05 June 2010

Weekend Cooking: Review and Giveaway of SOS! by Aviva Goldfarb

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Lately, I've been hearing the same thoughts over and over again concerning making dinner: It seems that everyone wants healthful meals but no one wants to spend a lot of time or money to make them. Aviva Goldfarb has the answers.

I have been a fan of Aviva's for a number of years now. I own her first cookbook, The Six O'Clock Scramble, and I have subscribed to her weekly online service of the same name, which gives you a week's worth of easy, tasty, and healthful meals. Keep on reading because one lucky reader will win both the new cookbook and a 3-month subscription to Aviva's online recipe service.

I'm also excited that Aviva will be a guest here on Beth Fish Reads next Thursday. Don't miss her guest post.

Her newest cookbook is SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, and, as the subtitle says, it is full of Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families. Aviva starts out by introducing herself and the philosophy behind her recipes and the book. She is a strong believer in buying local and cooking with fresh ingredients when possible.

SOS! is organized by season, and each section starts out with five suggested weekly menus. A table of contents groups the recipes by type and provides prep and cooking times. Each section opener is printed on green paper, so it is easy to turn right to each part. The index is well organized, so you can find recipes that way too.

Throughout the cookbook, there are boxes with tips on a variety of topics such as how to use ingredients, how to be a smarter shopper, and how to store foods. You'll also find information about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, introducing your kids to new foods, and even how to compost.

Okay, so what about the recipes? The flavors you'll find in SOS! range from Cuban to Indonesian, Greek, Mexican, Italian, and Asian. Each recipe includes prep time and cooking time. Almost all of the recipes can be made and cooked in 30 minutes, although some, like meat loaf, may take just a few minutes to prepare but require an hour or so to cook or bake. Included with each recipe is also nutritional information for the main dish and for the suggested side dish.

All the recipes I looked at used easy to find ingredients and required only basic cooking skills. One of the things I love about Aviva's recipes is that she provides extra information at the end of each one. You'll find tips, side dish suggestions, slow cooker or microwave instructions, and "flavor boosters" (for those of us who like a bit of spice). A lot of the meat dishes come with vegetarian options.

The only complaint I have about SOS! is that it was incredibly difficult to choose a recipe to share with you. Here are some of the recipes I considered:
  • Rosemary-Lemon Pork Chops with Yogurt-Feta Sauce
  • Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Garlic-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Warm Pasta Salad with Arugula or Spinach,
  • Thai Sweet-and Sour Chicken Wraps
  • Santa Fe–Style Beef Stew
I decided to share a vegetarian dish because several of my readers were looking for bean-based meals the other day. Here's a winner:

Mango and Black Bean Salad

Prep + Cook = 20 minutes + 10 minutes to 24 hours to chill (optional)
Serves 6
  • ¾–1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (2 cups prepared)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1–1½ cups fresh or frozen mango, cut in ½-inch chunks
  • ¼ sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalla, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup scallions, green parts only, or chives, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only (2–3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 6 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas for serving (optional)
Cook the rice according to the package directions. Remove it from the heat immediately when it is done cooking. (If you want to serve the salad immediately rather than waiting for it to chill, put the rice in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool it.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, mango, onions, scallions, lime juice, and cilantro. Combine the cooled rice with the ingredients in the large bowl, season it with the salt, and toss it gently. Chill it for at least 10 minutes (an hour or more is ideal) and up to 24 hours. (Meanwhile prepare the side dish.)

Serve the salad on its own or wrapped in large lettuce leaves or a warm tortilla or both, topped with sliced avocado (see side dish), if desired.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Stir in fresh cilantro and serve the salad with spicy salsa.

Tip: If you don't like raw onions, saute them first until they are lightly browned. If you have picky eaters, put some of the beans and rice aside before combining the rest of the ingredients and let them have simple black bean and rice burritos with mango on the side.

