Welcome to our “Library” page. Book reviews will be posted here.
Meanwhile our “BOOKS” page features books that we have written.
Either way, if you order from through our website – then the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a tiny donation at no extra cost to you.
The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition: A Flavorful, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking
Paperback published by the American Diabetes Association this cookbook is for everyone who wants to eat healthily – not just diabetics. But if you are managing diabetes, the recipes in this book will help you.
Healthy Eating is Important
Nearly all long-term studies on diet and nutrition agree—the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world. Indeed, the Consensus Report by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), Management of Hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes, 2019, cites evidence that the Mediterranean Diet is an effective component of diabetes lifestyle management.
Healthy Eating Can Taste Good!
In this award-winning guide to Mediterranean cooking for diabetes, culinary expert Amy Riolo takes readers and home cooks on a journey through the flavors of Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East, where the traditional cuisine and lifestyle have kept generations heart healthy and fit. She also offers the latest in nutrition science to create a guide to cooking and eating for diabetes that’s bursting with flavor and based on fresh ingredients and simple cooking methods. No artificial ingredients, no unrealistic portions, and no compromises.
Inside you’ll find classic and soon to be favorites, such as: Potato-Artichoke Torte, Whole-Wheat Focaccia, Valencian Seafood Paella, Greek Chicken Souvlaki, and for dessert – Strawberry Mascarpone Parfaits.
This book offers cooking without sacrificing taste, with a focus on using healthful, fresh ingredients. Leave behind the tired, watered-down diabetes recipes crowding out taste in your other cookbooks and regain the joys of eating.
About the Author – Amy Riolo
Amy is an award – winning, best-selling, author, chef, television personality, and educator. She is known for sharing history, culture, and nutrition through global cuisine as well as simplifying recipes for the home cook. A graduate of Cornell University, Amy is considered a culinary thought leader who enjoys changing the way we think about food and the people who create it. Many of Amy’s books, recipes, and podcasts are used by universities and corporations to promote cultural pluralism.
Hardcover from St. Lynns Press
Although billed as a garden book, this book is useful for our Savor the Southwest readers because of everything but the gardening!
Part One, on growing herbs, is not entirely useful information for the Southwest climate. The real reason to buy this book is Part Two. In fact the cooking ideas in part two makes “A Taste for Herbs” a great addition to your cooking idea shelf.
Part Two – Create!
In these six chapters Sue introduces us to a plethora of ways to use herbs. After an introduction to the basics of blending herbs, there are chapters on Dry Seasonings, Rubs, Flavor Enhancers, Dressings & Condiments, and ending with some very tasty Beverages. Personally, I might start with one of her cocktails. It makes cooking after a long day go ever so much smoother!
A Taste of Herbs – Herbs to Savor
The press release says “Think of this book as your herb-seasoning master class, filled with simple secrets for capturing the power of flavor from your herbs” I say that your brain and remembering flavors is a very important kitchen tool, but where to start? How to know which herbs do what in your foods and beverages… and how to know about how flavors play off of each other? A Taste for Herbs shows you how to become an herbal taste-master, whether you’re a home cook or a gourmet foodie.
Final Answer – Five Stars
This book is a pleasing way to have a dedicated herb lover guide you into the delicious world of 20 flavor-rich herbs and the pleasures they offer. With over 100 kitchen-tested herb recipes and full-color photographs throughout.
Sue Goetz is a garden designer, writer, and speaker. Through her garden design business, Creative Gardener, she works with clients, helping them personalize their garden spaces. While design work is nice, writing and speaking are Sue’s favorite ways to share her love of gardening. Sue lives and gardens in Washington state. She has three daughters, who – no matter how far they roam – still call home for some of mom’s fragrant, herbal concoctions.
Review by Uncle Smokey (our meat-a-tarian)
I have seen air fryers in the stores and thought about buying one but hesitated. Now that I have this book, I am far less hesitant. Crispy, crunchy, healthy – plus meals, snacks, and desserts. This book has what I need to get me started using a new kitchen tool.
