Hi! Wow. It’s been a while, and there are no words that can express how good it feels to be back into the swing of things. If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself in my adult life it’s this: I’m a routine gal, and I don’t like to be out of my element for longer than a week — even if for vacation. In fact, I’d been dreaming about and planning for this recipe since before even coming home. I missed this space.
Though things didn’t go exactly as intended, and much like those little ruby currants pictured above, I’m a bit sour.
I had big plans for this salad, which was supposed to be a winter salad because cooking seasonally is my jam. Sadly, all three markets I hit earlier this week were out of pomegranates. I know that pomegranate seeds trend in the food world this time of year, but I didn’t realize everyone was paying attention. I suppose that’s a good sign, but it didn’t work in my favor.
Crappy luck, I shake my fist at you.
On the plus side, I did happen to stumble upon some stunning red currants from Chili, and they offered up the same pop of color and burst of tartness that pomegranate seeds would have brought to the bowl. When life hands you red currants…
Like everyone else who overate and tossed back a cocktail too many this holiday season, I’m in total eat healthy mode. Further to that, like anyone else who overthought and tossed away a healthy work/life balance this year, I’m in total live healthy mode as well.
Some folks seem to think that hitting the reset button at the beginning of a new year is cliché. In such instances, I like to recite one of my favorite Amy Poehler-isms to myself: good for you, not for me.
For me, the end of any time frame is a good time to look back and reflect on how I can do better moving forward. Everyone likes to joke about how craptastic 2016 was since the universe basically collapsed after David Bowie peaced out. On a personal level, I think I could have done better — but as far as life + work experience goes, I wouldn’t trade my 2016 for anything; our successes come from our failures. I know it’s still early — like, we’re only five days in early — but 2017 has already proven that I’ve learned from last year, and that a healthy work/life balance is attainable. Yesterday, on top of finalizing some freelance work, I developed a new recipe, photographed it, went for a run, took a hot shower, painted my toe nails (what!), made my husband his favorite dish AND put a dent in the book I’m currently reading. Most of that probably sounds irrelevant and trivial, but it’s not. Self-care and “me time” is important — especially when you’re self-employed, don’t have set hours and are kind of a jerk boss to yourself. I didn’t give myself enough of a break last year and, as a result, I drained myself; I extinguished my own flame. Time management+ that hard-to-obtain work/life balance thing is everything.
Eating well does wonders for how you feel, that’s no secret. I hope more people I know, who continuously gripe about their bad eating, can rise into some positive habits. In my case, I enjoy healthy eats regularly, but this year I’d like to concentrate on planning better and wasting less. I have a real bad habit of getting over-excited about produce, buying all of it, and then never using it all in good time.
There are too many pretty vegetables, friends.
This salad eats like a meal, so it’s optimal for both lunch and dinner! The amount of toppings you use is also flexible, obviously, because it’s salad. If you want more of something, use more of that thing.
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Warm Roasted Squash Salad With Red Currants + Maple Tahini Dressing
- pieces Acorn Squash You will have leftovers, so you can have several of these salads throughout the week!, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-size
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 cups of baby spinach and arugula mixed or just baby spinach
- 1/4 cup microgreens
- 1 TBSP sliced or minced shallot
- 2 TBSP fresh red currants or pomegranate seeds
- 1 TBSP raw pepitas
- 1/4 tsp chia seeds
- 2 TBSP crumbled feta
Maple Tahini Dressing:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 2-4 TBSP hot water for thinning
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the cubed squash in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, maple syrup, chili powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Transfer the squash to a baking sheet and spread out evenly.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring with a spatula halfway through, until the squash is tender and golden brown.
- Remove and set aside.
Maple Tahini Dressing:
- Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and well mixed. Add water, bit by bit, until you reach the consistency you prefer.
- In a large bowl, toss the baby spinach and arugula, microgreens, shallot, red currants and pepitas.
- Top with 1 cup of warm roasted squash, some feta cheese, and then drizzle with Maple Tahini Dressing. If you have any leftover, place it in a sealed container and save for another salad that week.