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BITE ME. A Cookbook Review and Giveaway

Not everything should be taken so seriously. Really. It’s something I’m diligently working on applying to my life. I have a tendency to take everything so seriously. Friends poke fun at me because they say I have no sense of humor.

Ha. I definitely lost my funny bone somewhere along the process. But, my younger sister, who happens to be a Dr. and whose profession is no where near as laid back as mine (at least not these days) has all the funny a girl can have. And the boys love it! She has a joke for everything and whips up the wittiest answers with impeccable timing.

Me? Not so much. The irony is that our striking opposite personalities creates a great balance and works extremely well in almost any situation we’re in. I’m the creative one. She’s the strategic one. I’m over-emotional. She’s practical.  She loves to be a student of the body and those things (and the like). I like to be a student of global affairs, food, fashion and music. She loves sneakers. You KNOW how I love stilettos. She’s the one that manipulates her body into a child’s colorful and plastic cart at the grocery store and peddles her way through the aisles. I’m the one begging her to get out and walk like a normal adult. She likes to pretend she’s Beavis and Butthead when going through drive-throughs. I sit in the passenger seat with a blank stare. I like to get fancy when cooking at home. She rolls her eyes and begs to just have a simple, uncomplicated meal — one of mami’s recipes.

We couldn’t be more different but have the clearest understanding of each other.

The beauty of our relationship resonated when I received a copy of “BITE ME, A Stomach-Satisfying Visually Gratifying, Fresh Mouthed”, cookbook written by sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. Their compilation of 175 easy, go-to recipes are inspired by their interpretation of what cooking is supposed to be– fun and full of joy!

And sometimes cheeky.

Lisa’s a skilled chef and likes to create beautiful and well-thought meals but is a self-proclaimed homebody. She was crafty and creative, always needing to be in the kitchen. Julie on the other hand, only went near the stove when it was time to feed the family. But, there are more elements of her that parallel both me and my sis: she’s all about the  music, entertaining in and out of the ktichen and a freelance writer. Less structure in her world, seems like, but with lots of laughter and great fun.

Their different skills brought them closer and allowed them to collaborate in writing a book that highlights each personality. Their goal was to bring the funny and ease to cooking. Blast the radio while you’re whipping is the impression I gathered while I flipped through the colorful and very jovial book. A lot of the food art incorporates playful iconography, probably reminiscent of their childhood. Some recipes are also prefaced with Q & A sections where the Q is so ridiculous that the A can only  be even more astounding. But in a funny way. Others start with a witty para about how the recipe was created.

It’s clear one was responsible for the recipe development while the other did the attractive, “buy me now” aspect of the book. While a lot of the recipes are basic to everyday homes, they were laid out in an uncomplicated manner that’s inviting and takes away the “chore” of cooking.

Naturally, as I read the book and visualized the love between this chica duo, I thought about  all the convo’s Dr. sis and I’ve had debating over what project we could successfully execute as a team. A cookbook is far from realistic options (though we do have some super sexy yet  practical inventions brewing). We have two very distinct palates and we’d never come to any kind of formidable agreement on what ingredient should go in what.

But, there were two recipes in particular that I know we’d have no qualms over if we decided to cook together: Deliciously Delectable Pecan Pie and Grilled Swordfish with Olive Relish. We both love fish and we both love to eat sweets; sis being the baker among the two!

(Swordfish with Olive Relish)

Go figure.

BITE ME isn’t the kind of book to be taken too seriously. It’s not the cookbook you pull out to become a Master Chef or even best home cook ever. But, it is a book to pull out when you and your sis or you and girlfriends what to celebrate each other, want to laugh uncontrollably as one tries to outdo the other; or you want to taste an undetermined amount of your quirkiness. And surely there’s no better way to do that than by cooking accessible food. Especially when the cooking is organized to be stress-free and the food makes you forget about all of this idiosyncrasies that would have otherwise driven you batty by the end of the kitchen date!

From the two sister’s, here is the pecan pie recipe to fight over. I wonder who ate it after it was photographed!

And, as part of my Latina Smarweekly chatter, we’re giving away some goodies! We’re giving away One (1) $25 Kmart gift card plus a Latina Smart tote with a retail value of $35. Take this chic tote with you when you go to the market… and share with your sis if you’re so inspired.

