Thursday, November 27, 2014

Don't Forget to Massage the Kale!

When food assignments are given out for family holiday meals, I am normally assigned to bring a salad.  I never know whether that is a hint at the fact that I'm not the best cook in the family, a loving offer since I am a working caregiving mom or an ode to the fact that I never just open a bag of mixed greens and throw them in a bowl.  I take my salad assignments very seriously.

My Thanksgiving Salad this year featured one of 2014's favorites among healthy eaters: KALE.  I'd never eaten kale before.  I was actually kind of afraid of the rough thick leaves, but I knew that it was considered a Super Food loaded with vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants which basically means it is really good for you.  What I did not know is that kale is very high maintenance when it comes to being in a salad.  You don't simply wash and chop.  You need to massage the kale.  That's right . . . massage.  Massage turns this bitter chewy green into a tender and sweet centerpiece for a deliciously healthy salad.

I washed the kale and removed the leaves from the stems.  I sprinkled it with some sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Then I went to work with my fingertips to gently massage the kale in the same manner I would massage someones shoulders.    After five minutes, the stiff leaves were looser and more relaxed just like a stressed out person turns to putty in your hands after a good shoulder massage.  I was amazed! 

Topped with roasted butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, crisp bacon, diced red onion and a warm apple cider dressing this was one yummy salad!
Massaged Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
I was obviously not the only one who did not know the impact that massage has on kale.  As my family began to fill their plates and came upon my salad, one after another asked with scrunched up noses, "Is this kale?  In a salad?"  I explained that it was not just regular kale . . . it was massaged kale.  I was happy when everyone who tasted it really liked it.

Next time you're making a salad, don't pass up the kale!  There is no need to be afraid.  Just know that it requires an extra step before tossing it with your favorite toppings.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank you for reading my blog and following my crazy journey of attempting to make healthy choices in a stress-filled, busy life.  I am thankful for the opportunity to share it with you!
Staying warm before Turkey Trot 2014

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