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Summery Kale Salad – and easy to bring to work tomorrow!

Continuing to use warm days as our motivation for healthy eating choices, this is a recipe very simple yet delicious

Here is what you need:

Chopped Kale: 3 cupsfresh kale and oranges salad

Cube cut oranges: 1 cup

Dried cranberries: 2 tbsp

Almonds: 1 tbsp

Dressing: I really like how this dressing from Epicurious goes with this salad. Check it out here!

Hope you like it too!

Warm up today with this heart healthy “Cream” Kale Soup!

Kale doesn’t appeal to everyone, bitter, too hard, too strong flavoured, reasons are tons.
Kale SoupThis recipe will allow you to benefit from all the goodness in kale (high in fiber, in antioxidants Like Quercetin and Kaempferol, It is an Excellent Source of Vitamin C. Kale Can Help Lower Cholesterol, Which May Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease) while enjoying a warm and low calorie soup.

You need:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup of lightly steamed kale leaves
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of broth (or water for an even lower sodium version)
  • 1/3 cup of flour

Sautee  the onion and kale in coconut oil until a little tender but not totally transparent (so you don’t loose most vitamins due to the heating process) Add the apple and set it aside.

If you have a Vitamix or similar, you can add all the ingredients and use “soup” option and voila! dinner is ready

If you don’t own one transfer the liquids (milk, broth or water) and flour to a pan in low-medium heat and stir while adding the apple, kale and onion. Once is warm enough you may want to use a food processor or hand blender to puree and have a delicious “cream” kale soup.

I served it with a toast cut in cubes.

Low Carb Veggie Quiche

Low Carb Veggie QuicheAs a vegetarian some times I need to pay close attention to my carbohydrate intake, that tends to be high.

That’s why I came up with this low carb crust  for any of my veggie pies. The quiche has definitely a different nutty flavor but sbtle enough that works well with any filling you may like.

Here is what you need:

  • Almond flour; 1 1/2 cup
  • Butter; 1/4 cup (melted)
  • Parmesan cheese; 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Salt; a pinch

Mix all the ingredients with your hands. Almond flour will quickly absorb the liquid (melted butter) and you may want to add a little more. This is to your taste. The dough will be a little drier if you do so.

I cover a deep pan and set aside

Filling:

  • Chard / kale / spinach mix: 1 lb
  • Organic eggs; 3
  • Sour cream 2%, 1 cup
  • Salt and Pepper; to taste

Chop the vegetables and add the eggs, mix well, incorporating the sour cream later. Add salt and pepper.

Add to the almond flour crust and bake at 420 for about 25 mins

You can serve with a simple tomato salad or fresh cut carrots and celery to add crunchiness

Comfort Food Friday

I tend to associate comfort food with weekend days …and because I usually do not plan our meals as good as weekdays’ meals the “weekend / Friday night comfort foods ” end up full of calories but without much nutrients, lefting me/us feeling heavy, bloated, cranky.

This Friday I decided to address this preparing a hearty but also comforting meal for Friday night.

Here is my recipe and some tips and tweaks to it:

Ingredients:

Kale; 1 cup: Benefits of kale are so many but just to mention a few: high in fiber so good to “detox”, in calcium and Vitamins C and K and Iron. Omit this ingredient if you are taking blood thinners.

(tweak 1: can replace for spinach or a blend of kale and swiss chard that you can buy at your local store)

Mushrooms any type; one cup. One cup of grilled portabella mushrooms and one cup of stir-fried shiitake mushrooms both provide about 3 grams of fiber.

Pepper; 1 small. Peppers are well known for their amount of Beta Carotens and Vit B6, also sulfur that has shown to prevent some types of cancer. Lastly it contains  Lutein that our eyes need to keep healthy and avoid Macular degeneration and Cataracts.  I chose red or oranges to add color to the recipe.

Onion; 1 small. The phytochemicals in onions along with their vitamin C help improve immunity. They also contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.

Coconut oil;  1 – 2  tbsp. This oil contains healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids that prevent heart disease and high blood pressure among other chronic conditions.

In a sauce pan put your coconut oil to heat, add onions finely chopped and pepper. If you find you need more “liquid” as the veggies are getting too dry, you can either add more coconut oil or if you prefer to lower the calories or not to add more “nutty” flavour add canola oil.

Once they are almost transparent in color, add the mushrooms, cover and a few mins after add the kale hand cut in about 3×3 cm (say you cut each big leaf in three, smaller ones in two). Cover again and turn off the heat after a minute or so.

Remove from heat. Can add some salt and/or pepper to taste.

You can serve it by itself or with a cup size portion of white rice or whole wheat pasta. It also goes well with a whole wheat toast!

stir fry

 

 

KALE

Loved and hated, we cannot but admit that Kale is a super food. But is it all good about it? Let’s go over some research and evidence then.

In the last few years kale has been part of the nutritional new trends. From just looking at it it is a pretty tough veggie to eat. Leaves are dark and somewhat hard. If you ask me, far from attractive to eat. If you eat it raw it is bitter and strong flavoured so its use has been promoted in smoothies, juices, chips, but will still keep its superfood properties once processed or heated?. Let’s dig in a little more.

Kale growing in ceramic pot, close-up

The PROS:

Vitamin C: gram for gram, kale has more than twice the vitamin C as an orange. This is when we eat it raw, if cooked, a percentage will be lost.

Healthy fats: kale is a great source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), the omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health, reduces Type 2 diabetes risk and boosts heart health as well. Each cup has 121 mg of ALA.

Calcium: kale has 150 mg of calcium per 100 grams, and studies show that its absorption is greater than the calcium from milk (Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Apr;51(4):656-7. Calcium absorption from kale.)

Antioxidants: kale is rich in sulfur, which helps produce glutathione,an important antioxidant in the body.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which function as antioxidants in the body and improve eyesight. This pair of antioxidants combines to increase the amount of pigment in your macula, which means protection from the sun and a lower risk of macular degeneration.

Take a look at the label I prepared equivalent to a cup of chopped kale, get the picture?

There are tons of ways to eat kale, a few very simple ways to get started:

Juice: 1 cup of kale plus 1 apple. Drink within 30 mins to absorb all its nutritional benefits.

kale-juice

Chips: cut the leaves, spray them with olive oil and add a pinch or marine salt. Bake in the oven at 350 F degrees for 10 minutes. Let them cool. Can keep in an air tight container.

tray-kale

Salad: just finely chop it and add Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, or almond butter to make fat-soluble carotenoids more available to the body.

127-kale-and-avocado-sal400

The CONS:

But, is it all good and good for everybody?

People taking blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) should consult with their physician prior to changing their kale consumption, as all the vitamin K in kale can interfere with that medicine.

Those who have a cruciferous vegetable allergy. It’s very rare, but some people are allergic to kale and other crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Be mindful as you introduce more roughage into your diet. kale should be eaten in moderation because eating large amount of leafy greens can cause bloating, gas, and constipation.

Lastly, according to the Environmental Working Group, kale is one of the most likely crops to have residual pesticides. The organization recommends choosing organic kale (or growing it yourself!).

 

My own growing kale!

my-kale1