How to Use That Air Fryer?
For that gorgeous golden-brown color and the perfect crisp, without all the extra calories – you need an air fryer. But you need more than the few recipies that come in the booklet in the box – you need this book!
101 Things to Do with an Air Fryer is jam-packed with fried favorites you can make without the mess and calories of deep frying. From chicken wings to onion rings, these recipes bring back all the classics and add a dash of something new. Some of the recipes require pre-planning to have the right ingredients on hand, but many can be whipped up from common cooking ingredients that most of us have in our kitchens.
101 Tasty Dishes
The PR says you can: “make a hearty weeknight meal with Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, or Coconut Cashew Curry Cod, with a side of Smoky Maple Acorn Frings or Garlic Parmesan Broccoli, and finish it off with Triple Berry Crisp, Churro Bites, or Blueberry Peach Cobbler.” Main dish, side, and dessert! What’s not to love?
There are vegetarian options too – from Sesame Crusted Tofu Steaks to Swiss Chard and Mushroom Frittatas. Instead of Swiss chard, I might try other greens, like some nice summer amaranth. All of these recipes are a great way to enjoy fried foods, with none of the deep-fried calories, and all of the flavor.
I found this book fun, easy, healthy, and well written. Better yet, this whole line of “101 things to do with …” has two great things going for them. First, they are spiral bound, which means they lay flat on the counter as you use the recipes within. Second, they are very reasonably priced at less than ten dollars. This is less than a meal out at a restaurant!
About the Author – Donna Kelly
Donna Kelly is a “food fanatic and recipe developer.” She is the author of several cookbooks including French Toast, Quesadillas, 101 Things to Do with a Tortilla, and 101 Things to Do with An Instant Pot®. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Here at Savor the Southwest, we focus on plants of the Southwest – “a somewhat arid land,” she says dryly.
Puns aside, agriculture in arid lands is not the same as agriculture in moister climates. Yes, many of the foods and products we discuss are foraged, but many of them are cultivated, and have been for centuries. A look at the systems of traditional agriculture over time in these arid areas is fascinating topic and this unique book takes a deeper look.
Interestingly, the author of each chapter in Traditional Arid Lands Agriculture considers four questions:
what we don’t know about specific aspects of traditional agriculture,
why we need to know more,
how we can know more, and
what research questions can be pursued to know more.
The researchers discuss is known and provide context for what is unknown.
The press release shares this information: “Traditional agriculture, nonindustrial plant cultivation for human use, is practiced worldwide by millions of smallholder farmers in arid lands. Advancing an understanding of traditional agriculture can improve its practice and contribute to understanding the past.
Traditional agriculture has been practiced in the U.S. Southwest and northwest Mexico for at least four thousand years and intensely studied for at least one hundred years. What is not known or well-understood about traditional arid lands agriculture in this region has broad application for research, policy, and agricultural practices in arid lands worldwide.”
The authors are a varied lot and represent the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, agronomy, art, botany, geomorphology, paleoclimatology, and pedology. This multidisciplinary book will engage students, practitioners, scholars, and any interested in understanding and advancing traditional agriculture.
Final Answer – Five Stars
The researchers tapped for the chapters in this book know their topic and are excited and enthusiastic about it. This shines out of the writing, even though it is written in the academic passive voice. Their engagement can easily get you engaged – even if you didn’t previously know anything about soil profiles. Okay, maybe not the soil, but the look at corn over time is pretty neat!
Moon Milk is a cookbook of fifty-five recipes for calming beverages to drink before bedtime. This guest post is by Iya Lucida, an off-grid, homesteading friend who often has trouble falling asleep, so I asked her to review this book.
