Broccoli Crunch Salad with Walnuts and Raisins

June 18, 2015
Broccoli Crunch Salad with Walnuts & Raisins - A crunchy broccoli salad that combines a variety of veggies, sweet raisins, dried cranberries, salty sunflower seeds, & a delicious dressing

Some days as I sit down to write, I think to myself

Need some #snack ideas that don't involve the ubiquitous almonds and apple and peanut butter? Eight inspiring ideas on @mindbodygreen including this coconut water with lime and rosemary - it's a #sugar craving killer too - link to article in bio. #foodcoachnyc #foodcoachla #vegan #paleo #eatyourselfbeautiful #iqs

Photo Credit: Instagram – @danajames

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“I’m not sure I have much to say today.”

The reality is, I do, but haven’t quite put it all together into a cohesive train of thought.  In those moments, I simply start to type.  At first, it’s short phrases, which flow into longer sentences, and pretty soon I’m able to make sense of what’s been swirling in my mind

So, please sit down, can I tell you what’s on my heart?  Would you like some coconut water with a splash of lime and a hint of rosemary?  (ps:  it’ll help with your sugar cravings too)

Today, the puppies and I took a road trip to Trader Joe’s for some summertime flowers.  On the highway, a woman searching for something on her iPod.  She was a bit all over the place, that is until she must have found the perfect song to carry her though, and I was finally able to


It was a reminder of the summer days he was sat in the passenger seat, iPod in hand. “Mom, can you name that tune?”

Broccoli Crunch Salad with Walnuts & Raisins - A variety of veggies, sweet raisins, dried cranberries, salty sunflower seeds and a delicious dressing

A season when life was light and easy.  We drove with the sunroof down, the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, the puppies always with us, barking at nothing in particular.  We’d talk of books, life, funny t-shirts, our favorite sandwiches, and dreams for the future

Today, alone in the car, I’d have given anything to have just a few minutes of that time back again

I think too of this past weekend; scanned photographs arrived in my inbox.  Black and whites of my grandparents from years gone by.  Smiling and happy.  Was my Grandfather really that handsome?

The thing is it’s easy to capture the best moments, write down our favorite memories, take pictures on sunny days.  We stash them away as treasures and think it’ll be fun to sift through them in a few years

What happens though when the memories don’t always make us smile?  What happens when some hurt our hearts?  When we grieve the loss of time, the what could have beens,  the what should have beens?

What happens when we pause and acknowledge all of our mistakes, the detours, missed turns, and unfiltered memories.  What then, do we make of the


For the past eight years, he’s floated into, and out of my life.  Into rehab, back home, into rehab, onto the street, into a place of his own, to the homeless shelter

Through it all I’ve come to realize, the world feeds us assumptions of what life’s standard trajectory should look like.  That there should be some sort of natural story arc involving more grey hairs and the need for a more potent face cream.

Included, of course, are aging parents, children, educations, deeper friendships, careers, and marriages that stand the test of time

Sometimes, these storylines simply aren’t meant to be

I wonder too if it’s fair to assume that the photos capturing all of life’s moments will be the only things yellowing, and not ourselves.  Certainly, we’re still the same.  Certainly, we live on.  It’s only the paper that ages

Isn’t that what we want to think?

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There’s a particular picture of me holding him when he was eighteen months old.  The kind of picture that’s long and narrow, taken in a photo booth twenty + years ago.  It’s one of my favorite photos (but truly, what was I thinking with that perm?) because it doesn’t hide the truth.

It’s not a choreographed moment in which I’m posing as a new parent beaming with joy.  It’s simply a mom and her son, whose eyes are smiling at the camera while I give him a kiss on his cheek, and we make funny faces for the camera

There was happiness, hope, and not a fear in the world.

I’m sure we went home and went for a walk with him in his stroller, or ate grilled cheese on white for lunch at the park.  I bet we even topped the evening off with an episode or two of


Broccoli Crunch Salad with Walnuts & Raisins - A variety of veggies, sweet raisins, dried cranberries, salty sunflower seeds and a delicious dressing

There are many ways we can choose to see the world.

We can look at the photos and realize we’re yellowing right alongside.  We can feel the age and the tone as if we’re wearing just as thin, and fraying slightly around the edges too.  We can see change as being out of our control and wish for anything to slow the hands of time

Or, maybe it’s time for a different filter

I think back to a conversation, not long ago.  By chance, the topic allowed me to share a bit about the effects of living with, and loving, an addict.  A gentle pause on the other end of the line

“I lived with someone who abused cocaine and stayed far longer than I ever should have.

But you know what?  Because of it, I did the work I needed to for myself, and am far better today than I’ve ever been”

“I understand.  I so profoundly understand.”

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Life has a funny way of marching on.  He’s again faded away; I’ve put my heart back together, said a prayer or three, and carried on.

Knowing it’s his story.  Knowing he wasn’t mine to being with.  Knowing I got to care for him for a little while, and my job was to give him back.

Knowing there will always be change, and yellowing photos, though I’ll never see them as something to fear.

Instead, a few rips and tears, waterspouts, and funny hairdos will all be seen as symbols of bravery.  A true reminder that I’m not the same person I was so long ago, and how far I’ve


Broccoli Crunch Salad with Walnuts & Raisins - A variety of veggies, sweet raisins, dried cranberries, salty sunflower seeds and a delicious dressing

This crunchy broccoli salad combines a variety of crunchy veggies, along with sweet raisins, dried cranberries, salty sunflower seeds, and a delicious creamy cider coleslaw dressing.

Whether enjoying it as a side, for dinner or a healthy lunch.  It’s really good



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~ Adapted from Whole Foods

Broccoli Salad with Walnuts and Raisins


  • Salad
  • 6 cups finely chopped broccoli florets and stems (about 2 medium broccoli crowns)
  • ½ cup celery, diced fine
  • ½ cup carrot, diced fine
  • ? cup red onion diced fine
  • ½ cup raisins (or currants)
  • ? cup dried cranberries
  • ? cup walnuts
  • ? cup toasted sunflower seed kernels

  • Dressing
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (Greek yogurt will also be great)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt


  • Dressing
  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bottle and shake to combine until the honey is completely dissolved.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Salad
  • Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour the dressing over, and stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, stirring once or twice.
  • Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Serves: 8
Nutrition + Show
Calories 215
Total Fat 11.3g
Carbohydrates 22.82g
Sugars 15.24g
Protein 3.93g
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  • Reply Barb June 26, 2015 at 12:12 am

    This hurts to read. Wounds left by a funeral, eulogies, “missing.” But God is good… always good. And He comforts and strengthens. You are so right when you say “I am not the same person I was…” True words.

    • Reply sexyveggie June 26, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Thank-you so very much Barb for your kind words .. Ali

  • Reply Kim July 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    beautifully written….

  • Reply Tiina A March 22, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Definitely my kind of salad! Broccoli is at them moment the vegetable that I always bring back home from the local food market. Haven’t yet made any salad of it so it’s time to give it ago!

  • Reply chichi March 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    i lost my grandma last month and since then i am stuck with the grief of not spending enough time with her and what could have been if she was here or what could i have done differently back then.

  • Reply Aprill March 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    This looks like a really unique salad. Thank you for sharing, it seems yummy!

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