Jul 252014

Kale has seen a nice boost in popularity over the past few years. What was once a slimy stinky side of green mush is now being incorporated in all kinds of great ways in kitchens worldwide! ok, so maybe I got a little excited there – but seriously, it’s gained in popularity and there ARE recipes all around the internet and we hear people talking about kale a lot more than ever before.

And rightly so. Kale is one of those ‘wonder foods’ – it may even be classified as a ‘super food’ . It is one of the most nutritious foods around and it is SO easily accessible!  I have several recipes I’ll share in the coming weeks. First up is one that admittedly is NOT super quick. But it IS easy and it IS worth the effort. 🙂

I make mine with a dehydrator but you can also cook them in a LOW temp oven until they are crispy.

I know most people don’t have a dehydrator – I got mine as a special treat when I was eating a 99% raw diet.

I have a 5 tray excalibur and it really does do a GREAT job.They have come down in price but are still a pretty decent investment.

Kale Chips
I like to use fresh WHOLE leaves. I’ve tried with copped kale and it’s just not the same.

I don’t have measurements – this is a ‘to taste’ and ‘coat well’ method. So start with your kale and then mix a sauce that will give the kale a good coating.


Here is what went into the sauce I made the other day:

  • Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsalmic Vinegar
  • Nama Shoyu
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Chili Powder
Start by removing the stem first.


Discard stem.
Next, I tear the leaf into small pieces.


Not necessarily bite sized, but not more than two bites or they make a huge mess when you eat them.

As I am tearing up the kale, I place the pieces I am going to use in a salad spinner. 
(this is one of my inexpensive tools – you do NOT need to spend a lot on this item – the one I have – it’s the one I linked to – is under 15.00 and does a FABULOUS job. )


This I use to clean and dry my kale.

I do about two very full spinners for a batch of kale chips.

The spinner just makes it really convenient!
The photo is without the lid, I give it a little rinse without the lid, then place the lid on, allowing the water to run through the hole in the lid and I spin the knob heartily to remove dirt.


Lifting the spinner to rest on the middle ledge of the sink, I then spin without water to dry the kale.

 Once the kale is spun clean and dry I just set it aside and get to work on my coating.
In a VERY large bowl I mix all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the nutrional yeast.
I use a wisk and give it a quick beating.



Again, no measurements, I just eyeball it keeping in mind what flavors I enjoy most or feel like highlighting that day.You want enough of a sauce to get in all those lovely ruffles on the kale leaves.
Then I add the nutrional yeast.



Once the sauce is mixed – dump in the kale.



I normally begin mixing gently with a large wooden spoon or spatula.

But then I get in there with my hands, massaging the sauce into the leaves to ensure a good coating.



Once this is all mixed I will typically add another heaping spoonful or two of nutritional yeast.

The yeast really gives a nice flavor as well as a nice visual on the resulting chips. I like to let the kale sit for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to develop a little, but this is not necessary.

Using tongs, I carefully place the kale in a single layer in the dehydrator.

I try to give the kale some room, but I don’t mind them touching or even overlapping a little.

 I use two trays in my tray Excalibur dehydrator.

You want to leave some space in between the trays to allow for plenty of circulation.
Rotate the trays (upper for lower) about half way through.

I usually dehydrate them at about 115 degrees for 2-3 hours – until they are nice and crispy!

Check them periodically though, sometimes they need less time, sometimes they need more time.
I suspect it has to do with how much marinade is on them and what the temperature/humidity conditions are in the house.

 Everyone in my house has tasted these and confirms they are good.

They have a little tang from the vinegars and soy…
and a cheesiness with a touch of saltiness.
Oh my.


Since kale is so nutritious this is a snack you can feel good about eating (and serving to your family!)

Let me know if you give them a try, or share below your favorite way to eat kale!

Jul 222014

During the summer I don’t like to cook more than absolutely necessary. In fact, I don’t like to be in the kitchen much at all. I’d rather be out in the sun or down at my workbench.  So I try to come up with some fast and easy meals.

