Two Winter Power Bowls (Recipe: Quick Peanut Sauce)

During the winter months I find myself craving foods with maximum crunch and big flavours; that’s when these power bowls come into play.

The cold weather entices me to hibernate, so I try to avoid foods that will leave me sluggish and instead build salads heaping with ingredients that energize me.

Last week I was hugely inspired by a trip to a nearby farmer’s market where I found the most exquisite locally grown winter produce. I loaded up a crate with baby Savoy cabbage, watermelon and purple daikon radishes, mini red Napa cabbage and crunchy kohlrabi – and then took everything back to my kitchen.

A quick peek in my pantry turned up rice vermicelli and sesame seeds. I knew I had pickled carrots in the fridge, so I whipped up a tofu stir-fry and a quick peanut sauce and was soon stacking the building blocks for a Thai-inspired power bowl.

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Kale, Pear and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Well hello November!

I’ve never been one to herald the arrival of this dismal time of year, but this month we’ll transition into our Halifax home and I am filled with anticipation for that new chapter. I’ll be sharing more on our move soon (here’s a sneak peek at our lakeside cottage), but for now we need to talk about this salad I’ve been making on repeat.

Since the cooler weather has arrived, I’ve certainly been cooking more sheet pan dinners and slow cooker suppers, but I’m also embracing fall greens with gusto. It might be my favourite season for building a hearty salad, and as you will see, I like to pile just about everything on the plate.

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Watermelon Greek Salad

Watermelon is a delicious, ever-present staple in our diet all summer long, hacked into wedges and served up chilled. It’s a refreshing way to beat both the heat and my children’s inevitable afternoon attack of the munchies.

I usually sprinkle my melon with a touch of sea salt and a squeeze of lime, and or blend it with mint into agua fresca. But this summer, watermelon has taken the spotlight in a vibrant salad that is as delicious as it is pretty.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Asparagus

Our backyard was a busy place last weekend, with family and friends dropping by and staying to visit. It’s exactly how I love summer life to unfold, with spontaneous spritz on the patio and campfire s’mores just for kicks.

A vegetable-packed pasta salad is one of the ways I like to feed a crowd without too much effort, especially when it is sweltering outside. You can make it in advance or whip it up at the last minute; serve it on its own or with a side of grilled sausages.

It’s fast to prep, is easily customizable and enjoyed by all. Simply put, pasta salad is just smart, simple summer cooking – which is why I can’t believe I’ve never shared a recipe for it until today. Today’s recipe for Mediterranean Pasta Salad is our go-to salad during the hot months. I give my version, but also suggest plenty of ingredient variations for you to make it your own.

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Fresh tomato + peach Caprese salad with wild blueberries & thyme

I‘ve been enjoying a tomato salad nearly every day this month; it’s effortless eating when the tomatoes are ripening on the vine in my backyard and the kitchen garden is packed with herbs two feet tall.

Often the tomatoes are paired with briny olives and salty feta in an easy Greek salad and other times I dice them up for a Kale Tabbouleh with Cucumber, Mint and Garlic Scapes. Another favourite – and real crowd pleaser – is my Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad, which combines tomatoes, celery and shrimp into a tangy dish perfect for quick Sunday lunch.

A recent creation that proved to be most delicious was the addition of sliced, fresh Niagara peaches to a Caprese salad. I served this riff on a classic at the start of the harvest dinner we hosted on the homestead a few weekends ago, and promised you the recipe. It’s a salad I serve at every harvest dinner, mostly because it is so delicious when prepared in season, but also because it is very easy.

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