Kale, Strawberry & Coconut Salad

ALERT! It’s strawberry season in San Diego. YES!!  Let the binging begin! What’s on my mind? Strawberry lemonade. Vegan Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Zucchini Noodles with  Cashew Cream. Strawberry Guacamole Toast. Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream. Strawberries with Coconut Whipped Cream. Strawberry Chia Seed Jam … someone please stop me. I can talk STRAWBERRY all day long. 

It’s also tulip season in San Diego. Check out this beautiful picture from the Carlsbad Flower Fields, just a few minutes from my work.

Nothing says SPRING like tulips and strawberries. Don’t you think?

Today I am sharing one of my favorite Spring dishes, a colorful Kale, Strawberry & Coconut Salad. 

Gigantic Strawberry – it’s the size of my palm

How to make scrumptious kale salads

Recently, a friend of mine confessed that she didn’t like KALE. She knew that this could “jeopardize” our relationship so she started slowly “I am not a BIG fan of the texture…[insert cough]…i’s a little bitter and chewy”. Seriously? Do we know each other? Is that even possible? Can we till be friends after this? If you know me well, you know I am a self-proclaimed kale-lover ( hence my website’s name, sunshine and KALE). I even eat kale for dessert!  Check out this Chocolate Kale Chip Recipe by Jason Wrobel. It’s truly a treat!

If  you are reading this and you have a love-hate relationship with kale, let me help you. Here are few tips to prepare the PERFECT kale salad:

First, kale has to be de-stemmed and the leaves have to chopped finely (if using the Dino variety) or tear apart (if using curl kale). You can add the stems to your smoothies. They contain added minerals and chlorophyll but they have a really bitter taste. 

Second, you need to massage the kale leaves – WITH YOUR HANDS – break them down, add a little bit of salt and lemon. I know it sounds counterintuitive but the salt will neutralize the bitterness while the lemon will tenderize the leaves and add flavor. 

Third, I suggest you experiment with different types of kale. For salads, I personally prefer Lacinato / Dinosaur Kale over Curly Kale.  Lacinato is darker in color, stronger in flavor but softer in texture. Curly Kale is lighter, milder but sturdier.

Follow these three easy steps and I can guarantee that you will become a kale convert. Do you want to take it up a noch? Try the following recipe. It has strawberries, almonds and coconut.   Long Live The Kale and S-T-R-A-W-B-E-R-R-I-E-S!! 


Kale, Strawberry and Coconut Salad
Write a review
For the dressing
  1. 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1 Tablespoon coconut vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  4. 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup ( or alternative sweetener)
  5. Salt and black pepper to taste
For the salad
  1. 2 large bunches Lacinato kale, de-stemmed and finely shredded
  2. 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  4. 1/2 cup organic slivered almonds
  1. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl and pour half of the dressing over.
  3. Massage the kale for 2-3 minute, until the leaves soften.
  4. Add strawberries, almonds, coconut and the remaining dressing.
  5. Toss to combine. Add more sweetener if needed.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad

This Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad is hard to resist. It’s fresh, crunchy and flavorful. It’s a healthier alternative to the traditional Broccoli Salad, often prepared with dairy, granulated white sugar and meat.

This is a quick and simple recipe to prepare using ingredients that you probably have on hand. It’s the perfect dish to take to a potluck, BBQ or to make for a casual dinner party, since it doesn’t get soggy.  

Benefits of Broccoli

It is a very good source of dietary fiberpantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium,omega-3 fatty acidsprotein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium. *

Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad
Write a review
  1. 2 medium broccoli heads ( florets only)
  2. 1 medium Granny Smith apple, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup raisins
  4. 1/2 cup almonds, slivered
  1. 1/2 cup of vegan mayo
  2. 4 pitted Medjool dates
  3. 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  4. a pinch of smoked paprika
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the broccoli heads into small bite-sized florets. Save the broccoli stalk for another dish (a nice soup or smoothie).
  2. Blanch the broccoli - Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli ( see notes). Transfer the broccoli to an ice bath ( large pot of water with some ice cubes). After 2 minutes, drain it well. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, apple, raisins and almonds.
  4. In a high speed blender, add all the dressing ingredients and process for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to mix well.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  1. If you blanch the broccoli for one minute, it will turn bright green and crunchy. Two minutes will cook the vegetable through but still firm. More than two minutes, the broccoli will get mushy. I would suggest setting up a timer.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Resource: The World’s Healthiest Foods

