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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: March

As March comes to a close, I can’t say I’d sad to see it go. I’m pretty sure we had worse weather this month than we had all winter. But as long as we don’t get another storm causing me to break my wrist in April like last year, I’ll be happy. I’d like to keep all my bones in tact in 2017!

But one good thing about a snowy March was lots of time to spend indoors working on my 2017 Cook My Books Challenge. I had another month of success, meeting my goal of making 3 recipes from my cookbooks! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Catch up on my previous posts for January and February!

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

Tofu Quiche with Almond Meal Rosemary Crust from Sprouted Kitchen

I made this recipe while J was in New Orleans for a bachelor party because I knew he wouldn’t eat it. Onions plus mushrooms plus tofu is pretty much the trifecta of grossness to him. But those are 3 ingredients I love, so this recipe called out to me. This was my first time making a “quiche” out of tofu and I had no idea what to expect… but I was pleasantly surprised! The caramelized onions and mushrooms gave a great flavour to the filling. And the almond meal and coconut oil crust was downright addictive.  I subbed butter for half the coconut oil though because I was worried about it tasting too coconutty.

tofu-quiche-sprouted-kitchen

Classic Chicken Stew from The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith

I didn’t love this recipe, but it’s probably my own fault for not sticking to the ingredients. It called for a whole chicken broken down into its parts, but I was too lazy to do that so I just used boneless skinless chicken breasts. In hindsight, I realized that to get good flavour, the skin and bones were probably necessary! I ended up adding extra chicken bouillon cubes and extra salt to make up for it, but it was still a bit bland.

chicken-stew-chef-at-home

Cheesy Butternut Squash Penne from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

This was a great comfort food recipe on a day that I really needed it. Carbs plus cheese plus bacon is pretty much the perfect hangover cure, no?

cheesy-butternut-penne

Twinkle, Twinkle Jeweled Rice from Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton

I told myself I’d cut back on buying cookbooks this year, but I broke my pact already! The recipes in this one just looked too pretty. Tracey and I got together mid-month to cook from our cookbooks and we made this rice as one of our dishes. See what else we made in Tracey’s post and my Instagram. Anyway, about this recipe: I liked the sweetness from the dried fruit and orange, and found it really flavourful once I added a good dose of salt. It’s a nice change from just a plain rice side dish, and it makes a huge batch to last you all week!

jeweled-rice-naturally-nourished

What have you cooked from your books recently?

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: January

This is my cookbook case.

cookbook-shelf

Plus another shelf. Plus another box at my parents’ house that I can’t find room for here. Plus some cookbooks that can be found on my coffee table and bedside table at any time.

I realized after receiving 3 more cookbooks for Christmas that my collection is getting kind of out of hand for our small condo. And what’s worse is that most of them sit collecting dust on the shelf. Come Thursday nights when I start meal planning for the next week, it’s so much easier to just look up ideas online rather than scour through my cookbooks.

So I’ve given myself a challenge for 2017:

This year I will cook at least 3 recipes per month from my cookbooks and post a recap at the end of each month!

I feel like this is pretty doable – and I actually already surpassed it by making 4 recipes from my cookbooks in January! Here’s what I made:

cook-my-books-january

1. Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Spinach Coconut Curry from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon

This was a great easy dinner that was also boyfriend approved (which doesn’t often happen with meatless dinners)! And unlike some curry recipes, the ingredients were fairly simple and easy to find in your regular grocery store.

Unfortunately we ate this too quickly before I could get a good picture – a testament to how good it was!

2. Florentine Bean Soup from Refresh by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston

This made leftovers for days! It was a little bland, but tasted 100x better when I added Herbamare to it. And it was packed full of nutrition with three kinds of legumes, barley, and a healthy dose of greens in there!

bean-soup-refresh-cookbook

3.Roasted Butternut Squash with Grilled Halloumi and Dukkah on Massaged Kale from My New Roots by Sarah Britton

This is easily my favourite dish I’ve made so far in 2017. I mean, anything with halloumi is usually amazing. Have you tried halloumi yet? It’s the most amazing Mediterranean cheese that has the saltiness of feta but a firm, sliceable texture. It’s best when you grill or pan fry it first, which gives it such an addictive quality! Anyways, it worked perfectly in this salad with the flavours of lemony kale, mint, dukkah, and squash.

halloumi-squash-salad-my-new-roots

4. Chicken Tikka Masala from Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

I’m a total Indian food newbie – I’ve never even been to an Indian restaurant because of my nut allergies. So when Andrea and I got together to cook dinner, I suggested Jamie Oliver’s chicken tikka masala. Jamie says in his cookbook that this is more of an Anglicized version of the dish, and Andrea agreed it wasn’t like the tikka masala she orders at Indian restaurants. But we both still liked it, and I found it got even better after a day in the fridge! It’s a more time consuming recipe since it calls for making your own tikka masala paste from scratch, but that just made it all the more enjoyable.

chicken-tikka-masala-jamie-oliver

Anyone want to join in this challenge with me?! What was the last cookbook recipe you made?

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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 cookbook recipes can sometimes seem unachievable. They call for too many ingredients, take too many steps, and overall just don’t inspire confidence in me that I can make the recipe.

The Canning Kitchen Cookbook 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, And 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 The Canning Kitchen. Canning has always intimidated me with all the seemingly complicated steps and meticulous attention to small details. And also 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 klutz 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 The Canning Kitchen 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.

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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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