Simple kale salad

I always look forward to the day I head out to my mail box and find the latest issue of Sunset magazine. I love flipping through each new issue with excitement of new recipes, decorating tips, garden ideas, and local treasures in the Pacific Northwest to explore. I have tried a number of Sunset recipes and they almost always hold up to my expectations.

One of my favorite recipes from Sunset is probably one of the simplest; that is what makes it so wonderful. It’s main ingredient is kale. Let’s talk about kale. Kale is wonderful. Kale is so versatile, nutrient-rich, and tasty. It can be used in salads, roasted with sea salt and olive oil, blended into kale walnut pesto, and tossed in pasta dishes, quiches and on pizzas. I sometimes just snack on it because I simply love kale in it’s natural state. The possibilities are endless. However, at the end of the day, a simple kale salad may just be the perfect way to enjoy it. I suggest you try this salad immediately. It is absolutely delicious.

Sesame kale salad

Sesame Kale Salad

(adapted from Sunset)

3 tbsp sesame seeds (original recipe calls for toasted sesame seeds but I found I can usually skip this step)

1 large garlic clove, grated (using a microplane)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or Braggs Liquid Amino Acids (which I used)

1 tsp sugar

4 tsp rice vinegar

4 tsp olive oil

12 oz curly kale (stems removed)


Wash and dry the kale. Tear into bite size pieces and tear off any stems. If you are toasting your sesame seeds, heat them in a frying pan over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Then set aside kale and sesame seeds while you prepare the dressing. Whisk garlic, nutritional yeast, soy sauce (or liquid amino acids), sugar, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the kale and toss to coat. I also have found that massaging the dressing into the kale leaves helps generate the greatest flavor. Then sprinkle with sesame seeds, toss again, and serve. Great addition to any main course. Enjoy.


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Road trip

This past Sunday my husband and I returned home from a week long road trip to the Sonoma/Napa area. We ventured down to Portland, over to the Oregon Coast, down to the Redwoods, across to Davis, and then on to the wine country. We drove many miles, ate lots, got to know some new folks, met up with friends and family, camped, hiked, ran, and drank lots of wine. It was divine. I want to go back already even though it was the second time in only the past two years. Or better yet, move to Sonoma Valley. I think I was meant to live there…

I tried to capture some of the highlights of our adventures. Enjoy.

Macarons from Petit ProvenceSimply amazing. Salted caramel and pistachio macarons from Petite Provence in Portland. I could hardly resist ordering all of their magnificent flavors; however, I am not sure my husband would have approved…

Brey House B and BBrey Bed & Breakfast in Lincoln City, OR. Cute, old-fashioned accommodations with a delicious, homemade breakfast composed of German pancakes, fresh syrups and jams, fruit, turkey sausage, and a small slice of a family cheesecake recipe. Cheesecake for breakfast? Yes please!

Lincoln CityBeautiful (but windy) beach in Lincoln City, OR.

Sea BasketRecommendations from said Bed & Breakfast not so good. Sea Basket in Charleston, OR. Desired outcome: charming hole in wall, local joint. Result: epic lunch fail.

Oregon beachOne of the last Oregon Beaches before entering the Golden State.

Falafel in LakesportAmazing falafel at Jimmy’s Deli in Lakesport, CA. Highly recommend checking out if ever in the area. Their menu is pretty diverse. It includes, deli sandwiches, BBQ, Mediterranean, and Mexican. But don’t let that scare you off, they are a local favorite. And Jimmy himself was right there behind the counter and clearing tables.

Jimmy'sJimmy’s outdoor BBQ. Grillin’ right outside.

Sunflower Caffe Sunflower Caffe 2Sunflower Caffe. Sonoma, CA. Love. Sipped on a green smoothie while relaxing on their garden patio.


Zazu. Farm-to-table, northern Italian inspired restaurant just outside of Santa Rose. Excellent gnocchi, greens, and chicken. Highly recommend the beef shank over polenta with marscapone. The best dish at our table. Wish I had a photo…

Girl and Fig

The Girl & Fig in Sonoma. My favorite. Stonefruit crisp with lemon verbana ice cream. Take me back. Ordered the special which was artic char with roasted squash and potatoes. Still thinking about it.


First time drinking an Americano in a bowl. Highly recommend Wild Wood Market Cafe in Gratin near Sebastopol (which I would also recommend checking out).

DeschutesFinal stop before home at Deschutes Brewery and Public House in Bend, OR. Excellent beer, service, and best black bean burger ever (seriously). And candied hops on the side salad? Delicious.

