Friday, May 2, 2014

I Promise They'll Love It: Lemony Kale Salad with Avocado

I know, I know. Kale. Everyone loves it, yet no one really does. It's stiff. It's trendy. It's so.... green. But (infomercial starting.... now!) it's also super high in Vitamins A, C, and K! It has lots of iron and some protein! It's anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and is proven to aid prevention of cancer! And for just three easy payments of $0.99 it can be yours!

There are quite a few different kinds of kale but really the only one enjoyable to eat raw and unscathed is baby kale. So! The best trick, besides chopping it up into fine pieces for a salad, is to gently "massage" the kale. Like humans, kale just wants to relax after a long day's work. It's tense and wants to gentle touch of a loved one. It sounds weird, but just go with it. Massage that kale.

Riiiiight between the eyes. [source]

It's easy, no matter your massage skill level. Growing up I was required to rub my mother's shoulders regularly. She has a very high tolerance for pain and so I had to squeeze my little hands and push my pointy elbows into her shoulders as hard as I could. In exchange she told me I had a good grip, gave me unconditional love, and provided for all of my needs. Fair trade. The only down side I have seen from this massage training is that I have no concept of what a normal back rub is. I have tried a number of times to rub my husband's back - my husband who has the measurements of Superman (seriously...) - and I hurt him. I HURT SUPERMAN. It does not feel good to him and I am apparently incapable of turning the volume from 11 down to something more tolerable.

Take it from me, Reader, if my death grip can massage the kale into a tasty submission without hurting it, your wonderfully normal massage hands will be just fine.

And now for the recipe that my friends and family have tested and approved! I bring this dish to any sort of potluck gathering and I promise your framily will all love it too.

Terrible photos, surprisingly delicious salad.

Lemony Kale Salad with Avocado*

*because I can't come up with a better name than that.

(for about two servings or one Chalayn-sized serving)

  • One bunch of kale, stripped off the stem and chopped up small (It ends up being about four cups.)
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • One clove finely chopped garlic or two shakes of powdered garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (green, chives, white, red onion are all cool in my book. I'm not fancy.)
  • 1/2 cup of nuts (sunflower seeds, pepitas, pecans, slivered almonds, or candied pecans are fabuloso.) 
  • 1/2 cup of dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, or chopped dates are great.)
  • One diced avocado


Put all that chopped up kale into a big ol' bowl. Add the lemon juice and some salt. This is the stuff that will help break down the kale. Now it's time to give that kale a back rub. Just stick your filthy mitts (well, I hope you washed your hands first. Maybe I should have added in that step...?) into that bowl and grab onto that kale and start ringing its neck. Depending on your kale, you may need to do this for a few minutes. I usually just squeeze it all over until it starts to get a little foamy and wilty. Like this:

I didn't chop up this baby kale and I should have. Do as I say, not as I photograph.

Next you add the garlic, onion, nuts, and dried fruit. Stir it all up. With a spoon, not your filthy paws (which they might be if your hands are dry and deserty - like mine - they'll soak up that green color). After that add the diced avocado and stir it gently until it's all incorporated.

Now taste it. If it's delicious and makes your taste buds smile with glee you don't need to do a thing. Not perfect? Add some salt or maybe a little more nuts and fruit, of course. If you just think it tastes like a hippie rolled around in a lemon bush and got some dried cranberries and pepitas stuck in her unwashed dreadlocks, well, try putting on some Birkenstocks and take another bite. You can appreciate it now.

Too easy.

It tastes best when eaten that same day but it won't hurt ya to eat it a day or two later. It just probably won't last that long.

The end.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So, this one time we were on Conan O'Brien...

1. In case you don't recognize me, I'm the smiley blonde in the lower left corner.
2. That's Kevin on the big screen and me on the right. Kevin was bummed he didn't get a haircut before he was on TV.

Although I was excited that many of my friends and family tuned in to watch, I was a little embarrassed to find out my Granny and Grandpa did. Grandma told me that she saw me on TV but that Conan is so "nasty and gross." I said, "What he says is gross or his hair is gross?" "Both!" Yes, I suppose him talking about a "boobalanche" (dictionary definition: a mass of boobies falling suddenly downward) on national television isn't really my Granny's style. Which is almost ironic since she's the one who named her ventriloquist dummy Dusty Shagnasty.

Here's the video (or just play it below). Don't worry, it's SFW because he doesn't mention anything about an avalanche of female anatomy:

I have some head shots ready with our autographs. You know, just in case you want a hot celeb's John Hancock.

Getting to watch Conan wasn't as glamorous as one would assume. Before we could get into the studio we had to walk, wait, sit, go through security, wait, stand, wait, walk, be herded like cattle into waiting stables, stand, wait, sit, wait, repeat. We checked in at about 1:45 p.m., got in the studio at 3:45 p.m. and the show started at 4:30 p.m. Then the applause sign lit up and we started cheering. Conan began his monologue with a few mentions of boobies, Andy Richter chimed in, and the band played. Everything seemed normal; so, we were super shocked to see my face and then Kevin's face on that screen. So surprised that neither of us even heard the not very funny joke that Conan told about the Craigslist ad Kevin didn't actually write.

I mean, I know it wasn't like we were on stage with him so it's not THAT impressive, but humor me, Reader. Although, you should know that the last time we visited Los Angeles I did sit on Conan's chair. Does that impress you?

Yes, that is Kevin in the guest seat and I'm sitting where Conan's butt usually is. I was surprised by the mediocre quality of the tweed chair, because my office chair at home is nicer than his. I can't say too much else because I don't want to incriminate us more than I already have (don't arrest me, Conan!) but I have to brag a little. Isn't that how all criminals are caught?

Unbeknownst to anyone who would want to arrest me, I was able to snap a couple other photos of Conan's place last year. Not the best quality with my cell phone but after learning last week that they don't allow any cameras or photographs in the studio, these mobile uploads are looking pretty good to me.

1. The office.
2. The camera.
3. The band.
4. The stage.
5. The mark.
6. The audience.

There you go, Reader. Conan's studio and just one of the times I was on television. I'm afraid that I've nearly used up my 15 minutes of lame fame, which I'm be happy to tell you about sometime. As a teaser, let's just say that Young Chalayn was on a public broadcasting show and the news a couple of times. Impressive, yes?

I'll mail that head shot out to you ASAP.