Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kale Chips and Brussels Sprouts

Who knew kale chips and brussels sprouts were so delicious? Not me and certainly not my children. Below are 3 recipes that I wish I could say I had been using for years because they are so yummy.  More importantly my children could have been eating these nutritious veggies expanding their list of veggies from 6 to 8. 

Of my own free will I would not readily chose to cook kale and have zapped brussels sprouts in the microwave on the rare occassion.  I only contemplated cooking these veggies because in the months leading up to the holidays I saw chefs on TV cooking brussels sprouts in a tempting way. And for years the radio hosts on Martha Stewart's Morning Living radio program have been singing the praises of kale chips.  I was intrigued by how everyone would lavish "yums and mmmmm" over the food, but didn't have the nerve to cook them.  Why not you ask?

  1. HOURS:  I assumed that making kale chips would take hours. My prior experience with making banana chips was a 17-hour wait using the food dehydrator.  I ate most of the bananas while in the process of dehydrating because it took so dang long. We donated our dehydrator because it occupied up a lot of space and had only used it 4 times.
  2. THE SMELL: I was turned off with the thought of cooking brussels sprouts because...well, frankly they smell like farts when cooking which isn't very appetizing. I had only cooked frozen sprouts before and I assumed the fresh ones would smell worse.
Getting my family to eat healthier has been weighing heavily on my mind. We need to eat more fish and green veggies. I decided it was time to take the plunge. When I got home from the grocery store I showed my husband the brussels sprouts. He was amused that they grew on stalks. He thought they grew in the ground like little cabbages which sounds so cute.  The recipe below is one that I had scrawled on a 3x3 post it note.  I don't remember where I got this recipe. I have recipes lying around the house on various papers and in spirals.
The solution to the bad smell from cooking brussels sprouts is to burn a lot of candles throughout the house while cooking.  The smell does go away and it is definitely worth it!

  1. Cut sprouts off stalk and remove yellow leaves.
  2. This is when I pre-heat my oven to 400 degrees because cutting the sprouts off the stalks and peeling the leaves can take more than a couple of minutes and I find it wasteful to have an oven on for no reason.
  3. Rinse well in a colander.
  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and tumble sprouts onto pan.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Gently toss to coat brussels sprouts evenly.
  8. Roast for 35 minutes.  
  9. Stir sprouts in the middle of roasting.

Pre-heat about 2 inches of oil at a medium setting.  
Clean and towel dry sprouts.  It is important that you dry the sprouts or the oil will splatter. 
You can cut the sprouts in half if you prefer more of the sprout to be fried. 
Fry brussels sprouts for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
The sprouts should be light brown.  
DO NOT fry in high heat or the oil will pop like crazy.  
Place on paper-towel lined plate.
Season with salt and pepper.


Hubby and I want to eat healthier, but we love to eat crunchy things. There's just a satisfaction we receive from the crunch.  However, there's not really a lot of health food that is both crunchy and delicious and it feels as if we are on a never-ending search for healthy, crunchy food that is low in carbs.  
While dropping my kids off at school I heard Betsy Karetnick on the radio talking about kale chips again and she said it was fast and easy to make - not the hours I assumed. 

The Martha Stewart Kale Chips Recipe was a little vague. I was a first time kale user and it didn't say what to do with the stalks. So I searched for more recipes. There were a lot to chose from and I was a little overwhelmed. I am definitely jumping the kale chip bandwagon a little late.  

I found 2 recipes that I liked and combined them to suit my personal way of cooking.
http://www.shutterbean.com/kalechips/   I like this recipe because she used the word "glug" to describe the amount of olive oil to use and presented pictures.
http://eatdrawlive.com/kale-chips/  I like this recipe because it uses coconut oil and spices.

I tried using both oils.  Olive oil gives it a nutty flavor and coconut oil has no flavor at all which is what my kids prefer - no taste.

