Slow Fires by Justin Smillie Recipe Book Review 5/5 ☆

Slow Fires, Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill by Justin Smillie, chef of Upland with Kitty Greenwald


To the point: You can find at least one year of culinary courses captured in this book. The cooking methods are explained in detail along with what meats work for that method, why and how to do it.

Review: Let’s be upfront here, I’m not a meat lover. I eat poultry and rarely venture from that. I don’t like the taste, health concerns, and price that comes with other meat. So why the great rating?

I love how educational this book is. It treats cooking meats like a fine art. It also explains every instruction to the most minute detail. There’s also a vegetable section! The recipes are gorgeous. They aren’t for the faint of heart. There are recipes for every type of meat from whole pigs to cod fish, oxtails and duck. I’ve never even considered roasting a duck never mind reviewing a book telling me how to do it.

With all that said I know any meat lover would love this book. I still love it for entertaining and especially holidays. Just because I eat poultry doesn’t mean everyone else wants to eat it every time they see me. Some of these recipes are awe-inducing and will impress anyone you’re hosting.


I recommend this cookbook to people who have time to cook. If you’re looking to make something absolutely amazing and restaurant-worthy, then this book is for you.

Slow Fires, Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill by Justin Smillie, chef of Upland with Kitty Greenwald. Clarkson Potter (November 3, 2015). 320 pages. Cooking methods: Meat. I received this from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Get your copy here >

Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill

Health Magazines: Which Ones Are Worth It?

I’ve had quite a bunch of magazine subscriptions (some I have received for free and decided to review while others I subscribe to myself). Some of these “health” magazines blow my mind and amaze me. I read them and learn things about the world, myself and how to treat or take care of myself. Others fall short, giving advice on how to make men like me or what men are looking for in a woman – all the while just enforcing the oldest forms of oppression women have faced.

It’s not just about politics for me, don’t take this the wrong way. Some magazines have really good advice and leave positive feelings while others may give the impression that as you are is simply not enough, whether it is something you can or cannot change.

I’m all about improvement – I strive to improve something about myself everyday. It’s the point of life for me, learn and be better, do better. But I also emphasize, to be happier. You need to feel good about yourself and who you are while on the path to keep growing.

So here’s my round-up of magazines I have had a subscription to for at least a year.

20150820_145737-1Prevention: I know it’s a little pricey but these magazines are jam-packed with positive information. The purpose of this magazine is to give you information that can positively impact your life without leaving you with the feeling that you need to be something else. Prevention Magazine is about being healthy, happy and positive. Just as the cover article to the left says, “Stress Eater? 10 Snacks You’ll Love,” the articles don’t place shame or guilt for being a certain way, they just offer advice that works with who you are and improves unhealthy to healthy. Any beauty advice is geared to make you feel better about yourself, not make other people think you’re more attractive (because duh! you’re already beautiful).

What else do I love? They have healthy recipes that are usually pretty natural which means they can fit my families high restrictive diet due to intolerance.

There are less advertisements than larger magazines so don’t let the small size fool you – there’s a ton of information and unlike other popular magazines they don’t recycle articles – printing the same information more than once a year. Also, there isn’t any PhotoShopping since there are hardly images of people or celebrities.

20150820_142502-1Yoga Magazine: Yes, it’s a magazine for yoga and I’m aware not everyone does yoga. This magazine is full of healthy advice, healthy recipes and healthy exercises (so simple anyone can do them, I do them with my toddlers!). It is a calm magazine and everything in it is calm, the exercises, the recipes even the advertisements (which there aren’t too many). They only advertise healthy products unlike the last few magazines on this list. So you can be sure everything this magazine is trying to sell you is actually good for your health. This magazine constantly stresses being happy in your own skin, loving yourself and being positive. I actually love this magazine and keep every single one I get. All the women and men – even in their yoga poses – don’t look PhotoShopped. You can see the crinkle when they are bending, boobs are natural at any size, and the body is loved for how it looks, still and in motion. Even 6 pack abs get a roll when they bend over, you need that roll to stand up straight.

