To say I’ve had a great summer would be an understatement. I have had an absolutely AMAZING summer, and it’s definitely one for the books.

What have I done to make this summer so amazing? To be quite honest, not much! And I think that’s been the beauty of it. That saying “less is more” is definitely true. Mr. FIL and I decided we weren’t going to pack our weekends all summer with plans. We tried to create a balance. And it worked. The summer has gone by at a steady pace, without feeling like it has escaped us.

So, what exactly have we been up to?

Lots and lots of pool time. We chose a perfect year to put in a pool, because this summer has been stinking hot, and I think there’s only been a handful of days that I haven’t been in the pool.

We’ve also had some great get-togethers with friends and family, and I truly consider myself to be so lucky to have so many wonderful, amazing people in my life.

I had a thought the other day. Well two actually. The first thought was “holy crap I haven’t written a blog post since the spring! I used to write them on a weekly basis!” and then my second thought was “time literally escapes me.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one in the world who feels this way. But the more I got to thinking about it, the more of an eye opener it was. I have amazing time management skills. I am a planner. I don’t like being late for anything, I plan most of our dinners a week in advance, and at work, I am meticulous about getting everything done in a timely manner. But, when it comes to my own personal time, the “me” time, the time to do all these things that I love doing, like crafting recipes, writing blog posts and cooking, well those take the back burner. We’ve become so busy in our lives these days, that I think we’ve forgotten what personal (“me”) time is. I think it’s time to get back to that, and it has become one of my goals going forward.

Make the time to work on this blog, because it’s my passion. Take the time to read a book, educate myself more on food and nutrition (another passion), or just do nothing… like lay in my hammock and just bury myself in my own thoughts.

Anyway, that’s just my insight to my busy, constantly on the go life. As busy as I am, there’s one thing I never stop doing, and that’s cook. It’s my stress reliever. I don’t consider myself an overly stressful person, but I do look forward to coming home at the end of the day and cooking a good hearty meal for Mr. FIL and I.

I’ve created a few delicious summer recipes to share with you, and I can tell you that they’ve been a hit. I love salads in the summer. They’re light, fresh, and when it’s hot out, they’re the perfect side dish for any BBQ’d meal.

The first one is a creamy dill quinoa salad. This salad is full of local ingredients. Fresh dill, tomatoes, peppers, parsley from the garden, along with chickpeas, feta cheese and some quinoa. The dressing is a split between Greek Yogurt and mayo, and it’s perfect to eat for lunch all week, or a great side to a yummy sandwich.

I made this for a friend who came to visit this summer. She’s a vegetarian and I always love making new recipes for her when she comes to see me. She fell in love instantly. She sent me a message a week later to tell me she went home, printed the recipe, and has been making it for lunches every day.

My next recipe I wanted to share, was my biggest challenge yet to photograph. It didn’t matter what angle I took it from, I just wasn’t loving the end result. Thankfully a little photo editing made it better, and I was happy with the end result.

I’ve been challenged a little in the kitchen this year, because I have a few family members who were on the low-carb diet. I thought my celiac diet was restricting, but man, keto is even worse. One of my most requested dishes at parties is my potato salad (sorry friends, don’t go looking for it on the blog, because I’ve had strict orders to never share the top-secret potato salad recipe, talk to Mr. FIL 😉 ) but to be quite honest, I’d never be able to give accurate measurements of each ingredient, cause it’s one of those recipes I just throw together.

Anyway, I was going to a friend’s house and I needed a dish that could accomodate the keto diet. Cauliflower seems to be a staple for that diet, it is a great carb-replacement food, because it’s so versatile. So I thought… why not make a “FAUX-tato” salad!? All the ingredients of a potato salad, only swapping the potatoes for roasted cauliflower. And I tell you, it was the bomb!! (I don’t think I’ve said that in years) The flavour of the roasted cauliflower, combined with bacon, green onion, eggs and mayo, to die for! I was so happy with the way this dish turned out!

I initially arranged the eggs on top to photograph, but then I realized you couldn’t see anything in the actual salad at the bottom, so I wanted to photograph both ways, to ensure everyone got a glimpse of all the ingredients.

I highly recommend trying out both of these recipes while all of the local produce is in full swing! Both recipes are so easy to make, and will be a crowd-pleaser at any summer party.

As always, happy eating 🙂

Next time I won’t leave it so long 😉

Ashley

Summer Chickpea Quinoa Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing

This is a refreshing salad perfect for those hot summer days. This salad is quick to prepare, and is full of fresh flavours.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa cooked and cooled
  • 1 can chickpeas drained
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 sweet bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

For the creamy dill dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the quinoa, feta cheese, all the vegetables and parsley.

  2. In a large measuring cup, all add the ingredients for the dressing and whisk together until smooth. 

  3. Pour the creamy dill dressing over the quinoa salad, and stir together until everything is well combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Recipe Notes

The longer this salad sits, the better it tastes. It's great to make ahead of time. 

Will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

 

Faux-Tato (Cauliflower) Salad (Low-carb, gluten free)

This salad mimics the real-deal potato salad. Replacing the potato with cauliflower makes for a lighter and healthier alternative without losing the texture or flavour. An absolutely delicious salad, perfect for a potluck.

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • 4 slices bacon crumbled
  • 2 dill pickes diced

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill or 1 tsp dried

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Chop the cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Toss in avocado oil, and bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Cauliflower is done when it's a nice, golden brown colour.

  3. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, and leave it to cool on the baking tray. 

  4. In a large bowl, add dill pickles, green onion and the crumbled bacon. Add the cauliflower once cooled. Pour the dressing on top of the salad, and mix until well combined. Add the sliced hard boiled eggs to the top and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dressing

  1. In a measuring cup, add all the dressing ingredients and mix until well combined.

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