South of the Border Kale Salad

February 22, 2017
South of the Border Kale Salad - Tortillas aren't the only vehicle for Mexican flavors. A honey-lime dressing for the right touch of tangy sweetness

“Whether you think you can, or you can’t .. you’re right”   ~ Henry Ford

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On a cold winter’s afternoon, I longed to be curled up in alpaca slippers near a fire; ideally with a warm beverage and a book within arm’s reach.  Instead, knowing it was best for me, I’d made my way to the gym for our weekly training session.  She loaded the bar with weight

“You’ll never guess what I’ve heard from everyone today.”  

(I bet we’re starting with squats)

“Can’t.  Everyone who’s walked through the door today has told me something they can’t do.”     

(Ummm .. so you see, the little weights on the top?  I’m sure you meant those instead of .. )

I can’t eat vegetables.  Yes, you can eat vegetables.  There are a million different ways to prepare them.  I can’t give up coffee.  Yes, you can; there are a lot of alternatives.  I can’t give up pizza or sweet treats.  Yes, you can.  I have so many recipes with all of the flavor and none of the junk.” 

(oh dear .. hopefully just one or two reps)

“So now I’m on a mission to show them they can!”

(you can do this)

South of the Border Kale Salad - Tortillas aren't the only vehicle for Mexican flavors. A honey-lime dressing for the right touch of tangy sweetness

My husband loves taking chilly winter walks, especially on holidays

“But it’s so cold out there,”  I rationalize

“Please?”  He says; tossing me a pair of socks

(Always glad I said yes)

Little changes in life.  I fight them more often than I’d care to admit.  Opting instead to start a new puzzle, switch up the playlist, try a new recipe.  Anything to stay inside, to shake things up a bit but from the comfort of my alpaca slippers .. please?

Certainly, I’m not like everyone else?  The can-do girl is still as gung-ho as ever before?  There are no hints of “can’t” floating around in her head, right?  Not so much

As I’ve gone about my days, her new-found mission hasn’t been far from my mind.  Turns out she’s onto something.  Can is hard. Can’t is easier, and I’m telling it to myself more often than I’d care to admit.

For the latest installment of the Live Healthy Iowa 10-week Challenge Series, I thought it might be fun to share how I’ve handled a few of my can’ts these past weeks, and found answers in the question

“So if you can’t do that; what can you do instead?”

South of the Border Kale Salad - Tortillas aren't the only vehicle for Mexican flavors. A honey-lime dressing for the right touch of tangy sweetness

I’m going to a restaurant and can’t be in control of my food

“In this moment, what can I choose that will help me with my goals?  What questions can I ask the server?  What can I order to make this meal the best it can be?”

When we’re at a restaurant, and I’m worried about being in control of my eating; I simply don’t open the menu.  Instead, I’ll ask the server if I can have a piece of grilled chicken and a big salad with lots of different veggies.


Life is busy right now, and I can’t do my normal routine

There are so many different ways this one has played out for me over the years.  Family is visiting from out-of-town, the kid’s activities are taking up every spare minute, a deadline at work.  Seasons with limited time and I wasn’t able to eat meals I knew worked for me

“What’s a minimum routine can I do during this crunch time?  One where I’ll be able to maintain my weight and stay healthy.” 

I can drink my water every day.  I can stop at the grocery and buy some things that will meet my needs.  I can walk around the block (or office building) during my lunch break.  I can think positive thoughts because I know it will help with stress

South of the Border Kale Salad - Tortillas aren't the only vehicle for Mexican flavors. A honey-lime dressing for the right touch of tangy sweetness

We’re invited to a neighbor’s for dinner, and I’m worried about eating well

“In the situation where I feel like the meal is out of my control, what are some things I can do to ensure success?”

A traditional hostess will say “no, no, I’ve got it covered” although the reality is I never know for sure what’s on the menu and if she’ll have enough of what I need (ex:  veggies or protein)

In most cases, I’ve stopped asking what I can bring and instead make a huge salad.  I’ve discovered if I show up with something beautiful, it will quickly be put on the table.  (If I ask ahead of time and she says “no” then I’m in a weird sort of pickle)

Another trick that helps is not to think of the meal as my dinner, simply another snack during the day.  I’ll have a very small portion of whatever is being served and eat dinner when we get home

— — —

What about the times we’re injured and can’t work out?  Or the holidays are upon us, and we think we can’t lose weight?  Or people in your life cause you so much stress and anxiety that it’s triggered dysfunctional eating?

 ( .. to be continued .. )

The Mississippi River – February 18, 2017 (Iowa + February + 70 degrees!)

