2017 Cook My Books Challenge: October

So you know how I said in my September cookbook challenge post that this month would be all about comfort foods? Yeah, not so much seeing as how we had a second summer this month! So all my favourite things about fall – cozy sweaters, warming meals, and lattes – were put on hold while Mother Nature had an identity crisis.

So here’s what I made this month:

Miso Sesame Glazed Eggplant from My New Roots by Sarah Britton

Other than eggplant parmesan, this is one of the best eggplant dishes I’ve ever had! The eggplant developed a soft, velvety texture and was complimented by the sweet, salty, and bitter flavours in the glaze. Definitely a keeper of a recipe!

miso-sesame-glazed-eggplant

Grilled Scallion, Corn, and Shrimp Quesadillas from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

I’m still deciding whether I liked these or not. Maybe if I replaced the cheese with cheddar instead, as I’m not a big fan of Monterey Jack. Or maybe it’s just that I would rather eat shrimp in a dish that highlights it, rather than hides it away between tortillas and cheese. They did taste good, but I’m just not sure I would make them again.

shrimp-quesadilla

Pumpkin Ginger Bread with Dark Chocolate and Coconut from Purely Pumpkin by Allison Day

I was looking over my cookbook shelf this month and realized I’d yet to cook from Purely Pumpkin by blogger Yummy Beet. Not wanting to miss my chance to take advantage of pumpkin season, I got to work bookmarking recipes right away. This bread immediately caught my eye. Pumpkin: check. Chocolate: check. Sugar: check. Yup, I was sold.

This recipe is more heavy on the ginger than other pumpkin bread recipes I’ve made, and also has a denser crumb, almost reminding me of a pound cake when eaten cold. My favourite way to eat it was warmed up in the microwave, which gave it a softer texture and intensified some of the ginger flavour in it!

pumpkin-ginger-bread

Bean and Lentil Pumpkin Chili from Purely Pumpkin by Allison Day

This recipe was another that grabbed my attention. I’ve used pumpkin in chili before, and I love the way it sneakily thickens up the texture and adds a boost of nutrition. My schedule can be kind of all over the place, usually with 1 or 2 days where I work evenings teaching a class or seeing patients. So I usually try to make one big batch recipe per week, like chili, so that we have leftovers for those nights. This was a great easy recipe that fit the bill – we had leftovers for days!

bean-lentil-pumpkin-chili

Catch up on previous Cook My Books Challenge posts:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

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Orangeville-Collingwood-Creemore Mom & Daughters Weekend

Last month I went on a mini weekend away for my mom’s birthday. My mom, sister, and I used to do road trips when my sister was at Dalhousie, so it was fun to revive our girls trips!

Orangeville

We left mid-afternoon on a Friday and headed up to Orangeville first. We shopped around the downtown but got bored after not too long. There was a cute boutique called Noinkees on the main street though, as well as a delicious white chocolate pumpkin spice latte from Mochaberry Cafe!

tremont-cafe

That evening we were staying at Hockley Valley Resort, just outside of Orangeville. For sake of ease we decided to also get dinner there at their on-site restaurant Cabin. But first we had drinks on their patio!

hockley-valley-patio-drinks

Our meal at Cabin didn’t really wow any of us. We all had one of their truffle mushroom bruschetta to start, which were nowhere near as good as they sounded. I also had their Tuscan kale salad (just ok) and an appetizer-sized risotto with corn and bacon (the highlight of the meal for sure). Like the true party animals that we are, we were in bed and asleep by 9 pm – ha!

Collingwood & Area

After a pretty awful breakfast at a diner that shall not be named, we left for Collingwood. I’d never been there before, but it was a super cute place! The downtown was larger than I expected with some great shopping spots for clothing, decor, and art. I was totally obsessed with Lëuk, which has a few different locations for their clothing, housewares, and flowers. Their look is Scandinavian rustic. LOVE! Metra was also a women’s clothing boutique that I really liked.

For lunch we went to The Tremont Cafe on the recommendation of several locals. It 100% lived up to the hype. It had a really nice patio, although we opted to eat inside, which was still bright and airy. I had the warm mushroom salad with blue cheese and their sweet potato soup special. Both were great, but the chocolate torte with salted caramel mousse for dessert was my favourite part! Another cool thing about this cafe is that it’s located in a building that houses several different artists’ studios that you can visit.

tremont-cafe-chocolate-dessert

We finished browsing Collingwood faster than we expected, so after lunch we headed over to Blue Mountain, a popular ski resort and tourist destination with shops and restaurants. But we left about 15 minutes after getting there – it was just too touristy. Instead we headed over to Thornbury, where we walked to their pier and checked out some shops. They also have the Thornbury Village Cider House there that I’d love to check out next time!

thornbury-marina

After a nap back at our hotel we headed out to a later dinner at Azzurra. The appetizers here were amazing! We split an order of risotto balls and polenta fries, both of which were absolutely delicious. I had an interesting sweet potato gnocchi with apples, bacon, and crispy sage – It wasn’t what I was expecting at first bite, but it was good.

azzurra-collingwood

Creemore

The next day we decided to leave Collingwood and go check out Creemore, a small town about 25 minutes away from Collingwood whose claim to fame is the Creemore Springs Brewery. For such a small town, there was surprisingly a lot to see – an art gallery, some houseware shops, and the Creemore 100 Mile Store full of locally sourced foods and goods! We decided to stop for lunch at Creemore Kitchen, which gets great reviews online. I had their CK breakfast sandwich on a housemade biscuit and was very happy with my choice!

creemore-kitchen-breakfast-sandwich

We wrapped up our weekend after this, feeling full and shopped out. But it was nice to spend some time exploring some of Ontario’s smaller towns outside of the GTA. Next year we’re considering Prince Edward County for another mini-getaway. If anyone has been there, hit me up with your recommendations!

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: September

Apparently this month I was in a breakfasty mood because that’s all I made from my cookbooks!

I started off with Maple-Cinnamon Apple Pear Baked Oatmeal from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Both John and I loved this oatmeal. I’ve had some bad baked oatmeal experiences, but this wasn’t one of them. It was perfectly sweet, perfectly spiced, and had the perfect texture. I’ll definitely be making this one again this fall. Just a note: She doesn’t specify which type of apple to use, but I’d recommend gala or golden delicious for their natural sweetness.

apple-pear-baked-oatmeal

While cherries were still in season, I also made Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats from My New Roots by Sarah Britton. This one also had fantastic flavour, and even better, makes for an easy weekday breakfast. I’ll definitely be adding this one into the regular rotation, probably using bananas instead of cherries now that they’re not in season anymore.

chocolate-cherry-overnight-oatmeal

I finished off the month with Ellie Krieger’s Banana-Walnut Multigrain Pancakes from Comfort Food Fix (minus the walnuts of course).  Despite loving many of her recipes, I wasn’t a big fan of these pancakes. First of all I found the wet to dry ingredients ratio off, making the batter too thin and hard to work with. This was a batch of very misshapen pancakes because they kept falling apart in the skillet! Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the chunks of mushy, warm banana in the pancakes. I realized after eating these that I much prefer banana pancakes where the banana is mashed and thoroughly mixed in.

multigrain-banana-pancakes

Now that the fall heat wave is over, I see a lot of cold weather comfort foods coming up for next month!

Your turn! What cookbook recipes have you made lately?

Missed my previous Cook My Books Challenge posts? Catch up them below!

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August

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