Side Dish Suggestion: Peel and slice 2 to 4 avocados and sprinkle them with 1 to 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about 1 teaspoon per avocado) and ⅛ to ½ teaspoon salt (⅛ teaspoon per avocado). (Or mash the avocados with the juice and salt to make a guacamole.)


Now for the giveaway part! I'm really excited about this fabulous giveaway. One lucky reader from the U.S. or Canada will not only win a copy of SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue but will also win a 3-month subscription ($19.50 value) to Aviva's Six-O'Clock Scramble program, an online dinner-planning service (click the link for more information). This is a terrific service—I know because I've been a subscriber in the past. Each week you get seven main-dish recipes, each with side dishes and tips. And all are healthful, easy, tasty, and fast. Truly you don't want to miss out on this.

Here's how to enter the giveaway: Just leave a comment stating that you want to enter the giveaway and be sure to leave an email address; if I can't contact you, you can't win. Winners must have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address. I'll pick a winner via a random-number generator in the morning of June 19.


Nevey Berry 6/5/10, 6:48 AM  

I would love to enter the giveaway :)

Name: Nevey Berry

VeryVeenBerry (at) Gmail (dot) Com

Kay 6/5/10, 7:39 AM  

I'd love to be entered in the giveaway.


Beth 6/5/10, 7:47 AM  

I would love to enter: 990square [at] gmail [dot] com!

and this week for Weekend Cooking, I have a classic early summer pie--strawberry rhubarb!

Molly 6/5/10, 7:52 AM  

I have not heard of this book or concept - but I LOVE it and will definitely check it, whether I this wonderful giveaway opportunity or not :)

Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

Julie P. 6/5/10, 8:03 AM  

Please don't enter me, but I want to share that I have her first cookbook and it has a ton of healthy, flavorful recipes.

stiletto storytime 6/5/10, 8:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
stiletto storytime 6/5/10, 8:18 AM  

Sounds great..I am always needing new recipe ideas that are quick and healthy with a toddler around! Thanks for the giveaway!


bermudaonion 6/5/10, 8:27 AM  

This cookbook sounds wonderful to me and I'm not trying to please any kids when I cook. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Lesa 6/5/10, 8:36 AM  

I love the idea of a cookbook done by seasons. Please enter me in the giveaway.

Lesa Holstine

Suzanne 6/5/10, 9:05 AM  

I don't have kids that need pleasing, but I do have a husband who is a VERY fussy eater. The cookbook and service subscription would be a big help -- please enter me in the giveaway;

Sandy Nawrot 6/5/10, 9:26 AM  

You know I love to cook, but my biggest issue is the kids and their activities. Sometimes I don't get home until 6 or later, and am expected to pull something together. I love the crock pot, I love things I can prep ahead of time, and I love quick yummy meals! So I am all over this one. I will take any help I can get. Thanks Candace!

rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

Jill 6/5/10, 9:26 AM  

I haven't heard of this author, but I'm intrigued! I'd love to win a copy...!


Beachreader 6/5/10, 9:52 AM  

Thanks for the great give away and the recipe. I have been looking for a new salad recipe to take to our end-of-the-school-year luncheon.
Please enter me in the giveaway.


S. Krishna 6/5/10, 10:01 AM  

This cookbook sounds amazing! You're right, it's totally up my alley and what I've been looking for. I'm definitely adding her to my preferred cookbook author list. And I'd love to be entered in the giveaway.

skrishna [at] skrishnasbooks [dot[ com

Heather 6/5/10, 10:10 AM  

HI Beth, please enter me for the contest. The book looks great. I checked but my local store doesn't have any in stock, so its on my wish list. in the mean time I will try that recipe out tomorrow. The flavours sound yummy.

heatherdpear at hotmail dot com

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove 6/5/10, 11:32 AM  

Hi Beth!

Please enter me in the giveaway! It sounds like a cookbook that would work great for our family!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Andi 6/5/10, 11:40 AM  

This sounds fantastic! We've been making a concerted effort to eat at home almost exclusively (usually eat out as a family once a week) in order to eat healthier foods and conserve money. This sounds like just the cookbook for us!

