Crystal161981's Blog

These are the keyholes into my life

Wicca Practical Magic Review

I’ve read several books on meditation, spells, crystals, oils and other practices but this is the first I’ve read on Wiccan culture and the incorporation of these. In reading, I thought Wicca Practical Magic to be a great starter book on the subject. It does a wonderful job of explaining what it is, what it’s not, the history as well as what magic really means today. I also found it a great resource to have handy as there are sections on stones, herbs and oils, and spells to reference throughout your journey. 
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Southern Cast Iron Cookbook Review


I have a few different cast iron cookbooks but The Southern Cast Iron Cookbook is one of my favorites. Coming from the author’s home state of North Carolina, I definitely relate to this style and culture of cooking. Although I have basic knowledge of cast iron and care of it, I was able to learn a few new things, like the fact that I was not aware that they add iron to your meal which is nice for people who suffer from anemia like myself. I also enjoyed the section on vintage which discusses logos, markings, and what they mean. The recipes are diverse spanning from lemon-rosemary chicken to Peanut Butter Brownie and truely showcase the beauty of southern comfort food.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook Review

I have a few books in my collection on the subject of dutch ovens but none geared to outdoor simplistic cooking like The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook. I grew up camping regularly all over the state and found a lot of useful information to make camp cuisine more enjoyable and manageable. The first chapter gives the history and benefits of using dutch ovens which is also a nice refresher for those with experience. The second chapter is one of my favorites, giving step by step on how to properly season and care for your oven. I particularly like the section on coal cooking wether anything from baking to broiling including the conversion chart for temp to number of coals and placement. I can’t wait to test out these delicious recipes and incorporate them and all the wonderful camp cooking tips to bring a bit of home to the outdoors.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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Vietnamese Cookbook Review

We cook regularly in our home, so to break up the normal meal routine I enjoy keeping specialty cookbooks around for inspiration. Lemongrass, Ginger and Mint Vietnamese Cookbook by Linh Nguyen has been a nice addition to add variety to our meals. In the first chapter you get an overview of the style of cooking, philosophies, and breakdown of foods by region, which I found to be one of my favorite parts. It also discusses common stocked herbs and spices, tools and overviews techniques such as blanching and stir-frying. The rest of the chapters are broken down into categories like rolls, salads, and rice..each section including recipes as well as history and even how to eat them. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

The verb ăn, which means “to eat,” is present in many action verbs. For example, to dress is to “eat dress” (ăn măc), to speak is to “eat speak” (ăn nói), to live is to “eat live” (ăn o), to steal is to “eat steal” (ăn trôm). The list goes on.

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Herbal Medicine Natural Remedies Review

Herbal Medicine Natural Remedies is just one more wonderful book by Anne Kennedy added to my reference collection. I found it a nicely all inclusive book from covering the history past and present, how the remedies work and also what you’ll need to create them. She discusses the benefits of using herbal remedies, such as when you need antibiotics they will work more efficiently if you haven’t built immunity by taking them for every ailment, as well as cost effectiveness. Some of my favorite sections include the different methods of application and Herbs To Know, which contains a list of 40 commonly used herbs with pictures, usage, and precautions among other info for each. And if that’s not enough there’s also a handy quick reference guide in the back. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Modern Enneagram Review

Although I was aware of the concept, The Modern Enneagram by Kacie Berghoef & Melanie Bell is the first book on personality typology that I’ve read and I definately plan on researching more on the subject. The Enneagram speaks a universal language..no matter what background or religion, your type stays true. Having a passion for psychology, I find it a great tool for learning and growth. A guide rather than just categorizing, it goes into depth about how we handle situations and why. I really found it interesting to read about the types and relate them to my life. My favorite sections were 5, which give inspiration to apply the practice in your life as well as the appendix that includes shortcut questions and practices for each type. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

The road to self-realization is not always obstacle free. When we work on ourselves, we see things about ourselves that we didn’t see before. While these things can be positive and heartwarming, sometimes we learn things about ourselves that we don’t like. Other times, we uncover past hurt and sorrow. The journey is unpredictable. Luckily the rewards for doing this work are immense.

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Chakra Healing Review

Chakra Healing by Margarita Alcantara has been a nice addition to my reference collection. I have many books on the subjects covered, such as Crystals and Oils, but none that incorporate the various techniques into one. I found it a wonderful beginners book for learning what chakras are, how they work, how to recognize and balance an uneven system. My favorite sections are Appendix A and B which cover yoga poses and types of healing crystals. I look forward to putting some of these exercises and techniques to work in my routine. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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Baking For Two Review 

Baking For Two has been a sweet addition to my cookbook collection and I love that this book gears baking to smaller portions for many reasons. One, for less waste but the biggest for me is to be able to test out recipies before making large portions. Not only does it cover the fundamentals of baking but takes the guesswork out of small batch cooking to create tasty treats. My favorite chapter is Cobblers, Crisps & Shortcakes, but from breads to custards, the easy to follow recipies and tips will inspire kitchen creativity. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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Taquería Tacos Review

We are regulars at our local Mexican restaurant so have really been enjoying Taquería Tacos by Leslie Limon. Being able to incorporate this authentic style into our cooking routine has been a refreshing change. The step by step instructions give even inexperienced cooks the ability to create delicious recipes. Everything is broken down by chapter from the tortillas to filling, as well as tools and even drinks to compliment the many recipes included. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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Retrain Your Brain Review

I’ve had my fair share of depression and anxiety in life and although I’ve never seen a therapist I’ve always looked for books on the subject as well as other psychological reads to better understand the subject. The phrase that caught my eye with this was “..learn to be your own therapist”. As I’ve had family that has suffered from the same, I also realize that it can be beneficial in understanding loved ones and the struggles they are going through. Retrain Your Brain does a nice job of breaking down CBT and its background as well as identifying the different types of anxiety and depression so that you can work to alleviate them. The workbook format is very engaging and the examples bring the points to life very effectively. ​I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

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