Shut Up! I-Do-Love-Kale Salad

Spring is finally here in the upper midwest.  At least in my little dot.  And that means recipes are changing from warm and cozy to light and summery!  Grilling and salads and fresh fruits!  Delicious season has arrived!

Last night we had grilled skirt steak.  Plain jane.  Just salt & pepper and hit that hot grill.  Nothing fancy.  All delicious. And on the side I tried a new salad.  I had made my way to Costco yesterday & stocked up on berries, berries and more berries.  So many berries.  This new salad was sure to make great use of them.

One minor problem…main ingredient in said salad…KALE.  Kale.  It’s good for us.  And really we should love it.  But…let’s be honest.  Who really, really, really likes kale?  {crickets}  But the rest of the salad sounded so good & the reviews were well within my acceptable to try range.

I mixed it all up, massaged it {yes, you read that right} and let it sit until dinner.

I placed the salad in a fancy “company” bowl because if it’s in the company bowl, it must be good, right?  and set it on the table.  Looks of “what is this?” began surfacing around the table.  As we all dished up, the kids all tried to pass on the salad.  But, being the absolutely unreasonable parents that we are, we said they had to take some and try.  “Try”.  You know “try”?  In other words, take the smallest bite of the least disgusting part of the item and call it good.  But I am a mean-mean mama.  “Try some of the green”, I added.

Eye rolling. “Is that kale?  I hate kale.”

More eye rolling.  “Yeah I hate kale too.”

Faux bites taken, followed by a reminder, and real bites were taken.  {anyone else know this game?}

To my astonishment one of my children looked up & proclaimed, “Shut Up!  I do love kale!”

And thus the Shut Up! I Do Love Kale salad recipe was born.

My only tip…make sure and massage the dressing into the kale.  I put on disposable cooking gloves that I wear when dealing with raw meat and literally massaged the dressing all into the kale, making sure it covered all leaves thoroughly.  I think this is why it was so delicious.  Then add the other ingredients.  It really is great!   Shut Up! I do love kale Salad

Print Recipe

Shut Up! I Do Love Kale Salad

Source: www.thebalancedberry.com

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 min

Total Time: 10 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Salad:
  • 1 Bunch Kale Finely Chopped (~ 4-5 Cups; I used Lacinato but Curly Kale also works)
  • 1 Cup Strawberries Sliced
  • 1 Cup Blackberries
  • 1 Diced Peach
  • 12 Cup Blueberries
  • 12 Cup Rasperries
  • 12 Cup Diced Mango
  • 3 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries
  • 14 Cup Almonds
  • 14 Cup Walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey (sub agave if vegan)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the kale and dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale until coated and place in the fridge to marinate for a few minutes (this is a great time to chop the fruit).
  3. Before serving, add the diced fruit, dried cranberries and nuts to the kale and toss until evenly combined.

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A Whole30 Breakfast :: simple & delicious

finished-the-w30-IG-300x300My Whole30 adventure is over.  But that certainly doesn’t mean that the good eats are gone.  I’m carrying a lot of things with me into days 31 and beyond.  And breakfast is one of those things.

I am not the breakfast type.  Yes, I know it should be the most important meal of the day & a good breakfast is the key to health & people who lose weight & keep it off generally eat breakfast.  blah, blah, blah, blah.  I have been hit with these awful breakfast pick up lines so often in my adult life that I have actually taken to lying on occasion just to avoid the breakfast statistical botherings.  Yes, I know lying is a sin & Jesus and I are dealing with it.  Promise.  But breakfast is really not that important to me. I have survived all these years without it.  And I’ve been doing just fine.

Enter Whole30.  Breakfast is a rule.  And we have established already how I feel about rules.  So breakfast I did eat.

But what does one eat who doesn’t normally eat breakfast?  And what if that person would usually reach for a piece of toast with butter & jam?  Ugh.

Hello eggs.  Ok, I realize as I type you likely are sitting there reading thinking, “wait a cotton-picking minute – she’s an egg farmer.”  True.  I am an egg farmer.  I love my pasture-roaming chickens and the amazing eggs they daily lay.  But I haven’t usually been the one to eat them.  Especially at breakfast time.  But that all changed.  And I am now an egg enjoying breakfast eating gal.

Eggs are pretty simple.  My favorite way to eat them is over-easy, cooked in coconut oil rather than butter.  But scramble them, hard boil them, cook them sunny side up…you get the idea.  I enjoyed mine with cauliflower crumble {available at Target} or grated sweet potatoes cooked lightly in avocado or coconut oil.  On the side, I enjoyed half a thinly sliced avocado.  So quick to whip up.  About the same time as it takes for my bread to pop up out of the toaster.  That’s good stuff!  Delicious, in fact.  The best thing I’ve ever eaten.  Absolutely…not.  I can’t lie.  It’s no onion ring stack with a side of tartar sauce, but it is a pretty amazing way to start the day.  No kidding.  Bon Appétit!

