Tag Archives: Kale

A Tale of Two Pavlovas and a Day in the Life

Baklava Pavlova

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was excited about my pavlova plan for last night. It’s a little creation I like to call “Baklava Pavlova”… because that’s fun to say, and because it has the nut and honey combo that makes baklava so darn tasty! I mixed 1/2 a tsp of Tupelo honey with 2 Tbsp. of Greek yogurt to make the creamy topping, topped that with chopped cinnamon almonds, and then drizzled another 1/2 of a tsp of honey over the top. I think this one might have been my favorite of the four pavlovas, although tonight’s was pretty awesome too!!!

Since I have to sit through a lawyeriffic conference for the next two days (whilst trying to avoid munching on the breakfast and lunch buffets out of boredom…), I decided to just go ahead and do my weekly “day in the life” food journal post today. I was also working from home, which typically results in less interruptions. So, here it is…

Breakfast was a latte made with unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and a bit of sugar free Torani white chocolate syrup. Unsweetened vanilla almond breeze is, hands down, my favorite non-dairy milk. I really love the stuff! I also had a bowl of oat bran topped with five strawberries, 1/2 an ounce of chopped cinnamon almonds from Trader Joe’s and 1/2 of a Tbsp. of honey. I’m so excited about the oat bran purchase, and this bowl was delicious. Amazingly, it kept me full until lunch, and I didn’t need to go looking for an 11:00 snack.

BreakfastI love oat bran!! I’m also a big fan of anything involving honey and nuts. Speaking of honey, do you know the Van Morrison song, “Tupelo Honey?” I’m a fan of it. I was thinking of it when I chose the Tupelo honey over the other honeys at the store. If I need to laugh, I just listen to that song and focus on the back up singers. They make the song. Their part is hilarious. Speaking of focusing…. Sorry about that…. 

Oat Bran, Strawberries, Cinnamon Almonds and HoneyFor lunch, I made a salad with Boston butter lettuce, roma tomato, carrots, onions and celery and then topped it with my favorite creamy dressing. 

Hummussy SaladMy dressing is made of 1 Tbsp. of Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp. of Forty Spices Hummus, and a little bit of salt and then thinned out with a bit of lemon juice. Since there are about a zillion flavors of hummus available, the possibilities for this dressing seem endless.

Hummus, Yogurt and Lemon... Yum!I also had a serving of my “Big Batch” Broccoli and White Bean Bake  and some leftover spinach and mushrooms topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. I think the casserole is getting better by the day, and I’m really loving the beans!

Broccoli and White Bean Bake

For lunch dessert, I had a bowl of TJ’s fruit and fiber cereal with some dried peaches and a little skim milk.

Lunch DessertTime sort of got away from me this afternoon. I spent a lot of the day on the phone with my boss and with the analysts I work with trying to get things squared away before my two day hiatus. At some point,  I realized that I was past due for a snack so I doubled up and had a bowl of fresh pineapple and a piece of peanut butter toast with sugar free jam.

PB&J Toast and PineappleAfter that, I had a vitatop…

Chocolate Vita TopThat was followed by one last snack before I went to kickboxing. Despite being sick, I’ve mostly kept up with my workout schedule. It has been tough to muster up the energy to go, but I find that I feel better afterwards. At the very least, my nose unstops for a little while. I went to class tonight since I can’t go tomorrow during lunch, and I needed something that would hold me past my usual dinnertime and through the class. Siggi’s Pomegranate and Passion Fruit (with its 16 grams of protein) was the winner along with some Fiber One. I tried the orange and ginger flavor last week and posted about it. I tried the blueberry yesterday, and really liked it. I’d been saving this one since it involved pomegranate (which I LOVE), thinking that it would be “blow my mind” good. Unfortunately, the passion fruit flavor is predominant, and, well, I don’t love passion fruit. I think that the orange and ginger is my fave, and I’ll definitely be stocking up on it and the blueberry in the future. 

