Category Archives: cookbook

2017 Cook My Books Challenge: December

I think I’m with the majority of people in feeling relief that 2017 is over. I don’t know what sort of cosmic forces were at play, but it seems like it was just a crappy year for everyone. Well, maybe not so crappy for my taste buds. This year I set for myself a cookbook challenge to make 3 recipes from my cookbooks each month – and I’m happy to say I completed it!

It may have just been a silly challenge, but I’m so grateful I decided to take it on. It was actually the first long term “project” I’ve ever taken on and completed. So it was pretty cool to actually follow through with something. Not to mention, I discovered a few new favourite recipes that I know I will remake often (Barefoot Contessa’s buttermilk cheddar biscuits, greens and fontina baked eggs from Seriously Delish, and Ellie Krieger’s zucchini bread to name a few). I had my first Indian food experience… ever. And I maybe got over my hatred of radicchio?

I may continue my cookbook challenge informally going forward – and try to post about it if I can! But before that, let me recap my December recipes (minus actual pictures of my cooking this month since it was too hard to catch the natural light):

bowl-and-spoon-cookbook

On the first day of the month I made Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte, the author behind the blog Sprouted Kitchen. I avoid making traditional meatballs made from ground poultry because they never compare to the real thing. If I want spaghetti and meatballs, my go-to recipe is from the Polpo cookbook, which is made from a blend of beef and pork (actually I think the original recipe calls for veal too, but I leave that out). But these turkey meatballs are probably as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. There’s a bit of ricotta in them to give moisture and texture – such a good idea! I also loved the flavour of fennel seed in them.

I got together with my friends Andrea and Shannon the day after making these meatballs. We’ve been cooking together since our university days, and we actually spent a bit of our time together reminiscing about our cooking nights back then, when we would spend them practising for our dietetic internship interviews. Thankfully we’re all happily working now, with that stress well behind us!

made-with-love-cookbook

Anyways, we decided we wanted to cook our meal entirely from Made with Love by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, the people behind a local vegan cafe that we used to frequent. So we did three recipes: Baked Mac n’ Cheese, Caesar Salad, and Pumpkin Pie. We made a few substitutions based on what we had on hand, i.e. using real butter instead of vegan butter and regular pasta instead of gluten-free rice pasta. We also used an oat & seed crust for the pumpkin pie instead of making the gluten-free pie pastry recipe in the cookbook. And of course we subbed out the cashews for sunflower seeds in the Caesar dressing to make it safe for my allergies. Okay, so I guess we made a lot of substitutions. But hey, that’s what cooking is all about. And everything turned out pretty delicious!

I guess that wraps up this series. Thanks for following along!  I’ll be back in a few weeks with a new post – I’ve got a cozy drink recipe that I can’t wait to share.

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: November

11 months in and still going strong, despite the craziness of this month. I managed to squeeze in a few cookbook recipes between my sister’s birthday, a few presentations for work, and celebrating both an engagement and a wedding – not ours, ha!

Here’s what I cooked from my books this month:

Mexican Chicken Soup from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

This soup surprised me! I sometimes find tomato and broth based soups to be a bit boring, but this one was delicious! I loved the way the tortilla topping got a bit soggy. Combined with the grated cheddar on top, it reminded me of enchiladas in the best way possible.

Mexican Chicken Soup by Ina Garten [Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen 2017 Cook My Books Challenge]

Wine Country Salad with Wild Rice Grape Pilaf and Halloumi from Whole Bowls by Allison Day

I was obsessed with this salad! I mean I’m pretty much obsessed with anything using halloumi. But the flavours in this were so spot on! The sweetness of the grapes with the salty cheese was addicting. If you can’t find halloumi, this would also be good with feta.

Wine Country Salad with Wild Rice Grape Pilaf and Halloumi by Allison Day

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

I made these on a day when I seriously needed some comfort food – and I’m not kidding when I say these biscuits helped cheer me up. If one good thing came out of that day, it was that my biscuits came out so perfectly flaky and buttery. If you want to know my secret, it’s chopping up my butter into small pieces and putting it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it so that it stays extra cold. Works like a charm!

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits by Ina Garten

Missed my previous Cook My Book Challenge posts? Catch up on them here:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

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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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