Home Β» a paaar-tay in my mouth!

a paaar-tay in my mouth!

Last night we tried a new recipe from the cookbook The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without: Fennel with Almonds, Grapes, Olives, Dried Figs, and Cheese. That’s a mouthful…of yumminess.

I’m a fennel fan. But I’m not a fennel fan when it comes to price. I will DEFINITELY be making this dish again, but will likely replace the fennel with either arugula (adore) or cabbage (closer texture-match and bargain price).

Question: Have you ever tried fennel? Did you like it? Does it taste like a mild licorice-celery to you, too? 🙂

Fennel with Almonds, Grapes, Olives, Dried Figs, and Cheese from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without

2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) -or- arugula or cabbage
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half
15 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
6 dried figs, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard cheese, shaved


In a medium-sized bowl combine the fennel, grapes, olive, and figs.

Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice and toss until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Cover and refrigerate until serving (no longer than 1 hour). Sprinkle in the almonds and cheese before serving. Yield: 4 servings (approx. 1 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 343 calories; 19.8 g. fat; 354 mg. sodium; 41.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 6.8 g. protein

I really, really loved this salad. Each bite was a completely different burst of flavor between the salty kalamatas and the sweet figs and grapes and the savory lemon and olive oil dressing. Totally unique! And the nutrition stats? While slightly higher in calories than I had originally anticipated, the dish is packed with fiber (10 grams!!) and nearly all the fat is mono and polyunsaturated (the “good” ones). As well as a good source of protein. Win, win, win! 😀


So, I ran across the best “Periodic” table yesterday. As a nerd with a minor in chemistry, I thought this was clever…and practical! It wouldn’t show up well on my blog, but check it out. It tells you how long different condiments stay good for!

Question: How many days are leftovers “good” for? As in, how long after they’re made will you actually eat them?

I’m a 5-day kinda girl, max. My mom says like 10 days or something ridiculous. No wonder nearly nothing makes my stomach upset! I was raised on food borne illness! Just kidding, mommy 😉 xoxo


A huge THANK YOU for all of your wise words of encouragement on this 1/2 marathon business. I have decided…I AM IN!

I’m still thinking up my training plan which will have to coincide with my DO What You DON’T challenge goals of weights once a week and yoga/pilates once a week. I am not bowing out on that challenge for anything! Promise! But I think you all offered up some really great advice. The main reason I’ve veered away from racing is simply because beating my PR is not in the cards at this point in time. And anything less just seems…inferior to what I once was. Several of you said it, I’m really busy! I commit 110% to a lot and sometimes, there’s just not enough hours in the day to add anything more to the job-travel-wife-puppy mommy-writer-runner-hockey player plate!

But as I said yesterday, my focus is on overall well-being and fitness, not numbers. I am going to approach this 1/2 marathon as a time to challenge myself, yes…but to enjoy myself, as well. And if nothing else, a killer workout!

Off for my massage. Tracey’s post earlier this week talked me into treating myself to one. While it was a wonderful post, my arm never needs too much twisting when it comes to pampering 😉


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  1. April 9, 2010 / 6:07 am

    That salad looks delicious! I love fennel!

    And I’m totally loving your attitude about the half marathon. I think it’s awesome that you’re going for it, with a focus on health and fitness instead of numbers. Being self-competitive is fun sometimes, but it can also suck the joy out of things, in my opinion.

    Enjoy your MASSAGE! πŸ™‚

  2. April 9, 2010 / 6:40 am

    Thats sounds nice, i have tried it once and liked it too..

  3. April 9, 2010 / 6:46 am

    I love fennel…which is funny, because I hate licorice! Who is that cookbook by? It sounds great!

    • Nicole
      April 9, 2010 / 1:29 pm

      It is a great cookbook! It’s by Mollie Katzen. πŸ™‚

  4. April 9, 2010 / 7:07 am

    I’m a bit strange when it comes to fennel – I like it raw in a salad, but absolutely detest it dried in sausage and other foods. Weird, no?

    When it comes to leftovers, some foods just get better with age in the fridge, but I put the cap on 3-5 days or so. Even if the food is still edible, I’ve usually lost my appetite for it after that amount of time.

