Kale Chips

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By now we have all heard of kale chips, if not tasted them, tried making them ourselves or gasped at their high price tag at the grocery store. The first time I ever heard of them, was when I spotted them in a health food store in Southern California. I read the ingredients, bought them, took them home, shared one, possibly two, ate the rest, read the ingredients again and went back and bought more. It went on like this for the duration of my vacation, and by the end of the week, I was certain my insides were green because my teeth certainly were, and I had ordered a food dehydrator on-line (for about the same price as my week-long kale chip-a-thon had cost me) to meet me at home for some fun experimenting.

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It took some trial and error but eventually I figured out a basic recipe that could be enjoyed as is, or swung in other directions with some different herbs and spices.

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Rapini, a Love Story

For reasons that go far beyond the fact that I am currently on a serious kick, let us celebrate rapini. It is also known as broccoli rabe, and is a plant well deserving of two names, as it offers both an abundance of natural beauty and an impressive nutritional profile. You can’t eat tulips, just saying…

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I think of rapini as an adult vegetable, mostly because I didn’t grow up with it, and only truly discovered it when I spent some time working in Toronto where the Italian influence is hot and heavy. I could not get enough of it and always had a big juicy bunch in my fridge, along with some good olive oil, garlic and anchovy paste in a tube for when I got home from work. (In the interest of full disclosure, I may have also folded it into some KD once or twice. I’m not proud if it, I was working with kids).

One of the things I love about this beautiful plant, is what it offers up in terms of variety. From just one vegetable, you get thin, tender stalks, hearty leaves, flavour-absorbing florets, and if you’re lucky, even some flowers. It has a bitter edge (like all good things) and some sweetness too, and needs very little encouragement to shine bright like a diamond.

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Wintery Spring Salad

Spring is a funny time of year for food. We start to crave fresher flavours – salads, smoothies and more raw food, even if Mother Nature is telling us not to put away our winter clothes just yet. This salad speaks well to this awkward time of year. It is fresh yet hearty and full of raw, lush winter vegetables, allowing us to curb those spring time cravings and still eat locally.

This combination of vegetables could be thinly sliced or grated to create more of a traditional coleslaw, but I like the chunkier dice and slice, which really makes for a juicier salad (I’m looking at you cabbage!). My Mom was actually the first person I saw do it this way, no kale massage, no small slices or dices, no apologies, just bold, beautiful vegetables, embracing their voluptuous fibers. You can taste the confidence. Not pictured – a sweet bartlett pear to bring out the sweetness in the vegetables, just dice it up and toss it in with the rest.

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These vegetables vary in colour and pigment, which means that we are getting a large variety of antioxidants from this salad. On top of that, we have the kale and cabbage, both being from the powerful cruciferous family, offering up their mighty I3c (Indole-3-carbinol), crushing cancer like it’s their job.

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It needs to be properly dressed to come together. This dressing is tart and rich, and it compliments this salad very well. It’s creaminess comes from avocado and soaked cashews (instead of mayo/yoghurt), and it is where the fat comes from too, no need for refined oils (we are all about whole fats whenever possible). Add as much garlic as you are comfortable with, if too much raw garlic makes you feel hung-over (anyone?), just add one small clove and some extra green onions. (more…)

Nut Milk – the basics

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The first time I tasted homemade almond milk, I was surprised on so many levels. I couldn’t believe how pleasantly rich it was or how much it tasted like actual almonds (not sure what I thought it would taste like). I still can’t believe how easy it is to make, and how many different nuts and seeds can be made into rich and nutritious milk-resembling substances. Besides its awesome nutrition specs, it is vegan, free of the additives found in the store-bought versions, a functional cow’s milk replacement and delicious in its own right.

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Other nuts make great nut milks too, so be creative and mix it up in order to change up the different nutrients you are getting. The fattier the nut, the fattier the milk (walnuts, pecans, cashews), although you can thin it out with extra water. (more…)