Date Night In: Carrot Salad with Cilantro & Cinnamon

These are the days I feel most like hibernating. It’s February during a cold snap, and just the walk around my car to brush off the snow leaves me chattering under my layers.

It takes a good hour to thaw out from any outing and so I prefer to stay in as much as possible, thank you very much, and that includes for my date nights with Danny. The comforts of home overrule a chic destination on the town any evening of the week. Fortunately a new cookbook landed in my mailbox recently – the much anticipated Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship by Ashley Rodriguez. It’s inspiration for delicious food and drink pour deux, sure enough, but her book is much, much more than that.

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Coconut Curried Pumpkin with Cinnamon Rice {vegan}

My local farm stand closed for the season on Monday, leaving nothing behind save for a few wisps of straw and dried corn husks.

Driving by that day, I saw them tossing pumpkins with abandon into the back of a wagon. The season was over and it seemed the sooner they could rid themselves of the squash the better. I pulled off the road, grabbed my change purse and went to inquire.

The farmer let me take as many as I wanted for fifty cents each and I drove away with big plans to roast them all for purée. I also made off with several cabbages, romanesco, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts on the stalk. All for under 10 dollars. It was a good start to the week.

Coconut Curried Pumpkin with Cinnamon Rice | Simple Bites {vegan}

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Spring Ramp, Radish & Spinach Soup

As much as I love the hearty sugar shack fare we enjoy during sugaring off season in Quebec, I’m ready to lighten up for spring.

Last weekend, we had one final maple-coated feast, which we were privileged to enjoy with Alana and family, who were passing through town. Cider-glazed ham, maple baked beans, tourtiere, and heaps of roasted asparagus with ramps kept us around the table for over an hour. Then dessert – maple taffy poured on a slab of snow from my chest freezer – kept us at the table a while longer.

Later, the children scattered to play a board game while we lingered over coffee and discussed blogging, cookbook writing, food and family. It was wonderful to have a slow afternoon, with no nagging thoughts about what I should be doing instead. Since handing in my manuscript for Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, I’ve been reveling in the spare hours and the respite from the enormous project.

It’s a new season, both out and about on the homestead, as well as in my work life of blogging and book writing. Today’s soup recipe feels like a cleanse, and in many ways it could be squarely placed in the detox camp. I wholeheartedly believe in spring cleaning my body with real foods, so consider this the beginning.

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Two smoothie recipes: Meyer Lemon Blueberry Buzz and Green Pina Colada

Last fall I went from fiddling around with a blender that I deeply despised to owning a blender that I truly love. That simple upgrade transitioned us instantly into a family of smoothie-slurping fiends.

I’m not exaggerating in the least. When you have a great machine that whips kale, frozen banana and chia seeds into a perfectly smooth and creamy treat, it’s hard not to want a smoothie every day for lunch, Saturday included.

Most of us now have our custom preferences: I’m addicted to Autumn’s Date & Tahini combination, Noah loves a creation he’s named ‘Mango Tango’ and Mateo swoons over anything with strawberries. Clara and Danny are happy to sip whatever is handed to them.

Today I’ll share two of our current favourite smoothies. They are simple to make, vegan, dairy-free, kid-approved and downright delicious! [Read more…]

Butternut Squash Wild Rice

It’s been raining here, steadily, for days. We need it, so I shouldn’t complain, but the temperatures have finally started to release their grip on us, and we are aching to spend more time outside.

While my kindergartener could happily splash around in the rain, the baby doesn’t get to experience that for a while yet, unless I want to introduce him to his first cold.

So that means I retreat to the kitchen, cooking up things that try to balance out the gloom. Soup is often a go-to, but when you have kids, there’s only so many meals per week that you can serve just soup. Instead, I try to change out our side dishes to match the season.

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