Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad

I’m so excited to share a salad recipe with you today! This Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad is so easy to make and it’s packed with nutrition. It is vegetarian friendly and is free of white refined sugar. The feta cheese can easily be omitted for a vegan option (in which case I would suggest sprinkling a little bit of sea salt on the salad).

I’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, and just fuel my body with healthier food in general. It seems a lot easier to eat salads if I change up the recipes frequently. For those of you who love salads, I hope you give this one a try and enjoy it as much as Kevin and I do.

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad

Kevin and I went to a local restaurant called Deer + Almond about a month ago. His sister had given us a gift card from this place for Christmas, along with other fun date-night snack foods and movies. It’s probably pointless to mention how much I loved this gift. Seriously though! Movies + food = heaven for Erika.

I really enjoyed the food that we had at Deer + Almond. It is a slow food restaurant that serves tapas-style dishes. The food is meant to be shared with friends and family like you would at home. I would recommend all Winnipegers to check it out, if you haven’t already! I suppose, the rest of you will simply have to come up/down for a visit!

The truth is, I have never been the biggest fan of beets. However, I’m also kinda stubborn, and feel the need to like, or at least try all foods. For instance, when Kevin and I were in Thailand last summer, they were selling fried scorpions and tarantulas on the street. I simply couldn’t bring myself to try them. Now, most people probably would have been totally okay with not trying them. I, however, still can’t get over the fact that I didn’t try them. It feels like something I should have done at least once in my life!

Back to beets though. I have often “made” myself eat some (they are easier to eat than tarantulas after all!), with the hopes that one day I’ll like them. I have realized that I enjoy them more when they are steamed than if they are pickled. When we ordered the ‘Beets & Oranges’ salad at Deer + Almond, I really enjoyed it! Although, proportionally they added too many beets for my liking. If you love beets, however, you would probably disagree with me, and would have loved the salad just the way it was served. That’s the beauty of making this salad yourself! You get to choose how many beets you want to add! See, we all win!

Who knows how close my version of the ‘Beets & Oranges’ salad is to the original recipe, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s healthy and SO delicious! The ingredients that go into this salad are: green leaf lettuce, gala apples, oranges, steamed beets, crumbled feta cheese, chopped walnuts, sesame tahini, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey. That’s all! Scroll further down to see the recipe.

A few notes: 

This recipe makes two large lunch salads, or serves about four people as a side salad. If you are planning to take it to work, just layer the salad in a seal-able container in the following order: beets, lettuce, apples, oranges, feta, and walnuts. Store the dressing in a separate container. When you are ready to eat, simply drizzle the dressing over the salad, close the lid, give it a good shake, and eat it straight out of the container, or empty it out onto a plate.

To steam the beets, I used a double boiler steamer. Just add some water to the bottom pot, and place the beets in the steamer pot. Cover with a lid and steam for about 30 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. I didn’t peel the beets until after steaming them. Instead, I just ran them under cold water and used my fingers to rub the peel off. If the peel doesn’t want to come off, try using a sharp knife.


You could probably replace the feta cheese with “queso fresco”. Another alternative would be cottage cheese. Just make sure to rinse it off first, so that it’s not too wet, and add some sea salt, as feta cheese is a lot saltier than cottage cheese. Now, for those of you who do not have access to sesame tahini, you can either make it (video below) or try replacing it with a smooth peanuts-only peanut butter. You will still get that nutty flavor. 

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad

Thank you for reading along. I really hope you enjoy eating this Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad as much as I enjoyed making, photographing, and eating it! Wishing you all a fabulous week!