My progress report after week 4?

Total minutes of activity this week = 505    and Overall = 2410   (a combination of walking, yoga, resistance class, and weight lifting)

Total pounds lost this week = +1.2  and Overall = 8.2

I took a small step back this week, which I’m handling with grace.  I wouldn’t have traded an anniversary lunch with my husband, or picnic along the banks of the Mississippi River with my son and his family .. for anything

— — —

A salad I’ve been bringing to dinner parties as of late.  It’s full of flavor, color, and texture.

It lends itself beautifully when there is a mix of vegetarians and meat lovers; allowing everybody to customize their salad (or taco).  I especially like grilled chicken marinated fajita style as one of the topping options.

It makes for a festive evening

Note about the dressing:  If you’re able, making it a day ahead will allow the flavors to co-mingle



ps:  You can read more of the “I can” vs. “I can’t”  series in Part II  |  Part III   |  Part IV

I’m participating as part of the  Iowa Food and Family Project‘s blogger team in this year’s annual Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Challenge.  More stories from the Challenge can be found here 

— — —

~ Adapted from iFoodReal

South of the Border Kale Salad


  • 4 cups kale, stalks removed, coarsely chopped, and packed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 cup corn (thaw if using frozen)
  • 2 large bell peppers (any color), chopped
  • 1 ½ large avocado, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño peppers, seeded & minced

  • Honey-Lime Dressing
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey (sub maple syrup to make this recipe vegan)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp jalapeño pepper, chopped (use canned for less heat)


  • Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over mix and toss again.
  • Season with fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 308
Total Fat 17.6g
Saturated Fat 2.9g
Carbohydrates 34.9g
Fiber 11.6g
Sugars 13.3g
Protein 7.5g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Sirri February 22, 2017 at 10:15 am

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh this looks good! I’ll feel healthy eating it too!

  • Reply heydave February 22, 2017 at 10:16 am

    4 stars
    Love your photos, food and otherwise!

  • Reply Amanda February 22, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Great ideas for being healthy outside of home too! I can’t wait to try this salad!

  • Reply Rhian Westbury February 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

    I’ve never been a huge fan of kale but the way you’ve made this salad makes it look stunning x

  • Reply Sara February 22, 2017 at 11:09 am

    5 stars
    That looks really delicious… I can’t wait for it to warm up here so I can try it. Right now I’m deep in warming curry heaven 🙂

  • Reply Lisa prince February 22, 2017 at 11:37 am

    haha cute pug this looks tasty and a must quicky

  • Reply Lynne Harper February 22, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Kale is so popular at the minute and I’m so glad as I love it. This recipe sounds fabulous plus the pictures are awesome x

  • Reply Sabine February 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Oh this looks delicious! My kind of food! That little pug is too adorable by the way ❤

  • Reply Krysten February 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I usually don’t ask and just bring a salad too. I have found that people are usually really grateful!
    This salad looks absolutely amazing! I’m going to try it today!

  • Reply Leah February 22, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    This sounds like a perfect salad. The ingredients sound so flavorful, and I love the sound of the dressing, anything with cilantro is wonderful! Can’t wait to try this out!

  • Reply Rachel February 22, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I now know what cilantro is and what I can use it for, so thank you x

  • Reply Nina February 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I absolutely love kale! I was so happy to find some in Spain! This salad sounds amazing! It looks healthy and the beans add in that little kick of protein.

  • Reply Lubka Henry February 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I’m a huge fan of kale as it is so healthy, but I find it a bit difficult to chew when it’s raw.

  • Reply Kimberly February 22, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    This is what I call a salad! Love that you used kale instead of lettuce. The colors are beautiful.

  • Reply Maggie Unzueta February 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

    This salad has all my favorite flavors. YUM!

  • Reply Mary February 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I try not to say I can’t to my trainer, unless it’s something balance related. Mostly I’ll tell her I don’t want to. Lol. I’ll own up to my own laziness. This salad looks wonderful and so delicious. I’ll have to give this a try next time I buy kale!

  • Reply Mary February 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I try not to say I can’t to my trainer, unless it’s something balance related. Mostly I’ll tell her I don’t want to. Lol. I’ll own up to my own laziness. This salad looks wonderful and so delicious. I’ll have to give this a try next time I buy kale!

  • Reply Jennifer L February 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    5 stars
    Oh goodness does that kale salad look so good. Love the sweet add of the corn with the peppery taste of the kale. Will be making this this weekend.

