A new chapter. Actually, make that twelve of them.

If I were to backtrack to where this story truly began, I would have to return to a conversation with my best friend at a ski cabin sleepover, back when we were fourteen-year-old dreamers.

In that hut on the side of a mountain, I remember talking into the darkness above me, declaring that I would be a writer and be published one day. She was going to study medicine and be a doctor. I had already decided that I would marry the boy from Québec, so we conveniently paired her up with one of his brothers, although that part played out differently.

My friend went on to become a nurse practitioner and was my bridesmaid when I married the boy I had loved since my teens. I launched a food blog and published regularly, so that made me a writer. Kind of.

Fast-forward twenty years from that innocent forecast of our futures and you will find me now, eyes wide open with equal amounts of excitement and fright, on the cusp of making my childhood dream an actuality.

You see, I have accepted an offer to write two books with Penguin and am now actively working on my first cookbook. A book born out of this very space.

Yes, it’s absolutely bonkers!

Spring produce on www.simplebites.net Image by Tim Chin Photography

Saying it out loud really makes it feel official. You have to understand, this deal hasn’t been simmering on the back burner for ages; it has all come together since my little trip to Vegas. To say the last few weeks have been a wild ride is very, very accurate.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites will be published simultaneously by Penguin Canada and Pintail, a boutique imprint of Penguin USA, in Spring, 2015. I can promise you that it will be well worth the wait. (Book 2 is still under wraps.)

I feel so fortunate to be working with Penguin lifestyle editor Andrea Magyar, who not only understands my approach to food and cooking, but knows how to translate it to paper in the best possible way. Thank you, Andrea, for reaching out and taking me on.

Home preserves on www.simplebites.net #DIY #canning #jam #recipe #preserving

About Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

It’s exciting to share my vision for this cookbook after conceptualizing it for several months prior to any serious interest from a publisher. Thinking about how a blog could translate to print is something most food bloggers do from time to time, I would imagine.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites is a carefully curated collection of one hundred or so recipes, insanely useful sidebars on cooking, homesteading and kids, and gorgeous photographs  – all with family at the center. On our homestead, our family food life is a celebration of the seasons and the joyous events they bring and it is this journey that I wish to share through Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.

A year of family food life

Divided by seasons, the cookbook will follow twelve events that center around family food life on our urban homestead. There will be stories of maple taffy in the snow, summer harvest dinners on the lawn, neighborhood jam swaps,  apple orchard outings, and my favorite Sunday dinners. Basically, more of your favorite reads on Simple Bites, but expanded and rounded out, with practical application for your home and family.

A collection of new recipes

The cookbook will feature recipes that are characteristic of this space – seasonal, inspirational, doable, and clearly constructed. They will both reflect my current family food life and reach back into my childhood and my whole foods upbringing.

I’ve been developing recipes for nearly two years now, sharing a slice of the pie here on the blog, but saving the real deep-dish goodness for a tangible cookbook you can hold in your hands. Of course, a few favorite recipes from the three years of blog archives will be included, but even those will be updated and improved upon.

There is still much to do, test and taste, but I’m ready to hit the kitchen!

Cookbook announcement on www.simplebites.net Image by Tim Chin Photography

Insanely useful sidebars

Alongside stories and recipes, the book will be packed with practical tips on my favorite topics: food, homesteading and kids in the kitchen.

I want to show readers how a small urban living space is big enough to nurture self-sufficiency and give any family the contentment of homesteading in their own backyard. Never mind moving to the ranch, it is possible to find contentment and to challenge yourself, right where you are.

I’ll also incorporate the best kitchen tips and cooking skills that I gleaned while working for ten years in the restaurant and catering industry. Oh yes, they apply to home kitchens, too.

Gorgeous photography

Working alongside me and photographing ‘Brown Eggs and Jam Jars‘, are Tim and Angela Chin, longtime friends and renowned Montreal photographers. They are also parents, have a deep appreciation for family food culture, and they totally get my philosophy on food. They’ve been documenting our family for the past five years, back when I was super blonde, the boys were tiny tots, and Clara just an infant.

I know that the Chins are capable of capturing heart and soul in their images and I can’t wait for you all to get a glimpse of our homesteading life through their photographs for this book.

Clara with strawberries by Angela Chin

ALL images in this post by Tim and Angela Chin

There’s no better time or place to extend the warmest of thanks to my agent Stacey Glick, who has been absolutely amazing. I forwarded her a single email inquiry from Penguin a few weeks ago, then I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas, leaving my laptop (and ‘work brain’) at home. When I returned to Montreal a few days later and checked my messages when deplaning, she had an offer waiting for me. It completely knocked the wind out of me. I may have cried all the way through customs and sniffled through the baggage claim. But that is another story for another time.

