Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus and Walnuts

One warm evening after dinner last week, we found the first wild strawberries ripening in our small patch out by the garden. Clara, barefoot and hatless as usual, parted the thick leaves with her small hands and there they were, as bright as rubies and as sweet as candy.

Earlier that same day, I picked up two baskets of the first locally cultivated strawberries, and henceforth there will be strawberries on our table for as long as the season flourishes. We really only eat them when they can be grown ourselves or bought locally, so the arrival of the red gems is much celebrated.

I’ve promised the children an upcoming dinner devoted entirely to strawberries, as soon as the fruit is at its peak. Today’s scrumptious salad will definitely be on the menu, perhaps alongside strawberry-glazed grilled chicken, with fresh strawberry pie or roasted strawberry sundaes for dessert.

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Eat Seasonal: Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

There’s a sunny spot on my bedroom dresser on the second floor of my house and I’m growing two flats of seedlings in its warmth. If it wasn’t for the perky tomato shoots and the sprouting chives growing there, it would be hard to find a single sign of spring anywhere around for miles.

We woke up to more snow and plummeting temperatures on Easter weekend. I wore fuzzy leg warmers under my flowered-print dress and the children ran their easter egg hunt in full snowsuits. There wasn’t a crocus to be seen all holiday long, although the cold didn’t stop us from having a string of lovely gatherings.

During this confused weather, my cooking has featured a melding of the seasons: the requisite hearty cold weather comfort foods enhanced by a few spring delicacies. Today’s Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups are a good example of such a marriage. A sturdy black bean and quinoa salad topped off with a crunchy mix of cucumber, mango, jalepeno, radish and avocado; good enough to forget all about the snow – for a few minutes.

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Citrus Salad with Honey-Cinnamon Syrup

These days, the emails are flying thick and fast between my friends and family as we attempt to straighten out our plans for Easter.

Although it looks more like Christmas outside on the homestead, we are indeed planning to celebrate a spring holiday soon. Today I was reminiscing over an Easter past where we brunched al fresco on the patio and the ramps were already pushing up through the forest floor….but those signs of spring still seem like a long way off. It’s still too cold for our sap to run! But enough complaining…

So, Easter. We’re spending Friday with friends, Sunday is the traditional ham dinner with one side of the family, and on Saturday I will set a simple Spring-like table and host the other side of Danny’s extensive family for lunch. Or perhaps brunch, I haven’t decided. And Monday? Relaxing.

Here’s a peek at my menu plans and a quick citrus salad recipe that could swing for either brunch or lunch.

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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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Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

If you’re starting to plan for your Labor Day long weekend barbecue (it’s coming up!), you might want to add this mega-salad to the menu.

I created it recently for the KitchenAid Canada blog, United We Create, and it celebrates August produce down to the last carrot and cilantro sprig.

From the post:

“My children love spring rolls, packed with crisp Napa cabbage, shredded carrot and rice noodles, but they can be time consuming to prepare. This Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing came to be when I combined a mountain of vegetarian spring roll ingredients in one big bowl and tossed them together with a homemade peanut sauce. A garnish of fresh mint and cilantro sealed the deal for us and a family favourite was created – even the toddler agrees.”

Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Read the rest over on the KitchenAid blog and get the recipe for Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing.

Three cheers for seasonal eating!