I ran across some whole grain flatbreads a while back and I fell in love with them for their heartiness and ease of use.  They can be used to make wraps or as a quick crust for a meal or dessert. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Not long ago I posted about my 3 inexpensive essential kitchen tools and the following wrap makes really good use out of that julienne peeler.

Look at the color in that!

I can’t recall for sure but I think these are Lavash brand flatbreads. I haven’t tried yet, but next on the agenda is making my own. There are recipes on the interwebs and I am eager to try.

The above wrap went something like this:

  • Flatbread
  • Spicey flatbread spread (‘recipe’ follows)
  • julienned carrots, yellow squash, and cucumbers
  • chopped red onion
  • several large leaves of romaine lettuce
  • and a tiny bit of crumbled feta

Lay out flatbread, smear on spicy spread, add veggies and feta, roll up, cut in half and ENJOY!

Spicy Flatbread Spread

  • plain yogurt
  • garlic chili sauce
  • almond butter

strain yogurt overnight (this will drain fluid thickening the yogurt)

Mix strained yogurt, garlic chili sauce, almond butter.

I didn’t include measurements – this is a ‘to taste’ kind of spread. Start with as much yogurt as you want and go from there.

This wrap is so simple yet so delicious. And it can be prepared with whatever veggies are in the pantry at the time.

These wraps are quite filling yet very light. I never feel weighed down after eating them because they are mostly live foods. Full of nutrients, easily digested, and moves through the GI tract quickly (which is a good thing to help prevent colon cancer and other illnesses) .

I will often make one, cut in half, eat half and save the other half for later.

Ten minutes IS later – right?????

Jul 212014

Few things irritate me more than wasting money. Which is why I hate, hate HATE when I open up my strawberry container 2 days after purchase to find half of them MOLDY.


I know that washing and drying them before putting them in the fridge is probably the ultimate way to help them stay fresh longer but here’s a QUICK TIP when you don’t have much time (or for always)

Store the container upside down!

I give them a gentle shake first to redistribute them a little, then turn the container upside down with the large vent holes up. This allows them to breath a little more.

What are some tips you’ve discovered for keeping fruit or veggies fresh longer? Share below!

Jul 202014

I’ve receive a lot of questions about my grinding of flax seeds (and other items).  I just use an inexpensive coffee grinder. 🙂

I thought I’d share my top 3 inexpensive kitchen tools. These 3 save me time and were completely affordable.

These grinders are great for grinding small quantities of flax seeds, oats, nuts, even chocolate chips. They save time AND money as it is more economical to purchase seeds and nuts in a ‘whole’ state and then grind at home

I actually have two that I bought at least 10 years ago and they are still going strong.  At less than 15 dollars, this is an easy addition to the kitchen.this is nearly identical to the one I have.

Proctor Silex E160BY Fresh Grind Coffee Grinder, White

I like that it’s small and so easy to clean. I use a brush to wipe it out after use and then store. On occasion I give it a quick rinse in clear water.  You can certainly buy more expensive ones and ones with a larger capacity but I find the small one to suit my needs very well.


Another item I use A LOT is a spiralizer.

At 22 and change.00 it’s a little more than the grinder, but the ease of use and what it DOES makes it a game changer for me. This great little gadget slices in long thin ‘noodles’ most soft veggies. I use it primarily with green and yellow squash and carrots.


Another tool I can’t recommend enough?

My titan peelers. Seriously, the BEST peeler I have ever owned.

The plain one is sharp (I mean REALLY sharp) and the second one – it juliennes.

I use that one a lot for carrots and zucchini on wraps like this

YUM ! Right?

You don’t need to spend a ton of money for quality tools. You CAN make healthy beautiful food at home on a budget!

Jul 182014

FBlogo Facebook has for me, like many other people, it become a HUGE time drain. In thinking about having ‘just enough hours’  I’ve come to the obvious conclusion that I need to cut back on my time on ‘social media’. And FB is the biggest offender for me.

