Tag Archives: vegan

kale chips

The Ubiquitous Kale Chip

There’s a nice restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland called “The Ubiquitous Chip.” Or at least there was when I lived there in 1996. I had no idea what “ubiquitous” meant before I ate there, but I looked it up and it’s been a regular part of my vocabulary ever since.  Such a great word! I mean, it just feels good in your mouth, you know? Ubickwituuuuuussss.

Ubiquitous – adj (yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs) – seeming to be seen everywhere

So, the restaurant name referred to the fact that chippy (or french fry, to us Americans) shops are found EVERYWHERE in Britain, but this restaurant was something different.

When I thought about doing a post about my experience with trying kale chips, of course “The Ubiquitous Kale Chip” is the immediate and only title that came to mind – because, like British chippy shops they are everywhere. If life was a B rated horror movie they’d be some sort of alien plan to infiltrate the world, they’re that common. Do a simple Google search for “kale chips” and you get 7,800,000 hits. Seven MILLION!

So, yeah. This post is not exactly earth shattering innovation or anything. You can find this just about anywhere. But this blog isn’t intended to be about innovative culinary discoveries, but a resource of food ideas for people trying to figure out how to eat on diets like this, so I figured it would be good to include it.

First, let me say that I don’t really like vegetables. With the exception of Sauteed Asparagus I mostly simply tolerate vegetables because I know they’re good for me, rather than that I actually enjoy eating them. So I didn’t really have high hopes for kale chips.

But since I kept reading about them, and since I’d gotten an enormous bunch of kale from my CSA, I decided to try.

The verdict: Kale chips are very edible and enjoyable…when they’re cooked right! Added bonus: My kids LOVED them. Like, scarfed-them-down-and-couldn’t-stop loved them.

They are not an exact replacement for potato chips. But they have a nice saltiness and kind of fall apart in a melty way in your mouth that I find somewhat addictive. However…if you overcook them even a little they’re very bitter, and if you undercook them they’re chewy and very kale-ish! As I mentioned above, my kids were going to town on these things…until they got to some overcooked ones and they immediately ran to the trash and spit them out!

So, cooking time with these is very important. They make all the difference between, “Hey, I actually kind of like these!” and “These are disgusting and gross!”

No one wants disgusting and gross. So watch your time!

For the one or two people out there who might have never heard how to make these things, this is the process.

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Bruchetta topping

Bruschetta Topping

I don’t like tomatoes. Raw, I mean. I never really have – though I’m able to tolerate them much more now than I did when I was younger.

So WHY do I love this so much?! I don’t know. Maybe there’s some sort of magical process that happens when balsamic vinegar and garlic meet raw tomatoes. Some sort of voodoo alchemy that turns something I otherwise can’t stand into something I can’t get enough of!

This, really, is all the endorsement you need about how amazing this recipe is. If even tomato-hating me likes it you know it’s good!! It’s good on top of buttery toast (like I’m about to show you.) It’s good on top of chicken for Bruschetta Chicken. It’s good with chunks of fresh mozzarella mixed in as a salad. You can take this as a starting point and use your imagination about it!

This is what you do.

Take some olive oil and drizzle it around a pan. Like 3 Tbsp or so.

Bruchetta topping

And add in about 5 minced garlic cloves and cook them until they just start to turn golden.

Bruchetta topping

Now pour the garlic together with EVERY SINGLE DROP of that garlicky olive oil in a bowl.

Bruchetta topping

Chop up some red onion and tomatoes. This can be cherry tomatoes cut in half, or larger tomatoes cut into chunks. I found these gorgeous yellow and red babies at the farmer’s market, so that’s what I used. Dump them in the bowl and stir around.

Bruchetta topping

Chop up plenty of fresh basil and stick it in. Mmmmm! Fresh basil is the bomb.

Bruchetta topping

Sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and then drizzle in some balsamic vinegar.

Bruchetta topping

Now you taste. Does it need more vinegar? More basil, salt, or pepper? Add it in!

Bruchetta topping

As I said above, you can use this in lots of different ways, not just traditional bruschetta. Use your imagination! But if you’re wanting bruschetta, this is what you do to make it miraculous.

Get a loaf of bakery bread. For this diet it will have to be a whole grain bread. I haven’t had luck with finding 100% whole wheat breads at the bakery that I like, so I usually compromise and buy one that has whole wheat as the first ingredient, but also has white flour. This seems to work fine for me as long as I don’t overdo it. You have to be the judge of what works for your body!