  5. April 9, 2010 / 7:10 am

    Good luck on the HM! If the food looks good I’ll eat the leftovers. Luckily I have an iron gut if anything ever has been bad πŸ™‚

  6. April 9, 2010 / 7:11 am

    I can’t believe I am admitting this but I don’t think I have ever tried fennel!!! If it is expensive AND tastes a bit like celery, I’m out. I just don’t really like celery, unless it has loads of PB on it πŸ™‚ That salad sounds wonderful. Mmm, kalamata olives are the best!

    Have a great weekend Nicole πŸ™‚

  7. April 9, 2010 / 7:55 am

    I love fennel and its slightly licorice taste. There’s a salad at a restaurant by my parents that uses fennel and it’s out of this world. It’s simple: ribbons of romaine, super thinly sliced/shaved fennel, shaved Parmesan cheese, ribbons of radicchio, and a lemon and oil dressing. I love bitterness and acid tastes, so this is perfect.

  8. April 9, 2010 / 8:28 am

    I LOVE fennel, so that salad sounds pretty delicious πŸ™‚ Good luck on the half-marathon training!

  9. April 9, 2010 / 8:40 am

    If it passes the smell test and there is no visible mold (or if there is, maybe it’s easily isolated) :). You know that bacteria in small doses only helps in the long run ;).

    Have a wonderful Friday!

    • Nicole
      April 9, 2010 / 9:05 am

      Old leftovers…Activia…same difference, right? πŸ˜‰ I’m glad I check my spam every day because your comments always end up in my spam!! πŸ™

      • April 10, 2010 / 1:31 pm

        Stupid spam πŸ˜‰ I’ll try a different email.

        • Nicole
          April 10, 2010 / 3:12 pm

          Still went to spam! πŸ™ Maybe because your IP address is foreign??

  10. April 9, 2010 / 8:55 am

    I don’t like fennel…ick!

    I am glad you are going to have fun with the 1/2 marathon! That is such a great attitude!! πŸ™‚ Love you girl!

  11. April 9, 2010 / 9:56 am

    Oh wow this looks delicious! I’ve never tried fennel but I’ve heard such great reviews and this salad is enough to make me want to hit up the grocery store as soon as possible! I love all the unique dishes you try!

    I’m so happy for you to be training for such a worthwhile challenge! You are such a role model of balance, pursuit of passion, and overall well being. Love you for that!

    • Nicole
      April 9, 2010 / 1:30 pm

      You’re too sweet…thank you!

  12. April 9, 2010 / 11:44 am

    You have a great attitude towards this 1/2 marathon and I’m so excited that you decided to do it!! πŸ™‚

  13. April 9, 2010 / 12:11 pm

    I love fennel, especially roasted – this salad looks incredible! Just look at all the gorgeous colors and textures! Great idea to fix it with cabbage, too!

    Congratulations on the half marathon decision! You rock, girl!!

    The periodic table is so cool! I didn’t know you were a chem minor – high five! I was a biochem major along with English – yay chemistry nerds! πŸ™‚

  14. April 9, 2010 / 12:11 pm

    P.S. I agree with you about the 5 day leftover rule… πŸ™‚

  15. April 9, 2010 / 12:28 pm

    If fennel tastes like licorice…I don’t think I’d like it. πŸ™

    Hmm…I guess with leftovers, I’m usually good with about 5-6 days. haha – my mom is the SAME way! She basically says it’s okay to eat ANYthing, like, weeks past the expiration date. Maybe that generation was more carefree or something. LOL

    I’m excited to see how your 1/2 goes!

    • Nicole
      April 9, 2010 / 1:32 pm

      That’s funny! I know my mom will refute that claim when she reads that, but it’s true! I was talking to her not that long ago when she was talking about finishing some leftovers from an event that was well over a week prior! She was like, “Sure, what’s wrong with that?” πŸ™‚

      Have a great weekend, hun!

  16. April 9, 2010 / 12:35 pm

    Hi Nicole, MSG does enhance the taste of the dish , but as its not favourable for kids, i use it very rarely….In this dish also i havent used it..

  17. April 9, 2010 / 1:00 pm

    Ive NEVER tried fennel but now I really want to!

    I’ll usually eat my leftovers up to a week later. Unless theres meat involved, then maybe 5.

  18. April 9, 2010 / 1:08 pm

    Good luck on your 1/2 Marathon! I can’t wait to follow your journey!

  19. April 9, 2010 / 1:11 pm

    Woo hoo what a good attitude to have with the half! You are such a busy girl hope it is a ton of fun for you.

