25 August 2008

Children's Book Review: Sunny's Adventures 57

I love to find children's books with a baking tie-in. It gives me such joy to expose children to the wonderful warmth and quiet passion that is following a recipe. In todays world, not as much time is spent watching the skilled rhythms of well versed hands whipping up tasty baked goods in the well used kitchens of our homes, at least not as much as in my childhood or those before me.

...Kid Mystery?

Sunny's Adventures
will intrigue
your budding Sleuths...

Sunny's Adventures delivers that warmth that only
whispers of childhood could bring forth. The words
upon the page awaken the innocent ramblings and
romping we all shared with our neighborhood
friends on bright sunny days. When our back-
yards were jungles. And time spent with
family baking was a special treat.

Book Specs:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 52 pages
  • Publisher: Jabberwocky Books (June 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980245605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980245608
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.2 inches
  • Author : Leketha Marie Johnson
  • Author website: http://www.sunnysadventures.com/
  • Author's blog entry: New Book - Sunny's Adventures

Sunny's Adventures has 5 chapters, or 5 mystery stories within the main story. Even though the reading level claims to be for 9-12 year olds, I was able to read this to my 5 yr old and it held her attention - with a bit of enthusiasm and voice play on my part.

The main character Sunny, is a young girl, determined to get to the bottom of every mystery that unfolds around her. From missing puppies, to turtles to diamond rings and dolls - she gets the clues and leads her friends to the scene of the crime. And once solved she finds herself a big helping of her grandmother's cake, a tribute to her grandmother's seeming tireless baking.

I especially liked the 3rd chapter "The Mystery of The Cooking Contest", where Sunny and her grandmother enter a pie contest, and the pie ends up missing!

My daughter loved the animals and the fact that this girl was solving mysteries by putting the clues together and baking too.

There are quizzes at the end of the 5 chapters to encourage critical thinking, and my 5 yr old was pretty excited to come up with the answers.

There are black and white illustrations throughout the book that are very whimsical and kid friendly. My daughter couldn't get enough viewing them and connecting them with the words being read in parts of the story.


Sunny's Adventures is a wonderful children's mystery which celebrates the joys of baking with family and the value of friendships. Your children from ages 5yrs+ will delight in following Sunny on her journey to find clues and solve each mystery, all aided with whimsical illustrations, and chapter specific quizzes which will stimulate your child's critical thinking and problems solving abilities.

The view expressed here are mine & mone alone. I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Parent Reviewers on behalf of Leketha Marie Johnson. In addition, I received copy of Sunny's Adventured in exchange for my honest feedback.Please read more about Renaissance Culinaire's Disclosure Policy

21 August 2008

Stand by Your Brand - Forget Deals and Buy Eco-Friendly 19

Mannequin in the market by antwerpenR
Mannequin in the market by antwerpenR
I am constantly pricing everything. Constantly doing a price comparison. When you are a parent that is a given. When the economy has taken a bit of a turn you will expect most people to do this also. In general everyone loves to get a deal.

Besides the deals then comes a responsibility. Do I forget deals and purchase brands or with merchants who are eco-friendly? As time goes by I am thinking further about mine and the merchant's global impact on the environment.

I am not the only one - green products and services are at the fore front of most retailers minds as this eco-friendly mindset continues to grow into a global movement.With such emphasis on finding ways to be eco-friendly, shopping for name brand companies that are known for quality products that also have eco-friendliness in mind is a definite plus.

simply, alone by batintherain
simply, alone by batintherain

Beautiful Camera by Evil Erin
Recently I have been looking into products that I can feel better about purchasing. One of these searches has involved pricing cameras. I am looking to purchase a new camera because my old one has been having issues and possibly the sensor is broken. I have thought long and hard whether buying a more advanced camera is worth the investment. I feel that it is the right decision.

I am very passionate about photography and I am more inspired by food when I have pictures. If I am to start seriously food blogging, a good camera is worth it's weight in gold.

One of the sites I found through pricing cameras is Super Warehouse. As I looked around at the other products they offer, I was pretty impressed at the site in general. There are some great prices on electronics. You can easily navigate throughout the site , there are both a dynamic drop down menu sorted by categories, and text links plus a logo directory of your favorite brand name products. There are consumer buying guides on the site to help you make the most of the site.

