Tag Archives: kale

sweet potatoes and the sweet life

13 Mar

72311_508145305898207_447231074_n I need to be better about this blog writing! Thank goodness I am back to cooking again. I semi-fell off  the wagon, but dude, grad school is literally killing me this semester. AND NOW – I have people to cook for! New roommate, new friends, lots of new and lovely things that just add sparkle to my life like my old friends do. Its crazy how things change in a matter of months. Life is funny that way, and amazing.

I really should have put this on the food blog…so many people are asking. I also made it the other day and added bacon, SO MUCH BETTER with bacon! You can make this for one person, I do it all the time lately. Just use less kale and like 1-2 slices bacon and less goat cheese…clearly.

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WITH KALE, BACON, GRAPES AND GOAT CHEVRE
Ingredients:
  • one large bunch kale, rib stems removed
  • 6 slices (per potato) of bacon
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • one bunch red grapes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle sweet potatoes and rub the oil in. Prick them with a fork. Wrap them in tin foil and place n the oven. They should bake for about an hour until soft and bubbly. You also could cut that time and use the microwave for 7 minutes for each sweet potato, but you can judge by how soft they are. You want them nice and soft. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash your grapes and drizzle them with olive oil, and salt. Coat them all evenly and spread on a cookie sheet. Roast the grapes until they burst and ooze, they will turn a little brown as well. Take the grapes out and let them cool; it takes about 20 minutes for them to roast. OH, and for the bacon….there is some amazing bacon out there. At Whole Foods, the SUPER thick, smoked, pepper, applewood smoked bacon with no nitrates is seriously to die for. I mean any bacon super thick cut that is applewood smoked basically is. Try it! It’s so meaty, it’s delicious. Next, chop your bacon into cubes. Add to a hot pan and cook thoroughly until all that lovely fat comes out. Add your kale, a little pepper, and your balsamic
554869_510464205666317_792789098_nvinegar. Sautee until the kale is just bright green, cooked and still has some bite. Now, take your sweet potatoes and remove the skin. Mash them in a bowl with a little pepper. Plate them with goat cheese on top, then the kale and bacon and then the grapes. DELICIOUS! The bacon adds a lovely saltiness to the sweet and gives you some good protein! This also would be good with Greek yogurt instead of goat cheese. The tang really adds something! Enjoy!

bacon and kale, a heavenly combo

17 Oct

What is better than KALE and BACON!? Nothing really. The flavor combination, good for you ingredients and just the amazing versatility is the BEST! Kale and bacon on their own, sautéed together is yummy, but add other yummy veggies and you have a breakfast flavor explosion!

This week I’ve been trying to make meals that I can eat for a few days. It’s just easier that way to get home around 7pm and heat up something yummy. Today I decided to make a breakfast with the massive amounts of kale I had. May as well use it right!? Because I definitely have more in the refrigerator!

On a random note, can you believe how much it is to get your nails done!? I got a mani/pedi today, the no chip mani for my little brother’s wedding, and for that, the pedi and tip it was $90! Sheesh! This mani better look good for WEEKS! It does look nice though, and my toes look good and your brother only gets married once, so may as well go all out! But wow. But all this beauty prep is fun. I’m a total tomboy. Hoodies and leggings. Hoodies and leggings. So I’m excited I got my nails done and I am super pumped to get my hair done for the wedding! I haven’t had “semi long” hair in a long time! So it’ll be fun. It’s going to be a great weekend and I can’t wait! It’ll be so fun to see my family all together and see my little brother get married!

So anyways, enough beauty prep talk. Let’s talk breakfast!

KALE AND BACON FRITTATA WITH ZUCCHINI

  • 9 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 lb bacon (about 8 slices)
  • an entire container of organic pre-washed kale (about 4 cups or so total)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped and cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized cast iron skillet, or pan, cube your bacon and toss in the pan. Cook until crispy. Add your zucchini, hotsauce and garlic and make sure it cooks through a bit.

