Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nutty Grain & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cherries

What's been shakin' around here... Let's see...

It's been cold.  Did you know it's been cold?  We all remain skeptical of the cold.  I don't know how you folks up North do it...sunscreen and water bottles and sunhats and extensive knowledge of indoor play spaces I can do.  If it's 104 for the 16th day in a row and there are two cranky kids to entertain, I'm your gal.  But bundling those same two meatloaves up when the windchill is 17 degrees is an ass-whip, man. The baby doesn't even have shoes! {Because, yaknow, Texas!} And all of L's leggings and sweaters that I totally thought could power through another winter are capri pants and crop tops, respectively.  I'd say we've spent this first cold snap in legit Goof Troop Mode.  

We are getting Top Marks for funny hats and fleece and be-earred hoodies, though. 

I enjoyed a very cold, very fun, and very blurry evening out with friends last Sunday.  We had dinner at Cook Hall at the W {yum!} and saw The Black Keys {very different from The Black Eyed Peas, if you were wondering... there was a little, um, confusion as to who was on the marquee by one party who shall remain nameless.  thankfully, she wasn't too upset by the absence of Fergie-Ferg}. 

Great concert... made even better by great friends, the guy in front of us who randomly shared his popcorn wealth, and an excellent cover of Never Met a Girl Like You Before.  Good stuff. 

I had the brilliant idea to make clove oranges last week. I was carrying around some sort of false and misplaced nostalgia which convinced me this little project would be a fabulous mother-daughter craft.  Well apparently I've been suffering from a rare type of highly specific DIY dementia, as making clove oranges is (a) not at all toddler-friendly and (b) THE WORST EVER.  But because I'd gone to three separate stores hunting for whole cloves and we're not apt to eat big oranges, I finished those little finger-shredding fuckers myself and allowed them to dry in the fridge, where E claimed they scared the pants off him every time he went to grab a snack. Personally, I think the fact we have four jars of jalapenos taking up prime refrigerator real estate is scarier than any aromatic fruit decor, but what do I know. 

The pint-sized hellraisers are insanely glorious to the nostrils so I suppose all was not for naught. And now that my bathrooms are guest-ready {up to snuff - or sniff! - one might say} {har-har}, I can get serious about my Thanksgiving menu.  A family friend is bringing her sweet potatoes, but this recipe would surely be gracing my table otherwise.  A seriously delicious twist on a traditional holiday staple, this is a hit for celebrations great and small {I celebrated not selling my pre-threenager to the circus with it just last Tuesday!}.  It's a really excellent vegetarian / vegan offering to boot! 

Nutty Grain & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cherries
inspired by With Style & Grace

- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup farro {I used Trader Joe's 10 minute farro -- you need one that will cook in 10-15 minutes}
- 1.5 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly 
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 heaping tsp. cumin
- 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
- 1/2 cup toasted pecan bits 
- 1/2 T sea salt

In a medium saucepan, add quinoa, farro, and stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for around 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, then pour into salad bowl. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato, onion, and garlic together with a small glug of EVOO.  Cover a baking sheet with foil, spritz with EVOO, and spread potato mixture evenly {in a single layer} over sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes until soft, giving everything a flip with a spatula halfway through. 

Combine potatoes, cherries, pecans, and cumin in the salad bowl with the quinoa and farro.  Drizzle with about 1/2 T of EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt.  Toss to combine and serve warm. 

Serves 4-5, so you might double it if you're hosting a large holiday!


  1. That sounds really delicious. I love clove scented oranges, but have never made my own!

  2. Your humor just CRACKS me up! That bit about the clove oranges/jalapeno real estate space...great way to start a Monday.


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