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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!

sausage-bean-pasta

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.

sweet-pea-soup

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!

zucchini-bread

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!

January
February
March
April
May
June
July

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: May

Still going strong with my Cook My Books Challenge for 2017! Here’s what I cooked from my books in May:

Apple Pie Oatmeal from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast (hello banana almond butter oatmeal or mango coconut overnight oats), but this was a nice departure from my usual. It was not only delicious, but also very filling! Angela suggests topping with walnuts, hemp seeds, and coconut but I went with raisins and a scoop of almond butter instead.

apple-pie-oatmeal-oh-she-glows

Chickpea Deli Salad from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sarah Forte

Such a simple recipe to throw together! I loved this for weekday lunches stuffed into a pita or just eaten on its own with some side dishes. I do a lot of heart health classes at work focused on cooking with beans and often make salads like this one – it’s such an easy way to eat more beans and boost your fibre intake!

chickpea-salad-sprouted-kitchen

Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon

The only thing better than these three foods on their own is these three ingredients in combination. The roasted garlic adds such great flavour (note: I definitely recommend adding two heads of roasted garlic). Next time I might actually add more sun dried tomatoes though.

Spaghetti with Prawns and Rocket from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

At first bite I thought this recipe needed more sauce, but I ended up really enjoying its simplicity. I used shrimp with their shells on and doubled the garlic, both of which really help to add more flavour to the dish. I wouldn’t use 455 grams of spaghetti like the recipe calls for though – I used only 375 grams and that was the perfect amount. If you don’t have this cookbook, you can get the recipe on Jamie’s website here.

shrimp-spaghetti-jamie-oliver

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

I’ve made this recipe several times before and it’s one of my all-time favourites! So when my mom asked me to come up with  a menu for my birthday lunch with the family, I knew I wanted to make this one. It has the perfect combination of herbs, lemon juice, and feta cheese that hits all the right notes. I’ve also made this vegetarian with chickpeas in place of shrimp and it’s just as good. The recipe is available on The Food Network website here – I highly recommend you make it!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

So I might have messed these guys up a little. After forming the rolls and letting them rise for 30 minutes, I realized they were not going to fit in the baking dish I’d selected. I moved a few to another dish and rearranged the other rolls, but while handling them I made them all deflate. So I probably should have let them rise for another half hour, but I didn’t have time for that. Instead I just baked them as is, which I think is why they came out a bit on the harder side. They weren’t too bad on the first day, but the leftovers the next day were as crunchy as croutons!

cinnamon-rolls-seriously-delish

What cookbook recipes did you make this month?

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

January
February
March
April

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: April

I am so glad April is over! Not just because it was a rough month for me, but also because it means a) summer is getting closer and b) it’s now my birthday month. Yes, I’m one of those people who celebrates my birthday for the entire month. J makes fun of me because one year I celebrated my birthday 7 different times.

Anyways, looking back at April I made some more great meals from my cookbooks. I’m especially loving Brown Eggs and Jam Jars from the author of Simple Bites. I can totally relate to her approach to food – good, simple cooking that’s wholesome without going to extremes. In a world of gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, sugar-free, oil-free everything, it’s refreshing to not feel judged by your cookbook for adding extra sugar to your muffins.

Before we get onto April, make sure to catch up on my Cook My Books Challenge posts:
January
February
March

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Corn Cakes from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Andrea and I get together usually once a month to cook dinner together. It’s our favourite way to catch up while also expanding our culinary skills! We usually make dinner – in the past we’ve made a goat cheese lasagna, enchiladas, a ratatouille galette, and far too many others to list. But this month we decided to do brunch featuring this recipe. As we were making it, I realized I never picked up bacon… but that’s because it wasn’t listed in the ingredients in the cookbook! I don’t know if Jessica intended for this dish to contain bacon or not, but it was still good without it. I felt it needed some kind of sauce though, so I made a lime cilantro mayonnaise to have with the leftovers.

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Corn Cakes from Seriously Delish

One Bowl Carrot-Spice Oatmeal Muffins from Brown Eggs & Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

I had a rough week in April and needed some comfort food – and at that time muffins were just what I was craving! I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour and decreased the amount of flour by about a tablespoon. Usually whole wheat pastry flour can basically be subbed 1:1 for all purpose, but I bought a new brand that I find needs to be decreased just a bit. I also added a few more tablespoons of sugar because the recipe only called for 1/4 cup of brown sugar for 12 muffins, and I like my muffins a little bit sweeter than that. The result was delicious! I usually make my muffins with oil, but this recipe reminded me how amazing muffins made with butter are.

Carrot spice muffins from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

Crispy Cornmeal Pancakes with Orange Honey Syrup from Brown Eggs & Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

Clearly I’ve bee really digging this cookbook lately. These pancakes were also a hit and a nice switch up from our usual banana and almond butter pancakes. The 1/2 cup of cornmeal in here was the perfect amount to add a bit of grit without going full-on cornbread texture. And I love love loved the orange honey as an alternative to maple syrup! Next time I think I’d also add some orange zest to the pancakes themselves to boost the citrus flavour.

Cornmeal pancakes with orange honey syrup from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

What cookbook recipes have you made recently?

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