My three and a half year old and I talk about ‘energy’ a lot. We talk about what gives us good energy for an active day and what slows us down with negative energy. She knows know that vegetables give us the best energy to have a full day filled with running, jumping and sliding. And she also knows that bread, juice and cookies do not give her enough energy to get through a busy day. She nows says to me “Mommy – I would really like that piece of toast, please. But I promise to eat all my Kale Salad too so I have enough energy to play after lunch.”
I try to avoid wheat and sugar whenever I possibly can but sometimes my little munchkin just begs for it. So I really want my kids to know that food is energy and fuel for our day. And that although bread, pasta, juice and sweets are all so delicious, those foods don’t provide us with the best form of energy and fuel. Olivia is really understanding the concept and one of my biggest food successes thus far is getting her and her almost two year old brother to adore Kale! Who knew a couple of toddlers would inhale it so much.
The truth is Charlie refused to eat a bowl of Kale Salad for a while. But I just kept putting it in front of him. And after a handful of times of serving it to him, he now eats a whole bowl and asks for seconds. Olivia sits beside Charlie eating her second helping, telling him how much energy they are going to have for a big afternoon park play.
So I am including my recipe for Kale Salad – it is a whole family meal. And can be saved in the fridge for the next day. I actually think my kids prefer it on day 2 when the leaves have wilted a bit and aren’t as crunchy. It might take a while for them to take to it, but once they do you will be so happy. Nothing like making one dish for the whole family to eat together.
What you need:
2 bunches green, leafy kale
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dried blueberries or currants
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
This is definitely a time consuming task. But worth the effort!
Use your hands to spread the juice and oil onto each leaf. This will now be left in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The leaves will soften and make the salad not quite as crunchy. More appealing for small kids (and adults!).
Now get all the salad extras ready.
Toasting the pine nuts. Easy! Take 1 tablespoon of olive oil and put in a small pan with your 1/4 cup of pine nuts. Add in some salt and pepper and let the nuts toast to a light golden brown. Put in a small bowl and set aside.
Finally – make the little bit of extra salad dressing. This salad can be served with just olive oil and lemon but my family prefers a little bit of homemade salad dressing!
For the dressing, mix in a bowl:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
Salt and peppar
Once the salad has sat with lemon and olive oil for long enough in the fridge add in your salad extras. Add in the pine nuts, red onion, dried blueberries (or currants) and parmesan. Add the salad dressing to taste (some like lots and some like just a little!).