Are you guys ready for this? Monday? January?
The first Monday of the new year…work…life…reality?
I feel like today’s the day that we are probably all ready to get back to a little healthiness in our lives. I mean, let’s be honest none of us were really ready to jump right in to healthy eating on the weekend after New Year’s, right? I surely wasn’t, so today January 4th we are going there. We’re talking health food, but really freaking good health food!
Actually, we will be talking about healthy food all-month long, and you guys, it’s going to be SO good. I have a lot of colorful and delicious recipes that I cannot wait to share with you all. But first, this salad and a little catching up!
I feel like we haven’t really chatted since before Christmas, so today we shall chat.
Can we do a little rewind? I guess, we should start with Christmas? We had a TON of people here. It was craziness, filled with fun, filled with family, and definitely filled with drama. Hey, what’s Christmas without a little family drama right? Man, where to start? Maybe right from the beginning, the first night my family arrived. We left our Excursion at the Denver airport so there would be enough room for everyone to come up to the mountains in one car. My uncle Matt had almost made it here (an hour and a half to two-hour drive) when he was pulled over at the very last stop sign before our house. If you knew where we live, you would know that not many people actually make a full stop at this sign. Most people kind of just roll through it. I mean, it’s pretty far off from town, so it’s not a very heavy traffic area. Never once have I seen a cop car at this stop sign. But of course, Uncle Matt was pulled over at nine o’clock on a Saturday night with a car full of drunken fools…aka my cousins, my brother Creighton, my brother Kai’s girlfriend, Caitlin and my uncle’s new girlfriend, Maura. Of course my uncle had not been drinking so all ended up OK, no tickets, but still, what a way to start your Christmas vacation, right?!
Luckily, I had lasagnas waiting, a pretty good move on my part. Trust me, they all needed some food in their stomachs. Thinking it must have been a booze heavy flight with minimal snacks. Clearly you can see how things are heading for this vacation.
Anyway, thankfully we all got through that first night. The second day I honestly cannot remember what everyone did. I worked, cause that’s what I know best. Somehow a routine was developed, where come 4:45 pm everyone decided it was time to pay me a visit…meaning they needed some mixed drinks and I was their girl. Oh yes, every night! I have now mastered the Moscow Mule, the Margarita, the Spicy Margarita and extra Minty Mojitos. Shhh, don’t tell any of them, but the ones I made myself totally had ZERO alcohol in them. And that shot of tequila? Yes, that was water. Heheh, oh how you can fool people after a few drinks. Yes, I am a twenty-two year old grandma. No shame. 🙂
After drinks, it was dinner and then I was OUT. I came home and hid. No literally. But the drama? Oh the drama. Where to start? Well, we lost my amazing aunt a little over three years ago to cancer, but recently my uncle begun dating. As you can imagine, this has been a little emotional for everyone, but especially for my cousins. It was a little hard for them to spend Christmas with my uncle’s girlfriend, although considering that my aunt died right before Christmas, I thought everyone was doing pretty well. But the girlfriend must have felt the awkwardness, because Christmas Eve morning we all woke up to find that she had taken a very early morning shuttle down to Denver and booked a flight out. Ahhh, yikes! We all knew that could not have been good.
Welcome to a Gerard Family Christmas, right? Yup, we come with our baggage, but in the end we all love each other to death.
Other highlights?? Hmm, well there was a sleigh ride dinner, which included all nineteen of us. I think everyone had a great time, we even took a giant hillbilly family photo, but there were some tears….you don’t even wanna know. Let’s just say their was some issues with a certain sibling’s girlfriend and well, apparently some tears were shed in the girl’s bathrooms. I don’t even know the full story, I just know it was stupid.
You know, I think my family could have our own reality show.
Hey, we could be the new Kardashians?? Except, more on the hillbilly side of things. Maybe I could even work in some cooking segments? What you think?
Moving on… the day before Christmas Eve Kai, Cait, Asher and I made a gingerbread house, drank way too much Starbucks….which I am now addicted to (thanks a lot Cait) … and then we watched Elf. the day was capped off with drinks at five…obviously. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were actually pretty mellow. On Christmas Eve we had a big dinner, chilled by the fire, mom and I stuffed stockings, ate mass amounts of Death By Chocolate, went to bed and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, Asher was literally in my face all night long asking when it would get bright out. Eventually we all got up and opened gifts. We had a nice slow day, cooked a turkey, made some more drinks, ate another big dinner and then finally slept for hours.
