Many people see January 1st as a chance for renewal and in some ways I agree. There is something motivating about the idea of people coming together to make positive changes. But the timing is rather arbitrary, don't you think? As a Jewish woman I also get to start "fresh" after fasting on Yom Kippur. As an in-law in a predominantly Chinese family I can wipe the slate clean with a strategically timed haircut, new clothes, the sweep of a broom, and the consumption of traditional foods on Lunar New Year. Is it fair that I get three chances while others only get one?
Maybe it's wisdom. Maybe it's semantics. Maybe it's all the therapy. But as I age (ahem), rather than trying to change myself at artificially prescribed times of the year, I prefer to take stock of what is going on in my life on a continual basis and see what I can do to improve. I also make an effort to give myself credit for areas where I don't need to to make any adjustments. I like this approach because it forces me to appreciate all that I have when I am not always a "glass half-full" type. These mini check-ins are illuminating. May I be so bold as to suggest you try it this year? But only if you promise not to resolve to do it.
For those of you who have made healthy resolutions I offer up this recipe for a raw kale salad. Don't be put off by those three words. This salad is quite tasty, satisfying and quick to throw together. It's a mash-up of two of my favorite kale salads of all time with my own additions. One is from the restaurant Northern Spy and the other is from the always reliable Melissa Clark. I know many children who love versions of these salads so I will even dare to say this is a child-friendly recipe.
Raw Kale SaladAdapted from Northern Spy and Melissa Clark
Serves 2-4 depending on the portion size
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale (also referred to as Tuscan, black, or dinosaur kale)
- 1-2 TBS olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced or mashed to a paste
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1-2 TBS buttermilk (or low fat plain Greek yogurt - these both add creaminess, richness and tang with minimal fat)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds or walnuts
- 1 small green apple, cored and chopped or sliced into matchsticks or about 1/2 cup of red grapes washed and cut into quarters
- 2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash and spin the kale dry.
- Either shred the kale by piling the leaves up and rolling them together and slicing thinly or tear into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon, buttermilk and salt and pepper and mix well - a whisk works best but some vigorous work with a fork will do the trick. Adjust to your tastes (I prefer a very acidic dressing).
- Add the dressing to the kale and toss to combine. You can "massage" the dressing into the kale with your hands if you prefer - this helps break down the fibrous kale a bit.
- Add in the nuts, apples and cheese and stir to combine.
This salad is very adaptable. Try other add-ins, eliminate the buttermilk, use vinegar instead of lemon. You get the idea.