent me the series to review.)  Continue reading “Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series”

Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion by Elise Strachan

Sweet! Celebrations by Elise Strachan cover

I need someone to have a baby. Or a birthday. Or a bar mitzvah. Or maybe we’ll just make up our own occasion because there are so many fun, festive and new-to-me ideas in Elise Strachan’s Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion  and I want to try them all. Simon & Schuster Canada sent me a copy to review so here’s the skinny including the couple of treats I tried — one quick and easy no-bake, one a bit more persnickety that I turned into a no-bake — and both super cute and delicious.  Continue reading “Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion by Elise Strachan”

An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital + Win a copy! #Ottawa2017

An Insider's Guide to Canada's Capital feature image try small things

Ottawa is anything but boring, and An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital is the proof. Produced by a group of about 30 millennials led by multimedia co. Wingd‘s Zainab Muse, the book highlights the people, places and organizations that make the city an exciting, diverse and Instagram-worthy place to visit and live. Take a peek at the book trailer and tell me you don’t want to see more. Continue reading “An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital + Win a copy! #Ottawa2017”

Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Lola's A Cake Journey Around the World maple pecan cake

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.  Continue reading “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!”

Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Mother's Day reads HBG Canada

Yes of course I want to see my kids on Mother’s Day — I’d like to see them playing outside while I curl up inside with a book. Who’s with me? Uh huh. I see a few nods out there. Any one of these four would suit me just fine, and a tea if you’re making it, maybe a couple of tarts too. (*brushes pastry crumbs off leggings* How many days have I been wearing these?) Spring brings a bounty of new releases in every genre, and today I’ve got a look at a selection in stores just in time for Mother’s Day — two for those who love to cook and bake and entertain (alone or with kids helping alongside), one for fashionistas and another for the reluctant traveller. Because every one knows a mom who just wants time to think and read, and one of these books might make the perfect companion. (My thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada, who sent me all four to review.) Continue reading “Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway”

The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!

The Greenhouse Cookbook cover try small things

You know when you climb into bed with a great cookbook and wind up equal parts ravenous (‘tho too lazy to get up and fix yourself something), inspired, and more than a little bit charmed? That was my experience with The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight (with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitlelman), and I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be the same for many of you too. It’s the first book from the creators of Toronto’s wildly popular cold-pressed juicery, The Greenhouse Juice Co., and features 100 plant-based, gluten-free meals and drinks that promise to nourish and energize with nutrient-dense delicious goodness anyone can make and adapt (vegetarians and omnivores alike). Penguin Canada was kind enough to send me a copy and allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the book, the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale.  Continue reading “The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!”

Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles

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Pancakes are a favourite for Sunday breakfast and occasionally dinner and I’ve been wanting to get over my fear of the waffle maker (a dead-heavy lawn sale find that I’m always worried about closing on my fingers and worse), so I was excited when Thomas Allen & Son surprised me with a copy of Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles. (Book mail is the best mail!) Inside are 27 recipes for sweet and savoury pancakes and waffles and their assorted toppings and photographs that’ll make your tummy rumble. Think buttermilk blueberry pancakes with blueberry lime sauce; potato waffles with barbecue beans; orange waffles with roasted plums; and ginger and sesame waffles with steak and dipping sauce. Hungry yet?  Continue reading “Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles”

Five things + Win Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown A Novel by Fredrik Backman (cover)

Hi guys! How have you been? I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here on the blog — I was sick for about a week there (maybe food poisoning, ‘tho it really hung on so I’m not sure what it was) and busy this past week making up for lost time by taking extra classes at a fitness studio I’ve been doing a challenge with over the past month. Today I’m checking in with a few highlights from the past couple of weeks and a chance to win a book I’m just getting into and really loving, Beartown by A Man Called Ove author Fredrik Backman. (Thanks for the copy, Simon & Schuster Canada!) It’s not out ’til April 25, but you can get a first look here.  Continue reading “Five things + Win Beartown by Fredrik Backman”

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat's Bakes ft image

My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty TreatsThomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too.  Continue reading “Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!”

Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard + Win a copy

Studio by Sally Coulthard ft image

It’s pretty tight quarters here at try small things HQ, but like so many other creatives who have to make do I’ve carved out a couple of spaces (however humble) to blog and shoot and style and bake and all the rest. As it happens, we also use those same spaces to eat and do homework and play LEGO and watch Netflix. Which is really not ideal. I dream of having a dedicated place to work and play, so I was delighted when Quarto Publishing Group USA sent me Sally Coulthard’s Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative PeopleTaking lessons from the myriad (and often fascinating) studios of crafters, designers, writers, artists and a couple of my favourite bloggers, Sally shares inspiration and insight to help you create your own space with tips on everything from planning your layout and organizing your tools to lighting, seating, wall treatments and display. (Hands up if you’ve never met a pegboard you didn’t love.) Whether you’ve got an entire room or just a corner, you can create a space that works as hard as you.   Continue reading “Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard + Win a copy”