Eggs for breakfast

Whole 30:: Ten Days After

whole30 update

It’s been ten days since the end of the Whole30 adventure.  If you remember, I was feeling amazing.  Great sleep, no head congestion, more energy, all systems working properly…you get the idea.  Amazing!

Am I still?

I’m happy to report that I am.  I have taken this phase slowly.  I guess because I’m feeling so great, I don’t want to change anything that might make me feel not so terrific.  But at the same time, I don’t want to live Whole30 as WholeLife.  To date I’ve added back non-gluten grains and gluten grains.  I may not be going in the Whole30 suggested order, but I’m going in the sanity order.  Things I miss most, are coming back earlier on.  Plus, I really don’t think I have any sensitivities or issues to grains & so far I would be correct.  Love it when I’m right! 🙂

Next I’m taking on legumes and last will be the dairy.  In talking with my dad {shout out to my fabulous father.  Hi Dad!} turns out I was allergic to cows milk as a baby.   hmmmm.  One of those facts that never seems important until it is.  Could I still have sensitivities to dairy today?  Highly likely.  So I’ll see what happens when I put a little dairy in the digestive track.  Might be messy.

This phase has really been eye-opening.  More so than I figured it would be.  I have realized how very much I mindlessly eat.  When sticking to the rules of the program {oh, how I love rules} every bite seemed intentional.  I had to think so much about what I was consuming.  While I’m still not at a 100% free-for-all at Roy’s Chuckwagon buffet, it’s so much more relaxed.  I find myself wandering into the pantry for a little something-something a bit more often.  And while most of my choices are still better-than choices, I can see that it’s the habit of needing a little something when I don’t really need a little something that will need to be broken if I’m to feel great on an ongoing basis.

That said, I’m not ruling out all fun eating.  I know better than that.  That’s how disaster strikes!  So I’ll enjoy a treat and some food fun from time to time, but I want to be intentional about that too.  Rather than downing a box of crackers in one sitting, I’d rather pick some quality crackers I love & enjoy them with some cheese {oh, please dairy be ok for the sake of good cheese} and salami slices.  Savoring each tasty bite.

If you’re looking to jump into Whole30, I would completely recommend it.  If for no other reason than to see how great your body can feel.  You might think you feel great…you probably don’t.  No really, you don’t.  But you can.  Give it a try.  And here’s a fun little recipe to get you started.  The whole family loved these Chicken Avocado Burgers.  The others put them on hamburger buns, I ate it without.  They were quick, easy and full of flavor.  Thanks to the Laughing Spatula for a great Whole30 recipe! Read more

Whole30 …and with that, it is done!

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Cést Fini!

Simple Whole30 evaluation:  Amazing!

On February 1 I started what I thought would be a good, little challenge. Whole30.  Many people in my life had done Whole30 before & I thought it might be nice to give it a whirl.  I honestly thought it would be a blip on the screen of life.  I didn’t think it would be very impactful.  I had hopes that I might take off those pesky few pounds that had crept in since my 40th, but that was about as high as my expectations of this whole thing went.  I’ll admit I even rolled my eyes at times reading the testimonials on the Whole30 website.

Low bar set.

But something quickly happened.  An about-face.  And I realized that this wasn’t some gimmicky weight loss plan disguised as a “lifestyle” thing.  This was for real.  I began to feel great.  I mean really great.  Funny thing – before I started I didn’t even know I wasn’t feeling great.  I thought I was feeling great.   But suddenly my not great was as obvious as the pimples on a pre-pubescent tween.

So what exactly do I mean by feeling great?

Great is a pretty vague word, don’t you think?  Here’s the specifics. Read more

Whole30 :: Day 30! Last day!

doing-the-w30-IGWell, well, well.  Day 30.  Last day of Whole30!  Hooray!

There were moments I didn’t think I would make it through without a little cheat.  But then the rule-follower in me would kick in & talk my rebel-self back into compliance.  And I’m very thankful that it did.  I can now say, “I did it!” and I know I did it completely.  I never have to wonder what would have happened if I’d not cheated.  Because I didn’t cheat.  {rule-following, a blessing & a curse!}

Whole30, as I’ve mentioned before, is not “hard”, like running-a-marathon-hard or being-a-mama-hard.  It’s all about discipline.   It’s committing to doing something different and following through.  Even when you’re sick to the brim of eating dried apples instead of BBQ Lays.  But through this discipline, results are achieved.  Big results!