For now, only U.S. residents are eligible. We still appreciate the love and support!

What you have to do!?! Super simple.

Leave a comment sharing your experience cooking with your sister! And if you’re lucky enough to have sister, what’s the best kitchen experience you’ve had while cooking with a family member that’s proven to represent the complete opposite of your existence!?

Comments will be accepted through next Monday, June 20st. I’ll select 3 winners based on the answer I like best!  No random winners here! Just share a fun story. And all the legal talk I have to impart mean I have to ask you to please read here for Terms and Conditions of the giveaway. Prizes will be satisfied by the lovely people at Latina Smart.

GOOD LUCK and make this pie!



* all images appearing in this post were used with permission by the authors.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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86 thoughts on “BITE ME. A Cookbook Review and Giveaway

  1. Hey, girl, you’re making this old fart of your father all emotional here reading this post. I cannot care less for pecan pie but although you know how I love swordfish in any gastronomic iteration. But you have captured so well those differences that make you two so unique and special… I can’t wait to see you take on that cooperative, joint project, whatever it will be. Go for it!

  2. I have four sisters, which sounds like fun but more often than not is far from it! Four of us are typical Latinas – always working something up in the kitchen. And the other one – well, she can’t even boil water. Some of out funniest kitchen moments are when we are all together, for things like family BBQs, and our noncooking sister is in the kitchen “trying to help.” We give her a hard time for not learning to cook. But having her around when 4 hot blooded Latinas are trying to “work it” in the kitchen is great as she always knows how to tame our fires.

  3. Well I don’t have a sister but cooking with daughter allows both our personalities to shine. I also loved the way you describe your differences with your sister and how they complement each other. Cooking together is one of those times when my daughter and I tend to complement and I don’t overpower.


  4. I don’t have a sister. I have two older brothers. After I married and had my own household, I always enjoyed cooking holiday meals with my mother. We worked together well in the kitchen. and could predict the each others next move so we never crashed or stumbled into each other. My mothers tendency to use shortcuts–like using canned ingredients as part of a recipe used to irk me to no end. I wouldn’t mind that so much now because I sometimes have to do the same when super busy. My Mom passed away on Mothers Day 2010, but that’s another story. Thanks for letting us know about this book, I placed it on my TBR/Wishlist.

  5. David: you’re no old fart! You have a great appetite and should enjoy! I’m not a huge pecan pie fan either but I know sis would love it and would make a killer one! And I know the swordfish is something that rocks your palate! You’ll know when we come up with something lucrative! 😉

    Eliana: Ha. 4 hot latina sisters! I know what this is all about!! Unbelievable and incredibly fun!! how great. Stories to hold for ever.

    3Piece: Thanks, J! And I love the way your daughter bond so well! It’s so beautiful… and that’s the point!

    Rosa: Thanks! And yea, this giveaway is only for US Residents. I forgot to include that, but I will now !:)

    LoriLynn: Yeah that warning is great! Haha. I love the look of the pie thou Im not a fan of them.

    Kitty: So very methodical, eh! I love it. We’re not like that at all. My father is but the rest of us aren’t at all. It kinda just happens. Makes for a good, laughable time. I’m sorry to hear about your mom 🙁 And I hope you get the book. It’s worth the read for sure. Great source to have around when lots of family is coming by to cook off!

  6. Half-way through….I’m brewing up something in my esspresso head about now. You may want to add another project. No sister…but two very different daughters. One who loves to cook and one who needs to stay far away from the kitchen. And she has a toddler….. no more baby food…now she has to attempt to cook….hopefully he will not starve! Love the love you display in this piece. Sounds like a great book to pun over. Love the caution sign…never really loved Pecans or Pecan pie, but you make me want to try it…simply with your wonderful play on words. Swordfish…yum, yum.

  7. Thank you for the giveaway. I don’t have a sister, but I do have two brothers. Best memory cooking with my older brother is making cookies for my dad. Good conversation and it all went smoothly. 🙂 Cooking with family is wonderful.
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

  8. Cooking with my husband has made us closer. We speak about our day while we help each other in the Kitchen. You cant beat that.

