My Craft Closet [And a Recipe for Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad]

Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad

Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad

And the rain continues to fall. It’s not surprising, though. This is typical weather for the Pacific Northwest during the wintertime. Thankfully, today’s agenda includes home schooling the kids, finishing up an assignment for my class,  and teaching piano and voice lessons.  All from the comforts of my home. 

Since I work from home, I have to get creative in keeping my kids occupied while I work. So, I cautiously stepped out of my comfort zone and entered into another realm [at least for me.] This morning, I Googled the topic, researched various options, even watched a few YouTube videos on the subject. After which, I was ready to prepare the items necessary for my kids to decorate a Graham Cracker House.

It may come as a shock, but I am not really into arts ‘n crafts. Actually, not at all. You’d think since my mom was “Crafty Queen,”  making everything from from clothes to bows to wreaths and everything in between, I’d have some arts ‘n crafts love. Eh, not so much. Even though her craftiness amazed me, I was never really interested in any of the endeavors. Just wasn’t my thing.

I’ve often wondered what it is about crafts that don’t appeal to me. I think it’s has to do with the fact that I prefer making things that are practical and useful, not just pretty and decorative. Plus, I tend to be more wired for productivity and am quite task-oriented. Now, you give me any book to read, a topic to research, or an event to organize and I’m ALL over it! Yep, I’m a nerd, and wear the label loud and proud!

But one day, I finally realized, I do have a crafty side. This revelation came to me when I opened up my pantry and looked at the various glass jars lined up on the shelves. Each one is filled with colorful contents just waiting to be taken off the shelf and turned into some tantalizing culinary creation. Then, it occurred to me, “This IS your craft closet!”

Unlike my dear friends’ crafty wares, my craft closet is void of ribbons and bows, glue guns and glitter, fabric or sewing notions. Nevertheless, it is filled to the brim with [my] craft supplies. Gorgeous dried fruits,  a plethora of whole grains from ground corn to wheat berries to quinoa and wild rice, along with colorful legumes that could compete with any painter’s palette that I’ve seen. And that’s just the pantry! Then, there’s the fridge filled with glorious fruits, vegetables, and so much more. But what about all the herbs, spices and seasonings housed in the cupboards? It all makes me smile! Yes, these are the items I use to create my crafts! Not your typical arts ‘n crafts closet, but it’s mine!

And today was a day that I was ready to create. Not merely in order to combine taste, textures and colors. Rather, out of the sheer fact of being hungry and needing nourishment. After organizing all of the candies for the kids to use to decorate the houses, I knew I’d better find something healthful to eat for lunch. Or else I’d find myself binging on candies, followed by a sugar crash while I taught music lessons.

What was I going to prepare? I opened up the refrigerator, then the pantry, and came up with this little gem! And lemme tell ya, it was DELICIOUS!

Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad

Serves 1 for a meal or 2 for a side dish

  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 6-8 white mushrooms, sliced**
  • 4-6 cups of organic baby kale
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 ounce of blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoons of craisins
  • 2 Tablespoons of walnuts

**I use an egg slicer. Works great for mushrooms, strawberries or kiwi fruit.


In a skillet (I prefer cast iron), heat butter over med. high heat. Turn heat down to medium, add mushrooms and cook until they just begin to turn brown. Add kale, cook until it just begins to wilt; combine with mushrooms. Turn heat off, season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with blue cheese, craisins and walnuts. (The addition of a crumbled bacon would be delicious!)


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