The Kale Debate.

Happy Wednesday y’all!
Let’s just face it…there is no debate when it comes to kale. At least for me there isn’t. Let’s just say that kale and I are in a committed relationship, and I don’t see us breaking up well…ever. As we all know, there is another debate going on…a political one, and all I want to do is run and hide in my room until November hits and the election is over. But sadly…I cannot. So, I will go about my days making kale salads and pairing it with my other boyfriend…squash (in this case, delicata). 
Oh, and if you think I am going to share any of my delicious kale salad, that might be accompanied by a chocolate chip cookie…or two..for dessert, with you Mr. “Let Me Blow-Up All Social Media with Political Debate Rants”, you can just go climb a tree. Or go and buy a store-bought cookie. Just saying. 
Anyway, yesterday was a gloomy day that ended with a raining evening. The best kind of days, in my opinion, for cooking. I wanted to make something quick and simple. My day old kale was staring at me  like a celebrity stalker. 
Why, hello there!

We are going to take some sweet delicata squash

and do a bit of slicing

and roasting.
The flavor of delicata squash when roasted is just like a french fry…Mickey D lovers beware!

Then we are going to make a salad dressing with 
hummus, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil. 
 It’s creamy, sweet, and tangy all at the same time.

Then we add it all together
with some roasted, chopped walnuts.

Bada-bing! Simple, healthy, and delicious with a whole bunch of flavor!
Now, where is that cookie I was talking about?
Roasted Delicata Squash, Walnut, and Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing (GF/V):
1 medium sized delicata squash, cut in half, seeded, and sliced crosswise 
salt and pepper, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 bunch of lacinato kale, leaves torn from the stems, stems discarded
salt and pepper, to taste
2 t. agave nectar (or honey)
juice of 1 small lemon
2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 t. store-bought plain hummus (I used a homemade hummus recipe)
1/4 c. chopped, roasted, unsalted walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Place the cut squash on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with evoo. Toss to coat.
3. Roast the squash for 30 to 45 minutes, or until lightly golden on both sides. Let the squash cool slightly before adding to the salad. 
4. To make the salad, place the torn lacinato kale in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
5. To make the dressing, in a mason jar, add the agave, lemon juice, evoo, and hummus. Shake to combine. 
6. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss to coat the kale evenly.
7. Add the roasted squash and walnuts and toss again.
8. Plate and enjoy!
Serves 4.

I’m on an Island.

Happy Thursday all!

It’s been pretty foggy, wet, and rainy round’ these here parts. The best part is the humidity which makes for perfect hair! Seriously, I styled my hair yesterday only to go outside to walk the dog, and BAM…I looked like Diana Ross. I know that it may work for her, but I am just not feeling it. I already have long, thick hair, add even 20% humidity and it turns into an afro on a tiny white girl. The weight of it is enough to make me fall over. Plus, how I am I supposed to catch this dude looking like I just stuck my finger in a light socket. No bueno! 

Regardless of the weather, today I take you on an escape, to paradise, that is. The sun is beaming down on you, hot cabana guys (a.k.a. multiple Ryan Reynold’s, at least in my world) are cooling you down with palm leaves while you sip on a icy margarita with a cutesy tiny umbrella in it. You have no care in the world as one margarita turns into two, maybe three or four. Now, while most of us prefer to drink our calories, especially on vacation, food is essential. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some alcohol, but I would take a four-star meal over a glass of wine any day. Well, maybe. 

Anyway, at any point on your fantasy vacation, after you are 3 drink-drunk, this salad will enter your life. It is totally (did I just say totally?) a tropical beach-like salad. Now, I am not talking about the salad you make to take with you to the beach in a picnic basket and before you know it, SAND salad occurs. No, I am talking about this salad…

It starts with Roasted Butternut Squash
which is tropical because I say it is. 
Then I combine it with some Kale, the most tropical green of all?
Then I add some raisins, because who doesn’t love sweet dried up prunes? 
 Love them.
Then, o yes, then it happens.

Toasted Coconut.
Yea, I said it. Now we are on an tropical vacay.

You toss the salad with my Honey Walnut Dressing and BADA-BING!
It’s a tropical vacation in your mouth! Just make sure Ryan Reynold’s serves this to you!


Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Raisins, and Toasted Coconut in a Honey Walnut Dressing:

For the Butternut Squash:

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, as needed 

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place the prepared butternut squash on the baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges of the squash begin to turn brown and caramelize and all pieces are soft.
5. Allow to cool.

For the Toasted Coconut:

1 c. unsweetened large flake coconut.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake for 6 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, tossing once while baking.
4. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer toasted coconut to a small bowl to cool. This will prevent it from burning.  

For the Honey Walnut Dressing:
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. walnut oil
2 T. honey

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

For the Kale Salad:

the roasted butternut squash (see above)
the toasted coconut (see above)
1 c. raisins
the Honey Walnut Dressing (see above)
3 c. kale, ribs removed and leaves tore into bite-sized pieces (I used plain leaved kale but you could use any type, curly leaved or dinosaur kale would work well!)

1. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash, kale, and raisins.
2. Add the toasted coconut and toss again. 
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again.
4. Devour. 

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