Bite this Book: The Homemade Pantry (giveaway)

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Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book, good reads on Simple Bites.

She’s a mother of two with a passion for homemade eat and treats, and Alana Chernila’s cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, is currently getting splattered and flour-dusted on my kitchen counter. I kind of want to cook my way right through it, from the first chapter on dairy to the sweet candy ending.

This is Alana’s first cookbook, and in it she shares 101 homemade versions of everyday supermarket essentials from yogurt and sandwich bread to salad dressing and crackers. Recipes are paired with charming stories that capture Alana’s home life and leave the reader inspired to follow suite.

We’re certainly no stranger to homemade substitutes for pantry staples here on Simple Bites, which is why I know you will enjoy this book. Its recipes are appealing to both the novice DIY experimenter, as well as the expert in all things homemade. We’re currently hooked on the pancake and waffle ready mix, which I hope to share here soon.

As someone who has been cooking from scratch all my life, I can definitely recommend The Homemade Pantry as a solid resource for anyone who wishes to move away from processed, packaged goods.

Read on for an interview with Alana and a chance to win a copy of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Food Memoirs And Non-Fiction

It was food writer Molly O’Neil who said that food preferences, habits and rituals are also intimate windows into disparate cultures, classes, eras and places. We see this clearly between the pages of our favorite food memoirs, the latest, hottest coming-of-age stories.

This year I’ve traveled to Berlin with Luisa Weiss in My Berlin Kitchen, I donned chef whites and piped buttercream alongside Jenna Weber in White Jacket Required, and I ducked behind the scenes of Top Chef with Gail Simmons in Talking with My Mouth Full – and all from under a quilt on my sofa.

I’ve fallen hard for food memoirs and non-fiction this year, reigniting a love that began with Kitchen Confidential and Ruth Reichl’s books a many years ago.

I’m sharing a few of my favorites today; they’re certain to make a perfect Christmas gift for the foodie in the family.

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My cookbook gift guide & Bite this Book 2012 recap

In my opinion, the gift of a cookbook – to yourself or anyone – is about the best present to unwrap on Christmas morning. Today’s recommended gift guide is a collection of cookbooks that were all featured in my monthly Bite this Book feature.

This is not a ‘best of’ list, by any means, but these are the ones I can vouch for, believe in, and cook from. I have cracked their covers and spilled flour on them. I’ve left them stacked up on the kitchen counter, within arms reach because of recipes between their pages that are calling me.

These are the books I am gifting to a bunch of my girlfriends – the vegetarian, the novice home canner, the new mom, the dessert queen, and the gluten-free girls. Ready to see my picks? Pour yourself a coffee and hit the jump.

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Bite this Book: The Picky Palate Cookbook (giveaway, 3 winners)

Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book! good reads on Simple Bites.

She’s a celebrity food blogger, mom to two boys and a baby (sound familiar?), a fashion-forward blond bombshell, and now Jenny Flake can add ‘Published Author’ to her resume. Her beautiful, family-focused cookbook The Picky Palate Cookbook came out just a few weeks ago from Wiley, and boy is it guaranteed to twist your stomach with hunger!

Jenny’s delicious, down-to-earth home cooking and baking is stunningly styled and photographed by dynamic duo of Adam Pearson and Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites. Not only is The Picky Palate Cookbook mouth-watering to flip through, but it sits flat on the kitchen counter, thanks to a practical spiral binding. I wasted no time getting my copy dusted in flour…

We’ve been keeping warm on these blustery November days with Jenny’s tried and true recipes such as Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Bread, for after-school snack, and Buttery Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits with our chili for dinner. Long has Jenny earned our respect by rigorous recipe testing and development on her blog, Picky Palate; now you can bring her favorite, family friendly recipes right into the kitchen with you!

Read on for a short interview with Jenny and a chance to win one of three copies of The Picky Palate Cookbook!

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Bite This Book: Small Plates and Sweet Treats (giveaway)

Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book! good reads on Simple Bites.

Aran is the multi-talented photographer, pastry chef and writer behind cannelle et vanille. I’ve been reading her James Beard award-nominated food blog since its conception, and am fortunate enough to call the smiling, Basque-born Aran a friend.

This past summer Aran hosted a photography workshop here in Montreal and I moved everything – and I mean everything – aside to attend. After an inspiring session, I slipped away to nurse tiny Clara, then rejoined the girls and Aran for a lively dinner downtown. That meal remains one of my favorite memories of the summer.

Aran spoke a bit about her upcoming cookbook that night and I knew it was going to be very special indeed. This week, Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking was officially released and I’ve been really enjoying my copy.

The recipes are so compelling and the images entirely enticing, it’s hard to resist cracking open this book every single day for inspiration. Then again, why resist? Fall is the perfect time to string together a few hours in the kitchen, preferably with someone you love.

I am easily seduced by cookbooks which are divided up into seasons, because that is exactly how we eat. Aran’s book conveniently begins in autumn, which means I was a mere handful of pages in before I had bookmarked three recipes to make as soon as possible: a vibrant autumn panzanella salad (with roasted vegetables, apples, herbs), a shiitake mushroom & leek quiche, and spiced pear & brown butter muffins (made and photographed above).

Read on for an interview with Aran and a chance to win a copy of Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking.

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