a christmas recap and waldorf salad

Oh, wow. Christmas is over, just like that. We heard the kids whispering in the living room around 6:15 as they checked out with flashlights what Santa brought them. They let us rest a little longer, and finally rushed into our room to tell us that SANTA BROUGHT HULA HOOPS!! And PILLOW PETS!! HE REALLY CAME, HE DID, HE CAME! Just watching them, overflowing with excitement and joy, was the only gift I needed that morning.

Another unexpected gift on Christmas day was this:

Our first annual Christmas day family photo. My husband – smart man that he is – had the brilliant idea to take an annual photograph of everyone who came to our Christmas dinner. This is Year One of the annual Christmas photo. I can’t even describe how happy this photo makes me. I’m holding my 87-year old grandmother’s hand in this photo, the only grandparent I have left. She’s survived lymphoma, and she’ll tell you all about it if you give her a moment of your time. Also in the photo are my parents, my children, my husband’s parents, my sister-in-law and her family, and our babysitter, Nikki.

I just love that photo.

It was a good Christmas day. We did our meal in our typical fashion – potluck style, to make it a little easier on the host and to give each family the opportunity to make one of their special dishes. My father-in-law used to own a barbeque restaurant, and he kept the smoker when the restaurant closed its doors. He cooked and brought a smoked ham and some barbeque ribs that were simply delicious.

My dad made his famous mashed potatoes. My sister-in-law brought her grandmother’s amazing sweet potato casserole. I made the cornbread dressing, the pumpkin pies, a Meyer lemon cheesecake (post coming soon!), and the Waldorf salad.

My mother used to make Waldorf salad for our holiday meals, primarily the Thanksgiving meal, and then one year she stopped. I think it became too much of a hassle to chop all those apples, and I can’t blame her. It is sort of a pain in the rear. But, the salad was part of our holiday tradition, so I took over making the salad. Now I make it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one of the lighter dishes on our holiday menu, and we all appreciate having something a little healthier but full of flavor.

I’m not sure where I got this recipe from exactly, but I’ve modified it some over the years. I used to try to make it the day before, but it really doesn’t work as well that way. The dressing gets runny, the apples tend to get a little mealy. I sometimes add toasted, chopped walnuts, but I didn’t this year. I’ve added regular raisins, but I really like the golden raisins in the salad.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. I sure did.

Yield: Serves 10-12.

Waldorf Salad

For the apples in this salad, I usually use a few Granny Smith apples, a few yellow apples, and a few red apples (preferably Gala). The mixed variety of apples gives the salad a nice flavor and beautiful colors. Also, I usually use low-fat mayonnaise and nonfat Greek yogurt in the dressing. It makes for a light, refreshing fruit salad, and I never feel guilty about going back for seconds.


3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey
lemon zest from one lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
9 apples, mixed variety, cored and chopped into 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted (optional)


In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ground ginger. Stir in all fruits, except walnuts if you're using them. Cover and chill for at least one hour. Stir in walnuts just prior to serving.

Note: This salad is best made the same day you plan to serve it.

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13 Responses to “a christmas recap and waldorf salad”

  1. 1
    Liz the Chef — December 27, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    I haven’t had a Waldorf salad since I was growing up and my Mom used to make them for special occasions. Love your version and will try it soon!

  2. 2
    Baking Serendipity — December 27, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    I love your husband’s tradition! We do something similar on Christmas Eve in front of the tree and it’s always fun to set the timer and run to make it into the photograph! Your grandmother looks awesome! What a great Christmas day 🙂

  3. 3
    Barbara @ Vino Luci Style — December 27, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    I haven’t had a Waldorf salad for a very long time but am reminded of how much I like them and you’re right…they’re best if given just a bit of time meld but not too much. Craving that crispy, nutty combination even as I write.

    What a great tradition. As I beg from cousins to get some photos to me for a family section I’ve started on my site, I realize only too well how quickly those images get scattered and lost. How wonderful for you, your family and your readers that you are organizing so many family traditions of your own through this blog; now with an annual family photo!

  4. 4
    Gail — December 27, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    Cherish the photo. It’s beautiful.
    Love that you’re wearing flipflops while we wear mukluks.

  5. 5

    What a great Christmas tradition, and the photo is full of joy. Love those bare feet. When I was a kid I hated wearing shoes, now my daughter does the same.
    Enjoy the rest of this holiday season with your loved ones.

  6. 6
    Aggie — December 27, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    first off the family photo is priceless. I almost teared up seeing you holding your grandma’s hand. just precious.

    second, I’ve never made a waldorf salad! why?? it looks delicious!

  7. 7
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 27, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    I grew up with Waldorf Salad and still have very fond memories of the dish.

    Hope you had a very happy holiday!!!

  8. 8
    Nancy@acommunaltable — December 27, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

    Your husband is a very smart man… what a beautiful photo of your family!!!
    Waldorf Salad – great addition to the holiday table and I love the updated recipe!

  9. 9
    Katie @The Small Boston Kitchen — December 28, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    So fun! I love the picture of you and your family, I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  10. 10
    jasonphelps@yahoo.com — December 28, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    The christmas photo is a wonderful idea! My wife’s family is big and we have hosted them for many years now. Getting a photo is tough but with the tripod and the remote I can generally pull it off.

    Your post is inspiring me to pull together a bit about our Christmas celebration with them and showcase this year’s picture, something I hadn’t prepared in advance.

    I’m glad you andyour family had great times together. That is Christmas.


  11. 11
    Chris — December 28, 2010 @ 11:28 am

    You know I’m all about the BBQ so the ham and ribs would have been first on my plate, but the star of this post is the family picture. Excellent idea.

  12. 12
    Melanie Flinn — December 28, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

    Merry Christmas! I always love hearing about what other people eat during Christmas and their family traditions. It’s always nice to share the work, unfortunately I had to take care of everything this year. Exhausting!

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