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Holiday Salad by Giada, Crab Cakes, Christmas Presents, and Avocado To Do List

by Lisa on December 26, 2011

I hope you had a wonderful holiday if you celebrate, and if you don’t, then I hope you had time off from work!

We spent Christmas eve and Christmas with family, and had a really great time. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually contribute much food to holidays–my mom never delegates, and neither does Joe’s mom. But for Christmas Eve, Joe and I contributed crab cakes (he made them) and salad (I made it). The next day, on Christmas, we just ate our weight in antipasto, ham, seafood newburgh (I might die that was so good—I finished it for breakfast today)….and wine.

I tend to think our crab cakes are the best, so I’ll share that recipe here again:

Jumbo lump crab (1 can – I usually buy Boss, but I’d like to find one that’s in a BPA free can). For Christmas Eve, Fred’s son (who owns Mac’s Philly Steaks restaurants) supplied the crab, so we just had to make the cakes!

1tsp dry mustard

1/4 cup veganaise

black pepper

worcestershire (couple shakes)

sprinkle of dried parsley

2 shakes of onion powder

2 shakes of Old Bay

He usually makes a veganaise sauce with chipotle powder and lemon juice (yum!)

Nope—-no eggs in the crab cakes or the “mayo.” Joe is totally grossed out by eggs. And chicken. So we never have either of those things when we eat together. However—you could add an egg and use regular mayo too, and I think the egg would probably make them a little more glued together.

Two cans of crab made 8 large crab cakes


Holiday Salad - endive, avocado, gruyere cheese, dried cranberries, corn, green apple....Yum!

Here’s the link to the recipe for the salad: Giada’s Holiday Salad


I received my first shipment of this year’s Avocado of the Month Club, and am patiently waiting for the avos to ripen.

Avocados are picked when they're green and hard, and they ripen after the stem is removed. You can speed it up by putting them in a paper bag with a banana.


These three varieties showed up in this month's shipment: pinkerton, hass, and fuerte....they're all different, but also all really good!


I have not made an Avocado Toad in the Hole  yet…but it is next on my list! My friend, the Other Lisa B, posted about it on facebook last week, and I can’t wait to try it! The instructions are here.

You can tell this isn't my photo---it's too good! It was on Food Gawker as well as on the creator's website.



For Christmas, we really don’t do many presents, but there were a few this year. I got mostly money (enough to pay myself back for all the presents I bought myself and then some!), but also some clothes from Athleta from Joe and a giftcard for there from my Mom. Fred gave me a book with different yoga poems in it–I can’t wait till I start teaching yoga, so I can use it. I always love when yoga instructors relate the class to an interesting reading. I also got a gift card from Joe’s mom to Lori’s Natural Foods, and …

This basket...I love it!


I got Joe some very romantic Ugg slippers :-) Actually, I think he might return them and get shoes, which is A-OK with me–I want him to have something he really really wants!


What did you get for Christmas? 

I’m fundamentally not into presents (although, I’ll admit it would be fabulous to have someone buy me a ton of stuff!), but I do like how my family only does thoughtful presents and we just don’t give stuff for the sake of giving presents. No one gets their feelings hurt or cares if things are returned either—it’s just so drama-free of us!

Do you care if someone you gave a gift to returns it?  

Would you try an Avocado-Toad-in-the-Hole?! 

This afternoon, Matthew and some friends and I are all going ice skating—I can’t wait!

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  • Heather (Where’s the Beach)

    That salad looks really good. Giada is one of my favorites. I love giving gifts, especially when it’s something someone really needs or it just has their name all over it. It always makes me happy.

  • lindsay cotter

    those are some good presents! I’m so impressed. Love the avocado idea too. Kinda like eggs in a nest but with a avocado. Just needs some salsa!

  • meri

    I like the idea of the avocado-toad-in-the-hole, but I think it might be too rich for me! I’d need maybe half on toast  or something! The salad looks unique.

  • Donna

    Thanks for the shout out for our avocado eggs ~ they are a happy way to start a day!

