Kale Salad

Kale Salad

I’m not too shy about eating mangoes in January, but at the same time, I do like to try to source most of my produce and other food from my local Farmer’s market.  I find it to be a bit of a challenge to use local produce in the winter, but it’s a challenge I’m up for.

The big thing at the market lately has been kale.


Thing is, there’s only so many kale chips a girl (and her meat n’ potatoes-loving Newfoundlander husband) can handle.  In an effort to find a new way to use kale (and to broaden my sometimes spinach, arugula and romaine-limited salad repertoire) I created this crunchy, tangy winter salad.

Here’s what you need:

(amounts depending on how many mouths you’re feeding)


1 part kale, chopped fine

1/2 part raw broccoli, chopped

1/2 part arugula, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

Handful of roasted pepitas (my favourite are from a vendor at the Halifax Famer’s Market – but they don’t have a website to link to!  You’re just going to have to check it out…they sell awesome roasted nuts too!)


1 part oil (I usually use olive oil, but a splash of walnut oil mixed in is nice too)

Juice of one lemon (two if you’re making quite a large salad)

1/4 part agave nectar (honey would do)

1/4 part dijon mustard


Here’s what you do:

Toss together all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  In a jar or tupperware container with a lid, add the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid and shake like crazy until the oil has emulsified and you have a nice creamy mixture.  Give it a taste and add more agave nectar or lemon juice depending on how sweet or tart you like your vinaigrette.


Pour the vinaigrette into the salad and toss to coat.  Enjoy!


Recipe is a Jessie original!

Beet and Cashew Salad

On a monthly basis, I attend one of those potlucks that feels like a treasure trove of the most comforting recipes from each attendee’s culinary repertoire.  It’s a gathering of my fellow volunteer doulas, where we take the time to connect and participate in a continuing education seminar.

Back the truck up, you say?  What’s a doula, you ask?

A doula is a person who provides physical, emotional and informational support to women and their families during the antenatal period.  We don’t do any medical procedures, but we meet with women and their support people a couple of times before their due date to talk about their options for birthing, and then we support them fully throughout the duration of their labour.  Once the baby is born, doula supports a woman’s transition to motherhood by helping with breastfeeding and basic baby care.

That’s the technical definition.  But what does being a doula really mean?  It means sharing the fears and anticipation, living in the unknown with a woman as she nears her due date.  It means a call at 2a.m., a nervous, rushing voice on the other end of the line, “I’ve been having contractions on and off all night…”  It’s swaying with a woman who leans into you, hands clasped behind your neck, while she quietly integrates the intensity of her contractions.  Holding hands as she bears down, and witnessing awe, delight, love and relief wash over her when she holds her baby her to chest for the first time.

It is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

I’ve been a doula for almost five years now, I guess.  It was something I stumbled upon – one of those things that somehow the universe conspires to make happen, if you listen closely enough and have the bravery to trust it’s meant to be.  Along with the incredible birth stories I’ve been honoured to be a part of, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of the other women in my city who have dedicated their hearts to this work.  They are a strong, passionate, exceptional bunch.  Several of us get together regularly, and there’s always food.  These are women who are serious nurturers, and I think we all agree that sharing food is one of the best ways to care for others.

One of my favourite recipes from these potlucks is a beet and cashew salad.  I made this not too long ago to share with my family, who had all come to visit and spend time with my daughter Ada.

Okay, so this picture does no justice to this salad.  Sometimes, you have to make salads at night, when there's no natural light to take nice pictures with, and your salad looks kinda like ground beef.  That's just me being real, right?

Okay, so this picture does no justice to this salad. Sometimes, you have to make salads at night, when there’s no natural light to take nice pictures with, and your salad looks kinda like ground beef. That’s just me being real, right?

Here’s what you need:

1 raw beet, grated

1 cup cashew nuts, roasted (I use sliced almonds sometimes, too)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp maple syrup

3 cm fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp sesame oil

Salt to taste

Here’s what you do:

Combine the grated beets and nuts.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.  Pour over the beet mixture and stir to coat.


Oh, and by the way, you should check out the blog of my friend Amy – she started blogging on the same day I did (!) and is choosing one type of food per month to make recipes with.  This month is beets!  She’s super healthy.

Recipe courtesy of Lindsay Miller, a volunteer doula at the Chebucto Family Centre.