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I'm Just Cookin' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   

Stranger things have happened

Strange things have been happening around here.

A few weeks ago we had a potluck at church, and I had some foods at home I wanted to use up, so I researched some ways to throw them all together.

So off I am to church with my winter salad in hand, and I think some people were a little perplexed that I didn’t contribute some sort of decadent dessert.

Strange thing No. 1: Darci makes a salad.

Strange thing No. 2: Darci has actually been craving said salad in the weeks following said potluck.

Mark it down—Darci was craving salad! Among other things, of course, like chocolate and Girl Scout cookies and a really good frosted glazed donut with sprinkles on top. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a really good donut? Too long!

Anyway, back to salads.

Usually at my house, salad means bacon bits, sunflower seeds, croutons, turkey, chicken, carrots, more croutons and, oh, would you like a little lettuce with that?

So this winter salad strayed from the norm and made me feel super adventurous. Who knew baby spinach could be so exciting?!

I browsed Pinterest for some winter salads and combined several different ideas into a salad that sounded good to me. And I thought it turned out pretty tasty, too!

I used baby spinach and some other mixed greens, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, Halo oranges and walnuts mixed together with light raspberry vinaigrette.

The cool thing is that you can mix and match a variety of combinations to make something that you will like. I’ve listed some options for you below. You’ll just have to guestimate on the portions needed for each ingredient. (Then you’ll feel like a real chef, taste testing your foods and adding a pinch more of this and a dash more of that!)

Not to hurt the feelings of the other ingredients, but I think pomegranate seeds really make or break this salad. These ruby red gems are a great way to add a splash of color to salads, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

They might also add a splash of color to your kitchen cabinets, counters, floors, ceiling, you name it. If you’ve ever prepared a pomegranate, you know what I mean!

I know it can be a lot of work to get all of those seeds out, but boy is it worth it! And doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit exotic, like you could picture yourself with Tarzan in the jungle, carefully plucking out pomegranate seeds in your leopard print jungle outfit?

Anyway, back to pomegranates!

Pomegranates are available from late summer to early winter. The glistening red jewels inside the fruit are called arils and contain a delicious juice surrounding a little white crunchy seed.

I could eat those arils just like candy. And that’s a good thing! Pomegranates are a superfood, which means they are good for me! They are high in vitamin C and potassium, a great source of fiber and low in calories.

The juice is also high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidants.

So, I guess salads can, in fact, be delicious, beautiful, adventurous and healthy all at the same time. Stranger things have happened, I’m sure.

Winter Salad — Mix it up!

Baby spinach
Other mixed greens
Alfalfa sprouts


Feta cheese
Goat’s cheese
Parmesan cheese
Gruyere cheese

Raspberry vinaigrette
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Honey balsamic
Dijon honey vinaigrette
Greek yogurt dressing
Poppy seed dressing
Pomegranate vinaigrette

Pomegranate seeds
Clementine oranges
Dried fruits

Nuts & Other

Sliced red onion
Roasted sweet potatoes

Holyoke Enterprise February 20, 2014