Here a Kale, There a Kale, Everywhere a Kale-Kale

I love food trends.  It’s fun to see what people create with the hot item of the season, or the month, or the minute.  I over indulged one weekend in New York City when pork belly was all the rage. Bad idea.  My husband and I couldn’t even look at pork belly for about a month.  Then there was the ramp craze.  That wasn’t a big hit with me.  It was just ok. Then kale got the spotlight.  It was (and seems to still be) everywhere!  Is kale even cool anymore?  I will never tire of it.  Of course you could swap it out for turnip greens or Swiss chard, but I still really enjoy kale.  And there are many types to choose.  Check out this blogger who documents 6 kinds: http://www.pigandvine.com/2013/01/garden-6-kinds-of-kale.html

Top Ten Reasons to Eat Kale

  1. It goes with anything! Just Google recipes for kale, and you will find a combination you like.  Say you don’t eat veggies often (a la Ron Swanson), add some quinoa and some grilled chicken.  You prefer sweet entrees?  Make a nice vinaigrette, add some strawberries, maybe throw in some sautéed shrimp, and dinner is served.
  2.  It is super filling. It’s like eating a bowl of rice.  It seems to really expand, and yet I’ve never felt uncomfortably full.
  3. Talk about healthy!? It’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet! It has a ton of fiber, calcium, vitamin B6, A and K, magnesium, etc., etc.  However, I have read that too much kale may interact with some medications and can interfere with the absorption of calcium, so have that milkshake from Jack in the Box another time, and speak with your doctor about drug interactions. I even think you get health benefits for just reading about it!  So well done.  You’ve just increased your magnesium!
  4. You can eat kale, and then feel ok about that Jack in the Box milkshake you will gulp down later!
  5. It’s really tasty, and you feel good eating it.  You know when you donate to a worthy cause or finish a charity run?  That’s how I feel after eating a bowl of kale.
  6. It doesn’t have to be 100% healthy.  Go ahead, throw a pork belly on it.  It won’t judge you.
  7. You can bake them and eat them like potato chips! Or you can have someone else do the work for you.  Thanks, Trader Joe’s! Kale Chips
  8. I think it keeps one regular.  Just being honest.
  9. You can try growing it and talk about it at farmers’ markets so you sound really cool.
  10. It’s so pretty!  You can use it in a floral or table arrangement!

I had lunch the other weekend at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas.  My husband had a delicious steak, and I thought it was very reasonably priced for Vegas.  I ordered the Frisee, Kale, and Warm Bacon Salad with a Soft Poached Egg. Divine.  Again, it doesn’t always have to be healthy!  However, I’m in love with a recipe that doesn’t clog the arteries.  I discovered this recipe in Good Housekeeping (April 2013).  It’s a Dr. Oz recipe (and I now love him because through his show I discovered the cleanse I did last month), and I think it’s a great one for people who already love kale and for those who are not so sure about it.  Another option with this recipe is to blanch the kale first or add the quinoa hot if you are not crazy about eating kale raw.  I’ve read that it is even healthier to eat kale cooked.  You have so many options with this simple recipe!

Apple and Baby Kale Salad

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (*see note below)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used avocado oil just because I like to mix it up every so often.)
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups mixed baby kale (Or use any kind of kale you like.  I like them all!)

Cook quinoa according to the directions on the package; let cool.  (I didn’t let it cool that much.  I just threw it in.)

Whisk together mustard, oil, lemon juice, green onion, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Add apple, kale, and cooked quinoa; toss to combine. And, of course, it’s great topped with sriracha.  Like I even need to mention that (insert eyes rolling).

Why do I love this particular recipe?  First of all, I love the unexpected sweetness of the Granny Smith apples. Second, if you (or someone you know) think you might not like kale, it’s a great introduction.  You could add more quinoa and not use as much kale.  **You could replace the quinoa for something all together – you could add orzo!  Why not?  It would be like a pasta salad with some kale.  Maybe throw in some blue cheese?  OK, I’m just getting hungry now.

