Happily Homemade: A Cookbook Review

Oh my this book!  Happily Homemade by Rachel Schultz has captivated me. I cannot believe how gorgeous the photography is, how practical the recipes are, and how easy this book is to use. I think I have a new favorite. While there are new (to me) ingredients or new ways to use them, like using sweet potatoes so much – they are just not my go-to ingredient, there is also so much that is familiar. I love the combo of the primarily familiar and a few new ingredients, tools, or approaches; and I believe it is what makes a “perfect fit” in a cookbook. When the recipes in a cookbook have mostly, if not all, recognizable ingredients it will get used and for that is a huge selling point. There are 100 recipes and they all have photos! THAT my friend is rare, and maybe my favorite feature of this lovely cookbook.

Have I mentioned how special it is to cook using pieces that belonged to our grandparents? I have primarily switched to solely using wood spoons and paddles, but this ladle was my grandma’s and I feel all extra warm and fuzzy every time I use it. Who wants to come eat that soup from the cover at my house next week?

 
The layout of this book is smart. As somone who really uses my favorite cookbooks, I like that the recipes are continuously on the left hand side of the page and that each recipe has a full color photo. This helps me when I’m selecting a recipe to cook (recipes without photos rarely get picked… at least not for regular every day cooking – I’m too practical for that) and having an image to look at also helps when I am executing the cooking and presentation.

(Check out that awesome old, rusty flour sifter that was my grandma’s and OH THE MILK GLASS, I adore milk glass! This pitcher I found in a local antique shop for $15! It looks just like my Grandma’s and brings me so much joy!)

Speaking of loved ones, I also really enjoyed little tips and additional insights provided throughout the book from some folks close to Schultz. I think cooking and food, and especially the table, is all about feeding the body and the soul and I just loved that Schultz gave a nod to this as well. Our people are important to us and we learn some of our best tricks and cooking tips from others. Share the love!

I love that I have most, if not all, of the ingredients for these simple recipes and that I can easily bake and cook totally (or mostly) from scratch. Recipes have a short ingredient list and only a few times were they things I did not recognize or don’t typically cook with in my kitchen. There are a few things that she explains in her info pages at the front of the book – the less common and her most favorite ingredients along with her favorite tools. This was a great added touch! The recipes are also easily adaptable and I like that they encourage me to fill my fridge and cupboards with real food!

That being said Rachel Schultz website might become a top hit now that I have found her! There is so much there to explore and I cannot wait to try more of her recipes. Although there is nothing like having the cookbook in hand. I love to make notes in my cookbooks, the splatter and wrinkly of once wet pages note my favorite recipes; and all the rips and food splatter makes them turn into true family heirlooms that are tools I use over and over in my kitchen.

Here’s a peek into one of the recipes I have tried and LOVED!

I dove right into the breakfast section of the book and made these delicious chocolate chips scones for my Moms’ group this week. They were so yummy, especially since I left the middle a tad thicker and so they were just a tiny bit soft in the middle. My kids LOVED them too! Easy and delicious – that’s a win in my book. Not to mention baking from scratch is my favorite thing! This recipes said it could make 8 scones, I cut them slightly smaller and got 12.

I will note that several people have mentioned in their reviews that these recipes are primarily for a serving size of 3-4 and that they find that problematic for them. With a family of 5, growing to 6 in August, I wondered if that might be an issue. But the recipes are so simple and laid out in such a clear format that I found it easy to just double the recipes when necessary. Then I have enough for the crew, and then some. I like to feed other folks around our table and/or have leftovers so this was a great way to approach this small dilemma. The other thing I’ll say is that I’d rather not waste food and so sometimes I think less is more in serving size. I am amazed at how good if feels to eat it all! So test this out for yourself when it comes to the serving size of serving 3-4.

The boys loved the pastry cutter and asked all kinds of questions about this recipe! I  know for sure they’d be willing to try it with some other fun “add ins” too since its such a simple recipe that they can help too!

This milk drizzle with sugar sprinkle gave the scones just the perfect sweet topping. She uses one of her favorite ingredients (that I will be snagging next time I visit the bulk section) Turbinado sugar, but since I didn’t have it on hand I used raw sugar. It was perfection.

They came out smelling delicious – the cinnamon was so fragrant – and tasted even better. A huge hit and I’ll be making another batch for our family as soon as possible!

Delicious!  This is a very simple recipe that can be adapted for all kinds of different add ins. Ingredients could also be swapped out like you could use coconut oil instead of butter or you could use whole-wheat flour instead of all purpose.  (Schultz recipes are flexible!) The chocolate and cinnamon go beautifully together, but it would also be tasty with other dried fruit or nuts added in. It could also be served with an icing drizzle or just the simple sugar sprinkle the recipe calls for.

I cannot wait to try some of the other yummy warm recipes she includes. I’m such a soup person and I love that Shultz uses lots of sweet potatoes so I may look for a recipe fitting that criteria next. I mean there was snow this past week – in the first week of March! It’s crazy around here. But all the better for me so I can justify keeping the soups coming.

The tulips are a nice reminder indoors that yes we are only days away from Spring, and it will come… eventually. In the meantime I might even try the pumpkin oatmeal bake – the fall lover inside of me is dying to try it!

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for giving me a copy of this fabulous cookbook in exchange for my honest review. It’s too well loved now so I’ll be snagging another copy or two to give as gifts!

 

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