All Hail Spandex + Recipe for Waldorf Salad

Waldorf boats

Well guys, it’s been about a week and a half since I’ve worn pants. No, no, I’m not traipsing around the house half naked, all “winter shminter!” with the heat cranked up (though our new shutters were installed this week so who’s to know if I am?!) No, what I mean is that these past few days I’ve been wearing leggings like a second skin, and that’s because I got tired of unzipping my jeans after every meal I ate. Oh, Holiday Season. You are the best worst thing.

Apples and Mint


Sliced and Cored

If you haven’t experienced it, I don’t think I can describe to you what meals at Christmastime in the Midwest are like. Truly, it’s breathtaking, by which I mean that you eat so much delicious food, it becomes difficult to breathe. At breakfast one morning at John’s parents’ house in Chicago, I loaded my plate with scrambled eggs, bacon, and a gooey, dense cinnamon bun. Yes, a cinnamon bun. This might not have been so bad had I not followed that up with a few gingersnaps for dessert. Who has dessert after breakfast? When breakfast already entailed a cinnamon bun? Now do you understand my situation re: leggings for the foreseeable future.

Best. Pecans. Ever.

I have started to believe, however, that there is something to be said for going whole hog at the holidays. Stuffing yourself day after day after day, you finally hit a tipping point. You begin to crave a detox. Not one of those starvation purges in which you leach out the “toxins” (total baloney), but one in which you eat regular old oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch, a big veggie-rific salad for dinner. In other words, you just crave normal food.

Thus, for all my fellow pants-less friends out there, here is a post-holiday recipe for you—a bright and crunchy Waldorf Salad that, personally, is just the thing I’ve been craving. It’s not a purge—there’s mayonnaise in it! But not much, and I assure you it’s a super healthy way to hit the reset button on your body as the season of endless partying at last draws to a close.

Red Onions. I’ve replaced the traditional walnuts here with toasted pecans, since my friend Mireille brought a bag of the freshest, most delicious ones I’ve ever tasted from Georgia. I’ve also subbed half the mayo for Greek yogurt, which adds a bit more healthfulness and tang, but no less creaminess. Because detoxes in this household are still creamy! And fun! —This Waldorf Salad is served in leaves of romaine lettuce, which, according to my husband, makes it look “like the salad is kayaking.”

Part of the charm of the holidays is that we know the revelry and gluttony can’t last forever. And it just so happens that neither can leggings. Yesterday, fate decided that my favorite pair of pedal pushers (oh, is that a dated term? whatever, I’m 30…) should snag on the seat of a wooden chair, and a hole would promptly begin to form in the butt. Oh well. Thus, the season of carefree lounging, sans pants, concludes not with a bang, but more quietly, with a small but growing rip.

Salad anyone?

Fait accompli.

Waldorf Salad with Pecans

Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown

2 Fuji apples
1 Red Delicious apple
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup light mayonnaise
½ cup 2% or fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
1 cup golden raisins
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 handful chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 red onion, or 1 small shallot, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Several inner leaves of romaine lettuce

Cut apples in half. With a melon baller, remove the seeds in the core. Chop apples into ½-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss apples with the cider vinegar. Add mayonnaise and yogurt, and stir to combine. Add curry powder. Fold in pecans, raisins, celery, mint, and red onion or shallot. Add salt and pepper, and adjust seasoning.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the “flavors to get to know one another.” (I don’t know who said that, but it has stuck.) To serve, arrange lettuce leaves on plate and fill each with a few spoonfuls of salad.

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