“Better Than Candy” Kale Salad


I am not the ideal health freak. I love healthy, real food but I also love the indulgent side of real food. I will serve a plate of grilled ribeye and mashed potatoes just as quickly as I would serve a plate filled with ribbons of black kale, bejeweled with plump tomatoes and sticky, sweet dates.

Now, this requires black kale. Curly kale simply will not do. In fact, I never make salads with it. I usually reserve that kind of kale for my rabbits, or kale chips — but that is another blog post altogether.

I made this salad on a whim. I planted the idea of kale salad in my head, but I wanted to tone down the tough leaves, and figured that a clean chiffonade was the ideal way to do this, and incorporate all the ingredients as they should be.

And just like that, kale was fit for the human table. Hell, fit for a king, a celebrity, a czar, an — nevermind.

kale dino kale blackAmazonKale was not just for bunnies anymore. I plopped a mound of green onto my child’s plate and she ate it reluctantly, after inquiring about the dates and their sticky appearance. I said, “Those are dates. They’re kind of like candy!” Well, to me they are. They taste like piloncio; an unrefined Mexican sugar. I ate it like candy as a kid. In fact, I thought it was. I remember my mother slicing me off a piece and handing it to me, saying that she also ate it as a kid.With each bite of a date, I spin into a little whirlwind of nostalgia. I felt a little of this rich sweetness would compliment the earthy taste of the kale, and the acid in the citrus-basil dressing would bring them together.

After a few thoughtful chews, she then smiled, ignoring all her other food. Heck — I don’t even remember what else I served that first night. She said, “Mommy, this salad is better than candy!”

This salad is just as excellent without the almonds, if you have a nut allergy. I love the piquant, yet slightly creamy texture of the parmesean. It truly bridges the flavors of the salad, and brings you in for more.

Enjoy this salad… I know we did, and we will enjoy it until kale is out of season.

“Better than Candy” Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of dino/black kale, chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5-6 dates, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp Parmesean cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted. (optional. I like it without, kiddo likes them in!)
  • 1 recipe Citrus-basil dressing (below)

Combine kale, tomatoes, and dates and toss with dressing. Let mixture set for 20 minutes.


Drain off excess dressing, ensuring that you leave a few tablespoons at the bottom. Toss again, and garnish with cheese.

Citrus-Basil Dressing

  • 1/2 tsp minced basil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Start with basil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture comes together (emulsifies). Adjust taste with salt and pepper.



Paleo Nectarine Pancakes

Problems?  I have them.  We all do.  Unfortunately, many of mine lay in the form of food.  Recently my body has taken an odd turn towards hating particular foods more than it typically does.  I am sure I know why.  I have taken it upon myself to continue healing my wrecked gut, and continue lessening grains in my diet.

Paleo Nectarine Pancakes With Whipped Coconut Cream

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Exorbitant Serving Sizes and Food Addiction


Oreos stood out to me with this clip from Buzzfeed.


I was that person that ate an entire package of Oreos in one sitting.  …With more than 2 tbsp of peanut butter.

I was that person that shoveled food into her mouth indiscriminately, without thinking of what it would do.  Poor habits and food addiction go hand in hand, as you continue piling on these chemical-laden, sweet treats into your mouth, they will do more than simply add inches to your hips.

According to the study “Brain Dopamine and Obesity” by Nora Valkow, very obese people had lower levels of dopamine in their “reward areas” of the brain than people at a normal weight.  These brain scans were consistent with brain scans and brain reactions of cocaine addicts, alcoholics, and other addicts.  These drugs hijack the brain and provide a reaction similarly to how many people react to food they find pleasurable.

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Cooking Tip: Capsaicin and Your Burning Eyes

What chopping hot peppers without gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap.

Peppers contain capsaicin, which is responsible for the burning sensation or blinding pain you may experience when getting it on your skin, eyes, and any other part of your body. Many people do not realize that spiciness is, in fact, pain! Therefore, those that love it are somewhat masochistic… No judging — I’m a spicehound, myself. Sent me your THAI-hot curries, please! Vindaloo? I’ll sign that waiver… Can you bring me a mango lassi while you’re at it?

Since capsaicin is an oil-based compound (or a “hydrophobic hydrocarbon”) it is not water soluble. Dish soap is known for it’s oil-fighting ability. Wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap, and eliminate the risk of harming yourself (and others).

Thanks to BiadChili.com, here is a handy dandy chart that will assist in all your chopped chile needs! If you want your food a bit spicier than a recipe may call for, select your chiles with this guide!

hot pepper scoville guide



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Sly Fox Nutrition – Surprisingly Paleo

An enterprising person accidentally invents a product and begins to market it. Whether it’s passion or pure nutrition, Marc Sweet glows when questioned about why Sly Fox Nutrition was developed. If the proud smile on his face didn’t give it away, these are delicious and utterly nutritious.

Sly Fox Nutrition

Who wouldn’t love a sweet treat that they do not have to feel guilty about? With purely paleo ingredients from a paleo practitioner, you can’t ask for more. Mr. Sweet developed these for himself, for the sake of convenience. We are all troubled with convenience whether we require gluten-free foods or follow a paleo diet. As his friends began indulging in his treats, the idea struck him to develop his own product.

Those of us with food allergies are struck with the affliction of not having a quick, on-the-go indulgence. We’re stuck with maybe a KIND bar or a few pieces of fruit — jerky, if we are lucky. We have to plan ahead. I tried three different items by Sly Fox Nutrition and they both provide incredible energy and are truly delicious.

Cinnamon Roll 

I honestly did not expect this to be so utterly delicious. Cinnamon is encased in a ribbon of coconut flour-based pastry, and it had the most delightful toothsome texture. It was not your typical fluffy cinnamon roll (obviously!), but contrasted well with the nuts between the swirly layers. Immediately, I wanted more. Alas, I had a 6-year-old begging for more.

She shared the two rolls with me.


These bite-sized treats are not overly sweet, but the pillowy texture is wonderful. The coconut oil will help to fuel you along with the honey in this sweet treat. It is not your dense brownie, but rather it is just crumble-y enough to melt in your mouth as the bitter chocolate is just offset with the sweet honey.

Chocolate Cherry Bar

This is wonderfully balanced with chocolate-cherry flavor. The texture is a bit more dense than a KIND bar, which I appreciate. It is not overly sweet, but a perfect snack for foodies that want to enhance performance naturally.

I would absolutely purchase his products again. The cinnamon roll was a clear favorite, but anything will do. If you just want delicious nutrition, or need some convenience in your paleo or gluten-free diet, Sly Fox is one place to stop!

If you’re local (in Phoenix) he is at the Phoenix Public Market on Saturdays between 8am – 12pm! Stop by, and tell him Ches sent ya! ;)

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or sponsored by Sly Fox Nutrition. All opinions are my own.

Gluten-Free Chinese “Barbecue” Pork

When I first had to go gluten-free, I thought about all the things I missed. Amongst the general thing most people miss, bread, pasta, convenience… I missed ladles full of vegetables and nuts swimming in a sea of brown sauce over greasy chow mein noodles, neon red sauce for dunking crisp egg rolls, and annoyingly bright red char siu.

Char siu is different everywhere. I have tried it so many ways, at so many restaurants, made by so many methods. Sometimes it’s made with pork loin, butt, sometimes pork belly. I have been working on this recipe for awhile, based on a lot of online resources. I think I have arrived at a recipe that isn’t too involved, and isn’t too complex.

chinese babecue pork gluten free


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