Breakfast In the Simple Bites Kitchen with Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

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We’ve become a society that thrives in a go-go-go environment, so when we hear about makers and creators who take the time to slooow down and prioritize time spent around the table with loved ones, we have the same questions as you do – how do you manage to do it all?!

Our March CHEF’S BOX curator Aimee Wimbush Bourque is a celebrated cookbook author, blogger, urban homesteader, former chef, wife and full time mother to 3 kids… talk about doing it ALL! She believes in the importance of bringing the whole family together around the table on a daily basis and created a career that allowed her to make it a reality for her husband and kids.

On Aimee’s blog Simple Bites, she helps families and individuals that want to get back  around the table prepare unprocessed, nourishing meals and learn to foster a desire to eat seasonally and locally. She offers a wealth of comprehensive recipes, simple preserving tutorials, and honest tips for cooking with or without kids. We sat down with Aimee to ask her a few questions based around our March theme of Cozy Family Brunches and how she keeps morning moving smoothly (we’ll take any advice!).

Breakfast with the WImbush-Bourque Family

1. Why do you feel it’s so important for families to share breakfast together?

My kids were born with the ability to roll out of bed and inhale a stack of pancakes, so hearty breakfasts have always been our thing. I believe that starting the day with a good breakfast is one of the main contributors to maintaining a balanced diet and long-term health. I love that together time in the morning when everyone is still a little sleepy. If needed, I can dish out the pep talks or gentle encouragement for the big day ahead.

2. What does your morning routine with the family look like on week days vs weekends?

Most weekday mornings we can all be found in the kitchen: my husband is stationed at the espresso machine (most important job ever!) and the boys are helping with school lunches. I’m flipping French Toast or serving up bowls of Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal. My daughter takes care of pouring juice and doling out multivitamins. It takes a village, right?

Weekends are a little slower, with everyone making their way downstairs at different times. By 9 or 10 I’m serving up something special such as Spinach Crepes or Maple Roasted Pears with Granola. This is also when I encourage the kids to get involved in cooking, baking and serving others.

3. What are some of your favourite tips for making family breakfasts run smoothly?

I keep a well-stocked pantry of breakfast ingredients: oats, granola, maple syrup or sugar, whole grain flours and, of course, plenty of coffee! I always have a plan the night before (and sometimes even a weekly menu plan) so that processed foods, like cold cereal, are not a fallback. I’m also a huge fan of batch cooking, so I often have a pan of baked oatmeal or batch of muffins in the freezer for mornings when I am scrambling.

4. When someone else is doing the cooking, what is your most common brunch craving/request?

Oh good question! If I could have anything, it would be my sister’s Huevos Rancheros; she lives in New Mexico and has access to all those incredible Southwest ingredients. But most common? My husband’s perfectly pulled Americano and a toasted Montreal bagel with cream cheese. Simple. Perfect.d

5. If your kids/husband could each pick a favourite meal you make for breakfast/brunch, what would they be?

My kids beg for my spinach crepes any time they get the chance. Hand’s down it is their most requested ‘special’ breakfast, along with plenty of maple syrup of course. They have dubbed them ‘Hulk Crepes’ – and I am thrilled that their favourite food happens to included three cups of spinach!

6. What is your go-to speedy week day breakfast?

Definitely my homemade Instant Oatmeal. We keep a jar of it on the counter next to the electric kettle and a hot, nutritious breakfast is just a minute away. To keep it interesting, I keep an assortment of fun toppings in jars on a breakfast tray – coconut chips, dried cherries, almond butter, maple sugar, chia seeds… We heap those onto our oats and breakfast is served!

Breakfast with the WImbush-Bourque Family
Click here
to order our March CHEF’S BOX filled with Canadian-made artisan products and recipes from Aimee’s kitchen.


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London Tea Time Muffins from Duchess Bake Shop


London Tea Time Muffins Recipe

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French Macarons from Duchess Bake Shop

French Meringue Macarons Image 10

French Meringue Macarons
Recipe courtesy of Duchess Bake Shop cookbook.

Find step-by-step photos below recipe directions. 

135 g (1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp) almond flour (finely ground almonds)
195 g (1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp) icing sugar
100 g (about 3 large) egg whites, at room temperature
38 g (3 Tbsp) granulated sugar
7 g (2 tsp) egg white powder (egg albumen)
1/4 tsp powder colour (optional)
filling of your choice (see page 30)

You will need a macaron template to help you ensure that your shell sizes are uniform. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet and trace 20 × 1-inch circles onto it spaced about 11/2 inches apart. Place the template on one of the baking sheets and cover it with a second piece of parchment.

