Two Simple Salads for Winter

When I was growing up, having a winter salad required a trip out in the snow to fetch the kale. From just looking at the twinkling expanse of our snow-covered garden, with its gentle lumps here and there, no one would ever guess there was life underneath. I would kick away the snow with my boots and dig with my woolen mittens until the bright green stalks came into view. There, hiding under the snow, was our daily salad and much-needed vitamin C boost during the long Yukon winters.

Over the winter months, do you find yourself craving the crunch of a Greek salad, full of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers? What about the tender leaves of baby spinach or arugula? When we strive to eat seasonally, and thus sustainably, these are but just a few of the vegetables we give up, even though they are readily available in supermarkets.

Fortunately there are other fruits and vegetables to include in our diets to help satisfy the need for fresh produce on a cold January day. Apples, kale, pomegranate, grapefruit, cabbage, celery root, and brussels sprouts are just a few ingredients that lend themselves beautifully to the salad bar.

Here are two recipes I’ve been making forever. When the cucumbers and sweet cherry tomatoes of July are but a memory, they both offer that much-needed crunch. [Read more...]

Weekend Links

Enjoy the weekend!

Simple Food for Winter e-book Giveaway (recipe: French Lentil Soup)

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Char, Megan, and Josie Landon, our three winners! You’ve been notified via email. Thank you to all who entered.
There’s a cookbook I want you to know about, because it is different from anything that is propped up on your bookshelf right now. Simple Bites contributor and Nourishing Days blogger, Shannon, has just released Simple Foods for Winter, a 58-page e-book containing 30 original recipes that emphasize real food and sustainable living. I’ve been cooking from it for a few weeks now, and each dish has been a hit – with grown-ups and children alike.

Simple Food for Winter not only contains easy to follow recipes, but practical advice on live food storage, cooking with dehydrated vegetables, and lacto-fermentation, that all-important immune-system boosting method of preserving. At the end of the post I’ll share a recipe from this remarkable cookbook and give you all an opportunity to win one of three copies, so keep reading!

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5 Tips to Create Vegetarian Friendly Meals (Black Bean Burritos)

Written by Katie of Good life {eats}.

With the New Year beginning many of us find ourselves setting goals and often those goals are health related in some way or another. Yesterday while grocery shopping, the check out clerk casually commented that in January she sells more salad related ingredients than any other month. Health is definitely on our minds right now.

I know that I certainly have some of those same goals and doing a little bit better to take care of my body, and the bodies of my family members is pretty high on the list.

I’d like to be more physically active this year, make sure I eat a balanced meal for lunch, my hardest meal of the day, and continue with our tradition of eating vegetarian once or twice a week.

Encouraging my kids to eat more vegetables is also something that is important to us. They are great with fruits, but vegetables are not their most favorite.

Whether your goal is general, such as “eating healthier” or more specific, like “eat less meat” or “eat more vegetables” I have a few tips to help you achieve that goal.

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7 Favorite Do-Ahead Dinners for Winter (recipe: Chocolate-Chip Chili)

A little blogging conference called Blissdom is happening in a few weeks in Nashville and I’m skipping the country to attend. I’ll also be skipping out on four days of laundry, lunch-packing and cooking. Woo-hoo!

Hmm, the last time I traveled internationally on my own? It was over a decade ago and included sights such as the alluring Tuscan countryside, Thailand’s best beaches, and the most memorable spice market in Istanbul, Turkey. This trip isn’t going to be quite as exotic, and I’ll be inside a sprawling hotel most of the time, but it provides the opportunity to meet some very dear food blogging friends, not to mention, the whole Simple Living Media team. I’m so excited!

Freezer Cooking

To make up for this mom-bloggers’ absence, I’ve been slowly stocking the freezer with meals for Danny to heat and serve to the kids for the five dinners I’ll be gone. Sure he knows his way about the kitchen, but we’ve agreed it is best for him to focus on our little ones as much as possible. I’m also stashing a few extra meals, because I know I’m going to need a couple days when I get back to connect with Blissdom alumni on Twitter get back on my feet.

We’ve talked about warm weather batch cooking, practical do-ahead ideas to help jump start dinner, but I haven’t shared some of our cold weather favorites. Like most families, we enjoy classics such as lasagna, stew, and –my boys current favorite– spaghetti & meatballs, but they do tend to get rather old though, wouldn’t you agree?

Today I’m giving suggestions for recipes that are suitable for freezing, adapt well to big batches, and provide a fresh take on family favorites. Macaroni & Cheese with vitamin-A rich butternut squash? Slow-cooker chili with a handful of chocolate chips? Homemade chicken fingers kept moist with buttermilk? It all sounds so good, I almost wish I was staying home to dine with the family. Almost.

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