Rhonda's Kale Chips Recipe
1 bunch of Kale
Olive oil or Coconut oil (I used about 2-4 tablespoons. This really depends on the amount of kale you have)
Coarse salt
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.  
  2. Cut the kale leaves off the stalk.  You can tear off the leaves but a knife is faster.  
  3. I leave some leaves large and cut some in half. (large for me; smaller for kids)
  4. Rinse leaves well and dry with a salad spinner but towel drying is fine.
  5. In a large bowl toss the kale with the oil. 
  6. Place kale on parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Sprinkle salt to taste.  Be careful it's easy to over-salt.  
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  9. Upon immediate removal from oven sprinkle with Parmesan cheese so it will melt. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Me and the Skinny Salesgirl

I'm going to preface this post with the fact that I'm not a skinny girl.  I'm not obese either. I'm actually in the range of the national average size of a woman.  I'm not fooling myself.  I can definitely stand to lose weight and get in better shape, but I don't stand out in the crowd because of my weight. That's why they call it average. (Of course, I don't want to be average but that's another post on another day.)

Over the course of 20 years I've tried many different diet pills and most of them have had a negative effect on me. The ingredients hoodia and phenethylaminemake make me jittery or nauseated and actually put me in a bad mood.  The natural diet pills with acai, green tea, etc don't have any negative effects but they definitely do not work. I don't know if Alli actually works because I quit taking it after I almost had a bathroom accident in a parking lot.  With Alli you have to be near a bathroom ALL the TIME and that's just not possible.  I've also tried getting a prescription for diet pills but no doctor is willing to give me a prescription because and I quote "Oh, you can lose it on your own."  Really doc, just one month prescription, please?!?!

3 years have gone by since I tried a diet pill. I thought maybe by now there's a natural version on the market that really works.  So I went to GNC to look for an appetite suppressant and this is what transpired:

After looking around GNC and reading at least 10 different labels I finally decided on a protein shake for women that was a combination of an appetite suppressant, vitamins, and a metabolism booster. I really liked that the product was GMO-free and had a list of ingredients that were familiar. There was no flavor listed so I held up the tube asked the salesgirl if she had ever tried the product.

She said she didn't like the product because it had too much sugar. I looked at the label and the only sugar I could find listed was honey. That really didn't bother me. I told her I was looking for an appetite suppressant that didn't contain the bad stuff like hoodia.

The salesgirl walked around the counter towards the wall of protein shakes and I followed hoping she had the answer. Instead of showing me what I asked about she started pushing the GNC brand Lean Shake.  She said it had less sugar and was lower in carbs.  I said yes, however the price difference is $15 and the label promotes meal replacement, not natural appetite suppressant and I didn't know what half the ingredients were either. Salesgirl said she drinks it for breakfast so she knows it tastes good.  I eyed the salesgirl's very thin frame suspiciously and my eyebrow shot up. I asked her what she was using it for and she told me she was in light weight competition. So now I'm wondering if the product actually works or if she is just working off every inch of fat for competition. She's got motivation. I'm looking for something because I don't have motivation.

I said "Yes, but I want an appetite suppressant and this is just a meal replacement."

Skinny said, "If you use the shake as a meal replacement then you don't need the appetite suppressant."

I looked at the obtuse, young girl and thought to myself, "This skinny chick doesn't understand that I need help with appetite control."  I've had my fair share of meal replacement shakes and after 2 hours I'm hungry again.  So I said "No, I really want an appetite suppressant."

Then she picked a shiny glass bottle off the shelf and handed it to me.  The glass bottle was so pretty and the golden pills inside looked promising.  It was called Ab Cuts. I looked at the price tag of $60 which made me think that this must really work.  I quickly read the label but it didn't say anything about appetite suppressant.