Stay updated on book news:

At the bottom of this post you can sign up to receive email updates on the latest book news, perhaps some fun insider information, and definitely a few sneak peeks at the photography as it progresses over the year. Sound good?

And so, I will leave you now and continue the recipe development for this book. There are also sidebars to write, head notes to ponder, and short essays to unwrap from my heart and put into words. I’m ready to jump in with both feet, get my hair wet and perhaps even a little water up my nose. It’s bound to happen.

Thanks to you, the reader, for visiting, reading and returning. Without your support, there would be no cookbook, this is certain.

Note: If you got this from email or RSS feed, you’ll need to visit the site to be able to sign up.

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About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I’m so genuinely thrilled for you, and was waiting for you to publish this post! Can’t wait to celebrate with a drink on the weekend. xoxo

    • Thanks for being a great sounding board the last few weeks. 🙂 Can’t wait for this weekend!! We will toast cookbook writing, that is certain.

  2. Congrats Aimee! Such wonderful news!

  3. Super duper excited for you! 2015 will not get here fast enough! I cannot wait to get my hands on your book. all the best to you!! Sheila

  4. Oh Aimee, so well deserved! Congratulations! I know your books will be special! Best of luck and have fun writing them!

  5. Aimée that’s wonderful news! Excited to catch up with you this weekend and toast all your successes!

  6. Yay, yay, YAY!!!! Oh my gosh…I cannot wait to have it in my hands! Congrats, Aimee! I know already that it will be fabulous!

  7. Congratulations! I am so happy for you…and excited to get your book! Love the idea!

  8. Your excitement is palpable. I am very happy for you as it is well deserved. Your blog always brings a breath of fresh air into my life, slows me down, makes me remember the important things and life and combines the love I have for my family with the love I have for food.

    Well done, you should be proud !!

    Looking forward to the book

  9. Congrats Amiee!! I am so excited for your book!

  10. Congrats!!!

  11. Oh WOW!! This is all such great news. Can’t wait to see your books 🙂

  12. This is wonderful, Aimee. I’m so very happy for you!

  13. CONGRATULATIONS! I have thought “this woman needs to write a foodie memoir” since I found this blog over a year ago. (I am a former chef-a lifetime ago it seems since I have two young children now-3 and 1-and couldn’t maintain that type of schedule!)

  14. So, I have just two cookbooks to my name- “How to Cook Everything” by Bittman and a sentimental tome from the year I was married. I can’t stand clutter and have found that most cookbooks have only a couple of recipes that I am interested in. But just a few months ago I found myself thinking, “you know if Aimee’ wrote a cookbook, I would totally buy it.” I love your approach, your honest way with words, and your convictions. I cannot wait to pre-order this!! All the best!!

  15. YES, YES, YES!! I’ve been waiting for this. (And had a good feeling when you’d mentioned yesterday that you had news to share today… can you tell I was chomping at the bit to hear?!) This is wonderful news, for you and for us. I know your book will be an instant favorite in my and so many other family homes. Congrats, Aimee. So happy for you.

    • Thanks for making me even more emotional. 😉 I so appreciate the support and you’ve always been there for this space. Thanks for being an inspiration yourself!

  16. That’s so exciting! Congratulations!

  17. Oh, Aimee…this is such fantastic news. Your posts always make me feel as though I want to be an ant on a picnic-table, looking in on your family gatherings. It sounds as though book one will capture that feeling of celebrating family through shared meals beautifully. Congratulations!

  18. I am sooooo excited for you Aimee!! You are amazing and can’t wait for the new chapters 🙂 xoxo

  19. Congratulations! I will be looking forward to seeing your writing and recipes come together in book form–love the 12-month concept of the book! Way to go!

  20. Taffy in the winter, useful sidebars about homesteading? Awesome ideas and unique concepts that are sure to intrigue all of us! Congrats and can’t wait to see it. Your friends are great photographers, what a great opp to work with them too. Congrats!

  21. CONGRATS!!!!!! So excited to see these stories, I love the idea behind the events for chapters, and your friends take amazing photos!! Can’t wait to see this in 2015!!!!!

  22. Such wonderful news! I can’t wait to read it! I love starting my morning with a fresh hardboiled egg from our chickens, homemade toast from a local bakery, a cup of hot tea and your blog. I’m excited for something more to delve into! (And P.S. – we’re taking that family trip to Mexico in March! The whole idea started from your blog post!)