  • cathy@1970kikiproject

    hope you enjoyed the skating, lisa! it is so mild here that on christmas day, i saw kids out riding their bikes! fine by me, i do not need a white christmas, thank you very much!
    i don’t mind if people return gifts – i’d rather they have what they want and that it fit correctly, if necessary. however, we do up christmas lists so usually everything works out – it did this year!
    i love that basket! i would use it as a knitting basket! and the avacados look wonderful. that is such a neat idea.
    i’m glad you enjoyed your christmas with your family. i don’t contribute to our meals, either! like you, my mom pretty much handles it all! (again, fine by me!).
    have a great day!

  • Stephanie

    I love presents.  I love giving them and I love getting them.  That avocado toad in the hole looks so cool!  I really want to try it!  I’m imagining it with some fresh salsa spooned on top.  Have fun skating! 

  • Christin@purplebirdblog

    I love love LOVE presents – giving and receiving (gift giving is totally one of my love languages).  A thoughtful gift really makes my heart smile, and I love the process of seeking out the most perfect present for someone I care about.  Also, avocado/egg thing is getting made FOR SURE.  I want to be in the avocado of the month club!  :)

  • Justine

    I love Athleta!  It sounds like your Christmas was perfect … things you really love.  I’m known for returning presents, but then again, that happens because my family doesn’t usually know enough about me to know what I want.  This year I helped them to figure it out, and I got yoga pants and a gift certificate for four classes at my yoga studio!  I can’t wait to go back.  :)

  • Justine

    I love Athleta!  It sounds like your Christmas was perfect … things you really love.  I’m known for returning presents, but then again, that happens because my family doesn’t usually know enough about me to know what I want.  This year I helped them to figure it out, and I got yoga pants and a gift certificate for four classes at my yoga studio!  I can’t wait to go back.  :)

  • Lisakthrives

    Me too—what a great feeling!

  • Lisakthrives

    Yoga gift cards are the BEST!

  • Lisakthrives

    I highly recommend the avocado of the month club—I never knew there were other varieties (besides Hass) till I found SoCalAvos….

  • Lisakthrives

    Skating was SO much fun….we’re already planning to go again :)
    The weather was mild here until ….now. It’s Snowing, windy and freezing! Hope you’re staying warm!
    I think, since I’m not crafty, the basket will prob hold magazines. My Mom already moved it all around the house and told me where it looks best…

  • Lisakthrives

    I agree—salsa!

  • Lisakthrives

    I think the semi-avo-toad-in-the-hole sounds like a really great idea! Maybe a bigger hole cut out of the avo, and then put the whole thing on a piece of toast!

  • Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense

    Avocados might be my favorite food!  I love the simple combination of avocado butter on toast.   I don’t care of someone returns a gift… drama free is the way to be for sure!!

  • Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    I saw the avocado toad in a hole on pinterest and I’ve been dying to try it ever since. Looks so delicious!

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves

    The toad in the hole looks delicious to me! And so do those crab cakes. I’ve actually never had a crab cake but eating one is on my bucket list!

  • Tessa @ Amazing Asset

    I saw that avocado-egg thing on Pinterest the other day! I was rather intrigued at the time too :) So healthy and great nutrients

  • Brittany

    I say blech to the mayo and eggs in the crab cakes too..these ones sound fabulous!! I LOVE YOUR BASKET!! SOOOO cute and I can’t wait for you to shove it full of fruits and veggies!! The avocados are gorgeous and that one with the egg looks soooo good. 

    If I gave someone a gift they didn’t like, I wouldn’t want to know if they returned it. Hah..I have returned gifts before, but never tell the person that gave it to me. 

  • Lemon

    I especially like your holiday salad, it looks so fresh, yummy.

  • Anonymous

    Avocado of the month club???? This I must look into.

  • Faith

    Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas!  Mmm, I do remember those yummy crabcakes, I really need to give them a try (your salad looks incredible too!).  I’d never tried an avocado toad-in-the-hole, but I’d love too!  And I think I have a lone avocado in my fridge actually.  ;)

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year, my friend!

  • Susan

    I love crab cakes – but I’ve never made them myself.  And, if you can believe it, I have that same avocado/egg picture saved on my foodgawker!

  • Sam

    love the avocado toad in the hole!! what a great idea :)

    happy new year! hope 2012 is great for you.

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