Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Today I’m sharing details about entertaining and setting a holiday table, along with a Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing Recipe.

Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Yesterday I wrote about how we want our homes to be lived in, comfortable, yet beautiful during the holidays – a true extension and reflection of our inner personality. Last year we put up our tree but, with only white twinkly lights. I remember how busy I was, so I didn’t get the boxes of ornaments out. It was fine – no one cared, the lights were beautiful in the evening, and our home felt very lovely.

This past weekend I cooked prime rib for our guests, and we had a wonderful time with friends and family. Our nephew and niece brought their little boys, which worked out perfectly. We set up the television VCR (yes, VCR) upstairs and they were able to watch the movies that our kids grew up watching, like The Borrowers, Iron Giant, Toy Story, and Home Alone—classics. Our niece brought dessert, one couple appetizers and wine, the other couple a delicious salad—my favorite Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

Back-to-back entertaining.

Getting the house ready took very little time, since we had entertained 2 days prior. I truly love back-to-back entertaining. I used the same centerpiece for both dinner parties! I changed up the dishes a little, so the table was set in about 5 minutes.

Here are some tips to help with setting the table:

Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Setting the mood.

The style of your table décor depends largely on the season and the type of event you’re hosting. Because it’s the holidays, I wanted make the table special, and garnish with gusto by adding linen napkins, Winter’s Christmas Eve plates and China, a pretty centerpiece (greenery and pine cones) with lots of candles.

Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Choose a color.

The color scheme you choose as the backdrop to your dining experience will depend on the season and the dishes you plan to use. Always for a holiday-esque theme, the most common colors are red and green and silver. Once you know the main colors, add in the goblets, napkins, and other details. One thing of sentimental value was setting out the 8 red Fostoria water goblets from my friend, Hilda. Long story, but Hilda was one of my mom’s best friends and recently gave a lot of her entertaining items away. I was blessed with these beautiful goblets and will cherish them forever!

Create a centerpiece.

A centerpiece is the focal point of the table, but trust me, it does not need to be complex. A few branches and frosted pinecones, or greenery and lots of pinecones, are really all you need. Choose a colorful runner—I bought this one at our local Fred Meyer (Kroger) for only $7!

Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Relax & Refresh.

Before your guests arrive, light a few candles, get the playlist playing, and pour yourself a glass of wine. My husband and I try to sit down for a few minutes before the guests come. We’ve worked hard to create the perfect party for our friends and family, so it’s good to take a deep breath, relax, be refreshed, and wait in anticipation for the doorbell.
Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Menu served.

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels Appetizer
Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing (recipe below)
Prime Rib
Orange Sweet Potatoes
Asparagus
Bread (read the tips on how to get it crunchy on the outside)
My niece brought mousse, homemade cookies, and we drank Brandy with Eggnog! Perfect holiday treat!

Setting a Holiday Table and Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Keeping a good attitude, making sure I’m sticking with a plan, setting the table early, and knowing I have my recipes made, also helps me relax as a hostess.

Winter Cherry Walnut Green Salad.

My favorite holiday green salad, Winter Cherry Walnut Green Salad, is so easy to assemble, and to also keep the ingredients on hand for last-minute entertaining.

Start with fresh greens.

Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Add the feta cheese, onions, and cherries.

Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Do you know how to quickly toast walnuts?

How to Toast Walnuts

Cool the nuts and add to the salad, and make my all-time favorite poppy seed dressing! Oh, and feel free to keep the nuts in a separete bowl for those who aren’t “nut lovers.” :)

Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Of course you can substitute dried cranberries for the cherries, and mix up the nuts and cheese. It’s a standard beautiful salad that most people love. Oh, and the dressing is what makes it!

Now it’s your turn!

What holiday salad will you be serving this year?

Winter Green Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Yield: 8-10

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour freezing

Total Time: 10 minutes

Toast walnuts by placing on a paper towel and cooking in the microwave for 2 minutes, turning once. Cool before serving! You can substitute dried cranberries for the cherries. The dressing recipe makes enough for several salads.

Ingredients:

16 oz. fresh garden greens
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dried cherries (you can use cranberries)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Toast walnuts by placing on a paper towel and cooking in the microwave for 2 minutes, turning once. Cool before adding to the salad.

Place the greens in a large serving bowl. Next layer the feta cheese, chopped red onion, dried cherries, and cooled walnuts.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, sugar, lemon juice, poppy seeds, and salt. Mix well (or shake). Drizzle dressing over the salad (not all of it) according to taste.

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6 comments

  1. Oh my gosh! I love that walnut toasting trick. Must do that….what a time saver :)

  2. This salad looks great and I love that fact that the dressing has only lemon juice and no vinegar. I have a daughter who is allergic to yeast so vinegars are a problem. I think that this goes on the list for Christmas.

  3. I’ve never toasted nuts in the microwave, this might be my new secret ingredient! I always love your entertaining tips Sandy!

  4. I am blown away by your pictures, so pretty!

  5. This looks delicious, going to grab some walnuts now to toast. And, your table, beautiful as usual. Merry Christmas and blessing for an amazing new year (when I hope to finally meet up with you and Sheila from Eat2Gather).

  6. I made this for Christmas dinner at the in-laws and it was a big hit! Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

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