Whole 30 Approved Kale, Apple, & Carrot Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

Two fried eggs served alongside buttered toast with their drippy yolks.  Just enough salt and pepper atop inviting me for another taste.  My first meal after returning home from the hospital with my firstborn.

Bean and bacon soup with far too much sodium gingerly biting down.  Sitting in my bed watching tv, and being nursed after the removal of my wisdom teeth.  

Whole wheat bread lightly toasted.  Mayonnaise spread over with a generous amount of pepper and slices of avocados.  Sitting at the table with my dad, and reveling over this simple meal; yet, one of my most favorite. 

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This fall and early winter felt their pain in my kitchen.  I had forgotten these tastes.  My knife beckoned me often like an old friend; but, all I could say, "Not now, I can't."  Taste buds on hiatus, seemingly like a permanent hiatus. I shuddered.  Food, my companion, my artist palette...depleted.  Grief set in deep, and what was my place of creating and providing I cursed.  

When you lose a beloved brother so suddenly, so tragically, you don't care about food.  You can't taste it's vibrancy like you once could.  Nothing came alive and I resolved to not being able to sing again to the tune of chop, sizzle, sprinkle.  In my belly, deep in the trenches of my gut, there served a hopeless plate of overcooked canned peas and carrots floating in salt ridden wretchedness.  

****

I stood on the scale, assessed my jeans, and the way of the family dinner table being far from what I wanted and what I deserved.  But, sometimes when you're neck deep in the life of swimming peas and carrots, you don't know how to free yourself.  Despair, anxiety, and stress creeps it's head in the form of arsenic chocolate.  Looks delicious but kills you.

Slowly, I'm beginning to remember those yolky eggs.  The joy of simmered shallots mixed with farm fresh eggs, sprinkled with fresh tarragon and black truffle salt is rising.  My chef knife has come out from hiding and happily skating across my board.  

The only reason is choosing life amidst death.  

So, I have chosen a Whole 30 to restart my taste buds, my body, my life, because I want my life.  

Picking up my kale and washing it under clean water, as it collects a pool on the counter.  Slicing out the rib, leaf by leaf.  Quartering my apples, slicing them and swooshing with the blade to create little batons.  Peeling carrots to show off their clean side creates newness in me.  "Oh old friend, it's good to be back," I whisper.  And as I slice through a lemon and garlic, it becomes apparent how habits with my sweet friend have never been forgotten.

Creating a kale salad with such vibrancy and health gives life to me and my family.  It signifies hope worth believing in, one I am humbled to share with you.  

                           Lacinto kale  

                           Lacinto kale

 

                           Chef knife in the ready with one leaf of kale before we remove the rib.

                           Chef knife in the ready with one leaf of kale before we remove the rib.

     Fold the leaf in half to expose the rib.  Since I didn't have my knife right there while cutting I had my thumb exposed.  This is a "no No" when cutting.  Tuck that thumb behind your fingers.  

     Fold the leaf in half to expose the rib.  Since I didn't have my knife right there while cutting I had my thumb exposed.  This is a "no No" when cutting.  Tuck that thumb behind your fingers.  

  You can see where the knife begins and then cut along the rib as close as possible to keep as much of the leaf.

  You can see where the knife begins and then cut along the rib as close as possible to keep as much of the leaf.

                            The rib has been removed and we are left with....

                            The rib has been removed and we are left with....

                           ...what looks like a pair of legs.

                           ...what looks like a pair of legs.

                            Now cut down the middle making two leaves.

                            Now cut down the middle making two leaves.

                            Put one on top of another like so.

                            Put one on top of another like so.

                           Take your chef knife and cut in 1/2 inch slices.

                           Take your chef knife and cut in 1/2 inch slices.

   Quarter and core your apple.  I used Orion apples, which are nothing like Granny smith.  They are slightly tart, but also sweet.

   Quarter and core your apple.  I used Orion apples, which are nothing like Granny smith.  They are slightly tart, but also sweet.

