Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

It’s fall, definitely. I’ve rummaged through all my closets of clothes to find my favorite jackets and sweaters, and you bet your bottom I’m making sure my outfits are layered to the maximum. Gotta have my scarf… maybe a wrap… perhaps a poncho…. A vest? Definitely a cardigan somewhere in the mix…. A long cardigan… or maybe a short one… or possibly a really long cardigan…. The more choices I think about, the more I’m thinking maybe I have too many sweaters. Just kidding, it’s a fashion sin to say that.

So, I’ve been MIA – I’m not sure why, but I haven’t had the itch to make as much stuff. Plus, some of the really good stuff I’ve made… I didn’t get good pictures of it. Fall-themed dishes, obviously…. I didn’t even tell you guys I made a CHEESE PUMPKIN to bring to work! If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug: follow me at @thedivinekitchen), you may have seen it. Definitely one of my guilty pleasure recipes, as it isn’t very high on the whole healthy-eating list. It’s an indulgence though, well worth it.

This past weekend, I decided I wanted cookies. Not just any cookie, but an autumn, holiday-inspired cookie. Who remembers the ginger snaps in the orange box? I did. With that…. it was settled. I needed ginger cookies.

Funny thing about those cookies was that you had to make sure you didn’t break your teeth out  when you ate them. They were like eating rocks… spicy, fall-scented rocks. It was sort of like an I-love-pain type of thing, snapping bricks in your mouth. I was always hesitant to eat them, especially after knocking my teeth out as a child (separate occasion, don’t worry). Wow, this post sure is a wild ride at this point. Anyway, I figured that with the amount of dollars that went into reconstructing my dental dilemma, I should probably stick to soft baked cookies. I knew of some recipes with tons of sugar and butter and regular flour, but I just wasn’t feeling it. For lack of humility, I really hit it off on the first try here. I can’t  don’t bake, and whatever I do bake, is usually burnt. Not THESE!

Ugh, guys, they’re the cutest little cookie, and I definitely ate about 12 of them. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did.

Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: ~10 min

Makes 20-24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
  • 2 eggs (let them sit out for a little while to remove the chill)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 heaping tsp allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Organic  cane sugar for rolling (trust me, you want this)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Your coconut oil should be liquid, but cooled – you don’t want the eggs to scramble by hot coconut oil!
  3. Next, add in your dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix together thoroughly to make a dough. To allow the flours to absorb, let sit for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of cane sugar in a shallow bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop up the dough so that they’re uniform (unless you’re just that good at eyeballing…), and then use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll dough in organic cane sugar then place about 2-3 inches apart on your cookie sheet.
  5. Gently flatten the dough with a flat wide-bottomed glass until the cookies are about ~1 cm thick.
  6. Bake for 8-9  minutes. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet….if they appear wet on the inside still, they will dry out and be okay!

Enjoy!

-S

Full Moons…. and Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

Happy Monday…. um, Tuesday! Definitely feels like a Monday, but that kind of thing usually happens over a long weekend.

How was everyone’s Memorial Day? Ours was just crud weather in the mid-Atlantic… but I sort of feel as though the weather in general has been pretty bad. I also feel as though I’ve prematurely aged mentally where I insist the weather/flies/mosquitos/hurricanes/snow/potholes/pollen/life in general gets harder or worse each year. I’ll have to press the reset button on that…. that’s not good energy to be putting out there.

Friday was a busy day, too. I worked from home — after a flurry of appointments, I finally had a chance to COOK STUFF!!! Not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been making food that’s much more palatable to my family. I’ve been cooking a lot of non-paleo, non-vegan and non-keto foods since we’re all around more. I can definitely tell a difference with my body, and it does not like it. My jeans don’t, either. Oh also, I forgot how much I like beer? Yeah, this weekend wasn’t good for that.

In other news, we’ve got an interesting Full Moon. This one falls under Sagittarius, which is the best opportunity to give us a fresh perspective.

