Monday, November 15, 2010

Desserts and A Shawl

With just over  a month until Christmas, I have reviews to share for two books that I think would make great gift items.

Stepping out to different genres again, the cover of the first book caught my attention but the premise of the book was the icing on the cake.

Dessert 4 today, 
Flavorful Desserts with just 
Four Ingredients 
by Abigail Johnson Dodge

The idea of creating delicious desserts with only four ingredients is a big plus, especially this time of year with the holidays upon us.

Each one of the 125 yummy recipes only uses 4 ingredients. The techniques are easy and no hours of prep time involved.

Author Abigail Johnson Dodge, a consummate cook and teacher, begins the book explaining the basic items needed in a stacked pantry. In addition, she lists the top 10 equipment essentials every kitchen needs along with the top 10 small gadgets found useful.

The recipes are divided into five chapters. The chapters and a sample recipe include:
* Cookies - Sparkling Cocoa Drops (which I baked last night and loved)
* Creamy Desserts - Chocolate Decadence for a Crowd
* Frozen Desserts - Creamy Mocha Semifreddo
* Fruit Desserts - Rum-Raisin Bananas Fester
* Pastry Desserts - Chunky Apple Brown Betty

Each recipe also has a ‘Switch-Ins’ section which gives ways to switch ingredients for a different taste. There is also a ‘Gussy It Up’ section that gives ways to put extra flare to your dessert.

When looking for quick, easy and delicious dessert recipes, this is a handy cookbook to have.

Desserts 4 today, Flavorful Desserts with just Four Ingredients by Abigail Johnson Dodge, The Taunton Press, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-60085-294-7, Paperback, 192 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo

Those who crochet and knit have heard of ‘prayer shawls.’ They are the shawls that have been lovingly hand-crocheted or knitted out of soft yarn, blessed by the maker, and given to someone who needs comfort.

With that in mind, the authors created this book featuring 37 patterns for wraps and prayer shawls contributed by a variety of crafters. The patterns are for all levels of crocheting. They also include the finished measurements of the garment, the type and amount of yarn needed, the hook and gauge, along with the instructions. The bonus is heart-felt stories and inspiring prayers with each pattern.

Crocheting abbreviations, standard yarn weights, and color and zymology are also included in the back of the book. To me the only thing missing is brief illustrations of the stitches for those just beginning to crochet.

Authors Janet Bristown and Victoria A. Cole-Galo are the founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. They include how to start a Prayer Shawl Ministry in your area.

This is a wonderful book to give inspiration, as well as thoughtful and comforting gifts. The most difficult aspect of this book is trying to decide which pattern to begin with.

I leave you with a quote from the authors that I think sums it up: “To tangibly wrap someone in your prayers and best wishes for them is a blessing. Too often, words cannot convey our feelings of love and concern for another, but to drape a shawl made by the work of your hands and the prayers of your heart around someone’s shoulders speaks volumes.”

The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo, The Taunton Press, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-60085-293-0, Paperback, 176 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Author Sam Moffie was scheduled to guest blog here today, but was unable to. Hopefully we'll be able to re-schedule his post for a later date.


  1. Oh I think that idea is just gorgeous :) prayer shawls

    And I NEVER turn down dessert ;p

  2. Hi Mason .. the dessert book looks wonderful - those easy 'to follow and do' recipes at busy times of the year are so useful to have around. a good present book too ..

    The Prayer Shawl book - looks beautiful .. I just can't wear wool or a lot of fabrics and cringe, fret etc when I'm near wool! & see it .. but I love the concept of someone creating with love.

    Great ideas for presents .. thanks Hilary

  3. What wonderful ideas! Thanks so much. :) I heard someone talking about a prayer shawl yesterday and how meaningful it was..

  4. The title of this blog is just wonderful and the two books you've told us about sound pretty darn wonderful too! And you're right - great gift ideas. The cover of the dessert book is gorgeous, isn't it?! (I love desserts). And I'm a huge fan of shawls. I seem to grab one to wear (or even just carry) with everything from a nice dress to my jeans. The thought of a prayer shawl is lovely. GREAT post - thank you!

