Alexa’s Asian Kale Salad

Kale has never been one of my favorite food, especially as the primary ingredient whether cooked or raw.  I’ve had it in soups which is ok and it’s really good in green smoothies, but it only flavors these dishes.  I’ve tried sauteing it and also making kale chips and no one in the family has been fanatical about either.

This recently changed! We had friends over for dinner a  few weeks back and she offered to bring a salad and dessert and  I served my Sweet and Spicey Asian Pork with bok choy.  As luck would have it, she brought a kale salad! I was a bit worried at first and only took a small serving, but soon had seconds and thirds.  The flavors mixed so well with some sweetness from the oranges, a little bite from the ginger and garlic and some spice!  Truly fantastic.

My friend was gracious enough to share the recipe with me and we had it again last week.  The kids each asked for seconds and I think hubby had at least three if not four servings.  Which if you’ve read some of my past posts… is amazing!  He is NOT a salad eater and really will only eat it if I ask him if he has had any yet or if I serve dinner with salads already dished up!

I know it was because of the Asian flare that he not only ate it, but also really enjoyed it.  At the end of dinner the boys asked when we could have it again.  I said I wasn’t sure and Tonchi said he would help me make it again for dinner the next night!

My dear friend Alexa created this recipe and was willing to let me share it with you!  She used a couple of sites for inspiration and then went for it! She really does a great job adding a little of this and a little of that together to make fantastic dishes.  In fact, when she has made something that I’d like to try and duplicate, it’s often hard to get a recipe out of her!  She doesn’t use them and doesn’t record (usually) what she adds.  This time, she had a feeling I would ask and she wrote it down for me! 😉

So… here it is!  Try and enjoy!

photo (2)

Asian Kale Salad

¼ c olive oil
1 T honey
1 t minced ginger
¼ c rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic
2 T GF tamari
1 T toasted sesame oil
½ t hot chili sesame oil

Blend in Vitamix.

1 head organic kale (I used dino/lacinto), ribbed and cut/torn into bite sized pieces
1 tsp salt
2 carrots, grated
½ small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
⅓ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 c fresh snow peas, julienned
2 small oranges, peeled and diced
sesame seeds

Toss kale with salt and massage.  Add all other ingredients and toss.  Add dressing and toss again.  Let sit at least 1 hr before serving.  Drizzle with sesame oil and honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds when serving.

The only thing I did differently, is that I didn’t have any spicy sesame sauce so I just added about 1/2 tsp of red curry paste and it was definitely not the same, but still super good!

If you give it a try, I’d love to know what you think and if you’ll make it again!  This is kid approved in our home, I hope it is in yours as well!


Hawaiian Burgers

I had never heard of these before, although they sounded great because I love a good Hawaiian pizza…. so if it is anything like that I was sure I would love it!  Brian assured it me it was a real thing and it was good!   Continue reading “Hawaiian Burgers”


These days we are being over run with fresh basil.  Never a bad thing, but it always stresses me out when they start to go to seed, which takes the sweetness out of the basil and results in a bitter flavor.  It really bothers me to see things going to waste. I’m constantly nipping the tops off to preserve them for a little longer!  So as I attempt to use it all I’ve come up with lots of recipes for fresh basil that we really enjoy in the summer.  Even just throwing a bit in a fresh summer salad is delish. Continue reading “Pesto”

Ranch Dressing

When we made the ‘chicken wings’ for Tonchi’s birthday a few weeks ago,I wanted to have a dip for them since they were being breaded and not covered in a sweet and sour or barbeque sauce.  I didn’t want them to be too dry since they were also baked.  And as most kids prefer, a dipping sauce is a must!

The first option that came to mind was ranch dressing but the last time I looked at the label I was concerned with what was included in the ingredient list. The first few ingredients are normal, understandable ingredients that are to be expected, but then it includes sugar as the fourth ingredient, MSG and quite a few additives, preservatives and artificial flavors.

I figured that if I looked hard enough on the web that maybe I could find a good substitute.  I did spend quite some time looking through different options and recipes from a multitude of websites.  All the looking finally paid off!

Marks Daily Apple is a great primal blog and has lots of great recipes.  This recipe for ranch dressing is amazing!  It definitely isn’t as thick or creamy as the store bought varieties, but the flavor is far superior!