Is there anything you’ve been struggling to wrap your head around? Have you been wrestling with thoughts that you just can’t seem to get behind? This is an amazing time to really gain a different lens and to garner better insight to everything going on in your life. Sagittarius energy is really about building on what you already know and already have, and broadening  your horizons. What have you done so far that’s really propelled you towards where you want to go? How are you going to use this to get where you’re going next?

This sounds vague, but it really isn’t. It applies most closely to whatever you’re experiencing in life. If there’s something you’ve been waiting to do, wait no more. If you’re waiting to take a risk, move somewhere, take a job, make a big decision, splurge on a vacation, this is the perfect time to start the momentum on that and get it moving. Reevaluate your goals to make sure they still fit you, and to check your state of mind to ensure you’re an open book for growth.

Onto the foodies…. these wings have made an appearance in quite literally everyone’s house this weekend. I made them. All. Weekend. I love them! The key is keeping a bit of the marinade separate and brushing it on right before serving so they keep that really tasty briny and gingery flavor. Try these out on the grill… I whole heartedly believe that good wings always belong on the grill. Plus, while chicken wings certainly aren’t the bare essentials of paleo eating, who doesn’t love a good wing? YUM.

Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 active min, plus marinating time

cook time: 20 min

Serves anywhere from 1-5 people, depending on your appetite

Ingredients

  • 2 packages organic or all natural wings (separated into wings and drumettes,
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 stalks of scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste (or miso, if not strict paleo)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (black and white preferred for aesthetics, but any color will do)

Directions

  1. Whisk together your tahini and coconut aminos in a large bowl first to emulsify.
  2. Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. It should taste VERY briny — chicken absorbs a lot of the salty flavor, so it should have enough zest to really taste salty. Set aside a 1/2 cup of the mixture in a small bowl.
  3. Place your chicken wings in a bag, pour your sauce over them and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, up to 24 hours. Refrigerate your separate sauce as well.
  4. Once ready to cook, preheat your grill to 400 degrees. We want high heat to make sure the skin is crisp.
  5. Place the wings on the grill, about 1 inch apart. Turn as needed, once the wings darken and appear blackened. They aren’t necessarily burnt — the caramelization from the coconut aminos will just make them appear darker.
  6. Continue to turn until thoroughly browned on all sides, about 15-20 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from heat, and brush with remaining sauce. Garnish with a pinch of scallions.

Enjoy!

-S

Irish Potato Candies! (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ahh…. A nice and welcome break from work. I have not stopped cooking and though I don’t plan on doing anything crazy for St. Patrick’s Day, I cooked up a storm! I’ll make this short and sweet… I made these little potato candies and I just love them. They remind me of when I was a kid and we would make them in elementary school.

Irish potatoes are a dessert that originated in the Philadelphia area. Despite its name, they aren’t from Ireland, and they have no potatoes in them (and definitely shouldn’t, ew). Also, don’t let anyone tell you that any nuts belong in them, either. Double ew. Then you roll them in cinnamon, and just like that, you have a little potato!

These are made without dairy, gluten, or any crap that makes you feel bad. More treats to come, enjoy 🙂

Irish Potato Candies! (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

prep time: 20 min (active)

chill time: 20 min

makes 25 potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (the fine strips, not ground)
  • 1 oz package of Tofutti “cream cheese”
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp light agave, plus more to taste
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cinnamon, separated
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar

Directions

  1. Add your shredded coconut, cream cheese, vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, coconut oil and agave to a large mixing bowl and blend with a mixer. If the mixture appears runny, add ¼ cup of shredded coconut and continue to mix until you have a pasty mixture that you can shape.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator and roll into small potato shaped balls and set aside on a baking sheet. Once your potatoes are formed, add the remaining cinnamon and coconut sugar in a large plastic bag and shake to mix.
  4. One at a time, place each potato in the bag and gently shake to coat thoroughly. Remove and place back onto the cookie sheet.
  5. Chill until ready to serve – remove 15 minutes prior to allow to come back to room temperature.

