Tag Archives: Kale

Janu-freakin-ary

21 Jan

Hello January. It’s cold. My feet get cold when I try to wear cool spring boots. I’m dreaming of sun, sandy beaches and heat. In the midst of this cold front, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to stay present with winter. I’ve been finding my mind drifting to summer plans, vacations and wishes of flip flops every time I stop to think.

Amidst these feelings, I have been integrating more mindfulness into my daily life by taking the time to enjoy the warm comfort of a hot cup of tea, cuddling in jogging pants and woolly socks, and trying my hardest to become friends with the cold by any means possible. I’ve also become so grateful for the heat of my yoga practice, in a hot room or otherwise. There’s nothing like the feeling of coming out of the cold and into a room heated to 40 degrees to warm you up from the core all the way to the fingers and toes. I also noticed that the minute I enter periods of high stress or challenges, my meditation practice really takes a beating. When I need it the most, I turn away from my daily sit, coming up with excuses not to quiet my mind. This realization coincides perfectly with a new meditation challenge I just signed up for on Tuja Wellness. If you know me, you know my “type A” personality loves a good structured challenge, so I jumped at the chance to join. One of my first yoga teachers, an inspirational and wonderful Montreal-based yoga teacher named Dawn Mauricio, is facilitating the challenge along with a handful of wellness experts. My intention when I signed up is to use this challenge to reintegrate a daily meditation practice to my routine. Check out the challenge here, and join! Let’s do it together!

In other news, my immune system took a beating this Holiday season as everyone around me was all virus-y. I managed to come out of the Holidays with “only” a throat infection, which I fought valiantly with lots of hot water with lemon, ginger, and oil of oregano. (THANK YOU, ERICA, FOR THIS MIRACLE OIL. FOR REAL – MIRACLE WORKER.) These past weeks, I’ve been building my immune system back up with a daily green smoothie, lots of garlic and ginger, and a warm glass of water with lemon to start the day. My favorite smoothie of the moment is a tart combo of greens and fruit. I’m loving it!

Green Kiss smoothie

1 cup coconut water (or more, depending on how good your blender is…)

½ an avocado

1 cup frozen or fresh mango

Juice of 1 lemon (or peel the lemon and throw it in for extra tartness)

1 large handful of kale

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

A squirt of agave nectar (optional)

Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend!

The avocado gives the smoothie a little fat, so it keeps me full longer! It also makes the consistency soooo creamy. I don’t add agave, because I like my smoothies tart, but if you’re not into that type of thing, add some sweetener! The cool thing about green smoothies is you can mix and match lots of different combos. If you don’t have kale, sub for spinach! If you don’t have mango, throw in pineapple! I like using coconut water as a base because it is super hydrating, but you can try your favorite non-dairy milk or just plain water if you are running low on supplies. Having a green smoothie for breakfast gives me so much energy, and also gives me a healthy dose of greens to start the day. If you’re new to green smoothies, start small. Add lots of fruit, and just a little bunch of greens. As your taste buds adjust, start lowering your ratio of fruit, and increasing your ratio of greens. The greener, the better!

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No Shampoo Week 1 – Undecided…

17 Sep

… and what a busy week 1 it’s been. I did not think the timing of this challenge through, as i had an event on Sunday where doing my hair was necessary, and I have 3 birthday events next week that require clean-ish hair as well… Woops.

Since the beginning of the challenge, i have washed my hair twice. I’m aiming to wash it every 4 days. I’m at day 4 today, and I’ve got to say it’s feeling pretty greasy. I’m so looking forward to washing it tonight. I knew this would happen, as all the blogs I’ve read about this method mention that 1-2 week period at the start where your hair goes through a sort of detox – readjusting to natural cleanser and lack of chemicals. However, the first three days after washing my hair were glorious! My hair has never felt so healthy, and never looked so vibrant! I washed it on Friday night, air dried it, and straightened it on Saturday morning and Sunday morning for events. It looked GREAT! I didn’t need any hair styling products to get it to stay in place, and it felt clean and light. So the preliminary verdict this early in the challenge is: awesome hair for days 1 through 3, greasy hair on day 4. Hopefully, my hair will re-adjust soon so day 4 can be just as glorious!

In other news, i can confidently state that my hair stops smelling of apple cider vinegar the minute it starts to air dry. (Thank god.) I’ve read posts where people suggest to put essential oils in the ACV mixture to mask the smell, but I’m cool with the straight up mix. I’m just hardcore like that, you know?

I’ve read that avocado is very good for your scalp and hair, so I’ve been incorporating it into my morning smoothie. My current obsession is the following mix – it’s so good!

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water

1/2 of an avocado

2-3 stems of kale (keep the stems on if your blender can handle it – they’re packed with nutrients)

1/2 cup-1 cup of frozen or fresh mango

1 tbsp chia or flax or hemp seeds

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

Throw into your blender and blend!

The avocado brings a creaminess to the smoothie that I’m loving! If you find the smoothie too tart, throw in a squeeze or 2 of agave nectar!

Kale, Cookies, Battlestar Galactica.

