lemon

My Favorite Kale Salad

One of my favorite places to eat here in town is Seed To Sprout. They have this addictive massaged kale salad that I can't get enough of! I've asked the chefs what they use to make it, and they graciously told me, but I'm not lying.... theirs is still the BEST! 

Still, when it's 9:00 pm and you want this kale salad, here's as close as you're gonna get. If you do have a chance to stop in for lunch, you want to go to the masters!

4 big leaves kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)

drizzle of olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

few pinches salt

1-2 tablespoons really high quality nutritional yeast

Combine kale, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a big bowl. Using your hands, massage the kale well until it starts to soften. The oil makes it soft, and the lemon juice and salt will start to break down the cell wall. Lastly, sprinkle with some nutritional yeast and use a fork to fluff up (if you massage it with the nutritional yeast, most of it will remain on your hands). Enjoy! 

Winter Hands Lavender Vanilla Sugar Scrub

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I'll confess - I have dry hands in the winter. Um, who doesn't? And if you're a normal human being, you probably do too. It might be the gardener in me, the pianist who just plays and plays and plays (they get a beating!), or it may be that I dislike using gloves when I wash dishes (I know, I know, don't judge). But for so many reasons, when the heat comes on in the fall and winter, my hands shrivel up and it's so so important to take good care of them ~ meaning, when we age, we mostly show it on our face and our hands. So it's important to take good care of them, just as much as they take good care of us and others. It's a good idea to use humidifiers in the winter months to hydrate the air around you, too. But overall, I dislike general moisturizers since my skin is sensitive, and I do very well by these two recipes.

I'm sure there are 1000 sugar scrub recipes out there, all of which are worth of a post, but these two are just my own personal favorites. You can certainly use these as templates and add in your own favorite oil combos, change up the oil (sweet almond and jojoba are great oils also), add in dried lavender leaves, poppy seeds for extra exfoliant properties ~ most of all, have fun, and play around with them. But these two recipes, I've found, are quick, easy, and just luxurious for the hands. Enjoy! And if you do end up making them, let me know how they turn out and hashtag #littlebitesofjoy!

Recipe:

3/4 cups raw sugar

Enough unrefined pure olive oil for desired consistency (think 1/2 - 3/4 cup or so)

10 drops Young Living Lavender Essential Oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix well and bottle it up in your favorite glass container. I love keeping this by the sink and in the bathroom for after washing the hands. Take about one teaspoon and massage your hands well (but not too hard), and give them some love. Rinse under warm water, and dry well. You'll find that our hands are silky smooth and well nourished! 

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Alternate recipe: 

Instead of the vanilla extract, try adding in 10 drops Young Living Lemon essential oil. The result is a gorgeous lavender/lemon sugar scrub. 

If you are interested in where I get my oils, please check out my Essential Oils For Bliss site here.  See you on the other side! 

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Black Bean Pasta Mediterranean Plate

This is simplicity at its best: seasoned black bean pasta (which happens to be low in carbohydrates and high in protein), lightly steamed kale, a chunky lemony artichoke tapenade, and gloriously sweet cherry tomatoes. It takes just minutes to prepare, and it is quite filling, which is really all you need when you're ravenous. And I was.

I'm always looking for alternatives to regular pasta. Although pasta is one of my favorite foods (actually, all food is my favorite!), I'm religious about upping the nutrition wherever I can. Black Bean pasta (Found here) is soy free, organic and made just with beans and water. How easy is that?   If you're looking for something silky smooth, this isn't it: black bean pasta is hearty, dark and rich has a naturally al dente taste, with a rustic bite.

The artichoke heart tapenade is surprisingly simple but complex in texture and flavor: hints of garlic, fresh lemon rind, and a creaminess that is easy to love.  

You can easily make this even more robust by adding in more mediterranean flavors: olives, sundried tomatoes, basil...feel free to play. 

This recipe may look like it has a lot of moving parts, but honestly it's quite easy if you time things right: Two pots on the stove (one for the pasta, the other for the kale) and make your tapenade at the same time. For me, it came together in about 15 minutes. 

Ingredients for pasta: 

1/2 package Black Bean Spaghetti Pasta, cooked according to package instructions. After draining, lightly season with salt and black pepper. 

 

Ingredients for artichoke hearts tapenade: 

1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 can artichoke hearts seasoned in oil and spices, liquid drained by half

2 cloves garlic, microplaned

the rind of one lemon, microplaned (just the top, no white pith)

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the artichoke hearts, garlic, lemon, a few pinches of ground black pepper, and sea salt. Pulse lightly so the texture remains chunky. Taste to check seasoning, and leave aside. 

 

Ingredients for Kale: 

2 cups kale, torn, and lightly steamed until bright green, about 1 minute

drizzle of olive oil

squeeze of lemon

sea salt

chili flakes (optional if you like the heat): I didn't add them but will next time.

Toss the kale with lemon and olive oil and season to taste with salt (and chili flakes). Leave aside.

 

Decoration:

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes.  

 

Assembly:

Start by plating the pasta, then the kale, two scoops of the artichoke tapenade and some sliced cherry tomatoes on the side. Enjoy! And as pretty as it was all plated, when you get into it with your fork, feel free to make a mess of the whole thing.....like this....