 Israeli couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette

Israeli couscous also known as Jerusalem couscous are small balls of toasted semolina. They were developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.  In Israel, they were originally called “Ben-Gurion rice”, named after Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion, though it is mainly called “ptitim” nowadays. It is Pearl-shaped and is identical to the Levantine and North African pearled couscous, known as maftoul or moghrabieh in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and North Africa*
Israeli couscous can be used in many type of dishes, served both hot and cold. The grains retain their shape and texture even when reheated. It’s commonly enjoyed by kids with sautéed onions and tomato paste. It can also be used in soups, risottos and even served in a pie. 
Today, I am sharing my favorite recipe using this ingredient. This Israeli Couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette offers a beautiful explosion of colors, flavors and textures. It’s bright, sweet and tangy. 
This recipe was adapted from Whole Foods Market. Enjoy it!
Israeli Couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette
Write a review
  1. 2 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
  2. 1 cup dried cranberries
  3. 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  4. 1 bunch of lacinato kale, destemmed and finely chiffonaded
  5. 2 scallions, minced
  1. 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  2. 1 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
  3. 4 mandarins ( zest and juice)
  4. 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  5. 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
  6. 1⁄2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous. Cook just like pasta. 8-10 minutes or when it's al dente. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside and let it cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Israeli couscous, cranberries, pecans, lacinato kale and scallions. Pour the well-whisked dressing over it and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Adapted from Whole Food Market - Epicurious
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Raw Cucumber Pickles

These raw cucumber pickles are the perfect condiment to enhance the flavor of burgers, sandwiches and salads. They can also be enjoyed as a cool tangy snack.

Once you tried this recipe, you will become addicted just like Peter Piper Who Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. Now, a peck is the equivalent of 2.3 gallons or 8 liters.  Could you eat that many pickles? Hmmm

Raw Cucumber Pickles
Write a review
  1. 6 pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced
  2. 2 Tablespoons raw coconut vinegar ( I like Coconut Secret)
  3. 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  4. 2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Mix all the ingredients well and press into a jar. The salt will draw the water out of the cucumbers. Make sure that the cucumbers are submerged.
  2. Cover and let them sit out overnight.
  3. Transfer to the refrigerator
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

The Story of Pickles

It is rumored that they were one of Cleopatra’s prized beauty secrets. They make appearances in the Bible and in Shakespeare’s writing. Pickles have been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2030 BC when cucumbers from their native India were pickled in the Tigris Valley. The word “pickle” comes from the Dutch pekel or northern German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine,” two very important components in the pickling process ~ History In A Jar

Health Benefits of Cucumber 

  1. Improve digestion –  It’s a good supply of probiotics.
  2. Support Heart Health – Cucumbers contain potassium which can help lower blood pressure
  3. Protect your brain from neurological diseases – Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory substance called fisetin
  4. Relieve pain – Cucumbers contain flavonoids
  5. Protect your bones – Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K
  6. Maintain a healthy weight – Cucumbers are low in calories

To  learn more about the benefits of cucumbers, check out this funny video by Macka B, the British-Jamaican reggae artist and activist.

♫ Vitamins, minerals very high number
silica, hair and nails get longer
Other vitamins make your bones dem stronger
Anti wrinkle make you look younger

95 percent water, kidney cleanser, great hydrater
Detox, fibre, good regulator
Give your body good things don’t be a traitor ♫

Green Goddess Juice

Happy Spring Equinox, everyone! Let’s enjoy the extra 10 minutes of daylight today!   I am celebrating new beginnings with a 5-day juice cleanse ( a shorter version of last year’s 21-day spring cleanse).

I am  starting today with my Green Goddess Juice. It has cucumber, celery, green apple, lemon, pineapple and spinach 🥒 🍍 🍎 My kids insist in calling it polyjuice 🙊 

Green Goddess Juice
Write a review
  1. 1 cucumber
  2. 2 celery stalks
  3. 1 green apple
  4. 1/2 lemon
  5. 1/4 pineapple
  6. Handful of spinach
  1. Add all ingredients through juicer and enjoy!
  1. For an alkaline booster, add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar.
  2. I strongly recommend buying organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Ayurvedic Yogi Tea

At Soul Of Yoga, we always finish our Saturday kundalini yoga class with homemade yogi tea, courtesy of my beautiful friend and teacher Sarah Sang.  Today, I want to share her recipe which has been adapted from Yogi Bhajan’s recipe

Who is Yogi Bhajan?

He was an inspirational teacher of holistic living who came from India to the West in 1969. Yogi Bhajan shared with his students his wisdom and knowledge of healthy living and the beneficial properties of herbs while serving a comforting and aromatic Ayurvedic spiced tea they affectionately named “Yogi Tea”.

Eventually, this blossomed into the Yogi Tea Company in 1984 which now offers over 60 unique blends that aid to help with stamina, relaxation, circulation and endurance. You’ve probably seen these products in the major grocery stores. Their packages include instructions for short meditations and words of wisdom.

