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.


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

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

Homemade Ranch Dressing

homemade ranch dipWe love ranch dressing around here.

It’s a staple at almost every meal.

You could almost call it a separate food group.

It comes it a bottle from the store and it’s not something you mess with.

But I did.

I actually made a homemade version – and served it to my children despite their astonished and – yes – even hostile looks.

And they loved it!

Score for mom!

It has now almost totally replaced the bottle from the grocery store. Pedro liked it so well that he requested it for his graduation party.

Good thing it’s so fast and easy and to throw together because we’ve made gallons of it!

Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Milk or Buttermilk

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and spices in a bowl.

You can serve it now as a dip.

But if you want a salad dressing – just add milk or buttermilk to your desired consistency.

Store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Fresh Raspberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Vinigrette I’m gonna get all fancy on you today! I feel a little bit like this country gal had gone “Food Network” with this gourmet recipe!

But this fresh raspberry vinaigrette is a winner!

My mom mixed some up and brought it to our family camping trip over the Fourth of July and it was a BIG hit.

She emailed us all the recipe – and I made a batch using the fresh blackberries that the girls picked.

We served it at Dagmar’s birthday supper and got rave reviews! My husband even poured it over his grilled pork loin and ate some on his ice cream!

It’s versatile – you can make it with fresh or frozen berries and you can use strawberries, raspberries, or even blackberries.

And it’s easy! Just a quick whirl in the blender and you are ready to impress!

Fresh Raspberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Original recipe from Terri Nordaker

Mix in blender (food processor works, too)
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar  or  1 cup raspberries + 1/3 cup white/wine/or regular vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon grated onion or dry onion flakes

Slowly add 1 cup oil (any kind will work – I used vegetable)  Note – if you use olive oil you will need warm to room temp before serving because olive oil thickens when refrigerated.

Stir in 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds.

Pour into a pretty serving container and enjoy! Refrigerate any left-overs.

I have no idea how long it will keep in the fridge – we eat a batch as fast as I can mix it up!

I’ve linked this post up with Mouthwatering Monday at A Southern Fairytale, Tuesdays at the Table over All the Small Stuff,  Tuesday Tastes at Crazy Daisy, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday over at Blessed With Grace.

Rhubarb Chutney

My mom is back as guest blogger today with a yummy – and rather unique – use for our abundance of rhubarb…

Rhubarb Chutney

This cool and “wet” spring has allowed us to harvest rhubarb from our patch longer than usual. Rhubarb cake, sauce, pie, and crisp are all delicious.

But, this recipe, teaming garlic, black pepper , ginger and vinegar with the usual sugar & rhubarb “called” to me as I was turning the pages of a magazine.

It is a great accompaniment to any meat; something different than catsup, mustard, relish, or even tarter sauce!

It does freeze well, too.

Rhubarb Chutney

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
8 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup golden raisins ( I used regular raisins)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced.
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper

Place vinegar and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add rhubarb and remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens, about 6 to 8 minutes. It does thicken as it cools.

Cool completely. Store in a glass jar or plastic storage container in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 5 1/2 cups.

(Per 1/4 cup serving: 100 calories, og fat, omg chol., 1g prot.,24g carbs., 1g fiber, 35mg sodium.)

Nana Shirley

Make Ahead Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad It’s been a busy week.

And it doesn’t stop yet! We’re packing up to head out for some special family time at my niece’s bridal shower.

In the midst of all the busyness – my girls are working on some preparations for a special Mother’s Day lunch for me on Sunday.

I’m not sure everything that is on the menu – but I have seen some Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes in the fridge along with this luscious fruit salad.

We love this salad because it not only tastes great – but it is fast and easy to put together – and it stays well in the fridge for several days.

I originally got the recipe from my mother-in-law and we have served it often – to rave reviews.

It travels well, – trust me on this one! I have served it at a funeral meal and a political gathering in the last 2 weeks!

I have substituted the drained pineapple juice for the orange juice and tried a variety of fruit!

Make Ahead Fruit Salad

2 -1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
juice of one orange and grated rind (about 1/4 cup)
1 can pineapple chunks
1 can mandarin oranges
Assortment of fresh fruit

Drain the pineapple and mandarin oranges well and put the fruit in a large bowl.

Wash and cut the other fruit into bite sized pieces. Add to the bowl with the pineapple and oranges. Set aside.

Mix together the cornstarch, sugar, water, orange juice, and grated orange rind. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is thick and clear.

Pour over the fruit when the mixture is hot.

Cover and refrigerate.

Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

You can use a variety of fresh fruit in this salad — apples, grapes, melon balls, strawberries, bananas or blueberries, but if using blueberries and bananas add them just before serving.

You can add as much or as little fruit as you wish – my kids like it really juicy, but I prefer it with more fruit.  This is one of those recipes you just can’t mess up!


I’ve linked this post up at Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

The Tale of the Left-Over Cranberry Sauce

left-over cranberry sauce

Our Thanksgiving was a little different this year – instead of a quiet meal at home, we volunteered to help serve a community meal at our church for anyone who – like us – didn’t have family close by.

We had never done anything like this before – and no one had any idea how many people would show up and how much food to make.

So we guessed.

Somethings we were right on – like the dressing and the sweet potatoes.