And that pretty much sums it up, although I do have to note that I was ready to punch my cousin (little) Matt in the face on Christmas night. Matt insisted on making pumpkin seeds just as I was trying to make the gravy and do a million other things. Yes, Matt (or “Lahey” as my family calls him when he has had too much to drink) decided he absolutely NEEDED pumpkin seeds right then and there. Ugh.
And there you go, my family Christmas in a thousand words. Basically it’s one giant freak show, but like I said, we all love each other and a good time was had by all. So all in all, I would say, Christmas was a success!
And now can we finish our chat by discussing this The Mean Green Detox Salad and just how much I LOVE it. I know it has all these green things and purple things and a bunch of other plant food, but you guys, this is my kind of food, I love this stuff! I know I make a lot of different kinds of food on this blog, but if there was just one thing I could eat for the rest of my life, it would be plants. I know, I know, so lame, but it’s true. I just love fruits and veggies. This must be why I am so excited that all of my January recipes are focused on healthy eating. I literally cannot wait to share the goodness!
The base of this salad is made up of Tuscan kale, broccoli, purple cabbage, cilantro, parsley, grapefruit and avocado. It’s a simple mixed salad that gets dressed up in a delicious lemony tahini dressing. I recently learned I am a huge fan of tahini, especially tahini in sauces and dressings. Tahini just adds so much creamy flavor and it’s so healthy and good!!
It’s really important to massage the kale, it helps to break it down and soften it a bit. I know that sounds a little weird, but just give it a little tender lovin care for a minute or two and all will be good! 🙂
I finished the salad off with some crunchy coconut chickpeas tossed in a little soy sauce for saltness. These chickpeas you guys? Addicting. Honestly, I cannot get enough of them. They are my new favorite salad topper for sure.
Finally, I also made a quick vegan parmesan cheese too. Promise, this stuff is too delicious… and legit. Try it and you will see!
This is the perfect salad to pack for lunch, take to a party or maybe even a picnic. I’ve found that the longer the salad sits and marinates in the dressing, the better it becomes. Seriously, this salad is everything, and for the most part, it’s pretty simple to throw together. You can omit the vegan parmesan if you’re short on time and you can also add grilled chicken or fish for a boost of protein.
Or, you could also add hard-boiled eggs, that would be extra yummy too!
OKAY and lastly, I just have to say that I made this salad while my whole family was still in town. Unlike most of my brothers, my cousins and my brother’s girlfriends actually eat green things (…along with their booze…truth…) and this salad got double thumbs up all around.
YESS. I know my drink mixing skills are improving and all… but I really shine with my salads! 🙂
The Mean Green Detox Salad.
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 2 tablespoons tahini sesame seed paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- juice + zest from 1 lemon use only half of the zest
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger grated
- salt + pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 cups Tuscan kale roughly torn
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1/4 head purple cabbage shredded
- 1/2 cup fresh parley + cilantro roughly chopped
- hemp seeds + chia seeds for topping
- 2 red grapefruits segmented
- 2 ripe but firm avocados, sliced or chopped
- 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons raw sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- salt to taste
Lemon Tahini Dressing
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined. Taste and adjust salt + pepper to your liking. Alternately you can add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The dressing can be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread the chickpeas out on a towel and dry them completely. Add the chickpeas and coconut to a baking sheet and toss with the soy sauce, sesame oil and cayenne pepper. Toss well to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes and then stir the chickpeas around and roast another 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are browned and the coconut is dark brown. Remove from the oven. Save any leftovers for snacking on later!
Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Using your hands, massage the kale for 2-3 minutes until the kale is well coated and has slightly softened. To the bowl add the broccoli, cabbage, parsley and cilantro. Toss well. Add the dressing and continue to toss until all the veggies are coated. Add the grapefruit segments and avocado. Gently toss to combine. At this point, you can cover and store the salad in the fridge for up to 24 hours or continue on with the recipe.
Divide the salad into bowls. Top with the crunchy coconut chickpeas and the vegan parmesan cheese (recipe below) and a sprinkle of chia + hemp seeds. EAT!!
In a food processor or blender, combine the pine nuts, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt. Processor until you have fine crumbs that resemble parmesan cheese. Taste and season with more salt if desired. The vegan parmesan can be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
And come on, this salad is so pretty!! I’d like it all please!
Cheers to the start of #healthyjanuary!
P.S. Sorry for the insanely long post today. I just had so much to share and I’m not even done. More to come this week!! Oh the joys of being a part of a big family!