Today in Calgary it is cold, the sky is grey, and ice pellets are falling, but as I sit here gazing out the window, all I can think about is spring.  I am especially looking forward to warmer weather so I can go for a hike in the mountains.

Since moving to Calgary it has become our tradition to spend the first warm Saturday of the year in Canmore.  We grab lunch somewhere in the town, and then go on a family hike up to Grassi Lakes.  It has become one of my favorite hikes.  I have hiked it half a dozen times, and it never gets old.  The hike is only 4km round trip.  From the trail there are stunning views of the Bow Valley, a view of an impressive waterfall, two beautiful emerald green ponds, and some ancient aboriginal pictographs.   In my opinion it is the best scenery for the smallest amount of effort in the entire Banff area.

Minda and I at Grassi Lakes last May

I am sure we will make the traditional trek up to Grassi Lakes soon.  I am also looking forward to a trip to Canmore so I can stop by my all-time favorite lunch spot, Communitea Café, for some gogi berry green tea and a Mega Fresh Bowl.  Until then I can just day dream about a warm sunny day, and make my own version of the Mega Fresh Bowl.  It is like sunshine in a bowl, loaded with veggies, quinoa, and seeds.  It is just the thing to hit the spot after a nice hike, or in my case today, a run on the treadmill.  This recipe is for one very filling serving, so feel free to increase based on you needs.

Mega Fresh Quinoa and Spinach Saladmakes one large bowl

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup grated carrots
  • ¼ cup grated beets
  • ¼ cup shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons smokey chipotle hummus
  • 1 tablespoon raw pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoon lemon tahini vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Layer the ingredients in a large salad bowl in the order listed.  Top with the lemon tahini vinaigrette.

Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.

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