Sweet Potato Cooler and Summer Lovin’ Salad

We just may have a warm, rain-free weekend upon us! Oh I hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying that.

My sister, Dad and I are headed to the Stampede to hit up the gluten-free eats on the midway and rock out to George Canyon at the Coca Cola Stage on Sunday night. There’s nothing worse than enjoying an outdoor concert in the rain. We’re troopers so we’d go either way, but I’m really just hoping for some sunshine!

Calgary is acting a bit Summer challenged these days but I’m sure that the +30C weather is just around the corner for us… I can feel it! When it gets hot I find myself drawn to smoothies, salads and charred meat on the grill. Posting a picture of the meals I’ve been trying to make on the barbecue would just be downright embarrassing (for now) so today you get 2 out of 3 of my favorite summer-time meals. Two out of three ain’t bad!

… I can’t believe I just linked to a meatloaf video. Who I am?

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Sweet Potato Cooler and Summer Lovin' Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups, 1 serving
Light and refreshing cooler made with cooked sweet potato, apple and banana.
  1. Place in your blender in the order of the ingredients listed, then blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
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Summer Lovin’ Salad

Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
Yield:~10 cups salad and 1/2 cup salad dressing  Servings: 4

Sweet and simple gluten-free, vegan salad filled with strawberries, avocado, black beans and smothered in a creamy lemon poppy seed dressing.



  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 8 cups mixed greens

Salad dressing


  1. Place water and rinsed quinoa in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Once complete, remove from heat and allow to sit with lid on for 5 minutes. Remove lid, drop quinoa into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to cool for the salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over top. Add quinoa and serve.

note: xylitol should be ground before adding to the recipe or you’ll have xylitol crystals in the finished product. If you don’t have xyltiol, feel free to replace with maple syrup to keep vegan, or honey.

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I love this time of the year – when the Calgary Stampede begins and everyone dresses up, consumes liters of barbecue sauce and falls back in love with country music. So much, that I made (vegan) stampede barbecue lentil sandwiches last year so we could all join in on the festivities. It’s on the list of things to make this weekend!

Are you planning to go to the Calgary Stampede this year? Do you have rodeos in your town?

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  1. mmmm avocados and strawberries. I was going to make some salad tonight and I have all the ingredients for this!

    • That’s great! Enjoy, Holly!

  2. There are definitely NO rodeos in London, Ont. BUT there are all kinds of festivals. I don’t think they rival stampede one bit! I’ve never been :( — my dad’s fiancee is in Calgary and he spends most of his time there. I get to visit quite often but I’m not “allowed” to go during stampede–it’s been this way for 10 years since I was 14 and maybe it made sense not to want to have us out during the craziness? Maybe next year!

    • It does get pretty busy and nuts, but the city vibrates with activity and excitement! It’s quite the show, too. I’ve heard great things about the festivals over on Ontario. We have nothing like that here!

  3. wow – sweet potato cooler!? this sounds good! and that salad is gorgeous, reminds me of the one I had in wine country on vacation…

    rodeos, yep we have ’em. We have the Pendleton Roundup which is BIG, and then the St Paul Rodeo – also big but not like the Roundup. I have not been to either in many many years, but going to school with cowboys who drove their 4×4 with gun racks to school, you know I used to make it an annual thing! ;)

  4. Most original use of a sweet potato, ever! Something about this reminds me of fall…with some extra nutmeg or cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, I could really get into this!

  5. Oh and I was going to ask you a nutritionist question – I just read today on someone else’s blog that heating chia seeds (or anything that has omega oils in it) will cause them to go rancid. I know that not refrigerating things can make them go rancid, but heating when you cook? I’m questioning that. Then why would people put chia and flax, etc., in their baked goods and such? Just wondering your thoughts.

    • Great question, Andrea. I’ve had this question myself so contacted some of the hemp, chia, and flax companies. Each said that the oils contained in the seed were much more stable than that of the oils. I would never, ever cook with the oils in anything, but baking with these items won’t make them go rancid. Of course, long exposure to heat is bad, and raw is always better. Hope that helps!

      • It does, thank you! And there are so many different kinds of oils out there.. could you maybe fit into a post somewhere along the line about different oils and the proper way to use them? Just a suggestion. Thanks Leanne!

        • That’s a great idea, I’ll add that to the list!