Eat more kale…and here’s how (RECIPE)


Am I the poster child for kale or what?  If you too want to wear your love of kale on your chest, support a good cause and go here to buy one of these babies.

So, the next question is…HOW do I eat more kake?

Answer: It’s so easy!  Kale goes with everything, even chocolate.  Yep, I’ve downed my share of chocolate protein shakes with kale included and I swear, you don’t even taste it. Promise.

My favorite kind of kale is Lacinato kale, AKA Dino kale.  It’s easy to work with because the leaves are soft and less ‘wrinkly’, but in general I’m an equal opportunity kale consumer.

Tonight, to celebrate the arrival of my new shirt, I made this fabulous and very easy kale-inspired recipe


Quinoa, black bean and kale salad
2 cups cooked quinoa, slightly cooled (I cooked mine in the rice cooker with broth)
1 can each: corn and Trader Joe’s Cuban black beans
1.5 cups of finely chopped kale (also from Trader Joe’s in my case)
2 tbsp each: EVOO and fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped scallions
1-2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
spices (about 1 tsp each)  cumin, sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

Mix the spices, cilantro, scallions with the oil and lemon juice in a bowl, set aside.  Toss the corn and beans with the quinoa.  Add the oil/lemon and mix half-way. Add kale and mix in thoroughly but try not to ‘mush’ the salad – toss lightly.

Chill and let the spices sink in! Enjoy.

This makes about 5-6 cups of salad, and I think it pairs nicely with white fish, such as Tilapia.

more excellent uses for kale (recipe)

Kale is just about the coolest veggie ever made. I sit here writing this post between spoonfuls of a delicious and easy to prepare soup I made that uses kale. Earlier today we threw some kale in the veggie scramble that fueled our bike ride and last night I struck up a conversation with a friend about kale and smoothies. What other veggie can offer so much diversity.

Below is the soup recipe. I’d love it if one of you bloggies would try it out, and let me know your thoughts or what you did to make it even better. It’s hearty, low fat, high fiber and even my husband loves it. A+ in my book

Butternut squash soup (with kale!)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 large yellow onion (preferably one from your friend’s garden, such as the one I used)
6 cups of chicken stock (or whatever stock you have handy)
1 bunch of kale, chopped into 1″ pieces and de-stemmed (at least the bottom)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of cannelloni beans (organic if possible)
1 3″ sprig of rosemary (like the one I gleaned from the rosemary bushes that grow along my running path this morining)
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
Olive oil (EVOO)

In a large stock pot add about 1-2 Tbsp EVOO and the onion. Sweat the onion for about 3 min on med. heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir for 1 more minute. Add the squash and mix. Let it cook for about 2 minutes and then add the stock (warm stock up to room temp before adding it). Add the herbs and bring to a “just boil” for about 15-20 minutes, until the squash is soft.

Now, if you want to make it thick and creamy, use an immersion blender to blend the stock with the squash/onion. Take out the rosemary sprig before you do this!. You can also put it in the blender but this is tedious. It will also taste good just as it is (chunks). After blending add the beans and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add the kale and another pinch of salt/pepper. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or drop it down to low-med and simmer it for about 15-20 minutes. Avoid over wilting the kale.

Serve in a ceramic bowl with a big ol’ soup spoon and all will be well on this chilly November evening. I bet a dollop of sour cream (or thick plain yogurt better yet!) would be tasty on this too.

Okay, back to my soup!

sexy meatloaf

What?  Is that an oxymoron?  Nope, I don’t think so.  This recipe isn’t something you’d see in Grandma Betty’s cookbook and it doesn’t involve ketchup and whatever was left over from the weekly meal.  It’s a …hmm…more sophisticated meat loaf.  Plus, the fact that it’s cooked in the muffin tins to give each person their own little hand-held serving just makes it even more fun!  The Gorgonzola cheese is really what makes it, as it pops the flavor.  The quinoa is a nice way to add some texture and keep it Gluten-Free too.

This worked nicely to have as lunch treats for the week.  Matt and I each added 1-2 to our typical lunch salad and it took the thought out of how I was going to get protein into my lunch meal.


Quinoa Meatloaf

Serves 5 as a meal or 10 as a snack


This is the most recent addition to the cookbook and it’s fantastic.  I make it as a muffin topped with Gorgonzola cheese.  This somehow makes it feel more special and interesting than just meatloaf.  Like most meatloaf recipes, this one is pretty forgiving so play with it!


1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
2/3 cup chicken broth
20 oz low fat ground turkey
1 cup finely chopped greens, such as collards or kale
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp each; cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
4 oz gorgonzola cheese


Cook the quinoa with the broth by bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 20 minute.  Let it cool and set aside.  Once cool, mix with everything but the gorgonzola cheese.  Ideally, let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours to absorb the flavor.  Meanwhile grease about 10 muffin tins.  Evenly distribute the mix among the tins.  Top each with ½ oz of crumbled gorgonzola.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, depending on your oven.  Muffins should be slightly browned and cheese will be semi-melted, as this cheese doesn’t melt like cheddar.


Summer in a bowl


As I prepare for the big family camping trip to Burney Falls, I wanted to make a new salad – something the family hasn’t seen before and that satisfies the requirement of being summer-esque, full of veggies, and doesn’t taste too healthy.  I piggy-backed off the concept of a quinoa salad I prepared last week for a bbq that was a HUGE hit and use barley and corn instead of quinoa and cucumber.  In short: it ROCKS!  Super easy, vegan, and prepped in no time at all!

“Summer in a bowl” Barley Salad

2 cups dried pearled barley (or quick barley from Quaker)
4 cups water or veggie broth
2 tsp each: salt, cumin, powdered onion, pepper, paprika, dried parsley
Cook barley with above spices and liquid as directed or in a rice cooker.  Set aside and cool.

