Mom’s Kale Salad Recipe

Mom’s Kale Salad Recipe


Mom can make anything fun and that includes salad.

She enjoys appreciates a nice IPA and she can cook up a mean lobster bisque or seafood chowder (we’re from Maine so perhaps that’s to be expected), but what I’ve always loved most is her ability to turn the mundane into the magical – salad is no exception.

She has two tricks for taking a boring salad and transforming it into a meal that can stand alone.

  • She turns a bland salad-scape into an aesthetically stimulating culinary experience using texture and color
  • She dresses it up with homemade salad dressings

Here is her take on Kale Salad with a quick Lemon & Mustard dressing:

Kale Salad

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 cup of Walnuts (see “toast your walnuts” below for prepping instructions)
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 large bunch of curly kale (see “Massage the kale” below for prepping tips).
  • 1 cup of coarsely cut Parmigiano Reggiano

Take the following two steps - Toast your walnuts and Massage your kale - and then toss everything together in a salad bowl.

Toast your walnuts – preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts one layer deep on a baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool before adding to salad.

Massage your kale – my mom has an advantage here (she used to be a massage therapist), but even if you aren’t formally trained it should take you just 2 to 3 minutes. Remove kale leaves from the thick stem down the middle. Cut leaves into thin strips. Massage (literally just rub the kale). You’re looking for the kale to turn from a light color to a dark color. The process of massaging breaks down the cells so that they are more easily digestible.

My mom picks her kale straight out of the garden. But if you need to know the most cost efficient places in Brooklyn to purchase your kale, check out this article by the Brownstoner: Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices?

Personally, I like to pick up kale from the Grand Army green market on Saturdays. Perhaps not the most cost effective, but I like to think of it as a second best to walking out to the garden and picking it yourself.

Lemon & Mustard Dressing

This recipe makes about 6 servings. The original recipe was modified by Jennifer Segal from a recipe inspired by Bon Appetit magazine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice – that’s the juice of about 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (the higher the quality the better)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and serve over Kale salad.

One last take away – increase the visual appeal…

I’m not one to get too fancy – I’ve eaten my fair share of meals straight out of the pot they were cooked in – but you’ve put a lot of love into this kale salad! My mom usually serves it up in a beautiful wooden salad bowl  - never a bad thing to have on hand if you’re going to be eating salad frequently).

Hope you enjoy!If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments below!


Brownstoner: Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices?

Grand Army Green Market


2 in 2 Fitness Challenge

Tempted by all that Halloween candy? Here’s your chance to lose 2 lbs in the 2 weeks before the holiday.

How it works…

  • Pay $20 into the collection
  • Weigh in
  • Throughout the 2 weeks participate in fitness and nutrition mini challenges
  • Weigh out
  • If you made your 2 lbs goal, get your $20 back on the spot
  • If any of your neighbors didn’t make their 2 lbs goal, we’ll notify you of when to come pick up your share

Last time we ran this challenge, we saw about 50% of people shed 3lbs (3in3) and double their money in the process.

October Field Day!

October Field Day!


Family-friendly field day! Members and non-members of all ages welcome. Come have some fun in the fall weather.

The rules are… THERE ARE NO RULES! Just kidding – we’re playing kickball! There are rules.

Saturday, October 24th at 3pm – location TBD

Sign up here to receive notice of the location when it’s decided

FREE Fitness Assessment Saturday, September 19th

FREE Fitness Assessment Saturday, September 19th

FREE Fitness Assessment

You’ve been coming to class diligently – or maybe you’ve taken the entire summer off – and you want to know if you’ve been getting any fitter – or about to get any fitter. Come in this Saturday, September 19th from 3pm to 4:30pm for a free fitness assessment.

Why is it important to know how fit I am?

I wanted to know how long it would take me to get to Trader Joe’s, so I tried to map directions only to find that my phone thought my “current location” was somewhere in downtown Manhattan when really I was in Park Slope. If you don’t know where you’re starting…

  • You can’t expect to know how long it should reasonably take to get where you’re going
  • You can’t expect that you’ll be taking a route that will lead you in the right direction

Maybe you’re thinking… “but this isn’t a walk to the grocery store, this is fitness – as long as I’m working out, aren’t I moving in the ‘right’ direction?”

Yes and no. Yes, you are probably getting fitter overall regardless of whether you are tracking that progress. But also no. Exercise can often have a compound effect – a good thing if you’re looking to lose weight, a bad thing if you’re stuck in a movement pattern that is slowly moving you toward injury.