  9. I cook with my son (7) and daughter (4) and it’s a lot of fun plus educational for us all. My son is like me, very precise but a little hesitant whereas my daughter just plunges herself into the process with a lot of confidence. We made a Strawberry Rhubarb Irish Crumble last week that came out fantastic! Thanks for the great giveaway . . .

  10. Joi: Im’ with you. need a new project! Working on that now actually ; and it doesn’t involve the kitchen! or cooking! My sis likes to cook but on a much simpler level than I do. And like you, I’ve noted I’m not a huge Pecan Pie fan either but I know my sis would tear it up! 🙂

    Aubrey: oh i love that you make cookies! My dad is so not into that confection, so I’d have to come up with something else sis and I could make it. and lucky you for having boys that like to be in the kitchen. only one of my brothers enjoys cooking as much as I do… though one wanted to be a chef!

    Niurka: FABULOUS! I Love to hear that. My dad is cooking more and more or my mom which is wonderful. He’s all about exploring and wowing her. thanks for sharing.

    Laura: I like the way your daughter approaches cooking. I bet she feels she can cook and dominate anything in the kitchen! She’ll do well! Good luck on giveaway!

  11. Love these recipes! They are great for the summer! My sister and I were born on the same day but we are not twins (unlike my children that are twins). I was born on her Sweet 16th – what a present for her – ME! 🙂 I adore pecan pie & she likes it too but she didn’t like any kind of nuts so every year for the holidays, my Tia makes her pecan-less pie. All the gooey goodness of pecan pie without the pecans! LOL

  12. my favorito pie ese pie de pecan. es tan delicioso que se me hace la boca agua. se ve delicioso. creo que voy a comprar uno ahora mismo! jaja.

  13. mi hija lo que quise decirte que si tengo uno delante de mi me lo como entero por que ese es mi favorito pie

  14. First, I love David’s comment…so sweet! *Wink*
    Next, I want that pecan pie….the whole thing…
    Now, while I don’t have any memories cooking with my sister, I do have memories cooking with you! 🙂 My Latina sister. Truffle ice cream? Again please! 🙂

  15. I’m actually not a fan of pecan pie, it’s kind of too rich for me, but I do like some other pies and that fish looks yummy.
    I do have a sister and we don’t cook together often but she cooks for me and I do for her. My favorite part is to share tips and tricks and learn the way she makes stuff!

  16. Parsley’s Pantry: wow! not the same effect on me, but it is super decadent.

    Joscelyn: I didn’t realize so many people were into pecan pies! I’m not the biggest fan but it is good. As long as you’re creating memories in the kitchen, who cared what we’re making, right!!

    Betty: mima tu puedes creer que yo no sabia que pecan pie era to favorito!! nunca lo compras! te lo voy tener que hacer.

    Chris: isn’t he!?!! 🙂 Thanks for reading it. And we sure do!! I meant to tell you I have an another truffle waiting to be cooked up!!! woo hoo

    Dariela: I love the switching turns. That always works.

    Dullah: Had no idea!

    Sujeiry: hahaha. I feel you on that!

  17. No sister or sibling to speak up, but you know Amir and I cook often together. In fact, we’re planning this weekend’s cookery (Is that a word?). The best part is blasting music, drinking wine and laughing about silly things while we prep what’s guaranteed to be an awesome meal. Pecan pies are one of my FAVES! They are usually way too sweet to finish a whole piece, so a sliver with a little ice cream goes all the way. I just had a great slice in Austin, TX. Yum.

  18. loved the review. I love pecan pies! I will for sure buy this one and i did like the review. I am trying to start my own cookbook review site so i’m trying to read as many reviews as I can to get good ideas.
    chef wade bowlin

  19. Nice post, reminds me of the Top Chef episode where they have to cook with someone but they don’t know is a relative and how hard it was to communicate, but then so nice when they realized who it was…

  20. I don’t have a sister but plenty of beautiful girlfriends. I’ve had the pleasure to cook with a very dear Latina girlfriend/like a sister 😉 she can drive me crazy since I clean as I go and she keeps the kitchen a mess. Great memory! Lol.

  21. Ha!! Your right you don’t have a sense of humor! But you do have a big HEART(that’s just as good). I do agree that cooking should be fun and very relaxed. I would also love to see you and your sis in the kitchen at the same time—TOO FUNNY!