Andi 6/5/10, 11:42 AM  

OH, and I absolutely want to enter the giveaway. E-mail addy: andi(dot)miller(at)gmail(dot)com!

Margot at Joyfully Retired 6/5/10, 11:51 AM  

What a great idea to combine the basic requirements for so many of us in one book. I've used a subscription service in the past and they are so useful. I'd love to win this one.

margot dot peck at gmail dot com

Amy 6/5/10, 12:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy 6/5/10, 12:08 PM  

This book looks great! I'd love to be considered for the contest. I'm always looking for healthful, easy-to-make meals. Thanks for sharing!

amyliz2008 {at} gmail {dot} com

Nise' 6/5/10, 12:59 PM  

Looks great! Kid-pleasing is not my problem it's hubby that is the picky eater!

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/5/10, 1:25 PM  

My sons are home from college and now I have to cook most nights. This would be perfect for me!

Thanks for the opportunity-


Esme 6/5/10, 3:42 PM  

Beth do sign me up please. thanks

chocolate and croissants at yahoo . com

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 6/5/10, 3:48 PM  

I love the six-o'clock-scramble!

My friend, Sue, got the email subscriptions several years ago and introduced me to the concept then. I haven't seen the cookbooks, but I'd love to try this out. "Scramble" is a nice word for the whirlwind that usually happens around here at dinnertime!

dawn [at] sheIsTooFondOfBooks [dot] com

JoAnn 6/5/10, 4:13 PM  

This sounds wonderful! Please enter me in the draw. Will be looking forward to the guest post on Thursday. I love black beans, so will definitely give this recipe a try, too.

PeachyTO 6/5/10, 6:35 PM  

I would love to be considered for this giveaway. I can be reached at booksnakereviews [at] gmail [dot] com

Thanks. ;-)

Gwen 6/5/10, 10:00 PM  

What really stuck out from your review/description was that SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue is organized by season. That is wonderful and something that I wish more cookbook authors did. It is really important to me to cook things that you can get locally in season. (the freshness, pesticides, transportation costs, local economies, etc.)


Rikki 6/6/10, 1:53 AM  

Six o'clock scramble sounds like a concept made for me.

debbie 6/6/10, 5:52 AM  

Please enter me. I am always looking for new recipes.

annmariegamble 6/6/10, 11:37 AM  

Please enter me as well--Six O'Clock Scramble is exactly what goes on around here!

ann . youpsy at gmail . com


Andi 6/6/10, 1:09 PM  

I posted my very first Weekend Cooking post! I had to show off my efforts to transform our city patio into a veggie and herb extravaganza!

Alipet813 6/6/10, 1:09 PM  

I would love to win this!

Leggies 6/7/10, 10:41 AM  

I'd love to enter!


Aviva Goldfarb, CEO, www.thescramble.com 6/7/10, 11:19 AM  

Beth, thanks so much for the absolutely wonderful review of my new book. It's been so gratifying to get such great feedback on how the book is organized and the recipes. I look forward to sharing the book with one of your many devotees! Warmly, Aviva

Michelle @ Flying Giggles 6/7/10, 11:48 AM  

Thanks Beth, this would make dinner easier. I would love to enter!

GigglesandLollipops at gmail dot com

Aarti 6/10/10, 10:13 AM  

I would never think to combine mangoes and black beans in a recipe! How interesting. Please enter me in the giveaway! booklustblogger AT gmail DOT com.

~bakinghomesteader~ 6/10/10, 10:38 AM  

Would love to win this!

Email: ecclesiastes1_2@yahoo.com

Melissa G,  6/10/10, 1:53 PM  

What a wonderful giveaway! I'd love to win!
melissa_raab yahoo com

etirv 6/10/10, 7:35 PM  

Like the concept of this cookbook, please count me in!


gaby317 6/18/10, 6:18 PM  

Thanks for the entry! Sounds very helpful!


gaby317nyc at gmail.com

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