I am dead-set on a holiday decor extravaganza at my house this year. I’ve got some sweet garlands, birch trunks, old hydrangea blooms sprayed with GOLD, the lights, lanterns, a boxwood wreath, lime green osage oranges, grapevines, spruce cuttings, pine cones, and some jute rope and pretty ribbon to finish it off all nice. That’s just the outside stuff. It’s kind of soothing clipping branches and jamming them into frozen boxes of dirt in the name of merry-making. It’s definitely frivolous, but in the moment it feels way too important. Also, having a hot drink in your snuggy gear after–that feels way important too.
I need the light-hearted distractions of twinkle lights, gold spray paint and bow-tying this time of year. It’s easy to make yourself feel trapped by all the things you absolutely have to accomplish within the span of one hectic month. Everyone is busy and everyone will tell you how busy they are at least 5 times in any given conversation. I am guilty of this. Yesterday I had to cook and photograph something and re-make another thing because the first thing was unusable in a previously outlined context (so specific, right?!). But I hung out with my mom, sipped some piping hot decaf (wuss-level), and strung up garlands on my porch in the morning instead. I still got all of my work done, but I went into it with a bit more warmth and energy once I got started.
I mean, I think work should be taken seriously. But busy-work is pretty much the worst and really? It’s the essence of holiday crazy-making. I never post a gift guide on here and generally advise people on just loving each other instead if they ask me about one. I feel anxious when I see things like that. I worry about the world sometimes, the direction of society, gorilla populations, and I tend to take things a bit seriously on a good day, but that pressure is real. It takes form in sometimes nonchalant ways, and I think we all feel it a little.
I said this last week, but it bears repeating: I’m really going for calm and overall wellness in this mad season of life. I’m fixing up really nourishing eats, making the house smell good, trying with might to focus my eyes away from screens, and making small improvements to my daily motions–all in good time. If I go into 2015 with a focused, intentional whisper instead of a bang, I’ll be happy.
On that nourishing eats tip, there’s this bowl of vegetables with caraway and fresh horseradish dressing. I do love a good and crunchy broccoli salad stashed away to mix with greens and a bit of avocado or something. The best ones always seem to have sweet and sour components. This one is filled out with just a bit of cooked quinoa–enough to cling to the lightly cooked florets. I quick-pickle some shallots and add some crisp sweet apples to the mix as well. The dressing is a bit spicy and sharp with the horseradish and lemon, but grounded with the earthy anise-flavour of caraway. I’ve been adding just a bit of flaxseed oil to all of my dressings lately. I like the nutty taste, but also those anti-inflammatory, polyunsaturated fatty acid vibes too.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American pals this week. Salad and hugs to you all :) xo
caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad recipe
print the recipe here!
notes: I steam the broccoli and cauliflower florets, but you could totally do this as a raw salad and bypass that extra step if you want. I use a bit of flax oil in the dressing (#foryourhealth), but straight olive oil all the way is just as well.
caraway + horseradish dressing ingredients:
2 tbsp grated fresh horseradish
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (+ extra for the salad)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flaxseed oil (or more olive oil)
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1-2 stalks of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 apple, small dice
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup marcona almonds, chopped
In a blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Check it for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.
Place the sliced shallots in a small bowl. Cover them with the 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the maple syrup. Let the mixture sit while you make the rest of the salad. You want the slices of shallot to be lightly softened.
In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1/2 cup of filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil over medium heat. Then lower to a simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Steam or boil the broccoli and cauliflower florets for 3-4 minutes or until slightly soft. Drain the florets and run cold water over them. Dry lightly with a paper towel and transfer to a larger serving bowl. To the bowl, add the cooked quinoa, diced apple, chopped dill, marcona almonds, and extra caraway seeds.
Drain the shallots and add them to the bowl as well. Add as much dressing as you like and a good amount of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.