spring_vegetable_garden_guide_when_to_plant copy.jpgThere are so many reasons to love spring, but one of my favourites is what starts popping up in the garden. I’ve already got rhubarb that’s ready to cut, and the blossoms are out on the blueberry bushes.

I’ve also got several acres of organic blackberries on my property, and I’ve missed being able to go outside and grab a basket full of berries to use in pancakes or for muffins. After six months of comfort food like roast beef and mashed potatoes, it’s so nice to bring the outside back into the kitchen.

If you’ve been ready for spring too, I’ve got some great recipes for you to try this weekend. All you have to do is head out to your local fruit stand, farmer’s market, or your own backyard, start digging through the early crops, and get busy making these great spring recipes.

 

Spring time breakfast

Blueberry Oat Pancakes with Maple Yogurtblueberry-pancakes-maple-1991442-x.jpg

Blueberries are just so amazing in pancakes. They can add a bit of tart and sweet all at the same time, and in the spring and summer I make this pancake recipe every weekend. There’s no flour, but my kids have never noticed. Photo and recipe from health.com

 

Ingredients: 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries

Cooking spray

3/4 cup plain Greek-style low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

 

Directions

Combine oats, cottage cheese, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Gently stir in blueberries.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter per pancake into pan. Cook 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over, and cook 3 minutes until golden.

Combine yogurt and maple syrup; serve over pancakes.

 

 

 

 

 
avocado-tacos_300.jpgScrambled Egg Tacos

If you’ve always served bland scrambled eggs for breakfast, here’s a new recipe to try this spring. You can make your own salsa from your own tomatoes or use your own cilantro, then wrap your eggs up in a warm tortilla and get ready to enjoy an amazing Saturday morning breakfast. Photo and recipe from realsimple.com.

Ingredients: 4 large eggs

kosher salt and black pepper

1tablespoon unsalted butter

4 corn tortillas, warmed

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/4cup salsa

1ounce Monterey Jack, shredded (1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

 

Directions

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. You could also use a blender for this, and I’ve recently tried blending eggs in a Vitamix. They turned out light and fluffy.

Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the eggs, stirring, until set but still soft, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide the eggs among the tortillas. Dividing evenly, top with the avocado, salsa, Monterey Jack, and cilantro.

 

 

 

Spring time dinner

salmon-spring-vegetables-cl-x.jpgSalmon with spring vegetables

I only make salmon in the spring and summer. I’m not sure why, because it is available year round, but I tend to think of it more often in spring. This recipe includes a ½ cup of fresh herbs and garlic, and if you’ve got a herb garden growing, this is a great way to use up some of your fresh sprigs. Recipe and photo from myrecipes.com

Ingredients: 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless salmon fillets

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 large eggs

1 small shallot, minced

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup shelled English peas

1/2 cup coarsely chopped and loosely packed herbs such as basil, mint, tarragon, chervil, and/or flat-leaf parsley

 

Directions

Line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper. Season salmon with kosher salt and pepper. Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes or until salmon is no longer translucent but still moist-looking in center. Set aside.

Place eggs in small saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse eggs with cold water, and let cool. Peel, dice, and set aside.

Whisk together shallot and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Bring a 2-quart saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook asparagus 30 to 60 seconds or until crisp-tender; lift out with a slotted spoon, rinse with cold water, and add to vinaigrette. Cook peas in same boiling water until just cooked, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and add to asparagus and vinaigrette. Sprinkle in herbs, and toss gently.

Transfer salmon to plates using a spatula. Spoon asparagus mixture evenly over salmon. Sprinkle diced eggs over vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 
exps31906_TH1421350D59A.jpgCoconut-Rhubarb Spice Cake Recipe

Rhubarb is one of my favourite things. I like it mixed with strawberry in a pie or jumbled up with oats, brown sugar, and butter in a crumble, but if you want to try something different with your spring rhubarb, try this spice cake. The coconut is a nice touch and gives it an extra bit of sweet. Recipe and photo from Taste of Home.

 

Ingredients: 1/2 cup shortening

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 egg

1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed

TOPPING:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions

In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and cloves; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fold in rhubarb.

Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Have a great weekend, and if you need a few kitchen tools to help you get started creating spring recipes, here are a few of my favourites.

 

10394866.jpgBring in the spring with a colourful KitchenAid mixer 10410236.jpegCherries will be in season soon, so pick up a cherry pitter now 10415246.jpg
Vitamix will blend spring salsa, smoothies, and more

Main image from ecolife.org.uk