Black Bean and Farro Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

With a long weekend quickly approaching, my mind has been on summer and everything that comes with it: warm weather, cold drinks, and plenty of cookouts. I love this time of year because we do so much cooking and eating outside.

It’s never hard to decide what to grill as the main course, but choosing sides isn’t always as easy, especially when it comes to choosing something for a group of people.

Mayonnaise-based dishes are common cookout staples, but the thought of those sitting in the heat for too long makes them less than appetizing to me. Don’t get me wrong, potato salad is one of my favorite summer sides. When it comes to eating outdoors, though, I prefer something much lighter and with no dairy. Enter farro salad. Light, refreshing and endlessly adaptable, this may just be my favorite recipe for summer.

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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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Winter Salad Inspiration {recipe: Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon}

Caesar Wedge Salad

Before kale was cool, before it was made into cheesy chips or added to smoothies, it grew in my mother’s garden when I was a child. This curly-leafed winter green lived under the snow all winter long, and aside from the alfalfa seeds we sprouted in a jar, was the only fresh salad we ate from November to April.

I was always the one booted out of doors with a bowl and a pair of scissors to retrieve the kale. Looking over our snow-covered garden, with its soft mounds scattered here and there, no one would ever guess that there was life underneath. I would kick away the snow with my boots and dig with my woolen mittens until the bright green stalks came into view.

My mother always had a jar of poppyseed vinaigrette prepped to dress our kale, and that combination remains a favorite of mine. It was our daily salad and much-needed vitamin C boost during the long Yukon winters.

After having the luxury of gorgeous Mexican produce at my fingertips for two weeks this past February, it was hard to get excited about the selection of salad greens upon my return home. Of course that was just wimpy of me, as I know winter salads can be vibrant and delicious – they just take a little more effort than their lazy summer counterparts.

So I challenged myself to create a salad a day. I stocked up on winter greens like endive, Napa cabbage and kale. I selected my favorite seasonal vegetables like beets, avocados and red onion. Winter citrus and a few nuts and seeds rounded out my ingredients of choice and suddenly, eating fresh in Canada’s coldest month was looking pretty good.

I posted a few salads on Instagram which made it easy for me to have a few to show you today and hopefully inspire you. Finally, I’m sharing a super easy salad I fixed for a recent Sunday dinner – the Caesar wedge.

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Grilled Fruit Salad with Lime

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and Danny gave up breakfast in bed to join his dad and the rest of the family for a good cause: the Procure 5k walk to raise funds for prostate cancer research.

Even Clara came along, and we strolled the course, not concerning ourselves with the time, but just happy to be together, and with a cancer survivor in our group.

When the race wrapped up, we headed back to the grandparents to jump in the pool and fire up the barbecue. I wanted to contribute a dessert that was refreshing after our (rather sweaty) walk and quick to toss together.

I decided on a colourful salad of grilled pineapple, mango, and peaches, with a handful of raspberries thrown in, and a squeeze of lime juice on the top. It was a fine, fine choice.

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Shrimp: The Other Fast Food {Recipe: Lemon Pepper Shrimp Over Greens}

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

Spring has sprung, which means a change from less active, hibernating winter days to more active, over-scheduled days of outside fun. Slow paced days nestled inside with a good book or family board game are set aside for sports practices and games, dance recitals and end of the school year programs. It is during this time of year that I rely more and more on healthy and delicious meals that I can get on the table as quickly as possible.

Instead of making a trip through the local drive-through, I often turn to my favorite fast food to solve my time crunch dilemma… shrimp. Shrimp is one of those ideal foods: kid friendly, quick and easy to cook, and versatile with so many recipe possibilities! [Read more…]