Tag Archives: kale

the one where I talk about the worm I found on my kale

Hi all. I haven’t been posting very often, and the reason for that is twofold: 1) I haven’t really been making anything interesting worth posting about, and 2) I’ve been kind of bored with my life and haven’t found much reason to update. But something so disgusting and so obscene happened just the other day that I’ve dragged myself here to write it down.

Around noon, when I was sitting at work, I got a craving for something salty and crisp. Remembering I’d purchased a big bunch of kale three days prior, I salivated at the thought of coming home to bake some kale chips. I was so excited because kale chips are the best, and I only recently discovered them. I got home from my workout and even before showering, I decided I wanted to get these puppies in the oven. I pulled out my bag of kale and picked out a few choice leaves.

As I was getting ready to rinse them, I noticed something black and white in the center of the best looking leaf. At first I thought there was just a small rotted piece. The rest of the kale looked fresh so I thought huh, how strange… I was getting ready to cut that piece out and then I realized it was not a rotted piece of the leaf: it was some sort of larva. Larva. In my kale. LARVA.

Did I want to take a photo of this? Yes. But I couldn’t stand the thought of this larva-infested piece of kale sitting on my cutting board while I went to find my camera. I have to assume it was dead but I didn’t let it stick around long enough to find out. My stomach turned. LARVA!

Needless to say, I did not eat any kale chips. I tossed the whole bunch. Poor kale.

This was bound to happen eventually, right? It only makes sense: produce comes from outside. And, duh, so do pests. But did I expect to find larva on my storebought kale? It wasn’t even organic kale, so no, I did not.

The sight of this white larva surrounded by black something-or-other has turned me off of kale for a while, I’m afraid. You best believe I’m going to be thoroughly inspecting my produce from now on. Ugh.

So, that was the bad news, but I have good news too. I’m down 13+ pounds since I’ve started working out in February. I expected a faster weight loss since I have so much to lose (I aim to lose about 40 more pounds). But, instead of beating myself up for this, I’ve decided to embrace it and give myself credit where it’s due. I’m doing well and I should be happy. And, for the first time since high school, I ran 2 miles straight the other day on the treadmill. No, it’s not quite a 5k, and yes, it’s on the treadmill–which is much easier to me than pavement–but it was 2 miles! I’m well on my way. I will get there.

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kale chips are my jam!

I have very particular taste when it comes to vegetables. I love veggies, but I’m set in my routine. The only veggie that I always have on hand is broccoli. It’s my absolute favorite and a definite staple in my diet. It sneaks into all my meals, from tofu scramble to pasta. I’ve even been known to steam broccoli and eat it alone, as a meal in and of itself (though this was more common in my vegetarian days when I’d slather it in cheese).

One cannot subsist on broccoli alone, though. I never tire of it but I’m aware of a deficiency of variety. For this reason, I’ve (begrudgingly) been packing my work lunch with baby carrots. Carrots are not my favorite vegetable, but they’re easy to pack, low in calories, crunchy in a good way, and I can tolerate them raw. The boyfriend and I often disagree about veggies. He’s definitely Team Broccoli, but he’s also more of an asparagus guy, whereas I like to add bell peppers (against his free will) to most of my meals.

While all of the veggies mentioned above are nutrient-rich, there is a vegetable that reigns supreme, especially for us vegans: kale! This is old news, of course, but besides adding kale to my green smoothies, I haven’t spent much intimate time with this cruciferous wonderfood. This handy-dandy chart breaks down the health benefits of kale in a great way, especially for those visual learners out there:

The calcium count doesn’t look huge here, but as someone who has recently realized that they don’t consume near enough calcium, 9.3% per cooked cup is looking pretty darn good. In my MyFitnessPal account, I track my calories, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, and calcium. The only number that I miss by a longshot every single day is calcium. I thought I had it covered in my multivitamin, but my vegan vitamin only offers me 10% of the RDI (and who knows how much of that measly 10% my body is actually absorbing.)

At the store this weekend, I purchased a huge amount of kale. My grocer doesn’t sell it in realistic proportions. I now have a humungous bag of kale in my possession and have taken to creative ways to prepare it so I can waste as little of it as possible. Enter kale chips, something I’ve been weary of but decided to give a try. I had my doubts about this leafy vegetable crisping, yet not burning, in my oven. In fact, it did exactly as it was supposed to. It was magic, and so simple to prepare! I honestly see no reason for potato chips to ever make their way into my kitchen. Kale chips satisfy my hunger for a crispy, salty snack, in just a fraction of the calories–and a huge amount of nutrition to boot!