         Using your chef knife, cut each quartered apple into slices, about 1/4 in thick.

         Using your chef knife, cut each quartered apple into slices, about 1/4 in thick.

        Take two of the apple slices and put them on top of one another and cut them into Batons, which is what you see.  These are 1/4 inch

        Take two of the apple slices and put them on top of one another and cut them into Batons, which is what you see.  These are 1/4 inch

                           Different angle, same idea.

                           Different angle, same idea.

  For the dressing, you will need Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, jalapeno, Garlic (not shown) salt, cashews, & apple cider vinegar.

  For the dressing, you will need Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, jalapeno, Garlic (not shown) salt, cashews, & apple cider vinegar.

  I use chopped cashews, because they are infinitely cheaper to buy from Azure Standard.  So when they are chopped up I use 1/2 cup.  If you were using whole cashews, I would only do 1/4-1/3 cup.

  I use chopped cashews, because they are infinitely cheaper to buy from Azure Standard.  So when they are chopped up I use 1/2 cup.  If you were using whole cashews, I would only do 1/4-1/3 cup.

 Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, aCV into a high powered blender and blend to emulsify.  Then after 10 seconds or so, add the cashews and jalapeno and blend more.  It should look like this.

 Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, aCV into a high powered blender and blend to emulsify.  Then after 10 seconds or so, add the cashews and jalapeno and blend more.  It should look like this.

 Put all that chopped up Kale into a bowl, add the dressing and mix it into the kale.  I use my clean hands to  massage it into it.  Take a peeled carrot and shred it on a cheese grater, put it on top of kale. take your apple batons and put those on top as well.

 Put all that chopped up Kale into a bowl, add the dressing and mix it into the kale.  I use my clean hands to  massage it into it.  Take a peeled carrot and shred it on a cheese grater, put it on top of kale. take your apple batons and put those on top as well.

Mix it all together, take toasted hazelnuts and chop them up and pour them over the salad.  Zest some lemon if you'd like. 

Mix it all together, take toasted hazelnuts and chop them up and pour them over the salad.  Zest some lemon if you'd like. 

Kale, Apple & Carrot Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing (Whole 30 friendly & Vegan) (Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

2 heads of Lacinto kale (or whatever kale you like)

2 carrots

2 Orion apples, or one which is sweet & tart

1 lemon

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp jalapeno, minced

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup chopped cashews

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, then chop afterwards

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350, place your hazelnuts on a pan lined with parchment.  Toast for about 7-9 minutes.  Truth, I never time them.  I use my olfactory on them.  They should begin to release a toasty smell and when you open the oven, the skins will turn a darker brown, while the inside will become light brown.  Once they are done, put them on a clean kitchen towel and wrap them up.  Allow them to sit in the covered towel for about 5 minutes.  Then, begin vigorously rubbing the hazelnuts while in the towel to rub off the skins.  

Separate the nuts from the rubbed off skins and set aside.

Wash your kale.  With a chopping board and a chef knife, take one leaf and place it right side up.  Now, fold the leaf in half where you can see the exposed rib.  The rib is the thick middle running lengthwise of the kale leaf.  Take your knife and put the point end, place it at the base of the leaf and rib (where the rib is the thickest).  Begin to slice along the rib and leaf to remove the rib, while leaving 1/3 of the top in tact.  

Set the rib aside (or if you have chickens gather them up and feed them the scraps), which leaves you with a half in tact kale leaf minus the fibrous rib.  Slice right down the middle, in order to leave you with two smaller kale leaves.  Put one leave on top of another.  With your knife, begin to cut 1/2 inch slices crosswise.  Repeat till all the kale is cut into 1/2 inch crosswise slices.  Put into a large salad bowl.

Cut your apples into quarters.  Remove the cores.  With your knife, slice your apples into 1/4 inch slices.  Stack two apple slices on top of one another.  Begin to cut 1/4 inch batons from those slices.  Set aside.

