Friday, January 05, 2007

Book Review:

Dining on a Dime
by Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper

For the past few months I have received a weekly e-newsletter from Living on a Dime. Tawra and Jills' newsletter is packed with interesting recipes and money-saving tips. Most of them are taken from their book, Dining on a Dime. Just before Christmas I was tempted to place an order online for Dining on a Dime, but I decided to wait until after the holidays.

I'm glad I held off. My sister gave me a copy of the book for Christmas! Lori knows my tastes quite well, so it seems. She wasn't aware I received the Living on a Dime newsletter. She found Dining on a Dime in a bookstore and simply thought I would enjoy it!

I certainly do like my gift. I skimmed through the entire book this week. (Dining on a Dime is a sturdy, coil-bound volume, about two inches thick.) Tawra and Jills' book is filled with practical, economical recipes and advice. They includes classic recipes for family-friendly foods like apple pie, baked beans, pancakes, and chicken casserole. The book also has recipes for unusual things like homemade shake and bake (for chicken), taco seasoning, and homemade graham crackers.

Dining on a Dime is unique, however, because it includes many recipes for "non-food" items. The book has chapters titled "Kids", "Cleaning Cents" and "Pretty for Pennies". I am interested in trying some of the recipes for homemade cleaning products. (I believe they will be much healthier and cheaper than store-bought solutions.) I am also intrigued by the recipes for beauty products such as bath bombs and lip balm.

One of my favourite sections in Dining on a Dime is called "Mixes, Gift Baskets and Jars". I prefer giving homemade gifts, and this chapter has inspired me with dozens of new ideas. Tawra and Jill even include recipes for specialty coffee powder and gourmet hot chocolate!

Dining on a Dime has earned a place on the top of my cookbook pile. I believe it is an excellent, practical resource. I am looking forward to cooking up a storm in the new year, and I intend to use Dining on a Dime as my not-so-secret weapon.

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