Friday, January 22, 2016

Chopped Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad

-with garlic croutons, pomegranate arils, asiago cheese, fresh lemon zest, toasted almonds, and poppyseed dressing

Boy, my timing on this one is sure off, huh?

Tucked away here in my Northeastern corner of Kentucky, the weather forecasters aren't sure what we are going to get here. Right now, they think the line may be south of the Ohio River. As in, north of the river may only get 2-4 inches. Well, we live basically right on the river as we are about 3-4 miles away. We are either going to get a normal 2-4 inches or we are going to get 2 feet. Personally, I'm hoping it's only a couple of inches. The chihuahuas hate when the snow is taller than them, and I hate waddling through it all to feed the birds out back. At any rate, salad is not the name of the game for this weather.

But you guys. I posted my Poppyseed Dressing yesterday and this salad is totally about the dressing. I'm going for it, because you know, most of the country is not expecting 2 feet of snow at their door by this evening, and a lot of folks are still on New Year's health kicks. So, let me sell you on this salad now :-)

If you are like the hubby, you might be making a face right now and thinking "Yuck". The hubby wasn't able to hide his feelings when I told him what we were having. I get it. He was imagining how Brussels sprouts could really taste good raw and in a salad, and likely thinking the same thing about the kale. I will tell you the same thing I told him- just try it. I know it sounds weird, but it makes a fantastic salad. One that you won't feel guilty about grabbing out of the fridge to munch on after a workout.

I adapted this recipe from a bagged salad I buy at Kroger, their "Chopped Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad". I've bought quite a few bags of it, loving the crunch and flavor every time. However, every time I ate it, I also thought of the improvements I would make. I decided to stop thinking about it, and just do it. Improvement #1? Better dressing! I went with poppyseed. Of course!

The key to the kale is giving it massage first.

You read that right. I said, massage it. You might feel goofy, but this makes kale completely tender and salad-ready if you do. Next, I thinly chopped it into small pieces.

The secret to the Brussels sprouts- the mandolin. I don't get it out often (hello, one more thing to clean!) but it was necessary to get the Brussels sprouts as thinly sliced as possible. Since they are raw, they have to be thinly sliced or you will feel like you are chewing on a mouthful of wood.

I toasted the almond slices for a little more flavor-

And then added everything to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with some dressing, toss, and you are done!

Crumble some homemade croutons (or store bought, no biggie) on top, and serve with lemon wedges. A completely delicious, healthy salad. You could add some chicken or shrimp to make this a main dish salad, or serve it as a side dish. I served this with Potato Soup one night, and it was perfect. I had this for a snack for 3 days in a row with bread, brie, and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. 

It's safe to say I'm over the "Guacamole, Tortilla Chips, and Mexican Beer" phase that lasted all summer :-)

Now, let's talk about my back. I got my first shot yesterday at 9:30 am, and it went smoothly. I had a bout of anxiety after a nurse attached a catheter to my arm and left me with the impression that she had put sedation in it. Then she left the room. I just sat and watched the catheter fill up with blood and felt my anxiety rise. Luckily, the nurse came back in, calmed me down, and let me know that was normal. She did give me sedation shortly after that, followed by a local anesthetic. I was lying on stomach the whole time, so I never saw any needles, thank goodness.

Shortly after the anesthetic, the neurosurgeon came in and gave me the epidural. After all the meds they gave me, I mostly just felt the pressure. Not too bad. After a short recovery period, I was out of there. The hubby got me Starbucks for my ordeal since I wasn't allowed any coffee that morning. Best. coffee. ever.

The doctors had told me I would be groggy all day, and I would probably nap most of it away. Little did they know who they were talking to. Jessica does not nap. Jessica has never napped. Thank you insomnia, for that. Drugs that make most people groggy make me alert. Benadryl? Wide awake. Unisom? Wide awake. Alcohol? Wide awake. True story. So I was wide awake for most of the day, watching movies and sitcoms on TV. I mostly just felt uncomfortable, I could feel the muscle pain where they gave me the shot, but the true back pain continued to subside all day. I finally began to feel tired about 8 pm. 

The doctors had warned me the two biggest side effects of steroid shots are insomnia and hot flashes. Boy, they weren't kidding. Racing thoughts characterizes how I felt when I laid down last night. I felt like I back in college as I had quite a bit of trouble controlling them. I tried therapy technique after therapy technique, and was finally able to get them to quiet down. I do have to say though, that I was comfortable lying down. Yahoo! I was finally able to fall asleep after some time, although I did wake up 3-4 times drenched in cold sweat from the hot flashes. Not cool. 

So, I'm feeling much better today. I'm not allowed to do yoga for 3 days and I can't leave the house due to Winter Storm Jonas arriving eminently. What's a girl to do?

Bake. That's what I will be doing today. Baking and doing a photo shoot. Probably what I will be doing all weekend. If we have power. Sheesh. 

Stay safe this weekend my friends, especially if you are in range of this blizzard! If not, make this yummy salad :-)

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

4-5 large leaves of kale, massaged, cut from stem, finely chopped
10-12 large Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup toasted almond slices
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
zest from 1 lemon
Homemade Croutons (substitute your favorite store bought!)
garnish- lemon wedges (optional)


1. Combine kale, Brussels sprouts, arils, almonds, cheese, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add desired amount of poppyseed dressing, toss to coat.
2. Divide salad among plates. Top with croutons and serve with lemon wedges. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

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  1. Looks delicious! I just found your blog! I love Oregon.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I can vouch, this salad is delicious. And I can vouch for someone (the hubby) who thought it sounded so gross and ended up loving it :-)

      Thanks for stopping by! I love Oregon myself, he he.

  2. I am one of those people who really likes Brussels sprouts. I never thought about using them in a salad, or combining then with kale, but this looks really good. Thanks!

    1. If you really like Brussels Sprouts (as I do!), you'll love them sliced thin and in salads. It will really get the ball rolling on other ideas for recipes containing thinly sliced Brussels sprouts too!

      Have a great day Pattie! :-)


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