January 3, 2012

pear and pecan poppy seed salad

Woosh. I think I'm going through a little chocolate/gin/party withdrawal. I'm now back at little M's house for my last week in Canada. We've got some snow, so that's nice. Baby J is an early riser, which isn't that nice. He also owns quite a number of ridiculous talking/musical toys that wake me up a 7:00 am, leaving me with a feeling similar to a hangover. 

It's the beginning of a new year. I've sworn off booze and sweets for now, or just until I clean out my system. I don't even know what that means, it just sounds appropriate. Like cleaning out your closet. Appropriate, not fun.

The holidays were a success, minus my two pound weight gain. I was really hoping that I could keep things in check this year, but the food was just so good and plentiful. Lots of late night get-togethers, fatty foods, desserts, wine, cheese, snacks, and chocolate. My only form of physical activity was lifting the fork to my mouth. A couple of days ago I ran up a couple stairs and the smell of gin started seeping from my pores. But today I feel good. I've been cross country skiing a few times. Started drinking smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, water in between. I'm getting my health on.

This year's holidays were a total success. The annual Christmas Eve Martini Party was also a success, everyone left in one piece. Christmas day was joyous with lots and lots of gifts and good food. Boxing day with my immediate family was a blast. Baby J was a true entertainer. I can't really remember what it was like not having him around. I imagine we all sat around staring at each other. Now we sit around staring at him and his every move, just waiting for him to do something entertaining. He must think we're totally weird.

It's the new year, and we're eating salad. It's is a good start. The perfect salad for me is one that is colorful with an ideal balance of sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy, soft, light and hearty. Pears are delicious and plentiful this time of the year, so I had envisioned them pairing nicely with some dried cranberries, pecans, and avocado. I like to add a little crunch to my salad with either croutons, tortilla chips, or dried Ramen noodles. This time I thought I'd shake it up, so I added some crunchy pita chips.

There's nothing better than sitting down to deliciously healthy and hearty salad for lunch and feeling good about yourself. Although, there is also something to say about grabbing a wood-fired pizza, a bottle of wine, and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, but it's the new year and we've all got plans to get a little healthier.

(makes 4 medium salads)

Prep time: 10 - 15 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 firm avocado, diced (not too ripe)
1 pear, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled
2 cups pita chips, broken into small pieces

Dressing Ingredients
5 tbsp canola oil
5 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp liquid honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, grated
1 tsp poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a food processor, combine the canola oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, and shallot. Pulse until all ingredients are combined and the shallot is minced. Pour the dressing into a mason jar, or something similar, then add the poppy seeds and salt/pepper to taste. Shake the jar to mix the dressing, and then set to the side.

2. In a large bowl, add the chopped lettuce, diced avocado, diced pear, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss with your hands.

3. Top the salad with crumbled feta and pita chips.


  1. Yum! I love salads like this one!

  2. Hahaha "like cleaning your closet"...so true!

  3. This salad looks amazing. I have linked your post to my blog. You can check it out here. http://www.samanthaandersenphotography.com/2012/04/spring-fever-and-menu-plan.html. I appreciate the inspiration. I can't wait to make it.

  4. I found your blog through The Lovely Cupboard and am excited about your salad recipes. I don't like to cook (although I try to convince myself it's not too bad) but I love salads. I'm very excited to try this one!