Mixed Baby Greens with Maple Dressing, Cranberries and Apples

One time when I was in college, my apartment was selected to be the weekly "spotlight apartment" at a get-together that was held in the complex every Sunday evening. This meant that someone from the complex would interview us, find out some random facts, and share them at the get-together. Seeing that my roommates and I thought the get-togethers were pretty lame, and that the spotlights were even lamer, we made up some facts about ourselves that sounded interesting and thought we were pretty clever.

At least, we felt pretty clever until someone came up to me afterward all excited to ask how I had enjoyed my time at the Culinary Institute of America. 

And I had to explain to her that it was all a bad joke.

A really bad joke, apparently.

It turns out, people actually did listen to the lame spotlight, and after another person asked my roommate what it was like to meet Prince Harry in person (we had thought Harry was more believable than William, for some reason) we realized that making things up is even lamer than simply telling the truth in a dumb apartment spotlight. It's no fun to have to explain to people why you lied to them. 

That's the reason why I'm not going to share some elaborate story of kidnapping, international travel to remote areas without the internet, or even a coma to explain my long absence from posting here, though it is really tempting. The simple truth is, my husband and I are expecting our first baby at the beginning of June. And growing a baby seems to make my body very unhappy, at least for the first few months or so. I know some women manage to keep up with everything while they are pregnant, but I'm learning that am not one of those women. 

When I first found out we were expecting I had grand visions of how I'd somehow manage to keep posting and cooking even through any kind of nausea that might come. Then morning sickness hit, and all plans went out the window. I remember coming home sick from work the first day and calling my mom to complain that I had been tricked because "morning" sickness actually lasts all day. Then I made the error of watching Steel Magnolias during my hormonal state and ended up with a headache from crying to add to my nausea.

These days I'm feeling better in the illness department, and I'm gradually getting back on top of things. I've been starting to cook more (for which my husband is grateful after living on pizza rolls and grilled cheese sandwiches for months. Actually, come to think of it, he probably thought that was heaven.) Given that I wasn't just away from the kitchen, but the internet, too, I've been trying to catch up on reading my favorite food blogs now that mere pictures of food don't make me ill anymore. And the house has definitely been staying cleaner lately. I want to thank everyone who has been checking up on me while I was temporarily away. Seeing that this is our first baby, my husband and I weren't sure what the protocol was for telling people you're expecting. Or when it was safe to do it. Or who to tell first. So we just didn't tell anyone.

One sign that I knew I was feeling better after so many months of feeling sick was when I found myself craving salad for the first time. I've mentioned before on this site that green salad is possibly my favorite food (it's fighting with cookies for the number one spot) because it is so versatile and I love all the different flavors you can have in a single bite. It felt like an alien took over my body, then, when I was so sick that salads didn't remotely sound good (and when beefaroni did, of all things) so after my stomach started to calm down it was like being reunited with an old friend to be able to eat them again.

This salad is one I love in the winter because it is still reliably good in those months when fresh summer fruit and veggies seem so far away. The recipe is from a book of favorites from Vermont restaurants, and I love that the dressing uses real maple syrup. In my opinion, that alone should make it a keeper. The slightly sweet dressing with the tart apples, dried cranberries, goat cheese and toasted pecans is perfect as a side for soup or as a light lunch. (Or second lunch, as the case has been for my lately.) It's fast to prepare and requires very little chopping - always a win for me when it comes to salads.  

Mixed Baby Greens with Maple Dressing, Cranberries and Apples

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T maple syrup
Kosher salt
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into thin strips
1 T fresh lemon juice
8 cups mixed baby greens, lightly packed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1. Make the maple dressing: Whisk together the oil, garlic, vinegar and maple syrup until well combined. Add kosher salt to taste. (I usually need 3-4 generous pinches, tasting after each addition.)

2. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning.

3. In a large bowl, combine the baby greens, apples, cranberries and half the pecans. Toss the greens with maple dressing to taste and divide among serving dishes. Top each dish with remaining pecans and goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4-6

Recipe Source: Dishing Up Vermont by Tracey Medeiros

42 Click For Comments:

Congrats on the baby and welcome back! I love salads, too - no matter the time of year!

Nicole, what wonderful news!!!! Congratulations! I was worried about you since I hadn't seen posts for so long, but I'm so glad to know it was for such a good reason :) I'm also glad to hear your appetite is back, hehe. I hope you'll give us baby updates!

Congratulations on the baby!!  That's very exciting.  :)  I had a rough time during pregnancy, too, and took a VERY long hiatus.  Welcome back.

Congratulations Nicole!  I was really beginning to wonder about you and where you had gone...funny, I was just thinking about you this morning too!  How exciting for you though!  Welcome back!  may all the rough stuff be behind you now! 

Congratulations on the baby!  I was just like you when I was pregnant.  I'm a salad LOVER and the sight of lettuce or salad dressing when I was pregnant would send me running to the bathroom.  I hope your pregnancy only continues to get better and that we get to see more of your wonderful recipes!

Thank you, Amy! You wouldn't believe how much I missed you other bloggers. I've been thinking about you and how your engagement is going. I'm slowly getting caught up on my blog reading and it's fun seeing what everyone has been up to! Trust me, you'll get baby updates, but hopefully not so many that it gets annoying. :)

Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who needed some time off.