  5. Great Christmas ideas -the books. I love crocheting and I love praying. The thought of being wrapped in a prayer shawl is wonderful.

  6. Mason - Thanks for sharing these books. I so admire people who can create with their hands, whether it's a shawl, a dessert or something else.

  7. ah, Masy, you have no idea how much I love cookbooks, especially the ones as lovely as this one in your review!

  8. I'm not too much of a cook, and don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So the dessert book looks great, lots of delish recipes with minimal effort and ingredients. That's my kind of cooking :)

  9. That dessert book got my attention. Ymm!

    I'm not good at crocheting, but I like the idea of prayer shawls.

  10. Nicole, I've always heard of prayer shawls but never made one. With the easy instructions in this book I'm going to get it a try. The desserts are yummy.

    Hilary, these desserts recipes are great for this time of year. I could see preparing one of the recipes, wrapping it up with a copy of the book and giving it as a gift. The concept of a prayer shawl is wonderful.

    Elizabeth, I can see where a prayer shawl could be very meaningful in several ways - giving comfort from the cold and knowing someone cared to make the garment for you.

    Kaye, thank you for your kind words. I seem to reach for a shawl more lately. They just have a comfort feel to them that coats don't have.

  11. Teresa, I must admit I thought of you when I got the book. It seemed like something you would enjoy making too.

    Margot, I'm with you on admiring what some can create with their hands.

    Dez, this is a great little cookbooks. All of the recipes are so quick and easy and the results look yummy. So far I've only tried one recipe, but it was great.

    Joanne, one of the best things about this little cookbook is that each recipes takes no more than 30 minutes are so from beginning to end. Baking is wonderful but having to spend 2 and 3 hours in the kitchen on one recipe is really hard, especially this time of the year.

    Susanne, the love of the dessert book grabbed my attention. The prayer shawl book contains some very simple and easy patterns. I'm not good at all the complicated stitches, but these are simple enough I'm going to give one a try.

  12. Mason, thanks for sharing about these two wonderful-sounding books. I absolutely love the idea of prayer shawls. A friend once knitted me a shawl and I do feel it has magic properties. And the dessert book - will have to take a look at that. I so don't like to cook or bake, but only 4 ingredients. Even I can do that!

  13. That dessert book sounds delicious. I don't knit or crochet, but I know how much prayer shawls mean to the recipients. Thanks for the great reviews.

  14. This book is brilliant! I love the idea and they sound yummy.

  15. omg, that dessert book is gorgeous. And sounds perfect for no-bake me. :D

    and that is the most amazing image--wrapping someone in your prayers. I love it. I want one!!! :D

    Thanks, Mason~

  16. I could handle just four ingredients, although with my luck, we'd still be missing one.

  17. Lol, just smiled at Alex's comment, same here!

    Great gift ideas. DH for the cookbook, he loves cooking. Mum for the shawl, she is an avid knitter.

    Thank you, that is two gifts in the bag. :)

  18. I love the prayer shawl idea but our family just lost our only crocheter (Eleonora). The dessert book, however, looks great and I have several thoughts for who might find that one beneath their tree. In hopes of getting some of those yummy desserts, of course.

  19. Love the idea of quick desserts and crocheting comfort for others. Thanks for the suggestions!
    Hearth Cricket

  20. The dessert book looks like a perfect gift for a few folks I know! Thanks for the tip :)

  21. Easy desserts are right up my alley!
    The shawl book looks lovely too.

  22. I would LOVE to have someone give me a prayer shawl!

    You post the most interesting book reviews. I love to come over here. And thanks for stopping by my blog and congratulating me on my revisions! You are so very kind.

    Have a wonderful Tuesday.

  23. Hi all, sorry I haven't check back in today. Tomorrow's post will explain. Thanks for all your wonderful comments.


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