I have over 840 ‘friends’ (which I know is not a lot in comparison to a lot of people) on FB but probably only 75% of those are people I actually know. Many have a one or two degree of separation based on common friends or metalsmithing interests. Only a fraction of my FB friends are really people I communicate with.

In order to get a grip on my FB feed, I’ve taken the following steps:

I have begun to ‘unfollow’ people. This removes their posts from my ‘homepage’ or newsfeed.  This has reduced the amount of time it takes to go through new posts in my feed AND it allows items from people I have a genuine relationship with to be readily available.  Many other ‘friends’ who are a degree or two separated I still see in the groups we have in common.

I have turned off notifications in all but two groups. The groups that I want to keep a fairly close connection to I have favorited which moves them to the top left sidebar where I can see how many new posts there are and then click through.

This isn’t something I use often. I know it can be controversial, but I find it necessary at times in order to maintain my sanity! I have unfriended a few people whose posts bring too much negativity to my newsfeed. I saw a comment recently that it is ‘sad’ to see friends unfriending friends because of differences in belief.  I disagree. It’s not sad, It’s just a choice. This is MY life. It needs to work for me. I have people in my life that have different opinions and beliefs than I. I don’t live in a utopian bubble. I simply don’t have time for that on FB, it’s not how I choose to use FB.

FB can be a GREAT tool. IF we have clear expectations. Some people, like myself, use it for social outlet. Others use it for news and others for political discussion, etc.

I don’t judge other people for how they interact with FB – YOU need to decide what works for you. I’m ok with that.


There are other tools  that FB offers. Go to your home page and click the small down arrow in the upper right corner then use the ‘help’ link on the drop down. You can then search topics such as ‘organize’, ‘lists’, ‘manage’, etc.




We each have 24 hours in a day – it’s up to each of us individually to determine what our best use of that time is according to our responsibilities, goals, and dreams.

Do what works for you.


Jul 172014

My diet isn’t perfect, FAR from it – but I am more aware of what I put into my body than I used to be. It’s important  – I mean, really  – it’s fuel, nutrition, etc – it’s what MAKES our bodies in a sense.

It is either helping or hurting – it’s not neutral.

For me, I made drastic changes 5 or 6 years ago by turning to a raw diet. I ate 99.8% raw for about a year. It was great! So you may wonder why I didn’t continue with it – suffice to say some major life changes – living situation, family circumstances, legal issues…a big ball of life upheaval. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fabulous experience or totally sustainable. I still eat a high raw diet (and a lot of other stuff that I shouldn’t eat at all) and I really encourage people to evaluate their choices.

You don’t have to go raw like I did, or toss all processed chemical laden food at once. Small changes are a great way to go.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Sub out an unhealthy (or nutrient void) snack with a healthy smoothie
  2. 20140712_150731
    While I love my green smoothies – you can start with something a little less intimidating and make a fruit smoothie.
    Here is a quick ‘recipe’:
    Cut up fresh banana and strawberries, freeze these overnight
    place frozen fruit in blender
    add almond milk
    blend until smooth


    Putting it in a fancy glass just makes it more fun!!!

    You can even turn it into a ‘frozen’ treat by using less milk.



  3.  Add flax meal (ground flax seeds) to anything (or everything!)
  4. I add ground flax to salads, pancakes, cereal, smoothies, chicken breading/coating, muffins, brownies, cookies…..you name it. Either sub out some flour when you measure or just sprinkle it on!


    Finally – a really easy one!

  5. Increase your water intake – this is great for your body overall but it also helps fill you up so if you’re a snacker you are less likely to snack (research suggests that oftentimes we mistake thirst for hunger and eat when we should drink)

I know that technically this is often ‘easier said than done’ — I keep several bottles full of water in my fridge at all times so I can grab and go. Keeping water with me helps me keep hydrated. And not only will you notice a more consistent sense of ‘fullness’ but you will probably also notice a difference in your skin, hair, and nails!

What are some small changes YOU’VE made towards a healthier diet?