Natural Health: Unfortunately this magazine was bought out by a competitor and print copies were discontinued. This completely broke my heart. Natural Health magazine is where I went for a source of how to make your own make-up, cleaning supplies, or natural non-toxics for any toxic counterparts. They only advertised products that stood behind the “Health Matters” mission. They might still have online editions coming out but like I said, it’s a new company and I don’t know how well the magazine will pull through the transition. I’m not going to go too in depth about this one even though I think it’s the perfect mix of Fitness and Yoga and Prevention because I can no longer get it. And I don’t want to make people want it if they can’t get it any longer either.

20150820_142415-1Fitness: Fitness Magazine is my neutral magazine. I don’t hate it but I don’t get super excited to see it in the mailbox. It is still on the positive side of the range. There are exercises that to make you healthier (with the perks of looking more fit). There are ads more than the above magazines and sometimes they aren’t in line with the Fitness mission.

Fitness Magazine is the improved, actually healthy version of Shape Magazine. You aren’t going to hate yourself after reading Fitness, but it’s lacking the motivation to change yourself within so the work on the outside lasts and you make real-life changes.

If you’re looking for something focused on exercises – this is your magazine. It’s the most positive magazine focused on losing weight and becoming more athletic. If you have a strong self-image and are getting healthier for yourself – this one is perfect for you. I actually love this as a supplement to Prevention Magazine or Yoga Magazine. It gives me more exercise ideas after all the positive work I do with my confidence and quality of life or living habits.

20150820_142405-1Shape: I tried so hard to like Shape Magazine. I just couldn’t. They do a lot to encourage healthy living but they’re all about losing weight, better sex, looking good. It’s all about looks. It’s all about how the outside world sees you. No matter how good you look on the outside if there isn’t anything good on the inside – you will never be happy. It’s not so much about natural health as it is “here’s a goal – get to it”. I’m just not into that. There’s no point in losing extra weight to me if you’re doing it so other people don’t see you as “fat”. Lose the weight because it’s good for your health. You’ll look and feel better as a side effect.

Hello Photoshop, everywhere in this magazine. It’s like the “Let’s Exercise” version of Cosmo. A lot of pages but nothing with enough substance to stick and be long lasting. All surface. All telling women we are taken at face-value.

20150820_142312-1Women’s Health: I thought I liked Women’s Health and even got my SO a subscription to Men’s Health. Then the more I received the more I realized that these magazines were giving me the same information or “advice” over and over. The amount of advertisements are ridiculous. The advice leaves feelings of shame and guilt and unworthiness. I was so disappointed once I realized the comparison of this to the rest of the magazines on this list. For such a popular magazine to encourage stereotypes of women and discourage breaking societal oppression of women (all we’re good for is cleaning and having babies and number 1 priority is what our bodies look like). When discovering this blindness I decided to look into the magazines I was getting my SO. I flapped it open randomly and found an advice section where men send in their questions. One question was about how this guy’s new girlfriend didn’t like how he had a lot of friends who were girls and he had flirty relationships with them (or past sexual relationships). A woman from the magazine responded with the advice that “she’s controlling, dump her now” or here’s the best part – she told him to change their names in his phone so his girlfriend doesn’t argue with him or just lock his phone and talk to them when his girlfriend isn’t around him. No wonder women complain about the same things, men are getting fed mass advice that is TERRIBLE. If she had been a professional who could give proper advice she may have suggested asking the girlfriend what her concerns were and discussing the subject like adults. Bravo Men’s Health. In the trash it went, what a waste of a tree.

PhotoShop is also beloved by Women’s Health and all its advertiser’s. There is nothing natural or encouraging about these magazines.

Other Magazines so low on my list I’ve thrown them out as quickly as I get them: Cosmopolitan. Unfortunately, after years of following Cosmo I grew to realize that after collecting their magazines, a lot of them have the same information. Even worse, most of it is geared on how to make men happier, make men want us more – stop “nagging”, give more oral, let him flirt, anything virtual isn’t cheating, fake youth with plastic surgery because aging isn’t okay to men, lots of make up to cover yourself up and exercise because he doesn’t like cellulite. Full of ads, things we don’t need and won’t make us feel better about ourselves. Terrible relationship advice and even worse confidence advice.

I’ll keep you guys updated on my magazine choices of course. Guess what! Grouon has a great magazine deal going on if you guys want to look up some of the magazines I’ve mentioned.

What about you? What magazines have you found to make you happy? Let me know in the comments below!