Refreshing summer salad

This refreshing summer salad post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Reese Speciality Foods. All opinions are my own. #Sponsored #HeartToHeartKitchen #ReeseSpecialtyFoods

The California heat is definitely getting to me, and I don’t want to turn on the oven creating more warmth in the house. So, I’ve been playing around with different ingredients and have come up with a refreshing summer salad that has me craving it! I know, health food + me? It’s kinda rare, I agree! But I’ve been polishing off these salads almost daily and since everything is pretty much ready, it’s so quick to assemble when you have that hunger growl going on.

A colourful salad with an abundance of flavour. Since superfoods are all the rage at the moment, I thought I’d join in too getting all my vitamins, antioxidants and minerals all in one plate, topped with chicken and you have yourself a healthy filling meal.

Here’s what I’ve added into my mix of arugula and spinach salad:

  • Handful of arugula + spinach
  • Reese Hearts of Palm
  • Raw nuts
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Red pepper
  • Chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese

For the dressing: whisk vinegar, olive oil, and mango juice concentrate together in a small bowl, and pour over the salad. Toss gently to evenly coat.

I put a simple yet unique touch to my salad this time, the Reese Hearts of Palm. And yeah, you might be asking yourself what the heck Hearts of Palm are, they’re a delicacy around the world which can be used in casseroles, tacos, salads, or in a main dish and available in a ton of varieties (sliced, pieces, etc). It’s difficult to describe the flavour of it as it’s something that I’ve had before, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s tender, but has a crunch to it as well. They’re really low in cholesterol, and rich in potassium — it’s tasty!

Try out other Reese Specialty Foods here.

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Let’s dig in! (Weekend meals recap)

Sun BasketI’m not very adventurous in the kitchen. Come supper time I’m ravenous and don’t want to be cooking for any time over 30 minutes. Maybe it’s a good idea I start cooking before I get hungry, hey? :)

I have a handful (yes, only a handful lol) of recipes in rotation, and I keep making those over and over… and over again. That gets old, quickly. Another reason why I love going back home to Newfoundland: a food variety from all sorts of people (ahem…Hi Mom! Hi Bro! Hi Mom-in-law!). Those three people are practically chefs in the kitchen, they come up with recipes off the top of their head, and it always tastes fantastic! Over Christmas, my brother cooked my husband and I a feast of Indian food, and it was flippin’ incredible. How? How does he do that? And why can’t I have that cooking gene? He made us wait hours until it was done to perfection. But none-the-less, I enjoyed it and went back for thirds. Lol.

I’m happy my pal Lauren passed along my information to Sun Basket. They reached out to me while I was in Newfoundland, and I put it on the back burner, until about two weeks ago. I re-followed up with them and mentioned … IT’S TIME. I’ve been in California for over a month now, and I’m getting re-sick of the foods I’m making.

I need something new!Making-supper

They sent me a weeks worth of choices, and to pick three meals out of the bunch. The first meal I made was on Friday night, and I went for the chicken salmoriglio with charred broccolini. The ingredients were pre-measured and bagged/jarred separately for easy assembly. Perfect!

chicken salmoriglio with charred broccolini.Chicken salmoriglio with charred broccolini (Paleo)
2 servings & 720 cal/serving

On the recipe sheet it mentions that the prep time is about 10 minutes. Total lie for someone like myself, I was doing everything backwards it seemed, even with the directions literally right in front of me. I suppose it would be accurate if you weren’t me. It ended up taking me longer to prep then cook because my darn chicken didn’t cook fast enough for my liking ;)

Chicken salmoriglio with charred broccolini:

What I loved: We both polished off our plates! The chicken was a fantastic cut of meat without any gooey bits on it. I loved that it incorporated things I’ve obviously heard of, but didn’t know how to integrate it into a meal (parsley, and roasted red pepper for instance). Mmm! Loved the broccolini mix with the crunchy toasted almonds, and the roasted red pepper. All in all, I love chicken. I could, and do, eat it every single day. It’s a different approach to add a parsley/lemon sauce to the top of the chicken, with the skin kept on!