My client’s goal was to be his fittest by 40. What’s yours?

Imagine waking up in the morning and feeling healthy. What does that feel like? It’s a little different for everyone, but for most people, waking up healthy involves waking up pain-free. No back pain. No knee pain. No hip pain. No shoulder pain. If your goal involves feeling healthy, waking up pain-free is vital. If your goal is to be your fittest (or perhaps the fittest version of you that might also allow for an occasional brunch day at Tom’s) you want to injury free or address compromised movement patterns that may have resulted from previous injuries.

What do movement patterns have to do with my fitness assessment?

Part of a fitness assessment is looking at movement patterns. We’ll take your weight and body fat; measure your circumference and your strength; but we’ll also take a look at how you move and make recommendations as to how you can get more out of your exercise routine by addressing inefficient postures and movements.

How will I know my workouts are working?

We’ll be having monthly assessment days. They’re free for members. The first assessment is free for non-members, so bring a friend! Assessments take about 15 minutes, but you can come in any time between the hours of 3pm and 4:30pm. We’ll record all your stats so that you can return on any following assessment day to compare.

Sign up now

5 Reasons to Introduce Your Child to Yoga

Yoga for Tots

How would it feel to see your child physically healthy, able to easily concentrate and highly motivated? Even as adults we are often constantly seeking these qualities for ourselves – many yoga skills are transferable to everyday tasks and yoga for kids can give your child a head start on a happy, successful and fulfilling life.

What is Yoga?

Yoga and stretching are not synonymous. Modern westernized yoga boils down to the a practice that combines breathing, moving and mediating (Kaufman). Yoga classes for kids also involve these three elements, but they do so in a way that is often more play-based than a traditional yoga class.

What is Yoga for Tots or Yoga for Kids?

Imagine an adult yoga class, but with pint-sized participants. Yoga mats in a precise line, each child diligently remains quietly on a mat and moves effortlessly through asanas as the yoga instructor babbles namastes and doles out advice about aligning their chakras by rooting their feet to the ground and melting their hearts from their shoulder blades (BuzzFeed). Now imagine the exact opposite of that – children place their mats in a circle, which they occasionally need to be corralled back to by an amazingly patient yoga instructor. This instructor is also incredibly creative – an imaginary trip to the zoo becomes an opportunity to learn baddha konasana and hindolasana (Ippoliti) after which they “pretend” to meditate.

Five reasons you should introduce your child to yoga as soon as possible (hint: it all comes down to awareness!):

  1. Yoga helps children to develop focus: by encouraging children to actively participate in physical posses, as well as to give verbal input and to listen to others for instruction, children develop a greater cognitive awareness and increase their capacity to mentally engage in their present surroundings.
  2. Yoga teaches spacial awareness and respect for personal space: by allowing children to have a set amount of personal space – their mat – and asking that they respect the personal space of others – other children’s mats, yoga teaches spacial awareness and awareness of personal space.
  3. Yoga increases motivation: by introducing children to poses in fun and relatable ways, yoga motivates children to
  4. Yoga brings awareness of breath: using engaging games, yoga brings children’s awareness to their breath and breathing patterns while still managing to keep their attention and interest.
  5. Yoga creates body awareness and supports ease of movement: yoga brings children’s attention to their movements and helps them to develop lifelong muscle memory for movement patterns (Food & Fitness).

Want to bring your child to Yoga at Pura Vida?

Drop-in for a class… see more information on class times and days. Also, learn more about your child’s  instructor Jessica Andersen.


  • BuzzFeed,. ‘Sh*T Yogis Say’. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Food & Fitness,. ‘Why Yoga And Kids Go Together’. N.p., 2011. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Ippoliti, Amy. ’3 Prep Poses For Eight-Angle Pose’. Yoga Journal 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.
  • Kaufman, Josh. The First 20 Hours. Print.


Beginner Running Routine

We’re having a relatively mild winter and many of you have come in with questions about how you can supplement your classes outdoors with a beginner running routine. The following is based on NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) standards.

The key to reaching your fitness goals is to push your limits (stress your body), while also staying healthy (avoiding injury). This program provides a Base Run – designed to build endurance and allow for active recovery, as well as an Interval Run – designed to increase your overall fitness levels.

For simplicity’s sake we will have three intensity levels: low, medium and high. This beginner plan includes only low and medium intensities. “Intensity” will be vary on an individual basis, but it can be measured subjectively or objectively – depending on what equipment you have available.