Relax Before Bedtime
In this plugged in and busy world, relaxing before bedtime, might need more than a few deep calming breaths. Grandma loved her chamomile tea, and Grandpa enjoyed a shot of the elderberry wine he brewed each year, but neither really work for me. Mind you, I am mostly un-plugged, but homesteading has a host of worries of its own. Everyone offers me ideas – magnesium, manganese, valerian tea, hot bath, et cetera. This book offers a blend of mostly plant-based relaxing beverages to brew up before bedtime.
The press release says that “Many of recipes in this book have adaptogens in the ingredients, such as ginseng, turmeric, or cardamom.” These are said to help reduce stress, relieve fatigue, and bring a sense of calmness and peace. Cardamom does not agree with me, nor does mint, which is why Dr. Soule reminds us to be moderate trying new foods.
Most of the beverages are warm drinks made with nondairy or dairy milks. There are also cool drinks for those sweltering summer nights, plus options made using herbal teas. Grandpa would be happy, because there is a chapter dedicated to drinks using alcohol. The press release says you can add alcohol to any of the drinks in the book.
The first chapter, “Milky Way,” focuses on the concept of moon milks, creating nut milks from scratch, adaptogens, garnishes, and infusions. Next is “Starlit Soothers,” featuring milks to invite peace and tranquility. Chapter three is “Night Owls” with a number of moon milks for late nights. Then comes “Calming Classics” with some great winter beverages. Last chapter is “Noddy Toddies,” which feature drinks with a touch of alcohol.
Final Answer – Four Stars
Fun book and fairly well written with lovely pictures of each beverage. Moon Milk certainly would make a pretty gift to someone. This book will most assuredly appeal to a certain reader, and I’m guessing that they will live in a city with large kitchen and a full size fridge. Many of the recipes looked like they would be good, but require ample advance planning to have specific ingredients on hand.
My other problem with the book is with the book designer. My eyes are getting older, and I found the recipe pages with large expanses of white, and tiny type scrunched in the middle not at all easy to read. I would have liked a deep rich black typeface with little feet on the letters, not a print that fades at the edges.”
(Editors note: Iya is suggesting a serif type face as opposed to the current trend of sans serif type faces.)
About the author – Anni Daulter
Anni says this about herself: “Anni is an eco-mama, professional cook, advocate of sustainable living and author. Anni was the founder of a fresh organic baby food company, Bohemian Baby. Recently, Anni, along with Elena Rego launched a new site and magazine called Sacred Pregnancy. With her knowledge and passion about child well being combined with her love of healthy and tasty cooking, Anni wrote aher first cookbook Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies & Toddlers.”
Anni currently lives in Portland with her partner and 4 children. You can visit Anni at:
Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes from the Garden: Recipes for Beautiful Beverages with a Botanical Twist
Bartenders Can Appreciate Botany Too
The book is a compendium of craft cocktails, and includes examples of garnishes and interesting ingredients to give any drink a botanical twist. It also includes recipies and details to stock your home bar, forage for garnishes, and craft some tasty and popular cocktails, mocktails, and beverages.
In General – Nicely Done
The photographs are excellent, and make me thirsty just looking at them. I appreciate the lyout by type of alcohol. Makes it handy to use. Advertised as the go-to reference for classic and modern cocktail recipes. It is useful indeed but I found it a tad disheartening to see so many products that do not occur in our Southwest gardens, landscapes, or even grocery stores. There is the usual underlying idea that this is how you grow plants of course – with no thought to the fact that there is anything other than the East Coast.
Some Useful Portions
I did specifically like:
the reference guide of herbal and floral flavors that complement different spirits, the difference between a high ball and a coupe glass,
which bar tools are “must haves” for a home cocktail set-up.
Final Answer – Four and a Half Stars
A little too much of this book was not useful to someone in the Southwest. The gardening tips would set the reader up for failure. The ingredients were fun but cranberries, peas, mint, pansies, and the like, but I would have liked to see more ideas for substitutions.
About the Author – Katie Stryjewski
Katie Stryjewski is a writer, cocktail photographer, and recipe developer. She trained as an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, receiving her PhD from Boston University and completing a postdoc at Harvard University before transitioning to her current career. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. You can find her on Instagram as @garnish_girl and visit her blog, Garnish, at www.garnishblog.com.
