Welcome back for another seasonally inspired RECIPE, beautiful people! I’m currently typing to you from my impromptu outdoor office at my childhood home in rural Alberta on this gorgeous August afternoon. The bees are buzzing, the butterflies are fluttering and the sweet scents of summer crops are lingering on the country air — it’s the ideal setting to publish my Summer Bounty Salad with Saskatoon Cider Vinaigrette, don’t you think? If you’ve been reading JustineCelina since last summer you may remember the delicious, clean Wild Saskatoon Berry Crumble I came up with after a friend let us forage their farm to take advantage of the plentiful crop. It was saskatoon overload (in the best way possible!) so I took the opportunity to work on a few more saskatoon themed recipes — but because of my intensive testing process I wasn’t able to publish them before the season ended. Excited to bring those recipes to the blog this summer, we headed south in search of fleeting saskatoons and canola — and we ended up finding a beautiful field of canola (annual photos coming soon!) with wild saskatoon bushes growing alongside it. Honestly, what are the chances?!
My Summer Bounty Salad with Saskatoon Cider Vinaigrette is inspired by the abundant seasonal produce and herbs available at our local markets (and in the wild!) at the height of summer! This colourful, local, ultra fresh salad can be on your table in 15 minutes and is brimming with incredible, heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich superfoods and nutrients. Straight from our Alberta farms to your table, a vitamin-infused bed of baby spinach and arugula showcases a striking mosaic of freshly picked saskatoon berries, garden peas, shredded golden beets, crisp radishes, fresh mint, sunflower seeds and scallions — dressed with a punchy Saskatoon Cider Vinaigrette celebrating Alberta’s favorite berry. Enjoy this feel good salad as a light, plant based entrée whenever you’re in the mood for something quick and nutritious, or as a beautiful accompaniment to grilled fish (it’s great with with trout or salmon), meat or tofu!
I’m not really sure what’s happened — but this year, my love of cocktails is outshining my love of sangria (hey… no hard feelings sangria — we had a really good run!). I’ve also been dreaming of publishing a lavender lemonade for years — but funny enough, it’s never made it’s way onto these pages. I had the most delicious lavender lemonade the summer before I started blogging at some small town in interior British Columbia on our way back from a music festival — and I’ve been determined to create an equally delicious lavender lemonade ever since! That said, I know there are tons of lavender lemonade recipes out there, but now that I have a few solid years of COCKTAIL development under my belt and some incredible, unique, delicious ingredients in my bar, I thought I’d give it a go this summer!
So, while I fully intended this recipe to be a vodka-based lavender lemonade, as I moved though a rather intense testing process (remember when I mentioned I was cocktail testing over the long weekend?), I ended up swapping lavender for lilacs and vodka for gin — and I’m so glad I did! My Japanese Lilac Gin Lemonade tastes like summertime in the country and is very near to my heart — incorporating Japanese Lilac blossoms from the tree at my childhood home in rural Alberta, honey from the hives just across the stream and Eau Claire Distillery‘s award winning Parlour Gin distilled from the flourishing barley crops and unique botanicals of Alberta’s prairies. This floral-kissed, lightly effervescent lemonade was created with a thoughtful, hand crafted, farm-to-glass approach and made for lazy summer days on the patio, easy entertaining and watching the sunset behind glowing fields of canola! Join myself and my Connecting Over Cocktails crew to indulge in a summer inspired cocktail menu (check out their creations at the end of this post!) and enter to win bottle of the best gin I’ve ever tasted, along with a Tour & Tasting for 2 at Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery! Cheers to hot summer nights, refreshing gourmet cocktails and the celebrating the bountiful offerings of this beautiful land!
With my favourite month of the year coming to a close, I bring you my August 2017 Soundtrack! Fear not friends, there are still over 20 days of summer officially left, so let’s enjoy them! These 55 tracks were the background music to all my August adventures — and there were many. From embarking on our huge paint-a-thon to spending a couple of weekends out of the city, to lots of exciting projects on the go and the behind the scenes grind (autumn is going to be an exciting time!), this playlist fueled a very productive month. My soundtracks make for great working, thinking and creating music — so if you’re looking for a little audible inspiration during the day, give my 3 hour, 46 minute August 2017 Soundtrack a listen! I’ve also updated the format of these monthly soundtracks to include my 5 most recent playlists (some have never been published here at JustineCelina) — so be sure to check out the bottom of posts if you’re looking for even more MUSIC.