Slice it up. Then melt several Tbsp of butter in a pan. Preferably the same pan you used to cook up the garlic so that you can take advantage of all that garlic goodness!

Bruchetta topping

Then stick the bread in the pan and cook until nice and golden brown. Flip it over and toast the other side too. (Though the second side won’t be as golden since most of the butter was soaked up by the first side.)

Bruchetta topping

Spoon the tomatoes on top and devour. It’s messy. I’d advise you not do this in front of people you’re trying to impress.

Bruchetta topping

Ohhhh. Glorious.

Bruchetta topping

 

Bruschetta Topping
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (or equivalent amount of larger tomatoes), chopped
  • small red onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • about 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • about 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • about 15 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Loaf of whole-grain bakery bread
  • butter
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add in the garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic just begins to turn golden. Pour into a large heat-safe bowl.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, onion, and basil into the bowl and mix.
  3. Drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Taste it and adjust ingredients as you want.
  5. Melt about 3 Tbsp butter, or enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan, in the same pan in which you cooked the garlic.
  6. Place as many slices of bread as will fit in the pan and cook until golden. Flip and cook until toasted on the opposite side. Repeat until all the bread you need is done.
  7. Alternatively, you can serve this topping on top of grilled/sauteed chicken, or add in chunks of fresh mozzarella and eat as a salad!

 

fruit salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

This isn’t exactly ground-breaking food blogging here. There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about this at all.

But, like with other no-brainer posts I have on here (iced tea, popcorn, etc.), it’s just something else that’s “something I can eat,” and is something that’s especially helpful for a sugar-free diet. I thought I’d put it here simply because I’d like this blog to be a resource of ideas for eating on this diet, even the obvious ones.

Once you go off sugar, you find yourself really enjoying fruit more than you did before, and something about combining the right ones together in a bowl makes them even better. I find myself craving this a lot anymore, and it always hits the spot! If you’re having cravings for sweet things, give this a try. Don’t psyche yourself out and pretend it’s a brownie. It’s just something really yummy that will fill you up and taste great and satisfy those sweet taste buds.

I know everyone has their own take on fruit salads and everyone thinks they’re right. I, of course, am no exception, so I think that the way I make it is really the only right way. You can obviously do whatever you want, but this is what I expect from a fruit salad:

fruit salad

Fruits to use

  • Fruits I ALWAYS use: pineapple, red grapes (cut in half), red grapefruit, mandarin oranges, and at least one variety of berry for color.
  • Fruits I use when they look good and are affordable: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, cherries (pitted and cut in half)
  • Fruits I never use: hard, crunchy fruits like apples (the texture is all wrong); melon (melon is good by itself, or in a melon salad, but I don’t think they go with the other fruits in a fruit salad); pears, peaches, and plums (I just don’t like their textures compared to the other fruits. Also, they get mushy and tend to get discolored quickly); bananas, unless it’s being eaten immediately with no leftovers (they get gross and slimy pretty quickly in a fruit salad).

fruit salad

Other things that add to it

  • A couple sprigs of mint, shredded or chopped, adds a really nice, cool surprise of a flavor.
  • Juice of a lime or lemon brightens up the flavor and helps to preserve the fruits.
  • Juice from the jar of mandarin oranges (make sure it’s 100% juice and not sugar syrup) and from the grapefruit after the segments have been cut out gives the juicy base for the salad.
  • Heavy cream, whipped up with an electric mixer, can be nice on top (though I prefer mine plain, with just the flavors of the fruits shining through.) If you use it, either have it unsweetened, or sweetened with only a bit of real maple syrup or stevia.

General guidelines

  • Use fresh fruit and only if it looks good. If the strawberries don’t smell like anything, then they won’t taste like anything and you should just skip them. It will only be as good as the fruit that’s in it!
  • The only canned fruit I use is mandarin oranges. I use it for the juice. Make sure it’s oranges packed in juice only and not a sugar syrup.
  • Try to cut everything into roughly equal size. It helps to get a nice variety of fruit in every bite if everything’s the same size.
  • In the winter, your fruit salad will be sparser because there aren’t as many fruits in season. I generally just get one variety of berry – whatever looks the best and is the best price – to add in for color in the winter. It gets too pricey otherwise.
  • If you’re making this ahead of time, don’t add the juice until just before serving. The juice can make certain fruits (mostly the strawberries) mushy after a while.
  • For the above reason, it’s also good to drain the juice before storing leftovers. You can keep it in a jar and pour some on as you need it, if you want.
  • Try to get as many colors in it as you can. Use red grapes instead of green. Put some blueberries in, even if it’s just a few. We eat with our eyes, so color matters!
  • Serve in a glass bowl, if you have one, because it’s pretty!

