Monday, April 8, 2013

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

I love dinner parties.  I love planning, preparing and throwing a great dinner party.  It brings me much joy.  Saturday night brought me joy.  Hubby and I had another couple over for dinner.  Originally I thought we would go formal and spend the evening in the dining room.  Plans changed and decided to have a cozy dinner in the kitchen at our new Pottery Barn kitchen dining set.  The fire place was burning in the adjacent family room with music piped in through the speakers – just perfect.  It was chilly outside, candle light glistening through the antique votives and a slight wind pounding against the two windows in the kitchen nook.

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I bet you are asking yourself – what was on the menu?  Typically I have the menu planned a few weeks in advance, but with crazy work weeks, I was a bit remiss in proactive planning.  None the less, I finalized the menu on Thursday and shopped after work on Friday.  We started with a Crostini that I will be sharing on this week’s Friday Night Bites series.  I know the anticipation is building.  Smile.  Our starter course was a Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad that was too die for and I am sharing with all of you today.  For the main event, we had a coffee and spice rubbed port tenderloin over sweet potato grits and a apple and red onion compote.  For the finale, we had handmade chocolate mousse that was the perfect ending to another successful dinner party.  I know when all of the plates are wiped clean, it was a success.

Facebook has become an integral part of day to day life for many.  From seeing what is going on with your friends to seeing world events unfold to keeping up with things you enjoy, it is a window to the world from your computer.  Every once in a while a post will make an impact and just last week, one of my friends posted an inspirational message that I felt compelled to share what I read in the post with all of you.  After doing a bit of research, I found out that it was written by Regina Brett from the Plain Dealer in Cleveland Ohio.  She had some challenges in life along with learning many lessons along the way and decided to share them with her readers.  It turns out to be her most requested column ever – 42 Lesson Life Taught Me:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
11. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
12. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...
14 Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
15. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
16. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
17. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
21. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
22. The most important sex organ is the brain.
23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
25. Always choose life.
26. Forgive but don’t forget.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
30. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..
31. Believe in miracles.
32. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
33. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
34. Your children get only one childhood.
35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.
39. The best is yet to come...
40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
41. Yield.
42. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

What are some of the life lessons you have learned?

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves 6

1 ½ Pound Brussels Sprout, trimmed and sliced thin
½ Red Onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 ½ Cup Mandarin Orange segments (tangerines or cuties)
¾ Cup Walnuts, rough chop and toasted
1 Cup Israeli Couscous, cooked and rinsed
1 Cup Ricotta Salata Cheese, crumbled
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
¼ Cup Port

In a small pan, add the dried cranberries and port.  Bring to a boil and quickly reduce temperature to low.  Let cook until port is absorbed.  Remove and let cool.

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

2 shallot, minced
4 garlic clove, minced
2 T. honey
2 t. Dijon mustard
6 T. champagne vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Pour and place all ingredients into a mason jar and shake well. Let sit at least one hour for flavors to develop.


  1. Beautiful salad, Lisa! Love the textures and colors, and that vinaigrette sounds so tasty!

  2. What a cosy way to spend a windy Saturday evening. This salad is Beautiful - love the idea of serving Brussels sprouts with Israeli couscous, and dried cranberries!

    Great life lessons! (Especially #19) :)
    My personal mantra has always been "This too shall pass."

  3. Yummy, this salad looks amazing with some fantastic flavors! Loved your 42 life lessons :-)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  4. Your salad sounds wonderful! I think it's so neat that you have people over a lot and fuss over them. I totally agree with that list and it pretty much sums up the things I've learned thus far in my life.

  5. This is an incredibly creative salad. It looks fantastic. I bet even brussels sprouts haters will love this.

  6. Wow, brussels sprouts have never looked so good.

  7. Lisa, what a fabulous sounding dinner you planned and executed. Who would have thought the humble brussels sprout could be elevated to such a delightful, beautiful place as in your salad!

  8. Love the look of this! It sounds super healthy and tasty!!

  9. I'm thinking 9 is spot on. Actually all of them are, what a great column. I was hoping your party went well, I don't know why I thought you were making a lemon dessert, must have been eggs I peeked at. I had company this weekend too and it was so nice to just hang out with them and of course eat some yummy food. I'm glad you had a good weekend, you've been working so hard. How is it April already? Hopefully we can get lunch or something soon.

  10. If I bring a good bottle of wine, can I pull up a chair and join you?


  11. We are growing brussels sprouts in our garden. Cant wait till we can harvest them and try this!

    Mr. & Mrs. P

  12. What a mix of colours! I am sure the taste is fantastic! It is a great salad for me and my sister next Sunday. Thanks.

  13. this looks so good and wow great list of advice for life

  14. Beautiful delicious salad Lisa! I already had dinner but am getting hungry again from reading your dinner party menu....Hope you're having a wonderful week ;-)

  15. What a fantastic and different salad! The Israeli couscous and mandarines well stand up to the definite taste of the Brussels . . . a great favourite of mine!!

  16. Nice life lessons! And dinner parties just stress me out. No, thank you. ;)

    The salad looks great, too!

  17. Hi Lisa,
    I hope you don't mind if I print your life lessons. I need to remind myself every day not to worry over little things.
    Number 9 it's my favorite lesson ;)

    great looking salad!

  18. I have never had a salad with shaved brussels sprouts before. I like the roasted, so I definitely need to try this!

  19. Everything on that list is worth nothing. I sometimes need to be reminded of some of them. Great salad, too!


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