Cranberry Avocado Salad and The Cafe’s 2012 Recap

2012 was a full year; fun, fast-paced and full of adventures; looking back, we have lots of fond memories along with grateful hearts for the many blessings the year included. However, the retrospection does shed a bit of light on why we’re still trying catch our breath! The year included lots of traveling to see loved ones, sweet times with family and friends, the arrival of a new baby, some really cool educational opportunities and a ton of new culinary inspirations that seemed to come from here, there and everywhere! I’m sharing a few highlights of the year in photos:

We began 2012 preparing for a trip to France which took place in February. We spent a dream-come-true week in the French Alps with our daughter and her family. The young folks had a blast downhill skiing while Papa & Grammy opted for miles upon miles of quiet white bliss on the cross country ski trails.
Spring comes early in the Carolinas and in March we planted an herb garden, in April Scott did a fun tutorial on “How to have endless herbs without endless watering“. It was very well received and was pinned and repined like crazy.
In May the big news was that we found out we were going to be having our first BOY grandchild. We celebrated with these fun Tiger Cupcakes.
June held a trip to London to see family. I spent a week hanging out with little Lilly while Mommy and Daddy took the bigger girls on an adventure. Lilly and I had a ball taking in the sights, playing in the parks and cooking together. I just happened to be there the week of the Queen’s Jubilee, celebrating her sixty years on the throne. It was a festive time for all of England.
The highlight of the summer was a trip to the South Carolina coast where we spent a week with the family just chilling out and soaking in the sun. We love to eat fresh, simple food at the beach and Grammy and her little sous chefs enjoyed coming up with a few fun treats.
In September we headed back to London, it was time for that baby boy to be born. We were delighted to celebrate Elle’s 5th birthday (a princess party with swirly-girly cupcakes) and the next day little Luke arrived. What a sweet baby he is!
So you’d think that we’d be ready to hunker down and relax a bit, right? Nope, in October we packed our bags again, this time for New York. I had the amazing opportunity to study French cooking at the Culinary Institute of America while Scott took a weekend workshop in Food Styling and Photography at the Institute of Culinary Education. Quite an exciting, mind-boggling experience, for sure!

As a fun closure for the year, I wanted to re-post a recipe that, at the time I created it, I had no idea would become the all-time, most beloved recipe of The Café.

Though I first shared this recipe in December of 2011, it seemed to ignite and spread like wildfire in 2012 with well over 200,000 page views and countless pins and re-pins! I can’t begin to tell you how many emails and comments I’ve received from readers who have gone crazy over this delightful salad.

If you haven’t tried it, I hope you enjoy this salad as much as others have. A friend made it for a special dinner recently and left this comment: “I made this for Christmas. I could drink the salad dressing”! The almonds have been called “addictive” and “difficult to save for the salad”. Once you make it yourself, you’ll “get it”! Check out the recipe here!

We’re so happy to have met (virtually) so many of you over the past year and look forward to sharing lots of Café creations, favorites and new surprises in 2013. Blessings and kind regards to each of you. Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support!

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