Super Warehouse prides itself on featuring the largest selection of big name eco-friendly electronics such as Apple laptops , HP scanners , Brother laser printers and a vast variety of other color laser printers. Boasting 50,000 retail products available to consumers 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.

On further investigation, I found out this company was started in 1997 by Russell Schneider out of his 2 bedroom apartment. Russell wanted to provide customer service that would go above and beyond what customers expected. 10 years later and 16 warehouses strong, his business can deliver to most places in 1-2 business days.

Super Warehouse is committed to only sell products they can feel good about. I am really impressed about this companies background and their commitment to customer service and the ideals associated with the go green movement.

The views expressed here are mine and mone alone. I wrote this website review while participating in a blog tour  by Parent Reviewers on behalf of Super Warehouse. I received a gift-card  in exchange for my honest feedback. Please read more about Renaissance Culinaire's Disclosure Policy.

14 August 2008

This Blog Has A Comment Form 8

This blog is still revealing it's self. Slowly emerging into something I can be proud of. If it seems like I have put the food writing and blog writing on hold it is because of all the stuff going on right now. Unfortunately due to the nature of all of it, it is far too personal to throw it out to the web. If you follow me on twitter you might wonder, well you pretty much tweet about everything else in your life - why not shout out what's all happening?

These things have no words I think that would encompass what I truly feel, and might come off as cheapened if I blog about them. It would be like setting my troubles on a balance scale and match them against a million much more tragic events happening to the masses.

Because of these happenings I will be working on slowly getting back up to speed in the world of foodie postings. Bare with me.

In the meantime I wanted to update everyone on some of the new features to Renaissance Culinaire. I have been working hard to tweak this blogger template to the very max of it's capabilities.

I have added a comment form! No more redirects to blogger - if you want to comment on a post, you can now do it on my blog under the post, in a comment form - similar to wordpress blogs. The comments will still be moderated by me, same as usual. But hopefully having a comment form spawns a new influx of commenting people for this blog. Comments are also displayed in a recent comments widget on the sidebar.

Above is a picture. You can find out how to add a comment form to your own blogger blog here.

So not only have I made it easier for you to comment, but I will featuring the best comments w/ link to your profile /blog in a comment carnival, similar to this former post: Reader Comment Carnival. So what are you waiting for, grab yourself some blogger karma - give me some comment love, it encourages me to keep writing.

There are allot of useful archived posts, so poke around.

04 August 2008

Product Review: I-Spy Memory Game 20

Many occasions on long car trips you may have played I-spy as a child or now play it with your children or grandchildren. Calling out the familiar phrase "I spy with my little eye...", hoping to baffle those trying to figure out what exactly it is that you do spy. Then the triumphant "I know ..." was sounded, signaling your "secret" spy is no longer a riddle any longer, and all at once you are out a turn at spying, and your role becomes the questioning, searching finder.

I Spy Memory Game by Briarpatch captures the thrill of those car games, and magically condenses that spirit into card sized fun.

When I first received this game, I opened the box and was surprised that the cards were not pre-cut. There are sheets of thick card stock that you must push the scored cards out of. The process over all was not to tedious, and my 5 yr old daughter enjoyed seeing what I would pop out next. While doing this I noticed that there were two types of cards:

  1. Elaborate Image cards with a blue text background on the bottom.(Memory Cards)
  2. Text cards with a red text background on the bottom (Riddle Cards)
These cards are important because there are different options to play the game, depending on your player's skill levels in reading.

If the player is not skilled at reading there is an option to play with just the memory cards themselves. The instructions have a detailed list of images you are looking for to match in pairs, to be read off before the game is started.

This is the option we opted for, as my daughter isn't quite at reading confidently yet, as she will be starting kindergarten this fall.

It seemed a bit overwhelming for my 5 yr old at first, she was really exited to just get to the playing of the game, but once she found her first match she really took to the game. In fact she got the most matches between me and my husband combined.

We all enjoyed this time as a family, and our youngest toddler even got into the spirit of things by holding onto my "matches" pile.

If you are playing with older players who are skilled at reading then the riddle cards will come into play.There are 8 options total to play this game. You are also encouraged to make up your own riddles.

