Roasted Kale Chips with Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Kale chips are one of my favourite foods to munch on right now. They are easy to make and are great as a snack or as a side to stews, casseroles, or veggie burgers. I usually just drizzle the kale leaves with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt, and bake, but you can season them anyway you want. This was a tasty variation I came across. It added just enough flavour without overpowering the naturally great taste of baked kale.

I find that for best results make sure the kale is completely dry before drizzling with olive oil and adding your seasonings. This makes for crisper chips that cook more evenly.

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Roasted Kale Chips with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F and prepare a baking sheet (or 2 depending on how much kale you have)
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Remove tough stalks from kale, tear into medium-large pieces.
  3. Place kale into a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Add chili powder, salt, and cheese. Toss to coat.
  4. Arrange kale on baking sheet in a single layer, and bake about 10-12 minutes until the kale is crispy but not too brown.
  5. Allow a minute or 2 to cool and then serve.

Recipe adapted from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-kale-chips-parmigiano-reggiano

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Orzo & Arugula Salad with Lemon Thyme Dressing

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This is another quick and tasty salad that you can make for dinner and then pack for lunch the following day. When I make grain salads I usually eat them as the main part of my meal and therefore like them to be packed with vegetables and have some protein. When I made this salad I found that the final product did not have enough vegetables for me. I enjoyed it a lot more with some cucumber and tomato added in. I didn’t include cucumber and tomato on the ingredients list as I wanted to leave it open for you to be able to add whatever extra vegetables might be hanging around your fridge. Next time I make this salad I will consider adding some shredded carrots or beets and maybe some lentils.

Grain salads can be really versatile, so be creative the next time you make one and experiment with different grains, vegetables, cheese, and nuts.

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Orzo & Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo
2 cups arugula or spinach
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
3-4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans
Squeeze of lemon

Lemon thyme vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (1 tbsp dried thyme)
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Cook the orzo in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients for the lemon thyme vinaigrette. Set aside.
  3. Place the arugula in a large bowl. When the orzo is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop the hot orzo over the arugula.
  4. Add the feta cheese, and pour in some of the dressing. Toss to combine, the arugula will begin to wilt.
  5. Add as much or little of the dressing as you like. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.loveandlemons.com/2012/06/18/orzo-arugula-salad-lemon-thyme/

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Light Cream of Celery Soup

Don’t be scared off by the word “cream”in the title of this recipe. This soup doesn’t actually have any cream in it. The smooth mouth feel and richness are thanks to the skim milk/sour milk/kefir, potatoes, and pureed texture.
There aren’t a lot of seasonings in this recipe which allows you to flavour the soup however you choose. I recommend trying thyme or lemon pepper.
If you find that the soup is too thick you are welcome to add more milk until it is a consistency that you are happy with. As with any soup I welcome you to add any leftover ingredients you have. When I made this soup I added a couple of leeks and a little bit of zucchini.
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Light Cream of Celery Soup
Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb celery & leaves, chopped
2 medium Russet potatoes, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup low-fat milk (sour-milk, buttermilk, or kefir)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and saute a couple more minutes.
  3. Add the celery, potatoes, vegetable broth and milk. Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. Puree ingredients in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
  5. Add black pepper and season to taste.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/cream-of-celery-soup-340633?oc=linkback

Picture from: https://www.google.ca/search?q=celery+soup&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org

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Double Chocolate Kale Muffins

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This is another tasty muffin recipe that involves two of my favourite things: vegetables and chocolate. I wouldn’t normally think to combine kale with chocolate, but I am glad I found this recipe. These muffins are dense and moist with a rich chocolatey taste. If you want to try this recipe but don’t happen to have any kale, you could easily substitute with another leafy green vegetable like spinach or swiss chard.

Side-note: I was so excited for these muffins that I had to eat one before I could even take a picture of them. (Oops!)

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Double Chocolate Kale Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups kale leaves, washed and chopped
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
1 ¼ cups buttermilk or sour-milk (1 cup low-fat milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice)
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. Wash the kale and chop leaves into small pieces; discard the large stalks.
  3. Place the kale into a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and cook for~  5-7 minutes or until the kale is wilted.
  4. Set aside kale until it is cool enough to handle.
  5. Place the kale into a food processor and pulse until the kale has been broken down into very small pieces. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla.
  8. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the kale, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about three quarters full of batter.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
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Banana-Bran Muffins

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These tasty banana muffins are a great nutrient dense choice for breakfast or for a snack. They are just under 200 kcals and contain about 4g of fibre and 5g of protein per muffin. Although North Americans usually manage to eat more than enough protein, fibre tends to be a nutrient that many people struggle to get enough of. Health Canada currently recommends that individuals try for about 14g/1000 kcal/day. What does this translate (approximately) to for you?

38 g/d for men 19-50,           30 g/d for men 51 and older

25 g/d for women 19-50,       21 g/d for women 51 and older.

DSC_0209What I liked about this recipe was that even though it contains wheat bran it still produced a relatively light tasting muffin. For extra fibre and omega 3’s you can add ground flax seeds.

* Remember that whenever you increase your fibre intake you always want to increase your fluid intake!

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Banana-Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (~2 medium)

1 cup buttermilk, or sour milk (1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice)

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped walnuts,

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tray.
  2. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, canola oil and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts.
  6. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown ~ 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe adapted from EatingWell.com

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