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As much as I love the holiday season, I always look forward to January 1st. The crazy go-go is over, and it feels like things can go back to normal. And I look forward to a new year almost like I look forward to Mondays. I know most people dread Monday, but I love the feeling of starting over, starting new. 2011 was a good year, but a very hard year in a lot of ways. I’m so looking forward to 2012 and what it is going to bring. I can already feel that it is going to be a great year!

With a new year comes change. I do have a few changes that will be happening here at Taste and Tell. The last few months I have been feeling stretched. I feel like I’ve been trying to do 20 things at once. And doing none of them as well as I’d like to do. So 2012 is the year of simplifying for me. And with that simplifying, I’ve decided to give something up. I have been doing my Cookbook of the Month series for almost as long as I’ve been blogging, but I have decided that December was the last cookbook I would be featuring with this series. It makes me sad to give up something I’ve been doing for so long, but it also has come with a sigh of relief. But you know me, and my love of cookbooks, so my days of cookbook reviews are not over. I will still be doing plenty of cookbook reviews, but I won’t have a specified cookbook each month with a certain day for posting. My Fridays will not go without a post, though. The Blogger Spotlight series will be moving from Wednesdays to Fridays. I’m glad that the Blogger Spotlights will have a full day dedicated to them, because they are becoming one of my favorite things that I do each week!

I also have a few ideas for different series that I will be doing throughout the year. The first, which will start soon, will be all about basic pantry staples and meals that you can create from your pantry. I want to get back to basics in many ways. I think that is what a lot of people want and need these days.

If you have anything that you would like to see more of in 2012, please comment below and let me know. I am constantly learning and growing here, and I love to hear what you all want!

The new year is also a time for housecleaning, so I’d like to take today to do that. 🙂 Below you will find a review of December’s Cookbook of the Month –
In the Small Kitchen. And I’m also including a recap of the Cookbook of the Month series from 2011. It really was a year filled with great cookbooks!!


I love cookbooks that are more than just great recipes and great photography. I love to hear the stories behind the recipes, to see where the recipe came from, and what it really means. And this cookbook is full of just that. I think that is why I love food blogs so much – the stories make the food more personal. This book is just that – filled with glimpes into the lives of Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine. It’s more than just recipes. This is definitely one of those cookbooks that you can sit down and read through like a novel. I also love that there are recipes in this book for anyone. There are recipes for entertaining, recipes that feed one. Recipes for date night, and even recipes that are great for gifting. You will find a little bit of everything in this cookbook! And really, I loved everything about this cookbook. All of the recipes came out wonderfully, and there are many more that I have bookmarked to make!


Prep Times and Total Recipe Times Listed: no

Number of Photos: many

Not only are there many photos of finished dishes, but there are also personal photos included which is kind of fun.

Difficulty Level of Recipes: easy
These recipes are perfect for beginning home cooks and seasoned cooks alike!

Availability of Ingredients: medium
Every recipe that I read through had ingredients that you should be able to find at any grocery store.

Here’s what I made:



Dump and Stir Mexican Dip – 8.75 out of 10





Noodles with BGSK Peanut Sauce – 9.5 out of 10





Lotus Blondies – 9 out of 10





Chicken, Black Bean & Zucchini Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce – 9.5 out of 10




Overall Rating: 9.1875 out of 10


At the end of 2010, I had this crazy idea to do cookbooks written by bloggers for the Cookbook of the Month series for 2011. I’m so glad I went with it when I thought of it, because not only did it bring me to some great blogs and great cookbooks, but I’m convinced that bloggers really know their stuff when it comes to cooking and developing recipes. Some of these cookbooks are ones that have become my favorites. I really have loved every single one of them. And I loved that so many of the bloggers themselves participated in the Blogger Spotlight series as well, so that we could all get to know them better. I couldn’t leave the year behind without taking a look back at those cookbooks and their blogging authors, so here is a look back at the 2011 Cookbook of the Month series!