Next add your kale, in 3 batches, sautéing down until just dark green and more can fit in the pan. Whisk your eggs with 2 tablespoons cheese, salt and pepper. Turn heat off of your burner and pour egg mixture over the veg and bacon. Mix a bit then top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese and toss in your oven. Cook until the middle is set. Next, turn your broiler on high and crisp the cheese and top “crust” until bubbly and golden brown. Let cool a bit and serve! You can eat this as breakfast, lunch OR dinner! YUM!

pumpkin kale CRAZY

14 Oct

So since I started this blog around the fall time, pumpkin and kale are taking it over! Particularly pumpkin. I’m trying to devise a way to make pumpkin zucchini bread right now….. But in the meantime, I made pumpkin chili last week and this weekend I’m making pumpkin beef stew and cast iron skillet gluten free corn bread! YUM! The great thing about pumpkin is when you add it to chili, stew, whatever have you, it is subtle, and doesn’t overpower. It just adds extra good for you vitamins and yumminess! I also made pumpkin soup this week! I have a problem……HAHA!

Cooking is really a stress relief for me. It eases my soul. The last week has been really long and arduous. I haven’t had much time for my 1/2 marathon training runs or yoga, or anything really. I have had a ridiculously long, boring paper due, getting last minute things for my family and whatever else done for my brother’s wedding, have been working on my relationships, yadda yadda yadda and it’s just been long and tiring. Oh well. BUT this week should be really exciting! My little brother is getting married to probably THE nicest, smartest, most wonderful girl he could ever ask for. I am so so SO happy for them. I can’t wait to finish with this coming up week and get into the wedding fun!

Today it’s a rainy day outside in Chicago and it definitely is the perfect metaphor for last week, rainy and cold. But, everything happens for a reason and I am hopefully getting stronger as days go on, stronger in my runs, stronger in who I am and stronger in anything else that comes my way. It’s amazing what you can learn in your lifetime, even in a couple months of a couple weeks!

The nice thing, if you know me, is that I love to cook, and I can always go back to the kitchen to give my brain a reset! Last weekend, and yes, I know I’m behind, I made a REALLY yummy pumpkin chili for dinner and then ate it for a couple lunches. I really love food like that lately that I can make for dinner and then eat for a couple meals. Granted, I hate leftovers, so it has to be something that reheats well! Stews, soups, caseroles and chilis tend to do that nicely. Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of salad, A LOT, during the week, but it’s nice to have something warm and comfy! I also am REALLY into juicing lately. It’s so nice that when I don’t use an entire bag of kale and it’s about to go bad, I juice it! So far my favorite juicing combination is kale, spinach, apple, celery, ginger and beet! If you don’t have a juicer, you should get one. It’s a nice way to get good nutrient in your body, give you some energy and use up produce you wont eat in time! I generally drink a glass of the green juice in the morning. YES, I know, green juice? Gross, right!? NOT AT ALL! Something about juicing it really makes it taste amazing, all those flavors, yum! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a way to get your veggies in, don’t let it take over eating good healthy, raw or cooked veg, it is just a nice way to start out the day. If I remember to drink a glass of green juice that I make when I wake up, with my breakfast, it gives me that little boost in the morning and is healthier than coffee! SO eat your veggies people, particularly pumpkin haha, and enjoy these recipes! Trust me, more pumpkin recipes to come for sure!

SPICY YUMMY PUMPKIN CHILI

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or what have you
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1-2 zucchini cut and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4-5 Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Wash and prep your veggies. Chop your onions and bell pepper and dice your garlic super fine. In a dutch oven, or large pot, heat your oil and toss in the onion, zucchini and bell pepper with the garlic. Cook until almost soft. Throw in the ground beef and italian sausage. Cook until brown, breaking up as your go. Once that is ready, add your can of pumpkin, tomatoes, spices and stir until combined. Let that cook down a bit, stirring occasionally. Then rinse your black beans and add those. NOTE: If you don’t eat beans, don’t add them! It’ll be yummy without! Also, use whatever meat you want, turkey, beef, pork, the list is endless, and that’s the great thing about chili! Taste for salt and pepper and spiciness content, add more if necessary. Let cook for about 15 minutes after this and then serve it up! It’s REALLY yummy with fresh avocado on top!