What I would change: I would definitely do a better job next time at finely chopping (or even mincing) the garlic, and definitely getting the chicken started before anything else.

Overall rating: It was a two thumbs up from my husband and I. I’m keeping this recipe slip and making it again. Soon!

Saturday night I made pan-seared salmon with fennel, capers, and olives. Have to say, this was the one I was most skeptical about. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would turn out, and if it would be too spicy. But this is the one I was most proud of making. Ha! It turned out really well.

Salmon dish by Sun BasketPan-seared salmon with fennel, capers, and olives (Paleo, Gluten Free)
2 servings & 630 cal/serving

Pan-seared salmon with fennel, capers, and olives:

What I loved: This one came together so easily and in no time. I’m definitely keeping the recipe sheet for the sauce (tomatoes, maple syrup and veg stock) but incorporating my own veggies next time. While I was iffy on trying the fennel, capers and olives I’m pleased I did. I enjoyed the fennel, and a few capers but the olives weren’t my favourite. Same goes for the husband.

What I would change: I’m not sure I’d change anything from the recipe at all. I’d actually add to it, like rice, or more veg.

Overall rating: One set of thumbs up, because we are picky eaters, ha!

Last night, I made our third and final meal, the udon noodle salad with roasted butternut squash. I was worried about this one because it was unlike anything I’d ever made. And vegetarian to top it all off. My husband prefers I make meals with meat in them. Ha

UdonUdon noodle salad with roasted butternut squash (Vegetarian)
2 servings & 610 cal/serving

Udon noodle salad with roasted butternut squash:

What I loved: So colourful and enjoyable to eat, with all the textures of the crunchy seeds, squash and noodles. Also quite flavourful, more than I was expecting.

What I would change: I would mince the ginger next time. I finely chopped it, but sometimes I bit into a piece and was all “whoa!”. I might even add chicken next time.

Overall rating: Well, my husband mentioned there was flavours in there he wasn’t a huge fan of.  I found it to be tasty, really healthy meal that luckily didn’t take too long to prep and make. So I’d definitely consider making this one again for myself. Again, I guess it’s a one set of thumbs up!

Great things about Sun Basket, came in an insulated box that was completely recyclable. It had a return label inside, which I then entered into USPS, and the mail man came and picked it up, to send back to Sun Basket.

From my front door step!

Guys… that’s a first for me. So cool. To those who do this on a regular basis, I hear you laughing at me :)

Sun Basket has hand-selected, seasonal ingredients from the Pacific Coast’s best farms. Everything is organic, non-GMO produce with recipes ranging from vegetarian options, to paleo, gluten-free or the Chef’s choice. Sun Basket has free delivery to these states: CA, WA, CO, UT, OR, AZ, NV, & ID. Don’t ask this Canadian what all those states are! ;)

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Veggie Grill, Santana Row

Veggie-Grill-Santana-RowSantana Row is one of my prime-locations to visit whether I want to shop or eat — they have a ton of fantastic options for both. So when I was showing my friend from Canada the area, we popped by Veggie Grill for a quick lunch.


Veggie-Grill-KitchenVeggie Grill, as the name suggests, serves only vegetarian and vegan options.

What we ordered was from a few months back, so it wouldn’t be on their summer menu which is now out, but if I go back any time soon while they still have their summer menu I’m definitely going to try out that delicious looking Mediterranean toss salad with house feta. That photo makes it look amazing.

Veggie-Grill-sandwichI ordered a sandwich which had vegetarian ‘bacon’ on it. It was pretty great and definitely tasted like bacon, but my bread was a bit burnt and that’s all I could taste. I was so hungry that I didn’t mind eating it and didn’t want to be one of those customers who brings their food back to complain about the quality.

Veggie-Grill-LunchMy friend loved her concoction, it looked really appetizing too.


I love checking out all these new-to-me restaurants and fast food places here in the USA. Veggie Grill might not be new to many of you, but I’m not sure we have this back in Canada, anyone know? Have you eaten here?

Veggie Grill Santana Row
3055 Olin Avenue, San Jose 95128

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