Spinach Strawberry Salad

This is as close as Andrew’s Aunt Linda and I can get to Cafe Patachou’s (a Carmel, IN French bistro) salad by the same name.  Aunt Linda even begged the chef personally for the vinaigrette recipe, and was rewarded with at least the ingredients, if not in exact measurements.  We make it constantly in the summer.

For 4-5 servings:

1 package baby spinach leaves

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/2 (or less) red onion, sliced

1/2 C candied walnuts or pecans

1/4 C gorgonzola or feta cheese crumbles

1/2 C croutons


1/3 C olive oil

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

salt and pepper


-Slice onions to your preference: thin for less strong, thick for a stronger onion taste

-You can use feta, goat, gorgonzola or blue cheese here based on your affinity for blue cheese

-Definitely use (or make your own) candied nuts–it’s crucial!

-The dressing makes about a half-cup, which is more than you’ll need for this salad.  Refrigerate the rest and use again on your next salad!

Pumpkin Granola

I found this recipe online when I was searching for something to do with some leftover pumpkin puree that had been sitting in my fridge.  I played with the recipe I found at Two Peas and Their Pod and switched a couple amounts and ingredients around based on what I had on-hand at the time.  This was some of the best granola I’ve ever had–tasty enough to eat with plain yogurt!

Here’s what I did:


5 C rolled oats

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 C brown sugar

1/2 C pumpkin puree

1/4 C applesauce

1/4 C maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C each raisins, dried cranberries, chopped pecans and pepitas


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, salt, pecans and pepitas. Mix well.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla.  Pour over oat mixture and stir until combined.  Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet.

3.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from the oven and stir.  Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes or until granola is golden and crisp.  Remove from the oven and stir in dried fruit.


‘Made Over’ Pumpkin/Zucchini Bread

This my “re-make” of my mom’s interchangeable pumpkin/zucchini bread recipe.  I split the fat between butter and applesauce, decreased the amount of sugar and combined regular and whole-wheat flours.  You can sub in 3 cups shredded zucchini for the pumpkin if you’re making this in the summer.  Despite the healthful additions, the bread is still very flavorful and moist.  In fact, I think the pumpkin flavor comes through more with less sugar!

Holly’s Healthy Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Walnuts

1/3 C butter

1/3 C applesauce (no sugar added)

2 C sugar

4 eggs

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

2/3 C water

1.5 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1.75 C white whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp salt

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/3 C dried cranberries

1/3 C toasted walnuts, chopped

pumpkin seeds (optional)

Cream butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer.  Add applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, water and mix until blender.  Meanwhile, sift together the flours, baking soda and powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Add to wet ingredients and mix until just blended.  Fold in cranberries and walnuts.  Pour into two greased loaf pans.  Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.  Loaves are finished when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Nutritional information: 1/12th of a loaf

150 cal, 4.58g fat (1.92g sat), 42g chol., 173mg sodium, 15.66g carb., 2g fiber, 3.42g sugars, 5.55g protein