Siggi'sAfter class, I made dinner: crispy kale and tacos made with 96/4 ground beef, Cabot 75% reduced fat sharp cheddar, Pepitos corn tortillas (2 for 1 point!), and some salsa. I love tex mex, and I can usually get a fix with something as basic as this.

Crispy Kale and TacosFinally…. Pavlova’s swan song. I ate the last of my four little pavlovas this evening. I’m going to be sad when I don’t have one to eat tomorrow night, but I’m determined not to get into a pavlova addiction/dessert rut. The last pavlova was topped with some fat free cool whip, a Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, and fresh strawberries. It was a pretty classic flavor combo with a bit of peanut buttery goodness mixed in, and it was yummy. I think that the Baklava Pavlova was my favorite, but this one is probably the runner up.

Pavlova's Swan Song

If you were dressing a pavlova, what would yours be wearing? 

I had a pretty yummy day!! Now I need to pack a bunch of snacks for tomorrow and head off to bed. These conferences always seem to involve buffets of pastries in the morning and buffets of mayonnaisey salads and cardboardy desserts at noon. I’m not planning to avoid the free food altogether. I just suspect that, if this is similar to other events I’ve attended, most of the food may not really be worth my points. That means I need to be prepared with things that I would prefer to eat so that I don’t eat the other junk out of boredom or hunger. I may sneak a few photos, and I will definitely tell you how it goes tomorrow including whether any of the food makes the cut and finds its way onto my plate!!

A few tidbits to wrap up:

Tina– you will be getting some interview questions from me tomorrow or Friday so get ready! I can’t wait to learn more about you!

BSI!!!

Don’t forget to submit your BSI entries to me at melodylawgirl@yahoo.com by midnight on Sunday, March 1st. This week is BSI: Black Beans. I’ve received one luscious looking entry so far, and updated the post so check it out!

Other Awesome Contests!!

Check out this awesome granola that Heather is giving away at Hangry Pants.

Also check out this fun giveaway going on at Mara’s site!

Goodnight, y’all!

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Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Good to the last bite!

I’ve found so many inspiring, entertaining and creative blogs since I started writing my own. I’m amazed at the number of people who love food as much as I do!! While reading one blog that I particularly enjoy, What I Ate Yesterday, I learned about a weekly contest where a secret ingredient is chosen by a host blogger, and then other bloggers are given the opportunity to submit recipes using that ingredient. It just so happens that this week’s secret ingredient is kale, which is one of my favorite greens! Of course, I couldn’t resist entering. I know I’m kind of new to the party, so I hope they don’t mind!

The recipe I came up with uses my favorite technique for cooking veggies: oven roasting. Oven roasted kale? You bet! A few years ago, I had a meal at Rasika, a restaurant in DC, and one of the appetizers involved crispy fried spinach topped with a little bit of creamy dressing. It was so good!  It had never occurred to me to have crispy greens! Mine were always slow cooked or wilted down in a skillet.

Since I’m not really one to fry things in vats of oil, I was looking for another way to get nice crispy greens. The answer, as usual, involved some oven roasting. As for the salad toppings, I was thinking of what would go well with the slight bite of kale, and sweet and tangy pomegranate seeds seemed like a good choice. I’m trying to eat as many pomegranate seeds as I can before they disappear until next season! I had the pomegranate molasses from a previous cooking adventure, and it was just the thing to add some sweetness and tang to my little drizzle. Finally, I always love toasted nuts in my salads, and I decided that while I was having a bowlful of super foods, I might as well have some toasted walnuts on the top!

Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Crispy Kale Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranate Drizzle

Ingredients:

1/2 pound kale, rinsed and patted dry

2 tsp. olive oil

Cooking spray

1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt (or 1/8 tsp. regular table salt)

1/4 cup Fage 0% nonfat Greek yogurt

4 tsp. pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds

2 Tbsp. walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

Cooking the Kale

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet well with nonstick cooking spray. After washing and patting the kale dry, remove the tough stems and tear kale into medium sized pieces. Toss the kale on the baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 tsp. of olive oil. After adding the oil, spray the kale with more nonstick cooking spray. Use your hands to mix the kale around on the baking sheet making sure it is coated in the cooking spray and olive oil.