Enjoy!

-S

Chipotle Caesar Salad (Paleo)

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You know when you’ve reached “old” when you feel as though the end of year shuffle had just come on and gone, when in reality it was 12 whole months ago. Back to the same grind, having all this time off of work, thinking I won’t have any time to do anything, and ending up with all the time in the world to do everything. I’ve done a lot of shopping (I should stop), a lot of cleaning, a lot of eating… I’ve done a LOT of working out.

2017 was an interesting year. I think after the volcanic eruption that was 2016, people yearned for a change. They were electrified – ready to rip the band-aid off, ready to reach in and pull their heart out and heal what ailed them. In Chinese astrology, each zodiac year is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth. Both the zodiac sign and the element influence the astrology of the year itself. Element-sign combinations recur every 60 years. A friend of mine who is also a Feng Shui expert (check out her website here!) got me thinking, and I did a bit of research myself.

2017 was a Fire Rooster year. There was chaos… a lot of ups and downs, but nothing seemed to last too long. Rooster years are a weird but even blend of righteousness and justice, braggadocio and efficiency, back and forth. 2017 was a year to get involved in something, if not everything. A lot of change was unearthed, which in this instance is for the best. People have become more aware of their intentions, more flexible – how they can make changes for 2018 will help them advance in their awareness.

This upcoming year is the year of the Earth Dog. 2018 is the year for those who are loyal, considerate, and well-disciplined to shine. This is a strong year for financial potential by means of new business opportunities, increased cash flow, building good reputation and a high social status for the workhorse out there. You might see that there will be more social gatherings and more to celebrate. As we bring more balance into our lives, we will recognize that the tumultuous times of 2017 can be calmed with our ability to match the good with the bad, the high with the low, and the peace with the chaos.

Take some time to look up your Zodiac signs and how they correspond to 2018 – when noticing trends, be sure to keep them in your thoughts as you kick off 2018 so you can start with the right outlook, the best attitude and stay open to opportunity!

 

While this serves as a rough guide (be sure to check your birthdate to make sure you have the right one – it goes by the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which is a bit different than the Jan 1-Dec 31 calendar!)

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Start off this new year with a tasty and simple treat 🙂

 

Chipotle Caesar Salad (Paleo)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 8-10

 

Ingredients

  • 2 small garlic cloves, grated or pressed
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (found near the canned tuna in the supermarket)
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (I am a stickler for Grey Poupon)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 2 egg yolks (if you are opposed to using raw egg, you can use ½ cup of Coconaise instead)
  • 1/3 cup high quality organic olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • (optional: freshly grated parmesan for a non-paleo garnish)

 

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce until smooth.
  2. Add the egg (or mayo), salt and pepper and continue to whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your preference – more tang needed = more Dijon or lemon, more salt needed, or more garlic.
  3. Serve over some crunchy fresh romaine, alongside some Maple Ginger Salmon, or even a tasty chicken dish like Dijon Crusted Chicken!

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Creamy Potato Gratin with Sage and Fontina (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

Who had a good Christmas? I did – and surprisingly, for as much as I jam-packed into those two days, it was relaxing and fun. I was tickled to watch my family open their presents, even if I did over-spend my Christmas budget. You know you may have gone a little overboard when TD Bank calls you because they think you have fraud on your card… and it turns out all the purchases were yours 😦

I got some fabulous kitchen goodies, so you know what that means! NEW RECIPES! I’m happy as a clam with my new KitchenAid hand mixer, my new Cuisinart food processor and a few other fun things. They’ll be making their appearances in my recipes in due time.

