Life and Garden Update + A Giant Summer Salad

For all of last month, I did something I’ve never done since I started this site: I took a break from blogging, complete with not posting on my Facebook page, logging into Pinterest, or doing any other of the tasks that seem to be required these days if one wants to keep a steady stream of traffic coming to visit their blog.

I needed the break and I’m really glad I took it. Stepping away from blogging gave me time to reflect on how different my life is now from when I first started Healthy Green Kitchen. Some examples: when I started blogging, my kids were pretty young and now they are teenagers; I was casually doing karate and now I am competing in powerlifting. I was content to sit in front of the computer for many hours every single day working on this blog and now I am not (there are simply too many other things I want to do, including becoming a nutrition and strength coach…I am currently taking the steps necessary to make this happen). I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can switch things up here to better reflect the current state of “me”. I don’t quite have it all figured out; I’m trying to just be patient and see how things here naturally evolve.

winnie abramson garden

winnie abramson garden

Something else that’s evolved quite a bit since I started this site is my garden. After focusing on expansion year after year, my husband and I recently made the decision to change direction a bit. We had built so many raised beds for veggies: I really couldn’t keep up with all the maintenance. So we made the garden smaller in order to create a space that’s more manageable. We also fenced in portion of of our yard next to the garden to accomodate five fruit trees (2 varieties of heirloom apples, 2 varieties of plums, and one nectarine) and more room for our chickens to roam.

plums_

It’s been raining a ton, so I haven’t had to water much, which is always nice. I am of course looking forward to our first cukes, tomatoes, etc. In the meantime I’ve been enjoying lots of fresh herbs, radishes and all sorts of greens daily. Here are some garden photos…I’ll share more as the summer moves along!

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Bacon-Wilted Greens with Warm Goat Cheese

Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef and well-loved authority on Southern cooking. Her new book Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back. I’ve enjoyed cooking from it very much.

Bacon-Wilted Greens from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

In this beautifully photographed book, Virginia shares “lighter” versions of her favorite Southern recipes. Whole foods ingredients-and vegetables in particular-are featured prominently, and balance and moderation (yay!) are discussed throughout. Nutritional information is provided for all of the recipes.

I chose to make Virginia’s Bacon-Wilted Greens because 1. I am always looking for new ways to serve greens 2. I was intrigued by the baked apple with goat cheese garnish. I really loved this dish and will definitely be making it again! I used local Savoy spinach instead of the kale Virginia calls for: next time I’ll give the kale a try because the spinach cooked down quite a bit and made fewer servings than the recipe in the book states.

Bacon-Wilted Greens from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Chopped Salad

Recently I was thinking about how I haven’t been eating many salads lately. This is mostly due to not having access to my garden goodies this time of year, but it’s also because salads don’t generally appeal to me when it’s 15 degrees F. outside. Well here’s a beautiful, delicious salad that kicks all possible excuses to the curb, at least for me. I could eat this one day in and day out no matter what the calender or thermometer say.

Chopped Salad | Healthy Green Kitchen

This Chopped Salad is inspired by a new book called The Paleo Chef: Quick, Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well. As you may know, I am pretty vocal about not following a Paleo (or any other) diet and I know nothing about the author. I recieved this book from the publisher and while I’ll be skipping over the author’s nutritional recommendations, the recipes look really tasty to me; it’s also beautifully photographed and I am a sucker for pretty cookbooks.

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Thanksgiving Sides + MightyNest Glassware Giveaway

I love everything from MightyNest and I am a big fan of their efforts to support schools. So when they recently sent me some of their Anchor Hocking Glassware (and asked if I’d like to do a giveaway for the same items on my blog), I was thrilled. I’ve been cooking up a storm lately: … Read more

Brown Rice Salad with Chard, Grapes, and Hazelnuts

brown rice salad with chard and grapes

The first killing frost has come and gone, and while my garden is pretty much a wasteland right now, not everything edible is gone. I have some herbs that are still hanging on, for example. And lots of chard.

chard | healthy green kitchen

I planted far more chard than was reasonable this year considering I don’t cook with it all that much. I used some of mine a couple of months back when I attempted a chard-based version of one of my favorite Indian dishes: Palak Paneer, and I’ve thrown a few leaves into soups every now and then. But I still have lots, so I was happy when I saw a pretty salad featuring chard in the beautiful cookbook Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season.

I love this book (written and photographed by the very talented Kimberly Hasselbrink of The Year in Food)! I have been cooking from it for the past few months since publisher Ten Speed Press sent me a review copy. In addition to the brown rice salad with chard, grapes, and hazelnuts you see here, I’ve made the Poached Apricots with Rose Water, the Squash Blossom Quesadillas, and the Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters with Avocado Crema. Everything has been great.

Kimberly’s recipe for this chard salad includes wild rice. I like wild rice a lot, but I didn’t have any in the house. So I opted to use short grain brown rice instead. I didn’t use the rosemary garnish, but otherwise followed her recipe for this fabulous salad to the letter.

brown rice salad with chard and grapes

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