Over the past few months, I’ve been able to have lunch a few times with my new buddy Gina of the fabulous blog Running to the Kitchen. I am very lucky Gina lives near me, and that she generously offered to guest post for me while I am away. Please welcome her and this gorgeous Coconut Roasted Carrot Salad to Healthy Green Kitchen!

Gina's Carrot Salad at www.healthygreenkitchen.com

This is a post I’m writing for Winnie with clenched teeth and a bit of a sneer on my face. Jealous doesn’t even do justice for how I feel about her little rendezvous in Peru right now. After reading the book “Three Weeks with My Brother” by Nicholas Sparks (the only one in his collection worth actually reading) where he and, well, his brother (shocker) travel around the world including Peru, I’ve had this fierce desire to hike every square inch of Machu Picchu. I tried to finagle my way into her suitcase with the bribe of my (almost 10 yr. old) Spanish degree but somehow it didn’t work. My verb conjugation isn’t what it used to be. So I’ll just curse her under my breath, live vicariously through her until my time comes and talk about carrot salad with you guys instead. Deal?

Roasted Carrot Salad from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

This is actually a salad I made exactly 2.5 weeks into my blog “career” (it’s totally not my career, but what else do you call it?). It’s a delicious recipe hiding behind some hideous pre-DSLR, pre-I sorta know what I’m doing with my camera pictures. Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself. Woah, right? I know…

So I felt bad for it and decided to give it a second chance. I mean who the heck is going to pin something that looks like that? And to be un-pinworthy these days is probably the highest offense in the world of food photos. Poor thing.

There’s a bunch of stuff going on in this salad…the sweetness from the roasted carrots, the crunch of the coconut flakes and the brightness of the mint to name a few. In the original recipe there’s feta too but I live with a man who takes his Greek heritage quite seriously and polishes off a BJ’s sized container of feta in about 2 days flat. So it’s scarce commodity around here and didn’t make it into this rendition. Regardless, this salad makes my mouth happy.

And now my eyes can be too, not having to look at underexposed close-ups of mush. Hope you guys enjoy!

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Today it is my great privilege to introduce you to Sylvie Shirazi of the incredibly lovely blog Gourmande in the Kitchen. Sylvie put together a stunning round-up of summer salads created by some of my favorite food bloggers; I am on my way to Peru and I can’t wait to make them all when I return! Take it away, Sylvie.

10 Sensational Summer Salad Recipes

Summer Salads Healthy Green Kitchen

Salads reign supreme during the summer months. Fresh and easy with minimal preparation, they are the perfect way to enjoy the season’s best fruit and vegetables. Long hot days are ideal for a no-fuss meal like a salad.

What I especially love is their versatility; grab whatever produce you’ve got lying around and a few chops of a knife later you have yourself a one-bowl meal with all the colors of the rainbow. It could be as simple as a mix of baby lettuces dressed with a vinaigrette or a hearty affair bursting with bold flavors filled with vegetables, fruit, cheese and nuts.

They are a great excuse to use up those leftovers or get creative with what you have in your vegetable bin at the moment. So when the weather heats up this summer turn to these 10 fresh and pretty summer salads for inspiration on what to serve at your next meal.

Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Salad Recipe with Feta, Chickpeas & Mint from Cookin Canuck

grilled eggplant zucchini salad from Cookin Canuck

Grilled eggplant and zucchini are the stars of this salad while the chickpeas offer a dose of protein. Lemon, mint and feta cheese keep this grilled vegetable salad light and refreshing, serve this as a side at your next barbeque this summer.

Cucumber Dill Greek Yogurt Salad from She Wears Many Hats

cucumber-dill-greek-yogurt-salad from she wears many hats

Crunchy, refreshing cucumbers are dressed in a light but creamy Greek yogurt dressing accented with flecks of dill. This is the kind of salad that would be right at home at a picnic.

Orzo Salad with Lemon Mint Dressing from Sips and Spoonfuls

orzo salad with lemon mint dressing from sips and spoonfuls - Copy

As beautiful as this salad is it’s the dressing Sukaina tells us stands out here. Lemon and mint combine to make a light vinaigrette and are tossed with a mixture of arugula and orzo and cherry tomatoes.

