Monthly Archives: May 2013

Havin’ a kale of a time….

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I don’t know whether to be impressed or embarrassed by how quickly I came up with that pun. I can’t cohesively write an essay anymore, but I CAN make sad vegetable jokes with ease.

With that sparkling intro, I’m here to chat about kale. One of my favourite veggies, because of its amazing superfood status as well as its hearty flavor. Also, I weirdly find it to be very beautiful …its so curly and pretty!!! No? Just me?

kale dress

 

{You rock that kale dress, lamb. I get it}

Here’s why you should eat kale:

  • It contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, K (for kale! but no, not actually), and C.
  • Good source of minerals: copper, manganese, iron, phosphorus
  • Source of antioxidants: carotenoids and flavanoids specifically, in a very simplified explanation they combat ageing/cancer inducing free radicals. KALE MAKES YOU LIVE LONGER GUYS (don’t quote me on that)
  • Lots of fiber, little fat, low calorie=filling up on good stuff

So now you just wanna run out and grab the prettiest bunch of kale to bring home and munch on right?! Well no, because raw kale is a daunting and (initially) intimidating vegetable. Do you eat it like lettuce? Do you cook it? Should I eat the stems? How do you turn them into chips?

Never fear, dear reader. As a major kale enthusiast, I have made all the kale-eating mistakes one can make (hint: there aren’t that many. It’s only a vegetable). Learn from me! Also check out these fantastic recipes to integrate kale into your daily life

 

purple kale

{purple kale for the fashionistas}

Tips for cooking with/eating kale

  • Nope, don’t eat the stems. They are as tough and bitter as my old middle school teachers. Just tear the leaves off into bite sized chunks. If I’m feeling especially kitchen savvy I’ll wash and rip up and entire head of kale and throw it back in the produce bag for quick using throughout the week 
  • If you don’t normally wash your veggies (it happens), put in the extra special effort for kale. Kale is on the Dirty Dozen, and tends to have high levels of pesticide residue (if not organic).
  • It lasts for a WHILE though. I once rinsed a head of kale real quick and stuck it in my fridge in a bag, forgot about it, then found it a MONTH later and it was still crispy. Not joking guys. None of that slimy spinach shit here, just add a little water and wrap it up and itll last for at least 2 weeks, usually more.
  • As for most leafy greens, undercooking is better, taste wise.

Annnnnd the recipes!

kale sweet potato hash

1. Kale Sweet Potato Hash-smoked paprika is KEY here, also amazing in all other regards.

2. Kale+grain bowls- this is my go to meal. Cook up a big batch of rice/quinoa/couscous to use throughout the week and just toss a protein and steamed kale in there (time saving tip: you can steam shit in the microwave.). Makes you feel all smug and healthy since there’s so many superfoods in one meal

My go to combo is kale, quinoa, cashews, chickpeas with curry and hot sauce. Takes about 15 minutes to pull together once you’ve made it a few times and very filling/delicious (also, CHEAP).

3. Raw kale salads: the options are plentiful. Give er a search on the google. MOST IMPORTANT PART: make the dressing and let the kale marinate. or else youll be chewing on that raw kale like a masticating cow. The vinegar in the dressing helps tenderize the rough kale. This also means leftover kale salads are da bomb.

Some of my fave kale salads

Weekend Glow Kale salad

Kale apple Coleslaw– this is my new favourite way to enjoy kale: shredded!

Kale and Fig Salad (on my menu this week)

4. The infamous kale chips!!!!! I dont know about you guys, but I’d read about kale chips forever before I actually attempted them, and then it took equally forever for me to figure out how to make them taste good. The most delicious ones are made from a dehydrator. I”m sorry to tel you that, but its true. To get the saucy crispy DELICIOUS kale chips youll find in the bags at health food stores, you need to use low heat for a long time. This means using a dehydrator or your oven, on it’s lowest heat with the door open.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy kale chips without a dehydrator though! They just wont be the full flavoured kind you’ve probably seen on health blogs/stores. For oven kale chips, keep it simple. Some flavoured olive oil, salt and some choice seasonings are best (I like garlic salt, pepper, dill, or smoked paprika!).

