Kale Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

kale saladWe love kale.

Love, love, love, love it!

Not only is it a super food – packed with a whole slew of vitamins and minerals, it also tastes good.

I tried to grow my own kale last year, but  I planted it too late. It struggled all season, barely giving me enough kale to make myself a salad once a week.

So this year I planted early and abundantly. Four different varieties – just in case one didn’t work I would have a back-up.

And they all came up! All four varieties – Russian red, Blue Curled Scotch, Dwarf Siberian and my favorite – Scarlet Kale (cause it’s so pretty!)

We have kale by the dishpan full!

Kale for lunch. Kale for supper. Kale to share.

And kale to make this delicious salad frequently! Which is a very happy thing – since I absolutely adore it!

You need four basic components –

Kale – any variety, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces and placed in a serving bowl. If it’s not baby kale, you might want to pull out the tough stalk and ribs.

Add some fruit for sweetness.  Strawberries are our go-to favorite, but blueberries, raspberries and even dried cranberries are yummy. Put in as much or as little as you want – no judgement here!

Then throw on something for a crunch factor – like roasted nuts, or sunflower seeds. Personally I like to toast some slivered almonds with a little butter in my cast iron skillet, then sprinkle with a touch of salt when they are golden brown and delicious!

And finally – toss the entire salad with this yummy poppy seed dressing. (Which can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.)

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar (5 teaspoons Truvia)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake.

Refrigerate.

Boom! That’s it! So easy and so yummy!

Just pour that goodness right over those healthy leafy greens and enjoy!

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

smoothieIt’s hot.

Really, really hot.

I mean beastly hot.

And of course it’s time to bale hay.  So when the guys have been out in the brutal heat all afternoon – I like to have something really cold and refreshing waiting for them.

Something like this frozen strawberry lemonade.

It took seconds to whiz up in the blender and was a big hit with my hot crew.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

2 cups of lemonade
1-2 cups of frozen strawberries
2 cups of ice cubes
1-2 tablespoons sugar (as needed)

Dump all the ingredients in the blender and give it a whirl for a minute or two. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Serves 4 normal people but only 1 hot and thirsty kid whose been haying.

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Meadow Muffins and A Strawberry Bed

strawberry plant

I haven’t had a strawberry bed for years.

The last time I tried it the plants were skimpy little things with tiny strawberries. I spent more time weeding the bed than picking or eating berries.

So I mowed them off, tilled them under and planted green beans.

Why mess with strawberries when I can go into the ravines and pick all the wild black raspberries we could eat?! I didn’t plant them, weed them, or water them. All I had to do was pick them.

That plan worked great until last summer.

After I suffered 2 very nasty bouts with poison ivy from picking those wild black raspberries,  I decided it was time to revisit the idea of a strawberry patch.

Armed with a shovel and some strawberry plants my husband graciously dug up from a friend on Sunday, I prepared for battle strawberry.

I decided that what was lacking in my last attempt was fertilizer and planned to pick up some Miracle-Gro in town.  But… uhh…  umm… well you see … I kinda forgot it….several times.

But since I had the plants in hand and they needed to go in the ground, I had to come up with a Plan B.

My only solution: chicken droppings. Yes, THAT stuff. Sometimes called manure, poop, dung, or meadow muffins!

It was time to attack the chicken house.

I won’t tell you how deep the droppings were on the floor of the coop – but I will say that it has been several years since anyone ventured in to clean it.  I must admit this is not the most glamorous job on farm and I really struggle to find volunteers. 😉

My two well-filled wheel barrow loads hardly made a dent in the well-composted chicken manure laying underneath the chicken roosts!

I then carefully maneuvered this wheel barrow of stench across the yard, over the ridge and into the garden (I never realized before how far away everything is!) and unceremoniously dumped it in the garden.

Then, using my handy – dandy Mantis tiller (the wonder machine), I carefully tilled that smelly, but hopefully potent  fertilizer into the ground.

One back ache and 70 strawberry plants later, I am the proud owner of a strawberry patch.

I only hope that the chicken droppings work – and I have strawberries the size of small eggs!

Stay tuned!

Fresh Strawberry Shortcake

Homemade Strawberry ShortcakeDoubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but Doubtless, God never did” ~William Allen Butler

We were invited to a friend’s strawberry patch yesterday afternoon to pick 2 ice cream buckets full of red, ripe strawberries. Even the rain and mud couldn’t keep us away from free berries!

I’ve tried twice now to grow strawberries, but each time had only very small plants that soon got choked out by weeds. I’ve learned something each time and I’m almost ready to try it again.

But for now we are feasted on fresh berries! I even made fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert last night.

Strawberry Shortcake

Sift together: 2 cups flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt.

Cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture is like course crumbs.

Mix together 1 beaten egg and 2/3 cup light cream. Add to dry ingregredients all at once, stirring just enough to moisten.

Drop spoonfuls of dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Split the shortcakes and fill with sweetened berries and whipped cream or ice cream.

“Curly Locks, Curly Locks,
Wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes,
Nor yet feed the swine;
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam
And feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream.”