Super Healthy Almond Kale Salad with Clementine-Maple Dressing

(Becky, the Mama. )

Greg and I just spent two days on a road trip, driving from snow-covered Denver to the blue skies, hot air balloons, rusty-red mountains, green grass, gorgeous flowers and warm sun of Arizona.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I grabbed my bathing suit from the suitcase (still in the car) ran into the condo and threw it on, then dashed to the swimming pool. The sun was still in the sky, but sinking, so I arranged my lounge chair just so, where I could get the maximum rays, then sat down and basked and beamed with happiness. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a sun and a water baby. I wore my dark hair in two braids, as a little girl, and by summer’s end I always looked like Pocahontas, my skin as “brown as a berry,” my mother said.

To this day, I wonder if I am part Indian, as I disdain shoes and socks, preferring to be bare foot, even in the winter. I seek out sun like a lizard, anywhere I can find it. I do know that my grandmother Nonny and her family came to Sweetwater, Texas from New Mexico. Her eyes were a twinkling blue, her hair a stunning natural silver, and her skin turned a deep olive every summer.  She loved being outside in her garden, always in a flower print dress (I never saw her in slacks), and if we grandkids were lucky, she’d see and catch a baby horned toad, which us we loved to hold and play with more than any store-bought toy.

But I digress.  Back to the pool.  When I could see the sun dipping in the sky, I jumped out of the lounge chair, hurried back to the condo, grabbing this and that from boxes of food stuffs and ice chest we brought from home – kale, dried cherries, hemp seed,  sliced almonds, Clementine oranges – quickly creating the world’s fastest salad. Then photographing it while there was still natural light on the patio overlooking an emerald green golf course. After two days of road trip food burgers and fries, my body was craving something green and healthy.  This is truly a Super Salad, loaded with nutrition – and it was soo yummy, I know I’ll be making it again and again.  The nice thing about using kale in salads is that the salad still has lots of chew and crunch the next day, and in fact,  it seems to get even better as it has time to sit and soften a bit in the dressing.

Super Fruit & Almond Kale Salad with Clementine Maple Dressing

Ingredients for salad:

2 to 3 cups of chopped kale, leaves only – no stems (I was able to find it pre-chopped and mixed with some shredded carrots in the grocery produce aisle)

2 Clementine oranges, peeled and pulled apart in sections

2 T. dried cherries or cranberries

1 T. hemp, flax, or chia seeds

2 T. sliced or slivered almonds

1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts

Ingredients for Dressing:

¼ cup red wine or rice wine vinegar

Juice from 1 Clementine orange

1 T. pure maple syrup

1 t. soy sauce

2 t. good mustard

¼ cup olive oil

dash garlic powder or about 1/4 of a fresh garlic clove, grated

Salt and Pepper to taste


Put kale in a large  bowl and knead and massage it with clean hands for a minute. This will break down the fibers and make the kale tender enough to eat raw.  (Sometimes I run hot water over it in a colander to soften the kale first, knead it, and then rinse again in cold water.)  Add all the rest of the ingredients for a salad and serve in a pretty flat platter.   Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together and drizzle over the salad.  Serve and enjoy.

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Melty Parm Cheese, Walnut & Clementine Appetizer

Simple 3 Ingredient Delightful Bite: Parm Cheese (heated until pliable), walnuts and juicy clementines.

View from the condo porch. It is 75 degrees, which is why I need to be outside more than I want to be in the kitchen this week.

Though I generally love to cook, even when on vacation, I do not love to make complicated recipes that take time away from the pool and a book, and general self-imposed laziness. This week we are tucked into a timeshare in Orlando, Florida for seven days on business/vacation. (Greg is mostly taking care of the left side of the “business/vacation” slash, since he actually has to work. I’m taking care of the right side of the slash, since I –joy of joys! –mostly get to do whatever I please this week.)

A funny aside: Last night we were in bed and I heard what I thought was either the romantic roll of thunder or possibly the fireworks from Disney in the distance. I asked Greg if he heard the same sounds. He kindly responded, “Sweetie, that’s the toilet flushing in the condo above us.”

Needless to say, I’m totally in my Vacation Mind. So far today I’ve “cooked” a couple of bowls of cereal, a PBJ sandwich and peeled some string cheese and clementines. Not fancy fare worthy of food posting, really. But then, at Happy Hour time, I got inspired. I saw some Parmesan cheese and walnuts (I’d packed them in my carry-on from home), and a bowl of fresh Florida clementines (bought in haste from the local grocery last night.)  Let me tell you, these Floridians really get premium citrus. These clementines are so juicy they nearly burst in your hands as you peel them. Naturally sweet and tangy. Oh my. When fruit is this good, you don’t want to do much to it.  Just let Nature shine. So, on the fly I invented these Parm Cheese-Walnut and Clementine Appetizers.  Salty, nutty, warm meets fresh, tangy, sweet and cold.  So yummy.

