No Apologizing Holiday Season – Culinary Mistakes and Beauchamp Orchard Salad

The holiday season is here, whether we like it or not. Many of us are entertaining (some of us, because we feel we have to) and we’re learning to get over the state of our homes (who has a perfect home?) and focus on the real reason for the season.

When it comes to preparing a meal for others, cooking and serving can be very intimidating and overwhelming.

The first thing we need to do is acknowledge that we are not perfect and that there will be mistakes.

Keep your mouth shut
My husband and I invited 3 other couples over for dinner. I had a delicious Beauchamp Orchard Salad in mind to serve to our guests, having made it once before (and loving the simplicity of it), and thinking “holiday,” I was planning to serve the fresh Honey Crisp apples with the skins on.

Bright red, cheery, festive, healthy, fresh – a beautiful holiday salad.

Thankful that my husband volunteered to make the salad, I went in to our bedroom to quickly get ready for our guests.

When I came out, the Honey Crisp apples had been peeled and sliced. Still the same flavor, just not the “red festive look” that I wanted.

In the past I would have said, you peeled the apples? Or even thought about the possibility of starting over with fresh apples (what a waste – all for color and impressing?)

I kept my mouth shut.

I’ve learned, over the years, to not be critical of “help in the kitchen” although I admit that I’m not perfect at this. I’m still tempted …

Be honest with yourself
When you can overcome your critical eye and be honest with yourself, accepting the truth that your home and courses will not be perfect, you give yourself permission to experience freedom.

And for sure I was not going to point out to my guests that the “holiday salad” that was supposed to have beautiful red slices of apple (now peeled and a dull-plain-apple) had been messed up.

Why would I do this?

Pointing out our culinary mistakes only puts the focus on the mistake itself, and makes our guests feel bad.

And we feel bad.

So I kept my mouth shut.

Let it go
Learn to enjoy the moment. Forget about the little things, like peeled apples. Think ahead to what colored food item you could add in its place, such as cranberries, dried fruit, or even a handful of frozen pomegranate seeds. Or simply move on. Or better yet, think about the great people coming to your home!

Fight against worrying about the little things that don’t really matter. Others won’t care.

I promise!

Do you tend to be critical when things around you are not perfect?

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Beauchamp Orchard Salad

From the cookbook, Where Women Cook! Celebrate! Get the Sweet and Spicy Pecan recipe, here.
Prep Time10 mins
Servings: 8


  • 2 large heads Romaine lettuce cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 apple Gala or Honeycrisp or pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 8-oz. tub of crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans recipe on RE Blog – Sweet and Spicy Pecans


  • Combine lettuce, cabbage, apple, and blue cheese in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together walnut oil, vinegar; shallot, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  • Pour over salad and toss to combine. Top with pecans.


REVIEW all 5 posts and fabulous recipes:

Day 1: The Purpose of the Home, Roasted Grapes & Fresh Rosemary
Day 2: Culinary Mistakes and Beauchamp Orchard Salad Get the Sweet and Spicy Pecan recipe, here.
Day 3: Learning to be Authentic and Pesto Baked Potatoes
Day 4: Don’t Plan for Perfection and Crusted Pepper Prime Rib
Day 5: Laugh at Your Mistakes with Holiday Poached Pears

Photos in this post by David Gibb Photography.

The 2 recipes are taken from Where Women Cook! Celebrate! book. Read more, here.

24 comments on “No Apologizing Holiday Season – Culinary Mistakes and Beauchamp Orchard Salad”

  1. Does anyone have a recommendation to replace the sweet & spicy pecans?  They look delicious but I won’t have time to make them.

  2. Do you think sesame oil would work as a replacement for the walnut oil in this dressing?

  3. Pingback: Holiday Menu with Sweet and Spicy Pecans | blog3

  4. It is a lesson every wife learns… When help is offered allow it to happen. I am a very tall woman and have to order my pants from specialty shops. My husband lovingly decided to assist with the laundry one weekend and dried a brand new pair of work pants… yes they were about 3″ too short… yes they cost a ton of $$$’s… but YES he was only trying to help. That was the weekend I learned this valuable lesson. He did learn though that he should never dry any of my pants.

