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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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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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