Get on the kale train, baby

by: Angelique Hicks

 

Kale, kale everywhere!  Only a few short years ago I didn’t even know what kale was, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to know.  Now this crunchy little guy is all over the place!  Dare I say that I even saw a kale salad on the McDonalds menu???  That is progress!

When my health coach first introduced me to the idea of eating kale,  I was like, awwwwe man…ick.  I was gonna have to force this one down.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very adventurous eater and usually  I am one to try anything once, but this wasn’t a one time shot she was asking for.  It was a suggestion to add kale into my diet everyday or at least every week.  Seriously??  Why, in all that is good and delicious, would I want to do that?!  Well, let me tell ya….

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of hearing about people, especially those close to me, coming down with cancer.   Two words: Over. It.  The good news? Kale contains numerous cancer-fighting substances and is loaded with compounds that are believed to have PROTECTIVE effects against cancer.  That’s right, cancer protection in a leaf.  Pretty cool, huh?  I think so.

Kale is THE most nutrient dense food on the planet.  Why is that important?  Most of us are nutrient deficient.  Meaning, we are in the red when it comes to giving our body the proper nutrients to function optimally.  If we aren’t giving our body the necessary items to do it’s thing, the likely hood of disease is higher.  If you want to get into the black, nutritionally speaking, eating kale is a great way to dramatically increase the nutrient content of your diet.

If cancer prevention isn’t enough, kale also aids in weight loss!  Kale is very low in calories, but still provides significant bulk that helps you feel full.  And despite the fact that kale is low in cals, it contains protein and fiber, both considered important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.  A cancer fighter AND a weight loss aid? Kale has it goin on!

But Angelique, how in the heck do I use kale in recipes?  Isn’t it tough and tasteless?  Why, no dear reader, it’s actually neither of those things if prepared properly.  To help you transition into your love of kale, here is a link to my favorite massaged kale caesar salad: http://www.annies-eats.com/2013/04/29/massaged-kale-caesar-salad/.  This is a great recipe that is super easy and amazingly delicious!   This is only a jumping off point though. The possibilities are endless.  You can put kale in your smoothies, soups, salads, stews, eggs, and wraps.  It is versatile and holds up really well in most dishes.

So hop on the kale train and take it for a ride!  You may find that it actually becomes your new favorite vegetable.  I know it did for me!  Toot toot!!

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Spring has Sprung!

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Spring has Sprung! It’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago we had the second largest snowstorm in Missouri’s recorded history, and now we have to get out the summer clothing. Gotta love living here in Missouri. The grass is greening up each day, flowers are blooming, and sprouts are emerging from the ground. 

I feel inspired by this gorgeous weather, and the abundance of green that surround us, and want to share a delicious kale salad recipe. Kale is the perfect spring crop due to its tolerance for cold weather. It actually becomes sweeter with a touch of frost. It is also an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. I feel confident that even those who are normally not “into kale”, will be surprised at how tasty this veggie can be. 


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Chop as much kale as you wish to eat. It does shrink down a bit when cooked, so add more to compensate.

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Place a steamer in a pot large enough to fit the kale. Fill the bottom with water, making sure not to fill above the steamer.

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Place the kale into the pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. (Once the water is boiling the kale will be done really fast so be watching)

 The kale will continue to cook even after the heat is turned off.  Once it looks spring green, turn it off, and remove it from the heat source. 

While waiting for the water to boil, you can make a dressing to toss on the salad.  I used butter, garlic, salt, pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a little bit of honey. Add these ingredients to your own personal tastes. I heated this up just for a minute or two to infuse the flavors, and then I turned it off and took it off the heat. You don’t have to use butter or any added sweeteners. Olive oil or coconut oil would work great, and I only used honey because the kale tasted a bit bitter on its own. When kale is picked young, it is naturally sweet!

Toss the dressing on the steamed greens, and top with nuts, dried fruit or both for a hearty and memorable salad.

Eat, Live, and Be Merry.

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