Dec 01

Thanks for Bacon + Easy Cranberry Kale Salad

I spoke too soon.


I’ve often said I need a 5 second delay on my mouth.

This Thanksgiving I ate turkey, and I liked it.  My uncle brought the most deliciously moist (yeah, I said it) smoked turkey.  So partially I take back what I said about not liking Thanksgiving food.  I still passed on the green bean casserole and the stuffing.

First let’s back up.  I headed to my mom’s house on Thanksgiving morning to drive the family to my grandparents house in north GA for the festivities.  They said they were ready to go, but when I got there only the dog, Honey, was ready.



We finally did get on the road and made it the party without incident (I did have to swerve to miss a kitten in the middle of the road).

The good thing about being late everywhere is that everything is ready when you arrive.  We had quite the spread!  The turkey didn’t fit on the counter so it’s off to the side, along with a table this size filled with desserts.  I’m lucky my whole family likes food as much as I do!

Thanksgiving spread


After pre-gaming with cheese crackers, I stacked round 1 with my kale salad, turkey, mac ‘n cheese, sweet potato souffle, pumpkin beer bread (recipe coming!), and had a side of my grandmother’s turnips and ham and a glass of rosé wine I brought back from Napa.

Round 2 looked about the same, but with a deviled egg someone had forgotten in the fridge. ;)

Thanksgiving dinner


There was PLENTY of dessert too… I brought 4 different desserts, so I’m going to be sharing some fun sweet recipes just in time for Christmas.  Yes, I use Thanksgiving to test desserts for Christmas parties.

Today’s sweet treat is from Gabby’s recipe for a gluten-free Apple-Bacon Crisp.  I followed her recipe, but added a twist… where she sautes the apples in the bacon pan, I also added 2 tablespoons of whiskey.

Whiskey Bacon Apple Crisp


The whiskey I used, Balcones Baby Blue, was a smooth addition.  The blue corn whiskey from Texas  is one of my favorites with its slightly sweet vanilla-caramel taste and notes of candied citrus and baking spices.  My other modification was to use hazelnuts in the topping.  The rich taste played well with the coconut flour.

It.  Was.  Awesome.  I am thankful for Gabby and her #strangebutgood bacon idea.  I scooped it on to my dessert plate with glee.

Bacon Whiskey Apple Crisp

The leftover whiskey was great to have on hand for the weekend, too.  I went to the Tech-UGA game with my cousin and friends Kathleen and Matt.  We were all smiles at the tailgate and the first half of the game.

Then the second half happened, and we realized Tech is as bad at football as we feared.  It’s a good thing they’re smart.

Kathleen and Me Tech

Kathleen and I, pre-loss

Whiskey is a good wound heal-er. ;)


If you’re like me, you need a very short break from the heavy food, so today I’m also sharing the easiest kale salad you’ll ever have.  It’s simply dressed, and you can make it the night before.  It’s pretty marvelous.

This was my healthy contribution to Thanksgiving, but kale salads are also one of my favorite things to make during my weekly food prep.  Their hearty leaves only get more delicious as they soften in the dressing and the flavor soaks in.

Kale Cranberry Salad

This dressing is light, but doesn’t lack in flavor.  It is zesty and garlicky with a little heat on the end.  If you really like it hot, add red pepper flakes to the top.  I did. 


Cranberry Kale Salad

Cranberry Kale Salad

  • 2 medium bunches destemmed kale, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 handfuls dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste (omit if dairy-free)


In a mini food processor, process the garlic, lemon, oil, marjoram, pepper, and cayenne until smooth.  Taste and adjust flavors, if needed.

Pour the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the kale with your hands.  Allow to soften in fridge at least 30 mins, or overnight.

Just before serving, top with cranberries and cheese.


I’ve been craving greens after the brown fest that is Thanksgiving!

What was the best dish from your weekend?

Are you punctual, or are you the last to arrive?  I’m trying to get better… but it hasn’t taken yet.



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  1. Jan @ Sprouts n Squats

    Looks like it was an awesome spread!!

    That salad recipe sounds delicious :)

    I am usually pretty good about being on time and don’t like being late. My mum was always a stickler for being on time or better yet being early so I just have it ingrained in me. But with some things where I know everyone will be late I try and be more relaxed and come later too.

