Cauliflower & Quinoa Salad with Mustard Greens

I’m going to be perfectly upfront with you about this salad; it’s part of a bigger strategy.

You see I take my December eating pretty seriously.  Christmas cookies, cheese balls, and cocktail wienies are all on the horizon and I know I won’t be able to enjoy them in all their glory if I still feel guilty about the excessive eating of Thanksgiving week.  So I’m going to eat lots of hearty, nutritious salads for the next week or two.  Don’t worry, they’ll be delicious enough that I’ll enjoy the ride.

Today: a zippy quinoa salad with heaps of mustard greens, chickpeas, plenty of roasted cauliflower, and capers.  It’s a great make-on-Monday salad to pack in your lunchbox or have available for those I’m-so-starving-I-could-eat-a-whole-jar-of-peanut-butter-even-though-I-probably-shouldn’t moments.

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Scallop & Calamari Salad with Pistachio Gremolata

I’m home, back to blogging after a really relaxing week at a cabin with friends.  We sat around a roaring fire, played games, read, took walks, and ate.  Oh boy, did we eat.

There was Bo Ssam, Pot-au-Feu, Raclette, lamb shanks, duck legs…

…waffles with bacon, french toast with sausage, nutella-filled crepes.

Also, that little holiday known as Thanksgiving fell smack in the middle.  Pies, turkey with gravy, maple-glazed yams, sage stuffing, potato casserole.

It was a week of delicious eating in a beautiful setting with good company.

There’s only one problem.  Matt’s birthday happened to be on our first day back home and the only way I know to celebrate and show people I care is with food.  Normally, we’d go out or I’d cook an elaborate meal and spring for something manly like a big steak or rack of lamb.

Not an option this year.

So what was I to make, coming off this week of gluttonous eating?

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Happy Thanksgiving from StrawberryPlum

You know how it goes.

You take a vacation and you have such good intentions.  You’re going to send your mom a postcard, tackle that stack of books, catch up on sleep, keep up with your blog.  But it always turns out the same.

There’s just so much to do when there’s nothing you have to do.

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Apple Pie & Sharp Cheddar Biscuits

Apple & Cheddar Double Decker Biscuits

These biscuits are a throw-back to what I would consider my finest culinary creation circa 1989.  Only then I called them mini-apple breakfast pizzas.  And I’m not sure I can call them my “creation” as I think I ripped off the idea from a fellow first-grader’s mommy at snack time.

Way back when, these little delights were made with biscuits out of a tube, a can of apple pie filling, and shredded cheddar.  People were so impressed with with my talent in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, I grew up and my apple breakfast pizzas had to grow up, too.  You just can’t wow people with tube-biscuits the way you could when you were six.  Which is unfortunate because I love opening those biscuit tubes with the back of a spoon.  So satisfying.  Oh, well, c’est la vie.


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Black Lentil & Sweet Potato Bread Salad

Beluga Lenti & Yam Panzanella Salad

It’s so easy to make a big, fresh salad in summer and call it dinner.  I’ll slice up a tomato and a couple cukes and I’m good to go.

Then winter happens and my thoughts turn from fresh and crisp toward melty, gooey, roasted, toasted, tender, warm, and comforting.  What happened to my salads?  What happened to my waistline?

Enter, a winter riff on the Panzanella salad: black lentil, sweet potato, and bread salad.  It’s a perfect solution.  It is full of healthy things- legumes, whole grain bread, frisee, and vitamin-packed sweet potatoes.  Totally nutritious and satisfying but with the same comfort factor as Thanksgiving stuffing.

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