To make kale chips in the oven, simple rip up bite sized pieces of kale, massage in the oil and seasonings, then spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350. watch these suckers carefully, burnt leaves taste pretty bad guys.

If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator (aww yeah, welcome to the club), Angela’s recipes are THE BEST.

Alright friends, I’m starting my MCAT course at the bright and early hour of 8:30, so I’m gonna cut this off now. Even though I could probably write about kale for another hour…….

see ya!

Tonight’s jam: My mama often plays Billie Holiday while she cooks or else “its just too boring” (I did not get my cooking obsession from her, that’s for sure). Although a master chef she is not, she is the hardest working, selfless, smart and down to earth woman I know. In honor of mother’s day and my awesome mom, here’s a little Billie:

 

 

 

 

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Feelin’ Fresh: Take 1

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Hey guys,

I have recently come to discover that living alone RULES! I will definately get lonely by the end of the summer and be super stoked to have a roomie, but for right now, I’m loving it. I recently moved out of a house of 6 (2 of which were subletters….aka strangers) so being able to lounge in the living room without fear of having to interact with anyone has been awesome. hey, sometimes a girl just wants to get her food network on and not make polite conversation!

Also I have had nothing to do but unpack, cook, and run along the pier….is this what being a housewife is like?? Cause maybe I should rethink my career path….(I kid. I would go crazy. Also I’m pretty sure most housewives do more than that. )

I was running around Kingston yesterday, and couldnt help but notice how much nicer it is here in the summer!! During the school year it is generally beautiful for about a minute in the fall, then its covered in a blanket of snow, grime, and slush for the remainder of the year. But now? It’s all blue water, blue skies, flowering trees  and green errythang. As a person with seasonal allergies, the flowers and shit can actually be a bit of a downer, but I frolic outdoors regardless!!

I was feeling a little down the other day about not being in Toronto for the summer (really, for the year). Thinking about how beautiful Kingston is, and how much I love this new little apartment helped a lot. Here are a few of the things I’ll miss about Toronto:

toronto

1. Fam and friends…..duh. I’m actually pretty close with most of my high school friends, and will miss being able to hang out with them more.

2. Value Village. They have one in Kingston, but the contents are just not as interesting.

3. QUEEN WEST. It’s probably better for my wallet (and “savings account”) that I’m not able to wander around Queen st this summer, but I’ve always loved that part of Toronto. I worked at the Lush on Queen and Spadina, and also swam for years at the U of T complex at Spadina and Harbord, so I really feel at home in that area.

4. Related to 3, Fresh restaraunts. I have a serious and deep relationship with this restaraunt. If I ever live in Toronto again (and not with my parents), I would pick an apartment based on its proximity to Fresh. If you have never been go. Go now. I have literal anxiety over what to get from their menu because it’s all amazing.

Now that you know how much I love this place, let me describe it for you. Its a vegan/vegetarian restaraunt that has a fresh juice bar and seriously delicious food. A lot of the food I make is based off of the fresh style of meals (aka big bowls of grains, greens, healthy fats, and a protein). It’s somewhat affordable, although I can’t say I have ever let that be a factor in whether or not I should order it. They also have a pretty good brunch (banana nut pancakes are the way to go), but their lunch and dinner menu is better, in my opinion.

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{Fresh, I worship at the altar of your sweet potato fries}

Some of my favourite menu items are:

-The buddha bowl: rice with crispy tofu, pea sprouts, tomatoes, and cucumber in peanut sauce.

-Banana nut pancakes: Actually recreated those this morning!

-Black bean burrito

-Sweet potato fries

And just so many more!!

Since it has dawned on me that I won’t be able to go to fresh whenever I want, I have a fresh-shaped void in my life that I need to fill. And, typically, I will fill it with food.

ENTER THE FEELIN’ FRESH SERIES ON CHOCO CHILI CHAI!!!!

I’m gonna attempt one of the Fresh recipes once a week and blog about my successes and failures. But they will mostly be successes, obviously. I have one of their cookbooks (yeah, they released a cook book. I nearly fainted), and hope to get another this summer. So here’s the first one!!