Kale and Apple Salad

Even if kale has jumped the shark, I’m not letting this trend go anytime soon!  What’s your favorite food trend?  I’d love to hear about it! And if you head to Vegas anytime soon, check out Mon Ami Gabi.  There’s a patio (no reservations accepted for that area) that is on the strip.  Talk about a great day:  A bottle of wine, steak, kale and watching the lovely people of Vegas walk by!  What could be better?

Take Care and Happy Eating!

Mon Ami Gabi on Urbanspoon

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To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

It’s Day 11 of 30 for me on The Clean Cleanse.  Right about now I’m asking myself “Why did I pick this month to start???”  Reasons why I should have waited: 1) My family was visiting (and they love to eat at new restaurants and old favorites)  2) I’m going skiing with friends for a weekend.  3) St. Patty’s is on a Sunday so that really means it’s St. Patrick’s WEEKEND!

Getting into the St. Patrick's Day mood with my morning shake!

Getting into the St. Patrick’s Day mood with my morning shake!

4) I always love having a huge brunch on Easter Sunday.  4) A good part of the day is spent reading about things like Croissant Bread Pudding.  Hey, thanks a lot, Seaside Baker – Musings of a Mompreneur!

Seriously, check it out: http://theseasidebaker.com/2013/03/13/croissant-bread-pudding/

I mean come on!!!  The truth is that there is never a good time to start this kind of thing.  Something will always pop up.  Also, I have to remember why I decided to do it in the first place.  I’ve been really down, and I wanted to see if all the hype over cleanses had some merit, and I wanted to see if I felt any improvements in my mood.  Other than the first couple of days when I had a headache, it has been relatively simple.  I do have to plan ahead for lunch.  I never want to be in the position where I’m hungry after a workout and decide to grab a foot long sub.  That does sound good though.  On two occasions, I was in a little bind.  This past Sunday, I realized we were out of leftovers from previous meals I made, and there’s no way on God’s green Earth (that’s an expression, right?) I’m going to a supermarket on a Sunday afternoon/evening.  I had some kale, a red pepper, and chicken breasts in the refrigerator.  I seared the chicken with some paprika, and it was served with an impromptu Kale Salad (I chopped some kale, whisked some lemon juice, a small touch of extra virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes together, added some pine nuts and chopped red pepper.) Voila, dinner was served.  And then on Monday, I didn’t have leftovers from Sunday, and I didn’t have time to make lunch earlier in the day.  I had some hummus and a green pepper which was enough to hold me off until dinner.  I wouldn’t recommend eating so little, but stuff happens.

No more srirach for the rest of the cleanse!

No more srirach for the rest of the cleanse!

I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I do feel like I have more energy.  The biggest difference is that I’m not constantly thinking about running into the kitchen for a piece of chocolate or a bowl of cereal.  In fact, I really haven’t had any cravings.  I did pass a Starbuck’s yesterday inside Target.  As I walked by, the overwhelming smell of mochas, lattes and cappuccinos wafted over me.  I will honestly say that I just purely enjoyed the smell.  Would I have noticed it to the degree I had if I hadn’t stopped drinking coffee 11 days ago?  I don’t think so.  Last night I did get a little hungry.  I opted for some unsweetened coconut flakes and some roasted pumpkin seeds.

The house menu for the week is: Sexy Cilantro Shake, Peach Apple Cobbler Shake, Millet Risotto with Artichoke Hearts, Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Tuna Salad with Mixed Greens, Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce, and Clean Salmon Nicoise.  One day I did the Cilantro Shake with fresh papaya and another day without (my papaya wasn’t ripe enough).  I loved it with the papaya.  With the fruit, I added a tablespoon of Flax Seed Oil and some chopped walnuts.  It has been one of my favorites so far. You can’t have peanuts on this cleanse, but many other nuts seem fair game.  I’ve also been adding cinnamon to all of my shakes.  Why not?  It’s tasty and so healthy.

I would highly recommend the Millet Risotto because it was delicious and hearty.  The Salmon Nicoise is a fantastic meal because it is super quick and easy.  I blanched the green beans for a minute or two, just enough to bring out their color, before plunging them into an ice bath.  I prefer my veggies crunchy.

Millet Risotto was killer!

Millet Risotto was killer!