I’ll show you how to measure intensity (or exertion) below, but first, here are the two workouts you’ll be completing. Space them out so that you are running more or less every other day with a day off in between.

  1. Base Run: 30 to 60 Minutes at low intensity
  2. Interval Run: 5 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 3 minutes at low intensity; 3 minutes at medium intensity; 5 minutes at low intensity (for a total of 25 minutes).

In order to complete these workouts, you are going to somehow have to gauge the intensity at which you are working. You can do so in two ways. One requires equipment and is probably more precise. The other does not require equipment, but can be just as functional.

  1. If you have a heart rate monitor, low intensity will equal 65% of Heart Rate Max; medium intensity will equal 80-85% of Heart Rate Max. A quick and easy way to get a general idea of your Heart Rate Max is to take (220 – your age) and multiply that number by the percentage you’d like to reach.
    • For example, if you are 35 years old and you want to do the Base Run at 65%, you’d be trying to keep your heart rate around 120 BPM. (220-35) x 65%
  2. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can go by perceived exertion. During a low intensity workout, you will want to be able to run at a pace that allows you to feel your body to feel warm, but also at which you could keep up a conversation. During a medium intensity interval, you would want conversation to be possible, but rather difficult. You should be breathing more heavily than during your low intensity stage. When you get past the beginner stage and into high intensity workouts, you want conversation to be impossible.

Running requires repetitive motion in one plane of motion. You’ll notice that as your heart and lungs become stronger, your muscles will tighten up as well, make sure you maintain proper muscle balance by adequately foam rolling (before or after you run) and stretching (after you run).

If you’d like a walk through of exactly how this beginner running program works, sign up for a membership and come on in to open gym.

A Couple of Useful Resources

Heart Rate Calculator

NASM Stage Training

5 Tips for Holiday Weight-Loss

5 Tips for Holiday Weight-Loss

Bet you read that title and thought, “Mhmmm, right, lose weight over the Holidays? Not I.” Non-Holiday weight loss can be hard enough and you may be skeptical, but we’re sure you’ve noticed that we trainers often expect a little more out of you than you’d normally expect from yourself, and more importantly that you always seem to meet or exceed our expectations. So take it from us – you can lose weight over the Holiday; call it what you will – a leap of faith; a thanksgiving hail-Mary; a Christmas miracle - but be sure to follow these 5 tips we’ve put together for you for Holiday weight loss:

1. Have a plan. Diet and exercise are habitual, but you can’t just wake up one day and expect them to be already woven into the fabric of your Ugly Holiday sweater. Plan around the Holiday mayhem. If you have 3 Holiday dinner parties in one week, then you also have 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 4 regular ol’ meals to eat. Make them super clean (or even cut back a little). Same goes for exercise. Holiday party at night? Schedule a morning workout or plan your rest day around it.

2. Don’t let one off day derail you. The Holiday season is long my friend. Three parties and a dozen Gingerbread cookies later you may be thinking, “heck, I’ll just burn it off in 2015.” No. Let me stop you right there. Don’t wait for “tomorrow” – dust yourself off. It’s not the end of the world and you can get started again riiiiiiight… NOW. We all make mistakes – especially when thrown into social situations and mixed with a little eggnog (not for you though – read tip number 3).

3. You can drink… you know there’s a “but” coming… BUT keep it to a minimum and be smart about your drink of choice. What’s the trick to getting through those awkward Holiday parties with your co-workers? Hard alcohol. Just kidding. Sort of. Unless you’re drinking a Budweiser Select (and yes, I’m judging you), stay away from the beer – high in calories and high in carbs. Vodka, gin, whiskey – mix them with some soda (water that is) and you’re good to go.

4. Find a community. Shameless plug for Pura Vida Urban – come on in! Remind yourself on the daily that you enjoy working out (or at least the mental and physical benefits of it when it’s over). Meet your neighbors with similar interests (you might even make a new friend who you can workout with over the Holidays). Also, even though we’re closed the day before, the day of and the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas, online communities are open 24/7.  Websites like reddit and SparkPeople can provide you with Holiday recipes and workout tips.

Beautiful Day for a Turkey Trot with Family and Friends
Beautiful Day for a Turkey Trot with Family and Friends

5. Make exercise a priority. No ifs ands or buts about it. The days are short and you’ll be spending a lot of time inside. If you make the time to exercise, you will not only feel better about yourself, but you’ll also have higher quality interactions with your family and friends. Schedule it in. Get it done.

