Grapefruit, Kale, and Avocado Salad

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Let’s talk about my new obsession: grapefruit.

It was a fruit I never used to give much attention-I found it too bitter and tart on its own and the whole idea of cutting it in half, slathering it with sugar, and eating it with a spoon for breakfast simply never appealed to me. And those grapefruit diets? Bizarre.

Until we were in Texas last weekend and I had the most amazing salad with grapefruit in it at a restaurant that changed my mind. So fresh, so juicy, the tart flavor combining perfectly with the other flavors, including kale and lemon.

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I started to notice the Texas grapefruit on display in the grocery stores everywhere, as they are in the height of their season right now, and ever since getting back, have had it on my mind to buy some and incorporate it in some way into a dish. Yesterday I had it with some Greek yogurt and a banana and it was delicious.

Today, I made a simple salad with just kale, avocado, and grapefruit, topped with some lemon olive oil dressing. So simple, fresh, and in season.

I’ve been loving bright citrus lately in these bitter cold winter days. Something about the bright, cheerful colors and juiciness….maybe it’s one of those biological signals that points to a Vitamin C deficiency? Who knows. A doctor I am not.

This kale salad is the perfect light lunch or side dish that only takes minutes to make, as only a handful of ingredients are required.  The avocado gives it a nice protein boost but feel free to make it heartier by adding nuts, sunflower seeds, or even a protein such as chicken or shrimp. Whatever you do, just make it soon. I’m craving it again already.

Grapefruit, Kale, and Avocado Kale Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing

  • 1 cup Tuscan Kale, stems removed
  • ½ red grapefruit, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ avocado, cut into bite size pieces

For the Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add kale to a bowl, add dressing, mix, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add grapefruit and avocado and stir to combine. Eat!

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I hope this bright, colorful salad brings you some cheer during these bitter cold days.

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Life, Lately.

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Since I haven’t been on here as regularly, I figured it’d be a good time to share what I’ve been up to! Between crazy work. Seriously, it’s relentless, and when I come home, unfortunately the last thing I feel like doing is staring at a computer for another couple hours.

We finally took a trip to Houston to see our new niece-Jose’s sister’s daughter- who is now two months old. Too adorable for words.

Texas Junk Company was a pretty cool second hand store literally filled with junk and also thousands of pairs of cowboy boots. They’re all used and authentic and cheap as well. Sadly I did not find any. Suppose that just means I’ll need to go back.

Shishito peppers and the most amazing kale salad (recipe variation coming soon!) on two separate lunch dates with my husband. Love our little Houston dates.

After a nice few days of getting away, I returned to Kansas City and Jose stayed in Texas to drive to his last interview in San Antonio. After some long travels of driving through an ice storm to get back to Kansas City, we celebrated the end of his interviews and crazy travel schedule by going out to dinner for the KC restaurant week. It’s become a fun yearly tradition, and this year went to Westport Cafe. I had escargot for the first time-which was amazingly good. Also pictured is the braised short rib with polenta and croissant bread pudding. So, so good. An expensive treat but totally worth it. Weekends + trips+ family time always goes by too fast……

Chocolate Coconut Date Balls

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With New Year’s resolution time in full force during the month of January, many of us have committed to a new year of healthy eating, or at least a period of detox as we strive to work off all of the extra indulgences we enjoyed during the holiday season. Or maybe it’s to stop buying clothes at Lululemon or new boots…..but I digress. I definitely fit into the latter category in terms of needing a “detox” of some sort; while I regularly try to make healthy choices, I also balance that with a treat or two. However, I think I enjoyed at least a few more treats than usual during this particular holiday season, and have actually not been in the mood for an indulgent dessert lately, which is highly unusual for me!

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Accordingly, these chocolate coconut date balls-or “bites” as I sometimes like to call them instead since I am secretly a 5th grade boy- are perfect. They taste rich and have almost a fudge like consistency, yet they are very healthy, consisting only of dates, cocoa powder, almonds, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. They also come together in minutes and make an effortless dessert for any occasion or are a good healthy snack to have on hand to curb chocolate cravings in a healthier way.  I recently made them for a dinner party and everybody loved them, and could not believe that they only have a few ingredients. Dates are awesome. These keep in the fridge for up to a month so feel free to double or even triple the batch. I do this often.

Chocolate Coconut Date Balls

  • 25 dates
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and “pulse” until well blended, about 2-3 minutes. The mixture should still look chunky and should just barely come together. If mixture is still too crumbly add more dates and/or coconut oil.

Roll into balls and place into fridge until ready to serve.

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New Year’s resolutions seem much more manageable with treats like this.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Why, hello. I’ve been away from this little blog an unexpectedly longer amount of time than planned. Between extended traveling for Christmas and then New Year’s, returning to one of the busiest times of the year at work, and battling some miserable colds (first me, now Jose), there was simply not enough time for writing and blogging.

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I definitely missed it, though. I know I have not been at this for very long, but it’s been very good for me to begin to write again. I used to (and still do) love to write,  and often would write creatively when there was simply more time. It’s been said that writing is like a muscle; you have to work at it in order to improve and refine the skill, and I am definitely seeing the truth in this. With that, I thank you for continuing to read as I continue to find my own groove.

I realize that the last time I posted (which was nearly a month ago-I know everyone says this, but I really do not know where the time went!), it was a recipe for soup. However, between the intense cold spells involving that polar vortex that I really thought must be a made up term until I walked outside this past Monday as well as having a miserable head cold, the only meal that sounded good this past week was some homemade chicken noodle soup. It’s been said that chicken noodle soup has healing powers and I believe it. Whenever I am feeling under the weather, there is simply nothing better.

This recipe is based on a family chicken noodle soup recipe, which was a staple comfort food meal growing up. I made some adjustments due to the ingredients we had on hand, and really liked how it came out.

So, whether you’re feeling under the weather as well as we get further into “flu” season, or if you just need a bowl of comfort, this chicken noodle soup will not fail you. Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 6 stalks of celery, diced
  • 6 carrots, finely sliced
  • 3 leeks, sliced (I used frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. of salt (add more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. chicken bouillian
  • 8 oz. noodles of choice (I use whatever I have on hand-this time it was brown rice fusilli noodles)

Place chicken in large stockpot and fill with water, just enough to fully cover chicken. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat, skimming fat off chicken as it cooks.

When chicken is nearly cooked and fat is skimmed, add celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, and chicken bouillian to pot. Bring to boil then simmer until vegetables are tender. It is also a good idea to remove chicken, shred and remove bones, then place back into pot.

After vegetables are added to soup, cook noodles according to package directions.

When soup is done, serve over noodles with a few squirts of lemon juice and ginger if desired. Toast or crusty bread never hurts either.

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