Copy Cat Till Kale Salad

When I was at Till restaurant  a few weeks ago (for those who haven’t yet tasted this goodness, get yourself there…but make sure it’s payday first as the prices are a bit steep!), I had the most amazing kale salad (and the homemade ginger beer was also great!).

IMG_2685

I know, I know — many people have this love/hate relationship with kale.  I get it.  It can be grainy and grassy and just plain boring.  BUT when dressed correctly, kale can quickly become one of your favorite comfort foods. Yep, I said it, COMFORT FOOD!

kale

In my opinion, the secret to the Till kale salad is two parts – these amazing parmesan crouton type nuggets with a spicy lemon vinaigrette.  I attempted to get a more thorough explanation of the dressing from our waitress – you know, the “secret ingredient.”  She said she’d ask the chef but I never heard back.

parmesan

That’s okay, I have my own test kitchen and tasters here at home! So after a bit of experimenting, I found the holy grail of Kale.

Here’s my take on Till’s Lemon Kale Salad.

Ingredients:

1 head organic kale, washed, cut off the vein and chopped into super small pieces

2 lemons

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp dijon mustard (give or take a tsp)

olive oil

salt/pepper

red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated (about 1 cup)

Heat oven to 350. On a silpat pad (or parchment paper), place small mounds of parmesan cheese.  You should have about 6-8 small rounds of cheese.  Place in oven and bake until browned and crunchy (took me about 15 minutes) See picture above if confused!

While that’s baking, mix together juice of two lemons, zest of one lemon, garlic (crushed), mustard, about 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I usually do about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper).

Pour dressing over chopped kale.  Mix really well (I use my hands to really get the dressing into the bits of kale).  Refrigerate.

To serve, put kale in a bowl.  Take parmesan rounds, break into small pieces and put on salad.

Sit back and enjoy!

This Summer…

At church the other night, we were informed that school starts in 29 days.  NOOOOOOOO!!!

I am NOT ready for the summer to end.  I’m not ready for schedules and driving and school notices.  I’m not ready for three NEW schools, including HIGH SCHOOL. I’m not prepared for a certain child’s driving career to commence. I’m not excited, at all, about planning crock pot meals and making school lunches.

This summer has been a gift.  It’s been my first summer in 7 years that I’ve not worked.

20160705_161441336_iOS

It’s been filled with mini vacations, camping expeditions, sports camps and lots of time at the local pool.

20160707_020041974_iOS

20160705_010019861_iOS

20160706_204958186_iOS

I’ve dived headlong into making almost exclusively vegetarian meals for the entire family.

20160517_182850038_iOS

We’ve lived off summer’s fruit and vegetable bounties. Our days have been filled with library runs and hikes, walks in the neighborhood and board games.

20160610_165842341_iOS

20160715_012619400_iOS

20160715_152253266_iOS

The yelling and fighting has been kept at bay (not sure the magic pill for this one but I’m not complaining!).  This 2016 Colorado summer has been filled with blessing.

20160628_225542531_iOS

For a brief short moment, I just want time to stop.  I want to soak in the ages of our kids – the wonderment of a 7 year old who finds a tic tac to board in a tree stump while hiking.  The fervor and zest an 11 year old boy has for his beloved Eagle Lake Camp.  The growth and deep conversations 3 weeks away from us, free of all media has given our 14 year old.

20160624_143918277_iOS

20160714_221128370_iOS

20160715_155704026_iOS

Life will move forward but I keep always, in the back of my head, the lesson yoga taught me so many years ago.  I cannot have the minute back that just went by, I cannot be promised the minute ahead.  I only have the minute at hand, the breath at this very moment.  So live in the moment.

Guest Post: Caroline’s take on HRC Advance Camp

FullSizeRender

I found Honey Rock Camp as a freshman at Wheaton College.  With a long summer ahead and my parents headed back to Africa, I needed a home.  Honey Rock Camp became that for me the summer of 1995.  I had the privilege of being a counselor, taking kids on amazing wilderness trips, learning the ins and outs of lake canoeing as well as being part of a TRUE real community.  Honey Rock Camp was where I learned to LOVE the outdoors – something that has stayed with me to this day.

IMG_0073

I always wanted our kids to attend HRC and this summer, Caroline went.  Flying by herself to Rhinelander, WI, and met by a total stranger, she headed to camp for three weeks.  No phone, no technology, not knowing a soul.

IMG_0058

IMG_0048

The entire time she was gone, my heart’s prayer (after asking to keep her safe and meet friends) was to LOVE Honey Rock like I do.  AND SHE DID!

I thought you’d enjoy hearing her share a bit about the three weeks of Advance Camp she attended.  This camp is specifically designed for incoming freshman (high school).  She’s already ready for next year’s 4 week (gulp!) 2:22 camp which includes a small little 8 day wilderness trip at Lake Superior.

IMG_2475

IMG_0075

Here’s Caroline’s summary of Advance Camp! by Caroline Monberg

A couple of weeks ago, I had the most amazing opportunity to fly out to Wisconsin to go to Honey Rock Camp run by Wheaton College. It was a totally new experience for me because every summer before this I would go to Eagle Lake Camp (near Pikes Peak in Colorado).

The day before I left, we dropped Tobin off at Eagle Lake and it was bittersweet for me. I knew that I was going to be leaving for Honey Rock the day afterward, but this was going to be my first year in a four years that I wouldn’t be at Eagle Lake.

