Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kale, Clementine and Feta Salad

Back when I was starting college, my dad reinforced that in times of stress, when I was cramming for exams or just feeling extremely overwhelmed, to focus on three simple things: eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Tough times don't last, but tough people do. 
Now that I am 10 years older and under the constant stressful hum of being an adult and working a challenging full-time job, I feel so much better if I follow his advice all of the time. When I strive to be healthy, the result is feeling GREAT, with tons of energy and a positive outlook on life.  I have been known to shed tears watching the Biggest Loser, when you see the positive effects a healthy lifestyle has on the contestants, who have been feeling bad and bad about themselves for years. The phenomenon of a "runner's high" is real - it's an amazing intense happy feeling that comes from activity and taking care of your body. 
Allow me to introduce this gorgeous salad. As Kate describes it on her blog,  it's literally sunshine in a bowl. Salad is so fun to photograph since the colors are vibrant and fresh. This dressing is just bursting with flavor from the lime juice and jalapeno. Trust me, eat a salad like this and you will be craving salad more often! 
Along with eating salad, here are a few more of my best healthy tips:

Pack your lunch
 - you will pad your wallet and avoid the temptations of the cafeteria and eating out

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
 - fill your cart with vegetables, lean meats, and dairy
 - venture inside for oatmeal, quinoa, or whole grains and then run away from the 
    oreos, cheetos, and junk food!
Be aware of portion sizes

 - this is the French woman's secret to staying trim - rather than eating a bar of chocolate 
    or half a baguette, you just eat one small portion really slowly
 - wait a little while before going back for seconds, it takes your body time to register 
    feeling full

Drink lots of water
 - it's easy to mistake hunger for thirst

Be prepared for when hunger strikes
 - keep a protein bar on hand, along with almonds or a piece of fruit 
 - we often make the worst choices (fast food, candy, chips) when we are starving

Have a celebration meal every week
 - enjoy your favorite meal - be it pizza or a burger -just be mindful of portion sizes and 
    really ENJOY it

Focus on health, not weight

 - weight is just a number on the scale, health is the big picture, the commitment, the 
   decision to take care of your body

Please, share with me your exercise and health mantras that keep you motivated, I would love to hear them ! 

Kale, Clementine and Feta Salad
from Cookie + Kate
Kale salad
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 medium pomegranate, arils removed, or a handful of dried cranberries
  • 4 clementines, peeled and sliced into rounds or small strips
  • 4 small radishes, sliced into thin rounds and then into skinny strips
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
Honey-Lime Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 small limes)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium jalapeƱo, membranes and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  1. First, make the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Prepare the kale by slicing out the stems and chopping out the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.
  3. Drizzle salad dressing over the kale (you might not need all of the dressing) and toss well so the kale is lightly coated with dressing. Add the prepared avocado, pomegranate (or dried cranberries), clementines, radishes, cilantro and feta to the bowl.
  4. Toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant and toasty. Transfer the pepitas to the salad bowl. Toss the salad to combine and serve.

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