Thank you for thinking of me, Renee! I really missed interacting with other bloggers while I wasn't feeling so well. I'm excited to be inspired by you once again. I already found a brussels sprouts recipe on your site yesterday that I've got bookmarked to make in the near future.

Thank you, Alisha! I'm so glad you understand how weird it was not to enjoy salad. Salad! My former best friend. Now that I can eat them again I feel like I'm making up for lost time. :) Thanks for the congrats and I'm excited to explore more of your cute blog!

So happy you are back to posting!:) Now I will have new ideas for dinner again!

I too am so thrilled you're posting again! I'm a few weeks behind you. Does this mean I may actually crave a salad sometime soon? I didn't think it was possible! I think I've eaten three veggies in the past 14 weeks. :) This salad is similar to one of my favorites. Like you said, it gets me through those boring winter months when exciting summer fruits seem a million miles away. :)

Nicole, congratulations! I was secretly hoping that was the reason you weren't posting lately. And a baby is a much better reason than international travel or kidnapping, in my opinion. I always have a hard time breaking the news to people too, but luckily I have a husband who doesn't really do secrets, so I don't have to! I'm glad you're feeling better. I hope it continues to improve!

Yay, I was so happy when I saw a new post from you! Congratulations on the baby. I had thought maybe something bad happened, but this is great news and totally understandable. Here's to getting your appetite back!

I'm usually not a huge fan of salads, but that maple dressing sounds really good, especially with the apples and cranberries.

congrats nicole!! i'd wondered what was up...welcome back and your absence is totally understandable ;)

It's weird when your favorite foods suddenly sound good again. Although I have to say, I certainly ruined some by forcing myself to eat them when I was feeling the sickest. I'm glad I didn't even try to eat a salad at that point.

Oh, thank you! I thought you might have figured it out. I'm glad I'm not the only one at a loss for how to break the news to people. And, as you can imagine, I can't default to my husband in my case. :)

Hooray great news for you. I know some people don't like ginger,  if you do get some ginger chews. They might help. :) Having babies in wonderful. I love your salad too.

It's so good to see you back, my friend!  I had to do a double take when you popped up in my Google Reader!  Missed your posts tons and was definitely thinking about you.  Huge congratulations on the good news :)  

I've missed you and your amazing pics and recipes! Congrats on your pregnancy! How exciting!! :)

CONGRATS!!!!! So happy for you and SOOO happy you are back!

Congratulations! As I read your post I found myself nodding in agreement with you and saying "Oh, I know what she means!" I'm due in July, and "morning" sickness (why do they call it that, it's not true!) was ruining my blogging fun too. Here's to being back in the blogoshphere & in the kitchen!

Thank you! It's nice to be back and feeling more normal.

We must have a mutal maple love because I just bookmarked your maple applesauce yesterday. :)

Thanks, Natalie! I can't wait to get caught up on all that you've been cooking.

That really is good advice. My sweet mother-in-law found me some hard ginger candy that people said helped them with morning sickness and I would eat them on the bus or at work and they really seemed to help.  

Thanks, Tracey! I was just on your site today drooling over your eggnog cookies and gingerbread ice cream. (I'm into December in my read, can you tell?) I really missed being inspired by your recipes and beautiful pictures.

Thank you, Holly! We're pretty excited. I thought about keeping the gender a secret on the blog but I'm so excited about it that I'm sure I'll put it in a post in the near future. :)

Thanks, Ben! Now you don't have to worry about me as much. :)

Congrats to you, too! I'm glad you understand, although I have to say that you've done a much better job keeping up with the posting than I have. Everyone kept telling me that being really sick was a good sign, so here's to healthy babies!

That was my suspicion!! Congrats and glad to hear you are feeling better. This dressing looks awesome!

Nicole!!!! ... You're back!!!!!!  1st - I'm so glad you're back!  I was worried about you, but didn't really know how to check on you!  I was thrilled today to see a comment from you on my blog, and hopped on over here to 'see' you.  2nd - CONGRATULATIONS on the fabulous news!  What a wonderful thing to soon be welcoming a new life into this world.  Oh, such an exciting new adventure for you and your husband.  3rd - I have the "Dishing Up Vermont" cookbook, too ... it's a good one.  Welcome back to blogland!

Oh I'm so glad you're back.  I was worried, but now I'm just so happy.  Congratulations!  I too remember that blaw feeling.  Looking forward to hearing all about your precious gift.  Oh, and thanks for the maple dressing recipe.

Hi Nicole,
Such a colorful and yummy salad!

That's awesome that you have that cookbook, too. Isn't it good? I've got another recipe from there that I'll hopefully post soon. Thanks for the sweet welcome back.  

Congratulations!!  I was so worried about you - now I'm thrilled to see you and so happy about the news!  I wasn't blogging when I was pregnant, but I know I would have been far from productive with it during my first trimester.  Glad you're doing better.  

Wow! What a terrific recipe and your photo is absolutely stunning! 

It's snowing where I live and I was looking for a salad recipe I could make without running to the store. This one fit the bill perfectly. Love the lightly maple-y dressing. Will make again.

Glad you enjoyed it! We got snow in our area today, too. At least it made for a cozy baking day. Thanks for stopping by to let me know how it worked out for you!

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