Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yes it is ANOTHER Kale Recipe

     I love Kale. I know, I am pretty sure I have said that before. Know why? Great smoothies. Versatile green, grows in the cold (not that I have done it yet, but I hear that is a plus) and tastes super yum too.
     This recipe was in Jan/Feb 2011 Vegetarian Times Magazine (I tried to find it online, but no luck) So I of course give all the credit to the Mag, but I really wanted to share it as it is SO my new all-time favorite Vegan quick and delicious recipe. Oh, and by the way, the hubs is home, the puppies are sold, and life is slowly returning to normal. My tip of the day/week/year? Prepare your kids before taking them out to Indian Food. We thought it was a fun change, we had been there before, but apparently they could only remember chicken nuggets and ketchup and that is sooo mortifying when you are out for delicious ethnic cuisine and they pester the waiter for such heathen kid food. Oops.

Rice and Chickpea Kale Rolls with Pineapple Salsa

Kale Rolls
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1 c cooked chickpeas (the can was SO great for this)
3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth (seriously, chicken was fine)
1/2 c white basmati rice (leftover already cooked rice was fab here)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
12 large Lacinato Kale leaves (p.s. what the heck is that? I just grabbed what was at the store)

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c fresh mint or cilantro leaves chopped (cilantro rocks)
1 jalepeno seeded and chopped
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar or sugar if none on hand

     To make Kale rolls, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3-5 min till soft. Add chickpeas, broth, rice, cumin, paprika and salt. (If you are using already cooked rice which is SUPER fast, just reduce the amount of broth and mix all together) Bring to boil, cover reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15 min till all liquid absorbed.
      Trim stems from center of kale leaves, place 1 large or 2 small overlapping kale leaves on work surface with tip away from you. Pull together cut edges where stem was removed to overlap. Spoon 2 tbsp chickpea mixture in center of bottom of leaf. Fold sides and roll up leaf to tip. Repeat with remainder. (p.s. again, I just did whatever worked and used however much filling I wanted. Do what works for you!)
     To make salsa, stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Top kale rolls with salsa.

Makes great easy lunches, just pre-make salsa and grab and go! For dinner if kids aren’t diggin’ kale, stuff filling in tortilla shells and serve with the salsa on the side or with chips. Yum for all!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Extended Trailer

Another fabulous piece from my mom in law. Check it kids, this is the biggest change I have made in my life. I am a super big supporter of juicing and green smoothies! What’dya think?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Boys and Puppies Really Are the Same

     Trust me on this one. I have first hand experience, daily! For all who are interested, I am currently running a household of 4 sons, an in and out sister, 7 dogs, and an absent husband... (well at least for the next 2 weeks). So life gets crazy. My little chi had puppies 5 weeks ago, 6 of them. And let me tell you, the similarities are scary. Potty cleanup is constant. The second these little guys wake up or walk out of their kennel, or eat for that matter they have to go to the bathroom! Sounds a lot like my dinner table. “Oh mom did you call me?” or “Oh mom, was I supposed to eat now? And sit still and have manners? And not talk, laugh, giggle, or reenact any number or variety of body functions?” “Oh, you mean I have to stay at the table to eat? Isn’t ‘Come to Dinner’ synonymous with ‘Time to go Potty’?” Yeah the list goes on. 
Or how about this, maybe some of you can relate? Gary is super handy right now, because lets just say we are getting good use out of him. Between puppies who can’t quite chew food and little boys who don’t like chunky soup, chili, or veggies, I get Gary’s help in pulverizing the life out of their little mini meals and smoothies. The pups like it, and so do the kids. Comes in handy too with food prep engagement... A necessary evil when dinner is running late and your 4 year old is still wailing about how the almost 3 year old chased him down the hall again with a butterknife. Oh, and let’s not forget the nightly ritual of “Mom, I am SO hungry, when is dinner going to be done?” Also sounds like my pups... Only one boy dog (thank heavens) but all he does is pounce all day on the other 5 sweet little girls. I bet you can hear the shrieks down the street, they sure are beginning to wake me at night! Today however, the joys have far out weighed the work. The puppies were a blast in the kitchen as they ran amok looking for anything fun to chew or pee on, and the boys simply loved every minute of it. They just sat on the floor in puppy love-land! I am even getting some help with kennel cleaning and feeding time (something which occupies both the puppies, and my boys!) And most importantly, after a fun filled evening of popcorn and a movie, I got to hear those ever satisfying words of “I love you mom, you’re the best!” 
Thank you, my blessed boys. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why YES! I DO Make My Own Kefir...Thanks For Asking!

