Thursday, April 18, 2013

A 21 Salute to Kale Chips

I love kale.  I eat it twice a least.

Until 3 years ago, however, I hadn't even heard of the glorious green leafy vegetable that is really good for my blood type, I'm an "O", and my taste buds.

At first I only tried kale tossed with olive oil and sea salt, then baked at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, producing one amazing snack.  Then I branched out and put it into homemade soup recipes with butternut squash, tons of veggies,  and Italian spices.

One day my toddler was helping me in the kitchen and wanted a kale chip before it went into the oven.  I put a couple of pieces of kale tossed with olive oil and salt on his plate and that little stinker kept running up to the pan to steal more pieces before I could even cook them.  Thus, he introduced our love of raw kale in the house.  Since then I've been eating kale as my salad base with whatever salad dressing I decide to concoct that day.

And then I discovered a rare delicacy...and when you think delicacy, yes, it's expensive and NOT part of my weekly budget.

Commercial kale chips.  

For 2 ounces, my local grocer sells a national brand for $5.55.  You can buy them on-line for even more.  Sheesh!  With just two servings per bag, however, the few times I have bought them, they are broken, so it's a bag full of really expensive fantastic tasting crumbs.  An indulgence only once in a great while, to say the least.

Last month I was in NYC and found a Whole Foods across from my friend's place.  I would be TOAST if I lived one block from Whole Foods...but since I don't, and I was on vacation, I headed over and just strolled down the aisles.  It's what closet eaters do when they've outed themselves...Anyway, they carried a local farmer's brand of kale chips that were reasonably priced, just so you know.  But I sucked it up and headed over to the fresh produce to buy kale and make my own because my friend had never tasted them.  And it's a good thing I did.  A woman was standing in front of the kale, just staring, picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, putting it down.  Finally, after about a minute she asked me if I knew how to make kale chips.  It was as if she saw my kale wings and my green halo.  She was so excited and headed home to make her first batch of olive oil and salt chips.

Anyway, before I get too distracted, I wanted to share a recipe I've been experimenting with over the last several months that is budget friendly and, at least according to my taste buds and those of my toddler critic, tastes so great you may not get very many like happened earlier today when Ryan pulled the kale chips his way on the table and said the rest were for him...this is a vegan recipe, however the sunflower seeds when pureed lend a cheesy texture to the finished product. 

What you need:
*Sunflower seeds not pictured, but that's because they are in the Baby Bullet container, underneath the carrots already :)
 Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and if you have convection, use it for helps circulate the air...
  • Kale, 4 to 5 large leaves, large center vein removed, torn into small pieces, cleaned and dried (salad spinners work awesome for this!)
  • 2 Tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp organic lemon juice
  • 2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp roasted tahini
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds (I used what I had on hand...roasted/salted.  You can use raw, if you'd like.)
  • 2 Tbsp raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 3-4 inches organic carrot, diced
  • 3-4 inches organic celery, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

I don't puree food for Ryan anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't use my Baby Bullet for other things like kale chip sauce, or frozen margaritas, or iced coffees...
 Place all ingredients, EXCEPT the kale, in a Magic Bullet, food processor, or Baby Bullet (like I use), and puree until you have a paste that looks like this:

Then toss the sauce, or paste, into a bowl with the kale leaves and stir until coated, like this:
Make sure to stir thoroughly as the paste will clump up and hide on only a few leaves.  Kale is hardy while raw, so stir, stir, stir.
If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, don't freak.  I'm not going to lie, it may not taste as yummy, but just try to find a seasoning mix without fillers, but with lots of great herbs and dried veggies in it.

Preheat oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread coated kale pieces out so they have a bit of personal space.
 Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  If you peek in and see that some of the pieces near the edge of the pan are more brown than those in the center, rotate some of the middle pieces out to the edges, snack on a perfectly cooked one from the outer edge, and put them back in for a few more minutes.

They will shrink a bit as they bake.  They should look like this:
The pureed sunflower seeds add a cheesy texture.  Vegan cheese, if you will...

Find a hot guy, or any old toddler,  to share these with because kale chips are always better when shared.

*If you make these at home some time, head back here and let me, and Ryan, know if you liked them or not...thanks!  Enjoy!  And may you soon become a lover of all things kale, too!

Friday, April 5, 2013


I have a journal where I will write both my own thoughts, God's thoughts (those smarter than me that pop into my head), and Scripture.  I love writing scripture with a pen and paper because first I read it, then I read it out loud, then I write as much as I can remember without looking, and then I fill in the rest by referring back to the open page.

And even with that much repetition, I need to go back to it, fresh each day.

When the Israelites had been freed from captivity in Egypt, following their leader Moses out into the desert, not really knowing the land they'd finally settle in, it didn't take much time for them to wonder where on earth they would find food and water.

Moses sought God's face for himself and the people he loved.

God provided quail and manna each day...but He warned the people not to store up the food for the following day because He would provide fresh, new food each dawn.

We all know if we leave a Twinkie (RIP), okay not a Twinkie but some other chemically laden "food" chock-full of preservatives on the counter for a year, it'll still be pretty much the same Ding-Dong it was at the beginning.  However, if we leave a piece of lasagna or peeled banana or fresh zucchini on the counter for too long, crust, slime, and bacteria will begin to form, and we'll be the first ones to chuck it into the trash. 

Picture courtesy:

We know when food is old.  AND, if our heads aren't smart enough to know it, our stomachs or bowels will tell us later...We know this because God designed our bodies with
DNA to recognize REAL, life-giving food.

For years, and I admit and confess and am stating it isn't healthy, I have eaten a daily diet of old food.  Don't get me wrong, none of God's word is old or stinky or rotten.  However, as has been my practice as a strong, independent, prideful woman who is capable of much, I've tried to sustain myself on "leftovers" many times rather than heading DAILY to God in my deserts and getting new manna each morning.

I think, "Oh, I know that Scripture...I even wrote it down, so it's in me.  I've known it since I was a teenager...what is it again?

On this journey of freedom from food addiction, God's word has become my number one source of energy and nutrition.  The more I feast on it, the more I want fresh food and a fresh word...

And so here is something I wrote in my journal on January 17th of this year, but went back and read today, a fresh meal to feast on for a new day:

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.  God - you're my God!  I can't get enough of you!  I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.  So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.  In your generous love I am really living at last!"  - From Psalm 63:3-5, The Message