Somethings we weren’t even close.

But all of the left-overs found good homes, many of them ending up here.

The turkey and ham turned into casseroles that now live in my freezer. The mashed potatoes became the most amazingly delicious lefse ever made! The relishes have been eaten on all week.

The only thing that truly stumped me was the left-over cranberry sauce.  It wasn’t the yummy homemade stuff or even the stuff with the real cranberries in it. It was the stuff from the can – the jellied stuff. You know the kind – with the ridges from the can on the outside.

I like it, but not 4 cans worth, cut and partially melted in a ziplock bag. I will admit that this frugal momma almost tossed it to the chickens.

But I didn’t.

I had an inspiration – an “aha” moment.

I decided to turn it into salad.  I would replace the pears in our classic blender jello recipe with the cranberries.  Brilliant!

Cranberry Blender Jello

2 (3-ounce)  packages of Jello (I used strawberry but orange would be yummy as well!)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 can jellied cranberry sauce (or whatever is left-over in the zip-lock bag after the holidays!)
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Mix all ingredients together in blender on high. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate until set.

I frosted ours with Cool Whip since we had some of that left-over as well.


Homemade Yogurt

My most exciting find at this summer’s garage sales was a Salton Yogurt Maker.

I had one years ago, but over time had broken some of the glass containers. I’ve tried other ways to make yogurt – but none were as successful and drop dead simple as the Salton.

My recipe comes from the tried and true More-With-Less Cookbook . I just reduced it down to fit in my Salton.

Salton Yugurt MakerHomemade Yogurt

Combine in measuring cup:

1 cup powdered milk
2 cups warm water

Mix thoroughly and add:

5 ounces of evaporated milk or scalded whole milk.

Remove a small amount of this mixture and put in a small container. Add to this 3-4 ounces of vanilla yogurt made with active cultures. (The active cultures are very important! It should say so right on the label.)

Blend till smooth and add to the remaining milk. Mix well. It’s very important to get the starter mixed well into the base!

Pour into the yogurt maker and let incubate overnight.

The beauty of a yogurt maker is the consistent low heat (about 110 – 120 degrees).

To serve, you can simply add a little vanilla, or some fresh fruit, or maybe a little flavored jello. I’ve even added a small amount of sweetened kool-aid mix – which gave it a lovely color and a fruity flavor.

I love how easy and economical homemade yogurt is – my kids just think it tastes great!

Slow Cooker Orange Cranberry Relish

I just enjoyed this recipe at Mom’s last weekend. I’m so glad she was willing to share it with us all- it is yummy!

Orange Cranberry RelishI have always liked cranberries, especially the ones my mom would cook up into a sauce.

Some of my children like the canned jellied cranberries, but I still prefer the sauce.

It can be messy and time consuming to make, but the rich flavor is worth the extra time!

You can even store the cranberries in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

This recipe is from our REC magazine (REC stands for Rural Electric Cooperative for you city slickers.) It isn’t quite like my mom’s, but we love it!

It does not have the “crunch” of traditional relish, but is tasty, cooks while you are doing something else & doubles as a potpourri fragrance!

Slow Cooker Orange-Cranberry Relish
From REC magazine

1 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Grated Orange Peel
1 Cup Orange Juice
1-16oz Pkg Whole Cranberries

In a slow cooker, combine sugar, orange peel & juice. Stir until dissolved. Add cranberries, stir and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours. Mash berries after cooking. Chill before serving. May be kept in refrigerator for several days.

Until next time,
Nana Shirley

Snicker Apple Salad

Snicker Apple Salad Okay- leave it to me, the chocolate lady, to figure out a way to bring chocolate to the Thanksgiving table- as a salad!

It belongs of course- because chocolate is one of the things I’m the most thankful for!

I first had this salad at a Soup Supper and couldn’t wait to find the recipe and make it myself.

The fact that I actually shared it with my family speaks of how much I love them all!

Snicker Apple Salad

Mix together large box of vanilla pudding mix and 1 large carton of Cool Whip.

Cut up 4-5 nice sized apples into bite sized pieces and fold in. (We prefer the tart Granny Smith.)

Take 3 regular sized Snickers bars and break them into pieces. (I froze the bars first then put them in a plastic bag and beat them with a rolling pin.)

Fold in the apples and Snickers bars and refrigerate for at least one hour.

It’s a simple and very forgiving recipe- something else to be thankful for!!

Spaghetti and Fresh Tomatoes

The tomatoes in the garden are still trying to set on and ripen. We’ve had just enough to enjoy fresh, including this favorite dish of mine, spaghetti and fresh tomatoes.

It is my side dish of choice when ever we do anything on the grill!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes

Peel 8 medium tomatoes. Chop, seed and drain.

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 of a green pepper (chopped) and 16 black olives, sliced.

Add tomatoes and set aside at room temperature.

Cook 8 oz. of spaghetti according to directions. Drain and place in serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I’ve used whatever kind of pasta that I had on hand and it worked just fine! I like to cook a big bag of pasta (16 oz.) and divide it into two bowls. One bowl (for the kids) will get just Parmesan cheese and melted butter. The other bowl (for the adults) will get the tomato mixture!

It’s a fresh and delicious taste of summer!