Here is the link for Mark’s Daily Apple Creamy Ranch Dressing.  I’d recommend reading his post about it, which I found informative, amusing and so true!  Also he advises following the recipe to a ‘t’ the first time around before altering it.  I did… sorta! 😉  And it was awesome and the whole family (except our dairy free Aisling) voted to have it again!  I have a feeling this will be a new favorite!

My changes:
I didn’t have greek yogurt or buttermilk, so I used organic yogurt (which I strained in a cheesecloth for about an hour or two) and our raw farm milk which is about like cream.  I also added the mayonnaise which he lists as optional.  I make mine with 50/50 olive oil/coconut oil which makes a thick mayo (like icing) and I figured it would help thicken the dressing.

It still turned out a little on the thin side, but the flavor definitely made up for it!  It isn’t a direct imitation, but it is a good substitution!  I haven’t had commercial ranch dressing in a few years either, so I may not remember the flavor 100% either!

Give it a try and I’d love to know what you think!

Update March 2014

We had this dip again with chicken wings and I wanted to make it completely diary free so that not only Aisling, but Koa as well could enjoy it.  I changed it a little bit more, but it’s definitely still the core recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple.  I can’t claim any of it, but here is the list of ingredients and the few changes I’ve made.  

Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 heaping teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Just mix it all together and enjoy!

Spinach Salad and Vegan Mayonnaise Dressing

I grew up eating this salad and have always liked it!  I recently had it again and can’t remember why we haven’t had this in so long! 😉  Spinach is so tasty and hearty! So delicious and so nutritious too! Continue reading “Spinach Salad and Vegan Mayonnaise Dressing”

Caesar Salad Dressing

This dressing has been a huge favorite of ours and is used quite frequently! In fact I made it for our Easter dinner and then again for dinner with friends this last week! It always gets rave reviews and the best part is, it’s simple and healthy!

This dressing isn’t a true Caesar dressing since I don’t add the anchovy fillets. It would certainly add more flavor and nutrients if some were added. Probably two is all that is needed to do the job!

I often use this dressing for a typical caesar salad with chicken and fresh parmesan cheese, but I also will frequently use it for other salads as well. I think it is especially tasty on spring greens with grapes, almond slivers and fresh goat cheese! ALL the kids love it and will often have three and four servings!

⅓ cup fresh parmesan cheese
¼ cup homemade mayonaise
1 ½ TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 ½ TBSP fresh lemon or lime juice
1 ½ tsp homemade mustard
½ tsp worcestershire sauce
¼ cup olive oil (or any oil of choice)
1 clove garlic(optional)
2 anchovies(optional)

Mix all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix until well blended. If I’m not adding the fresh garlic or anchovies I will often just put all the ingredients in a jar and give it a few good shakes and serve!

Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Dressing and Side Pepper Salad

As I mentioned earlier this week it has been quite warm for March/April for Northern Virginia.  Because of that I’ve been in the mood to use the grill and have summer salads for dinner!  I know!  Summer isn’t anywhere close, but I’m so ready for the warm weather!  Just having the front door open, breezes in the window, hearing the birds chirp and the warm sidewalk under bear toes!  Hmmm!!!  The joys of spring and summer! Continue reading “Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Dressing and Side Pepper Salad”

Homemade Mustard

Condiments are easy to buy, but even easier to make on your own.  It’s also great because most of the ingredients are already in the kitchen!  If you run out of one, just make it again and you don’t have to figure out who is going to run to the grocery store before dinner can be completed!  We have truly benefited from making our own mayonnaise, salad dressings, ketchup and the like. Continue reading “Homemade Mustard”

Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part XI – Salad Dressings

Removing commercial salad dressings from our diet is a great way to get rid of a lot of empty, negative calories, preservatives, stabilizers, artificial flavorings, artificial colors, sweeteners and MSG.  They are so simple and easy to make and taste amazing! Continue reading “Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part XI – Salad Dressings”

Homemade Fermented Ketchup

I had anxiously awaited that day for months!  I couldn’t wait until we finished the Costco sized bottle of ketchup.  I know I could have thrown it out, but I just couldn’t do it.  I could almost cry anytime I have to throw out food, especially when it’s really good whole foods!  That is certainly not the case with this particular corn syrup contaminated, red dyed, preservative infested brand!  Even though I knew that was true I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out…. but we finished it in May of last year!  Just in time for summer bar-b-ques! Continue reading “Homemade Fermented Ketchup”