Well guys, we’re over half way through 2017 — and it’s been about 7 months since I published my New Year New Goals: Cultivating a Balanced 2017 post (say what?!). I’ve just come home from a partially unplugged weekend visiting family and I’m feeling refreshed, so I thought it was a good time to check in and update you how I’m working towards the goals, intentions and plans I set out for myself this year in an attempt to cultivate more balance in my life. Overall, I’m happy to say I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year — but it’s been a lot of hard work to get there and some things definitely haven’t turned out how I planned!
Today I’ll be updating you on my progress towards my overarching goal for 2017 to return to a more balanced lifestyle and what exactly that looks like for me as an entrepreneur and blogger. I’m also sharing my progress towards more specific goals like learning to overcome perfectionism, recovering from burnout, getting organized, investing in myself and my businesses, refreshing our space and being more mindful about looking at the bigger picture more often to ensure the puzzle pieces of my life and career fit together in a way that works for me. I’m also sharing a few detours I’ve taken along the way — some intentional and some completely unintentional (but serendipitous!). If you’re interested in learning more about the changes I’ve made so far this year in my quest to cultivate balance in my life while working towards my personal and professional goals, pour yourself a nice, juicy glass of wine (or a big cup of coffee if you’re reading in the morning!) — and let’s get into it!
The canola is in full bloom here on the Alberta prairies where I’ve spent the better part of the past week on a bit of a ‘workcation’ — and I couldn’t resist slipping out to capture another set of golden hour images! As a blogger and content creator, I review my photo archives often, and the images we captured during last year’s completely impromptu (and a little tipsy!) canola shoot were some of my favourite of the entire year. So last night we decided to resurrect those happy, sunshiny memories! I put on a different dress and we headed up the gravel road to a different field with different camera a different lens — almost exactly 1 year later.
I’m wearing a few of my favourite things in this post — a flowy, white cotton dress, a turban style headband, an Amuse Bouche lipstick, oversized, round sunnies and some vintage jewellery. I’m also sharing some thoughts on creativity, inspiration, balance and the grind of modern day life in this introspective post. I invite you to hit pause for a little while, bathe in this beautiful golden light and breathe in the warm, canola scented air with me on this peaceful summer evening in the prairies!
We’re home from Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and tonight I’m recapping our experience! What is Christmas in November, you ask? Basically, it’s a giant meeting of people who love all the same things I love — great food, wine, entertainment and seasonal inspiration. This past weekend we cooked with celebrity chefs, learned about holiday decor from industry experts, came away with tons of culinary inspiration and tasted wine from all over the world. Sounds like a good time, right? Now, imagine that experience set in a charming, rustic lodge, overlooking a serene mountain lake in a picturesque National Park. That, my friends, is what Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is all about! I’m sharing every detail of our trip — including the accommodations, the food, and drink, the lodge, the spa, the setting, the sessions, the after parties, who we met and what I wore! Come along with us to Jasper, Alberta on this festive retreat nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and let’s kick off the holiday season in style!
My July Soundtrack is a 3.5 hour playlist of free spirited indie, upbeat alternative, tropical house and a healthy dose of hip hop! It’s a perfect soundtrack for long weekend adventures — whether you’re roadtripping, camping or enjoying the summer weather with friends over cocktails. A few standout tracks this month include Happy Now by Shapes in Calgary (who actually hails from Brooklyn!), Waking Up by Mr. Little Jeans, Kicks by Lauren Aquilina, American Fool by Work Drugs and Don’t Worry Bout What The Fuck I’m Doing (yep, that’s really the track title) from Negative Gemini. For you hip-hop lovers, Complex Garden’s Shinobi Gaiden, Bright’s Doing Things and Chance the Rapper’s Summer Friends sounded especially good to my ears this month. Tune in for 58 fresh tracks to jam out to this summer!