Winter Crudité with Chili and Lime

This fresh and vibrant winter crudité is my go-to party appetizer this holiday season.

The following is a true story that I am not in the least bit proud of but have decided to share anyway.

You see, last year’s extravagant holiday eating and drinking caught up with me in a bad way and the ensuing consequences left me with a resolve to do things differently this winter.

How did this happen? Well the parties started early in December and carried on until well after January 1st, as they do every year. My Board Game Café party for New Year’s Eve included a pre-party, the main party, and an after party in the wee hours of the morning.

For four straight weeks I said yes to all the decadence that the holiday season had to offer – and then some.  An additional cookie or two. A second round of drinks. After all, it’s Christmas, right?

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Rainbow Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Sesame

Today’s crunchy vegetable and rice noodle salad is a dish we’ve all been raving over recently at the dinner table.

It might be the umami of the soy sauce or the salty shrimp that we’ve been craving.  Or the rainbow of vegetables tossed into the mix. Maybe we just love the cold dinner option after months of soups, stews and winter braises.

Whatever the appeal, I’ve made this enormous, main-dish salad three times recently and my kids go crazy for it each time it hits their plate. No, this salad isn’t exactly seasonal, but it’s worth letting things slide once in a while to see my children cramming forkfuls of fresh vegetables into their mouths!

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Herbal Homestead Gin & Tonic

The summer days are long and hot here on our homestead, filled with chores that never quite seem to finish. But occasionally in the late afternoon, when the sun has already drifted down into the trees and the footsteps of the children are starting to tire, Danny and I cool down with a cocktail.

We sit on the edge the garden and absentmindedly tug at the weeds while conversing about our respective days. Time seems to speed up all of a sudden and the moments slip away as quickly as our gin and tonics are depleted.

Lately I’ve been mixing our drinks right in the garden, with a handful of herbs and a warm, sun-ripened tomato. Today’s Herbal Homestead Gin & Tonic is undoubtedly our new summer cocktail of choice, thanks to its fragrant herbaceousness and cucumber sweetness.

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Flavoured water for morning, noon and night

Let’s make a pact to stay hydrated this summer, okay?

My love of flavoured water almost seemed too simple to blog about, but I reminisced over many, many basic tutorials I’ve shared in this space and reminded myself they are some of my most popular content. So, I’m here to convince you that infusing your drinking water with gorgeous summer produce is the ticket to staying refreshed (and kicking any soda habit) in the hot months to come.

Three flavoured water recipes | Simple Bites #recipe

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Kale Tabbouleh with Cucumber, Mint and Garlic Scapes

I never know which direction my summer salad obsession will take me until that first forkful.

Last summer it was the grilled green bean salad. I experimented with every possible variation from June through September, then I picked my favourite and added it to my upcoming cookbook. The summer before was a smoky grilled corn, red onion and bell pepper salad, served warm with plenty of torn basil.

This summer, it’s all about the tomato salad in every possible form. Paired with briny olives and salty feta in a tangy Greek salad, sliced with fresh mozzarella and basil in the Caprese, and married with watermelon and mint for a refreshing bite.

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