    The salad sounds amazing and refreshing too. Fennel… I haven’t had it in a long time but know I enjoy the dried fennel. Might have to try it sometime.

  20. April 9, 2010 / 1:15 pm

    I am also not so much of a fennel fan…

    Good luck with the half marathon training – I’m training for a half marathon in June which I am feeling ill prepared for as well – hopefully we can keep each other motivated!

  21. April 9, 2010 / 1:22 pm

    Mmm – I think I would have loved that salad too πŸ˜€ I’ve never tried fennel, except for the dried, chopped kind. I’ve always wondered about it when I see it in stores though.
    Love the do what you don’t challenge, and I think it’s AWESOME you signed up for the half!!
    Have a great weekend, girl!

  22. April 9, 2010 / 1:36 pm

    I LOVE fennel, especially roasted mmmmm. I just wait for it to go on sale, or last year we got alot in our CSA basket, it is pretty easy to grow if you want to add it to your garden.
    Congrats on deciding to do the half marathon, I think you will be happy with the choice.
    As to leftovers 7 days is pushing it to me, I’ll eat something for about 6 days then the dogs get it…

  23. April 9, 2010 / 2:21 pm

    There are some funny people who don’t like fennel (boyfriend included). Sigh.. they’re totally missing out! πŸ˜‰
    Your dinner sounds great and seems to be a fantastic combination of flavours.

  24. April 9, 2010 / 2:24 pm

    I’ve fennel several different ways and just can’t stand it – yours looks good though!

    Hooray for the half! You can do it – um, I’ll be rooting from the sidelines though! πŸ˜€ Happy Friday!

  25. April 9, 2010 / 2:51 pm

    Good for you. Now that you’ve made up your mind, come up with a good balanced training AND life plan each week. It’s important to keep that balance with all things important to you otherwise you will get overwhelmed and stress out.

  26. April 9, 2010 / 3:07 pm

    I love that salad! All those flavors, textures and those amazing ingredients! I know I’ve had fennel, but I can’t say for sure that I know what it tastes like. But arugula and cabbage are some of my faves, so if you think they’d make good substitutes, I’m in! I love hearty and creative salads; this recipe sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your decision to do half-marathon! You go, Nicole! I know you can do it! And BTW, in my family growing up, leftovers were stretched for many, many days…! You are not alone πŸ™‚ Have a fantastic weekend!

  27. April 9, 2010 / 3:14 pm

    Hope you enjoyed your massage!! you deserve it!

    I use ground fennel a lot and fennel seeds. Haven’t used the whole vegetable but really want to. I’ll go shopping and make your recipe, you’ve just convinced me πŸ™‚

  28. April 9, 2010 / 4:12 pm

    I do one week for most plant based leftovers. But if it has meat, then 5 days max. and seafood, 3 days max. Actually I don’t really like reheating seafood at all. It never taste right.

  29. April 9, 2010 / 5:54 pm

    I LOVE that book! I’ve been trying different recipes from it and all have turned out really tasty. My favourite recipe so far is the pickled broccoli stems – it is a really creative way to transform the-not-so-tasty broccoli stalks into a delicious, refreshing side dish.

  30. April 9, 2010 / 10:14 pm

    yay!! Congrats on your decision to run the half marathon!! I am training for one but am FAR from registering for a race…simply because i guess i’m afraid I wont be able to make it. Bad excuse or what? You’re my spurt of inspiration Nicole! I’m gonna go look up some races now and see if I can manage to talk myself into signing up for one. πŸ™‚

    • Nicole
      April 9, 2010 / 10:25 pm

      Never doubt yourself! Once you register it’s “official” and it’ll be a huge rush! Happy race hunting πŸ™‚ Thanks for your sweet comment πŸ™‚

  31. April 9, 2010 / 10:53 pm

    Enjoy the massage. I once did a handout on food safety and leftovers. I did one for HIV/AIDS that was deivered with their meal delivery from the food bank where I did a community rotation. Then I also had a chart that I gave out to my renal transplant patients when I worked in a renal transplant office. 3-5 days depending on the food. Vegetarian dishes usually last longer, for the obvious reasons.

  32. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth)
    April 10, 2010 / 12:35 am

    omg that does look delicious!!! jealous of your massage πŸ™‚

  33. April 11, 2010 / 8:31 am

    I grew up eating fennel in everything being from an Italian family, so I am used to paying a higher price, but it’s just one of those things I splurge on!

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