Autumn Harvest Salad

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Since our visit to Mapleside Farms, I haven’t been able to get that delicious autumn salad out of my mind. So, until we make it back out that way, I decided to make my own version of that amazing salad. Here’s what I came up with:

What you need:

  • Romaine lettuce (one head)
  • 2-3 small apples, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • Half of a 6-8 oz bag of radishes, diced
  • 2 small pears, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp cranberries
  • Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp walnuts (optional)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (optional)
  • Apple cider vinaigrette
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

What you do:

1. Start of by cleaning and chopping up the head of romaine lettuce.

1. Start of by cleaning and chopping up the head of organic romaine lettuce.

I bought a vibrant bag of organic radishes.

Next, wash up and chop your radishes. I bought a vibrant bag of organic radishes.

Next, wash up and dice your radishes.

I purchased some Ohio-grown apples from a local farmer’s market, along with a local-grown cucumbers, and Washington state pears.

Now gather up your apples, pears, and cucumber. Similarly clean and chop these up.

Now gather up your apples, pears, and cucumber. Similarly clean and chop these up.

All of your fruits and veggies looking good & diced up.

All of your fruits and veggies looking good & diced up.

For the dressing, I wanted to make an apple vinaigrette  using apple cider (which we really stocked up on this year). After poking around Pinterest for a little while, I found this recipe from Little B Cooks: Chronicles from a Vermont Foodie. I pretty much followed it exactly, only I used a little less olive oil because we were low. This dressing turned out delicious and was so easy to make with ingredients that I already had on hand.

Apple cider vinaigrette can be easily made with just a few ingredients.

Apple cider vinaigrette can be easily made with just a few ingredients.

This salad definitely needed some cheese. I crumbled up some blue cheese that I picked up at Trader Joe’s.

Finally, its time to grab up your ingredients up and put the salad together.

Finally, its time to grab up your ingredients up and put the salad together.

Once everything is plated and mixed, I added a dash of salt and pepper to taste and drizzled it with the apple cider vinaigrette. I did not include walnuts, as I am allergic to tree nuts (womp womp). I also didn’t include any hard boiled eggs on this one, but it is definitely an option. I decided to opt for cranberries, which really fit in with the autumn theme and brightened the plate up even more. This salad made about 4 servings or (in our case) 2 and a half ridiculously big dinner salads.

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Like many people, autumn is by far my favorite time of year.  Whether it’s taking photos of the leaves changing, cheering in the bleachers at a football game, or decorating for halloween, I just love getting into this season. Making autumn-inspired food is just another way I try to keep this season alive before the dreaded winter returns.

Hope you’re having a fun fall and indulging in some autumn-themed food and activities!

Mapleside Farms – The Perfect Sweetest Day

Mapleside Farms

The fall season is by far the best thing about living in the midwest. Autumn is absolutely gorgeous in Ohio and in some ways it almost seems to lessen the blow that the comes from knowing that winter is just around the corner. Not wanting the season to pass us by before the snow falls, we decided to get out there and do all the classic fun fall activities, like sipping on hot cider, going on hayrides, and walking through corn mazes. Needless to say, we were excited when we got to do these activities and more while visiting one beautiful local farm.

Pictured here is the lovely Mapleside Farms, located in Brunswick, Ohio. We decided to go there to celebrate Sweetest Day (think Valentine’s Day for Ohioans) and were delighted to discover that Mapleside Farms is an incredible place to pick out pumpkins, take a hay ride, enjoy some apple fritters, and even paintball evil zombies. Yes, they even have zombie paintball and after experiencing it, I now believe it should be a new form of therapy!

Arriving at Mapleside Farms around 5pm, we were anxious to roam about the area before our paintball session. We bought our paintball tickets in advance and weren’t scheduled to go until 9pm, so we had some time to really take it all in. We picked out our great pumpkins, purchased a few apple fritters from Corbo’s bakery (these were for breakfast the next day -us foodies are always thinking ahead!), and watched a gorgeous sunset as the sun cascaded down the valley and behind the autumn leaves.

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After taking in the breathtaking views of the valley, we decided to have dinner at the farm’s restaurant, The Orchard House. We started dinner off with some local seasonal brews from Great Lakes Brewing Company — Oktoberfest being one of my favorites this time of year. We had worked up an appetite from hauling our pumpkins up to our car and walking around the area, so we decided to splurge on a spinach artichoke dip. It was especially great to start off with something warm after being out in the crisp fall air for most of the evening.

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For dinner, I had a yummy autumn salad that included apples, blue cheese, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, and more. The best part was the dressing – apple cider vinaigrette! This salad was just delicious. My mister got the smokehouse cheeseburger, which I can tell he was happy about because he completely stopped talking as he scarfed the whole thing down.

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After dinner, we were ready to head back outside for our zombie paintball adventure. Once in the valley at the paintball location, we were loaded up onto a hayride. Each participant was seated on a bail of hay behind a paintball gun & we were all given instructions on how to shoot the zombies. The hayride takes off into the dark forest and every few minutes it stops at stations where people dressed in zombie attire come out from behind trees. As soon as we were given the okay, we fired away at those zombies!

Now I am by no means a violent person, but there was something incredibly cathartic about shooting those zombies. I think I surprised my mister by how great of an aim I had, hitting most of them on the head. At times it was really hard to keep shooting because we were laughing so hard. As soon as it was over, all we kept thinking about was going back again.

Once we were done, we walked back up through the valley still laughing about how fun and ridiculous the whole experience was. We soon realized that killing zombies works up an appetite, so we decided share a little nightcap (did I mention we’re foodies?). We spotted a little ice cream stand that boasted a supreme pumpkin ice cream sundae – we were in!  With graham cracker crust and whipped cream, this sundae really hit the spot.

Aside from the yummy food and hilarious paintballing, there really is so much to do at Mapleside Farms. I highly recommend going there if you’re in the area. I think it’s especially awesome in the fall, but there are things going on there all year round. The farm hosts tons of events, including live concerts and festivals. From a wine bar to a 70 ft jumping pillow for kids, Mapleside Farms truly has a little bit of something for everyone.

We seriously had such a great time and it really was the perfect Sweetest Day for us! I can see us making Mapleside Farms a regular tradition, as it seems like such a perfect place to create years of autumn memories.

In the weeks since our visit, fall has slowly been making its exit, giving way to even colder temps, bare trees, and threats of snow. Even though this fall is soon coming to a close, I think we’ll be reminiscing about our zombie paintball experience for months to come!

Hope you are also enjoying all this season has to offer!