Butternut Squash And Tart Cherry Salad

This butternut squash and tart cherry salad is the perfect starter dish for your Thanksgiving dinner coming up. The tart cherries give it that holiday vibe, and it is packed with all the goods. (Plus, anything with quinoa in it is amazing.)
Butternut Squash and Tart Cherry Salad
Yields 2 servings
Total cook time: 60 minutes
(Adapted from this recipe)
Ingredients:
1/3 cup tart cherries
1/2 cup quinoa
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
2 big handfuls of mixed greens
1/3 crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped chives
To make the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
Few leaves of fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cook quinoa – rinse 1/2 cup quinoa then transfer to a small pot and toast the quinoa over medium heat. Add just over 1 cup of water, cover and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn heat off and let it sit (covered) for 15 more minutes until all water has evaporated. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
3. Roast your butternut squash: Peel and slice into 1-inch cubes. Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
4. In a small saucepan, gently heat olive oil. Add the sage and stir until fragrant (30 seconds or so – just until the sage is not raw). Turn off heat and add apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, honey, salt and pepper.
5. Assemble all salad ingredients together and toss with as much dressing as you like. Taste and adjust seasonings, and enjoy!
Doesn't that salad sound perfect? I think so. I am also a tart cherry addict now that I finished up the 14-Day Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge. Let's talk about that!
So, I drank the cherry juice twice a day for two weeks to see if it would help improve my sleep as a natural sleep aid, which I tracked with my Fitbit. Based on the calculations of sleep efficiency and my total hours slept, they did increase by a little bit. The first week my total average hours slept were 6.33, and my sleep efficiency was 93.14%. The second week, my total average hours slept were 7.32, and my sleep efficiency was 93.33%.
I tried my best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night and morning, but I have two small kids. So yeah, I obviously was up at odd hours every night that could not be predicted or controlled. Also, it took me a couple of nights to adapt to sleeping with the Fitbit on my wrist. I didn't want to make any sudden movements and was way too focused on trying to stay still. (I tend to overthink things, ha.) Overall though, I do feel like it was helpful in making me more sleepy in general. (But it didn't give me the same effect as a sleeping pill.) Also, I really do like the taste of the cherry juice and think it's a great source of Vitamin C since we will be sick until New Year's. ;) It's definitely a product I like keeping stocked in the refrigerator.
Now comes the amazing part! You can enter to win your own tart cherry product and Fitbit, along with another $400 in prizes! They are all aimed at giving you the opportunity to be your healthiest, best self and will give you the chance to be royally pampered. The entire Tart Cherry Sleep Challenge Prize Pack includes:
  • Fitbit Flex in Red
  • $100 Spafinder.com Gift Card
  • Pottery Barn Cozy Knit Cable Throw
  • Natural Wake & Sleep System
  • Restoration Hardware Bathrobe
  • Tart Cherries Product (dried, juice and concentrate)
Yahoo! I am so excited for one of you to win! Simply enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!