fruit salad

 

Buckwheat PB Krispies

Buckwheat Peanut Butter Krispies

Way back in the beginning of this whole thing, back when I was just starting to try to figure out how to live this diet and was flirting with lots of different flours and grains, I got a huge bag of buckwheat groats from the bulk bins at Whole foods. I think I had some sort of idea of putting the groats in my blender and turning it into flour. Because a $30 Oster blender can TOTALLY do that. Yeah.

So, this huge bag of groats has been sitting in my freezer for months, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.

Well…I figured it out.

These babies are so good. They are – as the name says – perfectly crispy and crunchy. It’s the first thing everyone says when they have one, and I think it’s what makes them so good. There’s this creamy, sweet peanut butter surrounding all that crispy goodness, and then – as though that wasn’t enough – they’re topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate.

Oh, yeah.

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iced tea

(Slightly) Sweet Fresh Iced Tea

This recipe is really a no-brainer. A lot of my recipes are, though, like the smoothies, and the popcorn, and the cardamom milk. They’re not so much recipes as…ideas.

But, ideas is the whole reason I have this blog! To give people ideas about what to eat – or drink – when they go on a diet like this. Sometimes all you want is someone to give you a list of things and to say, “Here. This is what you can eat! Go!”

So, you can add this one to your list of “Things I Can Drink.” You know, along with water, and milk, and…water. Yeah. The list of drink options on this diet isn’t very long. Which is why it’s nice to have this in your repertoire!

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Choco-Almond Snack Bites

Choco-Almond Snack Bites

I found these delightful things over at Kitchen Stewardship. They satisfy that urge for something a little sweet and are full of flavor and nutrition, and – even better! – they’re also full of inflammation fighting ingredients! They’re similar to a chewy, nutty granola bar, and with the optional thin layer of dark chocolate on top they transform into an indulgent-feeling treat! There is coconut in the recipe, which adds to the sweetness, but if you don’t like coconut, don’t worry: I don’t find that it makes it taste much like coconut at all.

These have been a HUGE hit with my daughter. She’s delighted that I let her eat pretty much all she wants, and thinks that they taste “like frozen cookie dough!” (We keep them in the freezer.) That’s good endorsement!

The first time I made these I followed the recipe exactly as it was, but then I started to switch things around (of course…I can never just leave a recipe alone.) The biggest change was to add dates so that I could reduce the amount of sweetener and make it more anti-inflammatory, but this is really the kind of recipe that can have infinite variations. You can throw in all sorts of things, and I have a lot of ideas to try that should keep things interesting for a while!

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hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I always thought I didn’t like hummus. It’s this stuff that everyone seems to love, and I really wanted to love it too, but…meh. It just didn’t do anything for me. The only way I could get it down is if I rewarded myself with a gulp of root beer for every bite I took, and, really, that’s rather defeating the purpose.

But then our local CSA visited my son’s school and made hummus with them, and sent the recipe home with the kids. My son was raving – RAVING – about this hummus and how awesome it was, so I of course had to make it. Anytime my kids are that crazy about something that’s actually healthy, I have to make it for them!

And – surprise! – guess what? I love hummus! It was fan-tas-tic!!! I never knew hummus could actually be that good, so I suppose that this is the difference between something made in your home with fresh ingredients and something that’s been sitting in the grocery store for who-knows-how-long!

The thing that really makes this hummus superb (in my opinion) is the entire head of garlic that’s been roasted in the oven until it’s soft and buttery and sweet and creamy. Oh, my, roasted garlic is just heaven. And, if I’d had chives on hand, I would have thrown them in too – I definitely will next time! I think this is the kind of thing you can change up as you want with adding different things in.

I whipped this up today with the kids, and for lunch we had heaps of hummus with carrots and cucumbers, plus left-over roasted chicken and sliced strawberries. It was a feast!!!

So, if you think you hate hummus too – or if you like hummus, but have never made your own – you have to try this out. If even I love this then, really, everybody will!

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