Potato Salad with Dill + Horseradish Aioli from A Thought for Food

Horseradish-Potato-Salad-from A thought for food

Brian tells us this potato salad is filled with vibrant colors and flavors. New potatoes, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh sugarsnap peas, and fresh dill are featured here and dressed in a homemade aioli.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Orange Segments from Delicious Shots

beet goat cheese salad from delicious shots

Najwa assures us that this salad will make any beet hater rethink their relationship with the jewel-toned root. It’s the beet and goat cheese combination that will win you over but the oranges and pistachios add a burst of color and flavor to the mix.

Grilled Radicchio with Honey Ginger Dressing from Food For My Family

grilled-radicchio-honey-ginger-dressing-from food for my family - Copy

Shaina throws radicchio on the grill and drizzles it with a honey-sweetened ginger dressing in this easy side salad recipe.

Blueberry Salad with Coconut Cilantro Dressing from The Healthy Apple

Blueberry-Salad-with-Coconut-Cilantro-Dressing-The Healthy Apple - Copy

Amie’s summer salad is filled with sweet blueberries and features a coconut cilantro dressing, and best of all it can be made in less than 5 minutes.

Arugula Salad with Apricot-Mint Vinaigrette from Lemons and Anchovies

Arugula-Salad-with-Apricot-Mint-Vinaigrette-from lemons and anchovies - Copy

This salad starts with fresh apricots, purees apricots form the base of the dressing and coat a mixture of pecans, red onions, French Feta cheese, mini heirloom tomatoes, mint and arugula.

Raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Olives and Mint from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Zucchini-Ribbons-with-Goat-Cheese-and-Olives-Goumande-in-the-Kitchen-2

Zucchini is in abundance in the summer months and if you are looking for a way to use up a surplus in your garden then this zucchini ribbon salad may be the answer. Ribbons of zucchini are dressed with a light vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil, black olives mint and pine nuts.

Avocado and Romaine Salad from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Avocado-and-Romaine-Salad-with-Walnuts-Gourmande in the Kitchen

This romaine and avocado salad is an example of the type of meal that begs to be enjoyed outdoors. Crispy romaine leaves and creamy avocado slices are tossed with a lively mustard vinaigrette and topped with crunchy walnuts.

With so many vibrant flavors and fresh produce these salads may just become your new favorites this summer!

Sylvie Shirazi Bio Pic

Bio: Sylvie Shirazi is the author, photographer and real food lover behind Gourmande in the Kitchen, where she shares simple, wholesome food recipes. She features fresh and seasonal recipes with a focus on quality ingredients and minimal preparation that let the natural flavors shine.
Blog: gourmandeinthekitchen.com
Website: sylvieshiraziphotography.com
Twitter: @gourmandeinthek
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gourmandeinthekitchen
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/gourmandeinthek

Ukrainian Preserved Rose Petals from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

This past Sunday, I attended my third wild edible plants class. I am so glad I signed up for this series…I really look forward to the class each month, and I always come away feeling excited and inspired.

This month, our main focus was on plants in the rose family. I had no idea Rosaceae was so diverse: it includes everything from wild and cultivated roses to raspberries and strawberries to stone fruits (including apricots, cherries, and plums). Dainty cinquefoil flowers (edible) and showy spirea shrubs (not edible, as far as I know) are also in the rose family.

wild rose from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Wild Rose

For part of each class, we meander around my friend Halyna’s beautiful homestead while she points out and tells us about the edible plants all around us. I also gaze at her beautiful animals :)

Ram from www.healthygreenkitchen.comSheep from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Then, we go back to Halyna’s kitchen and she shows us how to prepare the plants in a variety of ways. We sip tea replete with fresh herbs and pepper Halyna with all sorts of questions about what she’s making. Halyna’s lovely mother lives nearby and often joins us: they are both a wealth of knowledge about medicinal plants. In our kitchen session this time, we feasted on cattails slathered with butter, cooked milkweed flowers drenched in a fabulous herbal vinagrette, and elderflower fritters drizzled with rose honey. Halyna’s family is Ukrainian, so she also showed us how to make uncooked preserved rose petals that are traditionally used to fill doughnuts in the Ukraine at Christmastime.

To make this recipe, you start with 2 cups of freshly picked, tightly packed rose petals. Use the most fragrant (and definitely unsprayed) rose petals you can find. We used pink rose petals when we made this at Halyna’s house; I’ve used red ones here.

