Saturday, January 22, 2011

Healthy Inspiration:

This week I was browsing for new recipes, and trying to come up with some creative winter meals. I have a standing agreement with my parents that I will cook them dinner once a week (which seems fair, since they let me do laundry, use the hot tub,  and feed me on a regular basis). As I flipped through the pages of Real Simple, I stumbled across an article about the Non-diet diet, and along with it was a listing of 30 of the healthiest foods.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a majority of these foods stocked in my pantry and constantly on my shopping list. Foods like Peanut Butter, Olive Oil, Quinoa, Lentils, Kale, Eggs, blueberries, mushrooms, barley, walnuts, (seriously are they just listing off my pantry contents?) Not that I am patting myself on the back. God knows I eat my fair share of un-healthy foods… In my diet, coffee and burritos practically get their own food group.

That being said, I was quite excited by the listing of foods, and the suggested recipes that accompanied each one. I tend not to follow recipes, but more so just scavenge through my existing ingredients, and hope that something semi-edible is the result of my experimenting.  I’ve come up with some pretty tasty things, and some that were lacking… so this ingredients guide with suggested serving ideas was like a breath of fresh air thrown into my cooking routine… lets face it, sometimes you need to be inspired, even when you have good intentions with healthy ingredients (I mean really, how many different ways can you cook lentils before getting a little bit bored... 4 or 5?)

And inspired I was. I found myself wandering aimlessly through the grocery store on Thursday afternoon, contemplating lunch/ a snack that was long over-due. Nothing was jumping off the shelves, and I was too hungry to spend a lot of time getting creative… I almost just picked up a box of mac and cheese, but was reminded of a recent blog I read about coconut rice, and it sounded like everything I needed. And as I made my way to the checkout, one of the suggestions from Real Simple popped into my head, so I picked up a bunch of Kale and made my way home to concoct some nourishment.

As my coconut rice simmered, I ripped the kale into pieces, threw them in a bowl, and tossed them with some olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper, placed them on a cookie sheet, and put them in a low oven for twenty minutes. The result was everything I was hoping for. A tray full of crisp, salty, savory kale chips. They were the perfect snacking item… delightfully thin & crunchy, with just the right amount of salt, and that herbaceous kale taste. Dare I say, they were better than potato chips, and better for me. And so, so easy to make. Literally five minutes of prep time for an incredibly satisfying and healthy snack! Though it took me a while to convince my family to even try the kale chips (ok they look a little bit like seaweed… but I secretly love seaweed, so it wasn’t a deterrent for me), I’m a total convert. I know these crispy green snacks are going to become a regular part of my eating habit… maybe even more so than burritos (but probably not).

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