5 May

As i departed work on this gloomy, rainy Montreal evening, it dawned on me that tonight would be the perfect night to fill my cozy apartment with the warm smell of chocolate chip cookies, stuff my face with said cookies, curl up on my couch and lose myself in Season 3 of my new obsession du jour; Battlestar Galactica.

However, not one to eat sweets before a proper meal, i decided to whip up a batch of one of my favorite “Mommy makes it better” dishes; spaghetti with rapini. Every time i have tried to make this dish, my efforts have always ended in me calling The Suze, whining that my rapini was too soggy, or that my pasta was too hard. I could never get the timing right. Tonight, i was determined to master this simple dish, a dish one might say has been the bane of my culinary existence for 5+ years. As i scoured the vegetable aisles of my local fruit market, all i could see was kale. Rows and rows of kale took up the place where rapini should have been. Now i am no stranger to kale. I have sauteed and chipped kale with the best of them. (I live for kale chips. No joke, i actually do…) In a moment of inspiration, it dawned on me; why not use kale instead of rapini? The flavor is milder, the cooking time might potentially match that of pasta, and the texture is sublime!

What can i say, my experiment in substitution turned out a million times better than any spaghetti and rapini dish i have ever tried to make. While kale does not have the same bitter taste i adore from rapini, it has a chewy, leafy texture that rapini does not. It also takes well to being boiled, while rapini sometimes tends to fall apart in the boiling process. Kale is super good for you; it’s packed with loads of anti-oxidants, AND it’s anti-inflammatory!

Next time you see a beautiful, lush bunch of kale at the grocery store, pick it up and try this recipe!

Spaghetti with Kale

You will need:

1 bunch of kale, the stems cut off, washed

Enough spaghetti for 2 people – or enough for one supper and one lunch for you, if you live alone like me!

1 lemon

3 fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks

2 cloves of garlic

A pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

Fill a LARGE pot with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, throw in a pinch of salt, the spaghetti and the kale. Keep the heat on high, and boil, stirring VERY frequently.

While the spaghetti is cooking, cook the tomatoes. In a frying pan, heat oil over med-high heat. Add garlic, minced, and stir for a minute or 2. Once the garlic is aromatic, add the tomatoes, and lower heat to medium. cook for a few minutes, stirring. Once you see the tomatoes getting a little mushy, lower the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon and the chili flakes. You want your tomatoes to get really mushy, and you want the juices to come out to create the “sauce” for the pasta. Let the tomatoes cook on med-low heat until the pasta is ready.

Once the pasta is to your desired texture, turn off heat, strain the pasta and kale, and return it to the large soup pot. Throw in your tomato mixture, and toss to coat all the spaghetti and kale. Add pepper and enjoy!

I realize not everyone shares my love and pure excitement for all things vegetable, though i don’t understand why. I’d pick a head of kale over a chocolate chip cookie anyday, but for all those who would go the chocolate chip cookie route, please get in your kitchens and make the following chocolate chip cookie recipe NOW. This recipe kicks all other CC (that’s chocolate chip, for you amateurs) recipes to the curb. It’s chunky, it’s sweet, it’s got oats and cinamon, and it oozes chocolate. What more could you ever want from a cookie?

This recipe comes from Jae Steele’s awesome cookbook “Get It Ripe”. Jae Steele is a Canadian vegan cookbook author who has published 2 excellent books i would highly recommend. “Get It Ripe” was somewhat of my introduction to vegan cooking, and was a sort of Bible for me througout my introduction to veganism. Jae Steele always favors natural sugars and sweeteners, and is very health conscious when it comes to desserts. Her recipes are easy to follow, and her approach is very user-friendly. I recommend her cookbooks to beginner and professional vegans, and carnivores alike, just because she’s awesome!

Cowgrrrl Cookies (Get it Ripe, p. 225)

You will need:

2 cups spelt flour (Trust you me, it’s better for you than all-purpose!!)

2 cups rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

11/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (make sure to read the ingredients and choose the kind with no dairy!)

1/2 cup nuts (i used peanuts, but walnuts are delicious)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 scant cup of sunflower oil (i used canola, but sunflower is better for you…)

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup room temp applesauce

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (artificial = gross, pure = YUM!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add chocolate, nuts and cinnamon and mix throughly. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, blend oil and sugar until throughly combined. Add applesauce and extract and blend. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until all flour is absorbed. Form into tablespoon sized balls in your hands and drop on a cookie sheet. (I always line my cookie sheets with parchement paper, it makes for less clean-up!) Flatten balls a little with your fingers, making sure there is ample room between each cookie. I usually cook 6 cookies at a time, to be on the safe side. Bake in the oven for 13 minutes.

Once the cookies are ready, take the cookie sheet out of the oven, and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Eat. Share. Give to friends. Spread the cookie love.

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(Food porn…)

To all you lucky cats who are scoring yourselves a bag of these babies tomorrow, i hope you love them. And for all you bakers who feel like the recipe makes way too many cookies for your own good, you can freeze the cookies in an airtight baggie, and pull them out to thaw when you get a craving. Which is exactly what i’m doing for my awesome man B’s visit this weekend.

Now, enough about food, the Cylons await…

So say we all.