Summertime in the Southwest is a good time to get caught up on your reading. Yes, you can get up early and garden before it gets too hot, but by about 10 in the morning it’s time (for me) to head indoors. I like to sit and cool off before I shower off, and that’s when I reach for that stack of unread books. People share books with me, publishers send me review copies, and the pile just keeps growing.
I get review copies of books from publishers that most folks have never heard of, like Greenwoman Publishing, based in Colorado Springs – almost local! I’ll be honest with you, many of those review books do not make it to the pages of my blog because I don’t feel they are worth the ink – or electrons – to write about. Some books are poorly written, some books simply won’t work for our area, and some books contain flat out incorrect gardening information no matter where you live. Please Don’t Piss on the Petunias is none of those.
Raising Kids, Crops, and Critters in the City
I opened to a random page and started skimming through the story of “Puff the Tragic Rabbit.” Within a few sentences I had to flip back to the start of the chapter to read more about poor Puff. Perhaps it was because I used to keep rabbits myself. My Theodore bunny was sadly a singleton orphan and nurtured by Lura, my Siamese cat, alongside her four kittens. She trained Theodore to use the litter box too. But back to Puff. I read his story (no spoilers) and then had to go back to the beginning of the book and start with chapter one – Eight Years to a Garden.
If you know me, you know I eschew drama in my life. I loath the drama queens where every little thing in their life is overwhelming. That “Oh no, my fingernail broke on the night of my cousin’s wedding,” stuff leaves me cold. I am not a follower of soap operas. Indeed, I scarcely read fiction because so much of it is poorly written. And yet I found myself sucked into the drama of author Sandra Knauf’s life. She tells the oftentimes dramatic story of trying to live country in the city in a light-hearted yet compelling manner.
Urban chicken farming is no picnic, as a number of you reading this may know. Sandra discovered this fact as well and tells the tale in the chapter “Chicken Chronicles.” Again, no spoilers, but Sandra ends the chapter with the discovery by her young daughter Lily, “That happiness can make tears come to your eyes.” Other chapters are as well written and heartening.
Final Answer – Five Stars
This book is well worth it! I encourage you to link/write directly to the publisher and get an a copy. You might get a signed copy, because Sandra is a lovely lady. It shines out through the pages of her book.
About the Author – Sandra Knauf
Sandra Knauf was born in California and spent most of her childhood in Missouri. She moved to Colorado when she was a teenager and has lived there ever since. She is the publisher and editor of Greenwoman Magazine, a garden writing magazine, which she started in 2010. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, GreenPrints, Colorado Gardener, and other publications, and she has been a guest commentator on KRCC’s “Western Skies” radio show. (KRCC is NPR’s southern Colorado affiliate station.) Zera and the Green Man is her first novel. She lives in Colorado Springs with her family, pets, and a big garden.
Review by Uncle Smokey
Uncle Smokey here with a cookbook review. Not sure if our Savor editor was hinting at me when she gave me this cookbook to review but I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty these “healthy” recipes are. Easy too.
The full name of this cookbook is: My Pinewood Kitchen, A Southern Culinary Cure: 130+ Crazy Delicious, Gluten-Free Recipes to Reduce Inflammation and Make Your Gut Happy. This cookbook features meals that are good for your gut bacteria and have a tasty Southern spin. Turns out that this is follow-up cookbook to “the life-enhancing My Kitchen Cure.” The publisher suggests that “you can heal your gut and fight inflammation while enjoying 130+ delicious whole foods recipes with a farm house spin.”
I grew up in a farmhouse miles from the nearest neighbor, and my Mom cooked some of the comfort foods in this cookbook – but the author Mee McCormick makes them differently than Mom did! I guess it’s the Southern influence, and I do have to say that they appear to be more “healthy” than the way Mom used to prepare them.
