Tag Archives: recipes

Eat those Green Leafy Vegetables!

Kale close up in Norddeich, Dithmarschen

Image via Wikipedia

We all know that children (and many adults) don’t like to eat vegetables.  This information was reaffirmed a few weeks ago when the USDA said good-bye to the pyramid approach and launched their new graphic for illustrating how you should proportion your food throughout the day.  The reason for the relaunch isn’t because there was new information about what is healthy and good, but because people just aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables.  If you don’t believe me or the research, just do a goolge search for “people don’t eat enough vegetables” and not only do you get the research and articles, you get all the excuses and complaints that people use.

Eating vegetables has always been really important in my family.  I’ve been a vegetarian since high school, so all the meals that I make are vegetable based.  My son, however is just as picky about eating vegetables as any typical 3 year old.  It’s always a challenge.  I’ve done everything from decorating his plate to look like a monkey face to hiding vegetables in muffins.

Recently, I found a great recipe idea that tackled one of the healthiest yet most despised (by children) vegetable – the green leafy vegetable.  It takes the often tough and boring vegetable (I used kale) and makes it fun.  It was so great that he even asked for more.  Then we just devoured every bite.

This recipe is sure to please all the vegetable haters in your family.  You will be amazed at how much they will eat.

Kale Chips:

1 head of kale (or swiss chard or other dark green leafy vegetable), wash and remove the tough stems and cut leaves into fun sizes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
seasoning of your choice (salt and pepper, garlic salt, cayenne)

Mix your olive oil with your seasoning in a really big bowl.  Toss the kale in the bowl with olive oil so that all the pieces are coated. Spread the leaves out on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  Bake in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes or until the leaves are really crispy like chips.  Mix them around about 1/2 way though the baking. They will become a beautiful bright green color and start to get brown on the edges.  You want to take them out before they get all brown.

I hope you enjoy them.

 

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Filed under Food, Kid Stuff

Too Many Veggies

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Image by silver_seams (Karen in Wichita) via Flickr

Do you have a garden?  Do you know someone that does?  About this time of year, every year, I get bombarded with home grown vegetables from every one I know. And, everyone grows the same kind; tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and peppers.  I’m not they stay at home for hours and make tomato sauce kind of person, so I’m always trying to find ways to use and eat all these vegetables quickly.  Recently I’ve been making a great Crunchy Chopped Vegetable Salad that I love and my son (amazingly) seems to like as well.  It’s really simple and very versatile so you can change the basic flavors each time you make it so you don’t feel like your eating the same thing every time.

The ingredients are simple: use as many crunchy vegetables as you have lying around.  If you can get a variety of colors that’s great.  I just finished making some this morning and I used: cucumbers from my brother’s garden, tomatoes from by neighbors garden (OK they’re not crispy, but I have so many I really needed to use them up), 1 lone red bell pepper that I needed to use before it went bad, the last few carrot sticks left in the bag, and a few pieces of broccoli (use the left over stem pieces, they work really well in the salad).

The preparation is simple: chop everything up into small pieces (about 1/2 inch pieces or so).  If you are using watery vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes remove the watery seed parts first and just chop the flesh.  Mix it all together and add your favorite salad dressing.  Right now, I”m using Newman’s Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger Dressing.  You can change up the dressings for different flavors.  I would stick to vinegar based dressings if you are planning on storing it for a couple of days, as the creamy dressing will make rather soggy over time.

It’s great as a side for any summer meal, or you can throw some tofu, tuna, or leftover chicken in to make it into a lunch.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Some other variations that I’ve thought of based on the abundance of vegetables that are grown.

Mexican style: red bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, cucumbers, carrots, and avocado with a lime vinaigrette dressing – to make it a meal add black beans and cheddar cheese.

Italian style: green bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, chopped fresh basil and oregano with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing – to make a meal add tuna or white beans with some mozzarella cheese.

French Style: green bell peppers, radishes, celery, chopped fennel, chopped fresh rosemary with a honey mustard dressing – To make a meal add almonds and goat cheese.

Americana style: red bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes, celery, carrots, broccoli with a red wine vinaigrette dressing – to make a meal add chicken or tofu and some cheddar cheese.

The alterations are endless.  Let me know what combination you make.

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Filed under Food, Greening Your Life