Just had to add a photo of the BEST shake cup ever!

Just had to add a photo of the BEST shake cup ever!

Not a great photo.  I was very hungry that day!

Not a great photo. I was very hungry that day!

I was very surprised by the tuna salad.  I’m a huge fan, so I was a little skeptical of the recipe.

  1. 1 can tuna fish
  2. 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced (**I just added an amount I felt was enough.)
  3. 2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch crescents (**I added a half of a stalk and had the leftover stalks on the side.)
  4. 1/4 cup capers (**Again, I just eyeballed this amount and put in what I liked.)
  5. 2 heaping tbsp dijon mustard (I did about 1 tbsp.)
  6. 1 heaping tbsp miso
  7. 1/4 cup almond milk (maybe a little less, depending on the consistency you want) (**I did less.)
  8. Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  9. A handful of fresh dill (or a tablespoon of dried dill)
  10. Butter lettuce leaves

 

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well-combined. Keep in the fridge, covered, until ready to serve. Serve in lettuce leaves. (**I squirted a Meyer lemon over the salad.)

Refreshing tuna salad with my lemons from my tree.

Refreshing tuna salad with my lemons from my tree.

If your tuna is heavy on the mayo, give this a try.  I was surprised at how much I liked it. It was light and refreshing, and the miso gave it something I’ve never had before in a tuna salad.  I’ll make this one again.

Since I’ve started, I went out to eat twice.  I was a little nervous because I really have been trying to adhere to the rules.  One lunch outing was at Pita Jungle in Hillcrest.  I ordered the Wood-Fired Salmon Salad, and I skipped the dressing.  In lieu of the dressing, I squirted lemon juice over the salad.  I added some sriracha, but I now realize that there’s sugar in it, so I’m refraining from that as well now.  That is a tough one!!!  My friend ordered the Chipotle Black Bean Burger. I’ve had that before, and I loved it.  Pita Jungle is such a great spot.  If you haven’t been there, check it out.  They have a Garlic Dip to die for!!! You might kill someone later with your breath, but oh well.  The food is very fresh, it’s always delicious, and the staff is really friendly.

Pita Jungle's Wood-Fired Salmon Salad

Pita Jungle’s Wood-Fired Salmon Salad

Chipotle Black Bean Burger at Pita Jungle

Chipotle Black Bean Burger at Pita Jungle

My second meal (lunch) out was Point Loma Seafood.  You can order some of the freshest fish and bring your tray upstairs to large open air deck with great views of the Point Loma Marina and downtown San Diego.  Franz opted for sushi, and he couldn’t stop raving about the California Rolls.  He ordered it because he couldn’t recall ever having it with real crab.  He told me the Spicy Tuna Rolls were great, too.  I had to take his word.  It was a bummer not being able to try some, but I’ll be back.  I’ll be back.  My Grilled Ono on a bed of greens was just what I needed.  I like Ono because it is a little heartier, like a cross between halibut and swordfish.  Every single person around me had a fried fish sandwich with fries.  I’m not kidding.  It looked really good.  One child had a Happy Meal from McDonald’s.  Ugh.  I was perfectly happy with my yummy fresh tasting Ono.  Once again, I asked them to hold the dressing, and I grabbed some lemon wedges to use as the dressing.

Not a bad way to cleanse! Point Loma Seafood's Grilled Ono

Not a bad way to cleanse! Point Loma Seafood’s Grilled Ono

I’m not sure if my eyes are whiter or if my skin is more radiant (yet), but I like the way I feel.  I’m surprised that I’ve lost about 8 pounds.  So far, I’m happy I’m giving this a try and I’m looking forward to the next 19 days! Oh God, 19???  haha

All of the Clean Cleanse recipes by Dr. Junger can be found at http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/clean-program-30-day-meal-plan?fb_xd_fragment

If I could cleanse like this everyday, I'd be one very lucky lady! Great views from Point Loma Seafood.

If I could cleanse like this everyday, I’d be one very lucky lady! Great views from Point Loma Seafood.

Take Care and Happy Eating!

Pita Jungle on Urbanspoon

Point Loma Seafoods on Urbanspoon