Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Salad

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Salad

Hey nonny nonny and a ho ho ho, did everyone have a happy holiday?

I’m still over on the east coast, hanging out with my mom, cooking and eating and relaxing, and running at an old park that I totally undervalued when I lived here.

In other news, I realize that I have a genetic compulsion to feed other people. The first words that my grandma would say to me upon arrival on her doorstep were invariable: “did they feed you on the plane?” Why yes, the attendant tucked a napkin into my collar before spooning me some apple sauce.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Salad

And the first thing that happens when we get to my mom’s house is being showered with cookies (and thankfully beer/wine). Food is love, food is a greeting, food is manners, food is the reason for family gathering.

Jason, on the other hand, grew up in a mild Midwestern home, where the purpose of food was bodily nourishment. Potatoes, sour cream, tinned broccoli and beans.  Food is tidily stored in the cupboard and dilly dip is the prelude to dinner. You don’t spend all day in the kitchen, the opposite of my family’s norms. Cook and clean and then repeat.  Snack were a pastime, and as the kids (i’m one of the kids) got older, wine was added to the mix. When you grow up like this, you eventually train yourself to work around the rolling feast, pass by it without swallowing each crumb. Well, sometimes. My willpower isn’t always as willful as I’d like. And Jason hasn’t had any conditioning to the constant food environment, so when my mom waves muffins and bacon his way, he won’t pass on them.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Salad

What we both needed was a healthier way around the comfort meals. Like most people, I adore comfort food, but I also wish it was lighter and more nourishing. Luckily, mom mom likes greens as much as she likes cookies, so there was no fuss or objection to this alteration. Tomato soup and grilled cheeses became the addendum to the meal instead of the centerpiece. The flavors are still present, but warmly served atop greens.  Filling, but still room for the Christmas cookies that might be still rolling around.


Yield: 2-4


    for the dressing
  • 3.5 tbsp herby tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup loose packed basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • for the salad
  • 3 big handfuls of dark greens (I used kale, then wilted it)
  • 2 oz peppered goat cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • one small handful each of:
  • arugula
  • watercress greens
  • grape tomatoes
  • blackberries
  • parsley
  • toasted pecans
  • for the sandwiches
  • 2 slices gluten free bread
  • sharp cheddar
  • olive oil or butter


    for the dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Dressing will be thick and creamy. A small pour imparts a great deal of flavor, which means you can avoid the soggy, overdressed vinegary salad.
  2. for the salad
  3. Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined
  4. for the sandwiches
  5. I find that gluten-free bread is often firm and hearty. It's easy to slice in half to form two thinner slices (aka slice along the crust). The thinner slices soak of cheese better and get toastier faster. They taste like cheese straws when cooked this way. Skillet -toast the sandwiches until gooey and brown, then cut into triangles and place over the salad like big croutons. One or two sandwiches is plenty.


4 side portions, or 2 main portions

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Salad

P.S. the title of this post reminds me of this




Persimmon-Potato Salad

plus Volume II of Cookies and Coffee with Friends (aka this week’s recipe roundup)

I wasn’t going to post today, on account of finals and everything. But I just needed a freakin’ study break, and it was either this or re-read I am Charlotte Simmons for the millionth time.  I’d already gone for my run, but I don’t think that counts as a study break because running helps me study. So this is actually my first study break (haha). Okay. My first productive study break.

(reader silently judges Annie for procrastinating) This post will be short, because, like I said, it’s just a study break. I also wanted to talk about a few things I loved around the web this week.

Carla made this craveable onion dip. I’m so fond(ue) of dips, and this one is such a star. Like, if you’d brought this to a holiday party, everybody would be stalkin’ you all night for the recipe.

Peabody made this cute little fudge. Since I live in the Midwest now, I guess I’m obliged to call it pop fudge, but it’s actually coke float fudge. Cool!

Cheese. Jalapenos. Need I say more? Click on over to see what Holly cooked up.

I already have a buckeye recipe that I love, but I’m sure that nobody around here (ahem, Jason) would object if I tried this one out.  4 Ingredient Protein Buckeyes.

I know this is weird, but sometimes my favorite part of soup is the broth. I’m not sure why that is. Anyways, when I saw this soup and it’s shining broth, my mouth literally watered. Secret Ingredient Superfood Veggie Soup.

