Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mom Says Eat Your Veggies

I have found a new love. Sorry, honey. I just cannot get enough of the green, leafy goodness of Kale. I know what you're thinking - Kale? Really Aanya?? Yes, really. It's sooo good. And not only that, but it's one of the healthiest green vegetables for you. High in antioxidants, chock full of Vitamins K, C, and calcium, Kale is known to have anti-cancer properties. Why aren't we all eating this everyday??

When I was a kid, I wasn't hot on vegetables, like most other kids. I remember my mom telling me I HAD to eat my asparagus (or whatever the veggie of choice was that night) before I could leave the table. Ugh. I got pretty good at coming up with excuses as to why I couldn't eat them. Never worked. Ever. Today, I love the stuff. It's that whole tastebud development deal - thank goodness for it because vegetables are delectable. And healthy.

I like to saute my kale in olive oil with garlic and crushed red pepper. But there are many different ways to prepare it - boil, roast, steam, stir fry, etc. Stick it in a pan of lasagna, or a pot of soup. Get creative - top a homemade pizza with it, make a salad with it.

It's so important that we all start consciously thinking about what we're putting in our bodies these days. If you put bad in, you'll get bad out. It's no surprise that we live increasingly stressful, fast lives. I've tried to make changes in my own household over the past couple years - more whole foods, no more processed junk, less red meat, more fish, lots of whole grains, and MORE VEGGIES!! Last summer we signed up for our first CSA share. Best thing ever. There is a double benefit to a CSA, too - the food is locally grown, and there are no pesticides used during the growth process. I will spare you my soapbox on pesticides and toxins for now, but let's all start to change our train of thought. Visit your local farmer's market more often. Get in your kitchen, learn your way around, and make some real food. It's worth it, I promise.

Memories are made in the kitchen, so try it. And start out with some kale on the menu. Your mother will be proud.

Sauteed Kale with Garlic
Recipe and Photos by A Toast to Taste

Ingredients Needed:
1 lb Kale, ribs and stems removed, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil in large saucepan along with thinly sliced garlic. Let the garlic hang out for about 10-15 minutes without any heat. This will let the garlic flavor soak into the oil for additional flavor. Remove garlic and set aside.

Turn heat to medium high and add chopped kale. Season with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. You don't want the kale to completely wilt down. You want it to maintain some of its shape. During the last minute, add the garlic back to the pan, stirring to incorporate.

Remove from heat and serve.

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