2017 Cook My Books Challenge: August

I Apparently August’s cookbook challenge was dominated by two of my favourite women: Ina Garten and Ellie Krieger. Both very different in their outlooks on food, but equally influential on me. Ellie for teaching me how to make minor tweaks to recipes to boost the nutrition without sacrificing flavour, while Ina was my guru for teaching me the importance of good quality ingredients and to never skimp on the good stuff! I’d say my approach to cooking is a good blend of both.

This month I made a few recipes from each. First up was pasta with escarole, white beans, and chicken sausage from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook The Food You Crave. I’m not really a huge fan of tomato sauce based pastas, so I love trying sauce-less pastas like this one. The garlic, sausage, and parmesan lend the perfect amount of flavour in this recipe!


Next I got together with Andrea for one of our regular cooking nights. On the menu was an eggplant and feta salad, corn with parmesan basil butter, and this spring pea soup from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I’ve made this soup three times this summer, although this time was the first time I included the mint in the recipe. This is a super simple recipe and one of my favourite ways to use fresh sweet peas.


Another recipe I’ve made a few times this summer is Ellie Krieger’s zucchini bread from Comfort Food Fix. Ellie is the queen of adding nutrition to your baking without turning it into a dry, hard lump. Ellie makes her zucchini bread with half whole wheat pastry flour (although I use whole wheat pastry flour for all of the flour) and only half a cup of sugar, but it’s a huge hit with everyone I’ve served it to!


I’m not a big pork lover, but the herb-marinated pork loins from Back to Basics by Ina Garten sounded good enough to try. And it delivered, mostly! My problem wasn’t with the recipe itself, but with my slight adaptation. The recipe calls for grilling, but since I don’t have a BBQ I pan-seared the tenderloins and finished them off in the oven which didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Also I ran out of garlic and I think using the correct amount along with the correct cooking method would have made the recipe perfect!

Your turn! What cookbook recipes have you made lately?

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


1 Comment

Filed under cookbook

2017 Cook My Books Challenge: July

It saddens me to write this post because it means that summer is halfway over. Wahhh I hate seeing my favourite season slip by without barely getting to live it. Although, that’s not really true. July has been busy in the best kind of way. Between a weekend with two weddings, hosting my boyfriend’s 30th birthday party, and a week up north at my second cousins’ (or are they second cousins once removed? We spent 10 minutes debating this and I still can’t remember what we decided) cottage, it’s been a good month.

And I managed to complete my cookbook challenge to boot. Starting with Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s coconut cream baked oatmeal from her cookbook Brown Eggs & Jam Jars. The best way to describe this dish is like a coconut crème brûlée with oatmeal in it. So yeah, it was pretty frickin delicious. Although better without my addition of banana to the bowl, I discovered too late.


The next week I tried the beach day tuna salad from Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte. It was basically the tuna salad I always make, but with the addition of raisins, parsley, and lemon juice. I liked the new flavours in it, although probably not enough to spend the time adding the three extra ingredients to it.


John’s mom is your typical Italian mama, showering us with love in the form of food. I’m so grateful to her for always sending John back home with a cooler of food for us. When we found a cauliflower in the cooler one week, John instantly requested (cough, demanded) his favourite buffalo cauliflower “wings”. Mine are good, although missing that crispy quality that I’m sure only deep-frying can achieve (something I’m not willing to delve into in my own kitchen, my anxiety conjuring up images of the full body burns that could ensue).

Anyways, I decided to try out a new method for making them from Made with Love by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, former owners of a Lettuce Love Cafe and current owners of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe in my hometown. I liked the method for these a lot better, as they yielded a slightly crispier result. Although both John and I agreed that the sriracha sauce was a lot spicier than the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce that I typically use and a little too hot for our tastebuds to handle.


Being the overachiever that I am and not willing to settle for merely meeting my goal of making 3 recipes from my cookbooks per month, I squeezed in a fourth one. Right before leaving for the cottage the last week of the month, I whipped up Oh She Glows’ peanut butter cookie dough balls (subbing in almond butter of course) from her first cookbook, thinking we’d need snacks for the cottage. It wasn’t until after I made them that we went to the grocery store and bought enough food to feed 10 people for two weeks (let alone 6 people for 5 days) that I realized the addition of the cookie dough balls was probably unnecessary. However they did prove to be useful as a pre-breakfast snack to tide me over between waking up at 6 am and a family breakfast at 9 or 9:30 am.

Now your turn! How was your July? What cookbook recipes have you been loving?

Missed my previous Cook My Books Challenge posts? Check them out below!



Filed under cookbook

Garlicky Kale Salad with Parmesan

One thing I love about my job as a dietitian in a grocery store setting is how I get to help people discover that vegetables can taste good. And not just good, but actually craveable.

Kale salad with parmesan, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and a garlicky lemon dressing. Kale never tasted so good!

My coworker from out East shared a great analogy with me that I use all the time now. She says “We don’t cook chicken by boiling the heck out of it and expect it to taste good, so why do so many of us give up on vegetables when they don’t taste good cooked this way?”

It’s so true!!!

Luckily my parents did a pretty good job of making vegetables taste good when I was a kid. Broccoli with cheese sauce, green beans with toasted almonds and brown butter, and Provencal tomatoes with herb butter breadcrumbs are just a few of the amazing vegetable dishes I grew up with and that I now make myself.

But I don’t always have time to whip up fancy vegetable dishes for weeknight dinners, so to add flavour in a pinch I rely on three ingredients: garlic plus salt plus fat.

Those three ingredients come to play in this kale salad to help tone down its bitterness and turn it into a delicious salad. To kick it up a notch I also throw in Parmesan cheese, toasted almonds (pine nuts are also good!), and dried cranberries for some sweetness. Vegetables never tasted so good!

Kale salad with parmesan, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and a garlicky lemon dressing. Kale never tasted so good!

Garlicky Kale Salad with Parmesan
Prep time
Total time
Kale salad with parmesan, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and a garlicky lemon dressing.
Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 1 bunch of kale (~10-12 cups)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Heaping ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup sliced toasted almonds
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  1. Chop, wash, and dry your kale.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dressing and kale. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for 3-4 minutes until the leaves start to darken and wilt.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt and toss to mix. Taste and adjust flavours as needed.
  5. Add the Parmesan, toasted almonds, and dried cranberries and toss to mix again.

Kale salad with parmesan, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, and a garlicky lemon dressing. Kale never tasted so good!


Filed under recipe