Autumn Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette #Sponsored by @BrightFarms + GIVEAWAY

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign. I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I'm not quite sure how, or even when it happened, but somewhere along the way food became confusing. What was originally meant to be simple and nourishing has become a complicated mess of buzz words and fads that frequently leaves me scratching my head, wondering what ridiculous suggestion will come next.

In a world that constantly bombards us with "facts" about our health, it can be tough to weed through the information and figure out what is real. Yesterday eggs were bad, now they're good. We need to go gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free to be healthy. Eating more vegetables is never a bad idea, but what about the toxic pesticides? Organic is the only way to go, but with the rising cost of food who can afford it? Oh, don't forget, french fries will give you cancer. 

As if that wasn’t enough to make choosing a health lifestyle difficult, there are actually thousands of companies out there selling miracle "cures" to everything that ails you. There is even a vape pen that's meant to be used as an anti-snacking aide.  

Let's take a moment to chew on that one...

Feeding your family healthy meals shouldn't be so confusing. That is why you'll find the vast majority of our posts are dedicated to simple recipes using the best, often local, ingredients that you can afford. The recipes and posts on our site are styled in a way that encourages people of all skill levels to cook healthy meals.

Rather than get caught up in all of the marketing hype, our stance has always been to eat simple, seasonal foods as often as we can because food that hasn't travelled thousands of miles to reach your door always tastes better. The most important thing is to use the freshest ingredients possible, whether you shop at the local grocery store, grow your own food, or purchase it from a local farm or farmers' market.

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms, a local producer of salad greens, to shine a light on some of our favorite local products. Keep reading for a simple salad recipe made from fresh, local ingredients and while you're at it make sure to enter our giveaway for a $25 grocery gift card so you can purchase everything you need to make your own Autumn Harvest Salad.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Autumn Harvest Salad
 

with Apple Cider Vinaigrette



 

Ingredients


for the salad

BrightFarms Local Baby Greens Blend
SweeTango apple, thinly sliced
Shallot, thinly sliced
Pecan halves (see notes)
Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (see notes)

for the vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons light flavored oil (see notes)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple cider
½ teaspoon whole grain mustard with honey (see notes)
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
 

 

  • Prepare the vinaigrette: in a small glass bottle or mason jar combine oil, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice, whole grain mustard with honey, sea salt, and pepper. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • In a skillet cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan, then set aside to cool.
  • Combine local baby greens, apple, shallot, pecan halves, and crumbled bacon then toss with vinaigrette. Serve immediately, preferably with a huge hunk of crusty baguette slathered with salted butter.

 

Notes


The type of oil you choose for this recipe is very important. A more-strongly flavored oil will drowned out the flavors, which is why I recommend skipping the extra virgin olive oil. Instead try using a light-flavored olive oil, canola oil, or another neutral-flavored oil of your choice.

One important thing to note is that honey mustard and whole grain mustard with honey are not the same things. My preferred mustard comes Doux South, but feel free to substitute with one of your choosing. And, if you happen to be near Madison, WI come visit the only museum in the world dedicated to mustard: The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.

Schermer pecans can be purchased directly from their website, but you'll often seen them offered as part of a fundraiser. Mine came from the Missouri chapter of the Children of the American Revolution (thanks mom!)

I spend a lot of time traveling, so it shouldn't surprise you when I say that my go-to bacon changes depending on where I'm at. While in Wisconsin it's a delicious applewood smoked variety from Patrick Cudahy, located in Cudahy, WI. When I'm down South with my family my allegiance switches to Burger's Smokehouse from California, MO. I've been in love with their old-fashioned Applewood smoked bacon for years, but it isn't always easy to find where I live. They're both solid choices that originate in the mid-west, so if you see them in your local supermarket make sure to give them a try.
 

Giveaway

 

TERMS: This giveaway is sponsored by BrightFarms and will run through October 31st 2017 at 12PM EST. It is open to US readers only, void where prohibited by law. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, no purchase necessary. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Retail value of prize: $25.  Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. If no response is received within 72 hours the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. Winners: your contact information will be given to Abel Communications PR Firm so they can ship the prize to you, you can expect delivery in 4 - 6 weeks.

Disclosure


Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Sriracha Potato Salad

May weather can be unpredictable in Wisconsin. Our days are either cool and rainy, warm and sunny, or in the case of one year in recent memory, full of snow. Fortunately this year we've had absolutely beautiful weather, so I've decided to declare Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer.