1. Sift the almond flour and icing sugar together into a bowl. If necessary, press the last of the mixture through the sifter with your hands. Discard any larger pieces that won’t go through. Set aside.

2. Whip on high until a stiff meringue forms (4 to 41/2 minutes). Make sure to whip until it’s really stiff (Photo A).

3. Pour the sifted almond flour mixture over the meringue and, using a spatula, gently incorporate until just combined (Photo B). Transfer the batter to a shallow wide bowl (Photo C).

4. Now proceed to the macaronage. With a plastic bowl scraper, smear the batter along the sides of the bowl and scrape it back into the centre. Repeat until the batter becomes shiny and reaches the consistency of slow-flowing lava (Photos D–I). How many times you need to do this is highly variable; it might be only a couple of passes or up to a half dozen. If
the batter is moving faster than slow-flowing lava, it’s been overmixed.

If making a macaron gâteau: Stop mixing your batter a bit early so that it ends up a bit stiffer and able to retain its decorative piping during baking.

Hold the piping bag vertically with the tip 1/2 inch above the lined baking sheet. With even pressure, while holding your piping bag steady, pipe onto the parchment following the template that you have placed underneath (Photo K). At this stage you can sprinkle on additions such as finely chopped nuts, cocoa nibs, or coconut depending on the type of
macaron you’re making. Go easy on these as the oils can affect the shells.

5. Carefully remove the template from underneath the parchment (Photo L), put it on the second baking sheet, cover with another piece of parchment, and repeat step 7. If you have extra batter, feel free to pipe extra shells in empty spaces on the parchment between already piped shells.

6. For baking, use only the middle rack of the oven, baking one sheet at a time. Bake the shells for 8 minutes. Briefly open the oven door to let out steam, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for another 4 minutes.

Note: Oven times may vary. If the shells start to brown around the edges, immediately remove them from the oven.

7. To prepare the macarons for filling, find pairs by matching their sizes. Line the pairs up on a tray. Take one of each pair, flip it over, and gently make an indent in the centre using your thumb (Photo O).

8. Fill each indented macaron with the filling you have chosen and cover with its twin, sandwich-style (PhotosP–Q).

9. If you want to fill your macarons with two different fillings (for example, vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam), simply pipe a ring around the outside of the macaron with one of the fillings and insert the other filling in the middle (Photo R).

FOR STORING: Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

French Meringue Macarons
French Meringue Macarons Recipe_Page_4


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Earl Grey Tiramisu from The First Mess Cookbook

Earl Grey Tiramisu(2)

Earl Grey Tiramisu
serves  8 to 10    

1½ cups (375 mL) almond flour
2 teaspoons (10 mL) loose-leaf
Pluck Earl Grey Cream Tea, ground into a powder
1 teaspoon (5 mL) lemon zest
¼ cup (50 mL) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 mL) refined coconut oil, solid
½ teaspoon (2 mL) pure vanilla extract

Cashew Mascarpone Filling
2½ cups (625 mL) raw cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours and drained
1¼ cups (300 mL) strong-brewed Pluck Earl Grey Cream Tea, divided
½ cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice
½ cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon (2 mL) fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) nutritional yeast
⅓ cup (75 mL) liquid refined coconut oil
cocoa powder or shavings from Chocolate 80% made by Zimt for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Make The Cookies: With a fork, mix the almond flour, Earl Grey Cream tea, lemon zest, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl, breaking up the chunks of coconut oil as you go.

Bring the cookie dough together with your hands, and transfer it to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Press and form the dough into a narrow oval-like shape. Start flattening the dough out with your hands. If your dough is a bit sticky, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface, and roll it out with a rolling pin.You’re aiming for a piece of dough that’s roughly 10 × 7 inches (25 × 18 cm) and ¼ inch (5 mm) thick.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges have the faintest hint of brown.

Remove the large cookie from the oven. Carefully cut the large cookie into 1-inch (2.5 cm) strips along the short side. Separate the cookies as much as you can with your knife.You should have about 10 to 12 cookies total. Some cookies will be much longer than others, but we’ll address this in step 9.

by Laura Wright Reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright

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Peanut Butter Pots de Creme with Grape Jelly and Sponge Toffee

4x6_Pots de Creme-page-001 4x6_Pots de Creme-page-002

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Crispy Avocado Tacos from The First Mess Cookbook

Crispy Avocado Tacos - The First Mes Cookbook
Crispy Avocado Tacos - The First Mess Cookbook



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November Tasting Box Revealed!

