Brown Eggs & Jam Jars

Pre-launch jitters are a thing

If you’ve ever wondered about the lead-up to a book release, I can assure you that pre-launch jitters are a thing.

There are nightmares about arriving at your first book signing event only to discover that your work is nothing more than a ratty 3-ring binder with no pictures to speak of. That dream ends with everyone leaving disappointed, including you.

There are evenings when you look at the mess under your kitchen sink and think it’s positively unbecoming of a published cookbook author to conceal such a disaster. And so you empty the cupboard and scrub it clean at 11 o’clock at night.

Nervous energy can’t be helped. Heart palpitations. Stress eating. Bumbling email requests. It’s all party of the (my?) process and I’ll get through it. Right?

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Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili | Simple Bites #dinner #vegan

Eating the Pantry: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili Recipe

Last night we enjoyed dinner at my in-law’s place and during the meal, Noah informed his grandmother that at home we were ‘eating the pantry’.

Her eyelids fluttered for a second and then she politely inquired what ‘eating the pantry’ meant, exactly. It does sound strange, I will admit, but it was rewarding to hear my boys explaining the very practice I’ve been teaching them. Apparently, they do listen and understand.

Other than a milk run and a bag of produce from a local market, we haven’t bought groceries yet in 2015. We’re living off the kitchen stores…that well-stocked pantry with its grains, legumes and pasta, the canning shelf of fruits, tomatoes, applesauce and jams, and the freezer, with its jars of stock, frozen summer berries and vegetables.

There are plenty of ingredients to cook from; it just takes a little more planning. It’s a lot more vegetarian eating, which is a welcome change after the excess of the holidays (four turkey dinners).

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apple chips

11 healthy family food habits to embrace in 2015

This list originally started as a few notes scratched in a notebook I keep in my bedside table. Reminders. Little practices that I occasionally forget about, yet want to continue because I know they have a long-lasting positive impact on my family.

It wasn’t until a few days later, standing at the sink up to my elbows in dishes and spacing out the window at the falling snow, when I realized that you might want a similar nudge. The new year is a popular reset time for many reasons, and while I am not going on a diet or pledging any massive goals, I am taking a look at how I can improve our family food culture and strengthen healthy food habits.

I think that you are all doing a bang-up job around the family table, but perhaps in reading, you will find there are one or two practices you could adopt.

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BEJJ Bonus recipe bundle

8 new recipes from my kitchen to yours (BEJJ bonus recipe bundle)

First things first: Happy New Year!

2015. I’ve been waiting for this date for a long time. Friends, my cookbook release is just weeks away now, with February 10th set as the official launch day. Brown Eggs & Jam Jars went to press about a month ago and in a few short days, I’ll be holding one of the very first copies in my hands. The best belated Christmas present? I think so.

It was about this time last year when I was logging a lot of lonely hours at the library, hammering out essays, homesteading features and recipe head notes word by word. I remember one time, tugging on my coat yet again and announcing to the family that I was heading out to write, when my son Noah stopped me with a question.

“Which book are you working on?”
“Brown Eggs & Jam Jars” I responded, puzzled.
“YOU’RE STILL WRITING THAT ONE?”

Apparently one should be capable of simply turning out a manuscript at the drop of a hat. If only. Instead it is the cumulative work from kitchen counter and desk, laptop and Lightroom, assembled by many hands and carefully packaged into book form.

Soon I’ll be posting a preview of the cookbook and more behind-the-scenes fun. After that, I hope to share a handful of book tour dates. For now, I have something special to tide you over until the books are on shelves: a special bundle of eight all-new recipes. Developed in my kitchen and expertly packaged by Penguin, it’s just a preview of the good things to come in the cookbook.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Doughnuts-1

The Brown Eggs & Jam Jars Pre-Order Recipe Bundle

This exclusive recipe collection is a gift for all who pre-order the cookbook. These recipes are going to be your new family favourites for morning, noon and night. Here’s the line-up:

  • Cranberry Quince Conserve with Goji Berries
  • Apricot Cornmeal Muffins
  • Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Shallot Salad
  • Tomato Leek Gratin for Two
  • One-Pan Greek Chicken and Barley Bake
  • Healthier Pumpkin Spice Baked Doughnuts
  • Maple Apple Chips

Cranberry Quince Conserve-1

Winter preserves are every bit as delightful as their summer counterparts as demonstrated by this Cranberry Quince Conserve with Goji Berries. It’s a simple freezer conserve (meaning it is not canned in a traditional method but stored in the freezer) that is deliciously tart but has bursts of sweetness, thanks to the saucy cranberries and supple quince. I love to pair it with toast or a firm cheese and I also serve it as a garnish to a roast pork or chicken.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad-1

Toasted walnuts? Yep. Caramelized shallots? You bet. With its tangy, salty, and umami flavours, this Warm Roasted Cauliflower and Shallot Salad is our salad of choice for the winter months. You’ll want to crank up the oven right away and make this for dinner tonight.

Chicken Barley Bake-1

It’s only fitting to include the recipe that got us through the book-writing process in the first place: One-Pan Greek Chicken and Barley Bake. Its simple one-pan method was ideal for those days when I seldom looked up from writing yet needed a soul-nourishing dish at the end of the day. This dish never failed to make the house smell intoxicating and was always well received by everyone around the table. It’s going back on my menu this week.

Apple Chips-1

The kids and I are hooked on Maple Apple Chips. Hooked, I tell you. They’re the perfect grab-and-go snack, helping to stave off sugar cravings for both parent and child. Bake them up crisp, or leave them slightly chewy—either way, you’ll love them too.

That’s the sneak peek! There’s also a velvety tomato soup, a snacking muffin, healthy baked doughnuts and a tomato-leek gratin that is one of our favourite “date night in” dishes. These great recipes just didn’t get developed in time to make it into the cookbook, but I wanted to send them to you anyway. I hope you love them as much as we do.

How to get the pre-order bonus recipe bundle:

You’ve been patiently waiting for the arrival of my cookbook and for that, I thank you. Perhaps this small collection of recipes can persuade you to hang on just a little bit longer.

Step 1:

Pre-Order Brown Eggs & Jam Jars!

Step 2:

Fill in the form at the bottom of this post once you’ve pre-ordered the cookbook (it’s after the jump!). Then sit back and wait for your BEJJ Recipe Bundle to arrive in your inbox (it may take a few hours!). It is currently formatted as an EPUB file that should work on any of your eReaders.

If you pre-ordered my cookbook already (thanks!) you still can get this free gift. Fill out the form below and enjoy 8 new recipes!

Lastly, a heartfelt “Thank You” for all the support. Your encouragement has blessed me so much since the beginning of this project and continues to remind me why I keep these recipes coming—for you.

Now, hit the jump below to find the form:

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A Winter Engagement Party | Simple Bites

A Winter Engagement Party

My computer and I have been enjoying time apart over the holidays. Remember all that kitchen time I was missing earlier in the month? Well I’ve made up for lost time this past week.

I’ll be keeping this short because I still have a house full of family, kids and dogs, but I wanted to share a few photos from the engagement party Danny and I hosted for my sister and his brother recently.

It was the perfect excuse to throw a party and I had so much fun working with a rustic winter theme – right down to the vintage toboggan that I turned into a buffet table. Whether you are hosting a winter dinner party or a big New Year’s Eve celebration you’ll find some good ideas in this post.

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