Rose petals from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Burt’s Bees. I am being compensated to develop a recipe and share information about the Wild For Bees Campaign with you; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

This week I am teaming up with the folks from Burt’s Bees to bring awareness to the plight of the honeybee. Bees are in trouble, my friends, and that means we are, too: the stark reality is that one-third of our food supply (including much of our healthiest produce and perhaps surprisingly: coffee and cocoa) will disappear if the bees do. This issue hits close to home for me because the bees I was keeping died this past winter.

Wild For Bees Campaign | Healthy Green Kitchen

Through the Wild For Bees Initiative, Burt’s Bees wants to encourage us all to celebrate bees! Wild For Bees is a resource where you can see what honeybees are all about and learn how to help them thrive. You can also find numerous bee-pollinated recipes created by beekeeping chefs.

As part of this campaign, I was asked to come up with my own recipe featuring mostly pollinated ingredients. My garden is brimming with beautiful strawberries and roses right now, so I decided to blend the two into a somewhat non-traditional strawberry rose lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in India.

Strawberry rose lassi from Healthy Green Kitchen

Use the ripest organic strawberries you can find for this recipe, preferably from your own garden or your local Farmer’s Market. Bees do best with chemical-free food and so do we! As for the rose petals, these are completely optional. I sneak edible flowers into recipes all the time for their nutritive/medicinal qualities, but in all honestly, the fresh rose petals don’t add tons of flavor here. If you do want to use them, make sure they have not been sprayed with any chemicals (again, organic plants are the healthiest for the bees and for us); another option is to add a few drops of rosewater to your lassi. Should you decide to skip all things related to rose, you can add a pinch of cardamom to your lassi, if you like (cardamom is also pollinated by bees).

Strawberry Rose Lassi from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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For the past three years, I have celebrated Healthy Green Kitchen’s birthday by dedicating a post to the occasion each May. I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I let last month go by without any sort of fanfare :(

I hope you’re ok with me making up for that now by sharing a flourless chocolate cake recipe. I’d also like to share some thoughts on what this particular blog birthday means to me. So here goes.

Flourless chocolate cake from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

In previous blog birthday posts, I have written about how much I treasure my readers. This absolutely still holds true: I would have given up on blogging long ago were it not for all of you!

I have also reflected upon the friends I’ve made through blogging, and these continue to enhance my life in countless ways. I often spend time on the phone and/or hanging out in person with many amazing people I would never have met were it not for this blog (and I hope to meet many more of you in the future); I am beyond grateful for having you all in my life.

This year in blogging hasn’t been exactly like the others, though. It’s been even better! Here’s why:

This was the year I finally stopped comparing myself to other bloggers and accepted embraced the way I write, take photos, “do” social media, etc. I stopped worrying about whether or not I am as good at this stuff as someone else. All in all, this was the year I really got comfortable with my blog. It was the year I feel like I actually settled in.

I believe it’s worth noting, because it’s definitely related, that this was also the year I finally got comfortable with myself. I am almost 43 and it feels good to say that. Also? I wrote a book this year! It feels good to say that, too.

This cake comes from a new cookbook I absolutely adore called The Surf Cafe Cookbook: Cooking and Surfing on the West Coast of Ireland.

the surf cafe cookbook from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

I received a review copy of the book and have found it to be tremendously pleasing to the eye. Also: the writing is relaxed and fun, and the recipes within are delicious. I think you will love it, too.

I have made a few recipes from the book thus far but the one I want to share today is, of course, this flourless chocolate cake. I’ll give you fair warning: if you love chocolate, this cake may spoil you for all other chocolate desserts. Yes, it is that good: my husband said it’s one of the best things I ever made. And I make a lot of things!

Please know that these photos don’t come close to doing the cake justice. I was hell bent on slicing the cake right when it came out of the oven so I could eat some, but I don’t actually recommend doing that. The recipe suggests waiting as long as a day to slice the cake, and I am going to do that next time I bake it. If you slice it too soon, it’s still crazy good, but it’s really, really soft…almost like a chocolate lava cake. It really firms up if you allow it to cool completely before stuffing it in your mouth.

Flourless chocolate cake from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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