  2. Lisa

    Ohh this salad is so my jam! Except for the fact that kale has been giving me the heebie jeebies, since twice now I’ve found spiders in my kale. I guess it means it’s super fresh then, right;)
    Looks like you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! All the food looks awesome.

    1. Laura

      That’s exactly why I ALWAYS rinse even the pre-washed stuff. *shudder*

  3. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    Looks like a perfect T-Dayvspread! I am always extremely early for everything! But that comes from my mom! You will find either of us at least 30minutes early for anything :P

    1. Laura

      I definitely get my late-ness from my mom!

  4. Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl

    Apple Bacon Crisp with Whiskey. You rock! I need to try that.
    Salad sounds great too.
    When i was grocery shopping it was neat to see the abundance of pre-made kale salads available in the produce section.

  5. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Wait, Apple + Bacon + Whisky? Genius. I totally want to make that now. And your kale salad which looks amazing. Glad to hear that you had a great weekend (sorry about the Tech loss!). I used to arrive early but now I arrive late to things. It’s a bad habit and I’m trying to be better about it. I blame the children. haha.

    1. Laura

      Thanks!!! Gabby had a great idea there. I loved the coconut flour-based topping, too!

  6. lucie@swissfitchick

    Oh my Gosh, all that FOOD!!!! Seriously, I am SO jealous of your Thanksgivers!
    I am very punctual. I mean, I’m Swiss…..it’s just our mentality. Just as it is to be irritated when someone is late :-)

  7. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Give me greens! Nothing else sounds even remotely appetizing. Sorry about the loss but whiskey heals all. ;)

    1. Laura

      Yes, yest it does. ;)

  8. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Ugh, I am late to EVERRRRRRYTHING! I’ve started to get better over the last few months with work cough:since my boss said something to me:cough, but the weekends are another story! I tried out two new recipes for banana bread and pumpkin bread this weekend…they came out good, but still need some tweaking before they’re blog ready, but the star of the show was my boozy cranberry pomegranate sauce! My mom would NOT STOP raving about it at the table! She was cracking me up! I basically had to pry it out of her hands later and beg her to let me have just a little bit to take home so I could snap some pictures for the blog! Haha!

    I threw together a little kale salad for our mini-Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s on Thursday and I’m SO glad I did…besides turkey and dressing (which is my grandmother’s famous recipe and I would NEVER pass up), it was just a bunch of canned veggies and a HUGE pot of boxed mac & cheese…ick! The kale salad was definitely a life saver!

    1. Laura

      Hahaha – I’ve had the same thing happen to me at nearly every job I’ve ever had. Oops…

      Your cranberry sauce is on my stove right now. I did it with a rose wine. The bad thing is I’m headed to the airport in a sec… but I think it will freeze just fine.

      1. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

        I love you! I should TOTALLY make a bunch and freeze it too! Hope you have/had a safe trip! Oh and I know I owe you and Sarah an email…off to type it now!

  9. Miz

    Im so so early to everything.
    and everyone told me that would change with child.
    it has not ;_)
    she does NOT LOVE I AM EARLY FOR EVERYTHING as I drag her with me.

    1. Laura

      I don’t think it changed for my mom… she has always been late everywhere. At least I got it honestly! ;)

  10. Linz @ Itz Linz

    my mom’s stuffing was the best this weekend as always!! i’m ok on time.. meaning sometimes late lol but my hubs is REALLY early so we balance each other out (especially when he lies to me about the time so we purposely arrive on time haha)

  11. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I need to go check out that apple bacon crisp recipe immediately…that sounds amazing!
    And punctuality is the bane of my existence…some people are always early, and some are always late. I’m definitely the latter ;-)

    1. Laura

      YES! Knowing you, you would love it as much as I did. Let me know if you try it!

  12. lindsay

    next year, i really want to come to your house. No joke! can we make that happen?

    1. Laura

      Seriously. That would make my year. We could sit around, eat balls, drink wine, an be corny. ;)

  13. Jennifer F

    Wow, look at all that food! What a spread! My favorite dish was the turkey (super extra delish this year) and my Sweet Potato Skillet Stack with Sriracha Orange Sauce

    1. Laura

      Whoa… I need that sriracha orange sauce! I bet that would be amazing on pork for Christmas!