I also got a nice gift of one HaloTherapy session to the Salt Cove – it’s a new-ish place that hosts Halotherapy rooms – basically, the room is filled with Himalayan sea salt and is heated to a temperature warm enough to engage the flow of negative ions. Sounds counterintuitive, but negative ions are actually a good thing.  To keep it simple, ions are invisible charged particles in the air. Back to middle school science class, some molecules are positively or negatively charged. If one loses one or more negative ions, it becomes positive – the more negative ions, the greater the negative charge. Negative ions are found mots abundantly in nature… some of people’s favorite places. Have you ever gone to the beach and just couldn’t tear yourself away? Have you ever walked through a forest, took a huge breath, and just felt really energized? Trees, bodies of water, rainstorms, earthen landscapes… welcome to the land of negative ions.

Why are they so good, though? Here’s a few reasons:

  • They neutralize free radicals, which can prevent cancer
  • They promote cell metabolism
  • They enhance the body’s immune function
  • They purify the blood
  • They balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/ ; https://www.journals.elsevier.com/cell-metabolism/

If you’re stuck in an office filled with hundreds of computers, cell phones and Bluetooth devices like myself all day, finding a place like this is a real treat. I highly recommend you check out one in your area – they’re popping up all over the map! It’s a great place to meditate, clear your mind and enjoy some relaxation.

Back to food… while I have been doing my darnedest to stick with the paleo grind, I couldn’t help myself with Christmas. I made the most delicious Potato Gratin… for those of you who can appreciate a little starch and a lot of flavor, please check this out J I will have some healthy recipes back on deck for you guys later this week… stay tuned!

 

Creamy Potato Gratin with Sage and Fontina (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons ghee, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup organic crème fraiche
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh sage, plus 10-12 large whole sage leaves
  • 1 large block (approx. 8 oz) Fontina cheese, shredded
  • Himalayan sea salt, to taste (I used approx. 1 tsp plus a bit more)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain  gluten free breadcrumbs (these are delicious)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ~ 3 tbsp Olive oil, for frying the sage

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large but shallow baking dish with some ghee and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Mash the potatoes, along with 4 tablespoons of the ghee. Add the crème fraiche, parsley and chopped sage. Once mixed evenly, mix in the fontina and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the potato mixture in the prepared dish in an even layer.
  5. Separately, in a small bowl, use your fingers to blend the rest of the ghee with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add a pinch of salt if you feel the mixture needs a bit more flavor. Top the potatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
  6. Meanwhile, as the gratin bakes, heat olive oil in a small skillet until shimmering (but not smoking!) Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp, in both sides, about 1 ½ minutes per side.
  7. Transfer the sage to paper towels to drain. Once the gratin is finished cooking, scatter the fried sage over the top and serve.

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Enjoy!

-S

Holiday Deviled Eggs with Roasted Red Pepper and Jalapeño (Paleo)

Such a heart-warming time this last week, especially approaching Christmas. My Adopt-a-Family gift drop-off for work was a few days ago, so I loaded my Jeep up along with several other cars and we dropped off 10 very large bags of gifts to Family Promise, a local chapter of a non-profit that helps families get back on their feet by providing affordable housing and life skills/coaching as they work to improve their situation.

I may have gone a little overboard in buying things myself for them — I picked up the unclaimed items on the list, found myself at Old Navy with their huge sales… and bought these little girls the cutest outfits, shoes, scarves, hats, gloves… I just wish I could be there to see them open everything. I hope they love it all.

Does anyone else feel a little unraveled? I know the holidays are always really busy, and I know i always feel like I’m one “Issue Notification” email away from a mental breakdown at work, but I’ve been feeling particularly frazzled this year. I leave for work, it’s dark. I come home, and it’s been dark. Do you know what I’ll be doing this weekend?

NOTHING.

It stands to reason that this probably won’t be a total truth, but I plan to do as close to nothing as possible. My current definition of “nothing” is listening to Christmas music, with my dog, wrapping Christmas presents and going to bed at 9pm. I’m so excited.

I’m also excited to have some more time to cook things for you all! I’ve concocted a ton of recipes, it’s just trying to find the time to make them. I’ve been so busy that I’m living off of chopped salad and scalloped potatoes I made, and have kept in my fridge. Whatever! Yolo.

A simple reminder for this Holiday Season, don’t forget about yourself. There’s a fine balance with gift giving, and just general giving, which includes your time, your home, and even your thoughts. Don’t forget to give yourself some peace and quiet — you don’t have to accept every holiday party invitation, nor do you need to gift people the most expensive crazy thing you can find to prove their importance to you. Give from the heart, take some time for yourself, and enjoy the time of year where people are a bit more  generous, a bit more forgiving and a bit more kind.

Holiday Deviled Eggs with Roasted Red Pepper and Jalapeño (Paleo)

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs (preferably cage/cruelty free!)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2/3 cup Coconaise
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño, finely minced, seeds and ribs/stems removed
  • Sriracha, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a saucepan large enough to fit all 12 eggs, cover completely with cold water. Bring to a full boil over high heat. Once the eggs have started to boil, remove from heat and let stand for 12 minutes to allow the eggs to cook thoroughly.  Run the eggs under cold water to stop from further cooking, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, add olive oil and red pepper to a small frying pan, and sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Stir frequently, so they don’t burn. Once finished, set aside.
  3. Gently peel the eggs, careful not to break the whites. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks into a small bowl. Arrange egg whites face up on a plate,  and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mash egg yolks, Coconaise, Dijon, red pepper, salt and black pepper together with a fork. Continue to mix until smooth. Transfer the egg whites to a plate and fill them with the yolk mixture.
  5. Sprinkle with the jalapeño, add small drop of sriracha and serve immediately. You can cover and chill them for up to 4-5 hours if you need to make them ahead of time.

Enjoy!

-S

Throw-Together Curry-Spiced Couscous (Vegan)

We had our first snowstorm this weekend, and it was kind of fun! I drove home, and it was nice to see the snow covering all of the trees. I think I’m ready for more snow after Christmas… I just need to get through the next three weeks so that I can get my shopping done.

Yesterday was a madhouse out shopping.  People were everywhere, and the sales were actually pretty good. What wasn’t good was the amount of money I spent… it was painful. It seems as though my list of people to buy for continues to get bigger and bigger, and I found myself getting upset with the fact that I was trying to find just something to buy for people.

After talking with people about what the best gift ideas are for big crown, I decided that giving people something that I love, that I also knew they would love, would be the best route. Food, it is! Maybe I’ll make people cookies, or fun dishes and things they can freeze and enjoy later. I haven’t quite decided what I want to do, but I do have a few ideas… They’re a surprise.

This past Friday, my best friend and her old roommate came out to my house for reading. It wasn’t meant to be anything grand or spectacular, but I knew there be people to feed and I was excited to throw something together. I made some delicious vegan garlic bread and a salad with some tasty pomegranate Dijon dressing, but the best part about the dinner was the dish that I just threw together with whatever was in the cabinet. I had couscous, a can of beans, and as I dug through my freezer I found some frozen spinach. With my endless supply of onions on hand, I decided to throw it all in a pan and see what happened. Delicious!

 

Throw-Together Curry-Spiced Couscous (Vegan)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 5-6

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp oil, divided
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and thoroughly drained
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until they start to become translucent – about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, and continue to stir for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Once the onion begins to brown, add spinach to pan. If it hasn’t thawed, lower heat so as to not scorch the spinach as it cooks. Break apart with a spoon and continue to cook, allowing the water to cook out, turning the heat back up once the spinach is completely broken up. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until most of water from spinach is gone.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate medium sized sauce pot, heat vegetable broth and other tbsp of olive oil over high heat. Once brought to a boil, add couscous and allow to cook per directions. Stir to fluff and set aside.
  4. Back to the frying pan – add beans and raisins to the pan and mix. Gently stir in the couscous and continue to mix. Add curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper and stir. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, until couscous starts to brown. If your mixture starts to dry out, add in a tsp of olive oil while stirring. Feel free to add additional salt, to taste (I find the other flavors mix nicely with this amount of salt, but feel free to add).

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Enjoy with some thing light – like my Garlic Tahini Kale Salad!

-S