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Thursday, August 4, 2011

cookbook review: Beyond Bacon Grease by Cheryl L. Hughey + Missouri Baked Beans

Author:  Cheryl L. Hughey
Publisher:  Old Timey Gifts
Soft Cover (comb-bound w/ heavy duty plastic cover) : 70 Pages
Photos: a few black & white + illustrations

Chapters/Sections: Breakfast, Main Dishes, Beans & Soups, Side Dishes, Desserts, Cooking & Gardening Tips

Unique Feature: I think the best feature in this cookbook is the section on Cooking & Gardening Tips. From Hughey's recommended pantry list (complete with her reason's "why") to her Urban Gardening Tips to her tutorial on growing her favorite condiment- sprouts.  Fun, unique, and very interesting. 

(a few of the) Recipes Destined for my Kitchen:  Thymely Veggie Broth, Gingerly Yours Fried Rice, Crusty Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding

My Thoughts/Review:  It is very obvious that this freshman effort by Hughey was a labor of love.  She put a lot of thought into this book that is punctuated with quotes, poems and musings.  Many of the recipes I would classify as "semi-homemade".  They call for things such as bottled dressings, condensed soups, gravy mixes, canned sauces, and squeezable tubes of garlic...things not normally housed in my pantry.  That said, many home cooks do keep these things handy and use them on a regular basis, so they could find these recipes very suited to their everyday needs.  I do, however keep canned beans, tomatoes, and a few other condiments handy, so I was able to envision some of these dishes in my own kitchen.  As I write, a fragrant pan of Hughey's Missouri Baked Beans is assaulting my senses from the oven.  This is a very user-friendly cookbook, with spaces left for your own notes and Hughey's girl-next-door style.  While I wouldn't recommend it for a chef or a well-seasoned cook, I do think it would be a great addition to the collection of somebody who doesn't enjoy spending loads of time in the kitchen (I've heard that there are people like this out there) or who is just "learning the ropes".  It's a great book for beginners and semi-homemaders.

recipe I have already tried:
Missouri Baked Beans

2 (10 oz.) cans navy beans I used cannellini, drained
½ c. onion, diced
2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. barbecue sauce
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. brown gravy sauce (avail. in Asian section) ?? I used A1
salt, freshly ground black pepper, chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9x9" glass pie pan I just used a 9" metal pie plate coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated oven at 425° F until bubbly and thick mine took ~20-25 minutesI also seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.

I liked them...simple yet very flavorful.  I mean...beans are good food☺!

about the author: Cheryl Hughey is a St. Louis-based author that has been published in Natural Muscle, Ms. Fitness, Concierge Magazine, West End Word, Sauce, Intermission Magazine and more. A candidate for a black belt in taekwondo later this year, Cheryl often finds often finds inspiration by working in her garden.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the author.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

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  1. I NEED that book now and the beans look gorgeous, as is the photo! A wonderful tasty post!
    Karen ~ Lavender and Lovage

  2. Hey, Karen. This is Cheryl, the author. Thank you for checking out girlichef's gracious review. The fancy paperback is selling on Lulu, BUT the comb bound version that she reviewed is available here:

  3. Que delicia de plato, me encanta.


  4. Thanks Cheryl,I live in France is that a problem for postage?

  5. Karen,

    Not at all. I use an online postage service. If you send me your address, I can get an estimate for you fairly quickly. Email with your address. The comb bound version girliechef reviewed is $8.99 plus postage. I'll even autograph it for you.

    The other alternative is the Lulu paperback here

  6. Karen,

    An article I found claims that Lulu actually has a printer they use in France.

  7. If anyone is interested in learning about my journey to better health, here is a podcast featured on Online with Andrea.

  8. Not only does that bean dish look fantastic but the title of the book alone id perfection!

  9. Thanks, Kris! I gave up my bacon-loving ways for veggies. ;>


  10. Fun review. I do like cookbooks with musings. I may not keep a lot of processed stuff in the house - but I can always figure that out!

  11. Claudia,

    I'm full of musings. LOL


  12. If the rest of the recipes are as great as these beans, I must get this book!

  13. Maris, I'd be honored. Here is the link to some pics of the food behind the scenes while making the cookbook.

  14. What's bad about a book like this is that it is limited to the USA and countries that have all the bottled, canned and boxed stuff she uses. Or so it sounds like it. I avoid recipes using these kind of pantry items since I normally can't get it in Europe (or outside the UK?). That said, I liked your honest review and would think it great for someone who wants to cook but doesn't, or prefers the rapidity of semi-cooked. Good review.

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  16. Jamie,

    I'm happy to always make suggestions. Not all the recipes use convenience items. If there is one, they are general/brandless items like evaporated milk, beans or 2-3 recipes use condensed cream of mushroom soup. With the exception of the Dreamer's Sausage Gravy (recommends a brandless gravy mix) and the Missouri Baked Beans (an Asian gravy sauce for sweetness/color) and the mention of tofu, Seitan or brandless vegetarian meat substitutes, most everything is generalized. If it is a convenience item mentioned above, we completely avoided using name brands.

    I may mention using vegetable bullion or a non-brand Cajun spice mix (anything with a little kick will do). There are a lot of what I consider to be completely homemade recipes like the Vegelicious Omelet, Whey Good Biscuits, Time Clock Chicken, vegetable broth, Vivacious Vidalia Onion Soup, Lima Better Bean (you could substitute the Cajun spice for a bit of red pepper), Weeds & Mushrooms, Refrigerator Pickles, Chunky Queen Bee Applesauce, Crusty Mashed Potatoes and the Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding.

    However, in other recipes not using fresh ingredients, we do recommend things like canned tomatoes, frozen/canned veggies and soy sauce. We do mention corn flakes as a base for the Oven Fried Chicken Legs.

    The diet was created as a transition from the drive-through burger life to wholesome simplicity.

    Hope that helps. :>


  17. Jamie,

    I forgot to mention the non-fat Italian dressing used in the veggie pasta dish. Any vinegar based dressing would work. I'd just avoid a Balsamic, as the color might be muddy. I have a lovely Raspberry Balsamic vinegar that I'd love to try with it, but I don't want a dark pasta. LOL


  18. If any one wants to purchase the book on Lulu, be sure to watch their front page for sales. ;>

    Also, regarding convenience items: I may also mention enchilada and salsa in the book. Any brand that is wholesome and tasty will work. Sometimes a quick and easy recipe will help you keep your healthy eating on track. ;>

    Eat well!