couscous salad with blue cheese and dried cranberries & the naptime chef cookbook giveaway

I’ve been a fan of Kelsey Banfield’s blog for quite a while. What sold me on her recipes was how approachable and accessible they are. The fact that she makes the prep and cook time fit into a busy family’s schedule is really icing on the cake. And, what sold me on Kelsey herself is that she’s a warm and beautiful person. The only downside to Kelsey is that she lives so far away from me.

Kelsey’s new book,The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life, has just hit the market. When her publisher, Running Press, offered to send me copy to review, I jumped at the chance. Not only do I have an unhealthy addiction to new cookbooks, but I adore Kelsey, and her book has been on my must-acquire list since I first learned she would be writing it.

The first recipe I tested was the recipe for herbs de provence popovers. I’ve never made popovers before, and I loved that the recipe didn’t require me to go out and buy a special pan to make them in.

Popovers are a beautiful thing, really. The billowy tops almost beg to have a finger poked in them, but I resisted. The popovers were loaded with herbs de provence, and the savory aroma that filled the house as they baked was intoxicating.

For lunch one day, I tried the recipe for couscous salad with blue cheese and dried cranberries. I’m trying to take my lunch to work more often, and these are the kinds of salads I look for. Couscous is simple to prepare, and with the addition of a light vinaigrette and the sweet and salty add-ins of pecans, blue cheese, and dried cranberries, this is one beautiful salad. It can be made ahead, perfect for that dreaded Sunday night weekday-lunch-prep-time.

The Naptime Chef is an empowering cookbook for parents, especially new parents who are struggling to find a way to eat well while working around a little one’s schedule. In fact, this is a great book to give to a new mom or dad – it would make a wonderful baby shower gift.  It’s not comprehensive, but it’s not meant to be. Kelsey’s book is just meant to show you that eating well while raising children can be done.

*    *    *    *    *    *

the giveaway

Running Press was gracious enough to allow me to give a copy of Kelsey’s book to one of my readers, so here’s your chance to get the book in your own warm little hands.

to enter:

It’s very simple to enter — no hoops to jump through. And, while I would love it if you followed me on twitter and liked my Facebook page, it is by no means a requirement.

Since the theme of this book is all about fitting wonderful meals into a busy family life, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post with the answer to this question:

What is your favorite weeknight meal to serve your family, and how do you fit it in your schedule?

the fine print:

I’ll close comments on Thursday, March 15 at 5pm EST, and I’ll randomly select a winner from the comments. Please, only one comment per person, and you must live in the US or Canada to win the giveaway.

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Buy The Naptime Chef right now.

*   *   *   UPDATE!   *   *   *

Time’s up and the winner of this wonderful cookbook goes to…

Congratulations, Flavia! I’m sure you’ll enjoy Kelsey’s book as much as I’m enjoying it. I love the dinner suggestion, too. It sounds like exactly what I’d love to eat right this very minute, in fact.

Yield: 4 servings.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Couscous Salad with Blue Cheese and Dried Cranberries

Kelsey notes that this salad tastes better if made at least a couple of hours in advance, to allow the flavors to meld. Chill it in the refrigerator before serving.


1-1/2 cups (10 ounces) uncooked plain couscous
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) dried cranberries
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped scallions (about 3), white and light green parts only
3/4 cup (3 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped


Prepare couscous according to package directions, making sure to fluff it with a fork when it's cooked.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside.

Pour the prepared couscous into a large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries, blue cheese, scallions, and pecans and pour the dressing evenly over the top. Mix everything together lightly with a fork so the ingredients are lightly coated with the dressing and the mixture stays fluffy.

Taste the salad for seasoning, and add another pinch or two of salt if necessary.

Reprinted with permission from Kelsey Banfield's The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life.

    Pin It

18 Responses to “tailgate food: guacamole dip with fresh corn”

  1. Susi — August 24, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    We love anything Avocado and I make guacamole all the time! This is a great twist on a classic. Love it :o)

  2. Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 24, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    Love homemade guacamole! I’m so tired of having people serve that pureed stuff you buy at the store. Makes me gag a little. This, however, is perfection… and the perfect recipe to make before the summer ends.

  3. Baking Serendipity — August 24, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

    I’m dying for it to be football season already too! This would be an awesome dip to serve at a party 🙂 I love the addition of corn.

  4. Carol (CGtheFoodie) — August 24, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    That dip looks great! I can just imagine accidentally grabbing the chipotles when I am half awake and feeding the cats… 🙂

  5. Lauren — August 25, 2010 @ 7:38 am

    I simply adore avocados, and have experimented with many different add-ins to guacamole… but I’ve never tried fresh corn. Brilliant idea! I also like that you used some Greek yogurt (a favorite of mine) to lighten up the dip a bit. Can’t wait to make this.

  6. RavieNomNoms — August 25, 2010 @ 9:41 am


  7. May Ling Wu — August 25, 2010 @ 9:43 am

    Great way to use up all that summer corn!

  8. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — August 25, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

    You can call it guacamole or you can call it guacamole dip. To me, I think I’ll just call it good! I recently made a corn salsa that I could serve this with. Would need two spoons; hold the chips.

  9. Lisa McB. — August 25, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    Perfect timing–I just bought fresh avocados and limes; everything else I have. Off to the kitchen I go!

  10. Gail — August 25, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    I am kicking myself that I never thought of putting fresh corn in guacamole. This looks seriously delicious. And, I have a car w/a tailgate. Forget the game, let’s just eat!

  11. Tristan — August 26, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    Wow – this guac looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it out.

  12. Glenn — August 27, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    Going to make this tonight. This will be a great addition to our jam session/cookout! The fresh corn is a great idea. I’ll be looking for the Silver Queen. My brother and I used to eat it uncooked all the time back in the day :~)

  13. Chris — August 29, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

    Oh yeah, football is underway. These days our football food is less geared toward tailgating and more focused on fueling our 11 y/o who is playing his second year. 5 days of practice and/or games a week is making him a bottomless pit! I can’t throw enough food at him.

    This guac looks very good, I’ve never tried corn in mine. Great looking color in that photo.

  14. SMITH BITES — August 29, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    I have to sheepishly admit that I’ve never tailgated in my entire life! But now that niece Avery is attending Indiana University, the family is considering tailgating and then watching the game – this would be perfect!

  15. Sara — August 29, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    I am right there with you on the Greek yogurt, but the corn?!?! I’ve not ever had guac with corn, but I’d like to try it. I bet the corn adds that perfect bit of sweet that I just love.

  16. Lauren — August 31, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    I made this last night, and it was fantastic! The fresh raw corn added the perfect amount of crunch and sweetness to the creamy guacamole. Thanks for a great recipe!

  17. Aggie — May 4, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    YES! I have such a hard time not making traditional guac everytime I get a craving, but I would sway for this. I am loving the fresh corn in this!!

    I want to live in Gainesville.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 4th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

      We have an extra bedroom for you, Aggie. 🙂

Leave a Comment