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Posts Tagged ‘kale’

Spinach & Kale Soup with Tahini-Dressed Chickpeas

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 15, 2015 at 2:35 am

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”~Lao Tzu

frozen soup

Leafy green soup with tahini and chickpeas

Hey there! Not all “processed” food is bad.

Stocking your freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables is an easy, affordable way to get more servings of these plants into your diet. Frozen fruits and veggies can be just as, if not more, nutritious than fresh fruits and veggies. This is because nutrients are lost in the process of harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, and then displaying fresh produce. Vitamins and minerals can be sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen or, in the case of vitamin C, all three!

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is doing it’s neutralization job by reacting with the oxidants of heat, light, and oxygen. The easy loss of vitamin C is a case for cutting and peeling your fruit immediately prior to consumption to reduce nutrient loss as well as a case for shopping at your local farmer’s market where the time that lapses between harvest and purchase is as short as possible. Additionally, think about how much time your fruits and veggies spend in your refrigerator before consumption.

On the other hand, commercially-processed frozen foods are often flash-frozen very soon after harvest in a process which retains a maximum amount of nutrients and superior levels of antioxidants compared to fresh produce. Additionally, since these fruits and veggies are intended to be frozen soon after picking, they are left to naturally ripen longer than a fruit or veggie that needs to be transported and stored and, possibly, artificially-ripened. More time to naturally ripen equals, again, higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants.

You know what I’m talking about, you have about 36 hours to consume those strawberries that you bought at the farmer’s market before they go soft and smelly on you; however, the plastic box from Costco lasts at least 4 days in your fridge but never tastes quite as sweet and fragrantly delicious as the ones from your local farmer. Well, those frozen strawberries will have a taste closer to the farmer’s market strawberries along with the superior nutrient profile. Admittedly, you will lose out when it comes to texture. Which is why frozen fruits and veggies are perfect for soups, smoothies, and baked dishes where texture isn’t quite as important.

frozen veggies

Frozen veggies: affordable, storable, and super nutritious.

With all the being said, this soup is delicious as well as nutritious and features easy, affordable, long-storing, frozen vegetables!

The other main ingredients (chickpeas, veggie broth, and tahini) are all shelf-stable, potentially allowing you to stock your freezer and pantry with all the necessary ingredients (just pick up lemons and parsley) so you’ll be ready to make this soup at a moment’s notice.

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chili flakes
16 oz frozen spinach
16 oz frozen kale
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparing the soup: Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chili, lower the heat and let stir for a couple of minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally. Stir in spinach, kale and nutmeg and gently cook for 1 minute. Then broth and cook for 20 more minutes. Blend it silky smooth with an immersion blender and season to taste.

3 TBSP tahini
3 3TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 organic lemon, juiced
1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15 oz (1 can or 2 cups) chickpeas/garbanzo beans

Preparing the Chickpeas: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix it all up with your hands, make sure every single chickpea is coated. These just get yummier the longer they marinate so make ahead and enjoy for days. Another option for the tahini-dressed chickpeas: toss over hot soba noodles cooked with carrot peels.

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Green Soup

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Recipe on April 8, 2015 at 3:48 am

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” ~Mark Twain

green soup - cilantro in pot

Start with cilantro and a big pot

I’m so sick of waiting for the perfect time. To say what’s on my mind. To write what’s on my heart. To learn that new skill. To move into the perfect house. To take that trip. To be good enough. To feel safe. But then I realized that I’m not waiting. I am slowly moving in that direction with daily micro decisions and just mere thoughts of how badly I want to be there, feel that, know it. Slowly it (all that I want and desire) is coming to me and, when I take the time to realize this, the sheer gratitude takes my breath away. This grateful recognition would not be felt, if I had not deliberately slowed things down from all the wanting and striving and hoping and pushing and pulling and yearning. Consciously choosing throughout the day to do what feels aligned to me (and only me – no advice or input from anyone else) is the most direct way to stay on the path meant for me. The only path that feels right and that comes to me with grace and ease.

