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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Hazelnut-Apple Power Bars

For months now we’ve been talking about making the trip to Ottawa to skate the length of the Rideau Canal.

It’s the world’s largest rink, if you didn’t know, with views of our parliament in the distance, and hot chocolate stations scattered along the winding canal. One can skate for hours without stopping, although you may be tempted to slow down for a poutine or beavertail break. It’s a Canadian thing.

Back in early January we settled on a weekend to go, booking accommodations with family and clearing our schedules. As a family, we tend to cultivate contentment in the little things, giving ourselves over to an occasion be it a mere afternoon skate or sled, so there was much anticipation around the event. [Read more…]

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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