The Wonderful World of Kale

kale

This post is about various kale recipes and preparations I’ve tried. Why? Because I have a crap-ton of kale in my garden maturing all at the same time! Not that I’m complaining. I was super bummed when my kale was destroyed by aphids last year.

Kale is so good for you, too. It’s low in calories, high in Vitamin K, C and A. It’s an antioxidant and it has calcium. It’s also tasty and incredibly versatile.

One morning for breakfast I sauteed some kale in coconut oil and seasoned with a little salt, pepper and paprika. I topped the bed of kale with two fried eggs and called it good. I was surprised at how tasty it was! It might make a regular appearance in my breakfast rotation.

There’s of course Kale with Bacon (everything is better with bacon, right?). Kale sauteed with onions or shallots is great and easy. But the best use of kale, so far, has been the Cheesy Kale Chips I discovered last summer. They are massively addicting and all my neighbors were begging me to make them some! It was also a good snack that you didn’t have to feel guilty about eating in massive quantities. 🙂

Thankfully the wild bunnies that frolic in our yard have not discovered our veggie garden. How is that possible? For three years our garden has been bunny-free.  And he’s been eating our weeds! YAY!

bunny

IMG_5689

IMG_5688

Anyway, here are a few more recipes I’ve discovered or created lately:

Sauteed Kale with Pistachios

Simple ingredients: 1 garlic clove minced, 1 bunch of kale, 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, Grapeseed oil, Salt and pepper to taste. Cook down the fresh kale in a skillet with the grapeseed oil until wilted.

I had the kale with blackened salmon (one of my favorites) and some raw peppers with ranch dressing (I was craving it). It was really good!

IMG_5038

Sautéed Kale with Smoked Paprika Recipe

Ingredients: fresh kale, coconut oil, chopped onion, dash of paprika and dash of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I tried cooking the kale with coconut oil spray this time and it worked really well.

My dinner was Israeli Couscous with the kale and topped with a spicy bratwurst. Mixed all together it was a spicy, flavorful dinner.

IMG_5048

Gluten Free Baked Macaroni with Kale

This was Michael’s creation. He got some gluten free macaroni and mixed it with a can of season tomatoes, spicy sausage, a ton of kale from our garden and mozzarella. He baked it in a big pan and the second I walked into the garage I could smell it baking in the oven. The aroma of spicy sausage, garlic and red sauce is one of my favorites.

Robyn's Birthday

The gluten free macaroni was  little weird in texture. I’m not sure what it was made out of but it wasn’t the brown rice noodles I got for the spaghetti (seen below) and those GF noodles were great.

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Kale

I have so much kale in my garden I’m getting mighty creative! This time: spaghetti with kale. I bought some gluten-free spaghetti noodles from Trader Joe’s for my man since he’s trying to do the GF thing for good now. It was brown rice noodles and they actually tasted pretty good! There wasn’t a lot of flavor but the texture was exactly like regular spaghetti noodles.

I sauteed some diced onions in a pan with grapeseed oil and added the kale. I let it cook down then added the marinara sauce from a jar. I added two cloves of minced garlic and some extra herbs to it and let it just simmer while I cooked the pasta.

IMG_5585

It was delicious! I loved the texture and flavor that the kale added to the dish. This is a keeper!

I’m going to try adding some kale to some post-workout smoothies soon. It’s been way too long since I’ve enjoyed my protein shakes! I think the kale would work great.

QUESTION: What is your favorite way to prepare/eat kale?

Open Sesame

This post is about music, memories and a mighty tasty dinner.

IMG_5029

Sunday afternoon we made our way over to Reed College to see the Portland Baroque Orchestra perform Haydn’s Three Symphonies (Symphony No. 6. Le matin, Symphony No. 7. Le midi, Symphony No. 8. Le soir.). It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the orchestra and I’m so glad I got us tickets! It was a fun performance and the auditorium at Reed College was pretty intimate.

IMG_5008

IMG_5010

During the intermission we walked around the campus a little bit. It was a gorgeous hot day and students were laying in the grass hanging out, listening to music and studying with friends. It made me wish I’d gone away to college right after highschool and experienced that adventure. Instead, I went to college part time while working full time throughout my 20’s. I don’t necessarily regret that because I got the experience of living on my own for almost a decade. That kind of independence is important, I think.

IMG_5012

But still, I wistfully watched the students and part of me wished I’d gone to one of the schools I’d been interested in. Of course as a 17 year old student I was looking at colleges AS FAR FROM HOME as humanly possible. 🙂 There was one in Vermont and one in Boston I was in love with, as well as Reed, Evergreen and Grinnell.

IMG_5020

Isn’t Reed a gorgeous campus? It’s especially beautiful in the springtime.

IMG_5016

We went back to the auditorium for the final performance. The director was a vibrant, enthusiastic performer and the rest of the orchestra sounded flawless. It was such a nice, uplifting performance. I was particularly interested in watching the violinists. When I was in elementary school I really wanted to learn how to play the violin or cello. Unfortunately it was the piano for me–since that’s what my parents had. Oh well! Maybe someday I’ll try to learn it.

There wasn’t time to linger at Reed, even though it was a perfect day to do so, because dinner was cooking in the crockpot at home. This recipe is from Skinny Taste. I’ve tried a few of her recipes in the past and usually they are pretty good. I figured you can’t go wrong with chicken and soy sauce.

IMG_5005

I might have added a little more of the sriracha sauce than the recipe called for…but that’s typical of me! I like SPICE! The recipe was super quick to throw together. I halved the recipe to make 4 servings instead of the 8. That way there would be enough for dinner and maybe a lunch or two this week.

This is not a good recipe for a week night. It only takes 4 hours to make and that would be hard to do during the week, but it’s perfect for a weekend when you are in and out of the house all day.

IMG_5031

I made brown rice to go with the chicken, which was a good combo. The chicken was probably a lot spicier than the originally recipe was supposed to be but I liked it spicy! I wish there was more of a sesame flavor to it, but the spice and the tomato paste and the soy were the dominant flavors in this dish. I think a little more nutty sesame flavor would be a nice finishing flavor.

IMG_5027

The chicken was a tad on the dry side–maybe because I used boneless, skinless chicken cutlets instead of breasts? Or maybe it needed to be cooked for 3.5 hours instead of 4. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a big deal. The dinner was still delicious and I would make it again!

QUESTION: Are you a fan of classical music? Where did you go to college?