Monday, November 5

GOOD THiNGS | Kale Chips

I've recently vowed to increase my vegetable intake to at least 6 cups a day. 
atleast 1/2 of those cups being specifically greens.

That being said...
I'm having to find creative ways to incorporate more greens into my eating regimen...
so that consumption is enjoyable rather than torturous. *wink*

I jumped on the kale train awhile back...
strictly making smoothies with it.

Although I'd seen kale chip recipes floating around the web...
It wasn't until recently I attempted my first batch.

I've found them to be a simple way to add some extra greens to my day...
ultimately helping me to reach my goal.
They are supposed to be a healthy form of "snacking"...
in that they should replace the bag of chips we typically reach for.

They are quite easy to make...
and although they'll never compare to potato chip as far as taste...
the vitamins and nutrients in kale...
leave potatoes in the dirt! *wink*

Kale is also in season right now!
"During the winter months when other leafy greens are out of season kale is in full bloom, in season, and richest in flavor.  This leafy green, cruciferous vegetable is versatile to cook with and can be prepared just like spinach or any other greens." via www.mindbodygreen.com


What better time to share my process for making Kale Chips...
adapted from several recipes/tips I found.

KALE CHIPS
RINSE AND DRY
Fresh kale is far better than the bagged version - in my opinion.
Rinse thoroughly and spin dry using a salad spinner or by laying flat and patting with a paper towel.
Kale must be dry otherwise you'll end up with "steamed" kale vs. a crispy chip


REMOVE LEAVES FROM STEM
Strip the leaves from the stem and tear into bite size pieces.
Keep in mind kale shrinks so don't make the pieces too small


PREPARE FOR BAKING
Arrange one layer of kale on baking sheet(s).

OLIVE OIL AND SALT
Spritz (or drizzle) olive oil onto kale leaves.
Sprinkle with salt to taste.

BAKE
Bake kale at 350º for 15-20 minutes.
Bake until crispy - but not browned.

REMOVE FROM OVEN
A good indication they are done?
Listen for the kale to sound like the rustling of  fall leaves when moved around on the baking sheet

READY TO EAT
Put your finished kale chips in a bowl and get to snacking.

TREND ALERT
You'll find kale chips replacing bowls of chips at more and more celebrations.
Kale can be found on the menus of gourmet restaurants throughout the country.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING KALE? (source)
1. Anti-inflammatory: Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing the arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases.
2. Iron: Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
3. Calcium: Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy.
4. Fiber: One serving of kale not only contains 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein.
5. Omega fatty acids:  A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
6. Immunity: Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT MEAN FOR US? (source)
• Heart-healthy
• May lower cholesterol
• Great for your skin
• Protects your vision
• Fights fat
• Good for your bones and teeth
• Improves digestion
• Aids in weight loss
• Keeps your mind sharp

OTHER ALTERNATIVES FOR KALE CONSUMPTION:
• Sautéing/Braising
• Kale Salad
• Add to Soups
• Steaming

KALE VARIETIES (source)
• Green/Curly kale – the most common variety in the grocery store, has a firm texture and curly leaves.
• Red kale – similar in taste and texture to green kale, but adds a splash of red or purple to your plate.
• Dinosaur kale (also called Tuscan or Lacinato) –  the leaves are flatter and more tender than the other types.

I'm no "health" expert...
but I do enjoy sharing what I've learned along the way.
I encourage each of you to do your own research as well.

And if you have already been bitten by the kale bug...
I'd love for you to share any great recipes/ideas you have.

If you haven't tried it yet...
how about a go?
I'm not promising you'll never eat another potato chip again...
but I can promise you better health. *wink*

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Would I rather eat some Doritos or Cheetos?
Of course I would.
I'd also prefer to only eat dessert for every meal.
I'm just realizing as I get older...
the price I'll pay for poor eating habits just isn't worth the sacrifice of my health.
I'd rather feel good...
have more energy...
and ultimately invest in my "health account..."
vs. continuing to make deductions from it.
Know what I mean?

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