Lunch on a winter afternoon.

Winter Vegetable SaladYesterday in the midst of baking, weaving and preparing for the holidays I found myself at a loss about what to have for lunch.  I wanted something healthy but I didn’t want to take much time out of my day to prepare.  My pantry was a little sparse as I had not been shopping since I got back from a weekend away.

When I looked in the fridge I found some spinach, a couple of carrots from my friends garden, beets from the same friend and not much else.  I opened the cupboards and walked into the pantry and came out with some raisins, a few dried cranberries and some seeds.  I thought, greens, fruit, seeds, vegetables, hmmm, what kind of healthy mix could I make of this?

I knew it would have to be some sort of salad as I did not want to be cooking anything, so I chopped some spinach, grated some beets and carrots and tossed them in a  bowl.  Next, I threw in raisins, cranberries and a few sunflower seeds.  When I tossed this it still looked a little sad.  I went back to the fridge and spied some feta cheese, then I opened the freezer and rummaged around.  I came up with a bag of chopped kale that I had stored in the fall when my friend’s garden was abounding with with the curly greens. I took a handful of frozen kale and some feta cheese, added them to the mix, tossed and was then satisfied with my creation.

Next I thought about flavours that might give this hearty winter salad a bit of a ‘pick me up.’ Another perusal through my cupboards and I came up with a mixture of olive oil, avocado oil, 2 kinds of vinegar, a bit of maple syrup for sweetness and some mayo and mustard to emulsify the mix and add tart and sweet flavours.   The result was delicious and we liked it so much for lunch that I replicated this salad to serve with roast chicken that evening.

So, if it’s a dull winter day and you need a good healthy  lunch or dinner salad, I suggest you play with these ingredients and make your own version of a winter salad.  Take liberties with this recipe and try to use what you find in your own fridge and pantry.  I think you will find it satisfying to know that you can eat in season and have adequate nutrition, along with fantastic flavours and textures . I have named this salad, Winter Vegetable Salad.

a healthy toss of vegetables, fruit, seeds and cheese

a healthy toss of vegetables, fruit, seeds and cheese

A Fabulous Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend was so packed with adventure and visiting that I couldn’t write about it all in one post so here is the rest. After our night in Fairhaven, we returned home to sleep and get up early Sunday morning to prepare for family and friends to come and share the day with us.

The morning began with popping corn for you guessed it…..more caramel corn As well as caramel apples which we picked minutes before. While coffee was brewing I got to popping several cups of popcorn and boiling caramel.  A grocery list was quickly prepared and I sent Richard out to get groceries and wine while I continued to prep the stuffing for the turkey.  When that was finished I began mixing up John Bishop’s Ginger Cake with Caramel Sauce, a holiday favorite for us.

Upon Richard’s return I unpacked the groceries and finished the cake while he headed outside to  prepare the bonfire. By this time it was getting close to noon, anticipated time of arrival for our family. Our guests were to be my youngest daughter, my parents, my sister-in-law, my niece and her boyfriend and later my dear friends and their son.  We thought  that my parents would drive up in their truck with my daughter and the rest would come in another vehicle.  The drive is about an hour and 15 minutes .

At about 12:30pm I heard the sound of a big semi and said to Richard, “oh the neighbours must be harvesting their grapes and getting them picked up today, I hear a semi.”  To my surprise he replied, ‘I don’t think so because the semi is in our yard.”  What???  Why would that be? I ran to the window to look out only to be greeted by my family piling out of a big freight liner truck.Too funny.  My sister-in-law recently purchased a freight liner truck to pull her very large horse trailer and she generously picked everybody up and drove them “rodeo style” to Thanksgiving Dinner.

We spent the day having a bonfire and hot fog roast followed by a walk through trails and down to the beach. The afternoon concluded with some storytelling, lots of laughs and even a nap for some of us.

As dinner preparations were concluded we sat around the table and dined on  turkey grown by our friends,carrots and squash from the market garden down the road, mashed potatoes also grown in our friends’ garden, as well as salad and for dessert, ginger cake, apple pie and pumpkin pie.

The big hits at the dinner table were the Papaya Avocado Salad made by my sister-in-law, Richard’s family recipe of Carrots Au Gratin and of course Mom’s Apple Pie. As the day grew to a close everyone loosened their belts and dragged themselves away from the dinner table stuffed as the Thanksgiving turkey had been.  We had much to be thankful for.

I have included recipes for the dinner highlights on my recipe page. Please give them a try.