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

Directions:

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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The Title: Fruit and Almond Kale Salad with Clementine-Maple Dressing
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White Tea Fruit Slushies: My New Summer “Coffee”

Becky’s White Tea Fruit Slushy

Nobody loves the first sip of morning coffee like I do! In fact, I used to use this moment as an inspirational speech illustration on how to capture “Eden moments” in our lives.

Obviously we aren’t living in Eden anymore, but that does not mean we don’t get glimpses of Eden.   “The way we catch ‘Eden moments’,” I would say, “is the same way we acknowledge that first sip of good coffee in the morning.  Many of us audibly say, ‘Ahh, that’s good.’  The same way God paused and said, ‘It is good’ after every phase of creation. We live more meaningful lives by noticing small blessings and pausing, even a second, to say, ‘Ah, that’s good.’ String enough of these small moments of gratitude together and you will find yourself happier.”

I still believe this is true.  But this week,  I had my favorite illustration taken from me!  Due to a spike in blood pressure, I’m cutting out foods that may raise BP, and adding in foods that may lower it. One of the toughest things to give up was that sacred, holy, blessed… Cup o’ Morning Joe.

Since I, like most people, am more motivated by pleasure than I want to admit, I had to find a substitute morning beverage that would be worth getting out of bed for.   I’ve experimented with several alternatives. There was a canned non-caffeinated health/energy drink.  It tastes like chilled, diluted cough syrup.  No go.

I tried various mugs of green and white teas, hot, with honey. They were nice, but hardly exciting enough to compel me to crawl from under the sheets.

Not a fan of de-caf coffee.

Then it hit me.  Our cute local tea shop offers “tea slushies” during the summer months.  I love them but they are a bit too sweet, full of sugar.  I also need to add more berries and fruit in my diet, so I wondered about making a white tea berry slushy.  A little of this, and a pinch of that went into the blender and in no time, out came The Winner.  (Insert angel voices singing here.)   Meet my new morning beverage of choice.  So perfect for back porch sitting and sipping, that I often enjoy an afternoon tea slushy, too.

You’ll find me under the shade tree with my new icey-brew tomorrow, savoring a first sip and saying,   “Ahh.. that is good.”

P.S. I like both green and white teas, but have found white tea has a milder flavor and even more nutritional benefits.  White tea has been shown to fight cancer, help with weight loss, improve and protect the skin and the heart in a myriad of ways among many other benefits.  I often mix it with decaf black tea and sip on this all day.  Here’s an informative link: White Tea Information.

Becky's White Tea Fruit Slushy

Becky’s White Tea Fruit Slushy

Serves 2 large glasses, or 4 “wine” glasses

Ingredients

2 cups brewed white or green  tea, cooled  (made from 2 to 4 tea bags, depending on how strong you like it)

10 ounces (or a little over 1 cup) frozen berries, any kind

1/4 cup agave nectar or a tad of stevia or other sweetener of your choice

1/2 cup ice

Optional: citrus slices for garnish/flavor

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender and whirl until slushy.  Serve immediately, garnishing with a slice of lime, lemon or orange if desired.

Variations: Try other teas. (A visit to a nice tea shop is like a visit to a cool wine bar these days!) Substitute other frozen fruits such as peaches, cherries, mangos or kiwis.   Even veggies like celery and cucumber would be refreshing.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: White Tea Fruit Slushies
The URL:http://wp.me/p1UwM9-jh