Thursday, February 16, 2012

So What is the Deal with Kale???

Everywhere I read ,there it is...kale this, kale that.  So, what's the big deal about Kale?  Well, you know me, I had to do some research.

Kale is a form cabbage.   Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin k, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.  Kale, as with broccoli contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.  How awesome is that?!

Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming or stir frying does not result in significant loss.  Fresh and organic is the best way to eat Kale.  Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.  (DID YOU READ THAT???!!!  Appears to BLOCK the growth of cancer cells!!!!  I'M IN!!!!!!)  Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.  And Kale is also an anti-inflammatory and does wonders for your skin.

Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other strongly flavored ingredients such as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, red pepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressing.

Kale chips are something I first saw on Pinterest and I decided to give them a go.  Not bad.  I munch on a few throughout the day.

Baked Kale Chips
Organic Kale
Wash and dry kale
Remove the stems from the Kale, the stems do not bake well
Rip into chip sized pieces
Spray organic olive oil or organic coconut oil over the kale pieces
Sprinkle with sea salt or whatever seasonings you like
Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes
Remove from oven and enjoy.

I baked a small batch and eat a few pieces every day.  I figure I HAVE to figure out some way to get this super food into my diet!!

Another idea, Kale Smoothie.

If you are used to using organic spinach in your smoothie, keep in mind kale has a stronger flavor than spinach does, so use a little less kale.  This recipe had to pass the test, my 2 year old loved it!  :-)

Kale Smoothie
Kale (to your taste, I used 3 good sized pieces)
1/2-1 frozen banana
Hand full of frozen blueberries
1 tbsp organic flax seed oil
Protein powder of your choice (if using whey, make sure it is from organic grass fed cows)
Organic rice milk or organic soy milk
Depending on your taste buds you can add some honey, agave or dried apricot for a sweeter taste
Ice cubes if you are not using frozen fruits

I use a bullet blender and blend until smooth.  And honestly Kale, like spinach can be used in a 100 different smoothie recipes.  Just use your imagination and try different fruits and vegetables.  This is sometimes what I have for lunch.  Enjoy!!

If you have other recipes for smoothies or any food dish with spinach or kale please comment below so they can be shared with others.  As I continue doing my own research and trials in the kitchen with kale I will post as I find "post worthy" recipes.  :-)  We have to find ways to include this amazing food into our lives.  Thanks!

*Baked Kale recipe adapted from Delighted Momma blog.
*Smoothie idea from my beautiful friend Lynda Fassa.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homemade Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits

This is a quick, Saturday morning breakfast treat.  It does not require yeast, so there is no waiting for your dough to rise.  Don't expect the same texture and flavor you get from a traditional cinnamon roll. But these are still the bomb!  And I got to sleep in and still made sweet biscuits for win! :-)

My boys love cinnamon rolls, but I will not buy Grands anymore, knowing what I know.  I don't want to give them anymore junk in their diet than I need to.  So, we occasionally buy the Immaculate Baking cinnamon rolls from Whole Foods, but they cost a bit.

So, I found this recipe in my 2 inch "A-L" binder and thought I would give it a try.  It was super easy to make.

Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits (or any filling you prefer)
2 cups sifted organic-all purpose flour (I love King Arthur)
1 tablespoon baking powder (always buy aluminum free and non-gmo if you can)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup organic canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (or buy the Organic Valley dry buttermilk blend, use 2.5 tbsp and 3/4 cup water.  LOVE this stuff!!!)
2-3 tablespoons organic butter (Meijer organics is great.  Softened.)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(I have a bunch of Pampered chef sprinkles, Sweet mocha hazelnut sprinkle and sweet caramel sprinkle that I am using instead of the 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.)

1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons organic milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (not artificial)

1.  Combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix well (I used my kitchenaid bowl).  Stir in organic canola oil.  Add buttermilk or buttermilk blend and water and stir just until blended.

2.  Place bread kneader attachment on your kitchenaid stand mixer and let place on 2nd speed.  Let the machine do the kneading for you.  Sprinkle a little bit of flour in the mixing bowl as the attachment is kneading, until you see the dough pull away from the sides, cleaning the bowl.  Dough should look smooth.  Remove dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface making a 15 x 8 inch rectangle.  (If you do not have a kitchenaid stand mixer knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  Then roll dough into a 15 x 8 inch rectangle.)  

3.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a cast iron skillet or a 9 inch round baking pan lightly with organic olive oil.  (Aerosol Pam is bad.  You can buy a mister from Pampered Chef and make your own spray oil!)

4.  Spread softened butter over the dough with a pastry brush.  Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well.  Sprinkle over butter.  Or sprinkle your Pampered Chef sprinkles over the butter. 

Roll up rectangle, jelly roll fashion, starting from one long side.  Pinch seam to seal.

5.  Cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange the slices in your prepared pan.  Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  The recipe says you call pour milk over the top, never heard of this.  So, I made the icing above.  

They taste great and are quite beautiful!  I had mine with a glass of vanilla rice milk (I have almost given up dairy), sooo good!