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad
Serves 4
A quick salad, packed with healthy nutrients!
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For the tahini dressing
  1. 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  2. 1 tbsp. liquid honey
  3. 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. water
For the salad
  1. 4-6 leaves of green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  2. 2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  3. 1 apple, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. 2-3 steamed beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  5. feta cheese, to taste
  6. chopped walnuts, to taste
  1. Add all the tahini dressing ingredients to a small bowl. Mix well, adding water until it reaches the consistency of a creamy salad dressing.
  2. Place all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the salad. Mix well using salad servers or salad tongs.
Sweet Blooming Roots

Blueberry Ambrosia Sauce


I’m SO excited about today’s recipe! This little household in Peg City really enjoys blueberry sauce. I decided to create my own and healthier version of it, and I ended up loving it so much that I was eating it with a spoon! It’s the coconut oil and vanilla extract that never fail me. They give this sauce such a soft and heavenly flavor, and then the lemon zest waltzes in and spices things up just enough to bring the senses back down to earth. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with this recipe?



I have been making my new favorite oatmeal-pancakes recipe by Tastes Better Made from Scratch. These pancakes are so delicious, healthy, and packed with proteins. They are quite filling, and make an excellent choice for breakfast. I love how little effort it takes to make these pancakes. They are also easy to rewarm (I just pop them in the microwave), allowing you to make some extra in advance for a quick breakfast on a busy morning. If you want to make these pancakes exceptionally good, top them with some fresh banana slices, and my warm blueberry ambrosia sauce. Trust me, both of these recipes are to die for!


I’m sure this blueberry sauce would also taste great on other desserts like waffles, crepes, and cheesecake. Did I hear someone say CHEESECAKE!? It has got to be my all time favorite dessert. Oh and lets not forget ice cream! This recipe would make an excellent vanilla ice cream topping. Can I hear a YES!? 


Warning! Change of topic. Erika’s spaghetti noodle brain is at work. I just wanted to say how much I love spring blossoms. They are definitely a huge highlight for me when spring rolls around. What probably makes them even more special, is the fact that they don’t hang around for very long.

Now how did I get my hands on these gorgeous babies? Well, if you must know, I snagged them on our way to our car after our friends’ wedding. There it was, standing on the golf club yard, this gorgeous pink tree, calling out my name. I knew I had to have one branch for a food photo-shoot. I broke it off, thanking the tree (that was a lie), took it home and nurtured it with some fresh water, and went to bed.

After several hours of sleep they still looked beautiful, so in the morning I got busy making the blueberry sauce and setting up for a photo-shoot. Yes we eventually ate the pancakes. Of course when you shoot pictures of food, the food has often cooled off by the time you eat it and you have to re-warm it, or just eat it cold.




This blueberry sauce brings me back to the summer of 2001. My family and I made a road trip all the way from Chihuahua, Mexico to British Columbia. Now for some background information, blueberries are not something that I grew up buying in Mexico. First of all, I don’t remember them being sold in many places, and if they were sold somewhere they would have cost a fortune (with a little exaggeration)! So when we visited BC that summer, we stayed with my uncle and aunt and their children. Behind their house was a chicken barn, and behind the barn was a blueberry field with rows of blueberry plants. I remember joining my aunt and together filling a whole ice cream bucket with small blueberries. They were SO very delicious! It’s amazing how much flavor and deliciousness are packed into our little blue friends! 



I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do. Wishing everyone some down time this weekend. Try to do at least one thing that will make your heart feel full. Sometimes it’s the little things that re-energize and inspire us anew. Maybe it’s a short walk in nature, a coffee date with a friend, reading a chapter in the book that has been neglected for a few weeks, baking your favorite cookies, watching an inspirational movie, or anything else that fills your cup.

This week I had one day where I just felt so peopled-out after some frustrating incidents at work. We had planned to go to the gym in the evening, but we waited until it was kind of too late and not worth going anymore. I knew my body and mind were screaming for some down time. We decided to just stay in. I filled my bathtub with warm foaming water, asked Kevin to take the puppy and close the bathroom door, and watched a movie. I wanted to be completely by myself. If I leave the bathroom door open, I get frequent visits from my pup. It’s actually super cute, because she always stands up and peaks over the bathtub, waiting for me to come out. But this time, I needed it to be just me, to re-energize my body and mind. 



