June camping and a Spring Green Campfire Frittata

The first camping trip of the year was somewhat of a revelation: my kids have finally grown up enough to stay out of trouble while we’re out in the woods.

At ages 5, 9 and 11 they are tearing around the trails, making new friends, climbing stuff, inventing games and working up a ferocious appetite. After a decade of keeping them from falling in the fire or falling off a cliff, I can actually relax and putter around camp – a complete novelty.

Cooking outdoors is how I hygge in summer. I love it all. The camp kitchen set up. The campfire foil dinners. Cooking an early breakfast on the camp stove. Yes, even washing the dishes. It’s a good thing I enjoy the food prep aspect of camping because every few hours my crew was famished.

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Black Pepper Beef Filet with Horseradish Cream

We’ve been eating dinner outdoors nearly every evening – now that the spring rains have let up – making the most of June weather, with its light breezes and warm temperatures.

The intense heat and humidity is starting, but I’ve still been able to turn on the oven to bake a rhubarb galette or roast a slab of beef and not cook us completely out of house and home.

Today’s recipe is a fantastic do-ahead main dish for a weekend picnic, backyard gathering or a Father’s Day spread this coming Sunday. Just pair it with a salad or tray of roasted asparagus and call it lunch.

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Ten ways to enjoy more spring spinach

Each spring, spinach is the first package of seeds I scatter over the earth in our backyard garden. It’s a hearty seedling and easy to grow, and brings a welcome touch of green to our menu after a long winter.

Spinach precedes asparagus, artichokes and most other spring produce, which means we’re adding it to everything in May. Fortunately spinach is very versatile, as this post demonstrates.

As a rule, if you are enjoying your spinach raw (salads and smoothies) choose baby spinach, which will be tender and slightly sweeter. If you’re cooking the spinach, choose mature, larger-leaf spinach and remove the stems before cooking. Once picked, spinach does spoil quite quickly, so keep this post handy for when you need to add a little green (and iron) to you diet.

From breakfast to dinner, here are ten ways to enjoy more spring spinach.

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Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut-Bacon Crumble

The boys had a few well-rehearsed pranks for us on April First, such as glue on the toilet handle (!), but the worst prank by far was played by Mother Nature: yet another snowstorm.

Snow in April isn’t a big surprise, but was still disappointing; I’m really, really ready for the snowbanks to melt. Yesterday the sun shone brightly, daring us to escape outdoors and defy the snow. So we did.

The boys shovelled the snow off of the fire pit and Danny built a roaring campfire. I brought pots and pans out from the kitchen and simmered maple beans and a cider ham over the open flame. In the coals I roasted sweet potatoes, and we boiled maple syrup to pour in the snow for maple taffy.

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Beet Buckwheat Pancakes

The bright pink batter was a cause for alarm among my children at the start of a recent weekend pancake breakfast.

They expressed their concern as a stack of vibrantly coloured pancakes steadily grew next to my stove. “Don’t worry”, I assured them, “You love chocolate beet cake and you will love these too. I’m testing a new recipe for the blog.”

The first bite was hesitant; the second much more confident, and then: “Tell your readers they don’t taste like beets at all”Noah offered up, between enormous bites of fluffy pink pancakes.

Thanks for the tip, buddy. And so, readers? Today’s recipe is one hundred percent kid approved.

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