Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer blueberry salad

Guys, I'm so excited to be blogging again I haven't even eaten this yet.

Seriously. It's sitting in my refrigerator waiting to be taken over to a family friend's house for dinner and a Game of Thrones viewing party tonight.

I actually have no way of verifying that this recipe will even taste good. Oh dear. Wow, if this salad just tastes like dirt then I promise I will remove this post and write a public apology. I'm pretty sure that won't need to happen, but ya know... if it does. I'm prepared.

So salad. Why salad? Well, lots of reasons.

The first one is that I am back home (finally! I missed my kitchen) and I am starting myself on a new diet. After gaining some (a lot) of weight my freshman year and slacking off on my healthy eating for over a year I have decided to reclaim my former life as a healthy eater. While I've been fantastic about working out this past year and am in better physical shape than I have been since my soccer days, my nutrition has been largely neglected. No more, friends. No more. I miss having unlimited energy, clear skin, and a positive outlook. Healthy food gives you that.

You totally are what you eat. People say that tritely, but having gone through extended periods of time eating a nutrient-rich healthy diet, a mostly crappy assortment of processed foods, and almost nothing at all, I can attest to the fact that what you eat is one of the most influential factors that dictates how you feel (mentally and physically).

So logically a salad seemed like the right place to start on this healthy eating journey.

I knowwwwww. Not all salads are healthy.

But this one is. It's got a rainbow of colors (that's good for you!), tons of "OP" (overpowered -- it's a thing people say apparently) foods like blueberries, almonds, and kale, and a totally kick-butt dressing made primarily of blueberries, vinegar, and the olive oil, which is loaded with good-for-you fats. Like I said: OP.

I've never understood why salads get so much hate. To be honest, salad is just another word for "things thrown on some green substance" and this salad is proof of this.

Hence the name. It's called a summer salad because I basically just took all my favorite foods + summery foods and threw them together on top of some green stuff. Salad a la Kristen. A.K.A. stuff I like in a bowl.

I actually wish that's how all meals worked: throw stuff you like into a bowl.

My bowl would have mangoes, pineapples, dark chocolate, goat cheese, sour dough bread, Special K chocolatey delight cereal, plain greek yogurt, baby carrots, raspberries, and ranch dressing. Hopefully all compartmentalized because that would be awful.

But, see? That's why salads are awesome. Great foods all piled together, no compartmentalization necessary. Everybody wins.

PS: Since writing this post I have eaten this salad and can in fact confirm that it's delicious. As in super delicious. Even if you hate salad, make this dressing and put it on something else. You'll find something. It's the kind of dressing that would be yummy on ice cream or chicken (not kidding, I think it would be great on both of those things). So yea. Make the dressing.

Summer Blueberry Salad
Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes

4 bunches of kale, washed and stems removed
1 cup sweet white corn (I used frozen corn. Be sure to defrost it ahead of time!)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Balsamic Blueberry dressing:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. While oven is heating, in a food processor or blender combine 1 cup blueberries, vinegar, honey, mustard, yogurt, and salt. Blend until smooth and then add in olive oil. Blend again. Set aside and refrigerate.
3. Place almonds on baking tray and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch to make sure they don't burn. NOTE: All ovens are different. Mine takes around 7 minutes but it is important to watch the almonds. They go from cooked to burnt quickly
4. Pour kale into a large salad bowl and massage gently until it feels tender
5. In a small un-greased nonstick pan, cook corn for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Stir and allow to cook until lightly blackened.
6. Combine goat cheese, tomatoes, blueberries, almonds, corn and corn with kale. Toss and season with salt and pepper as desired.
7. Top salad with dressing and mix to serve.

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