Basic Kale Chips: an Addict’s Tips & Tricks

after seeing a tweet from my friend Felicia Sullivan today, i got inspired to come home and whip up a batch of Kale Chips.

Kale definitely lives up to its “super food” title:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. (from WebMD)

 ←even my dog loves kale!

Kale Chips are a fantastic snack food – especially if you’re vegan/raw vegan and you’re missing that salty crunchy snack. not only is it nutritious, the recipe for basic Kale Chips seems SUPER easy:

  • kale, de-veined
  • salt
  • pepper

i mean, can’t beat simple ingredients. but after making a few batches at home, here are some helpful hints from a kale chip addict that will hopefully make your DIY Kale Chips easier:

  • Cleaning: kale has so many beautiful folds & curly-ness — but that just means you have to be SUPER thorough when you clean it. dirt/mold/bugs tend to get stuck in the folds.
  • De-veining:  they always tell you to “de-vein” the kale, which usually means you pull the stem/spine away from the leaf.  i don’t know about anyone else, but that always results in me tearing the kale leaf – not cute.  SO, rather than de-veining (pulling the spine away from the leaf)  — just de-leaf it instead (pull the leaves away from the stem).  this is far more manageable and this way, you have more control to make sure each “chip” piece is of equal size (see next tip)
  • basic cooking principle: make sure each piece is the same size to ensure even cooking. we should never forget basic principles of cooking – even when making something as simple as chips.  as best as possible – try to make sure each chip/leaf is of equal size so your batch cooks evenly
  • coat evenly:  whether you’re making a simple Olive Oil/S&P Kale Chip recipe, or you’re doing a more fancy version with a nut-mixture, you must make sure that each chip/leaf is evenly coated. this will also help ensure it cooks evenly

whether you bake or dehydrate your Kale Chips, the above tips should always apply.  personally, i prefer dehydrating — even though it takes longer, i feel it retains more of the green kale flavor in the chips.  but either will do!

  • for dehydrator: lay out on dehydrator trays, dehydrate for minimum of 8 hours at 115°F.
  • for oven: bake at 300°F for approximately 20 minutes (or until crisp). let cool

hope these tips are helpful for my fellow Kale Chip Addicts! :)

RECIPE: cacao latte made with hemp seed milk!

i bought a huge bag of raw organic hemp seeds a while back — i read a lot about people making hemp seed milk from it.  and the major appeal of hemp seeds: you don’t have to pre-soak them before you make milk!

this “lazy factor” was a huge draw for me.

unfortunately, when i made my first batch – i really didn’t like the taste.  it had this nutty, green, bitter flavor to the milkiness…something very unappealing to my palette. so i had this huge bag sitting in my pantry for a while.

this morning, i thought i’d try my hand at making my cacao latte with hemp seed milk instead of cashew nut milk (if there’s such a thing as cashew toxicity…i think i might have it! i OD on that stuff!)

i was SO pleasantly surprised to find that it was DELICIOUS!!  the cacao powder masked the weird flavor of the hemp seed, and if anything, the greeny/bitter flavor added more depth to the chocolate flavor! :)

  • 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup of raw organice hemp seeds
  • 3 TBS of raw agave nectar
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups of filtered water

 

GSOTD: Autumn Harvest Green Smoothie – spinach + apple + orange + cranberries + grapes + cinnamon!

last night, i trekked to the supermarket to get back on the green smoothie wagon, but for some reason, i was utterly uninspired.

 

then i went to the “organic” section in back and cast my eyes on a box of fresh cranberries! i was inspired to make something to celebrate all the delicious harvesty flavors of Autumn!

 

here’s what i made today:
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries  (boy, are these SUPER tart!)
  • 1 orange (for juice)
  • 4 small organic apples
  • 1/2 cup of red grapes  (to offset the tart of the cranberries)
  • 2 cups of organic baby spinach leaves  (i like using spinach sometimes because in addition to being PACKED with nutrients, it also doesn’t have too strong of a flavor, so it doesn’t interfere too much with the overall taste)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • a few ice cubes
the result: a deliciously sweet & tart green smoothie, packed with a really delicious warmth and Autumn feel.  :)
not only did it start my week off right, it also got me in the Autumn mood!  Fall back!

today’s brainfood: mango, orange, spinach & kale green smoothie

straight up: last night & today were uber stressful.  so when i woke up, i knew i needed my brain to be functional and full of nourishment!

lately, i’ve gone “off book” with my green smoothies and have begun improvising with what i put in them.  today:

  • 2 small mangos
  • 2 small organic oranges
  • spinach
  • kale
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 ice cubes

i try to keep a general rule of 50% fruit, 50% dark leafy greens.  another thing, i usually put something “fiber-ous” like a mango or banana in there, so it can make the smoothie nice and thick!

verdict: brainfood = yummy.