Hannah’s Brown Betty. This post rang so true with my own life, but I also loved it because she talked about making something out of nothing. That reminded me of the Boxcar children books I used to read as I kid.

Okay, time’s a wastin’ and I have to get back to Quizlet. Onto the recipe!


I made the potatoes using the same method as the quick-roasted Brussels sprouts. A quick zap in the microwave, followed by a toast under the broiler. I adore salads with contrasting flavors and textures, and this is pretty much that. You’ve got nutty roasted potatoes, sweet-tart persimmons (though you can use pears or apples if you don’t like persimmons), a bright lemony yogurt sauce, and crisp lettuce middles. I sounds complicated, but it all comes together rather quickly.

I’m not ever going to post an official recipe card for it, it’s that easy.

You’ll need:

  • 1 huge lemon
  • 2 tbsp tahini, well stirred
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • several huge crunchy romaine leaves
  • 1 hard persimmon (riper ones don’t work as well for this recipe….if you can’t find a hard one, use an apple or pear)
  • 1 medium white potato, scrubbed and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (you can also use your fave vegan yogurt if you don’t do dairy)
  • coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Turn on the broiler. While it’s heating, prepare your yogurt sauce. Zest the lemon, and then combine 1 scant tsp zest with the yogurt, along with 2 tsp lemon juice and plenty of pepper and salt.  You’ll still have lemon juice left over, so don’t chuck your lemon.

Microwave the potato wedges for 4 minutes. While they’re cooking, make your tahnini coating: combine the tahini with 1 tsp lemon juice and the cider vinegar. When the potato is out of the microwave, spread the tahini paste on the cut sides of the potato wedges. Sprinkle some salt on and broil for 2.5 – 3 minutes. Start checking for done-ness at the 2 minute mark.

Slice the persimmon.  Toss the romaine, persimmon, yogurt sauce, and potatoes together. Dress with an additional sprinkle of lemon juice. Enjoy.












Wassail Kale Salad

wassail kale salad

Let’s all go a-wassailing among the kale so green 🎶

Oh gawd, Annie is a total dork. Is she singing carols about kale? Nerd.

I won’t contest the nerd/dork point, but the carols I make up to annoy my husband aren’t blog appropriate, okay?  💨 💨 💨 So we’re gonna holler a little kale jingle instead. The dressing was based off a traditional wassail recipe, and because of that, it truly makes the salad sing.

Wassail Kale Salad

I know that fall produce kale salads are done a lot, but that’s because they’re wonderful. Besides, this is a warm kale salad, my favorite kind, drizzled with toasty spice citrus flavors that invoke joy. Thick socks and a good book by the fire. A trot outside on a crisp day. A smile from an old friend. This. This is what those carolers were carrying on about.

Or maybe they just wanted to party. Wassail is pretty much all booze, and it you were going from door to door, you’re gonna get plastered. Which is funny, cause what about that line about being “the little children you’ve seen before?” Maybe they had a kid wassail bowl and a grown up bowl. On the other hand, it’s been well documented that kids regularly drank weak booze, as it was safer than other options.

There’s no booze in this dressing, just some fresh squeezed juice and a handful of walnuts and some classic spices. Even though it’s an ugly muddy color (and my weak photo skills don’t do it any favors), I’m so in love with this dressing that I’m going to start making it year round. Why wait to the end of the year to celebrate, when you can do it every day?

Wassail Kale Salad


Wassail Kale Salad

Yield: 2 main salads, or 4 side salads


    for the salad
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 5 cups packed kale
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • about 1/8th red onion, thinly sliced
  • olive oil and seasoned salt for roasting the squash
  • a little salt to taste
  • for the dressing
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Deep Red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves


    for the salad:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Peel and slice the squash. Brush a little olive oil on, sprinkle it with some seasoned salt, and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet
  3. Roast the squash 25-30 min, turning halfway through.
  4. When you notice the squash is almost done, start preparing your kale. Put the kale in a large pot over medium head and sprinkle in a little salt. Cover the pot and allow the kale to wilt, about 4 - 4.5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the kale won't stick to the bottom.
  5. Combine kale, squash, pomegranate, and onion.
  6. For the dressing
  7. Put the walnuts in a blender with the grapefruit juice and blend until you see an even consistency. This shouldn't take any more than 20 - 30 seconds or so.
  8. Add the vinegar, the sugar, and the spices to the grapefruit -nut blend. Stir well to combine.
  9. Put the dressing in a small pot and heat until just warm. Serve over the salad, with a little salt to taste. Enjoy!