Massaging the Kale

It is ok if the kale isn’t in a single layer as it is going to cook down rather quickly. Pop the baking sheet in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes. The kale is going to cook for a total of 15-20 minutes, but it is really important to give it a stir every 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the kale. Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes. After a total of 10 minutes, remove the kale from the oven and stir it again. Then sprinkle it with 1/2 tsp. of coarse sea salt. Return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. After a total of 15 minutes in the oven, take it out and stir it again. You may find that it is tender and crispy enough to suit you at this point. If you think it needs a little more time, pop it back into the oven for a couple more minutes but keep a close eye on it. After it is cooked to a crispy browned loveliness, remove from the oven and set aside.

Crispy Roasted Kale

Pomegranate Drizzle

This is so easy that it hardly even merits a separate section! Place the 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt and the 4 tsp. of pomegranate molasses in a small bowl, and mix well with a fork. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, you might try mixing in a small amount of pomegranate juice and honey. 

Drizzle Makers

Assembling The Salad

Divide the kale among four medium sized plates. Top each plate of kale with 1/4 of the pomegranate drizzle. The mixture is rather thick, but I used a fork to make sure to drizzle it around fairly evenly. Next, top each bowl with 1 Tbsp. of pomegranate seeds and 1/2 Tbsp. of toasted walnuts. 

Pomegranate Seeds

Enjoy!!!

This makes 4 unofficial 2 point servings.

If the idea of a kale salad seems odd to you, trust me on this one! The kale was light and crispy and went so well with the creamy and crunchy toppings. The flavors were amazing together. The kale, by the way, would also be great roasted and eaten plain. I would serve this is a starter or a side dish along with a nice piece of grilled tilapia or a juicy pork tenderloin. This is a salad that I would be proud to serve to guests, and that I’m thrilled to be serving to myself today!

In other news, I went to the Kennedy Center last night to see Swan Lake performed by the American Ballet Theatre. Before going to law school, I taught music in public schools in southern Missouri for four years. My undergraduate degree is in vocal music performance, and, although I am just a spectator these days, I very much enjoy attending events and supporting the arts. 

The Kennedy Center is a fun place to go, and I’m always happy to walk through the doors into the grand hall of nations which is lined with flags from every country with which the United States has diplomatic relations:

Hall of NationsThe red carpet is so festive! I like getting the red carpet treatment!! Our seats were pretty high up, but that just means that I was closer to the gorgeous ceiling of the opera house. When I find myself sitting in the opera house rafters, I can never resist snapping pictures of the ceiling spangles. I always think that I’d like to have a necklace inspired by them. The spangles are deliciously extravagant and, well, sparkly!

Ceiling SparklesI wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the performance, but my friend snapped this picture of me holding the program. Pay close attention to the ballerina’s costume:

MeI enjoyed the ballet, but I must have been a little bit hungry. The fluffy white swan costumes made me think of… meringues!! 

I think that the ballet is kind of like the sporting event of the arts world. The dancers flit, twirl and leap around weightlessly on the stage making it look so effortless and so beautiful. If you are close enough (or if you remember your opera glasses), it is impossible to miss the rippling muscles. The dancers are so fit and have such amazing control over every little movement. Sometimes my mind tends to wander… it happens… and I think of what it would feel like to move in the same way. My kickboxing class wears me out, and I’m not even trying to look good or depict a graceful swan. It amazes me!

I also love the melodrama of the story. I was thinking about how I would have pitched it to my music students back in the day. “Swan Lake: A Ballet About Hunting,” is the possibility that came to mind. You see, kids, this hunter goes out into the woods to shoot a swan. Instead, he encounters a swan who turns into a pretty girl and falls in love with her… You get the idea. That might have worked. Who knows! I certainly had plenty of students who liked to hunt.

I had a great time, and I think I’m going to have to make some meringues now. Those fluffy swan skirts have inspired me to cook! Inspiration, athleticism and lovely music– what a great way to spend my evening!

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