Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad to embrace the end of summer

Yes, I did indeed just use “embrace” and “end of summer” together. You see, the way I see it, June is for the planning, July the languishing, and August the embrace at the end. Think of it as a warm hug goodbye, until next year.

While I’m three weeks out until the official end of my children’s summer vacation and school commencing in September, I know that August is the last chance to really find that feeling I search for each summer. I am searching for an elusive moment when the kids are all smiling, still wearing their swimsuits from water play in the sunshine, the backyard table set for alfresco dining, piled high with fresh salads and roasted vegetables, the garden at the outskirts of the yard bursting with ready-to-be-picked produce.

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Roasted Beet and Garlic Pasta

roasted beet pasta

Written by Allison of Some the Wiser

accidentally fell in love with cooking. I wasn’t born with a desire to be in the kitchen, to test recipes and experiment with flavors. In fact, I spent many years microwaving rice packets when I was left to cook for myself. It wasn’t until I had people to care for that my kitchen love story began.

It didn’t happen overnight. Rather, I found myself in the kitchen more and more, a necessary part of raising hungry children, and then one day I realized I had fallen in love. I realized I could make my home a happier place just by making breakfast, serving dinner, cooking with care.

I was recently reminded of just how much my time in the kitchen blesses my family and my own life when I had to rush my four year old to the hospital emergency room. In a moment of Peter Pan excitement, she had leaped and met with disaster. All’s well that ends well, and twenty-two stitches later she was fine.  Fine, but it took a while for this mama’s tender heart to stop thumping.

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A recipe for (unprocessed) Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Now that we’re well into our challenge of no processed foods for the month of October, the cravings have kicked in something fierce. It may surprise you to know that sugar does not top my list of sought-after ingredients, instead it is cheese that is sorely missed from my diet. I’ve penciled in a wine & cheese for early in November; here’s hoping I can hold out until then.

So what is keeping the sugar cravings at bay? Well, a maple pumpkin pie has helped (recipe coming soon), honey in my coffee, homemade syrups on my morning pancakes, and this, this marvelous dark chocolate beet cake.

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Spotlight Ingredient: Beets (Recipe: Beet & Orzo Salad with Feta)

Last November, when roadside produce stands were closing down shop for the winter, I snagged a ten-pound bag of young beets for ninety-nine cents. Thrilled at the great deal I had just made, I imagined the beets lasting us through the winter – and all for pennies.

They were gone by Christmas. Apparently I like beets, a lot. There’s something about their firm texture and earthy I-can-taste-the-garden flavor that satisfies my hankering for vegetables in January.

I’ve since discovered that my ardor for this hearty, affordable, vegetable is shared by few; too few, in my opinion. Perhaps cooks are deterred by the length of cooking time, as beets must be first roasted or boiled properly, but then again, so do potatoes.

I believe, as is often the case with lesser-known ingredients, that people just don’t know what to do with beets. Hopefully by the end of this post, I’ll have planted a few ideas for incorporating the mildly sweet, crimson-red beet into your cooking repertoire.

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