As we always do, we kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a visit to Brat Fest, which is a uniquely Wisconsin thing—a festival dedicated to bratwurst. Now a festival dedicated to brats in and of itself is amazing, but what I really love is that it's staffed by some incredible volunteers. Instead of being paid to work the event their salary goes to support over 100 local charities. With over 3,200 volunteers working the event for a combined total of 16,495 hours they raise a significant amount of money to help ensure our local charities can continue giving back to our community throughout the year.

We spent a good part of the weekend gorging ourselves on brats, soaking up some much needed sunshine, and listening to live music—although sadly we missed out on seeing our favorite 80s cover band, Cherry Pie and Travis Tritt. Baring the slight snafu with security who decided my keysmart posed a security risk, yet couldn't explain why they considered a set of keys a weapon and wouldn't let me enter the festival, a good time was had by all. Just don't tell anyone that I hid behind a horse trailer and pocketed my contraband keys—that's a secret for you, me, and the rest of the internet—no one else ever has to know.

Sunday morning after we had consumed more brat cakes (brats wrapped with pancakes) than any one person should in a single sitting, we headed home to pack up the car so little man and I could head off for Oklahoma to visit family. We left the husband behind, with a fridge stocked with enough beer, brats, and sriracha potato salad to feed a small army—or a hungry husband for a day or two, possibly more if he decides to enjoy the time off and play video games instead of doing yard work.

Speaking of sriracha potato salad, if you happen to be looking for a summer side dish to shake things up, this is my suggestion—it's a huge hit with my friends and family. Although if spicy isn't your thing, you might give our Creamy Summer Coleslaw or Loaded Potato Salad a try instead, you really can't go wrong with any of these summer side dishes.

Sriracha Potato Salad | Not Starving Yet

Ingredients


3 pounds red potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon siraracha, or more to taste
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup celery, finely diced
black pepper

top with:

scallions
 

Directions

 

  • Peel potatoes, cut them into ½ inch cubes, then place them in a saucepan full of cold water. Add two tablespoons of kosher salt, then bring the water to a boil. Let the potatoes cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Keep in mind that larger chunks of potato will take longer to cook, so you may need to increase the cook-time a bit to compensate if your cubes are larger than ½ inch. 
  • Once the potatoes have cooked transfer them to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool. It's important that they cool completely before adding them to the dressing, if you add them while hot the dressing may separate and become oily.
  • In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, siraracha, and smoked paprika. Mix well, then add the cooled potatoes, celery, and black pepper.
  • Allow the potato salad to chill for at least three hours, or over night for the best results. Before serving add additional siraracha to taste and top with scallions.
     

Notes
 


This potato salad is tasty just the way it's written, but if you want to dress it up some try adding some hard boiled egg, Vidalia onion, or bacon. This is one time I'll encourage you to mess with perfection.

 

Russian Dressing

Several years ago during one of my many road trips, I stopped off at a deli for a Reuben and was completely blown away by the flavor packed into my sandwich. It was the best Reuben I'd ever had, miles ahead of anything that had previously crossed my lips and I've eaten a fair amount of Reubens in my time. It was a slow day in the shop so I spend a good 20 minutes talking with the owner trying to pin down what was so different about this particular sandwich. He proudly told me that what made his sandwich the best was the fact that everything was made from scratch in house except for the cheese which was locally made by a family friend. He went into great detail about the process of curing the corned beef, fermenting the sauerkraut, and how easy it was to make the dressing from scratch. During our talk you could tell that he enjoyed his craft and took enjoyment from the looks of ecstasy that crossed his customer's faces as they took their first bite.

From our conversation I took away several things, first of all I wanted to try to make my own corned beef some day and second, I was going to stop buying commercially prepared salad dressing. Before that conversation I never stopped to think about how easy it would be to make my own, I just picked up a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch whenever it was on sale and never gave it a second though. I'm pretty sure my love of convenience foods came to an end in the weeks following this conversation, as I realized what I had been missing out on. One of the first dressings I decided to tackle was Russian dressing, since as you can tell, I love a good Reuben and often make them at home. Not only is this dressing great on a Reuben, it's perfect on top of an ordinary salad to make it a little more interesting and it's a necessity for the Reuben salad recipe that I will be posting soon as part of our what to do with the leftover series.

RussianDressing.jpg

Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon dill pickle, minced
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 

Directions

  • In a bowl combine mayonnaise, ketchup, minced onion, horseradish, minced dill pickle, Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to combine.

Recipe Inspiration

Adapted from a Russian Dressing recipe from food.com