Tag Archives: cookbook

2017 Cook My Books Challenge: January

This is my cookbook case.


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:


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!


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.


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.


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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Cookbook review: Refresh

If you live in Toronto you probably either a) have already eaten at Fresh restaurant and love it, or b) always hear your plant eating friends raving about their latest meal at Fresh. It’s the vegan restaurant to go to in Toronto. I’ve been there once before and didn’t love my dish, but I hear there are much better ones on the menu. I hope to go their again, but in the meantime I’m content with just cooking some of its dishes from its Refresh cookbook.

Today I’ve chosen to review it for the next post in my cookbook review series:

Refresh cookbook review

Refresh is a vegan cookbook, and it’s centered around whole grains, vegetables, sprouts, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy protein. I’d say it’s Asian-inspired with lots of rice bowls and noodle recipes, but it also has salads, brunch foods, smoothies, and more. It’s my go-to cookbook when I need a healthy boost!

Things I like about the Refresh cookbook

  • Its recipes are directly from the restaurant’s menu, so you can exactly replicate them!
  • It’s a great resource for sauce, dressing, and marinade recipes
  • The ingredients are all fairly easy to find in most grocery stores

Things I don’t like about the Refresh cookbook

  • The recipes can be very time consuming to make, since there are often multiple marinades/sauces involved in one recipe
  • Some of the recipes have large yields, so I find myself having to half or even quarter the recipes when I make them

Recipes I’ve tried from Refresh

1. Green goddess bowl: Brown rice / steamed greens / nori / marinated tofu / lemon tahini sauce

This is my favourite dish from the cookbook – the flavours are amazing! It takes a while to make though, since you have to make a marinade for the tofu, a tamari dressing for the steamed greens, and the lemon tahini sauce.

Refresh cookbook review

2. Mega life salad: Mixed greens / shredded carrots and beets / sprouts / mixed nuts and seeds / marinated tofu

This is a such a light, fresh dish and I love the shredded veggies in it! I used the cookbook’s green dressing for it, which paired nicely with the flavours.

Refresh cookbook review

3. California salad: Mixed greens / pesto white beans / cherry tomatoes / hearts of palm / avocado

This salad was good, but it didn’t blow me away. I love their idea to mix white beans with pesto for some added flavour though.

Refresh California salad

4. Fresh granola: Rolled oats / nuts and seeds / dried fruit

If you’re looking for a granola that is very healthy and low in sugar, this is it. It’s only sweetened with apple juice and the tiniest bit of maple syrup, so it’s not very sweet at all. I appreciate the healthiness of this recipe, but I have to admit I found this granola pretty bland and won’t be making it again.

Refresh granola

5. Dragon rice bowl: Brown rice / grilled zucchini and tomato / marinated tofu / miso gravy

I think this was my least favourite of the recipes I tried. The grilled tomato was messy, the miso gravy was only okay, and the flavours weren’t that great together. I won’t replicate this dish again, but I might play around with the miso gravy to come up with a better flavour.

Refresh dragon rice bowl

There are still a ton of other recipes from this book that I want to try, like their famous Buddha rice bowl with a peanut sauce (I would sub in sunflower seed butter), split pea soup, and their house made veggie burger. Stay tuned for my reviews of these recipes on Instagram once I try them out!

Looking for more cookbook review posts? Make sure to check these out:

The Oh She Glows Cookbook
Clean Food
Fresh Food Fast

Locals – have you ever been to Fresh? Non locals – have you ever been to a similar restaurant?


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