Friday, January 21

Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

Picture thanks to FitSugar

I know that it is common for me to start a blog with "believe it or not" but I can't say it any other way! Believe it or not, I have never (until now of course) tried Kale. I am baffled myself...each time I try a recipe or food that continually comes up in blogs I read or people I talk with for the first time, my initial reaction is, "why am I just now trying this??" Kale has been a newly recognized food (at least as far as I can tell) that I plan on incorporating as much to my diet as financially feasible. It was on sale this past week at one of my favorite groceries and I finally decided, what the heck! With no recipe in mind, I gave my creative side a chance to experiment. I am beyond pleased with the results and as I type this in the morning, I cannot wait until I can indulge yet again on this creation for lunch!
I was recommended a really awesome book, " The World's Healthiest Foods" by someone I recently met. The book is rather big and expensive so naturally I decided to rent it from the library (for free!) before deciding if it would be worth the investment. I have since decided that this book is chock-full of fascinating information!! I really enjoy looking up the different foods it highlights as I sit to eat them...learning of all the benefits the foods being ingested are doing for my body! woohoo! Not only does it go through each foods health benefits but it also lets you know the most nutritious way of cooking the particular food.
Kale (as the feature of this blog post) is upheld as having the most concentrated source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin of all foods. I know, mumbo jumbo to those that unaware of what these carotenoids do! Basically they
"act like sunglasses, filtering ultraviolet light and preventing damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to it. Studies have shown the protective effect of these nutrients against the risk of cataracts. In one study, people who had a diet history of eating lutein-rich foods like Kale had a 50% lower risk for new cataracts." -quote from "The Worlds Healthiest Foods"
I am one that suffers from poor eye sight and have the potential for cataracts. Thankfully, the last time I went to the eye doc. they said my eyes had improved...I owed it all to my carrot consumption. I guess next time we will see if I can pay tribute to Kale! :)

Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

bunch of kale
medium sized butternut squash
a tablespoon or so of olive oil
roasted pumpkin seeds
apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1 avocado diced
creamy balsamic dressing (click on name to direct you to recipe)

1. Dice butternut squash and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast squash in oven for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.
2. Rinse and slice kale into strips. When butternut squash is just about done toss the kale in the oven for the last 5 minutes or so to soften it up a bit. The longer you put it in the softer it will get, you want it to still be lettuce like for this recipe so don't overcook.
3. Place slightly cooked kale, roasted butternut squash in a bowl and toss with dressing.
4. Plate kale mixture and top with avocado, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, and cranberries.

I honestly couldn't get enough of this salad. It was simple, tasty, and nutritious. I could go on about the health benefits of the other ingredients but I guess that will be on another post!

And now about the shirt- ummm...who wouldn't want an awesome shirt like that?!?! I love it! ...and it was much better than the sad picture I attempted to take. :)

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