  22. I don’t have any siblings but my Dad is the major cook in the family. Whatever I know about cooking I got from him and he’s still got a lot to teach me, especially when it comes to making Jamaican dishes.

    When he comes to visit, when I make him something to eat I have to ask him how it tastes which he usually responds with “It’s alright”. Oh well, can’t say I didn’t try right? LOL

    BTW that pecan pie looks very sweet. Almost made my tooth hurt. 🙂

  23. DuoDishes: I would agree that the best part is blasting music! I usually play classical music if I’m cooking alone. And yes cookery is a word! 🙂

    Chef Wade: the book is fun for sure! And pecan pie is too sweet but this one looks to die for!

    George: oh cool. i totally missed that episode. i love it. imma have to find it online.

    Simone: you do have beautiful girlfriends! every time you all get together, things go bananas! the drinks, the mess– oh the mess– remind me not to cook in your kitchen! ur so damn meticulous.

    Dullah: oh boo! go somewhere with that. I make you laugh more than you think! I’m glad the book inspired you to cook for me last night! it was soooo good. Yes! now I can take a break.

    Itzel: hahahaha. doesn’t it look sinful? Too much.

    Rohan: i love that you and your dad cook together. my brother’s cook individually but not so much with my dad. it would be fun to see. and yeah, that pecan pie made my tooth hurt, too! but i’d try it.

  24. Ooooo, pie!!!! And pecan is my favorite!!! My sister and I cook together from time to time. I am the more adventurous and creative of the two. However, sometimes you just want a hot meal with no complications or fuss. And she’s happy to oblige as long as I do dessert.

  25. OMG I need to make this pie.

    So here’s the funny thing… my sister and I never really cook together very often because we don’t live nearby each other. And… I’m nearly 4 years older so she spent much of our teen years trying to get out of my shadow – we attended the same high school and she ended up with many of the same teachers I had had. They expected she’d be a lot like me, but we’re complete opposites. Sometimes I think she purposely did things opposite of my interests to prove she was a different person, and so she never really asked for help or wanted to talk about any interests we DID have in common.
    But fast forward to adulthood: she text messages me really random questions about ingredients or asking where to get certain things sometimes. I finally recently mentioned it to my mom, and it turns out that my sister religiously reads my food blog and makes a lot of my recipes at home! This past weekend her questions seemed more random than usual so I told my mom and said I thought it was strange. Well, guess what? She was attempting to make my taquitos de pollo recipe that I made for a family dinner at her house a few months ago and she was trying to find it on my blog. It isn’t on my blog, so obviously she couldn’t find it. She had called mom to ask about the ingredients but didn’t know where to buy a few things. I’m happy at least to know she is making my recipes–and even if she’s hiding it from me, I’m just glad to know she and I can be connected in the kitchen even if it’s not side by side! 🙂

  26. Hello B,

    It’s so funny because my sister turned me on to this website. We are always talking about Cuban food and Cuban desserts of course. It’s what we love to do.(Cook & Eat) Before I moved to another city we baked Cookies for Christmas every year. Experimented in the kitchen on what we were going to reinvent that year. Our family being cubans they just couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into our tasty treats.

    We would start early the Day before Christmas Eve because you know that Christmas Eve is when we all get together with family to stuff our face with delicious Cuban roast pork, black beans,flan, etc.

    With all of our ingrediants that we would collect during the year calling each other up and conjuring up some kind of cookie recipe to try. We just couldn’t wait to get started. My kitcheh countertops would be covered with all kinds of candy,nuts, flour, butter…u get the point. Back too when we would start-early that day baking batch after batch and baking thru the nite. taking turns napping in between batches. the mourning of Eve we didn’t look so hot but our cookies were off the hook. Pretty baskits and containers wrap in pretty Christmas colors. Ohh so Beautiful. I just loved it.

    Well since I’ve moved and she’s working and going to school to become a Pastry Chef. We don’t have that sister time as much. We still call each other up we find some new ingrediant to try. She’s an amazing Sister…I love her for being just the way she is. Believe it or not we are 10yrs apart but love to cook together.

    I remember when our Mother bought an Easy bake oven and she came out of her room w/ Chocolate frosted cake that was so delish…she was only 8 years old. I was like “Hell No”

    I Love my Sister for being such an amazing person and great cook.

    Marlene Cooley
    “Let Them Eat Flan”

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