I will spare you the before & after pictures {partly because the last thing the internet needs is pictures of me in front of my bathroom mirror in just a sports bar & running shorts!  thank me later}  But let me tell you that there is a difference.  My jeans fit more comfortably around the middle & the thighs.  And if that weren’t enough, my abs have reappeared.  They disappeared after my 40th and have been MIA since.  I chalked it up to “getting older” but really it was all the crappy foods I was using to fuel this body.  Even the best workouts can’t overcome the worst diets.  Speaking of workouts – since Whole30, they are incredible too.  Excellent fuel equals excellent workouts.  I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, my insides feel nice…life is good.

I have found some new food friends throughout the last 30 days. These are 9 things that have been “better choices” and I will carry them forward into days 31 and beyond.

Whole30 Must Haves

  • Bubbies Sauerkraut – I put this in & on just about everything!  It is amazingly delicious!
  • Coconut Milk – coffee creamer got the boot and this moved in.  I look forward to my coffee with this every.single.morning.
  • Chamomile Tea – great gas relief {what? TMI?} for when I’ve enjoyed too much fruit or gassy veggies
  • Avocados – avocados are from heaven.  i need not say more.
  • Raw Almonds – a little something-something to get me through homework time & carry me to dinner
  • Dates – seriously!  you can make the most wonderful sweetness out of dates & water to add to sauces that need a little sweetness.  amazing!
  • Dried Apricots – for those moments when I just need a snack.
  • La Croix Water – I’ve loved bubbly water {water with gas} since my Europe days.  I love this!
  • Coconut Aminos – A staple for Paleo-style cooking

Each of these 9 things were things I could not live without. And I have come to love them so much.  They filled a gap that was left open when non-compliant foods were taken out.  {more like pulled out of my tight grip}  I’m not saying I’m giving up my old way of eating completely.  I will enjoy some of my old favorites again.  But not on a constant basis, rather a “treat” basis.  I feel too good to go back!

Today I plan to indulge in all my very favorite things of Whole30.  Think eggs, avocados, sauerkraut, coconut milk, and dried fruits.  Not all at once, though, that would be disgusting.  But I’m pretty near certain that I will continue these into the future.

I’ll recap more Whole30 this week, with menus, recipes, shopping lists and more tips.   Come back.

 

5-ish Things About Whole30

EatWhole30-Facebook-660x244

The end is near.  If you’re tired of Whole30 posts, not to worry.  The end is at hand.  A week remains.  But I’m feeling a bit retrospective this morning at the whole Whole30 thing.  So let’s take a walk through my last 23 days of Whole30.

  1. Whole30 is not hard.  It is a change & change can be difficult.  But it’s not hard.  It’s not like your moving around the world-hard or fighting for your life-hard.  It’s taking the time to look at what you’re eating & drinking and making shifts to fuel your body better in order to maximize your health.  There are days, especially early on, when my body hated me for this.  I was bloated & gassy & irritable & cranky & sluggish & frankly ready to throw in the towel. {ask my hubby & lil’ weeds – I was ugly to live with}  But I learned some tricks {chamomile tea} & stuck to it because I knew it had to get better. They did promise me tiger blood after all.
  2. That being said Whole30 is a taker of time.  If you’re used to buzzing through the drive thru or grabbing a little something-something at the convenience store or the pantry, Whole30 will require more time than you’re used to devoting to food.  It will require some planning & shopping {with label reading} & preparation.  I found getting the shopping & prepping all done in one day {Sunday for me} made it completely doable to live the weekdays without as much thought to food.  But it still took time.
  3. Whole30 is an eye-opener as to what is going in.  I do not have much of a sweet tooth.  I’d prefer to belly up to a huge mountain of fried onion rings with a side of tartar sauce rather than a chocolate bar any day.  But now I’ve come to realized that I was eating a TON of added sugar {maybe not literally a ton…but…}  My morning coffee alone had at least 10 grams of it!  And I’d usually have 2 cups of coffee.  TWENTY grams before 8 am!!!!  Since the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily for women…all I can say is YIKES!!
  4. And since we’re talking about ingredients we’re eating, Whole30 unveils all kinds of questionable ingredients.    Let’s head back to my coffee creamer for a minute. Because Whole30 makes you an expert label reader, let’s take a gander at the ingredients in my beloved {& now despised!] coffee creamer.  Ingredients:: water, sugar, vegetable oil (soybean or canola), sodium caseinate {a sneaky name for MSG!}, natural & artificial flavors, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, cellulose gel, cellulose gum & carrageenan.  That’s a heck of a list. Looks like my old cup of Joe came complete with inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, mucus membrane irritation, flatulence, diarrhea, cramping and a whole host of other awfulness.  Double Yikes!
  5. Whole30 will definitely change how you look & feel.  I do not have adequate words to describe how good I feel after twenty-three days of clean eating.  It is simply amazing.  Truly!  And to be honest, I didn’t know I wasn’t feeling great until I started feeling great…if that makes any sense.  I wasn’t suffering from any adverse effects to my food.  Or so I thought.  Now that I have cleaned it all out, I can see what it was really doing to me.  And I can see the effects in my skin as well.  My face has never been so blemish free & hydrated.  And my normally awful winter dry skin is not as dry and itchy.  While I chalked it up to coincidence for a while, I have to think that Whole30 has something {if not everything} to do with it.  The Whole30 no scale rule {which I loathe} has not allowed me to determine if I was able to shed those pesky few pounds I gained after I turned 40, but I can definitely see more muscle than before, so I’m thinking it’s helped at least make my workouts more beneficial.  My brain seems clearer, I’m well rested & more energetic. {which may or may not equate to getting more chores done…}