Fresh Restaraunt Chopped Caesar Salad

This is a vegan take on the caesar salad: capers replace the anchovies in the dressing, tempeh bacon subs in for real bacon, and pine nuts fill in for the parmesan cheese. This salad is soo good, and really filling, although I wouldn’t call it a caesar salad replacement. It’s delicious, but kind of its own thing. You got the smoky bacon, crispy bread, creamy dressing thing down, but it is very much a vegan interpretation of the Caesar.

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{look at that lighting…!! also those are decorative peacock feathers in the background, not some weird hairy things}

Ingredients

Makes 1 meal-sized salads, or two small appetizer salads

For the salad

Chopped romaine

-pine nuts

-Sprouts: see what’s available in your local grocery store, I used baby onion sprouts and they were good!

-1/4 red pepper, chopped

-1/2 cup thawed, shelled edamame beans

-3-4 strips of Tempeh Bacon: I’ll be posting a homemade recipe for tempeh bacon soon, but I used the smoky maple pre marinated Tempeh available at metro (I know they also sell it at loblaws)

-Whole grain baguette: instead of croutons (I’m lazy. and love bread), I just broiled some garlic and vegan cheese to make garlic bread. It was very satisfying. Feel free to use store bought croutons if you want!

For the dressing

1/4 cup silken/soft tofu

-1/2 cup olive oil

-2-3 cloves of garlic

-4 tsp capers (very crucial ingredient, so dont skip!)

-2 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

-2 tbsp lemon juice

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Puree all dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Here is a good time to make cheezy garlic toasts if you’re so inclined.

2. Its a salad. You know what to do. Mix everything together and eat.

Alright I’m headed to bulk barn to stock up on my favies (you can buy maple syrup in litre tubs there….) and chill with a friend, so have a good night!!!!!

Peace out

Today’s jam

Yes, that’s one direction. I’m actually fan girling so hard to them right now. Living alone means theres no one around to shame me into having better taste in music. Yes, its embarrasing but can you honestly tell me you’re not jamming to that song right now?!

The Triumphant Return: Lemon Lovin’

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Oh haaaaaaaaay blog!

I’m back!! After a looooooong bloggy break, I am back for good. I really wish I had been able to keep up the blog during school but man, second year LIfe Sci at Queen’s is out to get ya. But no matter, I’m here now baby. Just to bring you up to speed on my life, here’s some new things to the world of the chocochilichica

1. I MOVED! hooray! into a lil 2 bedroom with my world traveller bff (who actually isn’t here til september, so it’s my not-actually-a-bachelorette pad for now).

2. I finished second year. No small feat friends

3. I’m living in Kingston for the summer. Toronto, I’ll miss you, but Kingston is pretty cute.

4. I’m writing the MCAT this summer. This is a big reason why I’m not going home to Toronto, its  easier to go to and from my prep course in ktown, and I can focus more in my own place. Here’s to a summer of studying!

5. Along with many other small summer goals to keep me sane, I’m gonna try being a (mostly) vegan! I’ll post a detailed explanation of my decision to switch to plant based foods soon, but its for health reasons. I find the connection between animal protein and disease to be really interesting, and I thought I’d give it a go while I can spend more time in the kitchen.

ANYWAYS

The past couple weeks have been pretty hectic. I was here, then I was in Toronto, then I was moving then I was back in Toronto, then I came here for good on Friday. I can attest that the 401 is quite scenic right now.

Move in day was PANDEMONIUM. It was just me and my mama moving all my stuff, and people, I have a lot of stuff. My mom has seriously impressive biceps (she’s a landscaper), so we managed to get it done! THANKS MOM U RULE.

However, by then end of it I had developed the attitude of a 4 year old and almost had a tantrum when my mom suggested we ‘unpack a bit’. I never said I was perfect.

So, I’ve been spending my time here so far unpacking. And you can bet the first thing I did was unpack my beautiful shiny new kitchen and fill it with delicious vegany foods.

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{The oven preheats to a broil in 6 min. I have no words….}

While cruising the local metro (and getting ripped off at the checkout….:|), I stumbled upon something magnificient.

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{“A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange”}

MEYER LEMONS!!!!!!!!!

I have read about these little golden nuggets of pure lemon goodness for forever! As the bag states, they are a ‘culinary favorite’. They also smell amazing. A bit sweeter then a regular lemon, and very perfume-y.