  5. Pingback: A Spicy Perspective Holiday Waldorf Salad - A Spicy Perspective

  6. Pingback: No Apologizing - Don't Plan for Perfection & Crusted Pepper Prime Rib | Reluctant Entertainer

  7. Pingback: Holiday Entertaining Giveaway with KitchenAid, Harry & David, and More! | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  8. Loved this post! Just found you on Pinterest. Looking forward to making this, but really appreciate your advice. I would have totally thought about redoing the apples and you are so wise.
    Looking forward to reading more of your lovely blog!

    Happy holidays!


  9. I keep my mouth shut! It took years to learn this one, but it’s the best tip of all – nothing ruins a dinner quicker than words taken the wrong way. Wonderful tips for marriage and entertaining and I love the salad, too :)

  10. This salad was amazing. My daughter saw it and sent it to me. The pecans were to-die-for. Made one w/pears; made one w/apples – both were wonderful. Will definitely made this salad again – soon!

  11. Thank you for the beautiful recipe ….. and great advice. Your words were close to my heart as I read them and I will practice being quiet!

  12. Wow Sandy, the wisdom you show in the couple of suggestions you give is incredible – I love what you said about keeping your mouth shut… I think that could come off as harsh to some people, but it makes an amazing in life overall, especially relationships – awesome of you, kudos dear!

  13. Your salad looks delicious, as a guest I would not have known a thing!

  14. Great post Sandy! I don’t think I’ve ever really had a problem with being critical probably because I’ve never really been a perfectionist. The only time I might say something is if I know it might affect the taste adversely but that has rarely been the case.

  15. I have learned (gratefully from you) to never apologize to guests. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and had my share of YIKES moments, but have come to realize it doesn’t mean a thing. Being together at the table and enjoying your guests, making them feel welcome in your home, is my number one priority.

  16. Such a great post…people are more than likely not going to remember what you served but how the experience was while you are there! Blessings!!

  17. Wow, I am having a goose bumps: did you write it from looking at me?! :) Over the last few years I’ve been going through this transformation, and what an amazing results: my holidays or just everyday dinners became more joyful instead of stressful. You are so right: keeping my mouth shut and appreciating all help in my kitchen made celebrations fun. :)

  18. Oh my gosh your timing for a posting like this is so on point with us. This past week end our boys were home for the holiday with thier wives. So on Saturday we hosted a soup and bread open house for their friends to drop by and say hi, and visit, and eat. When it was time for the food to be served, we had put the rolls in the oven, set the timer….. but forgot to turn the oven on…..ooopss!!! I of course announced that when the timer went off we would start eating….. So as the hungry crowd gathered in the kitchen, it was being served buffet style, the timer went off and my wife opened the oven door to find the rolls not cooked and the oven not heated……. I just called out ooopss, false alarm we will need a few more minutes, we all laughed, and those who did not eat yeast rolls went ahead and started to eat. In the past we would have thought we had ruined the entire evening. Instead we all laughed, and in fact a few of our kids friends said we are so glad this happened because when ever we are here at your home, you two always have a beautiful table and great food!! I told them all if only they knew of the mishaps that have happened, that do happen; it is all in how we react to them.
    Blessings to all
    Curtis & Sherrie.

  19. Love this story, thats so me. I am trying to be less critical. I think we just speak how we feel without considering how it will sound to the person who has tried to help. I can tell that my husband can do one small thing, and boy lets bring on the ticker tape parade everyone!!!! Im always ready with the thunderstorm. LOL thanks for reminding me to be grateful. glenda

  20. Oh girl, I’m totally that person! What you said about apologizing for mistakes bringing attention to the mistake though? Never thought of it that way before, but it’s so true. I doubt anyone would even notice if I didn’t bring attention to it!

    I want to dive headfirst into that salad – I’m OBSESSED with huge salads filled with fruit!

  21. Oh my goodness, I hear myself in this post. I would say something like “You peeled the apples?” I have been really trying lately to be more cautious of those things, they really don’t matter and I’m sure the salad was amazing!

  22. My first thought when reading this post is that I would have re-sliced the apples if my husband had peeled them. Now, after thinking about your reflections on the moment, I think your “keeping your mouth shut” was perfect, Sandy! I will try very hard to keep my mouth shut in the future when helpers are in the kitchen! You are right- nothing is perfect, and pointing out flaws makes everyone feel bad, which is not how you want to feel when you are entertaining!

    The salad looks so delicious, and perfect for holiday entertaining!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *