baby Tuscan kale

Danny came home with a bag full of these baby lacinato kale bunches, and I immediately spilled them onto the black tray ($2.99 at Value Village) that I leave on our covered porch to take pictures. I was going to take a few more photos, looking at some of the leaves huddled into themselves, others cuddled into the next one, legs thrown over, sighing in their sleep.

But this was it. Slightly out of focus and not the angle I intended. Little Bean needed a nap, and she let us know that, in no uncertain terms.

I can’t wait until she can tell us, in full sentences, exactly what she needs. She talks all day, gobbling up words and throwing her hands wide into the air, showing she means all of this. All of this blue-sky-scoured-of-clouds day, the playground with the big slide, the trees with the bare branches swaying in the wind, the wind on my face, the cold air, the hunger in my stomach rattled by the movement, the need for cheese for cereal for grapes for anything mama I’m hungry, and I need to sleep. I’m tired I’m tired and I don’t want to go to sleep because I don’t want to miss any of this, Mama. I don’t want to miss any of this.

But she grows so frustrated when she can’t say it all. She has a lot to say, that one. We have awhile to wait. So we live in gestures and guesses, pointing and saying words out loud, hoping we have it right, until we hand her the C book from the alphabet set so she can point to the cat and tell us all about the tortoiseshell she saw on our walk. And then I let out my breath.

(thank you to all of you who suggested baby signs for her. she knows them. plenty of them. we’ve been teaching her those for months. they help. but this kid would love to speak in sentences and describe everything. her hands are frustrating her. she’s where she needs to be.)

Tell truth, I can only describe that kale up there in sleepy sentences. We’re sleep deprived around here, again. Or still. Little Bean, the clear light of our lives, has not slept well since her surgery in May. They said this might happen. We’re doing everything we can. Mostly, we stir our coffee with patient spoons, slowly, and then reach for another cup. We love her. We laugh most of the day, delighting in her company. We’ll endure.

But my god, some days? Some days I am dragging, near tears, and trying hard to find the light. With Danny working again, it’s me and this active toddler trying to tackle language, in the house. Thank goodness for early spring. We’re walking in the sunlight whenever we can.

Thank goodness this kid loves food. As the light wanes outside, I scoop out some brown rice from the rice cooker, set a sauté pan on high heat, pour in some olive oil, throw in some chopped-up baby kale, some sliced garlic, a pinch of smoked paprika, salt and pepper, then dance it around in the pan. Little Bean’s standing on a chair at the counter, near me, playing with spoons and measuring cups. We’re singing something — she’s starting to sing along. (“La la la?” she asks me, eyes wide, when she wants me to sing to her.) The green kale grows darker, and smaller, in the heat. I flip it in the pan, then land it on a saucer. A few moments to cool, and we’re sitting down to eat, the two of us.

She points to books she wants me to read while we eat. I pretend to gobble up my rice, and she wants more of it too. We both raise a piece of kale in the air, dangling high above our mouths, then drop it in. Yum, she says, rubbing her stomach at the same time. We laugh about something. I read more books. She eats more kale.

When I grab the little book full of M words, she makes the sound, then says Mama in her tender, sleepy voice. And she reaches out of her chair to put her hand on my chest, pat the place over my heart, and says Mama again.

She may not sleep. But she’s here.

We’d love to hear your stories about kale and how you cook it, who you share it with, and why.

101 comments on “kale

  1. Cheryl Arkison

    What a lovely post, Shauna. Heartfelt and touching the heart of this mama. I hope sleep comes to all of you soon enough.

    I am partial to kale sauteed with bacon when I make pyrohy. A bit of an update on the Ukrainian classic. But I think my Baba and her enormous garden would have been proud of that combo.

  2. Cheryl Arkison

    What a lovely post, Shauna. Heartfelt and touching the heart of this mama. I hope sleep comes to all of you soon enough.

    I am partial to kale sauteed with bacon when I make pyrohy. A bit of an update on the Ukrainian classic. But I think my Baba and her enormous garden would have been proud of that combo.

  3. Cheryl Arkison

    What a lovely post, Shauna. Heartfelt and touching the heart of this mama. I hope sleep comes to all of you soon enough.

    I am partial to kale sauteed with bacon when I make pyrohy. A bit of an update on the Ukrainian classic. But I think my Baba and her enormous garden would have been proud of that combo.

  4. bren

    Yum – Kale chips – 400 degree heat, olive oil and tamari – dries up and tastes delish! My 2 year old LOVES it…in fact it was the only thing she would eat last night. Put Kale in lentil soup, in pasta sauce – YUM and so good for you!

  5. Allison the Meep

    Lately, I've been making a simple soup with sauteed onions and garlic, boiled lentils and carrots, and chopped kale tossed in at the last minute. It's so filling and healthy, costs so little to make, and ends up being several meals for us. Win all around.

  6. deborah

    kale sauteed is always my favourite as well as added to a pot of spicy lentils. my mum taught me that … to add some green leaves to a pot of dahl for extra nourishment – and I always think of her as i prepare it.

    i'm looking forward to kale chips this coming season.

  7. thenewstead6

    no kale tales I'm afraid, but just empathy for the seesaw up (filled with love for your little one) and down (lack of sleep, so tired you can cry). My 2 1/2 year old has only slept through the night twice as a result of (apparently) an "immature gut" which equals long term colic, constipation, odd food reactions and all sorts. Mainly it means waking and crying anything between 2 and 7 times a night, every night 🙁

  8. sure loves cake

    we love kale in white bean soup, mixed with mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes, and roasted kale (kale chips). not too inventive, i'd love to hear other ways to make it delicious (it's not my favorite). my husband likes it with barbecue sauce…but i think that's disgusting! =)

  9. Kathryn

    Sauteed with beets and leeks with a scattering of cumin and chili pepper – then folded into tortillas. The kale stays a bit chewy. Yum. Recipe shared generously by Devra at the Ballard Farmer's Market Patty Pan stall.

  10. goddessofcake

    First: I love your writing. Your words totally bring me to there, to your kitchen. You make it so vivid to my soul's eye. That's a skill!
    About kale: when I was a child my mother, an avid gardener, found out about kale and its health benefits. Those days it was not on sale anywhere, but she grew it herself. She always made salad of it, just chopping it and adding some fresh lingonberries. I hated it. H-A-T-E-D it. Later on in life, when living communally with Australian hippies, I finally realised that kale is very delicious, steamed and eaten with good friends and brown rice, under one dim solarpanel – fuelled lightbulb. Oh. I do seem to have quite a relationship with kale, actually!

  11. amy

    "some days I'm dragging near tears, trying to find the light." Yep, that sums up February.

    I love sauteed kale w/ red pepper and onion/garlic.

  12. muffinmoon

    Kale-Schmale! I love it sauteed with olive oil and then mixed with cream and nutmeg. Served over brown basmati it's fab.
    I really feel for you both. I remember this time and it really does get better. I know you have the added issue of the recovery from the operation and I know you are grateful and exhausted in the same measure.
    My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes aged 2 years. He is now three and a half. I have not slept well since and that was on top of the first two years of sleep deprivation!
    Hang in there. Your beautiful girl loves you and is only doing what feels right for her.
    Sorry if I wrote too much and big hugs from the UK.

  13. Birdie

    Oh Shauna, I come here to learn about food and gluten free cooking and I love it but I also enjoy reading about your daughter 🙂 Our sweet sweet 2 year old son has deprived me of lots of sleep. And I wouldn't change but I so do understand when you talk about being tired, well exhausted … I know how that feels. It will get better, I tell myself, one day, when they are teenagers we will be trying to pull them out of the bed ;-), warm greeting Birdie

  14. Anna

    Especially for those who don't love kale: I like to make kale and potato hash — grated sauteed potatoes with shredded kale added once the potatoes are mostly cooked. Good with garlic and onions, salt and pepper, olive oil or butter.

  15. Syren

    I hear you about sleep deprivation. Our autistic son had us sleep deprived for years until our new doctor suggested we try Melatonin. (We researched it and found there to be no known side effects.) We broke one capsule into some water and gave it to him 15 minutes before bed. He went to sleep quickly and slept through the night – heaven.

  16. Ali

    Oh goodness those sleep deprived days are not far behind us. The boys started sleeping through the night just a few weeks ago for the first time in over 2 years! They sleep in between their sisters in a queen-sized sibling bed in a separate room now. It feels so good to get sleep but I remember that dragging feeling late in the day and through the evening!

    As for the kale, well green smoothies of course. But also in homemade chicken soup (pulsed in the food processor first – makes a sort of green soup), in raw salads, or sauteed. We will be having kale from our garden tonight sauteed with freshly harvested nettles (and garlic).

    -Ali 🙂

  17. kazzakiwi

    What good timing, I have Kale coming out of my ears at the moment. It basically just grows itself in my garden (literally there are little plants shooting up in the lawn again that I need to transplant) and we're in the middle of warm, sticky weather so it is going nuts. I'm trying to use it and make it interesting.

    The kale I have is different to yours, but it does taste quite good chopped up very fine, with grated carrot, beetroot, herbs, etc and then with a dressing over it. I have made the dressing with tahini but a normal vinegrette would be fine.

  18. Susan

    I love your leave a comment comments 🙂 Well said!

    Okay. Being a mommy of three (and one on the way) I am all about easy, yet still delicious. I love kale on its own simply drizzled with olive oil (actually, I like to use my Pampered Chef oil spray bottle to evenly and lightly coat each piece), then sprinkle it with a little kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, and toss it in the oven on broil (but on the middle shelf) for about ten minutes. That stuff is delicious!

    And, might I add. Adding it to a veggie pizza (after the pizza is cooked and the kale separately), is just about the most genius thing to ever happen to kale in this house. Hands down.

    Love your blog!

  19. Dana

    I'm learning to love kale. Baby steps. 🙂 I just so feel for you Shauna. I have been blessed with good sleepers and yet I have been having trouble with insomnia. That feeling of wondering how you will make it through the day is exhausting in and of itself. Having patience with a toddler is huge and you should give yourself a big pat on the back for the great job you are doing with her. Hang in there and hope to see you soon!

  20. Andrea

    I love kale in what I refer to as Portuguese greens soup. I'm not sure this is what others mean when they say that, but my version was originally based on that, I think. Basically it is this: Sauteed onions and garlic and chorizo combined with potatoes, kale, and chicken broth. This is manna, especially on those sleep deprived afternoons, because it takes no time to throw together.

    I hope you get that sleep soon, Shauna!

  21. beyond

    wow, your sweet little lucy is growing! (have you ever thought about learning baby sign language?)
    i love kale prepared any which way. in omelettes, on pizzas, in veggie soups, sauteed… can't wait until i can find it at the farmer's market again.

  22. La Niña

    Oh Shauna Honey- I read what you wrote and it makes my stupid day with a truck throwing a rock at my windshield (I'm on my third windshield and my car is five years old) on I-5. Took a chunk out of it… and then I got to the island and found out the construction guys cut our phone line accidentally. We'll dig it up and splice in some new line. I'll get the divot fixed…

    And you- you deserve a medal, a break, a massage, a babysitter who adores Lucy and can entertain her for a little bit so you can nap or…

    It will come.

    Kale- the kale in my garden, like you, survived the winter and is growing little branches everywhere with tiny leaves becoming fuller each day. Delicately delicious. My simplest expression of kale is sautéed with oyster mushrooms and leeks. I can eat gobs of it. More complicated is kale in a bean and bacon cassoulet.

    I saw a photo of a wilted kale Caesar salad that looked like a great idea…

    But- the recipe for sleep? Time… summertime. Maybe I'll get you guys a hammock to stretch in your yard. Lucy can play in the garden and chase butterflies while you rest.

    Fiction? Perhaps, but soon it will be truth. Hang in there. Hugs and Kisses.

  23. corycoakley

    I just want to let you know that babysigns saved my life!!!!! I swear!

    I focused on learning one word (or phrase) a week, and it helped so much. I remember so many frustrations of toddler-speak that I never could figure out with my first son, that never happened with the second, because my second had the tools to say what his tongue would not. We started out with "more", "all done", "please", and went from there. I know sleep deprivation, and lanquage acquistion isn't easy, but baby signs can really help both of you cut the frustration levels just a little. Good luck!

  24. Jen

    When my son (who is now 3) was 2, I gave him some change that I had after paying a late fine at the library. I asked him what he was going to save his money for and he said "I'm going to save it to buy kale at the farmers market"! We can't get enough kale in our house and usually just saute it with some garlic, olive oil and a splash of tamari at the end.

  25. Cove Girl

    I tried kale chips for the first time tonight, and they were to salty:P Does anyone have any different ways to prepare them. I liked the texture and the crunch, but since I don't have any insurance I figure it best to stay out of the ER, possible heart attack from all the salt.

  26. Cove Girl

    I tried kale chips for the first time tonight, and they were to salty:P Does anyone have any different ways to prepare them. I liked the texture and the crunch, but since I don't have any insurance I figure it best to stay out of the ER, possible heart attack from all the salt.

  27. Cove Girl

    I tried kale chips for the first time tonight, and they were to salty:P Does anyone have any different ways to prepare them. I liked the texture and the crunch, but since I don't have any insurance I figure it best to stay out of the ER, possible heart attack from all the salt.

  28. llanning

    I love your blog. You have such a way with words AND FOOD! I have two rowdy kiddos and they kept us up most nights too. It will pass in time, but know you are doing great! I second the sign language, tremendous help (we used Signing Time because we love music). Kale! I make a sausage and potato soup with a little cream. I toss the kale in just near the end to get the beautiful deep green.

  29. Brenda

    Not a big fan of kale. I've never eaten it prepared any other way but the "old German" way my Grandma does. At 93, she still grows her own, boils the death out of it, throwing in some oatmeal for good measure. Not sure I'll ever get past this enough to WANT to try another way.

    My daughter has Downs Syndrome. She was not verbal until 3 1/2, but we signed all the time. The "Signing Times" DVDs are the best and so much fun. (Signingtimes.com)

  30. Katie

    I've really been enjoying your blog for a while and this is such a lovely post! My favorite way to eat kale is in lentil soup with heaps of greens, but suddenly I can't wait to have some simply sauteed with some brown rice. It sounds so nourishing, comforting and satisfying!

  31. Sus & co

    i actually buy a delightful salad at a great local/natural market. it has chopped kale, avocado, shredded carrot, minced red onion and then olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. absolutely delish.

    i also have a friend who bakes it until it's dry and then crumbles it all up and tosses it with popcorn and sea salt.

  32. Sus & co

    i actually buy a delightful salad at a great local/natural market. it has chopped kale, avocado, shredded carrot, minced red onion and then olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. absolutely delish.

    i also have a friend who bakes it until it's dry and then crumbles it all up and tosses it with popcorn and sea salt.

  33. Sus & co

    i actually buy a delightful salad at a great local/natural market. it has chopped kale, avocado, shredded carrot, minced red onion and then olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. absolutely delish.

    i also have a friend who bakes it until it's dry and then crumbles it all up and tosses it with popcorn and sea salt.

  34. Tara

    Oh, kale. I have such a soft spot in my heart for kale. I ate mounds of it while pregnant with my firstborn (who is actually sort-of named after it), and loved growing it in the garden for the first time last year.

    We eat it every way we can: in a quick stir-fry, braised with chix stock and garlic, in soups, on pizza, cooked into pasta sauce, even wilted and then pureed into a pesto-type spread. But I've never tried kale chips – that's going to change soon!

    Here's to hoping you get some restful nights soon, and days where Lucy's language skills grow by leaps and bounds! (And I'm sure you've heard this before, but I've read that major advances in things like language abilities can cause sleeplessness in toddlers, not that that's any comfort at 3am!)

  35. Erika

    Thank you for the lovely excuse to daydream about kale and the people it reminds me of…my grandfather used to grow huge plots of kale next to the old parsonage in rural Illinois. Now my aunt has taken up the tradition. Of course I can never find kale that tastes as good out East…part of it is that my grandfather never harvested his kale until it had gone through at least one frost (made it sweeter, he said)..but I know part of it was knowing the time my grandfather had put into growing it for us. My aunt cooks it simply, in a bit of water, not quite boiled, but more than steamed. Then she adds barley which cooks in the kale water and adds a nuttiness to the whole shebang. Simple, solid, lovely. Wishing you daydreams if you can't seem to get to the night-dreams…

  36. Gayle

    Kale. Blood orange, sectioned. Meyer lemon, zest and juice. Shallot, minced. A little vinegar, a little oil (the good stuff for both). Salt, pepper. Maybe some teeny dices of feta.
    It won't help you sleep, but it will make you glad you're awake.
    Just like she does. Sometimes the moments are worth the lack of sleep….

  37. Catherine

    Well, how I did think that even as I age I'm still so like your daughter when I get into a sleepy/hungry rage as I fight to see more more more of the world. And I'm reminded of the importance of mindfulness in all of it, as you well display here.

    Lovely kale. I sympathized with Brenda's comment just above mine about the over-boiled stuff of old. Now my Andy makes it sing quite like the way you prepare it except with a pinch of red pepper. I add crimini mushrooms when I'm in the kitchen.

    (By the way, I also cheered with Brenda's daughter working on her signs. Our niece – age 9 – has Down's. The progress and the joy and the pure mindfulness of all there is in life is her constant lesson to us. Oh, except she has a delicate palate – no meat! no sweets! but tons of veggies, cheese, yogurt and "ronis" ie. macaronis or any kind of pasta. How all these lovely children like Brenda's daughter and Shauna and Danny's "Bean" do light our world!)


  38. Julie Keen

    I love Kale in soup too, and as kale chips … but my favorite way is sautéed with some chorizo or andouille sausage, and mixed with beans (I like black eyed peas) and chopped tomatoes, sautéed just until the tomatoes soften.

  39. Swiss

    I am still lvoing your posts-

    I love kale braised with garlic, onions and white wine. I have a favorite turkey/pork dressing from an Herb magazine that uses cornbread, kale, lemon zest, parmesan, basil and the regular Simon and Garfunkel herbs. I have never wanted another recipe for dressing after than one.

  40. sarah henry

    Boiled kale! Oh my, how sad. That could turn you off this lovely, dark leafy green for life.

    Since my blog is called Lettuce Eat Kale no surprise that I love the stuff, roasted, stir-fried, sauteed, or dehydrated. Picked up some new recipes in this comment thread. Grand.

    As for sleep, ah, I remember those early, blurry baby days. Grab it when you can. Be kind to yourselves. Don't sweat the small stuff.

  41. Anonymous

    Love the post. Kale, I am not so sure! I am putting in a word for baby signing. I daycared my grandson for the first year of his life, used signing, and he began to talk at 14 months! And has been talking constantly ever since! Try it, you'll like it!

  42. Chris

    Mmmmm. Kale. I was raised by a father with a 'no green food' rule and unfortunately missed out on kale until my 30's – now I put it in everything, right at the end of cooking.

    My favorite, though, is sauteed with onion, garlic, red bell pepper and mushrooms, with Bragg's Aminos sprayed on top.


    And I'll be trying that popcorn idea soon.

    Wishing you sleep, sweet sleep. No babies here, thank you Celiac, but dreams of them abound…..

  43. Stephanie

    I love making braised kale and then sprinkling a little salt, sesame oil, and sesame seeds on it. Or kale chips, my 1 and a half year old will actually eat them and he is very picky! And I totally feel your pain about the not sleeping! Our son hasn't slept through the night since May either, and today is one of those days where I hardly slept. Thanks for sharing about your daughter, I'm glad to know we are not the only ones going through this!

  44. rachael

    I make a delicious soup with sausage, potatoes and kale. I made this to replace the Olive Garden soup that my boyfriend and I love, but cannot have since we can no longer go to Olive Garden because he has celiac. The kale gives this creamy soup such a great texture and makes it feel less heavy.

    I would like to say something nice about you and your adorable family, but I cannot think of the right words. So, plainly, I love your stories and I am very glad you have a blog with which to share these stories and recipes and tidbits of life with us. Thanks! You made the transition to gluten-free much easier.

  45. allison

    i love to put kale in a smoothie-half a banana, some blueberries, strawberries, a little water or juice, and kale. i crave it!

  46. Ail Carter

    Ahhh..will you believe me if I tell you it will get better? My daughter did not sleep through the night for 4 years. I had her when I was 40. Sleep deprivation is a serious drag and it will take it's toll. you MUST get your B vit's, and good fish oils and try for some gentle restorative YOGA while you navigate through this. My Kale story: in NYC waiting for the beautician to call my name at Eliz Arden on 5th avenue many years ago. Looking around the waiting rm, and then at my grocery bag overflowing with kale and the light went on. THis is all I really need for good skin. Stood up. Went home. I grow it and eat it all ways still…

  47. Em

    I love my kale in the form of a comforting stew that Mom passed along…onion, carrots, fennel, leeks, bits of ham and garlic sauteed, then a huge bunch of kale and some water added, pot covered and simmered for 1/2 an hour. It's great alone or over brown rice, which absorbs the lovely broth.

  48. Dandy

    She eats kale? I wonder if kids are picky eaters because thats just the way they are or if there are ways to help your child eat a variety of foods.

    I love this post, thank you for a glimpse into your day.

  49. gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com

    Kale chips… but I have not tried to make enough kale recipes… It's on my to try list.
    I am also a big fan of baby sign language. It helped both my chidren to describe what they were seeing/thinking without the frustration of not having the proper words yet. And yes, we made up our own signs when we did not know the proper one! It's never too late to try and it never delays proper speech.

  50. Anonymous

    Stir-fry kale with chopped shiitake mushrooms, garlic, peanuts. Use 1 tsp each of soy sauce, oyster sauce and sherry for sauce. The combination of the toasted peanuts and the kale is simply delicious.

  51. Hannah

    Sending lots of good sleep thoughts your way! Sadly, I find it quite hard to find kale in Australia, but as soon as I do I plan to make these kale chips everyone goes on about!

  52. Archer

    I love the way you wrote, "We stir our coffee with patient spoons." So good! I love your writing.

    Kale tastes great stir fried with beef, broccoli, onions, & garlic. This is how I got my husband to actually start liking the stuff!

    I also make kale green smoothies. Tons of Pacific NW frozen berries + kale. They go together so well.

  53. I Heart Kale

    I love raw kale massaged with olive oil and salt as the basis for a salad with whatever's in season: grated root vegetables and nuts in the winter, sugar snap peas and strawberries in the spring, blackberries and shaved asiago in summer, pears and Gouda in the fall, etc.

  54. natalie

    Oh sleep, that temptress. And, especially under sleepless circumstances, the frustration of not knowing what in the world your dear child is wanting/meaning/feeling/saying is just torturous.
    I'd love to send you a Feeleez poster or game so that she can point to what she feels in any given moment. It sure saves us. Let me know.

  55. ChickiePea

    I agree with learning to sign, but please use ASL and not baby sign. This way she (and you!) will be learning a second language that you can both use forever and not something like BabySign or whatever that means nothing to the outside world.

    I'm new to Kale though we have done chips/crisps with it and the whole family gobbled them up.

    I'm not new to sleep deprivation and my 26 month old wakes every hour. Coffee and naps when you can get them!! We use melatonin as well for both my 2 yr old an 9 yr old, on recommendation of chiro, sleep dr, and my older daughter's autoimmune specialist. It helps them fall asleep a little faster.
    We use chewable ones here.

    We are gluten-free, mostly grain-free (still do a little corn) sugar-free, and very little dairy.

    Hopefully you will stop by my blog on eating for Autoimmune health:

    Hugs and Thank you for your blog. It was recommended to me by a fellow Freecycler who says her sister is your neighbor! Small world, huh? 🙂


  56. Assateague Girl

    A beautiful post. Little Bean is so incredibly blessed to have you and the chef as her parents… blessings to all of you.

  57. JenP

    I've never eaten kale. If I promise to do so soon, will you try something for me? Check out a book called "Baby Signs." It helped in ways I cannot describe when my boys were old enough to communicate, but not yet old enough to speak. A few simple signs (seriously, fewer than a dozen) were the difference between utter frustration and blissful peace.

    Hope to see you at The Hardware Store one of these days.

  58. Cole Roberts

    Kale: destem, cut into 2" pieces, then cook in a large, dry, covered pot until bright green. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and 2 cloves minced garlic. Stir and cook another minute. Serve hot. So easy, so delicious.

    Beautiful post.

  59. Erica B.

    Love Kale!

    Lately in salads…

    Kale, red onion, shredded carrots & cabbage, tamari seared pumpkin and sesame seeds with Bragg's and evoo.

  60. Anonymous

    Sautéed with garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and lemon zest. With or without pasta.

    Steamed, then a light drizzle of sesame oil. Simple.

  61. wesandmolly@gmail.com

    Blurry vision and entire days out of focus is the way of things with these little people sometimes, no? My only solace, sometimes, is remembering it's as hard for them as it is us. By nine, they do sleep through, for what it's worth. Until then (really, much much sooner), bird by bird, day by day.

    I adore kale braised in olive oil, loads of garlic and anchovies. Pureed, plopped on top of fresh ricotta and crostini, it's divine. Doubles as a pesto, any which way you like that (in soup, on pasta, on your fingertips).

  62. kristinp

    O heavens – I love kale so much it's a little nuts. I have been known to eat it until my stomach aches, but it's just so good. I love it all ways – souped and stir fried and raw. My favorite though is roaster with truffle salt (or a drizzle of truffle oil when it comes sizzling out of a hot oven). It's a decadent splurge for my graduate school self, but the truffles bring out such a beautiful rounded earthiness in the kale. It's worth every precious penny!

    I love reading your tales of the Bean. My sister was also Bean and was also presented with so many challenges as a kid. She is now a healthy and happy adult, but hearing your tired words makes me remember how much our whole family pulled together to get her through. I know those days are sunnier from the other side, but one day soon you will be laughing about the nights of little sleep and how you made it work. You sound like an amazing mom and an amazing family. Thank you for finding a way to keep giving to us through your writing.

  63. Emma

    Ah! I hear ya sister, I ahve a duaghter the same age as yours and I don't sleep either. It is HARD. As for the talking, teaching her baby sign language has been a God send in our house, she can tell us pretty much everything she needs – they learn fast!
    As for kale – keep it simple, gf spaghetti, olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan. Also, sweet potato and kale soup, yum.

  64. fernweh1

    I had grilled kale Caesar salad at Red Feather Lounge in Boise, ID last summer and its been in heavy rotation around here since. I make it at home at least once a month with homemade dressing heavy on the garlic and anchovy paste. I braised some with garlic, bacon and chicken stock the other night and had it over creamy polenta. All so tasty and none to eat right now.

  65. Shuku

    Kale. Now that brings back some wonderful memories of university life in Virginia Beach. In summer, kale and collard greens were two of the cheapest vegetables I could find anywhere – one HUGE bunch for about a dollar or two. Typical post-grad student on a post-grad budget (survival diet, in other words!) meant I had to learn to eat a lot of things I wouldn't ordinarily have tried.

    And I -loved- kale and collard greens. I would first saute up some sliced or chopped onion in a little olive oil, then add a bit of ham or salt pork or bacon if I had any. If not, I'd just throw in the sliced up kale/collard greens, add a bit of salt and water, and let them simmer till they were soft. I'm not sure what most people would have served them with, but I had them over rice most days. Cheap food. Very Southern, but they were -good-. I miss eating them dreadfully!

    Occasionally I'd shred the kale up into very thin slices, and add it to Italian wedding soup too.

  66. Ilaria

    Ah, that is cavolo nero! It happens to be the key ingredient of one of my most comfy comfort meals, zuppa di fagioli (bean soup). Cavolo/kale grows in every vegetable patch in Tuscany, and when I moved to the other side of the world where cavolo nero was unknown (though it is becoming common at farmers’ markets now) I planted a few seeds in my backyard. Being in a subtropical climate, the cavolo grew to be about two meters tall and resembled a palm tree. Who would have known.
    Anyway, soup (sorry for the mixed measurement, I don’t measure anything, generally. As they say in Italy to quantify things in recipes “q.b., quanto basta”, or ‘enough’ or ‘ to taste’)
    500 grams of kale (like a medium bunch?)
    500 grams cooked beans (cannellini or borlotti)
    8 silverbeet leaves
    3 ripe roma tomatoes
    2 medium carrots
    3 stalks of celery
    1 red onion
    7 cloves of garlic
    half a cup of basil leaves, a few extra leaves to serve.
    half a cup of sage leaves
    a sprig of rosemary
    2 tablespoons sage leaves
    Salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
    Parmesan, grated.
    A coupe of days old bread, sliced very very thin (the original recipe calls for Tuscan bread, but I have tried other non wheat breads and it is ok).

    If you are using fresh beans, which makes this soup much nicer, cook as you usually would, with the addition of half of the sage leaves and 2 cloves of garlic. When I make this on the run I use organic canned cannellini beans. When cooked remove the sage, puree half of the beans (this will give the soup a thicker consistency) and set everything aside.

    Blench tomatoes and peel, or even better run the back of a knife on the tomatoes and peel. Deseed if you don’t like seeds and dice. Set aside.

    Prepare the cavolo/kale and silverbeet by removing the central hard stalks. Add the basil and cut in a chiffonade (ok, basil should go at the end, but in his case it works if it goes in with the other greens, no idea why).

    Dice carrots, celery and onion and gently fry, almost sweat, in some EVO in a heavy pot, until translucent, about 10/15 minutes. In the meantime chop sage, rosemary and garlic and add to the pot. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chiffonade and chopped tomatoes, stirring in well, add salt and pepper to taste (quanto basta…). Add beans, the pureed beans and cover with water, the water should be about two fingers over the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about two hours, checking every now and then, and yes you can taste anytime.

    Serve on top of a few slices of bread, top with basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, grated Parmesan cheese. If served the after one day this soup is called ribollita, twice boiled.


  67. Grace

    I know there's been lots of talk about baby sign, and my sister has used it with great success with her 16 month old. So I checked with her about the brand, and she replied: baby sign language DVD's are by Baby Einstein and we have 3 that I love: Baby's Favorite Places, Around the House and My First Signs!
    Hope that's helpful!

  68. wellunderstood

    two things:

    i love kale. love it. can't eat enough of it. i've been known to eat an entire bunch, alone, for dinner. my new favorite way to make it is from the cookbook "feeding the whole family." it is called sweet apple kale, and it is absolutely divine. i've gotten many a kale convert through skilled use of the recipe. it combines a bit of butter, onion, kale, apple juice, sweet apples, soy sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. i swear it is the best kale recipe ever, and i've eaten a LOT of kale.

    also, my little e was born only a couple of weeks after your lu. i am not sleeping either. for over a year. it is exhausting, and keeping up with a toddler is hard work. i've been there–so tired i'm nauseaus, crying . . . everyone keeps telling me it will get better, so i trust in that and make it through the day . . . and most days are great! (but when they are bad, they are horrid.) try to take a nap when she does, it will help. (although i myself am so tempted to do "grownup" stuff when she sleeps i rarely take my own advice.)

    your sister in sleeplessness,

  69. Anonymous

    Ribollita…a cannellini bean soup with red kale, savoy cabbage, tomato, onions, garlic and basil. Served with gluten free ciabatta!

  70. Julie

    Lovely post. Sleep deprivation is tough, especially when you can't catch up. And then when they stop napping..! W isn't a very good sleeper either. It's a good thing they're as adorable as they are.

    Although it's been said – my favourite way to eat kale is as a bowl of salty, oily chips. I can easily down a bunch on my own – even when it's the bigger, tougher variety. Your baby kale looks fabulous. I also love Molly's spaghetti with kale – that would make great use of the smaller, tender leaves.

  71. mekate

    I so think that I live in the same immediacy as Bean in so many ways.
    I don't want to miss any of this.

    such a beautiful post,

  72. Deanna

    I'm not a mother, but I can relate to sleep deprivation and worry over a child recovering from great health-related stress. Sign language worked wonders with my niece; I know others here have recommended it, but it would probably help your little one communicate. The more you enable her to communicate now, the easier it will be for her to continue communicating as she grows.

    Kale! This has become one of my favorite foods, and here's one of my favorite ways to make it:
    –Large batch of kale, leaves removed from stems, chopped or torn into approx. 2" shreds
    –Large batch of another green, coarsely chopped; I love turnip greens for this
    –3 large carrots, shredded
    –2 shallots, chopped
    –2 cloves of garlic, minced
    –4 oz feta or chevre (or a little of both!)
    –salt, pepper, and chili pepper to taste

    Saute the shallots, garlic, and carrots until the shallots turn translucent. Throw in the greens and seasonings and cook until wilted. Remove pan from heat and add cheese. Eat it all over a bed of quinoa, brown rice, or whatever grain suits your fancy.

  73. Michelle

    Lacinato kale is my favorite variety. I most frequently saute it with oil and balsamic vinegar, and a little garlic. (I can eat piles of it that way!) But this weekend I made Cookus Interruptus' "Massaged Kale Salad" for some friends, which was wonderful.

  74. Sirena

    Shauna, I hope my husband and I can still manage cooking/life/work when (if, we hope!) we have a little growing family. Right now, kale is a constant staple. I serve it sauteed, with garlic, lemon and olive oil; I serve it silky and boiled, with salt and garlic and olive oil, and top it with poached, over-easy, or soft-boiled eggs for breakfast; I salt it well and slice it into the thinnest chiffonade imaginable and dress it with currants, pine nuts, a balsamic vinaigrette, and shavings of parmigiano reggiano; I roast it at the highest heat possible and salt it after for crunchy kale chips; and I blanch it quickly and stuff it with wild rice, a mix of middle eastern spices, and other good stuff for kale involtini or kale warak dawali. The fountain of goodness from Mother Earth is pretty endless, and her chosen color is so often green, isn't it!

  75. Linda

    Maybe I take kale for granted, but it's kind of like my best friend. It's always with me in so much of what I make. Home fries with bits of roasted kale. Kale is usually the last thing I toss into a pot of soup. Sauteed, roasted, juliened, then steamed with some lemon and olive oil. You just can't go wrong with kale.

  76. Trish

    Well now, seeing as I have NOT ever made anything with kale…I know I know…can you believe it?….but anyway…this is getting me a lot of ideas! I'll read back here soon to see what you made. Oh…poor little Bean….and you two of course! I do remember sleep deprivation in those earlier childhood rearing days. This too shall pass!

  77. Anonymous

    This line made tears instantly spring to my eyes:

    "And she reaches out of her chair to put her hand on my chest, pat the place over my heart, and says Mama again."

    What a gorgeous and heart-tugging image you've painted with those words. Thank you.

  78. Anonymous

    How about trying baby sign language with "Little Bean"? My daughter and grandbaby have used it and she says it has saved her sanity so many times, and has also calmed Baby Mine because she can make her needs and wants known better. Worth trying, I'd say. There are many books out there, but the baby signing ones are best because they show most used words, since baby will learn to talk eventually. No need to learn every word. Just a suggestion!!

  79. Pants

    As I was finishing reading the part about communication with toddlers, I hear my partner asking our 18 month old, "what did you say? you want this?" she says "blahahhh" "honey, you need to tell me what you want, can you point to it?" "waahhha"

    The timing of it just cracked me up! Hang in there with Lucy, you are so not alone!!

  80. Anonymous

    I used to teach vegetarian cooking classes in my home when I lived in the midwest. I have had so many of the folks that took the class thank me profusely for introducing them to kale. The way we made it back then was in a wok with about a half cup of water and a tablespoon or two of Braggs Liquid Aminos, throw the kale in the hot liquid and cook till tender. Now I can't have Braggs, but along with lots of these kale fans, it's good in so many ways.
    I hope for long sleeps soon for you and Little Bean, Shauna.

  81. gfe--gluten free easily

    That kale looks yummy. I can't believe that I've come to love kale after years of steering clear of it. Green smoothies are amazing with kale.

    Sympathy and hugs re: sleep deprivation. It's one of those times when you'd like to do that thing they do in the movies … where they "freeze" some folks for just a second. You could take a cat nap then. 😉


  82. Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

    Very sweet. I mix kale into my smoothies, toss it over pizzas for a little crunch, blend it in to every hummus and every dip that I make and let it soften from the steam of freshly brewed soups. Everyone that I can…

  83. Julialuli

    Kale: My kids eat more kale than any other veggie when I make it this simple way. The key is to let it wilt for a bit before eating it, especially for Little Bean. I usually use two bunches of kale, stripped off of the tough stem and torn into small pieces. Mix 1/4 cup Bragg's Aminos, 1/4 to 1/2 lemon, juiced and 1/4 teaspoon or so of TOASTED sesame oil. Whisk it all together to emulsify and pour and toss over kale. Springy salad!

    Little Bean: Our son was such a fab non-verbal communicator and we also taught him about six signs. My mom always said, "Why would he need to talk? We always know what he wants!" When he was 2 1/2, all his observation and listening came spilling out. In about two weeks, he went from using a handful of words to speaking in complete sentences. It was shocking! I love they way you let Little Bean experience her world and she's a lucky girl for your patience and the way you embrace who she is now, not who she should become!

  84. HannahHandpainted

    Aw. I feel your pain.
    Very literally.

    I have been sleep deprived for the entire four years of my daughter's life. We found out in October of last year that she has epilepsy (grand mal seizures) and sensory issues. Her sleep is absolutely crazy, sporadic, unpredictable… and I am beyond exhausted.

    It has been going on so long that my sanity is tenuous. At first I thought I could handle it, but after four+ years of it, I am at the end of my rope.

    I am saying this so that if you get to that point, you can get help. Definitely get help before you get to the point where I am now and aren't sure if you want to go on.

    Excuse the serious comment. I wish for good sleep and resolutions for you little family. We're off to the hospital today (ironically) to the sleep medical evaluation to see if we can get any help that way.

    Sending hugs,

  85. Stephanie

    My new favorite food comes from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. She has a Potatoes, Greens and Tomato recipe that I followed once and then make my own way on a regular basis.

    You need steamed greens and boiled potatoes (I throw in the potatoes and then put the steaming basket over the top–one pot, one burner).

    Saute some sort of alium in olive oil in a large cast iron pan
    Throw in the greens, chopped, and the potatoes.
    Saute for a few minutes, smushing the potatoes into a bit of a hash if they're starchy–I left tiny summer potatoes in quarters.
    We made this about twice a week during CSA and farmer's market season, and never got tired of it. Eat it straight, or top it with a fried egg. Or mix in salata ricotta or queso blanco. Or make a garlic lemon yogurt salt to eat it with.

    The only time I didn't like it as much was when I used a wonderfully sweet red onion. The flavor stood out too much instead of blending. Leeks, garlic, shallots, and white onions were all extraordinary.

    BTW, I love kale stems, and I leave them in (trying to put them toward the bottom of the steaming basket). They're so sweet! My 4 year old son always steals a few to snack on raw.

  86. Naomi

    We make dehydrated Kale chips. Massage a blended sauce of cashews, red bell pepper, lemon juice, and salt into the kale for 30 seconds then put them in the dehydrator. Snacks my kids like are hummus with spirulina that we call wicked witch hummus and sunflower sprouts can also be blended into this. We eat it with rice cakes. They also like Monkey platters. Sprouts are 10 to 30 times more nutritious than your best fresh picked vegetable so it's wise to figure out how to get kids to eat them. Chia seeds too they like mixed with water and maplesyrup and we call it chia pudding or chia fresca with lemon and more water for a lemonade.
    Thanks for all your great ideas.

  87. Rebekah (clarity in creation.)

    hey girl!
    just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how much you have IMPACTED my life. i had to move back home to take care of my family a few years ago, and i was toally overwhelmed with cooking for my celiac sister. your blog was my learning tool. you also exposed me to my new passion – food blogs! i had no idea they existed. i instantly felt at home. since then ive made some successes and some blunders, but i just wanted you to know how grateful i am for your inspiration!

    – rebekah (http://www.clariyincreation.blogspot.com)

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