PUMPKIN BEEF STEW WITH ROOT VEG

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or whatever oil you’d like) and 2 tablespoons grassfed butter
  • 1 lb beef stew meat (or more if you;d like)
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or whole wheat or regular, spelt, whatever you use)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 lb bag of carrots, this is about 10 carrots, regular size
  • 1 bag of red skin potatoes, about 15 potatoes, medium sized

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat your pot on high heat and add your oil and butter, this is a LOVELY combination. Add your stew meat and dump in your flour. Stir around so you coat the meat and it make a thick roux with the oil, butter and flour, coating the meat and browning it. Add your beef stock and pumpkin, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil. While this is coming to a boil, roughly chop your carrots, onion and halve or quarter your potatoes. Turn the heat off the pot once it boils and add all your veggies. Stir together and put in the oven, covered, for 2 hours, checking occasionally to stir. You also can check seasoning levels and add more salt and pepper as needed. NOTE: If you gravy is too thin as it cooks and you want a thicker gravy, make a slurry. You take the flour of your choice, like coconut, spelt, whole wheat or white, and add water to make a thick paste, add it to your stew and stir it in. The slurry will make it not lumpy and thicken your stew gravy.

Once the stew vegetables are fork tender, your stew is done! Check seasoning and serve alongside some YUMMY gluten free corn bread! I actually pour my stew over a bed of fresh baby kales, but you know me, I LOVE kale. You can eat it plain, or have it over some yummy kale of fresh spinach. It will lightly cook the kale or spinach from the heat and add some extra veggie yumminess! ENJOY on a cold rainy Sunday and heat up throughout the week for yummy lunches!

ROUX

Here is a GREAT link to making roux! Basically, you take dripping from a roast and add flour to make a basic slurry to create gravy, but it also gives you an idea of how it can work in other dishes! Rouxs are great for making cream sauces, gravies, yummy things like that!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/good-eats/white-roux-recipe/index.html

for bean’s sake and some life lessons

23 Sep

Who is ready for FALL!? This girl. I love cold weather. I like big fluffy vinyasa scarves, hoodies, pumpkin EVERYTHING, runs that you aren’t dripping with sweat, walks in the leaves…..I love everything about Fall. I love that soups, stews and baking are now the thing and yummy warm food coating your tummy. Fall is where it’s at in my book.

This week has been amazing, hard, fun, eye opening and crazy all at the same time. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons this week and honestly. I’ve had a GREAT week with the little ones I nanny for and they are the joy of everyday, that’s for sure. I have no qualms about my childcare and cooking abilities! But, it’s those little other things in life that I sometimes am too hard on myself for. Take running, I’ve kind of taken a step back from it so I need to get back at it in full gear for the 15K and then the Disney Half so….basically…get it, girl! It’s amazing how a surgery can change your life. I used to be a eensy weensy teeny little runner and gymnast, now I am trying to get back there after being not able to workout for 6 months due to my surgeries last year. Oh well…. I LOVE running, so it’ll happen!!!

I am reading a new book, that you all should, called DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown. She is amazing. It’s all about vulnerability and how to basically love ourselves and not worry about being vulnerable or too hard on ourselves. This book totally came out at the right time.

With that being said, curling up in bed, with a hot bowl of stewy soup and this amazing book with brownies cooking in the oven….I mean sounds like heaven right!? So here goes, some yummy, gooey almond butter swirl brownies, navy bean, spinach and bacon soup and then kale salad. I wanted to post this kale salad because it is simple and I eat it quite a few times during the week. It’s a great way to get lots of vitamins in and just some yummy veg!