I have no idea what this has to do with making green soup but I just had to say it and I wasn’t going to wait.

Spring has sprung and so have the greens! Although the birds are chirping and there are more sunlight hours, it is still a bit chilly so this soup allows you to get your fresh greens and still feel warmed from the inside out.

1 bunch chard

1 bunch kale

green soup ingredients

Kale, chard, scallions, and cilantro

4 to 5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro

1 -3 tsp sea salt

1 medium potato (whatever type suits you)

1 medium yellow onion

1-3 TBSP olive oil

1 – 6 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of your knife

Some vegetable broth

Meyer lemons

Freshly ground black pepper

Cayenne

Wash the greens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves. Combine the chard, kale, green onions and cilantro in a large soup pot with 3 cups water and a teaspoon of salt. Peel the potato, cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot. Bring the water a boil, cover and let the soup simmer for about half an hour.

green soup - caramelized onions

Caramelized onions

Meanwhile, chop the onion, swirl the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet, and cook the onion with a sprinkle of salt over medium flame until it is golden brown and soft. This will take up to half an hour. Don’t hurry; give it a stir once in a while, and let the slow cooking develop the onion’s sweetness. Don’t be afraid of oil and salt. As long as they don’t come in the form of a potato chip, they are not to be feared. Add the caramelized onion to the soup.

Using the same skillet, pile up the smashed cloves of garlic in the middle of the pan and pour some oil over them and generously salt. Let them sizzle and smell good, then add the garlic to the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup but don’t over process, potatoes can turn gummy it you work them too much. Add only as much broth as you need to thin it to the consistency that works for you. I just added a splash or two of broth. Lastly, squeeze half a Meyer lemon and plenty of fresh ground black pepper into the pot and perhaps a pinch of cayenne.

green soup - final

Drizzle with fruity olive oil & fresh cracked pepper

 To serve garnish with a drizzle of fruity (blood orange?!) olive oil…delicious.

Chicken (& Kale) Soup for Your Soul

In Nutrition, Recipe on December 19, 2014 at 12:32 am
sunset

Sunset at Windansea Beach, December 16, 2014

So there is this couple that lives a block away from me and I see them walking down to the water each night at sunset with their hands in each others back pockets. They are the same height, have the same sun-bleached blonde hair and tanned skin. I think they are in their early 50s but I don’t know them well, they seem so satisfied and filled up with just each other, that I don’t even dare introduce myself. And I admire them from afar, thinking that they must have it all. Just last week a beautiful, mint condition, Airstream trailer appeared on their street with the CA license plate: 2HOBOS. Not thinking of them at all, I suspected it must be the two hipsters with the perfect beards I see watching the waves at sunset these days. But, alas, it belongs to the golden couple and not for glamorous reasons. He has a brain tumor and a year to live. They’ve sold their house and are embarking on an adventure together for however long they have…

jung and dylan quotes

Just do it already!

And now I’ve digested that information and I’m sitting on the floor of my kitchen with a bottle of wine and my laptop while the chicken (and kale) soup simmers. Pearl Jam’s “Black” comes on the sound system and the melancholy envelopes me while thinking that I STILL envy this couple. With all the dramatic doom and gloom of a terminal diagnosis and the romance and passion of selling it all and driving off into the sunset. Why? Is it because I fear that, if tomorrow, I was given a year to live, there is no one who would leave their current life behind and join me on an adventure until the end of my life? Or is it because I am thinking of all the things that I DON’T do because I am fearful?

