Jan Scott

Jan Scott is a well-known Canadian cookbook author, food writer, and the creator of Family Bites, a popular blog devoted to family-focused recipes and easy-to-execute entertaining and party ideas. She’s been the food editor for SavvyMom.ca since 2011, and has had essays and articles published in a variety of print and online publications. Prior to making the transition to food writing, she worked for a private catering company for eight years. Her first book, Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food was shortlisted for the 2015 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards in the Best General Cookbook category. Jan lives in Toronto, with her husband and their three sons.
5 Crave-Worthy Cookbooks to Try This Spring
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If the strawberries at the market aren’t making you excited about spring, some of the new cookbooks that were released this season just might do the trick. I’ve spent months cooking my way though many of them, and the following five have stood out for a variety of reasons. One has encouraged me to make more meatless meals for my family, one convinced me that maybe celebrities really do know how to cook, one is helping me satisfy my cravings for all things ice cream in a healthy way, one offers exciting inspiration for weeknight dinners, and the last has been giving me some great ideas for what to feed to my toddler. Here’s a look at five crave-worthy cookbooks you’ll want to try this spring:


For the Gluten-Free/Vegetarian Family:

Whole Bowls by Allison Day

Whole Bowls is a collection of more than fifty gluten-free and vegetarian meals to power your day. Organized by breakfast, salad, entrée, and dessert bowls, there are also dozens of mini recipes-within-recipes, plus the homemade extras and basics found at the back of the book. The idea is that you’ll use these ideas and components—plus Allison’s brilliant ‘Whole Bowls Formula’—to build your own quick meals throughout the week. I’m especially fond of the vegetarian pantry guide, a useful resource for anyone interested in constructing more dishes with less meat.

Recipes to try: Roasted Broccoli Orzo with Basil Dressing, Spring Rice Bowls with Chive Oil, Toasted Coconut Chia Pudding, The Big Bowl of Cookie Dough.


For the Family Who Loves to Entertain:

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

I don’t usually take celebrity-written cookbooks too seriously, but this spring it was hard for me to ignore the glowing recommendations I read about Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings, her first contribution to category. Over the course of two months, I spotted positive reviews at every turn, and eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I bought the book to try out some of the recipes for myself. Happily, I was anything but disappointed. Her Cobb salad and sweet chili and mustard glazed salmon have been in regular rotation this spring, adding a little sass to the supper table, and I’ve already bookmarked quite a few recipes for my summer entertaining needs.

Recipes to try: Roasted Cauliflower, Feta and Orzo Salad, Shrimp Summer Rolls, Margarita Chicken Fajitas.


For the Family Craving Frozen Healthy Frozen Treats:

Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet by Christine Chitnis

The days are turning hot, which means it’s time to fill my freezer with frozen treats for the summer months. I usually crave something that’s refreshing and light if possible, and this spring I’ve found plenty of encouragement in Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet, a collection of 75 recipes for fruit-forward ice creams, frozen yogurts, ice pops and more. Many of the options are vegan and gluten-free, making them ideal for those families with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Recipes to try: Pina Colada Pops, Chai Ginger Ice Cream, Coffee Frozen Yogurt, Orange Coconut Creamsicles.


For the Busy Family in Need of New Dinner Inspiration:

Make it Easy by Stacie Billis

I make dinner six to seven nights a week for my family of five so I’m always looking for new meal inspiration and this season I have found it in spades in Stacie Billis’s new book, Make it Easy. From the Thai chicken burgers to the chocolate and peanut butter chip banana muffins, each recipe is simple enough for the novice cook but interesting enough to inspire those of us who log a lot of hours in the kitchen. Perhaps the thing I like best about the author’s message is the idea that not every component of each meal needs to be homemade and that it’s okay to reach for store-bought shortcuts when the need or desire strikes.

Recipes to try: Everyday Waffles, Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese, Curried Cauliflower and Red Lentil Soup, No-Fuss Pan-Roasted Paprika Chicken.


For the Family with a Baby/Toddler in the House:

Growing Up Gourmet by Jennifer Carlson

Written by the co-creator of Baby Gourmet, one of North America’s top selling organic baby food brands, this guide encompasses everything you need to know about feeding babies and toddlers. As a busy mother of two, the author understands the struggles that come with trying to find the time to make wholesome homemade meals and she lays out her strategies and tips to make it all doable in this easy-to read recipe collection. 

Recipes to try: Banana Fig Oatmeal, Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto, Pumpkin Coconut Muffins, Banana Zucchini Flax Muffins, Creamy Turkey Noodles.


Tell us, what cookbooks are you cooking from these days? Is there anything new and exciting on your bookshelf?

Jan Scott is a well-known Canadian cookbook author, food writer, and the creator of Family Bites, a popular blog devoted to family-focused recipes and easy-to-execute entertaining and party ideas. She’s been the food editor for SavvyMom.ca since 2011, and has had essays and articles published in a variety of print and online publications. Prior to making the transition to food writing, she worked for a private catering company for eight years. Her first book, Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food was shortlisted for the 2015 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards in the Best General Cookbook category. Jan lives in Toronto, with her husband and their three sons.
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21 Ways to Have the Best Summer Ever
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I took a quick look through our article archives and discovered we’ve covered plenty of topics related to summer eating, warm-weather entertaining and school’s-out fun with the kids. We’ve come up with the easiest summer dessert you’ll ever make, 16 entertaining hacks you need to know about, and tips for hosting picnic, pie, birthday, movie and ice cream parties. So, here’s my suggestion: pin this page (or bookmark it, if you prefer) and save these ideas for when you’re in need of a reminder for how to have the very best summer ever! 

Best Summer Eats:

Brownie Cake: The Easiest Summer Dessert
How to Make the Best Summer Sangria Ever
Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones
The Easiest Way to Serve Watermelon to Kids
10 Ultimate S’more-Based Desserts for Summer
Melon, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Skewers
A Late-Summer Buffet Menu‘
6 Secrets to Making Perfect Lemonade
13 Summer Snack Ideas
6 No-Cook Dinner Ideas for Lazy Summer Evenings

Best Summer Entertaining Tips and Tricks:

25 Ways to Use Mason Jars in Your Outdoor Entertaining
16 Summer Entertaining Hacks You Need to Know About
How to Host an Old Fashioned Picnic Party
How to Host a Pie Party
How to Throw a Simple Summer Birthday Party
How to Host an Outdoor Movie Party
How to Host an Ice Cream Social

Best Ways to Have Summer Fun with Kids:

3 Classic Outdoor Games to Play This Summer
101 Summer Boredom Busters
24 Rules for a Successful Road Trip
DIY Backyard Jenga

Jan Scott is a well-known Canadian cookbook author, food writer, and the creator of Family Bites, a popular blog devoted to family-focused recipes and easy-to-execute entertaining and party ideas. She’s been the food editor for SavvyMom.ca since 2011, and has had essays and articles published in a variety of print and online publications. Prior to making the transition to food writing, she worked for a private catering company for eight years. Her first book, Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food was shortlisted for the 2015 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards in the Best General Cookbook category. Jan lives in Toronto, with her husband and their three sons.
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