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The Simple Bites Kitchen: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes for Every Day Paperback – October 3, 2017
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“And in her second cookbook, the Simple Bites Kitchen, Wimbush-Bourque helps readers tackle hearty breakfasts, supper solutions and all the snacks in between.” --Chatelaine
"Aimée Wimbush-Bourque has the remarkable ability to capture the vital, bustling energy of her home into every recipe she writes. In The Simple Bites Kitchen, she conveys such hospitality through dishes that are homespun and inspired."--Tara O'Brady, author of Seven Spoons
"The Simple Bites Kitchen is truly a gem that will live in my kitchen for a very long time. Through Aimée's expert guidance cooking wholesome food for my family is not only doable, but a joy."--Ashley Rodriguez, author of Date Night In
“Aimée’s passion for healthy eating, good stewardship and guiding others is evident on every page. The recipes are simple yet elegant, and each page turn feels like a personal invitation to take a seat at her family table, where there is always room for everyone.”--Sarah Kieffer, author of The Vanilla Bean Baking Book
“This book is a must own! The Simple Bites Kitchen is a collection of stunningly delicious recipes that are guaranteed to earn a permanent home on your weekly meal plan. Aimée’s recipes will inspire your culinary adventures in the kitchen and draw your family closer as you cook together.”--Dennis Prescott, author of Eat Delicious
“Aimée captures that special connection between cooking and family life so beautifully. Her recipes and food philosophy are endlessly inspiring, and her writing makes me feel like I have an encouraging friend by my side in the kitchen.”--Jenna Helwig, food editor at Parents magazine and author of Real Baby Food
About the Author
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I have to cook most of what I eat, as I have a medical allergy to preservatives and sadly they are found in most processed foods/foods available in stores.
But in this cookbook, all of the recipes use close-to-the-earth ingredients, not ingredients and food items modified for commercial distribution! I am so excited and thankful to Mrs. Wimbush-Bourque for her labor of love. And the photos and write-ups are top-notch too.
A beautiful cookbook.
Although I became familiar with Aimée from the website Simple Bites a couple years ago when I started to worry about cooking for my baby, she has been blogging for a lot longer than that. Over a decade ago she started with her own award-winning blog Under the High Chair as a chronicle of her then young family’s life — both in the kitchen and out. She then became the editor of Simple Bites and from there she continues to foster the things to build a strong family, within a strong community. With her first cookbook Brown Eggs and Jam Jars she provides the blueprint for true urban homesteading (along with our favourite go-to pizza dough recipe).
As some of you are aware my struggles with cooking a plant-based diet for my vegetarian family has been challenging (having not grown up as a vegetarian). While I’m still finding my way, what has inspired me the most is how Aimée’s whole family is involved in the kitchen. Her husband and children are the fabric of Simple Bites Kitchen — she never speaks with “I” or “me” but rather “us” and “our”. You can’t get away from the notion that everyone has a valued placed (and it’s not just her immediate family but friends too). I knew that before my daughter could even speak I would start to introduce her to ingredients, techniques, and most importantly the feeling you get when you create a meal that is shared.
Am I being dramatic or sensational by telling you that you could open to any page in this cookbook and find an absolute gem of a recipe? I don’t think so. With her considerable culinary skills (she won a Lieutenant-Gouverneur’s award in culinary school) she has developed nourishing recipes from real ingredients. Whole food cooking is really coming into it’s own right now — people are looking to eat more seasonally, from CSAs or local farmer’s markets, and by re-learning all of those kitchen skills and techniques that have been lost. People are yearning for more than processed food and I think this is why The Simple Bites Kitchen cookbook is so wonderful — humble ingredients used with genuine intention.
What Wimbush-Bourque offers is a flexible guide with recipes to suit any occasion or dietary preference, and while her family follows a flexitarian diet I’ve found that she offers many recipes that suit my very vegetarian family. With her first cookbook it was organized by season and while eating seasonally still plays a role the cookbook is organized through the following chapters: Nourishing Breakfasts, Wholesome Lunches & Snacks, Homegrown Vegetarian, Fresh-Air Gatherings, Everyday Suppers, Simple Bites Staples, and Preserves Pantry. What’s even better? Every recipe is accompanied by the most incredible photos, that evoke such a cozy, warm, and entirely inviting feel (her photographers Tim and Angela Chin have really captured the essence of each recipe so well).
There is such a variety of recipes — ones that take no time to prepare (like the pesto and the stuffed sweet peppers) and ones that take a bit more time but are completely worth the effort (like the bagels, jam, and gingerbread waffles). Reading through her recipes I could tell they have been well-tested. I never had moments where I had to improvise or question a step. Each recipe is well-written so if you’re a beginning cook I think this would be a great cookbook to start with. Even though I’ve been cooking for awhile there were enough challenging (though not impossible) recipes that kept me wanting to try more. (As a side-convo as I’m writing this I’m already planning to bake up the scones and zucchini bread and then make the sloppy joes).
I’ve really appreciated her chapter on vegetarian dishes — it’s great to have an entire section devoted to delicious main-dishes. Her recipes come from the vegetables grown in their own gardens and I appreciate the fact that when eating seasonally (and even locally) produce is easy to source and reasonably-priced (if you’re not already growing your own). It’s also the way she introduces meat-substitutes like lentils and tofu into the recipes — ensuring that the vegetable mains are equally as hearty as their meaty counterparts. So far I’ve made the Roasted Tomato & Lentil Soup, Spinach Lasagna Stuffed Sweet Peppers (totally genius!) and the Lentil Cottage Pie w/ Rutabaga Mash and they were all hits.
Something a little unexpected happened as I cooked from this book — I learned that homemade bagels aren’t that difficult to make and you can make them with a three year old. So on Friday afternoon my daughter and I assembled all of the ingredients and set to work on the Honey Whole Wheat Bagel recipe. I measured, she poured. We talked about learning something new together and things I usually take for granted (like the smell of the yeast blooming in the bowl) she reminded me that we can all stop and be curious sometimes. We shaped our bagels, I boiled them and then we topped the bagels before putting them into the oven. And when my husband got home she was so proud to tell him about our bagels. This is just our first try! The bagels turned out really well and now we have a standing date to keep making bagels.
Even (scary) skills like preserving have been made accessible with her tutorials. I have an unending desire to learn how to make and preserve things like jam but I’ve been really, really afraid of botulitizing my loved ones. So with Aimée’s clear directions (and some extra support from my pal Diana who convinced me that I would not, in fact, have to write my will before beginning) I was able to produce jam, sealed in jars with lids that had popped down in the middle. It’s a nice feeling to feel capable.
The Simple Bites Kitchen provides a guide for cooking amazing meals from scratch as well as providing tips, tutorials and most importantly inspiration. Even though I’ll go onto to my next review, this cookbook has been one of the standout cookbooks of this year and one that I’m glad to have on my shelf.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Aimée Wimbush-Bourque and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.