  14. Court Star @ StarSystemz

    Yum! I make a similar salad but never thought to refrigerate overnight, AMAZING idea and I bet 100 times more flavorful since Kale just SUCKS up flavor like non-other! Happy you spent your Thanksgiving enjoying major FOOD-gasm! My thanksgiving consisted of Peking Duck <–was GROSS :( Missed out on the turkey but next year I am making ONE large MARGE of a turkey FOR SURE! Love your way and I hope you have a terrific week! C

    1. Laura

      It will keep for 4-5 days! Kale is the best. :)

  15. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    I would have loved to do some dessert taste testing for you! My favorite is always the pumpkin pie.

  16. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I am overly punctual – as in early. However, my dear husband is not so somehow that ends up balancing it out to being on time ;-) That salad looks fantastic.

  17. Jody - Fit at 56

    What a party & food galore – love that you got to enjoy & after all your hard competition work – yes to that!!!

    Cracked me up with the dog in the car – so cute!!!!

    What a festive & healthy salad!!!! :)

    1. Laura

      Honey thinks she’s a person. And she’s the only punctual one in the family. ;)

  18. Davida @ The Healthy Maven

    One day I’ll accept the fact that it’s called “massaging” kale. And of course you added whiskey ;)

    1. Laura

      It cracks me up every time!

  19. Alex @ therunwithin

    I just can’t the title caught me and now apple bacon crips? drooling

    1. Laura

      I should have just put bacon on the salad! ;)

  20. Hannah

    Please stop teasing me with the pumpkin beer bread and post it already sheesh.

    1. Laura

      Bwhahaha! I have too many things to share!!! Next week, promise. :)

  21. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

    Sounds like you had a great weekend (minus the game). I LOVE Thanksgiving food…well, my version anyway. I can’t stand all the casseroles, so we don’t do that. Dressing is my favorite. YUM!

    I like ring on time and while I’m getting better at it, I could still use a little improvement…I’m trying. Oh, except for work! I’m never late for work!

    1. Laura

      I think I’d prefer our Thanksgiving food too! Casseroles are the WORST!

  22. RavieNomNoms

    I definitely need a break from the rich food, I had family in town for a week and oh my lawdy, my waist feels it haha

  23. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    Whiskey – what a lovely addition and why am I not surprised you thought of it.

    Yes to craving greens although I got my fix the day after Thanksgiving with a ginormous beet smoothie with kale, apples and ginger. It wasn’t because I over indulged either; I literally just ate a plate of carbs on Thanksgiving with a small side salad. I would have liked to have seen more greens on the table though.

    This dressing sound delicious and with cranberries and cheese topping the salad, I wouldn’t be able to resist; nor would I want to. Pass me a bowl please.

    1. Laura

      I went with a giant green smoothies too. Best recovery from an over-zealous carb-load. ;)

  24. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    I hope the dark part of the turkey was devoured! What an amazing looking feast- Apple bacon crisp? #strangebutgood is going to soon be termed ‘normal’ …geebuz.

    I tend to be on time usually- I used to be super neurotic about it growing up!

    1. Laura

      The entire turkey was devoured – I’m surprised the bones were even left. LOL!

  25. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Mmm…kale salad. I can always go for some kale!! I’m back on the clean eating wagon today and already feel so much better – good to be home & cooking again. :)

  26. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    That looks like a great spread for Thanksgiving girl! That kale salad sounds amazing right now after stuffing my face all weekend!

  27. Jess @ JessieBear

    APPLE BACON CRISP. Stahp. Sounds so gooooood.

  28. Maria @ Little Miss Cornucopia

    i love giving kale a massage! then the favor is returned via mouthgasm..bc i WUV my kale! Great recipe share btw!

    Thanksgiving with YOUR family sounds amaze! round one…round two..a swig of whiskey here, swerve to miss the cat there..and the dog was the only one who was ready?! omg, LOVE it :D

    1. Laura

      Writing about massaging kale cracks me up every time… but it is SO good!!!

      My family rivals the Griswolds. ;)

  29. Caitlin

    You added whiskey to the apple bacon thing. Oh. God.

    1. Laura

      Oh yes. Whiskey in all the things. ;)

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