Lots of Choices
Like the title says, there are over 130 recipes – and they include things I believe will appeal to everyone, from smoothies to soups, salads, dinners, and desserts. And yes there are meat and potatoes!
Kentucky Caramel Chicken, Cranberry Hot Wings, Grain-Free Fried Chicken, Sizzlin’ Short Ribs, Super Creamy Veggie Mac & Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Polenta Fingers, Roasted Squash & Sweet Potato Soup, Summertime Zucchini Soup, Black Rice Salad with Snap Peas and Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette, Caramel Apple Pancakes, Raspberry Lemon Keto Muffins, Farm Fresh Eggs & Sausage-Stuffed Bell Peppers, Berry Cobbler, Chocolate Lava Cake, Key Lime Tart, Chocolate Brownies, White Bean Cupcakes, and Chocolate Avocado Mousse.
You don’t have to eat healthy to use this cookbook, I made the Kentucky Caramel Chicken and really enjoyed it. But if you do want to eat healthy then you should consider this book. The publisher says it can help “if you have diabetes, lupus, celiac, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another autoimmune issue, you’ll find a wealth of delicious, nutritious recipes. They go on to say “You’ll also discover: the importance of intestinal health and how to improve your own gut microbiome; which foods are nutritional powerhouses and which you must avoid; how to eat real food every day without breaking the bank.”
I appreciate this last because I am a thrifty sort of person. I do want to eat healthy – but organically raised food can be more expensive. Then I think again. Compare this cost of food to the cost of modern medicine and make your own choices if you want to take expensive pills, or spend a little more on food and avoid drug dependence.
I appreciate the fact that, like our website, Mee offers a customizable approach to adapt recipes for different dietary needs, whether you’re gluten-free, Paleo, keto, vegetarian, or vegan. I have a number of gluten-free friends and have had to learn new ways to prepare meals. This book gives me some really good ideas!
About the Author – Mee Tracy McCormick
Mee McCormick lives on a working cattle ranch and organic farm 46 miles west of Nashville, TN. She’s a chef, a momma and a wife. She also runs the Pinewood Kitchen & Mercantile an old 1920’s General Store & gas station that she turned into a real food restaurant that she says is “a true farm to table experience as we grow and raise the product we serve. I wasn’t always this person – in fact I was the worst cook in the world. After many years of suffering debilitating Autoimmune Disease (I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s, Hashimoto, Celiac, Psoriasis and severe food allergies) I found my way up off the floor and into the kitchen. I then attended a professional culinary program in Los Angeles where I learned to take American & French Classic recipes and make them better for us. For sure the belief that what happens to us also happens for us is proven – as a result of my struggles I now serve incredible southern food with a wellness twist and it’s inclusive as I am sure to create gorgeous gluten free, vegan, paleo and keto favorites. I believe we all have our own individual food paths to wellness and my goal is to inspire you to find your own.”
She says “Please feel free to email me with any questions. I’d love to hear from you! Meepinewoodeats@gmail.com”
Her first book is: My Kitchen Cure: How I Cooked My Way Out Of Chronic Autoimmune Disease
Review by Monica M. King
Published by Quarry Books, part of the Quarto Publishing group. This book is written by Kim Flottum. Mr. Flottum has been the editor of “Bee Culture” magazine for the past thirty some years. At the magazine he finds answers to questions sent in by beekeepers of all experience levels. It appears he has used these questions to provide a fairly thorough book focused on the beginning urban beekeeper. Probably why this title has been in print now for fifteen years and is on its fourth edition.
This book is a good base but sadly for the Southwest it is not the “bible” it could be. Why? Because the widespread warm-climate issue of Africanized Hybrid Bees (AHB) is not adequately cvered. I am no researcher like the author, but I have a great deal of hands-on experience. I do a fair share of established hive cut-outs and swarm removals throughout Southern Arizona.