I’ve been making a lot of chicken soup lately. It nourishes me – body and soul. But it also worries me that I make a lot of soup when I’m not physically ill – I am rarely sick – because this means that I am in fear mode. The antidote for fear is massive action (Tony Robbins said that). This mantra has worked for me in the past; however, right now my “massive action” is half-assed. There are 19 unpublished drafts in my list of posts for this blog. Why? I get a burst of action and I write and cook and take pictures and then completely freeze when it comes to publishing.

chicken stock

Making your own chicken stock makes for REALLY good soup

Really good chicken soup starts with really yummy, homemade broth. I usually roast a 5 to 6 lb chicken using this recipe and, since our household is only 1 adult and 2 children (50% of the time), those extra pounds are used for stock and soup. Take that extra chicken carcass (and whatever meat is left on it), put it in a crockpot, cover with water, and simmer on low for 24-48 hours. Your home will smell amazing. Leave the whole lemons and garlic and thyme that stuffed the bird with inside – these will disintegrate into full flavor for your stock. Drain your stock through a colander into a soup pot (not the one you will be using to make soup) and pick out the bones – this is an exercise in finger-burning and super tedious but well worth it. Let it sit there and cool for awhile, if needed. Meanwhile…make sure you have the following ingredients:

64oz organic, free-range, chicken broth

water (maybe)

2 sticks salted butter

1 head of celery – chopped

garlic – as many cloves as you like – smashed with the back of your knife

2 onions – chopped

1 bunch carrots – chopped

salt n pepa – to taste – don’t be afraid to pile it on

crushed red pepper, depending on your audience

fresh thyme – LOTS

Baby kale leaves (boxed or bagged)

chicken & kale soup

Serve over baby kale or egg noodles or brown rice or anything at all, really…

Melt butter in soup pot and add the smashed garlic. Chop all the veggies and sauté with garlic in butter. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Sauté until veggies are a bit soft. Then add broth from the crock pot creation. Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are super soft. Add additional (store-bought) chicken broth and more seasonings, if needed. Bring to a simmer and then add reserved chicken from broth-making adventure. Separate thyme leaves from stems (I use an entire container of fresh thyme) and mix into soup pot.

When ready to serve, place a handful of baby kale leaves in the bottom of a bowl and ladle hot chicken soup over the greens. They will wilt to bright green perfection. This soup is so nourishing and soul-stirring that you will eat nothing but this for days and feel warmed and satisfied to your very core.

Bold Dressings for Bitter Greens

In Nutrition on November 23, 2014 at 4:12 am
salt farm

Wasabi Sesame, Black Truffle, Uni and many more spiked salts from Salt Farm at Little Italy’s Farmer’s Market

I spent this beautiful Saturday with a dear friend strolling through the farmer’s market in Little Italy buying holiday gifts and catching up on our complicated lives. We bought vials of gourmet salts from Salt Farm and sugar scrubs and muscle rubs from Holistic Science. When we’d had enough of the crowds and sunshine, we stopped for a lunch of caesar salad and mussels at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar.

kale salad ironside

Kale Caesar at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in Little Italy

This place never disappoints and their yummy, fishy, kale caesar salad was so perfect it challenged me to step outside the predictable avo/sea salt/lemon dressing that I consistently massage into dinosaur kale. Sure, it’s delicious but it’s not very inspired. Plus avocados are kinda dicey right now since they aren’t in season.

It seems to me that hearty, bitter greens like kale require equally bold dressings to balance all that dense healthiness.

Both of these dressing have a nice kick to challenge that strong kale flavor.

Lemony-Caper Dressing (more work but worth it)

2 lemons – supremed

3 TBSP shallots, coarsely chopped

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

1-2 TBSP capers, drained

1 tsp superfine sugar (regular sugar works fine too)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

lemony-caper dressing

Lemony-Caper Dressing

Segment the lemons using this technique (watch the short video!).

Use a hand blender to thoroughly blend all ingredients EXCEPT THE LEMONS. Massage the pureed dressing into the kale and then, after marinating for up to hour (or less), toss lemon segments with kale.

This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

It’s strong. And salty. And lemony.

Try it with a scoop of warm brown rice or grilled fish to temper the flavors.

If the idea of supreme-ing a lemon is just too much work (Yuwei – I’m talking to you), try this one:

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This one is bold for different reasons – mainly the ginger and cayenne.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the following:

kale bouquet

Dinosaur kale bouquet in grated rainbow carrot water.