Game Specs:

Number of Players: 1-6
Age range: 5 yrs to Adult

Contents :
  • 60 Memory Cards
  • 15 Riddle Cards
  • Game Instructions
Game Play:
  • Option to play memory matching with younger players who aren't proficient at reading.
  • Riddles included for older players who are skilled at reading.
  • 8 ways to play this game total
  • Cards are made with very heavy grade matte card stock
  • Images are lively and well done
  • Instructions are very detailed.
  • Riddles are quick to grab players interest.
  • Briarpatch will replace missing game pieces w/ description and $1.00 to cover shipping costs.
  • I Spy was awarded a Parent's Choice Gold Award.
Over all I would say that this game is a real gem. It promises to create a fun environment for your friends and family. I spy encourages attention to detail while stimulating creativity and problem solving abilities. Fun for all ages. I would highly recommend I Spy.

03 August 2008

Products, Services or Website Reviews 2

Here are a variety of reviews that have been featured on Renaissance Culinaire.

Cooking & Entertaining Related


Dish-ware / Bakeware

Cooking Novetly / Childrens Items
Cleaning Tools & Products
Websites / Services

Edible Products

Family / Children Related:


Clothing , Toiletries & Accessories
Websites / Service


 Children's Products
Clothing & Accessories
Household Cleaners
Household Related
Websites & Services

Household (General):

Cleaning Tools & Products

General Book Reviews:

Guides / How To

Request a Review:

If you have a product or service that you would like reviewed on this site - please read the About Us page, and look over Renaissance Culinaire's Disclosure Policy , before filling out the contact form.

Alternatively you can email at:

If you like - read more info on my review history.

Baking Theory Notes: Archived 26

Here is a list of archived Baking Theory Notes featured on Renaissance Culinaire. These notes focus on the chemistry and properties of different ingredients and their relationship to baking. This page will be updated as more theory notes are added.

Dessert Costing : Banana Strawberry Torte
Mixing Geekdom
Fermentation Chemistry
Proof boxes / Hints for new Bakers
Chemical Leavening &
Dough Strengtheners

Dough Preparation &

Functions of Eggs
Dairy Products Used in Baking
Other Flours
Bread Troubleshooting
Bread Baking
Salt & Yeast
Wheat / Flour

Tutorials 16

Here is a list of popular tutorials on Renaissance Culinaire. Here you can learn step-by-step instructions on a variety of foodie related things. This page will be updated as more tutorials are added.

Learn How TO:

  • Reverse Macro w/ A Digital Camera

  • Procedure For Tuile Stencil Cookies

  • Make A Simple Proofbox for Home Use

  • Use Greasemonkey Scripts for Culinary

  • Make Shortbread Tarts

  • Shape Croissants

  • Make Chocolate Croissants

  • Make Great Pate a Choux

  • Be A Successful Baker

  • Find The Sex of a Dungenous Crab

  • Maintian Your Rolling Pin

  • Sheet Croissant Dough

  • Eliminate "Black Holes" in Food Photography Pics

  • Make your own Praline Paste 

  • Beat Cooking Anxiety!

  • Beat hunger in America ~ Find a Food Pantry in your area!

  • Women: Learn how you can be awarded a photography scholarship of your dreams!

  • How to find Edible Mushrooms in Oregon

  • Get your face or company logo on M&Ms

  • How to get the best food shots with a basic digital camera

  • Groups to join if you love food or are a foodie

  • Turn your kitchen into a licensed home bakery Part #1, and Part #2

  • These tutorials are written by me and are original content. These tutorials may not be reproduced without my permission.

    Commercial Baking Formulas 29

    Here is a list of commercial baking formulas that have been featured on Renaissance Culinaire. These formulas are meant to be used in a professional kitchen or bakery. These formulas include step by step procedure notes with the aid of pictures. The formulas have instructions for reducing the volume for home use. This page will be updated as new formulas are featured.

  • Americanized Pumpernickel Bread

  • Croissant with a starter

  • Wussel Bread

  • Seven Grain Bread

  • Lemon curd /Lemon Tarts/ Authentic Scottish shortbread

  • Callebaut Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

  • Pumpkin Crunch coffee Cake

  • Pate A Choux , Éclairs & Cream Puffs revisited

  • Tuile Cookies Curls

  • Short Dough Cookies

  • Praline Paste

  • Dessert Costing : Banana Strawberry Torte

  • Scratch Italian Puff Pastry

  • Commercial Cinnamon & Sugar (for cinnamon rolls, breads etc.)