Cheers! -Erika

Blueberry Ambrosia Sauce
Serves 4
This delectable sauce is where blueberries, lemons, and coconuts meet to create a heavenly flavour. Pour it over dessert-like foods, such as pancakes, cheesecake, ice cream, crepes, and waffles.
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  1. 2 cups frozen blueberries
  2. 1/3 cup water
  3. 1 tsp lemon zest
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with some water
  7. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Add the first three ingredients to a small pot. Bring to a boil on medium high heat.
  2. Turn down to medium heat. Add the pure maple syrup, salt, and the cornstarch (mixed with a little bit of cold water). Stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  4. Serve over your favourite dessert-like dish.
Sweet Blooming Roots

Mango Orange Creamsicle Smoothie


Good morning my fellow readers! 🙂 Time to rise and shine if you haven’t already. I’m excited to share a new recipe with you. This one is literally the easiest thing to make!  


This mango and orange flavoured smoothie is nice and light on your stomach first thing in the morning. It is also very easy to take on the go if you have to rush to work. You can always make a couple for the week, so that you don’t have to spend any time making them in the morning. Just pop them in the refrigerator, or in the freezer if you want them to keep longer (in which case you will have to take it out of the freezer the night before, so that it can thaw overnight).


I found that this smoothie was sweet enough without adding any honey to it. This might be the case because I used minute-maid orange juice in this recipe. An even better option would be to use freshly squeezed orange juice, in which case it might need some sweetening, depending on how sweet the oranges are.   


This drink is packed with healthy nutrients! It contains a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, many vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and proteins. Mangoes, oranges, and chia seeds all have immense health benefits (click on them to read some informational articles on these foods). Fruits are generally high in sugars as well though, so keep this in mind before you decide to drink 10 of these in a day! 😉 Also, keep in mind to always drink lots of water, as chia seeds are high in fiber (we don’t want to cause any blockage now, do we? Haha!). 


I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Please share some of your favorite smoothie recipes below! I would love to hear from you! Enjoy your weekend!! xo- Erika

Mango Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Serves 1
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  1. 1 cup cubed frozen mangoes
  2. 1/2 cup orange juice
  3. 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  7. honey (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients (except chia seeds) in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.
Sweet Blooming Roots


Sunny Side Up Quesadilla


You guys! I have a quick recipe to share with you and I’m pretty excited about it! I recently made this meal for myself without the intention of making it into a blog post. But then it turned out to be so delicious, that I decided I had to share it with you!


Do you have a ripe avocado lying around and are you trying to make sure you eat as many fresh cherry tomatoes as you can before the gardens have done their job for this year? Well I just brought you the perfect solution: The Sunny Side Up Quesadilla!! 


This recipe is seriously easy to make. You get to re-use the same pan for the whole process (fewer dishes!! YAY!!), and since it has melted cheese in it, I would go as far as to say that this recipe could be considered a comfort food (not to mention the health benefits avocado, onions, and tomatoes offer). AND you can totally eat this for brunch, lunch or supper. See, the options are endless! 


Now, you’re lucky that the weekend is coming up right away, which will give you all the time to get into the kitchen and make this sunny recipe! 😉 May it fill your stomach with joy and bring some sunshine into your home! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about the quesadilla-egg combination. And please do share this recipe! Have a great weekend everyone!


Sunny Side Up Quesadilla
Serves 1
An easy way to turn a traditional quesadilla into a delightful brunch!
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  1. 2 corn tortillas
  2. 1/3 cup grated marbled-cheese
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. 1/2 small onion
  5. 2 tsp. margarine (or butter)
  6. 1 egg
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 2-3 tbsp. chunky salsa
  9. 5-8 assorted cherry tomatoes
  1. Place tortilla in a preheated non-stick pan, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with cheese and top with second tortilla. Fry until cheese is melted and place on a plate.
  2. Cut onion into 1/4 inch thick slices and throw into the same pan along with 1 teaspoon margarine. Fry until browned. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. While the onions are frying, mash half an avocado with a fork, and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. Add another teaspoon of margarine to the pan. Crack an egg into it, frying it sunny side up until the egg white is completely cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To assemble the quesadilla, spread the mashed avocado on the warm quesadilla, top it with the fried onions, the egg, the salsa, and finally the cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
Sweet Blooming Roots