Favorite FoodieBook Fridays! | The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

The Lost Recipe for Happiness_Barbara_ONeal

Do you love food novels, food-themed books, or books with food as much as I do? As I’ve mentioned before, I love books and I love cooking, and I really love novels with food themes. I want to share all of the gems I adore with you once a month, and I hope to post some of the recipes I’ve tried from these wonderful books. I’m even having a new graphic designed for this new series Favorite FoodieBook Fridays. Here’s a taste of what’s to come! My all-time favorite author of “FoodieBooks” is Barbara O’Neal @barbaraoneal. Have you read any of her books? Can you recommend other food novelists that I or my readers will love?

The Lost Recipe for Happiness_Barbara_ONeal

I think The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal is my favorite, but there are so many that I love.  I may have to re-read all of her books to be sure! To give you an idea of the beauty of her writing, here is one of my favorite snippets. I agree wholeheartedly with the author, “the fingerprint of a chef is born in childhood…”

“… The fingerprint of a chef was born in childhood. She remembered drinking red Nehi soda and eating potato chips on the concrete back step of her Uncle George’s store on a hot day, the sky as cloudless and plain as a piece of turquoise plastic. She thought of women cooking tamales in somebody’s kitchen, the ripe smell of simmering pork and red Chimayo chile filling the air. Her Aunt Viola’s tender, pale yellow cake with sprinkles of shredded coconut stuck to the frosting. Watermelon straight out of somebody’s field, hot and sweet and thirst-quenching like nothing else in the world. Hot dogs roasted on a barbecue with little black lines of crackly skin. She narrowed her eyes, sketching chiles and tomatoes and pigs along the edge of the page. Tamales were hearty, and the structure made it possible to put almost anything inside. Duck? Venison? Peaches? A swirl of flavors rose against the roof of her mouth, a depth of dark sour cherry, the smoky gaminess of fowl, tender roasted onions. …”

~The Lost Recipe for Happiness, Barbara O’Neal

In many of Barbara O’Neals food-themed novels, the main characters are getting a fresh start, finding happiness through cooking, and following their inner voices to find passion and fulfillment in their lives. In The Lost Recipe for Happiness the main character, Elena, endures personal loss, guilt, and physical pain and finds a new life where she is able to put aside the guilt and pain and love again. The writing and everything about this book is gripping, I promise you won’t be able to put it down!

I’ll never be a chef, but my love of cooking began as a child, cooking breakfasts and baking and decorating cookies with my grandmother. I can still taste the cream cheese frosting and picture the pink cheeks on the Santa Claus cut out cookies vividly in my mind!

This book is obviously beloved. It has 4.4 out of 5 star rating, and I give it a 5! What do you think?

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Hollie’s Favorite FoodieBooks


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Banana Zucchini Date Bread and a Big Smile

I’ve been baking banana zucchini bread, refreshing my email, waiting for a reply from a dear long distance friend that I hadn’t heard from in awhile. Now that I have a reply I have a smile on my face as big and warm as the cinnamon banana scent that’s filling the house!

This recipe is inspired by Sunny Anderson’s Secret Banana Walnut Bread.

I followed her recipe except for a few additions and subtractions.

I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, added 1/3 cup minced dates, (because I was too lazy to purée them in the food processor) 1/2 cup finely minced raw zucchini, (from leftover zoodles) added 1/2 tsp vanilla, and added 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

I’ve been referring to it as “Sunny’s Weird-ass Banana Bread” due to the Worcestershire sauce. It’s actually very moist and light, not too sweet and full of banana goodness!

Zucchini Banana Date Bread I’ll definitely make this again!

Zucchini Date Banana Bread

Have you tried making it yet? I’m giving it five stars!

Jiggs Dinner

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and that means it’s Jiggs Dinner time! This crockpot meal is as simple as it is delicious.

Jiggs Dinner

If you love a good corned beef and cabbage boil, I recommend gathering your ingredients early. Every time we wait to shop we can never find baby red potatoes or a medium head of cabbage, and all the good bakery marbled rye bread we like to have with it is gone! This year we went to our local meat market and he hooked us up! We had the most beautiful lean cut of brisket I’ve ever seen! It was huge, but the leftovers are ooh soo good!

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