• 08 NOV 14
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    Kale – A Super Food for All Ages

    Kale – A Super Food for All Ages

    There is a tremendous amount of buzz around a fantastic super food – kale. Please enjoy our post and try these recipes with your families. The kids will love ’em. We want your feedback about these on Facebook so please post.

    Why Kale is the New Beef

    Move over Popeye’s spinach and make room for the latest greens rage, kale. Also known as borecole, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green available in a variety of shapes and hues of green and gray, kale belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

    While Americans may be discovering the superpowers of kale, the leafy green has always been popular in different cultures around the world and its dense nutritional qualities celebrated in festivals and tours.

    Why is kale so popular?

    A whole culture around kale exists in north-western Germany. There, most social clubs hold events or meetings, such as, a Gr”unkohlessen or Kohlfahrt or a “kale tour” between October and February. Most communities in the area also have a yearly kale festival which includes naming a “kale king” or queen. In Scotland, kale is such a staple of traditional diet the word “kale” is synonymous with food. And to be “off one’s kail” is to feel too ill to eat.

    During World War II, the United Kingdom’s Dig for Victory campaign encouraged backyard growers to include kale in plantings because its nutritional value was needed to counter the deficiencies and effects of rationing. Because kale is a cold season crop and overwinters well in some areas, one variety is called Hungry Gap named after the period in winter when few other crops are available.

    What makes kale so exceptional?

    Kale is a superstar vegetable the world over and has been for many centuries because it’s high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. As with broccoli and other brassicas, kale contains sulfora-phane, a potent anti-cancer nutrient. It is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and blocks the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.

    Should I buy organic kale?

    Yes. The Environmental Working Group has classified the top ten foods to always eat organic, and while kale is not in the top ten, it IS classified as HIGHLY TOXIC due to organophosphate insecticides used on the crops. For more on which foods to purchase organic visit the EWG website and review the shopper’s guides available there. Go to http://www.ewg.org.

    How do I prepare kale?

    Research shows that boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane in kale; however, steaming or stir frying does not result in significant loss. Steaming actually increases the green’s bile acid binding properties. Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to a frost.

    Make Your Own Kale Chips

    Kale chips are really popular in health food stores, but also really expensive. You can make your own kale chips in minutes and customize their flavor by adding your favorite spices.

    A simple recipe is as follows:

    • Preheat your oven to about 375^0
    • Take one bunch of washed kale and rip by hand the leaf off the stems into bite-sized pieces
    • Spread the kale onto cookie sheets
    • Then drizzle with your favorite olive oil, sea salt and/or other blended spices
    • Add grated cheese (optional)
    • Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and crispy and enjoy

    Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup diced yellow onion
    • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    • 1 (32 ounce) box low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 4 cups packed chopped kale
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can sliced carrots, drained, or two large carrots, peeled and sliced

    Preparation:

    In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale and tomatoes (and fresh carrots, if using) and cover. Cook for 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans and carrots and heat thoroughly. Serve hot.

    Recipe from wholefoods.com

    Kale, Quinoa, and Avocado Salad

    Ingredients for Salad:

    • 2/3 cup quinoa
    • 1 1/3 cup water
    • 1 bunch of kale torn into bite-sized pieces
    • 1/2 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
    • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
    • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
    • 1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese (optional)

    Ingredients for Dressing:

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 3/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

    Preparation:

    Bring the quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Place kale in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover saucepan with a lid and steam kale until hot, about 45 seconds; transfer to a large plate. Top kale with quinoa, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese.

    Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until the oil emulsifies into the dressing; pour over the salad.

    Recipe from allrecipes.com

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