Benefits of Yogi Tea

This tea is a remedy and preventive measure for colds, flu and sinus problems. The black peppercorns are a blood purifier. The cardamon is for the digestive system, particularly for the colon. The cloves are for the nervous system. The cinnamon is for the bones. The ginger  adds flavor and aids in strengthening the nervous system while energizing the entire person. And finally the black tea which acts as a catalyst for the other ingredients.

Making Your Own Yogi Tea

While buying it already packaged is convenient, there is nothing like preparing a fresh batch of yogi tea from scratch. The species will leave a beautiful aroma in your kitchen. I can guarantee it! Hope you enjoy this recipe.


Ayurvedic Yogi Tea
Serves 6
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 6 cups of water
  2. 3 large cinnamon sticks
  3. 6 green Cardamom pods
  4. 6 cloves
  5. 20 black peppercorns
  6. 1 thumb length of ginger, thinly sliced
  7. 4 dried Jujube (optional)
  8. 1 pinch of black tea ( you can use 1 tea bag)
  1. non-dairy milk and sweeterner
  1. Bring water to boil and all all spices ( except for black tea)
  2. Turn down the heat, let it simmer for 20 mins.
  3. Add black tea and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain it into a warmed teapot or directly into teacups.
  5. Add milk and sweetener of choice ( optional)
  1. Tip - Make the tea early in the morning and let it sit for at least another 40 minutes after turning off the heat. The tea turns sweeter with a stronger earthy aroma as all the ingredients continue to release their flavor and healing nutrients.
  2. Enjoy it throughout the day or store in the refrigerator in glass bottles. I always warm up my tea in a pot (not microwave)
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/


Yogi Tea – Chai Tea – Masala Chai – A funny anecdote

While I was visiting Hyderabad a few years back, I was asked if I wanted tea. I replied “YES, please!”. Then I was asked “Well, what kind of tea?”.  “Chai, please”. The server smiled “Yes, tea. What kind of tea?”. It took me a few minutes to realize that the Indian word for tea is simply “chai”. Saying “I want a chai tea” is like saying “I want a tea tea”. What we know in the United States as chai or yogi tea is actually called “masala chai” in India

Also, I just want to point out that this Ayurvedic recipe has been around for centuries, especially in the northern state of Punjabi. But it was  introduced in the US relatively recently, if you think about it.  Of course, you don’t need to be a yogi to enjoy a delicious cup of yogi tea.

Thank you Sarah for sharing this recipe with us.

Namaste. Sat Nam!

Hari Singh Bird’s Website
Yogi Tea Website

If you live in San Diego and you want to experience kundalini yoga, come to Sarah Sang’s free Sadhana at the Soul Of Yoga. It’s the second Sunday of every Month!

Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchari

Kitchari ( pronounced kich-uh-ree) is a staple of Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine. It is considered a cleansing and detoxifying food. It’s traditionally prepared with yellow mung dal, basmati rice, seasonal vegetables, ghee or oil and spices. 

According to Ayurveda, we are all composed of three doshas: vata (air and ether), pitta( fire and water) and kapha ( earth and water). Kitchari balances the three doshas.

It really is the perfect one-pot meal. It’s easy-to-digest and provides a complete protein ( the 10 essential amino acids our bodies cannot make and we must get from our food). 

To learn more about your dosha type, you can take a test at The Chopra Center 

To make the perfect kitchari consider the following guidelines published by Kripalu School of Ayurveda:

For Vata:

  • Use twice the amount of  oil.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper while cooking.
  • Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.
  • Use quinoa instead of rice to increase the protein content.
  • Use double the amount of rice.
  • Best veggies for a vata variation are carrots, zucchini, peas, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.

For Pitta:

  • Use half the amount of mustard seeds and black pepper, or omit mustard seeds altogether.
  • Best veggies for a pitta variation are leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots.


  • Use leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots.
  • Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.

This is my favorite recipe for balancing vata-pitta during the winter time. I hope you enjoy it!

Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchari
Write a review
  1. 1 cup yellow mung dal beans
  2. 1/2 cup basmati rice
  3. 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  6. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 4-6 curry leaves (optional)
  8. 1 tsp ground cumin
  9. 1 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  11. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  12. 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  13. 4 cups of seasonal vegetables: 2 cups of green veggies ( spinach, kale, celery) + 2 cups of orange veggies ( carrots, sweet potato, squash)
  14. 2 cloves
  15. 2 cardamon pods
  16. salt and pepper to taste
  17. Handful of fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  1. Soak the mung dal beans in water for 4-8 hours (this helps with digestion). Rinse and strain until the water runs clear, about five times.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium to high heat.
  3. Add all the seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop.
  4. Add the grounded spices and a asafoetida.
  5. Stir in the mung dal and rice.
  6. Add 6 cups of water, cloves, cardamon pods and vegetables
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  8. Cook at least for one hour, until the beans and rice are soft and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency.
  9. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top, if desired.
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/

Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant

During our recent trip to Carmel By The Sea, we came across this wonderful restaurant. It’s mainly vegetarian but almost everything can be ordered vegan.  It is the perfect place to grab a healthy bite and carb-load before the Big Sur International Marathon. It’s conveniently located in Pacific Grove, only a few miles from the running expo. Their motto is: 

“We are a bunch of fun, loving, festival going, home-cookin’ folk here to provide you with quality vegetarian food with flare”

We ordered fresh watermelon & mint “agua fresca” to drink. For entrees, I had their seasonal wild mushroom pizza with a gluten-free crust. 

My husband ordered a scrumptious tamale pie – a layered Mexican style casserole with polenta, spinach, mushrooms, pinto beans, poblano red sauce, served with a tomatillo guacamole and roasted vegetables. Is your mouthwatering yet?

Because I was only running the first leg of the marathon ( 5 miles) the next day, I decided not to order dessert. If I would have known that I would end running 17 miles, I would have also tried their Ginger Apple Spice Cake. I guess I have an incentive to come back next year 🙂    

I am glad we found this place. No doubt it would be our mandatory eating stop every time we visit the Monterey – Carmel area. I highly recommend it!

For more information about this restaurant, check out their website Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant – Pacific Grove, CA

It’s “Mint” To Be

After practicing yoga for almost 17 years, I just made the decision to enroll in the Yoga Teacher Training program at CorePower Yoga, starting this summer. It seems like all planets are finally aligning.

Photo Credit: All About Space magazine

At the start of the RnR Seattle Half Marathon #run #yoga #roga

To celebrate, I am sharing my favorite smoothie recipe. I am calling it “It’s Mint To Be”. This is my go-to recovery drink after an intensive hot yoga class or long distance run.

It’s simple, cool, refreshing, delicious and nutritious. I promise you won’t taste the spinach at all!

It's Mint To Be
Serves 1
Write a review
  1. 1 cup of almond milk *
  2. 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  3. 2 dates
  4. 1 large ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen overnight
  5. 1 cup of ice cubes
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract**
  7. 1 teaspoon of Om, Organic Mushroom Nutrition Fit (optional) ***
  8. 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs ( I like the brand Navitas)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, except the cacao nibs. Blend until smooth. Add the chocolate nibs and blend for 10 seconds to break them down.
  2. Pour into one large glass and garnish with mint leaves and chocolate nibs.
  3. Serve immediately.
  1. * For a nut-free version, use hemp milk and vanilla extract.
  2. ** You could use 1 drop of Young Living EO instead of the peppermint extract.
  3. *** OM: https://ommushrooms.com/mi/superfood-blends/fit.html
Sunshine & Kale http://sunshineandkale.com/
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Love and Light!
~ Ciry at SunshineandKale

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand Market & Organic Cafe

If you live in the US and you consume organic produce, most likely you are familiar with Earthbound Farm. I personally love their organic arugula, spinach, and mixed greens. 

During a recent trip to Carmel By The Sea, we came across the Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand, located just down the road from the original 2.5 acres farm.

As we walked into the Farm Stand, we learned from one of the employees that Earthbound Farm was established in 1984. Over two decades later, the company employed 150 growers on 30,000 acres. By 2015 nearly 50,000 acres were in production.  This is the largest producer of organic salads in the US.  It was the first company to produce pre-washed  and packaged salad greens on an industrial scale.

Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand was established in 1992 as an outdoor seasonal farm stand to sell fresh and delicious Earthbound Farm organic produce. In 2003, they expanded the Farm Stand and opened an Organic Café (at the time, it was just the third certified organic kitchen in the country).

The market offers beautiful organic produce, flowers, earth-friendly gifts and locally-produced specialty organic packaged foods.

The Organic Café features hot meals, sandwiches, smoothies and a great salad bar fully loaded with all Earthbound Farm produce. 

We ordered colorful and organic fresh juices, salads, and dessert.

This raw vegan blueberry cheesecake was surprisingly light and not too sweet. Perfection, in my books!

The surrounding property is wonderful. You can enjoy your meal on their outdoor patio too!

Feeling like an ant in this gigantic chair – with my “sole” sis Wendy

You can also take a tour of their organic grounds or pick your own fresh herbs from the garden and berries from their patch. Since we arrived late in the day, we didn’t have a chance to do this but I am pretty sure we’ll be back next year.  This is a lovely place to stop on your way to Carmel By The Sea ( it’s just 10 minutes away).

For more information about the Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand, click here