     How did you know? What gave it away? Was it the straggling brood of strapping young men following me down the grocery aisle that implied “bargain shopper” and gave you that “oh yeah, she makes her own Kefir” idea? Or maybe it was the thrift store finds that so elegantly drape my post 4 children mommy body. Hmmm? Was it that? Or do I just have that fabulous “She is obviously into nutrition, she must make her own Kefir” glow right? 
     Oh wait, you don’t even know what Kefir is? Well, have I got the scoop for you! First of all, I love it. In a shake, or pancakes, or basically anything I cannot taste it in. Yup, more about that later. Secondly, it is MUCH easier than it sounds. If you want to give me credit for work and thrifty-ness though, today I will take the points to compensate for... well... I’m not going to go there. And 4thly, check the nutrition information. This was SO good I had to skip a 3rd important reason and go STRAIGHT FOR THE THROAT! (Literally! Ha!)  According to http://www.kefir.net, the nutrition content goes something like this...

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with healing and maintenance functions. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also offers an abundance of calcium and magnesium, which are also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly profound calming effect on the nerves.
Kefir’s ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.
Kefir is rich in Vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin which aids the body’s assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity.
Looks oh so delicious right?!

     Blah Blah Blah. The  basic concept of Kefir is that it is somewhat glorified yogurt. I have some Kefir “grains” that I store covered in milk, in a jar, in my fridge resting until I give them a good rinse and place them in another larger jar, cover again with the desired amount of milk, and let sit for the required period of time to essentially grow and ferment my own culture of sorts. This fun new little food was all courtesy of my mother in law, (who should honestly have the food blog as I get all kinds of healthy food stuff from her) but hey! It tastes much like yogurt/buttermilk but I personally just can’t handle much dairy to begin with. I recently in fact have sort of rediscovered how sensitive I am to lactose. Interestingly, although Kefir is often cultured in milk, it becomes much easier to digest as the milk proteins are broken down, and I can still handle it. Good to know right? 
     So how do you get your hand on this uber nutritious food stuff anyways? Check the link above, or give it a google. Don’t be shy. Just be sure to qualify your grains before you purchase, so they come from good stock. The history on Kefir is actually pretty cool too, but I will leave that for you to discover on your own. I am not a pro, but I will be happy to help anyone with their transition to homemade Kefir/yogurt whatever you want to call it. 
     And while your at it, Try these ideas for how and where to use it...
Add 1/2 c or so to your smoothie (check some of my delish recipe ideas, or create one of your own!)
Add some fresh/natural applesauce or pureed berries/fruit to some and make your own fruited yogurt (bet you’re wishing you had a Gary of your own by now ‘eh?!, oh and for those who don’t know, Gary is my super hot Blendtec Blender)
Try any baking recipe and substitute the milk for Kefir, it works just like buttermilk when baking, adding all kinds of nutritional benes. I like it in pancakes best. Works every time. Absolutely kid proof! (And hubby proof too!) Good Luck, and Good Eatin’!

     Buttermilk Pancakes
(Or Kefir. or yogurt, or combo of all the above)

3 c Buttermilk (kefir/yogurt/milk combo)
3 eggs
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 1/2 c flour (any combo white/wheat works well)

Mix extremely well (my sister in law throws it all in a blender, I just whisk the heck out of it). Heat a griddle, throw down some cooking spray before each load of pancakes as these are super sticky. A little butter and real maple syrup go a long way, so enjoy!

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