Pork Chops with Roasted Pears, Sage and Shallots | Simple Bites

Pork Chops with Roasted Pears, Sage and Shallots

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! It’s a long weekend from coast to coast and I hope you are enjoying the time with family and friends.

This post was written and scheduled last week, so that I could spend my holiday baking pumpkin pies, roasting the turkey and dishing up dinner around my table. We’re hosting a wonderful big gang for a feast today and I am definitely in my happy place- the kitchen!

If you like, join me in the Simple Bites kitchen today (and any day!)by using Instagram Stories. First follow @aimeebourque on your Instagram app, and then tap on my profile picture to play the stories. Make sure you have the most recent update of the app.

Okay, now on to today’s recipe and a recipe round-up from our #EatSeasonal blogging group.

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Sparkling Vanilla-Scented Apple Cider Punch | Simple Bites

Sparking Vanilla-Scented Apple Cider Party Punch

Last week, I gave in to the chilly weather and started wearing socks and sweaters. I simmered two pots of soup, made a pie and roasted off a few butternut squash for future baking projects.

October arrived, as did a carpet of ochre oak and maple leaves on our forest floor. Yes, fall is here to stay, and it’s getting me in the mood for Canadian Thanksgiving next week.

Because of our large extended family, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with a couple of events here and there over the holiday long weekend. Then on Monday, Danny and I are hosting twenty people for a mid-day turkey dinner around our table. I’m still finalizing the full menu (so many favourite dishes to narrow down!) but I have settled on a punch to serve.

I have a go-to party punch for spring and summer – a raspberry rhubarb collins – and it serves me well for a range of warm weather occasions. But truth be told, I didn’t have a favourite punch for fall until I started testing in earnest quite recently.

Spices. Spirits. Syrups. Sweeteners. There are a dozen different directions one can go when it comes to creating a crowd pleasing drink. In the end, I stayed true to this blog’s mantra and kept things simple; today’s recipe for Sparking Vanilla-Scented Apple Cider Party Punch is my pick for pre-Thanksgiving dinner cocktail hour.

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apples

28 Apple Recipes: the sweet and the savoury

When it comes to fall fruit in Quebec, apples reign supreme, from the early Jersey Mac to the late maturing Cortland.

A wide wooden bowl on my kitchen table holds an ever-rotating assortment of Honeycrisp and Sunrise – our favourites for munching – and the fridge drawer keeps Green Russets and Ginger Golds crisp for salads and slaws.

Local farms open their orchard gates and we are among the many Montrealers who flock through to pick apples. We make it an annual event, enjoy a picnic with the family amid the fall leaves, and stay until the sun dips and the children tire of running.

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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Simple Bites

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yesterday at the market I passed several large baskets overflowing with plump zucchini and noted that they were being sold for mere pocket change.

Then I remembered this muffin recipe which I had yet to post and made an additional mental note to get it out into your inboxes while zucchini is still cheap and prolific. I resisted bringing home any more zucchini from the market yesterday, but my kids are so crazy about these muffins, I’m know going to need to make a double batch before long.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are fantastic for breakfast or school lunches. Their flavour deepens after twenty four hours at room temperature, so they are just as delicious on the second day as they are served up warm from the oven. I’ve been making them in mini format for snacking as well as jumbo size for a filling breakfast-on-the-go.

Are you ready for fall baking? Let’s kick things off with a tray of nourishing muffins.

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apple chips

Maple Cinnamon Apple Chips

Today I’m packing up the family for two nights in a secluded cabin in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Friends of ours have a cottage in the woods, and we’re slipping away to join them over the weekend.

The maple and oak trees have started to don their fall foliage, and the weather is much cooler. This is our favourite time of the year to hike and immerse ourselves in the forest.

We won’t quite be camping, but I’ll be doing some cooking over an open fire, and am adapting our meals for a simple, outdoor setting. I want to relax on this little getaway, which means plenty of food prep in advance. Today’s maple-sweetened, cinnamon-spiced apple chips are part of that plan.

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