Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Massage, Massage: Kale Salad

If you have kids, or even if you occasionally care for kids, you know how hard it is to put sunscreen on them in the summer.  They're squirmy.  They don't like being smeared with slimy goo.  They run amuck and ensure that all of your hard work goes to pot about an hour after you've rubbed the last of the stuff in.  If you have given in to the spray sunscreen approach (which doesn't work as well as the goo approach, IMHO), they probably complain about getting it in their eyes.  Or the smell.  Or who knows all what else.

I don't remember wearing sunscreen much as a child, and when I did, usually at the beach, it certainly did not have a UV protection rating of 50SPF (in fact, I think it was more of the cooking oil variety, the kind that smelled like coconut).  I have an olive complexion, and I tend to tan in the summer, provided I pace my time in the sun and don't go whole hog on the first nice day.  I take after my father that way, who used to tell us that he was called "morenito" (little black boy) in the summer by people in his town, because he used to get so dark.

Every morning, before my son goes to camp, we have to put sunscreen on him.  He's five, remember, and is about as much of a drama queen as they come (case in point: once, in the shower, when he got water in his eyes, he screamed: "AAAA!  Help!  Help!  I'm BLIND!  I'm DYYYYYYING!").  So you can imagine the hilarity that ensues when we're trying to protect him for the day, knowing full well that they will not enforce re-lotioning at camp.  I've told him several times now that there are many people in this world who pay a lot of money to have their body rubbed with lotion, and that I should be charging him for my services.  He doesn't yet see that irony, unfortunately.

His sister watches this process with great interest. At this point in her life, she still actually likes sunscreen.  As I did with my son when he was an infant, I've tried to make it into a game, saying "massage, massage," as I rub it onto her arms, and she will occasionally, out of the blue when she's in the car or walking around the house, make motions like she's putting on her own sunscreen, saying in her inimitable little voice, "masssaaaaaage, masssaaaaage."  During the past week, she's taken to holding one of her toy cups in her hand, pretending that it's a bottle of sunscreen, patting my skin with it (presumably to get the lotion out), and then rubbing my arm, saying "massaaaaaage, massaaaage."  Which is pretty stinking cute.  And which almost makes up for the times she's screaming bloody murder because--heaven forbid--I've just fed her a carrot.

I learned this summer that kale also likes a good massage; that if you're eating it raw, if you spend some time massaging it with your fingers, until it almost resembles steamed kale (warning: this does take some patience, but it can be oddly relaxing), the end result will be a green that is a lot easier to eat than the poky, curly item we tend to put in soup.  I would have taken a picture of myself doing this, but since I had my hands in kale, it was sort of difficult to hold the camera.  You'll have to use your imagination.

Raw kale also likes a good raw dressing, and provided you're not allergic to nuts, soaked cashews make a lovely accompaniment.  You can do it like this:

Cover 1/3 c. raw cashews in water and let them soak. (The longer the cashews soak, the creamier the dressing will be. Soaking for a few hours is ideal, but not a deal-breaker.) Drain them and blend them with 1/4 c. water, 1-2 cloves of garlic (start with one unless you like a garlicky dressing), a splash of lemon juice, and a dash of soy sauce and/or tahini.  The longer the dressing sits, the thicker it will become.  I keep mine in a mason jar, because it looks pretty in my refrigerator that way.

Toss the massaged kale in the dressing, and sprinkle your salad with some toasted walnuts, and anything else you like.  Eat great quantities of it, and feel virtuous.

Have you ever had a massage?  Have you ever given one?  Have you ever given kale a massage?  Do you like getting sunscreened?  If you have kids, how do you deal with preparing them to be outside in the sun?
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  1. I love getting a massage more than almost anything in the world (exclusing my family of course). I always ask for gift certificates for a massage for every holiday. I literally have dreams about it sometimes...there is just nothing better to me. I do feel bad for the poor person giving it to me though because I'll bet they need a massage sometimes too and probably never get it!

    I love the shower story!

  2. Ah, sunscreen. My kids are really fair and by the end of the summer my daughter tends to look like a fully baked NJ housewife, so we sunscreen relentlessly. One thing that helped a bit and wasn't such a hassle was letting my daughter pick the sunscreen. Whole Foods stocks about 5 varieties of "Alba" sunscreen. It's not in the top tier for chemical-free, but squarely in the second-tier and pretty cheap (about $8). We went and spent a good half hour smelling and sampling all 5 flavors until she finally settled on Lavender. I think something about having a little control over what is a very physical process helped. Just a thought. And if there are someplace sunscreen is not likely to be reapplied (i.e. my in-laws) they are only allowed out in spf 50 clothes.

    And yes, massages are the best. But I've only had 2 in my life. Some day I do plan for more.

  3. I love massages and I never knew kale does too! Very interesting tip. My kids get so excited when I pull out the sunscreen because they know that means they are going swimming. Other than swimming we just do big floppy hats and cover up in the sun.

  4. I love massages! Right before we started treatments I wanted to do something to help me relax so I got a spa membership and I go once a month. I give my Hubby a back, neck and shoulders massage every once in a while. I need to start doing that more often.
    I don't like putting sunscreen on myself, but if I can get someone else to do it for me it's great.

  5. I love massages, but haven't had one for months. *sigh* as for the sunscreen, we now have to put it on our flailing one year old before daycare. That smart black pencil skirt I decided to wear to work this morning? There's a couple of grayish patches thanks to spf 50 goop.

  6. I have had a few professional massages and many from my husband. I have a gift certificate for one that a friend gave me after Abby was born in 2009 that I still haven't used. I should probably get on that... It's just hard to find the right time.

    I have given them to my husband and my kids. But I have never massaged kale. Honestly I don't think I have ever touched kale or eaten it, unless I didn't know that I was.

    I don't love getting sun-screened, because we are usually in a rush when doing it, so I don't find it relaxing. Its a nice way to think of it though. With my pale Irish skin, I have to use it pretty much all the time though.

    As for my kids, I am lucky that they accept sunscreen to be just part of our routine and they don't fight it much. Sean is old enough (8) now that he can mostly put it on himself. Abby loves getting hers on, because she gets to be like me and her big brother, which sounds like your daughter. :)

    What a fun post! I love that via NaBloPoMo this month we are getting to see so many sides of you, your life, your family and your outlook on life. :)

  7. I love massages too. I haven't had one in a long while.

    My kids hate being sprayed by sunscreen: major Sarah Bernhardt action if I dare to spray them or ask them to wear their hat.

    I love the Heidi Swanson Kale salad with toasted coconut and kale and tahini dressing. YUM! Yours looks good too :)


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