Nov Tasting Box

The November Tasting Box was packed with our latest food discoveries from Canadian makers. Love what you see? Don’t miss out on the next Tasting Box. Order your box here!

Bang Go The Mangos! Mango Chutney made by Saucy Gramma
You will find generous mango pieces with a rich creamy texture and a blend of enticing aromatic spices.  Loaded with fresh flavours, this chutney pairs beautifully with sweet creamy cheeses, shrimp, chicken or sweet potatoes. Saucy Gramma’s personal favourite is a Grilled Brie and Chutney Sandwich!  Warning: an open jar in your refrigerator may have you sneaking to the kitchen for a midnight snack?

Sizzle Sauce made by Quiet Valley Sauce and Vine
Husband and wife team Greg Montfort and Jennifer Potter left city life and moved to a 50 acre farm in the Beaver Valley. Combining their talents as corporate caterer (Greg) and classical singer (Jennifer), they set out to create an agritourism experience by planting 5 acres of vines which are now in their third year. Sizzle Sauce is their first commercial venture, carefully crafted to enhance – not mask – the natural flavour of your food. Use it as a grilling sauce, marinade or condiment for perfect results!

Savoury Granola and Topper made by SVRY
This new Ottawa-based brand makes savoury, veggie-forward products in categories currently dominated by sweet and sugary options. This topper is their first product – a grain-free blend of high quality freeze dried vegetables, lemon roasted almonds, hemp seeds, bright herbs and warm spices. A scoop added to yogurt, oatmeal, scrambles or power-bowls adds a full serving of vegetable and a source of protein, fibre, vitamin C and magnesium. It’s grain-free and packs all of the nutrition, flavour and texture of real vegetables and savoury spices into a small package perfect to stash in an office drawer, gym bag or back pack.

Partake IPA made by Partake Brewing
When Ted gave up alcohol five years ago due to a medical condition, a friend suggested he try non-alcoholic beer.  Trouble was, it all tasted awful.  So, he launched Partake Brewing to bring all the things that make craft beer great to non-alcoholic beer drinkers including taste, variety, authenticity, creativity, and passion.  This award winning craft brew is made using all natural ingredients,  and balances citrusy hops with a subtle malt backbone.  A light, bubbly body and dry finish make it an all-day sipper that packs an incredible amount of flavour.  

Sneaky BBQ Sauce made by Momma Mari’s
This family owned business in Orillia ON believes that food is all about family and friends. Using handed down recipes they create delicious, healthy, gluten free dressings and sauces that your family will be sure to love. Their signature Sneaky Momma slowly releases her true comical colours, beginning with a fairly sweet smile; then, when you least expect it, her flavours bite back.

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Cinnamon-Spiced Ice Syrup Milk

Serves 2

2 cups creamy unsweetened nondairy milk (recommend coconut or almond beverage)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons Vidal Ice Syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the nondairy milk and cinnamon a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine, then heat until steaming. Remove from heat and stir in the ice syrup and vanilla extract. Serve warm.

Recipe from

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You’re Invited! Our 3rd Annual Foodie Holiday Market


We’re less than a month away from our 3rd annual Foodie Holiday Market popping up Saturday, December 16th to Sunday, December 17th at an incredible new venue – the Toronto Botanical Garden! To say we’re anxious to look, taste, and purchase small-batch wares from some of Canada’s best Foodie Makers would be a huge understatement. It is going to be a party not to be missed…and you are invited!

Shop handmade artisan products and ingredients from across Canada in one room and support some our best emerging Food Makers. Whether you’re crossing the food-lovers in your life off your list, or spending some much needed self-love time shopping for yourself, there is something for everyone and every taste with items from over 40 unique and creative vendors.

From delicious tastings and demos to insightful talks, our skilled Makers are dishing out exclusives on their products available only to those who attend. See here for our Workshop schedule so you don’t miss out on any of the delicious fun!

See below for the full list of vendors and don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance to save those hard-earned dollar bills for shopping! $10 in advance, $15 at the door (limited) and all children 12 and under are admitted FREE of charge. $1 from every ticket will go to supporting Toronto Botanical Garden.


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Tastings, Maker Demos & More at Our Foodie Holiday Market

Our annual Foodie Holiday Market is popping back up from Saturday, December 16th to Sunday, December 17th at an incredible new venue – the Toronto Botanical Garden!

We invited some of our makers to host tastings, talks and demos—and to get to know you a little better! Get tickets in advance for all the fun on the Eventbrite page and sign up for the free workshops on site!

Read more…

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