Read more

Whole 30 :: Tiger Blood

Day 22

doing-the-w30-IG

Eight days remain.  According to the Whole30 folks, I have entered the Tiger Blood phase.

Tiger Blood

Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about! You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome. There’s not much more to say about this phase – go and enjoy it!

I’d agree with them on this phase.  I feel exactly like this…Tiger Blood.

I’m not sure what pumps through a tiger, but if they feel like this, they have it figured out. Sluggishness – gone.  Tired – gone.  Insides feeling slightly icky all the time – gone.  I feel great.

So what’s been the hardest part of getting to tiger blood?  Well, for me I thought  it would be the lack of grains or dairy.  Or perhaps giving up my occasional glass of red wine.  But I think the roughest was the coffee issue.  I knew it would be tough.  I mean I have always had the stand that I love coffee so long as it doesn’t taste like coffee.  Giving up the wonderful sugary concoction that made my coffee taste less like coffee, I knew was going to be rough.  And it was…but it quickly morphed into something completely unexpected.  After I got rid of the non-dairy, sugar laden, artificially flavored addition and turned to coconut milk, I could taste the actual coffee.  It wasn’t great.  But something happened.  I began to like it.  I purchased a better quality coffee bean {goodbye Folgers, hello Starbucks} and I began loving every single sip.  I even would crave it after lunch.  As  a matter of fact, I am sitting here right this very second with a delicious cup of Pike Place…black {gasp!}  and i’m loving it!  Who knew?

The two conclusions I’ve drawn about this coffee phenomenon are either (1) Whole30 has taught me to enjoy the flavors of foods without a bunch of sugary-sweetness or (2) I’m getting older and old people like their coffee black.  I will believe it’s #1 and promise I’m not ready to order a cup of coffee with my 4:00 dinner at Denny’s.

So, the million dollar question, do I keep eating like this?  I think I will partially keep this up.  I mean, hello, Tiger’s Blood.  Why would I go back to Sloth Blood?  I want to slowly go back to “normal” eating and figure out what makes my sloth blood return & eliminate those things.  But I plan to enjoy a really great cheeseburger with fries again very, very soon!  {even though I’m sure it will make me feel less tiger more sloth}  But I see it’s juicy patty on a buttered bun with real honest to goodness mayonnaise & ketchup in my very near future.  But for now…

Here’s to eight more days!  Raising my black Pike Place filled mug of wonder to a great last few days of Whole30!  Hooray!

Whole 30 :: the halfway

Fourteen days down.  Sixteen to go.  Can it be?  doing-the-w30-IG

I will admit, I was extremely reluctant to start this whole thing & pretty sure it was going to be completely pointless.  Skeptical?  Exactly.

But two weeks in, I absolutely think that this is doing something & I am pretty much sure that everyone needs to do this at least once in their lifetime.  I cannot believe how great I feel!  I cannot begin to explain how much energy I have, how well I’m sleeping and how clean my insides feel.  {too much?  sorry, but not really}  Reset is working!

Whole30 is simply amazing!

Do this.  Do this!

For this upcoming week, I’ve mapped out my meals and have my shopping list all set to go.  Thought I’d share, just in case I’ve made my case that you need to DO THIS but you aren’t sure where to start.  Start with these meals.  No excuses.

Here goes:

If you’re interested here is the shopping list for all the meals listed.  2:15 Shopping List – Plan to Eat.  The only thing not included are salt & pepper.  Get everything on the list, print out the recipes & you’ll be set for the week {for dinner anyway.}   Make sure and add lots of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts and snacking veggies.  Also some full on fat coconut milk for your coffee *smirky smile*  Believe me you want that!  And take the time to prep everything so it’s ready to go…ready to eat when you need a little snack.  Plan and prep are at least 50% of this whole thing, likely more.  Oh and get yourself some delicious Bubbies Sauerkraut.  Just do it, you’ll thank me after your first forkful.  Promise.

Let me know if you’re jumping in.  I’ll talk you off the ledge on days 5-7 and remind you that you’ll feel like sunshine come day 14!  Promise!