Vegan Massage, or Taming Your Kale

If you are vegan, or in my case “mostly vegan,” at some point you will venture into the world of greens. There are many kinds of greens, from low calorie iceberg lettuce to the more flavorful, but delicate spring mix until we get to robust and substantial leafy kale.

 

I’ll admit I had never tried kale until I became vegan. Then again, there are many foods that my vegan journey has introduced into my kitchen, like chia seeds, quinoa, nutritional yeast and many other interesting ingredients that I have come to enjoy and which are nutritionally dense.

Kale is also nutritionally dense. One cup has 2 grams of protein (yes, greens have protein!) and kale is also a blockbuster delivery system for Vitamin A and C.

Raw kale nutrition panel

Raw kale nutrition panel

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And as great as kale is, if you want to eat it raw in a salad, you’ll find that you must do something to prepare the leaves because they are very firm and overly crunchy.

But, there’s a great way to tame your kale and make it softer and more “lettuce like” in your salad.

First, if you have whole kale leaves, go ahead and wash and dry. Then, remove the center stem portion which is rather woody. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces.

Put the bite sized pieces into an over-sized bowl. Take some olive oil, you don’t need much! and drizzle it over the kale. For 2 cups of chopped kale, you probably need 1-2 teaspoons. Experiment with the amount of oil, trying to use the least amount possible. After you’ve drizzled the olive oil, sprinkle some salt on too. Use an amount of salt that you’d normally use for flavoring, but in this case the salt will also help break down the leaves.

Now… get your (washed and clean) hands into the bowl and massage the kale with your hands. I gently squeeze the leaves in my fingers, breaking them down with the moistening from the oil and salt, and circulate the leaves from top to bottom to rotate each leaf and make sure I’m compressing all of the salad.

You’ll be able to tell when you are finished when every single kale leaf is moistened with the olive oil, and the leaves feel soft to the touch.

At this point, add the remainder of your salad ingredients and mix with the kale.

Although olive oil and salt is it’s own kind of dressing, I usually add a very light drizzle (again, no more than another teaspoon) of a flavored dressing of my choice. I’m also a big fan of freshly ground black pepper for flavor.

You don’t need any additional dressing, and you could use other types of flavoring like a flavored vinegar or fresh lemon / lime juice if you feel like it.

Hopefully, this kale massage technique will help you enjoy this dark leafy green more often as a part of a high nutrition salad.

I like to add carrots, tomatoes, avocado, slivered almonds, olives and chia seeds to round out the meal!

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Writing Frequency = More Salad, Less Laundry

Stop making that salad and go write!

I recently read “when you write more…you write more”

Which lead me to consider…

Q. What does writing more mean?

A. It means writing more frequently and for longer durations.

 

Huh. That sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

 

Just sit down at the computer and…

Oh, the phone is ringing. It’s my friend, he wants to talk about his trip to Greece and his friend who just had a baby and the guy’s wife, and what they ate, and………

— 2 hours later —

Just sit down at the computer…

*grumble, grumble* My stomach is rumbling. I’d better go make a salad. I love cucumber salads, but that means peeling the cucumbers. Don’t forget the salad dressing.

Just sit down at the…

I forgot to put my clothes in the laundry.  That’ll just take a minute. Get the laundry soap, dial in the right water temperature…

Just sit down…

Hmm, I hadn’t noticed how nice it is outside. I haven’t been outside all day, and it’s already the afternoon.  If I don’t go outside now, I’ll miss all the daylight. Besides, I’m out of cucumbers, I could walk to the grocery store and that would mean I was being productive.

Just…

Q. So what does writing more mean?

A. It means I can’t do anything other than sit and write. Not talking on the phone, not sleeping, not doing laundry, not taking a walk outside, and while I might include a break for cucumber salad… it’d better be quick.

Red, White and Blue Salad for the 4th of July!

Make this Red, White and Blue Salad for yourself, your friends and your family this holiday weekend.  It’s a colorful addition to any picnic table and it’s delicious!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Red: Radishes; Grape Tomatoes; Dried Cranberries; Red Onion

White: Feta Cheese Crumbles; Sliced Almonds

Blue: Fresh Blueberries

Other: Peeled and sliced cucumbers (kirby cukes work well); salad dressing of choice; toasted sesame seeds (optional)

– Peel cucumbers and slice down the middle. If you don’t like the seeds, remove them. Otherwise, slice cucumbers into 1/8th inch thick slices.

– Wash and slice radishes into 1/8th inch thick slices.

– Wash and slice grape tomatoes in half

– Cut red onion into small dice

– Assemble a layer of cucumbers, radishes, red onion and grape tomatoes.  Sprinkle on feta crumbles, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and fresh blueberries.  Repeat layers until all ingredients have been used.

– Add extra sliced almonds and blueberries to the top; add toasted sesame seeds if desired.

– Chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.  Serve with your salad dressing of choice (Caesar salad dressing works well)

ENJOY!