 Our cocktails in hand (see my recipe for Clementine Mojitos), I sliced a few “Parm shards,” sprinkled a few walnuts on top. Microwaved for 15 seconds. The Parmesan became just “melty” enough to be pliable. I rolled a piece of the warm Parm around a walnut and a slice or two of fresh clementine. It was Happy Hour in our mouths in less than a minute.

That’s it. That’s the whole 3 ingredient, 15 second recipe. The pictures below  will show exactly how to throw this instant party food together.

Variations: Try with other cheeses, nuts and fresh fruits in season.  For a larger crowd, use a baking sheet and put in a 250 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is just warm and pliable.

Parm "Shards," simply slice random thin pieces of Parmasan cheese and lay on a microwavable plate

Parm shards with broken pieces of walnuts, after being nuked for 15 seconds in the microwave

As parm cools, you can lift up little pieces and wrap around fresh clementine pieces, pop in your mouth and be very happy. Sometimes the best things in life really are the simplest! 

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Refreshing Clementine Martini & Mojito

Clementine Mojito

Oh my Darlin’ Clementines, how we’ve come to love you. Call them clementines, baby tangerines or Cuties, these sweet small oranges have won our hearts.

My firstborn grandson Nate, at age 3, once ate almost a whole bowl full of Clementines on a family beach vacation to San Clemente. We sat in awe, watching as he peeled and ate one after another, “all by himself,” and ate them with glee as we sat on the porch and watched the sea waves roll in.

I tuck Clementines into my purse on all my airplane trips now because they not only have Vitamin C, but a nice serving of fiber.

So, I figured, nutritious as they are, if one should add clementine juice to a martini, it would practically be a health drink…right?

In fact, the juice of  3 or 4 clementines and a shot or two of vodka, shaken with ice, yields a simple, lovely martini that needs no other sweetener. It is perfectly balanced as is.

But recently I tried a cocktail with St. Germains liqueur added, which is made from delicate elderberry flowers, but smells and tastes faintly of grapefruit. It was divine. Add this liqueur to the clementine and vodka, and you’ve got yourself an exotic, refreshing martini of citrus heaven.

The martini worked out so well, I took a glance at the mint already burgeoning in my herb garden this day in early April, and thought, “Hmm…. clementine mojitos! How could those not be good?”

Then my husband got our tax bill from the accountant and suddenly volunteered to taste any and all martinis and mojitos I made tonight, sacrificing for the good of this blog. Bless his heart.

Needless to say,  we are now both happy campers. The martinis? Excellent. The mojitos? Amazing.

Just in time for tax season, I bequeath you both recipes.

Becky's Clementine Martini with Elderberry

Becky’s Clementine Martini

Serves One


1/4 to 1/3 c. clementine juice (3 to 4 small clementines)

3 T. vodka

1 -2  T. St. Germain’s Elderberry Liqueur (depending on how strong you want it)

2 T. organic raw sugar mixed with 1/2 t. clementine zest (for rimming glass)

Put martini glass into freezer to chill. Put clementine juice, vodka and St. Germain’s into a shaker of ice. Shake-shake-shake. In a shallow bowl mix sugar and clementine zest. Take chilled glass out of freezer, run a slice of clementine around the rim to moisten the edge,  then dip in sugar & clementine zest mixture.

Zest and organic raw sugar mixture to rim the glass

Strain martini and pour into cold sugar-zest rimmed martini glass.

Becky’s Clementine Mojito

Serves One  


1 T. organic raw sugar

1/2 t. clementine zest

5 to 7 mint leaves

Juice of 3 clementines

1 T fresh lime juice

3 T. rum or vodka

club soda or sparkling water to top off glass


Into a tall glass put mint leaves, sugar and clementine zest. Muddle with stick end of a wooden spoon to bruise the mint leaves and help the sugar to dissolve and melt.  To this mixture add clementine and lime juice, rum or vodka. Stir. Add ice and top off drink with club soda or sparkling water. Stir once more and garnish, if you like, with slices of lime, clementine and a small sprig of mint.

Non-alcoholic Variation: These mojitos are perfect for your non-alcoholic guests or children if you leave out the liquor and just add a wee bit more sugar (or agave) and club soda or sparkling water.   Nice alternative to lemonade for summertime sipping.

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