Peel two carrots and cut off both ends.  With a cheese grater, shred the carrots.  Set aside.

In a high powered blender (or whatever you have).  Add juice from one lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic cloves and salt.  Begin to blend until it has emulsified.  On my Vitamix this takes 10-15 seconds.  Add the cashews and jalapeno to blend for 45 seconds or so.  You are wanting to create a creamy dressing, which might resemble a watered down hummus.

Pour all of the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the leaves, ensuring you have evenly distributed it.  Put the shredded carrots and apple batons on top.  Toss it together.  Take your toasted hazelnuts and chop them.  Or do what I do and put them into a bag, use the bottom of a canning far and pound them so they're roughly chopped.  Sprinkle them on top.  If you want, add some lemon zest.  In order to get the lemon zest, be sure to zest your lemon before you slice it to get the juice out.  Serves an army.
 

 

How the Seattle Seahawks Encourage My Parenting

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Sundays in these parts let off a glow of the television as Papa watches his team, and invites his family of girls to join in on the festivities.  He talks about his love affair with Seahawks through thick and thin, notably the thin times as a teenager into his 20s.  In the early years of marriage, he spoke with hope for his team to make it to the playoffs.  Only to be sadly disappointed from one too many losses.  

"A Seahawk fan knows let down," he would say.  

Like a young boy building up courage to ask the girl he adores to go to the dance.  She smiles, talks with him giving him a glimmer of hope, only to decline.  This was the theme song to Ben's heart for decades.  The glimmer shone in 2006 as they battled the Steelers at the Superbowl.  Crushed again.  

As the team progressed, Pete Carroll became head coach, this team began to change.  The 12th man grew in momentum in likes of Seattle reaching to Bellingham to Spokane to other states.  This Arizonian girl began to believe a bit more in this 12th man comradery, which seemed to bond the most unlikely individuals (those of opposing political to religious beliefs).  It grew and grew with the ever present rain until a beast, the best kind possible, would birth forth.  And men, like my husband, would witness for the first time his team winning the Super Bowl.  

*****

Now, there are many naysayers out there about money going into sporting events, players getting paid quite lushly, and the "what's the point of this."  However, I would object by saying it was their game against the Packers on January 18th, which brought my understanding and appreciation of the Seattle Seahawks to a whole new level.  

By nature, I'm more emotional and loud, while Ben is more steady and demure.  This translates to me shouting, "OH c'mon!!  Ben, this is stressing me out, they're not gonna win."  Meanwhile, Ben calmly says, "They're a 2nd half team Kamille.  There is always a chance."  Much like old Harry saying, "So you're saying there's a chance." I could not see any chance, while Ben never lost faith.  I saw Wilson get intercepted, Kearse miss catches, and a time clock (2:30) and scoreboard, which boasted the Packers favor.  After watching the game (Seahawks-Packers), I quickly became a believer in persistence, running the race till the finish and how later that night as I put my V to bed how it would be the source to encourage my girl.

She told me how she felt like she would never accomplish certain academic tasks, or succeed in specific areas of her life.  All she saw was defeat.  Like many a mamas before me, and beside me and after me, we see this space as holy ground where God gives us moments to speak his words into our children's lives.  And so I prayed something like this:

Jesus, Thank you for V.  Thank you for her life, for making her, for calling her into existence and knowing her.  Thank you for knowing the things, which are hard for her even before she knew them.  And still, thank you that you made her for a special purpose.  Jesus, I think of the Seahawks today and how they never gave up.  Russell Wilson would make lots of mistakes, and he didn't let it define him or cause him to stop fighting.  He persevered, you know persevere Veronica? It means you keep running the race even if you fall lots of times.  Russell Wilson did just that, he kept running the race.  It's not about how many times you fail, or fall.  What matters is how you get back up and keep trying.  When reading is difficult, you get to be like Wilson and keep sounding out the words as he kept throwing the ball.  Our worth is not in what we do; but, that we simply are.  Thank you Jesus for giving Veronica a Seahawk spirit, which doesn't let others define her potential.  Thank you for the way you keep believing in her even when the clock says 2:30 minutes and the scoreboard is not in her favor.  

