Cookbook Review: The Canning Kitchen

I am slightly obsessed with cookbooks. I could spend hours inside Chapters browsing through the latest releases and building a mental cookbook wishlist (okay, I actually do that all the time). I love the photos, the smooth feel of their covers, and the promise of delicious food inside.

But yet, I could probably count on two hands the number of times per year I actually make a recipe from one of my cookbooks.

I partially blame that on Pinterest, but also it’s because sometimes cookbook recipes can seem unachievable. They call for too many ingredients, take too long to prepare, take too many steps, and overall just don’t inspire confidence in me that I can make the recipe.

The Canning Kitchen Review

So when I received a copy of Amy Bronee‘s first cookbook The Canning Kitchen I was surprised to discover the recipes seemed surprisingly approachable (this is coming from someone who has canned twice in her lifetime before – so I’m far from an experienced canner).

So approachable, in fact, that I decided to make her peach jam on a Thursday morning before work with a tight time frame, without any proper canning equipment, and with a sick boyfriend moaning on the couch. I don’t know what came over me, but I felt confident I could do it anyways.

The Canning Kitchen

And things went absolutely smoothly! Just kidding, I was 2 hours late for work, my makeshift aluminum foil “rack” fell apart on me, I flooded my stove with water (note: you really cannot use a standard soup pot as a canner), the jam wouldn’t thicken (my fault: I didn’t have a wide enough pot for evaporation to occur), and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. But I have flexible work hours anyways, the water got mopped up, I added chia seeds to the jam to help thicken it up, and all was good in the end because I have 6 jars of peach jam that I made entirely by myself – I’m like one proud mama over here!

The Canning Kitchen Review

And I can honestly say I would not have done this if it weren’t for Amy’s cookbook. Canning has always intimidated me with all the seemingly complicated steps, the meticulous attention to small details, and the possibility of royally screwing up and creating a batch of jam that gets infested with bacteria and kills my whole family. Okay, perhaps a tad dramatic.

But for all you canning scaredy cats out there like me, fear no more. If The Canning Kitchen can talk a clutz like me through canning, there’s no one it can’t help. But a word of advice: listen to Amy when she tells you what equipment you need. She knows what she’s talking about.

The Canning Kitchen Review

Want to see more of what this cookbook has to offer? Check out the posts of some other great Canadian bloggers to read about their experiences making recipes from The Canning Kitchen:

Blueberry Sauce via The Brunette Baker
Bread & Butter Pickles via Planet Byn
Crunchy Dill Pickles via She Eats
Triple Red Pickles via The Tasty Gardener
Beer Hive Grainy Mustard via Sweet Twist of Blogging
Lemon Raspberry Jamalade via My Daily Randomness
Blueberry Orange Marmalade via The Messy Baker
Peach Chutney with Garam Masala via Libby Roach
Tomato Red Onion Relish via Devour & Conquer

As a part of this blog hop, we are also hosting a GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of Amy’s cookbook plus a $100 gift certificate to Canadian Tire to get you stocked up on all your canning needs! You can enter using the form below between August 26th and September 2nd, 2015. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents of legal age only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

Big thank you to Penguin Random House for the complimentary copy of The Canning Kitchen for the purpose of this review! All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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Ravine Vineyard

I don’t really have a lot to be stressed about in life right now. And yet, I am in fact stressed. It’s all small things, but between my job that seems to occupy more of my head space than it should, planning dinners for the week, fulfilling my duties as my friend’s maid of honour, finding time to do necessary chores like laundry, and going to physician appointments for my newly diagnosed tendonitis, I’m feeling the pressure.

But when I went to Niagara last weekend, that all seemed to melt away. It’s kind of hard to feel anything but carefree when you’re sitting on a breezy patio, looking out at a vineyard and sipping a glass of wine.

Ravine Vineyard

This scene took place at Ravine Vineyard, a quaint winery nestled in a residential area of St. David’s, Ontario. Mom and I stopped here for lunch following a morning of shopping at the outlets. After battling the deal-hungry crowds, the relaxing atmosphere of their patio was welcomed. As was their wine.

I had a 3 oz glass of their merlot. I’ve never seen 3 oz servings of wine offered before, but I love the idea of it so that you can try two or three different wines with a meal and still maintain your dignity by the end of it.

Ravine Vineyard

To start my mom and I both ordered the grilled and chilled vegetable salad with smoky tomato vinaigrette, brioche croutons, and Ontairo sheep’s feta. The flavours in this salad were the epitome of summer! Every August I get on this huge tomato, eggplant, and zucchini kick, so this dish was absolutely perfect.

Ravine Vineyard - Grilled Vegetable Salad

I followed it with the early summer vegetable risotto with shaved parmesan and truffle oil. It’s risottos like this one that make me realize how much I suck at making risotto. Mine tends to turn out sticky and mushy – but Ravine’s was slightly al dente with the perfect consistency!

Ravine Vineyard - Summer Vegetable Risotto

Mom’s main was also a winner. She had the daily soup special, which was cream of mushroom, served with a sour cream and chive muffin. It made me want to bake some savoury muffins at home. I’ll add that to my long list of things that probably won’t get done this century. I’ve been meaning to bake a cherry or blueberry crisp for weeks now and that still hasn’t happened!

Ravine Vineyard - Mushroom Soup and Chive Muffin

But anyways, that’s not worth stressing over. Instead I just want to chill out, relax, and smell the wine – er, roses. Good thing I have another winery trip planned for this weekend!

Ravine Vineyard

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Soy Nut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I know right now you’re probably thinking: “Didn’t I just see a recipe for nut free banana chocolate chip cookies on this blog?”

You’re not wrong – I did post a recipe for Sunbutter banana chocolate chip cookies just last month. But that’s just how I am. I often find myself being a bit repetitive in life.

Soy nut butter banana chocolate chip cookies

Growing up, I used to really love this Mediterranean chicken and goat cheese panini at Jack Astors and without fail, I would order it everytime I went there. When I go on walks, I often take the exact same route. If I really love a song, I’ll play it twice in a row. Last winter when I first saw the movie Chef one night, I immediately woke up and watched it again the next morning. When I workout at GoodLife Fitness, I almost always do a 15 minute warm up on the bike followed by a 30 minute weight workout.

What can I say, I find comfort in repetition.

Soy nut butter banana chocolate chip cookies

So when I saw this recipe for peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies on Two Peas and their Pod just a few days after I posted my own banana chocolate chip cookie recipe, I decided I wanted to make it anyway. I used soy nut butter to make it safe for my allergies and changed some of the ingredients and quantities based on what I had on hand. The result was soft, muffin-like cookies that taste like banana bread! JZ and I both had one warm out of the oven – and then I went back for a second one.

Something repetition is a good thing.

Soy nut butter banana chocolate chip cookies

Soy Nut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yield: 8-10 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 very ripe medium bananas
  • ¼ cup creamy soy nut butter (or peanut butter)
  • ½ tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • Heaping ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Mash your bananas in a large bowl until only a few chunks remain. Stir in the soy nut butter, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla nad stir until smooth.
  3. Then add the oats, flax, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate chips and mix to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Spoon the batter into 8 to 10 mounts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake on the centre rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are done. Remove and let cool before devouring!

Are you a repetitive person?

This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.

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