If you haven’t already, try some Kale

Fall is officially here! Kale is in season. It tastes sweeter after a frost and grows well into the winter. It’s one of my favorite dark leafy green to use in Wicked Green Smoothies. Kale has quickly become one of my favorite greens – if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have wrinkled my nose and said “ewwww”.

By the way, kale is a “super-green” as it’s very high in vitamin K, vitamin C, beta carotene and calcium. When you grind it up in a smoothie it releases sulforaphane which is a chemical with killer anti-cancer properties. Steaming, stir frying, microwaving, baking and grinding in smoothies keep the levels of this chemical high.  Boiling will decrease them. Have you tried kale sautéed w/a little olive oil and garlic? Before you say “yuck”, try it, it’s very tasty.

There is also a chemical in kale which helps boost DNA repair in cells and hey we all need to do everything we can to keep looking young, right?

Want the biggest bang for your buck in a nutritional sense? Kale is it. It scores 1000 (top score) on the ANDI score for nutritional density.

Here’s a few ways to make the most of Kale:

  • add a handful (after removing the thick stem) to a Wicked Green Smoothie (there are lots of recipes listed on my blog).
  • saute kale w/olive oil, minced garlic and almonds – yummy!
  • add chopped kale to pasta like spaghetti, lasagna, penne
  • mix up your favorite soup and sneak in some kale
  • add a few torn up pieces to your salad or put it on your sandwich in place of the old standby iceberg lettuce
  • craving chips? try Kale chips – pssst – there’s a recipe for them in one of my earlier posts

Happy Fall!

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First Day of Fall

Today is officially the first day of Fall. It’s getting dark earlier and a bit chilly when I wake up in the mornings. I adore this time of year when the leaves start to change and you can break out those yummy, cozy sweaters.

So get ready.

Turn down your thermostat to save some $ on your heating bill. Great reason to break out that warm throw or beautiful quilt and wrap yourself up while relaxing in the evenings.

Have your cat or dog sleep with you at night to help keep you toasty.

And…start your day off right. On Sunday, make a batch of steel cut oats for breakfast for the coming week. It’s easy. Use a slow cooker or rice cooker. My rice cooker has a porridge setting. Put in the water and steel cut oats and let them cook. My favorite is McCann’s Irish Oatmeal.

This is not the instant oatmeal you remember as a kid. Steel cut oats have a great flavor and are very filling. I like to add a bit of cinnamon and a few raisins or dried craisins or dried blueberries. Portion out the steel cut oats into your storage containers so all you have to do is grab a container and ziploc snack bag with your toppings (raisins and cinnamon) and you can heat it up at work. For those of you who like milk or almond/soy milk, you can add it to the oats as well – yum! It will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

Get outside, take a walk and enjoy the fall day!

Farewell to Summer…Bye, Bye, Summer Wicked Green Smoothie

It’s a crisp, clear morning with the smell of Fall in the air.  I love this time of year. Fall is one of my favorite seasons although I still want new clothes come September….must be from when I started a new school year growing up.  Anyway, I made a great smoothie this morning to remind me of summer. Think I’ll make citrus based smoothies all week to bid summer adieu.

Bye bye Summer Wicked Green Smoothie
1/2 c greek yogurt – I used Fage 2% plain
1 c pineapple in its own juice or frozen (or fresh if you have it)
1 c OJ
1 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
handful of ice if your pineapple isn’t frozen
one handful of spinach (one handful equals one loosely packed cup)
makes 16 – 24 oz.

Blend until smooth. It will be a beautiful mint green color and you won’t even taste the spinach. You’ll just taste pineapple and a slight bite from the yogurt.

P.S. I was craving popcorn last night but didn’t want to use the prepackaged stuff from the store. One, it’s pricey and Two, who knows what junk they add to the popcorn. So I made my own. It’s simple.

Easy and cheap popcorn
1/4 c popcorn (I bought a bag from Food Lion for a little over $2)
a paper sack like you used to pack your lunch in (I couldn’t find mine, so I used a bath and bodyworks paper sack)
fold the top of the bag over and pop for about 2 – 21/2 minutes. Listen for the popping to slow down so you don’t burn it.  Eat or add seasonings.  I admit, I added some butter, parmesan cheese and a bit of Old Bay Seasoning – that is a little piece of heaven!

Enjoy!