September 4, 2014

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pecans, and Cranberries

Hi! Wow, does it feel like we haven't talked in ages?
Just before sitting down here to tell you all about my last few weeks, I had to go back and read through my last post, just to see where we left off. And it looks like I was eating a lot of blueberries, crepes, and ice cream for breakfast, so things really haven't changed much on that front. We did however get our blue velvet couch, and it is the dreamiest piece of furniture I have ever seen. One of these days I will get around to sharing pics of the house and that blue blue couch.

Robyne (my sister) and my mom came for a visit last week. We got so distracted with shopping, eating, and catching up, that the time flew by way too quickly. They left on Sunday, and now my in-laws are here for a few weeks. Instead of shopping and running around, we have taken more of a laid back approach to their visit. As the Seattle weather is getting cooler, and the leaves are beginning to fall (which I appreciated much more before I bought a house with 6 giant deciduous trees), I think that we've been less inclined to keep ourselves busy, and instead, we've been lounging, relaxing, and reading. Being kind to ourselves. I am starting to get these intense cravings for all things apple: pie, cobbler, streusel, and I'm catching myself dreaming of soups, and squash, and pumpkin. I know I know, its too early, but here in Seattle, Autumn seems to be catching up with us quickly.

I celebrated a birthday last week. Thirty six. It's is a weird age. You are no longer in your early thirties. You are one year closer to 40. You're now too old for night clubs, but too young to stay at home and watch Golden Girl re-runs, so instead you go out for dinner, because that's what you do. You eat way too much and end up on the couch at 9 pm, pants unbuttoned, flicking through Netflix, wondering why it continues to recommend the same 20 movies every time.

It's Brent's birthday today. Two Virgos, I know. I bought him this hella big manly tool box, because I read somewhere that any wife who buys their husband a tool box is a keeper. Tonight we're going out for dinner to celebrate, no surprises there. I wanted to make him a birthday cake, but one thing led to another and now it seems that it might be too late. I 'm hoping that I made up for it with the tool box.

Last week our basement toilet backed up, which is probably one of the grossest things I have seen in my life. We had a plumber come out to take a look, he charged us $200, said it was fixed, and then it started exploding a few days later. Yesterday, a new set of incompetent plumbers came to look at it, and it appears as though we have a tree growing through our sewer line. They really didn't do much, and wanted to charge us a billion dollars, so tomorrow, a new set of plumbers will come and dig a giant 6 foot hole in our driveway in order to remove the busted piece of pipe, and we will pay thousands of dollars instead of billions. We haven't had the luxury of using the washroom, washing clothes, dishes, or using the shower in our house for 5 days. I am really lucky that we live beside a coffee shop, our house guests are so patient, and the neighbors who are renovating their house leave their Porta-Potty unlocked at night. And besides, I had always wanted to try dry shampoo, so there's that.

In the midst of the sewer disaster, I knew that trying to make things feel normal around here would be difficult, so I decided to head into the kitchen to brainwash my guests with lots of delicious food. Hopefully the memories of delicious food will block out the ones of the exploding toilet. Now that I'm looking back on things, this fibrous kale salad probably shouldn't have been one of the first things that I decided to make, but its done now, and people loved it. I've made this salad a few (hundred) times and it's so good that I make it at least once a week.

serves 2 - 3 as a main entree

1 cup cooked quinoa
3 large kale leaves, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans, halved
1/4 cup oil (canola or olive)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce

Prepare the quinoa as directed. I like to make mine with vegetable broth to add flavor. Let it cool.

Wash and dry the kale. Remove the tough center with a knife. Chop the leaves into bite size pieces. Place into a large bowl and massage the kale with your hands to soften.

Add the quinoa, chopped apple, dried cranberries, and pecan halves to the kale and toss.

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add the oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Shake. Drizzle over the salad to lightly dress. Store the rest of the dressing in the fridge for later use, up to a week.

Toss the salad and serve. 


  1. that maple syrup! & my goodness, this post really made me look forward to fall. happy belated bday to one of my fave food bloggers!

  2. That looks fabulous! Such a great way to use fresh kale while it's available. :)

  3. Happy belated! Also, happy to see you back - and with another lovely recipe. Salads like this are so yummy!

  4. Oh, lady. I feel so terrible telling you that I laughed out loud more than a few times while reading this post when you're dealing with incompetent plumbers and a faulty toilet. Sending lotsa love, good vibes, and dry shampoo your way. Happy birthday to you both!

    PS - This salad is my kinda salad.

  5. Oh that is a horrible story about the toilet. Yikes! The pleasure of home ownership I guess. This salad looks perfect for fall!

  6. Ugh, so sorry for that toilet incident! I hope some competent guys will fix the problem soon so you can say your farewells to dry shampoo as it's not really that great. On the other hand, this salad shines with simplicity. It could totally become a weekday favorite especially as I'm getting obsessed with kale again.

  7. yes, to birthdays, and yes to two virgos living under the same roof! my husband and i are both virgos and share birthdays that are just 3 days apart! and i totally feel you on the whole autumnal vibe. nyc, while still very hot, is feeling a little awkward - 90° days but leaves are falling and all sorts of plants are dying. this in between is a funny thing.

    and been there with the messes of bathroom plumbing. it's possibly the most gnarly thing ever, and i'm sorry about the tree growing into the pipes - yikes! best of everything to you, and good wishes for a celebratory birthday weekend!

  8. im so sorry for the sewer situation...on the other hand, this is a perfect salad to welcome fall with those pecans and cranberries.

  9. Ohh, barrel-aged maple syrup? Gimme, gimme! This sounds wonderful (the salad, not the sewer situation, of course). I'm a sucker for kale + quinoa. Hope the sewer works itself out soon! The joys of homeownership...

  10. Wow that is an unfortunate situation to have to live thru! And honestly I'm 26 and I feel like I am too old for nightclubs. I would take Netflix over nightclubs any day.

  11. Love everything about this! Sweet and bitter and crunchy! Yum!

  12. This is exactly what I need! I've been lacking in the vegetable department lately!

  13. Oh my... I adore all the flavors you have combined here... and I'm going on a quest for that barrel-aged maple syrup. How intriguing!

  14. I literally snorted at the "Fibrous kale was a bad idea" statement. Fingers crossed for ya!

  15. Happy belated birthday! Mine was last week so I am also a virgo - it seems that a lot of food bloggers seem to be Virgos (maybe I made that up?)…perhaps because we are hard workers. Cheers to that!

  16. I love the way you write. Happy birthday to you two! Another virgo over here x ps dear lordy i hope that toilet situation is soon fixed & costs surprisingly only hundreds in the end (dreaming?)