Lately it seems that a large influx of travel-related promo emails have been landing in my inbox. I don’t open many, but skimming the subject lines has been triggering thoughts about epic vacations, exotic beaches and luxurious resorts. Add to this the fact that Wanderlust Whistler happened this weekend, plus the stream of Facebook photos that give me a glimpse into all of the adventures my friends have been taking lately, and it’s no wonder that a serious travel bug has been a-brewing inside me.
Speaking of vacations and traveling, let’s talk about souvenirs. Do you collect them?
I know a guy who tries to do as many destination races as possible and collects finisher medals at each one. One of my besties from university takes TONS of photos (stunning ones) for each adventure she goes on, uploads them to iPhoto and prints them out as a book. Another friend buys shot glasses in every new place she visits, while a few others buy Starbucks city mugs. I’m not sure what this says about the beverage choices of the people I choose to hang around with, but my hope is that the mugs get more daily use than the shot glasses.
Before my family moved to Bahrain, my dad used to travel a lot for work. He’d fly all over Canada and the US, and occasionally to Europe and the Middle East. My sister and I would get super excited for him to come home because he’d always bring us something from wherever he’d been, and even if it was just mini toiletries products from his hotel, we still thought these ‘presents’ were great.
Then there were the times when we’d go on trips as a family. When I was about 8, we went to Disneyworld in Florida. We arrived in the morning, did a bit of walking around and had our photos taken with a few of the characters. After eating lunch at one of the restaurants, we planned to take a train to get to the opposite end of the park so we could go on a bunch of the rides. We walked over to the train station and within a couple of minutes, my mum realized she’d forgotten a bag at the restaurant. She left to go back and get it, and I guess there was a lack of communication because she and my dad hadn’t quite nailed down the detail of whether we’d stay put and wait for her, or meet at our destination. To make things even more challenging, this story took place in the stone age of the 1990s so neither had cell phones.
My sister and I waited with my dad for a couple of hours – yes, hours – at the train station. His logic was that eventually, she’d just come back to where we were last together. But that never happened. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a tragic tale and the story does have a happy ending.)
Finally he agreed that there was no sense in wasting the day doing nothing and let us get on as many of the rides as we could for what was left of the afternoon.
Eventually it got dark and we started making our way to the park gates where the assumption was that we’d meet up with my mum. We ran out of time to visit any of the souvenir shops, but I think my sister and I were just thankful that we didn’t have to spend the whole afternoon waiting in the same boring train station.
Sure enough, amongst the crowds of thousands moving towards the exit gates of the happiest place on earth, we spotted my mum. It was a little hard to see her face though, because she had her arms overflowing with stuffed animals, swirly lollipops, and a whole bunch of other things she bought for us as a result of feeling guilty for what had happened that day. My mum is the last person you’d find on a roller coaster, but she also informed us that she’d forced herself onto Space Mountain as self-inflicted punishment for what had happened. My sister and I were probably already too far gone into our Disney candy sugar comas by this point, but even now, 20 years later (whaaat?!) I still laugh about the whole thing.
My travel souvenirs these days aren’t stuffed Pluto, Mickey ears or lollipops the size of my face, but they do get me equally as excited as all of that did back in the day. I like these things to have a function (bonus if it’s a food-related function), and on my trip to Salt Spring Island this past weekend, I found something that totally fit the bill.
Friends, there will be no more purple-stained finger nails for this girl, because I am now the proud owner of a cherry pitter!
Wait for it…..
Naturally, after arriving home on the ferry on Sunday night I HAD to go straight to the grocery store to buy a small fortune’s worth of cherries. I also bought corn and avocado and fresh herbs and these tiny little apricots because they were just too darn cute and it would have been rude not to.
I spent far too long having fun shooting pits out of cherries, and when all of that was done and my kitchen counter was covered in pink juice splatters, I noticed I was hangry and needed to eat – like, A-to-the-S-A-P.
This salad is a mix of all sorts of summery goodness, a combo of sweet, creamy, savoury, crunchy and crisp, and totally what I’m having for lunch every day this week.
For best results, I suggest making this with cooled quinoa, rather than the freshly cooked and straight out of the pot kind. This is because using hot grains tends to make everything look wilty and dull, whereas cooled quinoa holds its shape better.
If you’ve got a little time on the weekend to prep ahead, this is the recipe to make because it’s the kind that gets better as days go on. The lemon vinaigrette can also be added a day or two prior, or save it for when you’re ready to eat. The flavours of the fresh herbs and juices from the cherries and apricots will blend in the meantime.Print
The perfect summer salad, this blend of sweet and savoury, this is one to add to your menu of easy plant-based summer lunches.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
- 1 cup pitted halved cherries
- 1 1/2 cups grilled corn (use method 3 described here)
- 1/4 cups each pepitas and sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup each loosely packed fresh parsley and mint
- 1/3 cup pea shoots
- 2 small apricots, pitted and sliced, plus more to garnish if desired
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- baby greens (optional, to serve under the salad)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- In a very large bowl, combine the quinoa, cherries, corn, pepitas, sunflower seeds, herbs and sliced apricots. Stir well, then set aside.
- In a jar or sealed container, shake up all of the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and add a little more sea salt and black pepper as needed.
- Pour the dressing (you may have some leftover) over the salad and toss to thoroughly coat.**
- Line salad bowls with greens if making individual servings, or transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Garnish with pea shoots, sliced avocado, and additional apricot halves.
*You can use warm quinoa if you like, but I find that chilled quinoa holds its shape better and helps to keep the other ingredients crisp.
**This is a great recipe for preparing the day before you plan to eat it because the flavours are best developed after a few hours. If making ahead, store the salad covered in the fridge and toss well before serving.
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So tell me…
- Do you collect souvenirs when you travel? What kind?
- What’s your best travel memory?