1 can organic corn OR kernels from 2-3 fresh cobbs, removed
½ large bunch kale, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp EVOO
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp each:  salt, paprika

Mix corn, parsley and kale together in a Tupperware.  Add oil, lemon juice and spices.  Close the lid and shake vigorously.  Add to a large bowl, mixing in the cooked barley.  Serve cold.


Holidays always remind me of how much family activities are rooted in tradition.  For instance, here it is Easter.  While we’ve all grown older, evolved to new levels of maturity and experience, and are living somewhat different lives than we did when I was 7, certain traditions stay the same.  They are rooted, so to speak.   Sometimes that means we all partake in the same tradition as we’ve always done, such as watching golf on TV with Dad between exits to the front yard to toss the frisbee, play with a ball or check on the bbq.  It’s something you can set time to, it never changes.  Sometimes it means the new generation takes on the tradition, such as my nephew devouring his jelly beans before 12pm.  That used to me my job, but I watch proudly as he takes the helm on O.D’ing on candy 😉

The Easter meal is also a very much rooted in tradition.  It’s always lamb.  As a kid I HATED that but now my palate is a little more savvy, so it’s a real treat.  Given that mom is Greek and Easter is a big deal in Greek culture (though it’s celebrated NEXT Sunday, which is Orthodox Easter), it was all about Greek food.  How could I grow up detesting the tray of Kalamata olives, feta and spanikopita that kept us fed until the big mid-day meal?  Who knows?  Apparently those decadent tastes don’t mix well with peeps.

I decided to take on the tradition of  contributing to the family meal this year buy whipping up my own version of Spanikopita – Off White style.  It’s a new twist on an old tradition.  Here is the recipe.  I think it’s a good one:

1 package of Whole Wheat Phyllo dough (Health food store)
1 large onion, diced
2-3 lbs of greens, chopped (I mixed kale and spinach)
2 stbsp chopped parsley
4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz part-skim ricotta
5 oz feta (I used an Israeli feta because it’s the only deli feta I could find)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp: dill, nutmeg, pepper, oregano
2 tsp sea salt
Olive oil to baste the phyllo dough, preferrably with a basting brush

Sautee the onions in oil for 3 minutes.  Add the greens/parsley and cook down until they are soft.  Mix the pepper and lemon juice and 1tsp of sea salt with the greens in the pan while cooking.  Cook down for about 5 minutes.  In the meantime, mix the eggs, ricotta, feta, spices in a very large bowl.  Add the spices and mix.  When the greens are done cooking, mix into the egg/cheese mixture.

In a 9×12 pan, lightly coat the bottom of the pan w/oil.  Add 3 layers of phyllo dough and lightly baste with oil.  Repeat 3-4x so there are 9-12 pieces of phyllo.  Add the greens/egg mixture.  Cover with 3 layers of phyllo dough and lightly coat with oil, just as we did for the bottom layer.  The top should have about 9-10 pieces of phyllo.  Trim the edges of dough so it’s not hanging over the pan (it bakes and gets crispy and just flakes off, making a mess).

Bake on the middle rack @350 for 45 minutes, covered.  You can uncover for the last 5 min if you want a browned top.

Serve warm or cold, but always with love!

Hail to Kale


The beginnings of a spinach kale and veggie frittata

In preparation for my upcoming cooking class at the Davis Coop next Monday, I came upon this article about all the benefits of kale.

It got me thinking.  Why do we, as a culture, pay homage to junk like Gingerbread Latte’s, soda, overstuffed burritos and all that kind of food  when the payoff for eating things like kale and other greens is SO MUCH HIGHER!  Kale alone has been associated with reducing cancer risk (along with it’s cousin Brussel Sprouts), is high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium and potassium and more.  Furthermore, and maybe most importantly for Off-White eaters, foods like kale with a bitter principle can help reduce carb cravings and promote optimal digestive movement.

If only the fruit and veggie industry had the marketing budget of McDonald’s or Dow chemical (who, but the way, also makes a lot of food products – hopefully not at the same place that make your scrubbing bubbles to clean your bathroom!).  If only our ‘optimal default’ behavior was to hanker for kale and not Krispy Kreme.  I realize that we are hard wired to want sweet/fat because at one point it acutally helped us survive to indulge when we came upon a crop of nuts or honey as we foraged.  But can you tell me about a SINGLE food from nature that is both HIGH CARB and HIGH FAT at the same time.  Even milk, which has carbs and fat, is relatively low in the carbs compared to a plate of nachos or bowl of pasta tossed with olive oil.

Part of the issue is that we don’t know how to prepare kale or other greens in a tasty way.  They don’t grown from the ground being super tasty, I’ll be honest.  But when you cook with them properly and add flavor to them they become delicious.  At some point I went from detesting such foods to actually putting raw kale in my salad.  Does the pleasure center of my brain light up the same as when I’m eating a piece of cheesecake, or even a banana…no.  It doesn’t.  But the wellness centers of my brain are on fire!  And that is what really counts.

Perhaps some of you can join me April 18th @ 6pm at the Davis Food Coop for the “I HEART KALE” class.  It’s only $25 for non-members and you’ll get a ton of food, learn a lot, and meet other like minded kale-consuming hopefuls.



A new twist on spinach dip

Dips don’t have to be calorie traps or even unhealthy.  check out this recipe which is yet ANOTHER way that you can fit kale into your life…how great is that:

1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup each: chopped fresh spinach and fresh kale
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 meyer lemon
salt, pepper to taste
2 tbsp french onion soup mix, or dried onion/garlic/parsley

Real simple folks: mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Chill and serve with your favorite accoutrement, such as Rye crackers from this company