Mr. Flottum writes that AHB coexist with varroa mites, making them sound desirable. He suggests keeping the colonies small and claims that the AHB purposely and frequently swarm for two reasons, for breaks in the brood cycle, and to isolate themselves from nearby colonies. He mentions that their approach works well with the mite cycles and honeybee cycle but has a downside to very little honey production. Personally, I do have to disagree with this due to my extensive hands-on experience.
Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) in the Southwest
For several thousand years, African bee hives, kept in harsh conditions, used to be smoked to the point of absconding multiple times yearly when man was harvesting honey. Within these several thousand generations the African bees quickly evolved to swarm multiple times per year, unlike the European bees. But often the AHB do not move far – I have found feral hives within close proximity to each other. Examples include three established hives under one shed floor and four established hives in an arroyo bank within 50 yards of each other. I see all sizes of AHB feral hives. Yes, they are known to swarm more frequently due to the genetics of an evolutionary trait imposed on them by man.
Swarming is no real solution to varroa mites because the mites don’t stay in the hive. They ride on the bees and are known to transfer to other bees when foraging flowers. Bees forage an average radius of two miles, so their spread can be fast. Researchers state that Arizona has an estimated ten feral hives per square mile. So in reality there is no getting away from mites.
AHB and Honey Production
Brazil was once at the bottom of the world’s honey production and since the introduction of the Africanized Hybrid Bee (AHB) they are now a leading producer! This clearly shows that when managed in rural areas, these bees can provide agricultural benefit. So would I recommend to a backyard beekeeper to embrace the AHB genetics? Absolutely not!
However I would have like to see someone address what to watch for and how to protect your urban backyard beehive from a hostile AHB take over. You see, AHB also swarm away when they use up all their stores. They use their stores because genetically they are truly horrible resource managers. They go right through their stores then look for other hives to move into. I do not doubt that the AHB also absconds when mite counts get too high in their own home.
AHB are Not Mite Resistant
During feral removals I often see varroa mite associated diseases. AHB are not mite resistant. A fact is that some honeybee hives can tolerate a higher mite load than others, AHB is one of them. These are two of the leading beekeeping issues in the Southwest: AHB and mites. Southwestern hobbyists may enjoy the sweetness of living around bees with some knowledge and beekeeping strategies just for those of us in this region.
Final Answer – 4 Stars
I will still give this book four stars due to all the other material covered. To repeat – it’s a starter book. Sadly our Southwest region is just not adequately addressed.
Useful Starter Book
I would recommend this book to any hobbyist or anyone interested in starting backyard beekeeping. It provides a very extensive knowledge base to start gaining ones own experience. I say “start” because after a Southwest U.S. reader finishes from cover to cover, the next step prior to jumping into having bees would be to ask more questions from veteran beekeepers in your area and by joining the local clubs such as the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Association (http://southernazbeekeepers.org/)
About the Author – Kim Flottum
After receiving a degree in horticulture from UW Madison, Kim Flottum worked four years in the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab in Madison, studying pollination ecology. After that, he spent two years raising acres of fruits and vegetables in Connecticut, where bees played a large role. He brings this experience, plus over 30 years of writing and editing articles for beekeepers in the monthly magazine Bee Culture. He has published books on honey bee pests and diseases, marketing, queen production, beekeeping history, beginning beekeeping, and and three editions of the classic industry reference, The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. With Marina Marchese, President of the American Honey Tasting Society, he co-authored The Honey Connoisseur, the first book of its kind published in English.
In 2019 he and co-host Jeff Ott started a beekeeping podcast that can be found at www.beekeepingtodaypodcast.com. This weekly podcast has interviewed over 150 honey bee scientists, commercial and hobby beekeepers, equipment manufacturers and other industry professionals. By mid-2021 there has been over 300,000 downloads. He and Jim Tew, a regular contributor to Bee Culture magazine started in 2020 another podcast called www.HoneyBeeObscura.com, where weekly they discuss some beekeeping problem, event or adventure. His 4th Edition of Backyard Beekeeping continues as a leader in basic beekeeping books.