My favourite cookbooks from 2017

If I am not in the middle of developing original recipes for my own content, I am alway diving into a delicious cookbook for new kitchen play.

Old and new, I read them like novels and geek out over food styling, photography, recipes and stories. For me, an authors’ voice has to come through the pages of a cookbook and bring the recipes to life. And speaking of recipes, they need to be solid. I always carefully test a handful of recipes from the books that makes this list and the whole family gets a taste test.

I’m so excited to present my favourite cookbooks for 2017. I have read each one from cover to cover and they are all truly unique. It’s been an incredible year for cookbooks, as I predicted – and there were many more treasures beyond this list that will forever hold a place on my bookshelf. These ones, however, have me truly excited to get in the kitchen and cook or bake.

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Healthier Holidays and Gail’s Crudité with chili and lime

The following is a true story that I am not in the least bit proud of but have decided to share anyway.

You see, last year’s extravagant holiday eating and drinking caught up with me in a bad way and the ensuing consequences left me with a resolve to do things differently this winter.

How did this happen? Well the parties started early in December and carried on until well after New Year’s, as they do every year. Many of them were mine, including my annual cookie swap, where rum-spiked eggnog and fruitcake truffles abounded. My Board Game Café party for New Year’s Eve included a pre-party, the main party, and an after party in the wee hours of the morning.

I’m the first to admit that I took things too far. For four straight weeks I said yes to all the decadence that the holiday season had to offer – and then some. Another bowl of trifle. An additional cookie or two. A second round of drinks. After all, it’s Christmas, right?

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Weekend links: The Simple Bites Kitchen edition

Things have been quiet here on the blog as I’ve been keeping busy with cookbook promotion. This stage feels a lot like the fourth trimester after delivering a baby, complete with similar exhaustion and elation.

I’ll share more about my book tour later in the month ( I am currently in beautiful British Columbia if you are following along on Instagram) but today I wanted to spotlight a few people in my community of food creatives. They have been cooking from The Simple Bites Kitchen and sharing recipes and stories with their own readers.

I’ll also link to a few features in old school media; this dear book baby of mine has been getting a fantastic response and I’m just so thrilled that it has been well received.

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A pumpkin recipe round-up

November First is always the day I buy my pumpkins to roast and preserve for winter.

There’s a farm up the road that displays them proudly all October, right through to the 31st, and then as soon as the calendar turns, they are tossed into the back of trucks and carted away. If I am there early enough in the morning, I can save a bunch from the rubbish heap – and save a pretty penny in the process.

Tomorrow, I’ll fill my trunk with pie pumpkins (also called sugar pumpkins) and dedicate a portion of my day to scooping seeds, roasting the squash and turning it into puree. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial of what that looks like, in case this is new kitchen territory for you.

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Five reasons to plan a fall picnic

Now that the weather has cooled off doesn’t mean you have to head indoors for good. With a bagged lunch, a thermos, and a quilt from the backseat of the car, you can still have that picnic you were too busy to plan in August.

It just so happens that our recent decision for a lifestyle change has introduced a lot of new topics to discuss as parents. Do we buy a home or build new? Lakefront or ocean? Do we travel before the move or after? Start a business or stick with what we’ve been doing?

Uninterrupted conversation is rare between Danny and I when we are at home with the kids. It’s hard to unpack a topic and take the time to look at it from all angles. So we’ve taken to meeting up for a picnic lunch once a week, weather permitting, and then going for a walk afterward.

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