This past fall I was with a group of fantabulous blogging friends at the Better Blog Retreat in Deer Valley, UT. It’s a 3-day and night affair hosted by me and my friend Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod where we all brainstorm, share and inspire one another on how to improve our blogs, aka our businesses, and make them, well…better.
And given it’s a food blogging retreat, naturally we eat really, really well.
This Mexican-inspired kale salad was just one of the delicious bites we savored that weekend and is the salad we served when our guests arrived from their day of travel from all across the country.
It’s the perfect salad for exactly that, for those times when you’re not sure when it will be served, because the ingredients are all sturdy enough to hold until its time to dig in.
This salad is loaded with crunch thanks to sturdy kale (I prefer lacinato kale or as some call it dinosaur kale) in this salad. It’s pumped full of excellent health benefits including properties for lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer, and decreasing inflammation.
The crunch fest continues with pumpkin seeds aka pepitas and broccoli slaw I find already shredded at my local Smith’s Marketplace, and spicy slices of crunchy radishes sweetened up with dried cranberries.
As in all of my favorite salads, the crunch is offset by the creamy and that’s where you’ll find a creamy spiced ranch dressing, tangy queso cheese and roasted butternut squash to do the trick. I get my butternut squash prepped and diced from the same part of the produce aisle as my broccoli slaw.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 12 ounces diced butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups lacinato kale, stems and veins removed and chopped
- 2 cups shredded broccoli slaw
- 6 radishes, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup Fire Roasted Poblano Ranch Dressing
- 3 ounces cotija cheese
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
- Preheat an oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the butternut squash on it. Drizzle the squash with the olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat and then roast for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Set aside to cool.
- Add the kale, broccoli slaw, radishes, cranberries and pumpkin seeds to a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat, adding more to taste. Sprinkle with the cotija cheese and cilantro and serve.
Better Blog Retreat 2016
As the fire roared and the fall light hit the golden ambered hills of the Wasatch mountains literally steps outside our door, we spent our days hunkered down in our rented home’s ultra comfortable couches ready to deep dive into vulnerability. This is the time we share our highs and lows of what our work as bloggers entails, both professionally, and personally.
It’s my favorite part of the weekend. And thankfully, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, there were a lot of nodding heads and light bulb moments as we all realized we share the same challenges, and the rewards.
The weekend is always inspiring thanks to my fellow online entreprenuers who are navigating this online business model and the trials, tribulations and rewards that go along with it.
Here’s a recap of the retreat, but to see more check it all out on Instagram here.
We’ve found the key to the success of an intimate work getaway like this is to all be under one roof. So many conversations happen while making coffee in the morning, or sharing a bathroom while getting ready for the night’s festivities, or after hours while soaking away in the hot tub.
This years group of bloggers were wonderfully inspiring in their drive, determination and creativity. Meet them here: Jamielyn from I Heart Naptime, Liz from Floating Kitchen, Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen, Jessica from How Sweet It Is, Gina from Skinnytaste, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Jocelyn from GrandBaby Cakes, Laurie from Simply Scratch, me, Erin from Well Plated, Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, and Deborah from Taste and Tell.
We always start off the retreat with a welcome dinner. This year it was at Riverhorse On Main, a Park City favorite and the recipient of the Forbes Travel Guide four star award.
Yet even after lauding accolades and being one of the longest running restaurants in town, they still know how to add the personal touch and sent us all home with homemade Spicy Utah Peach Chutney. The Braised Buffalo Short Rib is a must try.
We started the next day of sessions with an amazing breakfast bar from our friends at General Mills. After learning about their goals to remove artificial flavors and colors from their cereals, we were shown just what they DO use to color and flavor our childhood favorites—spices, herbs, nuts, and vegetables for color.
Snack time is go-time ALL THE TIME when it comes to bloggers and Lorissa’s Kitchen knew the way to our hearts: Cheese boards! The samples of all the different pairings balanced perfectly with Lorissa’s Kitchen line of protein snacks and were an Instagram favorite. The Sweet Chili flavor is my fave.
Keeping with the eating theme, we were treated to lunch with Stacy’s Pita Chips. They’ve partnered with renowned chefs like Hugh Acheson to create recipes that are perfectly snackable, nutritious and make a great lunch with a variety of salads.
Who doesn’t love lunch that’s a bite of this and a nibble of that so you can sample it all?
After a whole day of brainstorming, sharing and inspiring, it was time for a break and what everybody craves in the afternoon: chocolate, more chocolate and boozy chocolate. Lindt created an amazing DIY bar to build our own hot chocolates with Lindt chocolate truffles, plus our own personalized cups to make them in.
It’s always in the details!
Nothing made happy hour happier than sharing sips of Seven Daughters wine while dinner was being made. And lucky for us, it wasn’t being made BY us!
To cap off the day and move us straight into evening, Kroger invited Chef Tony (who has private cheffed for celebs and dignitaries alike) from the local Smith’s Marketplace to wow us with a catered dinner made right in our kitchen. The stunning pumpkin creme brulee served in baby pumpkins were a huge Instagrammable moment.
Roasted eggplant, arugula salad, the most flavorful salmon with avocado corn relish and a butternut squash and broccoli rabe orichette everyone was arm wrestling for the rights to recreate the recipe for their blog.
Chef Tony, you can cook for me anytime.
The next day we holed ourselves up in our mountain home and really got down to business discussing our goals and aspirations for the coming year. But first, breakfast! And nobody does breakfast better than Deer Valley Grocery Café.
Of course, Deer Valley does everything right, including our final dinner at Deer Valley Resort’s Brass Tag featuring both small plates and regular entrées that are fresh, seasonal and absolutely delicious.
It was another amazing weekend, totally inspiring and set me up for an even better 2017 for the blog, for me and ultimately for you. Thank you foodiecrushers!
Thanks again to the following sponsors that made the retreat possible: Resorts West, General Mills, Lorissa’s Kitchen, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Lindt, Kroger, Smith’s, and Deer Valley Resort.
As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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