the evacuation sleepover and a kale salad

This has been a full, crazy week. It started with a quick trip to Victoria with a couple of friends (totally frivolous and fun and let's be honest... a tiny bit shallow) and ended with a  100 year flood as the Bow and Elbow Rivers over-ran their banks causing massive flooding and a state of emergency here in Calgary. I have no wish to make light of the devastation countless people face as they return to their homes. Many will return from the mandatory evacuation, as we did, to find that all is well. Others are finding relatively minor damage, while still others are returning to almost total loss of their personal possessions. Some of what is lost is replaceable but much is not. 

I say I have no wish to make light of this event - and I don't - but part of it was just plain fun for us. When the evacuation order came we had the luxury of an immediate invitation to camp at Eden's. Deacon and Aubrie gave up their beds with alacrity, anticipating the fun of sleeping bags on the floor (you've got to be very young to look forward to that!) I don't know how anybody else felt about our sudden and indefinite evacuation sleepover party but I was pretty happy to be with some of my favourite people. 

The order came mid-afternoon. It was a simple matter to gather the little bit that David and I would need for a few days, clear the fridge of perishables and head out but it was still getting close to dinner time when we arrived on Eden's doorstep. Dinner time and no dinner planned by either dinner planner - Eden and I had been sewing all day and not thinking about practical necessities like food. Certainly not thinking about hunkering down and battening the hatches against the flood of the century. That reality against the practical necessity of a meal meant we had to be a little bit creative with the combined contents of our fridges. Fortunately while neither of us had enough on our own, together it was just right - an apt metaphor for life.

The basis of this salad is a recipe a good friend of mine passed along at the quilting group I am part of. We needed it be dinner not just a part of it so we embellished. The result was a very happy one; even the kids loved it (although in complete honesty I have to admit that Ysa had to be persuaded and cajoled but as that is a current trend for her regardless of the items on the menu I am discounting her reaction. She did eat it. Eventually. ... which is not the current trend.) I had the red pepper and kale. Eden suppled some grilled chicken thighs, leftover rice and a couple of carrots. Tossed with a simple asian dressing it was fast, easy, healthy and yummy. Perfect, right?

For us this flood and the evacuation was not a difficult event. We had the luxury of a comfortable and familiar place to be sheltered, an easy and warm welcome and no real concern about the flood waters reaching our home. We were included in the order simply because the flood was anticipated to cut off access to our area. Nevertheless the damage that is all too evident in areas along the river just a short walk down the hill is witness to the awesome power of nature - a reminder that in the face of that power we are, in the end, quite powerless. We do have emergency supplies but they are scattered throughout the house, some in one spot others in another. I know where they are but David does not. Putting together a 72 hour kit that will meet our needs is high on my priority list now. This time we were lucky. Next time maybe not.

Asian dressed kale salad with rice and chicken
(adapted from Sheila Penner's recipe)

1 large bunch kale, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 1/2 red bell peppers, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups cooked rice*, cooled
2 cups diced grilled chicken thigh

2/3 cup almond butter
4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp sea salt
hot sauce to taste

Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.

*Next time I might use brown rice instead of the white. There are arguments for the health advantages of each though, so I guess go ahead and use what you have and like.

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