March 28, 2013

Have You Had Your Kale Today?

Hey All!

So, here's the new deal with me... I'm re-designing my plant-based diet to exclude as much processed food as humanly possible, most importantly processed sugar, and I am striving to make each meal as nutrient-dense as I can. So, from here on out, the goal is to cram as many vitamins, minerals, grams of fiber, and phytochemicals as I can manage into as yummy a meal as I can possibly dream up. So, the days of white flour and sugar on the Bankrupt Vegan site are done. Jen needs to get healthy, lose weight, and get back on her feet! Yes, I'm referring to myself in the 3rd person - and, yeah, I know that's creepy. But, hey, Jen is glad you're here anyway.

According to the fantastic book, Super Immunity, written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, "Green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, collards, and broccoli, plus some non-green vegetables such as cauliflower and turnips, are called 'cruciferous' vegetable. They are named for their flowers, which have four equally spaced petals in the shape of a cross - hence the Latin word crucifer, meaning 'cross-bearer.' All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition: they have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent or bitter flavors. When their cell walls are broken by blending or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs) - an array of compounds with proven and powerful immune-boosting effects and anticancer activity."  "Because different ITCs work in different locations in the cell, and on different molecules, they can have combined additive effects, working synergistically to remove carcinogens and kill cancer cells. Furthermore, some ITCs have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, or even immunologic effects."

Holy mackerel! Cruciferous vegetables are real nutrition champions! We should be bathing in them! Shooting them up! Snorting them!
Okay - I kid, I kid... but only about the weird stuff I said we should do with vegetables (unless you're into that sort of thing). The 'nutrition champions' part is 100% true.

So, what's your favorite cruci-veg? Mine's definitely kale. It's cheap to buy organic and it's easy to prepare.
I'm always looking for ways to get it down my family's gullets without any fussin'. The very best way I've found to do that is via the wondrous and magnificent kale chip.

I love you, kale chip.
It's so easy, my daughter can help me with the preparation 
(she's always more likely to eat anything she helps to make).

De-stalkin' those li'l buggers.

Tearing them into chip-sized pieces.
A lot of folks recommend using a dehydrator but, alas, I am too poor for one of those fancy contraptions. However, after a few years of kale chip experimentation, I think I have found a savvy and resourceful way to dry out the chips without too large a risk of burning them.
Try these bad boys on for size and tell me what you think:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized bits
A drizzle of olive oil, to taste (Don't over-do it! Just a couple of teaspoons or so will do)
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of paprika, if you dare
1/4 to 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast, to taste (we like a LOT)
  • Preheat oven to the "warm" setting, or to the lowest setting you can put it at. Around 200 degrees is fine. 
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and use either clean hands or a pair of salad tongs to stir everything together. Make sure all leaves are well-coated.
  • Place on a large baking sheet with a light coating of oil or baking spray. You can also use a Sil-Pat, if you have one. That's what I use and it works great. If you don't have one, get one! It helps you to avoid adding extra oil to your baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and set your timer on one hour. After an hour, check your chips about every 15 minutes, giving the sheet a little shake or a stir with a spatula occasionally to make sure they are cooking evenly.When they start to crisp up, have a taste to make sure they are to your liking. It's hard to tell when their done just with visual cues. And once they're dried out, they will overcook and burn very easily. Keep a close eye on them!
  • When the chips are done, all them to cool for just a few minutes, then enjoy! We love them plain, but they're also fantastic on salads.
  • They will keep for weeks at room temperature in an airtight container.

1 comment:

JAS said...

Love Kale chips. I also like to chop them up and put them over salads as a crunchy topper. Go Green!