Spinach Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Dried Cherries


Continuing the week of Thanksgiving ideas...

We are not big salad people.  I have nothing against it and I actually love a good salad, but I find it not so necessary for weeknight meals.  If I make a salad, it usually gets pushed aside when there are other things to eat like pasta.  However, here come the holidays and I found a perfect salad that would accompany hearty dishes.  It's a little bit special with pumpkin seeds and dried cherries, but still very easy and not many ingredients in the dressing. If you are starting to think about a Thanksgiving meal, this could be a perfect fancy, but not fussy salad for the big day.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

Spinach Salad with pumpkin seeds and dried cherries
Adapted from Food Everyday, Martha Stewart
Serves 4
Recipe Notes
There are a few options when it comes to dried cherries.  The only ones I have found that I don't like are the brand Sunshine that come in a yellow package.  Other than that, I have tried a lot of brands and I like them all.
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup raw pumpkins seeds
Step by Step
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread raw pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes, until seeds have puffed and lightly browned.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, olive oil until thickened and well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add spinach, red onion and cherries and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.


Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Apple Spice Cake

One of the biggest days for food is coming up... Thanksgiving.

Now most people have the same traditional meal every year with lots of family favorites, but just in case you need to spice it up this year, you need this cake.

I cannot believe that in over a year of writing at this lovely little location, that I have not shared this cake.  It's about as cozy and fallish as a cake can get.  Juicy bites of apple and crunchy nuts wrapped in a full-of-spice cake, drizzled with caramel sauce is about as dreamy as it gets on a cold day.

And I know pies are usually the star of Thanksgiving, but this cake would complement them well and be a little unexpected.

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 to 4 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 cup chopped assorted nuts, such as pecans and walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray with flour

Ingredients for Caramel Sauce
1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Step by Step

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs; mix on high speed until lemon yellow.
 With mixer on medium speed, gradually shake in dry ingredients until just incorporated.
Add apples and, if desired, nuts, to batter; mix to combine. Add vanilla, mixing until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes.
Remove from oven, and cool slightly on a wire rack.  Invert cake onto rack; turn cake right-side up to cool completely on rack.  
Before serving, make caramel sauce.  Combine caramel sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until sauce is well combined and thickened.
Drizzle each piece with caramel sauce and serve immediately.