I held the bottle up and asked "What's this for?"
She said, "That's to help you get rid of the fat around your waist and thighs."
My mind screeched to a halt...should I be offended?
I quickly figured no offense since I'm asking about appetite control anyway.  It is what it is, right?
So I flipped the bottle over and it was only a combination of herbal supplements like borage oil and other oils which didn't seem worth the $60.  Skinny pointed out that it was on sale fo $30.  Nope, still not worth it.  Most of the oils listed is stuff I've already taken before. So I put the bottle back on the shelf and again said that I was looking for natural appetite suppressant and it didn't have to be in a protein shake form. Just need something to help me.  She insisted that the Ab Cuts was exactly what I needed and if I also used the Lean Shake to replace 2 meals a day it would help me with my problems.

Wait a minute...what does this skinny girl know about my problems?  Moreover, implying that my stomach and thighs are my problem.  I only told her I was looking for an appetite suppressant.  If there was a pill that would help me with my problems it would be call "Autism & ADD Away" or "Negative People Repellent" or "Forget My Stupid Mistakes" that I could slip into someone's cup.
I know I need to lose some LBs but she was making me feel like I was Jabba the Hut.
At that point I started to feel very uncomfortable and was thankful that another customer walked in.
I told Skinny to help the other customer while I thought about it.  Then I walked around pretending that I was thinking about it, turned the corner and shot out the door.
In the car I told myself I was being too sensitive about her comments and that she was just stating the truth about my hips and thighs.
But even if she was stating the truth it still cut me to the core.
It's times like these when I think about all the stupid stuff I said I was young.
I sincerely apologize to anyone reading this if I've ever hurt you with my words.

So I guess there's still no magic diet pill that has been invented yet and I just have to learn to live with the hungry feeling if I want to lose weight.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Free Sample of SPORTea

Free Sample of SPORTea

I actually drink SPORTea for energy. It is a healthy alternative to sodas and coffee.  It does not contain chemicals and doesn't make me feel jittery or nauseated like some energy products.
Each box costs about $6 - 8.  It's actually not expensive because each box has 7 tea bags and each bag brews one quart of tea.  Brews 28 cups of tea total.
I suggest getting the free sample and see how it works for you.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Never to Be Foiled Again

Last night as I was preparing tacos and talking to my husband I zealously pulled foil out of the box. The entire roll came flying out like a magic carpet unrolling onto the floor. Oops! It's because I don't have good hand-and-mouth coordination that this happened.  It was no big deal; hubby put the foil in the recycling bin and we ate dinner. But a little part of me still felt guilty about wasting money.

So this morning I was on Pinterest looking for nothing in particular but what should catch my eye is a pin on Reynold's Foil Wrap locking mechanism.  I was totally like "Duh!"  Then I had a flash back to a moment years ago when my husband pointed this out to me.  ("See honey, you do get justified.")  So I thought I would share this tidbit because it's just one of those things that we don't pay any attention to until we need it.  I think this discovery comes in a timely manner as Super Bowl weekend rolls around and many will be entertaining and possibly indulging in a few alcoholic beverages. They too might unroll the foil with a bit of gusto in all the excitement.


As long as I'm talking about foil I decided to look on Wikipedia to see which side of the foil to use: shiny or dull?  I once heard on TV that the shiny side has a coating that protects your food.  I always place a layer of parchment paper between the food and the foil  to prevent aluminum contamination.  As I was about to dig further into researching this I got sidetracked by this cute ladybug picture when I scrolled down.  The ladybug reminded me of a Martha Stewart painting tip even thought they have absolutely no correlation.  (Did I mention that I might have ADD?)  As soon as I finish writing this I'm going to dig the foil out of the recycling bin so I can save it for my next paint job.  I'm so glad I'm not wasting after all.

Back to the question of whether to use the shiny or dull side of foil.  I found a site Toxic Cookware that says to use the dull side of the foil.  Now I wonder who's correct.  The person on TV who said to use the shiny side or this website that says to use the dull side?  Can anyone help me with the answer to this question?

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