KALE CARROT BEET AND PEA SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kale, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • beets, however many you’d like (I have about 3)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is SUPER easy! In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from your orange, add your olive oil, salt and pepper and wisk to emulsify. Set aside. Take your kale and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil and orange liquid, set aside. Then, take your frozen peas and run them under hot water until defrosted. Take your shredded carrots from your fridge, or shred your own carrots, about 1-2 carrots will be great. Next, either you can roast your own beets, or buy them, already roasted, peeled and cut from Whole Foods.

To roast your own beets:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths). Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender.

After this is done, put them in a large bowl and add the orange juice and olive oil vinaigrette you just made. Let them sit and soak up the goodness!

After the beets have cooled, assemble your salad. On a plate, Put down your kale down on the salad plate. Next add your shredded carrots, beets on top of that, then your peas. DEVOUR the goodness!

FUDGY YUMMY GLUTEN FREE BROWNIES WITH A NUT BUTTER SWIRL

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, or extremely dark chocolate, or super natural bitter chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce, unsweetened and not the cinnamon kind
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper or spray it with olive oil cooking spray or grease it. I greased my pan with a little coconut oil. You can use whole almonds and add them to a food process with the rice flour and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix it with the rice flour. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter and salt in the top of a large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Stir in the applesauce. Add the almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly until really well combined.

NOTE: You can make these without the nut butter. You can add nuts, more chocolate chips, the sky is the limit!

Take your nut butter of choice. I use almond butter or a nut butter that has a bit of sea salt in it. You can find GREAT nut butters with sea salt at Trader Joe’s. That way these aren’t overly sweet. This is a peanut butter and almond butter mixture, but feel free to use just almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sun butter, what have you. Place it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds so it gets a little gooey and creamy. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Spoon dollops of the nut butter onto the brownie batter. Using the spoon, swirl the nut butter into the brownies. This is done the easiest by taking the spoon and bring it down the length of the batter, then across and keep doing it until you like the swirl. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Cool and get your EAT on!

NAVY BEAN AND SPINACH SOUPY STEW

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 lb grassfed pork bacon, about 8 slices of thick cut (or regular if you prefer and don’t care about where your meat comes from)
  • fresh savory herb
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans organic navy beans
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 quart of homemade chicken bone broth or organic free range chicken broth
  • 2 handfulls of fresh spinach (or KALE!!!!)

Slice and cube your bacon. In a dutch oven, place your bacon in on medium high heat and cook until brown. While the bacon is cooking and browning and smelling lovely, you can cut your veggies. You want to have uniform cuts so that the mirepoix (fancy French word for carrots, celery and onion, the base of LOTS of dishes) can cook together and soften. Add your onions while the bacon is cooking and let them soften in the bacon fat. Add your carrots, celery, chopped savory herb (if you do not have this or can not find it, just use fresh thyme, rosemary, another type of savory tasting herb), dried thyme and the black pepper and cook until the veggies are soft, but that the carrots and celery still have a little crunch.

Drain and rinse your beans. You want to rinse off the starchy liquid that they come canned in. Add your beans and cook for about 2 minutes so the beans are warm. Add your chicken broth and simmer until bubbly. Add your salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer. With soups I’ve found that adding the salt last, and letting it cook a bit before tasting, helps out a lot. If you add too much salt, there’s no going back. So add a little at a time. Plus, for this recipe, the bacon adds a bit of a salty smokey flavor (DELICIOUS), so you want to hold off on the salt until you’re ready and the flavors have simmered. So basically, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt at a time, let it simmer, taste it, then add more if needed.

Take your spinach and put in as much as you want. I used about 2 large handfull, maybe 3. Let is cook down  a bit in the soup. Bowl the soup up and eat nice and hot on a cold blustery day!

You could also add KALE to this. And for those doubting kale, and my love for it. Here’s a great infographic!

http://nutribulletblog.com/all-hail-kale/

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