Warm salmon & spinach salad with roasted beets, avocado, feta and olives

We did a quick road trip over the Easter long weekend to the coast. Specifically, the East Coast. More specifically, Halifax.

What? That’s faaaaar, you say? Too much driving for a weekend? Naw. We stretched the weekend to five days, and took our time getting there, visiting family in Quebec City and friends in Moncton. Besides, we’re seasoned travellers – especially the kiddos.

We enjoyed a much-needed break in one of Canada’s most charming cities, and spent most of our Easter Sunday beachcombing at Crystal Crescent Beach and scaling the bluffs at Herring Cove. Glorious. We spent a slow grey morning sipping lattes at our favourite café and ate lobster, fish and chips at a dive diner. It felt like a mini vacation.

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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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Crunchy Apple-Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Pine Nuts & Yogurt

My garden has been dormant for only a few weeks yet I already miss the crunchy, sweet carrots, bundles of kale and bouquets of fragrant herbs.

Salad planning has to much more intentional now that winter is here, and I have to load up on even more vegetables on market days if I want to have fresh salads throughout the week.

Last week, when I was all out of leafy greens, I  found inspiration in a case of jumbled assorted apples and pears that we had in our cold room. I know I’m forever adding apples to salads around here, but this one is extra special, believe me.

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Tour a lentil farm + Bacon, Lentil & Tomato (BLT) Salad

The wide variety of food produced in this vast country has enchanted me ever since I was little. As a wee one alongside my older brother, I slung a fishing line over the side of a canoe for lake trout, and on my own I foraged for wild strawberries and morels to bring back to my mother’s kitchen.

From watching wild salmon spawn in on the West Coast to digging for clams on the far East, my culinary education continues to expand, year after year. This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to the middle of our country: a family-owned lentil farm in the heart of Saskatchewan.

Expansive fields dotted with farms were completely new territory for me. Although I knew that Canada was the world’s largest lentil producer and that Saskatchewan produced 95% of those beauties such as Black Beluga and French Green, I really had no clue how lentils were grown. It was a fantastic learning experience, under the broad blue skies of the great prairies.

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Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad for Canada Day

From coast to coast, Canadians are making plans to celebrate our national holiday on July 1st, be it by watching the Snowbirds fly over Parliament Hill, marching in a parade, or making merry while poolside with friends.

It’s also Danny’s birthday, so we party extra hard, celebrating him and our fair country all at once. We’ve been lucky enough to receive an invitation to a barbecue at Tim and Angela‘s place in Montreal, and I say lucky, because Tim is the master of the Webber.

I’m slotted to bring a salad to this gathering, which is perfect because I’ve been cooking up something very patriotic for Canada Day – a Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad. Inspired by one of our most famous cocktails, it’s light, fresh, and best of all, very simple. Oh, and if you have ice, there’s a cocktail to be enjoyed at the end of the recipe.

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