  • Reply Stephanie February 26, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Looks delicious. I’m not a huge fan of raw kale(cooked Yes – two thumbs up) but I think i’d use baby spinach

  • Reply Anton March 2, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    That Henry Ford quote is one of my favorites 🙂 Been eating a lot more salad these days thanks to all the health benefits of eating veges and eating raw. Looking forward to giving this a try!

  • Reply Lindsey March 7, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    How scrumptious does this salad look I can smell the freshness off the page

  • Reply Gareth Torrance May 9, 2017 at 1:49 am

    I’ve never been very good at making salads… But my wife loves them, so maybe I should give this one a go!

  • Reply Jaime Nicole May 9, 2017 at 3:08 am

    This looks so fresh and vibrant for spring! I just love steamed kale but I don’t know that I’ve ever tried it in a salad – definitely going to try this recipe!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey May 9, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Hands up I do love kale though I don’t think I’ve ever tried it in a salad. I really must rectify that situation ASAP!

  • Reply Robin May 9, 2017 at 4:23 am

    This salad sounds phenomenal. I have just started to discover kale and I think it would be really tasty in this salad.

  • Reply Anita Anderson May 9, 2017 at 6:54 am

    4 stars
    Wow, loving this kale salad and all the colors used to make it. I love salads with an array of colors and this does it for me.

  • Reply Candy May 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

    I make this similar to your salad. We use spinach as well. Kale and spinach are so good for you and when you throw in the beans and fresh veggies can’t go wrong with this salad.

  • Reply Alli Smith May 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I have a thing for food that is pretty and presentation is everything! Your Kale Salad is so colorful and looks delicious. I can hardly wait to try it.

  • Reply Jeanette May 9, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I am constantly looking for ways to make a salad taste delicious. I’m trying to eat healthier and you can only eat so many of the same kind of salad. I cannot wait to try this one.

  • Reply Anosa May 9, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I can feel the dog. Now I am craving for some salad at this very moment. Looks very inviting and delicious!

  • Reply Betty May 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I am starting on a weight loss journey and this recipe is perfect for my lunch! Healthy yet tasty! Haven’t had too much kale lately but I love it!

  • Reply Stephanie Usher May 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not really a Kale fan, but this actually sounds really nice! xx

  • Reply Jenny May 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    This looks delicious. I’m such a picky eater and had never tried a salad with beans. I assumed it would be gross but was recently served a salad similar to this at a dinner part and had to eat it because I didn’t want to be rude. It ended up being one of the best salads I had ever had!

  • Reply Jenny May 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I love kale, this sounds great and I love the idea of taking it along to dinner parties.

  • Reply lisa May 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    This salad looks delicious! I love any kind of salad and veggies. Pretty much anything healthy so I can’t wait to try this salad!

  • Reply Sarah May 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    5 stars
    Your recipe posts are my favourite out of any blog I’ve read! I love how you write them! This kale salad looks amazing!!

  • Reply Pam May 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I love kale salads because they’re so filling! This one sounds like it has a lot of flavor in it.

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay May 10, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Wow, this salad looks so delicious. It also seems to be healthy. I think I will try that out soon. Kids might love the color!

  • Reply Val May 10, 2017 at 7:34 am

    My hubby loves spinach but it turns out he just isn’t crazy for kale. The colors in this salad are great, it looks terrific!

  • Reply Sandra May 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    5 stars
    I love coming back to your blog for recipe inspiration. Your posts are always so yummy looking and your photos are the best. I will try making this kale salad too. I know this will be a hit with my family.

  • Reply Kiwi May 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I had to pin this! I love Kale and this is going to be amazing with a SW twist!

  • Reply Becca Talbot May 10, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I’ve never been a big lover of kale – I find it a little bland. But this recipe adds colour and some other flavours, so maybe I should give kale another go!

  • Reply Amanda May 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    This looks amazing and your photos are so beautiful!

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc May 11, 2017 at 7:53 am

    5 stars
    What a delicious looking salad. I will make this tomorrow. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply Emily May 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

    5 stars
    Yum! I have never made a kale salad like this. I will be giving this a try for sure!

  • Reply Jessica May 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I love kale and am the only one in my family that does. This salad looks very delicious. I am a fan of all salads. I will have to try this!

  • Reply Louise May 12, 2017 at 7:04 am

    This looks delicious. I’m a big fan of salad, but tend to just throw in whatever we’ve got in the fridge!

    Louise x

  • Reply Emmie May 15, 2017 at 8:25 am

    That looks so colourful and delicious, I love a good salad.

  • Reply Crystal May 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    This looks delicious…and that is the exact look on my pug each meal time.

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