And friends, that's why I have grown to love this team.  It's hearing my V say, "My favorite player is Russell Wilson, because he visits the children at the Children's Hospital."  You can't always teach kindness or perseverance, and I'm pretty sure she didn't learn it from me; rather, a gift God gave her to give to the rest of us.  She makes me believe in the 12th man.     

Bringing Back 80s Birthday Parties

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My sweet V had her eighth birthday this month.  She had been speaking of a Mickey Mouse birthday party for well over five months.  One of her ideas included a Mickey Mouse birthday cake.  I already knew I was not going to buy a "use only once $30 cake pan."  Instead, I would be creating my own copy of Mickey Mouse using my rather less than perfect copying skills.  

In my attempt to avoid using artificial dyes with ADHD issues, I used leftover ganache in my fridge to draw Mickey and color his skin.  I used turmeric for his shoes, and cherry jam for his shorts.  It created a bit more of a challenge needless to say.   

After I finished drawing and filling out Mickey, I laughed at this image which lay before me.  His head was a bit larger than the rest of his body with a sinister look on his face.  The image in my brain didn't quite transfer onto the frosted brownies.  Still, in making these brownies and decorating it with Mickey made me think of my sixth birthday party.  

My cake was white with pink frosting and sprinkles everywhere.  Deliberately, I placed my Strawberry Shortcake figurines on the pink frosting to replicate my version of a store made Strawberry Shortcake cake.  We played charades, ran around the house and opened presents.  There weren't any party favors, or fancy decorations.  I had a blast.  

Birthday parties of old remind me when life wasn't overcomplicated.  Maybe it's because I was a carefree kid; yet,  as a mama in an age of social media I often feel a struggle between two worlds of birthday parties.  

One faces a time when all cakes were in a 9x13 pan accompanied by a scoop of ice cream, when food allergies & sensitivities were scarce, and kids played outside a lot.  Back to a time when decorations were scarce and party favors were a treat, not obligatory.

The other faces the current time where Pinterest showcases a world we feel we need to buy into.  Where a birthday party is successful when the streamers, balloons, opulent cake pops constructed with matching party favors, and thank you notes already written handed to guests on the way out.  The world where money has no bounds it would seem.  

Can I ask---where did this world come from?  Does it buy more joy?  Does it buy happiness?  How did perfection get misconstrued as beauty?  

When I woke up on the morning of V's birthday party, groggy and in desperate need of coffee, I got plummeted by THE BIGGEST HUG and a "Thank you Mama for making the best Mickey cake! I love it!" 

As I went to bed the night before thinking, "Oh I wish I could have done a better job," I was met with gratitude from one of my biggest fans.  

Mamas, can we bring back birthday parties of the 80s, or whatever that means to you? 

Let's pull out our 9x13 pans, leaving the cake in the pan to serve (as if there was ever another option).                 Let's serve a scoop of ice cream to accompany it.  Let's play charades, or pin the tail on Mickey or some other ridiculous game kids love.  Let's get rid of feeling we have to give party favors out.  Let's ignore what Pinterest, Martha Stewart or some blogger showcases as "normal."  Let's not spend our time replicating perfection for perfection sake. Rather, let's embrace simplicity at its core. One where we aren't dipping into savings for a birthday memory. One where our kids are introduced to a carefree childhood of friends singing "Happy Birthday" as candles flicker in that ole glass Pyrex pan, and a simple "Thank you for coming to my party," is sufficient party favors. 

PS: I am starting a monthly newsletter, At the Breakfast Nook, where I will be sharing recipes, kitchen fare, hospitality and life on our farmhouse, etc.  Signing up will be like your at my breakfast nook sharing a cup of coffee or tea. You can either put your name in the email below or follow through on this Breakfast Nook link.

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Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.