Southern Solstice by Sarah Sadler

Ya’ll, this book is so much fun. I’ve been reading a lot of depressing novels lately (Hausfrau, My Sunshine Away, All the Light We Cannot See), and it was a breath of fresh (and much needed) air to pick up this witty and lovable book.

“As rich and distinctive as the Lowcounty itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage. When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.”

Sadler’s debut novel is a fast-paced book filled with captivating characters, beautiful writing and a plot that will keep you at the edge of your seat. You can practically feel the warm costal breeze on your cheeks and the moonshine on your lips.

“Charleston was in full blossom now. The first of many annual festivals celebrating blooming flowers were underway, and brightly colored window boxes draped wave petunias and lobelia down house fronts. A blanket of warm, salt water and gardenias perfumed the streets, intensifying with the unpredictable coastal breeze.”

Playful, sassy and endearing, this book encompasses love, family and what it means to be a strong Southern woman. If you are looking for a wonderfully light-hearted read for the end of your summer, look no further than this jewel. 

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Grill It, Braise It, Broil It’s Peach Crisp

In true summertime fashion, we’ve been eating fresh peaches for a couple months now. Of course, when I saw a peach crisp recipe in Grill It, Braise It, Broil It, I couldn’t resist. It was an alarmingly easy recipe to follow and I had most of the ingredients, which is always a plus.

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GIBIBI's Peach Crisp

  • 4 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3 tbs chopped pecans
  • 2 tbs margarine
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Stir 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and cornstarch with sliced peaches and place in a 8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir remaining ingredients using a fork and sprinkle on top peaches.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  5. Transfer macaroons on a cooling rack and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until topping is golden brown.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Baker’s Notes: I did not peel the peaches (too much work).  I also added almonds instead of pecans — it was what was in my pantry. And I got to say, it was just as tasty. Serve a la mode for a tasty dessert for the next several nights. You won’t be disappointed.

Grill It, Braise It, Broil It by the American Heart Association

Grill-It-Braise-It-Broil-It-American-Heart-Association-Cookbooks-Weekend Reads-GregricaGrill it, Braise It, Broil It is a creative and healthy book filled with techniques that are both easy to make, and promote a healthy lifestyle. From slow cooking to grilling to even microwaving, this book by the American Hearth Association contains hundreds of recipes and resources that inspire delicious, but guilt-free eating.

“You can trust that each of the recipes not only tastes delicious but also follows the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association.” — Chief Science and Medical Officer, Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., FAHA, FACC

Just like all American Hearth Association cookbooks, GIBIBI is organized by cooking method and contains a variety of meal choices such as apps, snacks and desserts. Having a sweet tooth myself, I can’t wait to try the Honeyed Strawberries with Almonds or the Easy Peach Crisp (check back later for my recipe review). But the book has main dishes as well, such as Baja Fish Tacos and Summertime Stir-Fry, that look tasty and easy for any night of the work week.

Like all cookbooks that I love, the book contains useful resources that compliment the recipes. The Heart-Healthy Pantry section is one, but they’ve also added cooking tips and nutritional charts, which take each recipe to a whole new level.

With that said, this book isn’t perfect. The lack of photography in the book was a real bummer. Though there are a few pages of photo inserts in the center of the book, the photography falls really short. As a reader, pictures are part of the cookbook experience, and I really missed that when reading this one.

Overall, it’s a great resource for all cooking techniques of healthy eating. Yes, you might not get all the bells and whistles, but the book is well-worth the investment.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.