Happy Salad

beet grapefruit avocado salad spicy fruit salad

There is so much about this salad that makes me happy.

It has beets. Awesome, awesome beets, which have been proven to improve athletic performance and recovery.

It as a creamy, sliced-just-as-it-was-ripe avocado.

Ok, the grapefruit I threw in because the two blood oranges I brought home from the store were kinda disappointing.

But best of all, it has my favorite salad dressing of all time. You probably can’t even call it a dressing. There’s no prep work. It’s just lemon, chili, and salt. It’s a super classic combination that goes well on just about ever fruit or veggie or root that you could ever pick.


I wanted some jicama for this too, but I’m kind of glad I couldn’t find any because this turned out so good just the way it is. I’m even glad that the blood oranges were bad because this grapefruit was bursting with flavor….you know how sometimes you can get the bland, disappointing ones? Not this. What’s even better is that I usually get bad photo luck on my day off and get stuck with a cloud cover. But the sky was bright and waiting for spring.

It’s probably kind of silly to get this happy about a salad, where would be be without the everyday little things that bring us joy? 

Happy Salad


  • 1 large beet, grated
  • 1 grapefruit, sectioned
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • chili pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pistachios


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

These wraps contain two of my favorite veggies ever.

I say a lot of things are my favorite, but it’s true! It’s also true that if you love everything, then you don’t love anything. Trust me, there are a lot of foods I can’t stand. I just don’t want to talk about them right now because I’d like to tell you about these instead.

That bright red filling is made of shredded Brussels sprouts and beets. I like to make a sort of hash out of them for dinner and scoop it up with flatbread. That’s rather messy, so I decided to roll them up into neat little packages. You can make several of these at once, which is good for a few days worth of salad lunches.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

The citrus dip is the easiest thing ever. Just throw everything in the blender and you’re done!   It’s not vegan, but can be easily made so.

There are so many things you can do with sprouts. Here’s a list of goodies for all you Brussels sprouts lovers.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Yield: 14-16 wraps, depending on leaf size

Serving Size: 1 wrap


    for the wraps
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb turnip greens (you won't use them all)
  • for the dipping sauce
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt to taste


  1. Shred the beets and the sprouts in your food processor. Work in batches if you must. (I had to).
  2. Coat a big sautee pan with non-stick spray, and bring to medium heat.
  3. Cook the beets & sprouts for about five minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Cook for 4 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle on the nutritional yeast.
  6. Let it cool a little bit and then sprinkle with salt to taste.
  7. Gently wash the turnip greens and pat them dry.
  8. Pick the fullest, greenest leaves. You'll need about 16. It's ok if they're different sizes. Just as long as they don't have any holes or brown spots, you're good.
  9. Place 1 - 2 tablespoons of the beet-sprout mix in the center of each leaf. Fold lengthwise then crosswise. For some of the bigger leaves, you might even be able to use 3 tbsp.
  10. for the mix
  11. Put the avocado, grapefruit juice, sesame oil, garlic clove, fish sauce, chili powder, and honey in a blender till well combined. Taste and add salt if desired.

inspired by Spinach Tiger 

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Mamabear’s Green Dressing

You know those days when absolutely nothing goes as planned? I’ve had about 5 of those in a row. Some were big things, some were little.

My mom was visiting. We don’t get along too well, but we’re working on it, and I love her deeply no matter what. She had to cut her visit short and that made me sad. The second she left I went to the kitchen to make this dressing. Eating my feelings, I guess.

This recipe is something I got from her. She loves salad. She doesn’t just eat it because she pigged out the day before, or because it’s healthy, but just because she loves it. When I go visit her, 75% of the meals she makes are salad.

Before she left, she filled up this little cup with flowers. Thanks, Mom.


Mamabear's Green Dressing


  • 1 cup of loosely packed basil
  • 3/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 avocado
  • at least 1 1/4 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • salt to taste


  1. Put everything in the blender. It will be very creamy. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add a little more orange juice. Serve over a bed of fresh greens.