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Featured/ RECIPES/ Sides

Kale & Lentil Salad With Cranberries & Coconut Bacon

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It is amazing how excited I can get about a kale salad. This Kale & Lentil Salad with Cranberries & Coconut Bacon is really delicious & reminds me of something you could order at an upscale vegetarian restaurant.

This kale salad is full of beautiful.  It has gorgeous color from the cranberries & the kale itself. The texture is great with curly kale, chewy dried cranberries & crunchy coconut bacon. The cranberries are a nice sweet touch while the coconut bacon adds amazing smokey & salty flavor.

Chopped Kale

Kale Tip

Kale is different from other salad greens as it is not as delicate.  I love this about kale because you can dress it and put it in the refrigerator to eat the next day, as the leaves will not get soggy like typical salad leaves.

I like kale chopped up small like in this salad, with the dressing “massaged” into the leaves to help soften them a bit. It is best to do this before adding the other toppings to your salad.

Lentil Kale Salad

Kale Nutrition

This salad is full of protein & fiber, phytonutrients & antioxidants. You can read more about the amazing nutrition of kale here. It is filling and can be a meal in itself or  makes a great side dish, too. It is a great recipe for potlucks, and can be enjoyed all year but is especially festive looking at Christmastime.


Coconut Bacon

Did you read the post I wrote about coconut bacon? It is SO DELICIOUS & very easy to make. Most regular bacon has nitrates in it that are cancer causing and harmful to your health. This coconut bacon has a nice smokey flavor from smoked paprika & has a great salty flavor like bacon, thanks to the addition of soy sauce. The oven crisps the coconut flakes up just right for the perfect crunchy texture to top salads and soups.  Coconut bacon is great sprinkled on top of lentil soup or even just eaten straight from a jar!


I use precooked lentils that you can get at Trader Joes in the refrigerator section.  If you don’t have a Trader Joes near you, lentils are super easy to make, or you can get canned lentils.  Want more ideas of what to make with lentils from New Nostalgia? Try Easy Taco Seasoned Lentils or Sloppy Joe Lentils.  Both make great Meatless Monday/ Vegetarian meals.

Coconut Bacon Kale Lentil Salad With Cranberries

This salad has a simple homemade dressing made with apple cider vinegar which gives it great flavor.  It is the perfect dressing for an amazing salad!

Kale & Lentil Salad with Cranberries & Coconut Bacon

{Serves: 6 small or 4 large servings}

1 medium head curly kale, stems removed, washed, dried and chopped (about 7-8 ounces after preparation)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (or one can of cooked lentils, rinsed & drained)

1 cup coconut bacon

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped shallots


Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar,maple syrup, salt, pepper, and shallots.  Set them aside.

Place the kale in a large mixing bowl.  Toss the dressing over it and massage thoroughly with your hands, until all of the leaves are coated with the dressing.  Add the cranberries, lentils, and coconut bacon, and toss everything to combine.  Pile the salad into serving bowls & serve.

Note: Leftover salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.  I love storing it in smaller mason jars for a quick, grab & go lunch.

Gardening/ Uncategorized

Square Foot Garden 2014


I have been in gardening heaven lately.  My Mother-in-Law came and weeded all my landscape beds which left me time to do the fun stuff–like get my square foot garden going!  Our little yard is slowly becoming a fun haven for our family, and this year we have spent more time than ever out there.  I’ve even been napping in our new hammock.

I’d like to encourage you to do what you can with what you have.  You don’t need a huge yard or perfect grass to create an outdoor space to spend time in.  Just mow and clean it up.  Add touches of comfort slowly, and let go of perfection.

My yard is so small that I didn’t think I’d have room for a garden, but thanks to square foot gardening, I am able to grow lots of herbs and vegetables for my family.  We have 2 4×2 beds–yep, super small–but you won’t believe what I can fit in there!

Our SFG’s are in a landscape bed along the east side of our house.  It has been a great spot, and uses space that would otherwise go un-used.

Square foot gardening is amazing and so very easy.  Weeding is almost nonexistent in a SFG, I’ve had mine for 5 years now and I’ve pulled maybe a handful of weeds in that amount of time…no joke!  Watering is also very minimal.  The key is the soil mixture, I followed the Square Foot Gardening book to a T and it has been amazing.


Here is what happened in the garden in the month of May, 2014:

Planted Mid-May

Kale – 8

Swiss Chard -8

Basil -1




Planted-Late May

Tomatoes -3

Cucumber -1

Summer Squash -1

Mini Pumpkin -6, going to thin once they sprout


I also have an herb pot on my front porch:

Planted Mid-May




A Patunia for pretty


 I used mint as the focal point of 2 of my flower pots, I kept the mint in its pot but took off the bottom, hoping the sides of the pot will help contain it as mint can be a bully & space hog!

Planted Mid-May




I used what I have for plants that are going to vine (squash, pumpkin, cucumber & tomatoes–not yet planted in above pic.  I have a pallet for them to grow up on, a nearby fence, tomato cages, and a part of our old swing set turned on it’s side.  I will tie up the plants as needed, using strips cut from an old pair of tights I have or just use some jute.

I am eager to share with you how much the garden has already grown…the leaves of the plants in pics above are about 3 times the size already!  I will do a June garden update soon!


What are you growing?  Is there anything keeping you from quality time in the yard?


