For as far back as I could remember, I always loved to cook. Most of my childhood memories are of me standing on a stool in the kitchen watching my family cook. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell the aroma of sweet and sour spare ribs, cupcakes or fresh pumpkin bread. While I have always loved to cook, I have never had the privilege of having my own garden.
When my husband and I bought a house in 2010 we dreamed of one day owning the 1/3 of an acre lot next to our home. It had the perfect amount of space for a few raised beds and already had established fruit trees. When the opportunity arose for us to buy the property, we jumped right in and began dreaming of a garden the following year. Fast forward to spring of 2015 and our dreams of a garden were coming together.
My husband, along with a few family members built us six 12×5 ft garden boxes and my husband and I shoveled all 15 yards of garden soil into them ourselves. This was quite a task considering I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time and working until 9pm in the garden made this mama quite tired.
After filling the boxes and planting the seeds, I watched the garden grow from just a few small plants to a flourishing vegetable abyss. We planted about 12 different varieties of vegetables but one vegetable in particular has overtaken and claimed almost an entire garden box.
Kale, you have taken over box number one as if it was your plan all along. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. We eat kale every other day, if not every single day. It is hearty and one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. We make kale chips, salads, add it to soups and saute it with bacon. Our two year old loves snacking on the leaves feverishly as I bend over trying to heave my 38 week pregnant belly over the side to pluck the leaves off of the center plants. There is nothing more incredible than growing our own food so for my first post it only felt fitting to share our favorite recipe for Kale salad.
- 2 bunches of kale, chopped This should translate to around 5 cups chopped
- 2 large carrots, grated or juilenned
- 1/4 c sliced almonds or unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c feta cheese
- 1/4 c dried cranberries
- **Add all ingredients to a large bowl and set aside while you make the dressing
- For the dressing
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 2T dijon mustard
- 2T Honey (If you don't already, I recommend buying honey from your local farmers market. It gives the dressing an incredible flavor)
- 2T lemon juice
- Black pepper to taste
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together until well combined. I never measure anything so taste as you go. If you feel it needs more sweetness, add honey. Not enough bite or zing? Add more lemon juice. Cooking is all about feeling, so go with your gut!
- Pour dressing over salad and mix, mix, mix! Make sure everything is well coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 20 minutes to help develop flavor.
- We often use this as a side dish in the summertime but occasionally top it with chicken or shrimp to make it a main course.