Lemony Green Bean Salad with Crispy Shallots

I adore green bean casserole, very much, but that’s not the only place these lanky legumes have on the Thanksgiving table. I like to have some cool and crisp vegetables play a part in turkey day to offset the cream, meat, and carbs that tend to take center stage. This fresh green bean salad nods to it’s cream of mushroom laden cousin with crispy shallots but keeps it on the lighter side, simply topped with a fresh lemon vinaigrette.

The green beans themselves are barely cooked in boiling water so they are bright green and snap back at you when you eat them–because honestly, a smushed over-cooked green beans is the worst thing ever. Recipe is after the jump!

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Sunflower Sprout & Yam Salad + Doing It All

I don’t believe that balance truly exists. Wait–all you hyper-positive people, come back here. Don’t get me wrong, I try to achieve it every day because how amazing would it really be to do everything, every day, with equal effort and dedication? A balance between our responsibilities and tasks,  adorations, interests, and progression towards betterment. I try so hard to create an equal harmony between my quite full-time day job, creating meals that I love, writing about said creations, caring for my strength and well-being, giving the most loving attention toward my relationships, maintaining my energy to travel and explore, and the list goes on endlessly. Generally, I wake up daily at an ungodly early hour trying to not only do everything on my mental list but be the best at all those things, because damn it, it must be possible. 

But the truth is, it’s literally impossible to do it all. On the mornings that I make a creative and tasty breakfast, I go to work with my hair and outfit looking like shit. On the nights I work out after a long day of work, I eat a microwaved mucho-queso enchilada instead of cooking the beautiful groceries I bought on Sunday and had intended for glory. On days when I romantic day dream from dawn to dusk, I end up not sitting down to write and create (note: almost a month gap lately between posts.)  And then, what happens when I maybe have a family or a business?  And increased responsibility by the moment? That balance will be further and further away from a reality. 

There have been many days of frustration when I really don’t do all I had intended to. I won’t go as far as to say I had feelings of failure because that’s just dramatic and I’m NEVER dramatic but frustration, without a doubt. Over time though, I’ve realized that the fact that I wake up every day trying to do it all, is what provides me my version of balance and my continued sense of achievement. Someone I used to work for once admonished me for saying “I will always keep trying my absolute best to achieve success,” saying “If you only try, you will never DO, Abby”–what a crock! Sometimes you just can’t do it all but as long as you keep trying your damnedest to do all you can, life will be as balanced as it’ll ever be. 

I am absolutely in love with this salad creation and know you guys will adore it, also. Sprouts are so good for you–sprouted beans, nuts, grains, and seeds are high in fiber, protein, enzymes, and fatty acids. I found these particular sunflower sprouts at my local farmer’s market and they were just so lovely, I was inspired to make a dish that makes them the star. The raw sprouts are mixed with lemon basil and cucumbers then tossed in homemade Orange & Sesame Dressing then topped generously with roasted yams and avocado. I enjoyed it as yesterday’s Saturday lunch and felt full as can be but still somehow felt light as a feather. Pretty much the opposite of most every other minute of my life when I can be found shoving pasta into my mouth and am subsequently comatose–so, SEE, balance in all things. Recipe for this little salad babe is after the jump so, get at it.

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Roasted Rapini & Cauliflower Salad + Travels

It looks like a southern holiday for this lady. I am planning a trip back to my pretend homeland of Tennessee this December and I now have only 177 days to wait until I’m sitting in a chair at Arnold’s Country Kitchen (click here, please,) giggling and singing Merle Haggard to myself like a crazy person, while I eat the best plate of food ever. 

I spent most of last week in New York City for shows and fun and while I had a great time, it definitely erased any doubt in my mind that one day I might end up there. There was a time, after I moved home to Los Angeles after college, where I could barely watch a shot of NY skyline in some TV show without getting a bit misty-eyed. I often almost regretted and second-guessed my quick and unforeseen decision to leave NYC. After all, I was a kid, got overwhelmed, and wanted to go back home–so I did. Ever since then, trips back (over the past 10 years) would seemingly reinforce that somehow, I shouldn’t have left. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have a place for all the food and the New York feeling in my heart but this trip just felt different. My place there, long term, felt so distant when it used to be nestled right near my frontal lobe. Although, on second thought, the country western bar we went to each night we were there–where gorgeous men dance on the bar to my favorite songs, might cause me to move there tomorrow. But seriously, my tiny travel fund (that I somehow keep replenishing,) is for the time being, destined for places more southern. 

Today’s recipe features roasted cauliflower (I used a pretty purple variety) and rapini and is topped with avocado and served with a lemon and dill yogurt dressing. For those of you not familiar with rapini–it’s a dark and pleasantly bitter, leafy green that is a close cousin of broccoli rabe (which is in turnip family.) It’s delicious roasted (and NOT great raw!) and can be added anywhere where you otherwise would use other dark greens–kale, collard greens, or spinach. The dressing on this guy is served almost like a dip, rustically, in the center of the plate. Avocado is last but not least and is just awesome, like most avocados. You can toss a piece of grilled chicken on the plate but there’s really no need–feel free to disagree. Okay, I’m done chattering–click through below the pretty picture for the recipe. 

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