Kale salad and books. Those are the topics of today’s discussion. And they happen to be two of my faves.
Perhaps it’s the long days or lazier pace of summer weekends, but I’m all the way into reading lately. I currently have about half a dozen books scattered around the house that I pick up whenever I can catch a second to read—during lunch, as I’m on hold with customer service people, while I’m waiting for my kitchen timer to go off, or while I’m steeping a cup of tea.
For all my fellow bookworms, here’s a recap of what I’ve been reading and loving (or not loving…) lately.
And if you’re just here for the kale, skip down to get the new salad recipe!
The Ashford Affair
While this one wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, it did help pass the time while I was traveling. I’m a big Kate Morton fan and hoped this new-to-me author would be similar to her in style and storytelling, but it fell flat in character depth for me.
The Immortality Edge
I don’t believe in physical immortality, but I love studying habits that contribute to longevity and improve the quality of the years we do have. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s been fascinating so far.
The Silver Star
I’ve heard nothing but praise for Jeanette Walls’ books (namely The Glass Castle), so I was a little disappointed when I didn’t love The Silver Star. I learned later that many of her most loyal readers don’t care for this one either, so I think I’ll still give her other books a chance.
Bridge to Haven
Francine Rivers’ books (especially the Mark of the Lion series) have impacted me greatly over the years. While I thought Bridge to Haven was a little predictable and unrealistic in some parts, on a whole I always appreciate Francine’s books. They’re clean, free of profanity, and generally filled with a cast of endearing characters.
We Were Liars
The description on the inside flap of the book was one of those vague types that gives you enough to be intrigued but tells you very little about the story. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal said about it: “Haunting, sophisticated…a novel so twisty and well-told that it will appeal to older readers as well as to adolescents.” The twist ending was all the other critics could talk about. My verdict: way too much profanity for my tastes, kind of creepy plot, and there really wasn’t a protagonist. And as much as I tried not to, I predicted the ending. Downer.
So it’s been a mixed bag of likes and dislikes in my reading world lately, which is pretty typical even though I’d love every book I read to knock it out of the park.
Here’s a look at my reading list for the next month or two, and then we’ll talk about kale:
- All the Light We Cannot See – recommended by Kate Morton, so it’s automatically on my list.
- Bootstrapper – one for book club that sounds like a fun read.
- A Million Little Ways – the title alone speaks my language: “A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live”
- The Way of the SEAL – could easily be another cheesy be-more-successful book, but I’m game to try it.
Okay, enough book chat. Let’s talk kale!
I threw together this salad a few weeks ago to use up some kale and root veggies I had on hand. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory. I don’t think you could cram in more antioxidants if you tried! (Okay, maybe some hemp seeds or goji berries wouldn’t hurt.)
Kale salads are pretty much the norm around here in the summer. You’ll find one in my fridge almost every week. Kale is the summer salad hero because you can dress the leaves in advance and they’ll never get slimy like lettuce.
For those of you that aren’t crazy about kale’s prickly leaves or slightly bitter flavor, this salad might just win you over. The sweetness of the root vegetables is the perfect complement to the kale. Roasting the vegetables for a bit brings out their sweetness naturally so we don’t have to add much sweetener to the dressing.
Grab a bowl of kale salad and a book to go alongside. Sounds like the perfect summer plan to me!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 medium beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 4 cups chopped kale (I love curly kale or Red Russian kale for this)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Make the roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the sweet potatoes onto one baking sheet and the beets on the other. Drizzle each with olive oil to coat lightly and season with salt and pepper. Rub the olive oil and seasonings onto the vegetables to distribute evenly. Roast until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes for the potatoes and 30 minutes for the beets. Set aside to cool.
- Make the salad: Combine the kale, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.