Because of living in Colorado, I was definitely expecting dry air, pine trees, and bare land at HRC.  When I first pulled up to Honey Rock, I was quite surprised to see huge tall lush green trees, and feel moist air.  The biggest unexpected surprise (if you can call it that?) was the mosquitoes!

Everything that I had envisioned in my brain about this camp was totally different than what I got, and to be honest I was actually a little disappointed. At Eagle Lake, I always did the Excursion programs where boys and girls are all intermingled and were in the same group. (Most years I would be the only girl or one of two girls in our group.) I was definitely in for a surprise when I realized I’d be sharing a cabin with seven other girls AND that there would be three other cabins with that many girls.

The whole first day I was there, everything I saw just made me upset because it was nothing like I had known. I really came in with a lot of doubt because it was nothing like Eagle Lake and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to feel God like I do at ELC. So, for the entire first week, I may have appeared to be really happy to be at Honey Rock, but inside I was so disappointed. (This is also including the near death experience where I almost drowned attempting to do a wet exit in a kayak J).

The days went on, and not until an entire week did I really start enjoying camp. Over the three weeks at Advance Camp, the girls and the boys each go on their own separate wilderness trips for five days. The boys left for their wilderness trips the first full day of camp so it wasn’t until the five days later when they came back that I started liking camp.

On the first Sunday night the boys were back, we had this big Advance Camp worship night. Our whole theme for Advance Camp was being rooted in God and our theme verse was Colossians 2:6-7 ~ “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

We talked about what it means to be rooted in God, we worshipped, and some of the counselors shared their testimonies. During worship we were singing this song, “Come as You Are” and the words just hit me so hard. I was so overcome with love that I just started crying. My counselor came over and she prayed for me. Soon enough, almost all of the kids were crying on each other’s shoulders. At that moment I realized how heavy God’s presence was and how much love was in that room. At the end we all had tears on our faces but we were in this huge kick line laughing and smiling singing David Crowder’s, “I Am a Seed.” (If you’ve never heard the song, google it! It’s a really fun song!)

That was the first time that I had felt God’s presence and it had hit me so hard. This was the night I would say I became a hard core lover of Honey Rock. After that night, each day at Honey Rock just got better and better. That Tuesday, we left for trip. Five days, no shower, no deodorant, no hair brushing, no change of clothes, tents, backpacking, canoeing, solos, using the woods and a shovel as your toilet, and lots and lots of memories. I will say, that during trip it wasn’t necessarily fun, but looking back it was so worth it and the memories we made were so valuable.

There were so many great things that happened during trip like drinking bleach water, peeing on a mini island in a middle of a lake, late nights full of talking, singing songs at the top of our lungs, and the list goes on and on and on.

IMG_2482

The couple things I took away from Honey Rock was this:

  1. People come in all shapes and sizes and different personalities, but we are all made brothers and sisters through Christ.
  2. Having a solid community of Christians to stand by you, help you, and serve by you is more valuable then you could ever imagine.
  3. You don’t need the lights, the sound, the performance, or the appearance in worship to feel God’s presence. It’s actually quite the opposite.
  4. After a total of 14 hours on solos, by myself, in the woods, I can definitely say that I am in no way, shape, or form an introvert!
  5. People are so so cool, underneath all that judgement, or first impression, or appearance. I know this is cliché, but don’t judge a book by its cover.
  6. Honey Rock is the most awesome place ever and you should all go or send you kids there next summer, because it is so totally worth it.

Honey Rock has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life and I am so thankful that I was able to go! If you got anything from that hodge-podge of memories I hope you realized that Honey Rock is an amazing place and I believe that everyone should have the chance to experience it!

IMG_2475

IMG_2473

IMG_2527

IMG_2487

If you are interested in learning more about Honey Rock, click here.

*Most photos were taken and shared by Hannah Logalbo (and are owned by her).

 

 

 

 

 

Tightrope Walking

This summer has been one of learning to let go.  As my children face new adventures in the fall, all attending new schools, I’m preparing my heart for the transition.

20160610_165842341_iOS

Caroline has been gone almost two weeks.  Wheaton College, Matt and my alma mater, has an amazing camp in the Northwoods called Honey Rock Camp.  Caroline is at a three-week Advance Camp, designed specifically for incoming freshmen.  Two weeks ago we put her on two planes, connecting in Minneapolis and sent her off to camp.  One way communication so snail mail it is!

The first week she was gone went quickly as I was in Boston.  My time was filled with friends, sweet children and living in another life.  This week I’m home and the longing in my Mama heart to have all my babies under my room has grown.

20160620_131512686_iOS

I understand why some parents don’t allow their children to attend camp. I get why they limit time away from home, discourage sleepovers and keep a close watch.  I understand helicopter parenting.

When you hold on tight, your heart doesn’t have to ache with worry.  The “what ifs” are a lot less because your kids are right in front of you.  You control their comings and goings, the “dangers” they face and the lurking fears.

20160624_143918277_iOS

But you also miss out.  Loosening the strings and giving my kids adventures broadens their self-respect.  It gives them confidence to tackle hard things and make it through. It gives them resilience and fortitude to carry on.

An unsuspected benefit for me of releasing my kids into adventurous experiences has been the great pride and excitement I have for them.  I am able to walk vicariously alongside them, learning new things and seeing the world in a different light.

20160630_201721483_iOS

So I continue walking this tightrope of letting go and hanging on.  Life’s an adventure and I’m so thankful my kids get to experience all that it offers!