All you need to do is wash your kale, pat it dry, remove the ribs and chop into approximately 2 inch pieces. For about 2 cups of chopped kale, I used a tablespoon of olive oil, and you really need much less. I tried to pat some of it off because it was over-oiled. Stick your oiled kale on a baking sheet and dust it with sea salt or whatever seasonings strike your fancy (I think garlic powder would be divine). In an oven preheated to 275, bake for 15-20 minutes until kale chips are crispy and are starting to slightly brown on the edges.

That’s it! Crispy, salty, satisfying, and comparatively low in calories when stacked against its over-processed, fattening cousin: the potato chip. Who knew kale could be so tasty?

Gimme some kale love: what’s your favorite way to prepare it? I have a lot to consume by the week’s end!

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(Wheat) meat & potatoes, green smoothies & more!

It’s been a big weekend of food experimentation at chez moi. It has become a weekend tradition to use Saturday afternoon to complete what my boyfriend so lovingly refers to as “the grocery tour.” You see, Whole Foods is quite a distance away but there are several smaller health food stores with less of a selection. And then there’s that whole I’m-on-a-budget thing, so I try to buy as much as I can at the big box stores. It’s not uncommon to stop at three (or four!) stores to stock up on weekly necessities. Yesterday was Jewel, Fresh Market and a local health foods store. I spent a ton of money! And I got tons of things I’ve never eaten, much less prepared…like kale! And brussels sprouts! And seitan! We also bought a new blender. The blender I’d been using is a hand-me-down that must be 15 years old. It was time for an upgrade! And since, sadly, a Vitamix is out of the question, I settled on taking a risk with buying a Magic Bullet. Yes, an “As Seen on TV” item. What is the world coming to? My coworker swears by it and honestly, anything would be an upgrade compared to the sad excuse of a blender sitting in my cabinet collecting dust. But more on that later!

The pièce de résistance of the weekend was my first rendez-vous with seitan. I borrowed this recipe because I was incredibly intrigued and I knew my boyfriend would approve. He loves buffalo wings and I knew, if I could pull it off, he’d love it. The risk was preparing roasted red potatoes and brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts get a bad rap and since I’ve never in my life eaten them, I was sure I could beat the odds and make them delicious. I don’t think I succeeded. I quartered the potatoes and mixed them with the brussels sprouts in EVOO, sea salt, pepper and garlic, cooked for 30 minutes at 400, and the potatoes were delish–but the sprouts left a lot to be desired. I don’t think I necessarily prepared them badly. And I don’t think it was the taste that necessarily turned both of us off. It’s just the texture. Not a fan of the mushy interior. But I did choke down about 3, which is more than I can say about the boyfriend!

The seitan, on the other hand, was a huge hit. I can’t believe how close to the texture of actual chicken seitan is. I’d never eaten it before and it was quite shocking. I had my doubts when I opened the package–the stuff doesn’t look too appetizing, but when all was said and done, it was very tasty!

Other notable finds from yesterday’s “grocery tour” include biscoff cookies, which I’ve been in constant pursuit of since early January (and I’m super excited to find that they have a coffee stand on Pier 39 in San Fran because we’ll be taking a vacation there at the end of April), and a spicy cayenne Theo bar! I’d only been able to find the salted almond previously. Next up will be the coconut Theo bar and then my chocolate fix will be satisfied. 🙂

This morning, I broke out the new Magic Bullet to prepare my first-ever green smoothie. Because the Magic Bullet is so small, you can only prepare one drink at a time. My boyfriend wasn’t very interested in the green part so I modified his recipe–no kale, and he doesn’t do well with citrus fruits so I nixed the orange from his too. Mine was about half a pear, about a quarter of an apple, a few sections of an orange, some kale, about half a banana, and 1/2 cup almond milk. I originally picked up some West Soy soymilk because it was on sale but after opening it and seeing the color/smelling the scent, I quickly opted out of that. It smelled awful and looked even worse. So, the before picture is a bit misleading:

I also didn’t wind up using that much kale since only one of the smoothies wound up being of the green variety.

The result was interesting. I wasn’t quite as impressed with the Magic Bullet as my coworker is. The kale never blended smoothly so there were chunks of it in the finished product. The taste wasn’t bad–I didn’t mind it much at all, in fact–but the texture wasn’t very appealing. I blended and blended and blended some more and it still never really was smooth. And since my boyfriend didn’t want anything of color added to his, his finished product was the color of flesh which doesn’t scream “yum!” to me.

I do feel very healthy after having consumed that as a substitute to my morning coffee! It wasn’t a total meal replacement, I’m embarrassed to admit…I did wind up eating a small bit of hashbrowns as well. 😛

All in all, it was a satisfying weekend of yummy, new foods. Today will be another lazy Sunday capped off with my yoga + book club. I missed class last week because of some bizarre stomach pains/chest pains that I think were just the result of acid reflux. Blah. I feel guilty for missing class so I’m going to really try to make the most of tonight’s class.

Did you eat anything tasty this weekend?

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