There is a topic that keeps coming across my radar, both on Facebook, my email inbox, and even at the market when my fellow shoppers wonder what I’m doing with all of that kale (when my own crop has been harvested for the season, of course!): kale chips.
And, today, we’re going to talk kale chips with a trick, a tip, and a new kale chip recipe to try.
Kale, as you know, is a super food, and many people are jumping on the kale bandwagon (yay!). Kale chips are an easy-to-make snack food that is delicious and super good for you.
Be sure to buy organic curly kale. Kale is on the Dirty Dozen list and is one of those vegetables that should only be eaten when you can find it organic. (Curly is my preferred variety for kale chips—feel free to buy other varieties for other kale recipes!)
Now, it’s time for your Trick!
The secret to the best, crunchiest kale chips is to get them as dry as possible. So, after you soak your kale in a big bowl of water to remove the dirt and any bugs that might be lurking in there, spin the heck out of it. Any moisture on those kale leaves is going to lead to soggy chips. (And you don’t want that.)
Cook a batch of kale chips before you start your dinner prep and offer them to the kids as a snack. This is a great way to get the veggies into them in a manner that might appeal to them! You don’t even have to tell them that the kale chips were part of their dinner 😉
And your Kale Chip Recipe:
Garlic Chili Kale Chips
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large bowl toss all the ingredients well.
Pour kale mixture onto a large baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until kale is crispy.
Most of us aren’t getting enough veggies into us in the run of a day, and while kale chips are a great start, you can probably be doing more. We developed our Just Juiced Veggies to help you get in all a great dose of green veggies in one easy shot. Check it out here!
Oh cinnamon. How recognizable is this spice, seriously? I would expect that every kitchen in North America has a tin of cinnamon in the cupboard. But how well do we really know it?
Once upon a time, cinnamon was very, very valuable. In Roman times, you would have paid 15 times more for cinnamon than you would for silver! Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon as an embalming agent. In the 17th century, the demand for cinnamon sparked a war between the Portuguese and the Dutch over the island of Ceylon where a great deal of cinnamon is grown.
What a sordid past this spice has! But there’s still more to know about cinnamon.
Ground cinnamon comes from cinnamon sticks (also known as quills), which are actually the dried bark from evergreen trees of the genus Cinnamomum.
There are two main types of cinnamon and they are Cassia and Ceylon. Cassia is the variety that we’re most familiar with and it is indigenous to China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The Ceylon cinnamon that sparked that war is native to Sri Lanka and it has a much sweeter taste.
Cinnamon adds a pleasant sweet spice to baked goods, pancakes, stews and other savory dishes. A sprinkle of cinnamon is a must when it comes to homemade applesauce. And a pinch of it on a few raw apple slices makes a wonderful mid-day snack.
There’s not a lot of nutrition in cinnamon itself, but one teaspoon does contain almost a gram and a half of fiber and a bit of iron and calcium. Cinnamon may also reduce blood sugar levels.
And there you have it! Do we all have a little more respect for this pungent brown spice, now?
Well then, it’s time for your Trick!
Put a couple tablespoons of cinnamon in a pot of simmering water on the stove for a wonderful warm and chemical-free way of scenting your home.
And your Tip
Ground cinnamon only has a shelf life of about 6 months. If the scent is not pungent or if the flavor isn’t quite as strong as it should be, use it as an air freshener, buy some more and call it a day! (This would be a good time to replace that cinnamon with an organic variety, by the way!)
And your Recipe
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and brown on both sides.
Add wine (or broth) and water to the skillet and sprinkle the chicken with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Reduce skillet heat, cover and simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve chicken topped with pan sauce.
Today’s Focus is on GRAPEFRUIT
I love the tang of a ripe, juicy grapefruit. Whether it’s sectioned and eaten with a spoon, tossed in a salad or peeled and thrown into my juicer, grapefruit makes an appearance on my table a couple times each week.
Grapefruit is one of those fruits that’s in season when not much else is – from winter through early spring.
Warning: If you’re taking pharmaceutical drugs, you can click away from this page until you talk to your pharmacist. There are compounds in grapefruit juice that interfere with certain drugs. On the flip side, there are other drugs that are enhanced by certain compounds in grapefruit. Now, I’m not going to get into which ones may or may not be affected because that’s setting me up for a liability issue! Do your research and if you’re good to go, then here are some quite interesting things about grapefruit.
Varieties of grapefruit Grapefruits are categorized by their flesh color, as pink, ruby or white (blond).
Health benefits of grapefruit Grapefruit is full of fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin A and vitamin C. This slightly bitter citrus fruit also contains powerful phytochemicals lycopene and liminoids. Grapefruits may help prevent kidney stones, they can lower cholesterol and they can even prevent against colon cancer. All this goodness with a hint of sweet, to boot!
Now it’s time for your Trick:
When shopping for grapefruit, choose unblemished fruit that feels heavy for its size. Store it on the counter at room temperature if you’ll be enjoying it within a few days.
And your Tip:
Even though you’re not eating its peel, you should always rinse grapefruit under clean water before cutting into it. Cutting into fruit that hasn’t been washed can transfer dirt, chemicals and bacteria from the surface of the peel to the part you’re about to eat.
And your Recipe:
Turkey Citrus Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Portion spinach leaves evenly on dinner plates.