  23. My heart is so very happy for you!!!! Stacey is my agent too, and she will be amazing all the way through and after too. I’m in love with your book idea. Can’t wait to see it all come to fruition. Many, many congrats!

    • That’s right! I forgot you were with Stacey, too. She’s just incredible. I have so many questions. Lol.

      Thanks for the sweet comment!

  24. Good for you! That is amazing news. I’ve been reading your jottings since UtHC. In fact I just discussed the sugaring process with my four year old a few days ago. Now this Texas girl knew nothing about that until you documented it way back when on UtHC. What a great opportunity to spread the knowledge to others.

  25. You deserve all of this and more, friend! So, so happy to see your obvious talent recognized and sent out to millions in print!

  26. Wow!! So exciting. I cannot wait to see your gorgeous photos and recipes in print. Just yesterday made your DIY granola bars which were a big hit! But wait, does this mean you are no longer doing the blog?? 🙁

  27. So happy for you Aimee! They’re going to be the best books evah!!

  28. This is so exciting Aimee!!! COngratulations! Can’t wait to see it!!

  29. Yay! This is so exciting!

  30. Congratulations! Can’t wait to add your books to my collection! (And you are so lucky to have equally talented friends like Tim and Angela – how wonderful to collaborate with them on this project.)

  31. I look forward to reading your book so much, Aimee! I love nothing more than when a favorite blogger writes a book. It will be such a special thing to have your words on paper! 🙂

    • Thank you, Claire!it will be an fun, crazy process, but it is encouraging to know there are people like you who are eager to receive the book. So thank you!


    It’s been a fun ride to share with you, my friend. Enjoy it all. Mwah.

  33. Thrilled and Ecstatic – these are just a little amuse-bouche of the emotions Angela and I are feeling for you Aimée. Such happiness belongs with you and the wonderful Bourque family.

    We are also incredibly honoured to be working with you. At first, my only disappointment was that we would have to wait till 2015 to see this on shelves – but as I think about it more, I think it’s going to be such a wonderful journey that we’re all really just going to enjoy the ride.

    A huge congratulations from our family to yours.

  34. Congratulations! I am very very happy for you. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  35. Congratulations Aimee, what exciting news! Am looking forward to adding your book to my shelves!

  36. Congrats Aimee, such wonderful news and a blogger who is truly deserving of a cookbook. I know you’ll do a wonderful job!

    • Many thanks, Melissa. You and everyone at FBC have been so supportive and it really means a lot. I’ll need it over the next year and onward.

  37. Omg!! How exciting Aimee!!! Congrats!! Can’t wait for Spring 2015 🙂

  38. Congratulations Aimee! You are already an internet star – watch out, publishing world! Really looking forward to coming along the journey and getting your new book all greasy and sticky with frequent use 🙂

  39. Congratulations!!!! You are one of my favourite food bloggers and I’ve been waiting for this announcement! Can’t wait 🙂

  40. So exciting, Aimee!! I know you will be a smashing success!

  41. Wonderful news, Aimee! So excited for you! Reaching a lifelong goal has to feel pretty great. Congratulations!

    • Thanks, Amy. Although the goal is in sight, I feel like I now have the hardest part of the journey ahead of me. It will be exciting, though!

  42. Tammy Wood says

    Aimee – this is so wonderful! Huge congratulations. I already know it will be an incredible read. There is no question about that. Have an amazing time pulling it all together.

  43. Wow! Looking forward to it! You had me at ‘How to Roast a Turkey’ when I made the MOST incredible turkey for my family’s Thanksgiving a few years ago. Lovely blog.

  44. Congratulations! I am so excited for you. Can’t wait till it comes out.

  45. I was so thrilled to see the first bit of news on instagram and couldn’t wait to read more of the story here…I’m super excited for you and this new adventure for you guys!
    I love this space and the stories you tell here and I’m excited about having a book by you in my hands. What a great opportunity! =)

  46. Yay, yay, yay! This is awesome! I love the title, and you are so very deserving. Congrats!

  47. Congratulations! Well deserved, so happy for you!

  48. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and that all your hard work is being rewarded. I’d like to pre-order the book now! 🙂

  49. What wonderful, happy news! Your posts are so fun & informative, I know
    your books will be terrific!
    Looking forward to publication!!

  50. Seriously amazing. So excited for you!! I know I am going to appreciate every aspect of this book as well being our homesteading journey… so the timing is perfect! 🙂

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