Meals/ RECIPES/ Sides

White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup

Bowl of white bean quinoa and kale soup
This soup is easy to make, and full of so much nutritious goodness!  Great plant protein from both the beans and the quinoa.  Fiber and tons of nutrients from all the beautiful plant food–onions, carrots, celery, garlic, kale, tomatoes!  All of that goodness creates great flavor.  This soup is hearty and warming.  I serve it with some sourdough bread for dipping.
Making soup and eating it for lunch or dinner is a GREAT way to get those servings of vegetables in. Add a green leafy salad and you could get up to 5 servings of vegetables in one meal!  Now that is what I’m talking about! 

White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup
via Enlightened Cooking
Makes 6 big servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium-large onion)
1-1/4 cups chopped carrots (about 2 medium carrots—no need to peel)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 cups prewashed and cut kale
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup quinoa (rinsed)
8 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 19-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Add kale and cook and stir 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes with juice, quinoa, broth, and herbs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.
3. Place half of beans in a small bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir mashed and whole beans into soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Healthy Eating/ RECIPES/ Sides

Favorite Cheezy Kale Chips


Cheesy kale chips

Kale is a leafy green that I try to get into my body at least every other day.  It is the most nutrient dense leafy green and is full of all kinds of cancer fighting phytonutrients.  I use baby kale in my salads & green smoothies, but my favorite way to eat kale is to make kale chips.
I have been making this recipe like crazy lately, and find myself eating the entire pan by myself!  It is a great way to get a large amount of nutrients into the body, and at the same time satisfy any cravings for a salty, cheesy, crispy, crunchy snack.
Here is my favorite way to prepare them:
Olive oil drizzed on baking sheet

Drizzle a little olive oil onto baking sheet.  Use pastry brush to spread out evenly.

Washing kale

Wash kale.  There are 2 types.  Curly & Lacinato.  I like to use lacinato, which is this large, flat type.  If you use curly kale, you can use this same recipe but just toss in a bowl with tongs to coat.

De-veining kale by taking stem out of the middle.

De-vein kale by taking out the tough stem that is in the middle.  It is bitter so make sure to remove it.  I just tear it with my hands.

Tearing kale into pieces.

Tear kale into pieces…or not.  Whatever shape and size you desire.

Trader Joe's ingredients including olive oil and soy sauce

Have ingredients ready.  You will need olive oil, soy sauce (or tamari), any type of grill seasoning, pepper, & nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese for non-vegans).

Olive oil over washed kale

Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over washed kale.  Can use a pastry brush to coat…I just use my fingers!

Soy sauce on kale.
Then drizzle with a 1/2 tablespoon – 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.  Use pastry brush or fingers to coat leaves.
Nutritional yeast on kale leaves.

Sprinkle with nutritional yeast (or parm cheese) until coated to your liking.  I use about 2-3 tablespoons for this batch.  I just eyeball it.

Grill seasoning on kale chips
Add about a teaspoon of grill seasoning –or any seasoning you like.  Curry is good, Italian seasoning is good, but my fav is Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute.  I used about half of what is in my palm in the pic.
Cheesy kale chips

After adding seasoning, use the pastry brush or your fingers to spread all together onto the leaves.  Basically you are just wetting the seasonings with the oil and soy sauce.  Nothing fancy, it does not need to be perfect.

Baked cheesy kale chips
Bake at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.  Watch closely.  The time between crispy and burnt is just a couple minutes.  I can usually tell when it is done by my nose.  It smells really yummy when it is crisped up and done. If it is crispy, it is done.  Break into pieces and enjoy.  Can also crumble and use on soups and to top salads.
Process of making cheezy kale chips.

Cheezy Kale Chips
3-4 large kale leaves
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
1/2-1 tsp grill seasoning
pepper to taste
Wash kale leaves.  Take large vein out of center of kale.  Spread about 1 tablespoon olive oil onto pan. Lay kale leaves down on pan in single layer.  Drizzle remaining olive oil onto kale, just enough to coat each leaf.  Use pastry brush or fingers to spread onto leaves.  Do the same with the soy sauce. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with seasoning and pepper, then spread seasonings into the oil and sauce using your fingers or pastry brush.  Bake 250 degrees or 15-20 minutes or until crispy.
Have you ever made kale chips?
What are your favorite seasonings?

Baked Kale Chips

Kale is a super healthy food.  When I read up on treating cancer nutritionally, kale kept coming up everywhere I read,  so I knew I had to find a way to get more kale in out diet. I remember reading on a few different blogs about making homemade Kale Chips.  I gave it a try and I like them!  My kids were apprehensive, but after crunching on some and tasting the salt I sprinkled on them, it grew on them and the pan was gone by the end of the night.  I think I tore mine into pieces that were too small, which ended up making some of the edges over cooked, which then made those spots taste a little weird.
Next time, I will try to get kale that is straight leafed and bake it flat and whole like she did here at Roost 
The recipe I used is from The Little Red House.  I loved that it called for lemon zest, yum!
Baked Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and bottom (thickest part) of the stems cut off.
olive oil
lemon zest (a few tsp)
coarse salt and cracked pepper
Cut (or tear) kale into smaller, bite sized pieces.
Toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and s & p.
Spread onto lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until light and crispy.
Here is one more recipe for kale chips that intrigued me from Bonzai Aphrodite.  She adds a whole bunch of yummy ingredients, I would love to try this recipe sometime.
What’s New and Beneficial About Kale
  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability – just not as much.
  • Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.