Category Archives: Fun Sites

The Herb Fairies Are Coming!


A few years back I had a keen interest in herbs. During that period of time, I of course did a lot of internet research into herbal education. One of the sites I found is I particularly like this one because of the use of videos, which is much more fun that just reading. John Gallagher, head of the family that runs the site, is primarily featured in the videos. He’s a likeable guy whose easy-going approach really makes me want to learn about herbs and believe that I can put them to use.

My interest waned when I discovered I’m not very good at identifying plants or flowers of any kind. So, I had this fear that I would pick the wrong herb and make my family sick!  I’m also not very good at growing things – although I planted some Lemon Balm in the front yard which I’m pretty sure is what, this year, has completely taken over the flower bed.) But, I continue to be on the mailing list as I enjoy reading what they’re up to and have hopes that someday I can still become the family herbalist.

And I’m glad to be on that mailing list because very recently I’ve received notice of something new  —


I love it. It’s an herbal learning project Kimberly Gallagher (John’s wife) has been working on for three years now and it will be available tomorrow, May 1. I signed up for the preview information and of course got some great videos covering the details of this new project as well as some recipe tutorials. There was also a printable coloring page of very pretty Viola fairy which my daughter is working on.

For more details about the entire program see the video at

I’m looking forward to sharing it with my kids and hopefully learning from it too…maybe I can learn to identify those herbs. (Or maybe Melissa the Lemon Balm fairy can help me confirm what’s growing in my flower bed!) Leave me a comment below if you’re planning to enjoy the Herb Fairies too.


Fun Site: Eat Your Books!


I just discovered this website called Eat Your Books. It’s a pretty neat concept. First, you search for your cookbook. Then, a list of recipes from that book appears. You can narrow your search using the “Only Show” filters for things such as Recipe Types, Ingredients, Courses (Afternoon Tea is an option!). You can also do a search by keyword but this took me a little while to figure out. Once you’ve clicked on a book, The Joy of Cooking for example, there is a link to “Search this book for recipes”. When you click on the link, a search box appears with the title of the book in quotes. If you then want to search for recipes with beef in it, type beef after “The Joy of Cooking” in the search box, and the matching results will appear.

I did search for four of my cookbooks (I don’t actually own The Joy of Cooking). Two of them did not appear at all, while two of them did. However, the two that did appear were not yet indexed. If I sign up to be a member, looks like I can request that the book be indexed. Speaking of being a member, there are different membership levels. The Limited Membership allows you to add up to 5 books to your bookshelf. There is then a $2.50/month membership and a $25/year membership. Pretty reasonable, I think.

The website does state that it’s not a recipe site. So, you won’t see a full listing of ingredients are directions for copyright reasons. But why would you need that if you have the book? Links are provided if the recipe is published somewhere else on the internet. What I would like to see, however, it the page number where the recipe can be found in the cookbook.

Page numbers are a feature of the magazine search – and I like this part even better than being able to search my cookbooks.

I don’t know about you, but there have been many times I’ve sat at the beauty salon or in a doctor’s office reading a magazine, and found a great recipe. But, how to bring it home? I’ve scribbled it on a scrap of paper I found in my purse. I’ve typed it into my cell phone, although I guess nowadays I could just take a photo of the recipe from the magazine. And yes, I confess, I’ve slipped a magazine into my purse before! But, I have, in fact,returned the magazine to its rightful owner.

Eat Your Books has indexed magazines such as Cooking Light and Food Network Magazine. Since these magazines tend to have websites, many of the recipes have links to the official website. Sure, you could just go to the magazine site but I think the database search is probably easier with Eat Your Books.

Overall, I think Eat Your Books is a great idea. As the database continues to grow, it will likely become a very handy tool for many cooks, especially those of you with a multitude of cookbooks on your shelves. At this point in my cooking career, I don’t think I have use for the site. Although, if they index my 100 Best 4 Ingredient Recipes and other similar cookbooks that I own, I might just change my mind!