January: Recipes Every Man Should Know by Susan Russo (Blog: Food Blogga)
Blogger Spotlight





February: Desserts 4 Today by Abby Dodge (blog: Abby Dodge)
Blogger Spotlight




March: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase (Blog:  $5 Dinners)
Blogger Spotlight





April: Our Best Bites by Sara Wells and Kate Jones (Blog:  Our Best Bites)
Blogger Spotlight




May: The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin (Blog:  Reluctant Entertainer)





June: Southern Plate by Christy Jordan (Blog:  Southern Plate)
Blogger Spotlight




July: Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu (Blog:  Dessert First)
Blogger Spotlight




August: More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea (Blog:  Stephanie O’Dea)





September: Poor Girl Gourmet by Amy McCoy (Blog:  Poor Girl Gourmet)
Blogger Spotlight




October: Basic to Brilliant, Y’all by Virginia Willis (Blog:  Virginia Willis)





November: Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low (Blog:  Rasa Malaysia)
Blogger Spotlight





December: In the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine (Blog: Big Girls Small Kitchen)





Sorry for the forever long post, and now we can move forward to the delicious recipes I have planned for this year.  I am looking forward to all of the goodness 2012 is going to bring!


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11 Responses to In the Small Kitchen Review {and a look into 2012}

  1. Blond Duck says:

    I can’t wait to see what you do in the New Year!

  2. Bev Weidner says:

    Happy New Year, Deborah!

    Change is good. You’ll breathe better. 🙂

  3. Krista says:

    I am looking forward to all the fabulousness you have planned this year! Change is good and not feeling like you are losing your head is even better!

  4. Cassie says:

    Change is always good, I too love January for the chance to start fresh. Looking forward to “back to basics” too. I’ve been doing some of those types of recipes. Happy new year!

  5. Kris says:

    I read and am familiar with so many blogs out there. I wanted to take the time to let you know that your blog is truly one of my favorites and by far has some of the best recipes. I will miss your series because it is so unique but am glad you are making this choice for yourself. You ‘ll see, your blogn will be even better because of it. That’s just the way life works and you seem to get it! Happy 2012 and good luck with everything!

  6. Chels R. says:

    Happy New Year! I think simplifying is always a good thing. And I think with the case of having a blog it’s easy ( for me at least) to get overwhelmed and then it can start feeling more like work than fun. And that’s why I have a blog, because it’s something fun and creative for me to do that still allows me to spend time with my family.

    I can’t wait to start reading our new posts 🙂

  7. thanks for recapping all the books…I forgot about some of those.

    and those lotus blondies…yes, I need!

  8. Joanne says:

    I’ll be honest, I truly have NO idea how you do it…posting six days a week! I can barely handle four! I’m so grateful for all that you do and i look forward to every post! I loved the cookbooks of the months post but I know you’ll have other reviews, so I think I’ll get my fill 😛 Happy new year, chica!

  9. Kristy says:

    Great way to wrap up your series! I know exactly what you mean about the need to simplify! It’s about time I started working on that too. 🙂 I hope you have a fabulous 2012 Deborah! I’m looking forward to your posts – especially the pantry ones. Those sound fun!

  10. I will miss your cookbook of the month series but completely understand the amount of work involved to make those happen. And I thought the blogger theme for this past year was absolutely brilliant. I love when bloggers support each other and that is why I am glad you will be keeping the Blogger Spotlight series. I think it is fun learning about new blogs and the bloggers behind them. One of my new year goals is to be a bit more budget conscience and I think your pantry staples series will be a perfect thing to help me in that area (sometimes I forget less is more!). I am looking forward to see what the New Year brings for you and your blog. Happy New Year!

  11. carrian says:

    Good for you! I think simplifying always seems like you are giving something up, but boy does it feel good once you’ve done it. I’m excited to see the new stories!

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