1/2 cup carrots, peeled & grated

3 TBSP sesame oil

2 TBSP peeled ginger, chopped

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 – 4 garlic cloves

1 TBSP tamari

2 tsp honey

 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Both dressings will be infinitely tastier if you MASSAGE (yes, with your bare hands) the dressings into the kale. As my sister says, massaging makes the kale taste like it is loved.

In addition to tossing with a grain or protein, consider adding something sweet to balance the bitter-sour-spicy. Peaches or strawberries (in summer) or dried currants or cranberries (in winter) work beautifully. Creamy goat cheese or crunchy sunflower seeds will also round out these bold salads nicely.

Check out the little guy who got caught in the steam pot with our mussels! He was probably just as surprised as we were to see that he met this fate.

crab in mussel

Teeny tiny crab hanging onto the mussel!

Avo-Kale-Kelp Noodle Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe on June 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

kelp noodle salad - makingAs the days get hotter and longer, my body is craving cool, raw foods and I find myself drawn to raw kale & kelp noodle salads. This combo certainly works your jaw – both kale and kelp noodles are crunchy and chewy – but the longer you massage and marinate those 2 ingredients in lemon, salt, and a healthy fat like avocado, the more gentle this salad tastes and feels. I will admit that I’m still not totally sold on kelp noodles. I keep trying them in different capacities and I don’t know why. They add almost zero nutritional benefit and very little energy to a meal. Kelp noodles are popular with raw foodies well…b/c they are raw. But since eating raw is about maximizing the nutritional benefit of the food, perhaps raw foodies are just looking to experience a different texture while sticking to the rules of a raw food diet? Not sure, but I keep trying them out anyway. kale & tomato salad

The best part of this salad is the way the avocado, lemon, and salt make a creaming dressing for the kale and kelp noodles. Additional toppings are just icing. Try adding: mangos & sunflower seeds, tomatoes & hemp seeds, nectarines & pine nuts, or  strawberries & sesame seeds. Pairing a sweet fruit with the bitter kale and salty-lemony avocado is a great balance for your palate and will leave you feeling more satisfied…i.e. not craving a dessert!

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, lacinato or dinosaur

1/2 large avocado

pink Himalayan salt

Meyer lemons, juiced (1 for salad, 1 for soaking noodles, if needed)

1/2 of a bag of kelp noodles, cut into smaller strands

kelp, kale, mango saladDirections: I soak kelp noodles before using them b/c I like them a bit softer. Place in a bowl of water with juice of 1 lemon for 2 – 24hrs. When you are ready to use (soaked or not), cut the noodles into shorter strands using kitchen shears or a knife. Slice kale into skinny strips. Mash the avocado, salt, and lemon juice together. Add the kale to the mashed avocado and massage greens with your hands! After some good massaging, toss in the kelp noodles and massage more. Add diced mango and sunflower seeds. Mix well and enjoy. This salad holds up great for a couple of days in the fridge; however, keep in mind that other fruits may not hold up as well as mango.

Apple-Mint Bean & Grain Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 21, 2013 at 6:19 am
bean & farro salad ingredients

Salad ingredients sans dressing.

I’m kind of on a pink kick these days. I find myself drawn to pink food in pretty jars: pink Himalayan salt, raspberry jam, cactus fruit kombucha. This Sunday, at the La Jolla Open Aire Market, my pink preference seemed to migrate to produce as I chose watermelon radishes and pink lady apples for this recipe.

salt and lemon

Pink Himalayan salt and Meyers lemons.

This delicious salad was served to me while at a friend’s house for dinner otherwise it’s rare for me to attempt  a recipe with this many ingredients. I really like to keep things simple when it comes to healthy eating and I don’t think more is better. This is exactly the kind of recipe I would have skipped while searching for a new idea. Too many ingredients, too many instructions. But…it’s really not so bad and the outcome is fantastic! Do not become overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients in this salad. Besides the prep for radishes and apples, it is actually quite fast and the dressing gets quickly processed – super easy! I used a filet knife when trying to ‘paper thin’ those radishes and almost sliced the tip of my middle finger off!

Crisp, soft, chewy, creamy, bitter, refreshing, filling – the beautiful texture and flavors in this irresistible salad make for a well-balanced meal complete with healthy, whole-grain carbs, plant-based proteins, and ample fat for satiety.