Do you have exercise or nutrition tips for the Holiday season? A favorite workout tradition or recipe? Let us know in the comments section on Facebook under this article…

November Fitness Challenge

You’ll probably end up eating half your kids’ candy from Halloween, fully taking advantage of your pants with the stretchy waistband on Thanksgiving, and snacking your way through an endless number of Christmas parties.

“Although the average gain is only one pound, people who are already overweight tend to gain a lot more. One study found that overweight people gained five pounds or more during the holidays…” – New York Times

Before you know it it’s January and you are desperately resolved to get to the gym everyday just to get yourself back to the place you were before the Holidays.

“weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood…” – New England Journal of Medicine

That means you’re adding – and keeping - a pound or two every year!

Jumpstart your fitness before the Holiday season begins. Join the November Fitness Challenge…

Your goal is to lose 3% of your body weight in 3 weeks.

How it works…

  1. Weigh-in on November 1st between 8am and 6pm and contribute $30 cash to the pot
  2. Get moving from November 1st through November 22nd
  3. Weigh-out on November 22nd between 8am and 6pm and split the pot with everyone who accomplished #3in3


Warm-Up Exercises to Keep Your Interest

Warming up before a workout is like watching previews at a movie theater: Some people love it while others literally can’t wait to get to the feature presentation. But it’s important–however tempting–not to skip a warm-up. A proper pre-game routine helps maximize efficiency and decrease the risk of injuries by loosening and warming up your muscles, getting them primed for action. It does the same for your joints.

If you think that stretching and running are your only options, think again. Here are some other warm-up exercises to keep your interest and get you pumped properly.

Jumping Rope

Forget the playground. The jump rope is possibly the greatest workout ally you don’t utilize. Five minutes of mild to brisk jump rope gets your heart going and your blood circulating. It can also help improve coordination and balance. You might be surprised at how quickly you get tripped up, at first, if you haven’t jumped rope since childhood. If you find five minutes too difficult, do what you can in intervals, cutting your down time gradually after a few workouts.

Jumping Jacks

Another middle school gym favorite that makes for a great warmup. Jumping jacks don’t just get the blood moving–they also work your core, arms, and legs for a total-body and equipment-free session.


We’re not talking a full one-hour session. A few Sun Salutations do nicely. This routine slowly wakes up your heart rate and muscles and increases flexibility. It’s useful before pretty much any type of workout, from lifting weights to kickboxing.

The Dynamic Warmup 

The most, well, dynamic of all. Generally speaking, the dynamic warmup is a series of exercises strung together and designed to move and stretch a variety of muscle groups. Lunges, pushups, body-weight squats, and even some of the above can be included for a fast and all-encompassing routine. With this option, you’re never doing to the same thing for very long, so it’s harder to get bored. Here are two sample routines from Men’s Fitness and

There’s also nothing wrong, of course, with a little jogging. But with other warm-up exercises to choose from, you can keep things varied and ensure that you never skip this important part of your workout.


Yoga for Gophers?

Yoga for Gophers? That’s a capital “G,” as in the University of Minnesota’s college sports team, the Golden Gophers. The football team has added a new component to its summer conditioning program: a weekly team-wide yoga class.

Eric Miller/University of Minnesota
Thursday morning yoga at the University of Minnesota.

When the head coach asked him what he thought about yoga, strength coach Erick Klein knew a little about its effectiveness. His brother was a seasoned yogi, after all. “I believe in it,” he told ESPN. “I tell our guys that you have to stress the body to make it better. But even more importantly, you have to focus on your recovery to allow us to stress it again the next day.”

So, Klein asked Christine Ojala, owner of Thrive Mind Body in Minneapolis, to design a regimen for the team. Ojala did so, and one that emphasized not just strength training, but also flexibility, mental clarity, and restoration. All of which Klein hopes will transfer to the field next season.

The Gophers aren’t the only ones embracing yoga as a way to enhance athleticism. Other athletes and teams who have been known to utilize its benefits include Shaquille O’Neal, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, Evan Longoria, and the Haverford College lacrosse team.

Many of these athletes seemed to have been hesitant before trying it out. Some men perceive yoga as very much a non-masculine activity. Chants or weird poses, they think. But they quickly become converts after realizing how beneficial–and challenging–yoga can be. In the Gophers’ first yoga session, several of the players repeatedly fell over. They even gave one a nickname: the Awkward Pose.

It’s now one of their favorite hours each week.