The following are photos from the various wineries we visited. We also stopped at V. Sattui in Napa for picnic per a recommendation from family. Other than that we spent most of our time in the lovely Sonoma Valley.

Wine glassess UsBeautiful winery in the Russian River Valley but the name is escaping me right now…

SiduriSiduri Cellars in Santa Rosa. Lots of wines at the tasting and a great tour to finish off. Reservations necessary but free tasting.

QuiviraQuivira. Beautiful winery in the Dry Creek Valley. Organic grapes, biodynamic practices, chickens, bees, and beautiful gardens.

Porter CreekPorter Creek Vineyards. Excellent wines. Casual tasting room and beautiful scenery.

Matazanas WineryLavender fields at Matanzas Creek Winery. Fairly good wines and bocce courts which we did not have a chance to utilize unfortunately – next time.

HusbandThe handsome hubby at our picnic outside V. Sattui in Napa. Great deli, however, extremely busy and chaotic.

Other recommendations in Sonoma include:

  • Amista Winery (Dry Creek Valley) – wine tasting
  • Kendall Jackson (Santa Rosa) – wine tasting
  • Wild Sage Delicatessen (Healdsburg) – lunch
  • Flying Goat Coffee (Healdsburg & Santa Rosa) – coffee/pastries (some vegan and gluten-free)/bagels
  • Diavolo (Geyserville) – wood-fired oven pizzas; order the Sonja with a salad and glass of wine

This was such a wonderful adventure and I feel as though we truly experiences Sonoma to its’ finest. Excellent locally sourced food, delicious wine, and beautiful landscape.

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Salmon Sausage Hash

Last weekend I was looking for a fillet of salmon at Whole Foods and stumbled upon their salmon sausages. I have tried their salmon patties numerous times and love them so I decided to give the salmon sausages a try. I was craving a hash of some sort so I decided to give it a go with the sausages and I was extremely satisfied with the outcome! The dish was delicious and simple to whip up.

Salmon Sausage Hash

Salmon Sausage Hash

Serves 2-3

Ingredients –

2 Andouille Salmon Sausage (Whole Foods) sliced, or any sausage of choice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 big bunch of kale

2 oz goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste

sriracha (optional)

Directions –

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Peel sweet potatoes. Microwave for 4-5 minutes to soften. Chop sweet potatoes, onion, and red pepper. Add sweet potatoes and onion to the skillet and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened and starting to brown. Add sliced sausage and cook until sausages are done. Add kale and goat cheese. Allow kale to become wilted and cheese to melt. Remove from heat and drizzle with sriracha, if desired.

I really enjoyed the goat cheese in this hash and the extra heat from the sriracha. It really added an extra level of flavor. I will definitely be making this quick, easy, and delicious meal again. And it was husband-approved :)


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Back to normal

My husband and I just returned from a week long road trip to Sonoma and Napa and I am feeling rather down. It is always difficult returning from a vacation. However, I am very glad to be back to my routine as well.

While on the road, we ate out for nearly every meal. Although I stayed active and ran most days, I still feel like I need to ease up a bit for this next week. That being said, I started off today with a very delicious and balanced breakfast before my run around Greenlake.


After my run and grocery shopping, I whipped up some almond butter and a new granola recipe. (Note: excited about new mug from The Girl & Fig in Sonoma pictured above!). Typically I stick with Orangette’s French Granola but wanted to try a new recipe I came across from the Eat, Live, Run blog. The recipe is adapted below:

Dry ingredients:

2 1/4 C oatmeal

1/2 C chopped walnuts

1/2 C chopped almonds

1/2 C sunflower seeds

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt


3/4 C honey

1/4 C maple syrup

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Heat wet ingredients in a small sauce pan on low until combined. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix. Pour on greased baking sheet, Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

This granola was pretty excellent since it was so clumpy. I think it will definitely be part of my new rotation.


I’ll be back with some pictures from my trip later this week. I also have recommendations for restaurants and wineries we enjoyed on our trip.

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It’s been a long time.

I can’t believe it has been over a year since my last post. I was completely immersed in finishing my last year of graduate school and working that I did not have a lot of time to focus on anything else. After a long year, I have about 2 months of summer break before the school year begins. I have already taken advantage of the extra time to relax and get my life under control. Hopefully I will be able to begin posting some recipes soon. For now, here are some photos from this summer so far. Looking forward to being back.

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Chocolate. Espresso. Cupcakes.

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Recent homemade eats.

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