Here is the original recipe which uses cilantro and Greek yogurt instead of my substitution of mint and coconut kefir. Also, avocado doesn’t hold up well overnight and, since this salad just gets better over time, I decided to leave it out.

watermelon radishes

Watermelon radishes.

1 cup pearled farro (or short-grain brown rice, if gluten-free)

1 cup black beans

1 cup cannellini beans

5-6 radishes, sliced paper thin (good luck), then half-mooned

1/2 apple, sliced into matchsticks (the thinner the better), then halved

Salt & Pepper

1/2 Meyers lemon, juiced

Dressing:

bean & farro salad w kale

Served on a bed of marinated kale.

3 TBSP rice vinegar

1/2 Meyers lemon, juiced

1/2 apple, cored

3 TBSP olive oil

Handful of mint

1/4 of a shallot

Pinch of sea salt & fresh-ground black pepper

2 TBSP coconut kefir

Place 1 cup farro and 2.5 cups water in rice cooker. Press ‘cook’ button (I love rice cookers!). Or pot-boil with 3 cups water for about 15-20 mins and drain excess water when done. Drain and rinse beans, if using canned beans. Place beans in large bowl with salt & pepper. Thinly slice apples and radishes. Add radishes to bowl with beans. Place apples in separate bowl with lemon juice. When farro is done, cool in refrigerator. In the meantime, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in the food processor. When farro is cooled, add to large bowl of beans and radishes. Add in the sliced apples, remaining mint leaves, and dressing. Mix well.

Enjoy on a bed of kale (marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt) or wrapped in a romaine leaf or just as it is.

Nutritional Info: 8oz (~1 cup) serving = 288 kcals, 8g fat, 40g total carbs (8g fiber), 8g protein. With 60% carbs, 30% fats, and 10% protein, I think this salad is perfectly balanced.

Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 10, 2013 at 3:52 am
Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew

Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew

This stew debuted at SoupAsana and was a hit (even with the picky eaters!). The combo of hearty veggies in a light, deliciously-spiced broth was a perfect post-yoga meal. Prep is minimal and the slow cooker does all the work for you!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

2 cups onions – diced

2 large celery ribs – finely chopped

2 14oz cans of garbanzo beans – drained & rinsed

1 14oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cayenne (if you like heat!)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 large sweet potato – peeled and diced

1 bunch kale – chopped

Place all ingredients except kale and sweet potato in slow cooker on high for 2-3hrs. Add kale and sweet potato and cook for another 1-2hrs (until sweet potato is soft). Season to taste with tamari. Serve over short-grain, brown rice.

Love It or Leave It

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 10, 2013 at 3:43 am
greens

Swiss chard, parsley, and kale

Life’s too short to eat kale…if you don’t actually like it! Yes, it’s really good for you but if you’ve tried it every which way (raw, sautéed, baked as chips, blended in a smoothie) and you still hate it, then simply eat a different leafy green – swiss chard, collards, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.

I don’t like quinoa. There’s nothing particular ‘wrong’ with quinoa, it’s just that this itty-bitty, fluffy seed appears really wimpy to me – like it should be a garnish instead of the main event. So I rarely eat it. I like short-grain brown rice instead (sometimes w quinoa mixed in). I also eat pinto beans way more than black or garbanzo or kidney or adzuki (who eats those anyway?).

Do the healthy eating thing YOUR WAY while still holding yourself to a high standard. As long as you are eating something from each major plant group (beans, greens, nuts/seeds, oils, etc.) then don’t stress if you dislike the one deemed MOST NUTRITIOUS. The most nutritious food is the food you will actually eat! Find the leafy greens and grains you like, eat those, and ban the kale and quinoa from your repertoire. Be open to trying those banned foods in new variations or preparations – you might be surprised.

So, I REALLY like kale; therefore, it’s featured in Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew. You’ve got 2 choices: substitute another leafy green or give kale a try…loosen up and get creatively experimental with your food preferences.