I’m not sure what the weather is like in the place you call home, but many parts of the world have suffered wild weather this past winter. Tornados, mudslides, hail, and freezing temperatures in places that are normally warm have left us longing for a change. Well, let us rejoice because spring is upon us!
Spring brings with it not only warmer weather and flowers in bloom but the rich promises that God tells us this season has to offer. It is a time of refreshing and a time of renewal. It is a time to shed the old and welcome the new. “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land” Song of Solomon 2:11-12.
What better way to celebrate spring than by feasting on the bounty that the season presents? Coming out from under the weight of hibernation and comfort foods, our meal selections for spring are light and airy. Spring is a time we may dedicate to deep-cleaning and purging in our homes. Likewise, we may find ourselves sprucing up our fridges and pantries. It is a great time to discard seldom used dry goods and half bottles of condiments.
Spring presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of eating what’s local and in season. Rejoice as the land yields its latest harvest of colorful fruits and vegetables. Let’s not forget that autumn isn’t the only season bursting with color. Depending on where you are, you may find fresh artichokes, garlic, apricots, asparagus, fennel, and fava beans in the season, just to name a few. Invite these greens, oranges, and yellows to your kitchen table.
If you live in an area with farmers’ markets or local markets, you can engage in lively conversation with vendors as they regale you with stories of their wares. In speaking with them, you can gaze upon the food and give thanks to the Lord for the abundance which he has provided for our nourishment. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to invest in the livelihoods of small farmers and gardeners. Use this opportunity as the gift it is.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” Genesis 1:29.
With winter soups and heavy foods behind us, let’s add these refreshing recipes to your springtime meal plan, and let the ingredients shine:
Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Packed with protein, an omelet is an excellent way to start your day. Healthy fats are good for the brain so get your gears going with this Asparagus Chive Omelette which incorporates two seasonal offerings of chives and asparagus. (And requires only 10 minutes of prep and cook time combined!)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup regular liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped uncooked asparagus
1/4 cup thawed frozen green peas
1/4 cup chopped sweet red peppers
2 tbsp of chives, fresh and chopped
Whisk salt, pepper, and egg substitute together to create frothy mixture. Add canola oil to a skillet and pour frothy mixture in, gently mixing ingredients until the bottom is set. Add Swiss cheese, asparagus, green peas, and red peppers to one-half of the omelet. Fold other unfilled half over and cook for 2 minutes, until cheese is melted. Sprinkle finished omelet with chives.
Asparagus & Pea Salad
This is an original recipe of mine and appears in my book 30 Days 30 Ways to Salad Heaven. Bursting with color and flavor, this is apt to be a hit at your next brunch.
2 medium zucchini
4 cups watercress
1 cup green peas
1 bunch asparagus
2 cups cooked whole-wheat orzo pasta
4 sprigs of scallion chopped
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley chopped
⅓ cup toasted hazelnuts
1 lemon juiced and zested
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces, discarding the woody ends. Lightly steam asparagus and green peas then cool. Make dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dijon, honey, salt, and pepper. Using a mandolin or peeler cut zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Place orzo, asparagus, peas, zucchini, and scallion in a large bowl. Pour on dressing and gently stir to combine. Add parsley and hazelnuts and give another stir. Serve on a bed of watercress.
Just in time for spring is the interesting, bulbous vegetable known as Fennel. Fennel, which originated in the Mediterranean, can be eaten cooked or raw. It can be sliced thinly and eaten in salads or roasted to bring out the natural sweetness.
Don’t let looks fool you. While it might appear to be from the onion or celery family, it’s more closely related to the carrot. Its fronds may remind you of dill and the flavor is slightly reminiscent of anise (think licorice) yet the fennel is in a class all its own.
Fennel is high in fiber and is a great source of vitamin C, so make the most of it while it’s in season. You can whip up this Fennel Chicken Thigh Spring Recipe. Serve with an ancient whole grain like quinoa, couscous, or millet and you’ve got the makings of a bright, fresh, nutrient-dense dinner.
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 bulbs fennel (about the size of your fist)
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1 navel orange, scrubbed clean and sliced into quarter-inch rounds
2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or finely minced
2 tsps roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 whole sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine garlic, thyme leaves, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Dry chicken by patting with paper towel. Add chicken thighs to mixture and toss evenly. Massage mixture into chicken. Let chicken marinate 5-10 minutes while you prepare fennel.
Trim fennel stalks until only bulb remains. Remove outermost layers (usually dried and scuffed). Cut individual bulbs into 8 wedges each. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper over fennels and toss. Evenly spread fennel wedges on cast-iron skillet/baking dish and top with orange slices. Place chicken over fennel and orange slices, adding sprigs of thyme, if desired. Bake until chicken is golden and juices run clear when pierced (typically 35-45 minutes). Serve with whole-grain side.
I know you will enjoy these 3 recipes to celebrate spring. Be sure to invite a friend or family member because eating the best of spring foods is simply too good to keep to yourself.
Tyra Lane-Kingsland is a speaker, Women’s Ministry Director and author of the book Purposeful Parenting. She enjoys facilitating the classes she’s developed on parenting and Health & Wellness. It is her assertion that health is wealth and believes that optimal health is achieved through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. Tyra is an attentive wife and mother of six. Knowing that God causes all things to work together for good, she is on a passionate pursuit to see women inspired to live fully!
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