Alternately arrange orange and grapefruit sections, in a wagon-wheel fashion, on top of spinach.
Place 1/2 cup of chopped turkey in the center of each fruit wheel.
In a small bowl, combine reserved orange juice with enough of the grapefruit juice to equal 1/4 cup.
Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.
Pour equally over each salad.
NUTRITION per serving: 288 Calories; 5g Fat; 32g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 78mg Cholesterol; 164mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates. Points: 7
Today’s focus is on: WINTER SQUASH
There are two kinds of squash: winter squash and summer squash. The difference is that the winter varieties are normally better suited to survive the winter in storage (think hardy squashes like butternut squash and acorn squash), while summer squash tends to have edible seeds and peels, and a shorter life cycle (zucchini and pattypan).
This time of year, you see lots of winter squashes popping up. I love them all, but my favorites include buttercup, butternut and acorn squashes.
Winter squash is very sweet in flavor-as are most fruits (yes, anything with seeds is a fruit)-,and it’s quite easy to eat.
Winter squashes are delicious in soups and warm salads, or mashed with butter for a nutritious side dish.
Yes, winter squashes are very good for us. Winter squash is high in vitamins A and C, riboflavin and iron. Its signature orange color means it’s full of carotenoids, giving it lots of antioxidants.
Before you go pick up some winter squash to enjoy, it’s time for your Trick:
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that makes an excellent gluten-free (and nutritionally dense) noodle. Cook it up, and top with pasta sauce for a yummy pasta dish that the whole family can enjoy.
I prefer my winter squash roasted over boiled to keep in as many nutrients and flavors as possible. Simply slice the squash in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and slice a bit off the rounded part to help it stand up evenly in the oven. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with butter. Roast at 350 for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Mmm.
And your Recipe:
Beef & Butternut Squash Stew
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme; sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
Raise heat to medium-high and add beef; brown on all sides.
Add beef broth and whisk up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add butternut squash and stir to combine well.
Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour until beef is cooked and fork-tender.
Nutritional: Per Serving: 457 Calories; 22g Fat; 48g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 94mg Cholesterol; 381mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 6 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat. Points: 12
Don’t forget about the amazing One Pot Collection! This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on warm recipes to get you through the winter—>learn more here!
Today’s focus is on Escarole
Escarole is a form of endive, which is typically cooked or consumed raw with lettuce and salads. It is also known as broad or common chicory. It is one of the less bitter varieties of endives, and can add a unique taste to salads. The vegetable is typically categorized by its leaves, which are wider and paler than other leafy veggies.
The inner leaves of the escarole tend to be even less bitter than the outside, as they sun cannot properly reach the innards. Some farmers grow escarole with a covering to prevent any part of the plant from being too bitter. Many people use several different layers of escarole in their recipes, depending on the taste they are trying to achieve. These greens contain folic acid, vitamins A and K, and fiber, making them a perfect addition to many dishes. Escarole tends to be more costly than other greens, but can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets.
Here’s Today’s TRICK:
Escarole isn’t a delicate leaf which makes it a great wrap for your sandwich or burrito even!
Here’s a TIP:
Prepping escarole is similar to the process that you would use to prepare lettuce and other greens. Each of the leaves should be separated from the head and washed before use.
And your RECIPE:
Other than in salads, escarole can be served as a side item in a number of ways. A popular recipe involves soaking the leaves in lemon juice before serving. They can also be chopped and added to many soup recipes such as vegetable or egg drop soup.
Chicken and Egg Drop Stew with Escarole
In a stock pot, add olive oil, cook onion until clear, add broth, bring the broth to a boil, add escarole.
Put one egg into each soup bowl, cover with the soup.
Allow diners to add a drop of chili sauce if desired.
Today’s Focus is on PERSIMMONS
Have you ever found yourself staring longingly at those pretty little pumpkin colored fruits at the grocery store, wondering whether you would enjoy a persimmon enough to take one home with you?
Well, I challenge you to go ahead and add a few to your basket because these little fruits are juicy, delicious and they’re very good for you too!
While they resemble tomatoes, persimmons aren’t really anything like a tomato in taste. Actually, they’re closer to an apple than anything else.
The persimmon originated in China and eventually spread to Japan. By the middle of the nineteenth century, persimmons were being enjoyed by Californians as well.
Rich in dietary fiber, high in Vitamin C, betacarotene, B vitamins, potassium, manganese and copper, but low in calories, a persimmon makes a great morning snack.
Persimmons are sweet and can be enjoyed right out of the palm of your hand, but they’re also tasty in savory dishes (they’re fabulous in soup) and in desserts.
Have I convinced you to pick up some of these sweet oriental fruits on your next trip to the market? If so, you’ll want to keep reading!
It’s time for your Trick:
If you bring home persimmons that aren’t quite ripe, put them in a brown paper bag to ripen.
You want to eat persimmons when they are perfectly ripe. If they aren’t quite there yet, they’ll taste bitter. They’re ripe when they are deep orange in color and when the flesh of the fruit gives a little bit when it’s pressed.
And your Recipe:
Mango Spinach Persimmon Smoothie
In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.
NUTRITION per serving: 271 Calories; 2g Fat; 14g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 33mg Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Vegetable; 3 1/2 Fruit. Points: 7