Once I brought my bag of fancy lemons home, I cut one open and took a little nibble. Hey, it’s half lemon half orange right? Not super sour, but also not the kind of citrus fruit you’re gonna wanna eat raw. I proceeded to lurk around foodgawker for meyer lemon inspiration, and came up with a few ideas for using up the bag.

What to do with the large bag of lemons you just bought

by dachocochilichica

1. Hate to state the obvious but: MAKE LEMONADE. Here’s a foolproof recipe that makes awesome lemonade. Add a sprig of mint in there to make all your friends think you fancy. At the very least make some flavoured water.

Meyer Lemonade finished

2. Infuse some olive oil. I bought a little oil sprayer (I was really sick of buying PAM) that had a filter thingy so you can infuse the oil. I threw a chunk of lemon, 2 cloves of garlic and some black pepper into my sprayer and its soooo good. Great for misting sweet potato friends or just drizzling on salads (Update: I originally wrote sweet potato friends, and thought it was so hilarious that I decided to leave it. I mean fries. But really, they could also be my friends.)

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{check this lil guy out: you pump the top part to build the pressure to spray the oil. I like my olive oil misters the way I like my men: eco friendly and cute}

3. Make yourself some baked goods. The options are endless!!! I’m envisioning lemon pancakes, lemon oatmeal in the morning with cranberries, some orange-lemon muffins for a double citrus flavor punch. If you find yourself with an overwhelming number of lemons (it happens), head on over to foodgawker (or even google) and just search lemon. Let the creativity build from there!!!

I started with some muffins because I just got a new muffin pan! Value village is where it’s at guys, that bad boy was only 4 bucks. And it has already brought me a night’s worth of entertainment.

Here’s the recipe for my fellow lemon lovers

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

These make a really refreshing, not too sweet muffin. I had some of this cornmeal mix lying around the casa, and simply replaced half the recommended amount of water with lemon juice and added in some lemon zest to increase that citrus flava. The directions below sort of follow the directions on the back of the package. Feel free to sub your favourite berry for the blueberries, blackberries or cranberries would be good too!

Ingredients

-Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal mix. I’m sure this is easy to replicate if you do a little bit of research!

-Zest of one lemon

-1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

-1 egg OR 1 tbsp flax seed soaked in 3 tbsp of water (aka a flax egg/how vegans bake)

-3/4 cup of water

-1/4 cup light tasting oil of choice (I used coconut cause I like the way it tastes in baked goods)

-1 cup thawed blueberries

-pinch of sea salt

Note: I added vanilla and cinnamon to the mix, as I am of the opinion that they make all baked goods better. But honestly, save your vanilla cause all you can taste is the lemon!

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Its lemon time!! Grate one whole lemon to get the zest, then just quarter and squeeze to get the juice. Repeat with more lemons (but dont add any more zest) until you get 1/2 a cup of juice. Prepare to grate your finger, then squeeze lemon juice directly into the open wound. Extra fun if you have sensitive skin.

Side note: I realized after I had juiced all my lemons that I was throwing away precious lemon flavor in the zest of the other 2 lemons I used. So I grated the little juiceless quarters (and some more of my fingers) to add zest to my oats in the morning. If you think this is something you’d enjoy, please grate them before you quarter and juice the lemons, so that at least one of us does it properly.

3. Mix all wet ingredients together . Note: if you’re using coconut oil, it has a pretty low melting point so it might solidify into chunks if you melt it then add it to cold liquids. I recommend adding all the other liquid ingredients, then moving on to step fourbefore adding the oil so that the ingredients have time to warm up to room temp. Cooking is science!!

3. Add the cornmeal mix to the wet ingredients, and stir it up.

4. Add mixture to muffin pan (after eating a few spoonfuls of batter and declaring to no one that its the most amazing lemon flavour you’ve ever tasted) and pop it in the oven for about 35 min. Remove when a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean (check about half way through baking time, some oven temps vary)

5. Devour, then maybe share some.

Congrats for making to the end of this epic post! Didja miss me?!


Hoping to save enough moneys to make it to Osheaga this year…where I’ll get to see these guys live!