Keeping it Simple

Before you get all excited about some extravagant holiday recipe that you think I might be posting, you should know that we are keeping it simple around here.

This is kale, by the way.


This season, I’ve found that a 3 year old doesn’t require an over-the-top “Christmas is Coming!” extravaganza in order to be happy. For starters, she is very excited about our homemade lookin’ tree.


She loves our simple spruce decorations on the table, who she has named Clementine and Pinecone.


She doesn’t care that I mangle the words to the Christmas songs I sing to her at bedtime completely out of key. This is the first year she’s really aware of the characters who come out this time of year – snowmen, reindeer, santa, elves – and I don’t know who’s enjoying their jolly presence more, me or her.

I am grateful this year for my little family and for my bigger family who will be arriving this weekend from the Northwest. Things are likely to start getting much more extravagant once they arrive. With a grandma in the house to help out, I expect a flurry of baking and present wrapping and big holiday food.

I am grateful that the horrendous cold I’ve had all week has started to abate and that a friend tipped me off to the spicy chicken soup at Tacos Delta. If that doesn’t heal you, I don’t know what will. I’m grateful it’s raining today, because after 3 days of near 80 degree weather, I’d completely had it with this whole Southern California Christmas thing. One cannot properly enjoy a mug of hot cocoa if one is sweating to death while drinking it.

Speaking of which, once you introduce a 3 year old to marshmallows and hot chocolate, there is no going back. It really is shocking how many of those tiny white puffs she can eat in one sitting, or rather, would eat in one sitting if I didn’t eventually cut her off.

Which is why a snack like this is so perfect for the holidays to combat a marshmallow overdose:


Yes, I know. Kale chips are so 2010. To be honest, I never really understood the kale chip craze. But this version,  tossed in soy sauce and sesame and coconut oil, was an “ah ha!” moment. They are crispy and salty and just a teeny bit sweet from the coconut oil. They are delicious and addictive and made out of kale, for Pete’s sake, so eat as many as you like.

This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Crispy Kale and Tofu Salad with Coconut. In that recipe, didn’t love the coconut chips added in with the kale, but using coconut oil instead is perfect. The chips are hard to resist right out of the oven, but they’re also really good crumbled over farro, brown rice and quinoa.


1 bunch of kale (I use lacinato, the one with dark green, long leaves)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce


Preheat the oven to 350 F

Rip the kale leaves off the stems, discard the stems. Roughly chop the leaves.

In a large bowl mix together the oils and soy sauce.

Add the kale and toss it with your hands until it’s evenly covered.


Spread the kale out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. After the 20-minute mark, keep an eye on the kale so it doesn’t burn.


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Filed under Appetizers, Salads and Sides

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