  • These formulas are not to be republished or distributed without my permission. All images are copyrighted.

    Recipes for Yeast Raised Breads 9

    Here are a list of bread formulas featured on Renaissance Culinaire. These are commercial baking formulas, but have instructions on how to reduce for home use. This site will continue to be updated as more formulas are added.

  • Americanized Pumpernickel Bread

  • Wussel Bread (a form of french)

  • Seven Grain Bread

  • Recipes for Cakes and Tortes 22

    Here is a list of cake & torte recipes featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as new recipes are featured.

  • Black Forest Cherry Gateau

  • Dessert Costing : Banana Strawberry Torte

  • Recipes for Quick Breads 5

    Here is a list of quick bread recipes featured on Renaissance Culinaire

  • Pumpkin Crunch coffee Cake

  • Recipes for Vegetables 30

    Here is a list of vegetable recipes featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as more recipes are added.

  • Wasabi Asparagus Shitake Spring rolls

  • Curried Asparagus

  • Gruyere and Asparagus Souffle

  • Watermelon Gazpacho

  • Tomatillo - Avocado Salsa

  • Mango-Ginger Salsa

  • Tomatillo - Avocado Salsa

  • Recipes for Stuffing 5

    Here are some stuffing recipes featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as time goes by and new recipes are added.

  • Porchini Scented Stuffing w/ Cranberries

  • Recipes for Seafood 15

    Here is a listing of recipes for seafood that have been featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as new recipes are added.

  • Mango-Crab Spring rolls

  • Orange marinated Fish Fillets w/ Carrots

  • Recipes for Souffles 4

    Here is a list of recipes for souffles featured on Renaissance Culinaire. As time goes on this page will be updated as recipes are added.

  • Gruyere and Asparagus Souffle

  • Chocolate Souffles w/ orange white chocolate sauce

  • Recipes for Savory Salsas and Sauces 7

    Here is a listing of all the savory salsas and sauces featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as recipes are added.

  • Green Tea Sesame Sauce

  • Sweet & Sour Chili Sauce

  • Tomatillo - Avocado Salsa

  • Mango-Ginger Salsa

  • Lime-Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

  • Recipes for Muffins Scones and Pastries 7

    Here is a list of muffin and pastry formulas that have been featured on Renaissance Culinaire. Some of these formulas are commercial baking formulas that can be reduced for home use. This page will continue to be updated as more recipes are added.

    Thanks Darwin Bell For Use of his Photo.

  • Fresh Fruit Napoleons with Blackberry Curd

  • Banana - Rum Napoleons

  • Croissant with a starter

  • Hot Pepper Gingerbread Muffins with Orange-Maple Butter

  • Gulab Jamun | Indian Sweets

  • Pate A Choux , Éclairs & Cream Puffs revisited

  • Callebaut Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

  • Crispies (Italian puff pastry based, similar tasting as American Elephant Ear)

  • Scratch Italian Puff Pastry

  • Cookie Recipes 49

    Here is a list of cookie formulas I have featured on Renaissance Culinaire. Some are commercial baking formulas that can be reduced for home use. This page will continue to be updated as I add more recipes.

    Espresso Shortbread by Claire Sutton

  • Sunflower Pops - Peanut Butter Cookies (has *Vegan / Vegitarian notes)
  • Tuile Cookies Curls
  • Short Dough Cookies
  • Recipe: Italian Turdilli
  • Authentic Scottish shortbread

  • Recipes for Frostings, Fillings and Icings 3

    Here are variety of formulas for frostings, fillings or icings that have been featured on Renaissance Culinaire. This page will continue to be updated as recipes are added.

    Vegan & Vegitarian Friendly Recipes 9

    These recipes have either had vegan/vegetarian conversions or have notations on how to create vegan / vegetarian friendly versions from the recipe provided.

    This page will continue to be updated as I add more recipes.

    Directory Of Poetry 24

    This is a listing of all my poetry. These poems are all original, written by me at different times within the last 15 years. The food poems are the most recent. Please read them and if you enjoyed them - please comment. Your comments encourage me to keep creating.

    This page will continue to be updated with new poems added.

    These poems are NOT to be reproduced in any form - without my permission in writing.

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