Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jewelled Winter Kale Salad

The fundraiser is over and I am physically and mentally exhausted.  We had an amazing turn out and the bouncy castle and games were a huge hit with the kids.  Believe it or not, I won ALL 3 baking contests!  Mom Who Runs cookie recipe really is the bomb.  There was only one other pie entry to be honest, but hey I'll take 1st place!  I gave the trophies to the second place winners.  The gingerbread houses were sold off at the end.

But seriously, stress is so toxic.  Really its so stupid that we all get worked up over what is really such insignificant stuff.  I'm as guilty of it as the next person.  I constantly need to remind myself to put it all in perspective.  But I'm pleased with how it went and am looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Oh wait, its only Wednesday.  Oh yeah, and our upcoming weekend is like insanely jam-packed.  Sigh!

Moving on to food.

One of the things that is fairly consistent among clients seeking help with weight loss, is that they don't do much cooking and rely far too heavily on restaurant food/prepared foods.  There are studies that have directly linked # meals eaten in restaurants/per week with BMI.  I promise you, no matter how healthy a restaurant dish seems, it is most likely far higher in calories, fat and salt than you can ever imagine.  The Toronto Star often does lab analyses of restaurant meals, and even a very nutritious dish from, say, a raw, vegan restaurant can be almost a days worth of calories (because of the reliance on nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut and other high calorie ingredients).  Of course, most are way way worse because they aren't even nutritious and - in the case of fast food - are basically toxic.

It's always shocked me how many people buy their breakfast and lunch every day.  Not just because of the monetary cost, as well as the cost to your health and waistline, but also because I think you can often make far yummier food at home!

When people tell me they don't like to cook or don't know how, I tell them it is a critical life skill and one worth learning.  I explain to them that being organized and prepared is key.  If you don't arm yourself with healthy food at all times, you're in trouble, because we live in a culture where we are always surrounded with easily accessible, highly palatable (thanks to sugar, fat and salt) food options that make it too easy to over consume calories, and the worst kind of calories, at that.

Cooking fresh food at home doesn't have to be time consuming, it's also a great creative outlet.  Think about it, if you rely on prepared food all the time, you are constrained by the imagination of other people (as well as their desire to make a profit), if you make it home, you have the freedom to explore your own unique tastes and preferences. Sky's the limit!

This is my new favorite lunch.  It is sweet, savoury and comforting.  Thanks to the sweet potato and hemp seeds it is also extremely satisfying.  It's full of super foods, but I just think it tastes super.  And when I brought it to work, there were many folks commenting on how amazing it looks.  The colours alone are beautiful, but the taste is out of this world!

Jewelled Winter Kale Salad

1 head kale, washed, dried and finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, roasted, diced (I keep skin on, but you can discard skin, if desired)
2 tbls hulled hemp seeds
2 tbls pomegranate seeds

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Warm Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

1 red onion, diced
600g bag frozen blueberries
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbls maple syrup
1 tsp konjac powder or 1 tsp xantham gum

Place onion, blueberries and cider vinegar in pot or sauce pan over medium/high heat.  Bring to boil and then simmer over med/low.  Add balsamic and maple syrup and simmer until onion and blueberries are soft.  Remove from heat and stir in thickener.  Pour desired amount over salad (I used about half).

This recipe has been shared with Wellness Weekend and No Croutons Required recipe Link-Ups.