Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Kale salads are often less than desirable. IMO. The kale leaves are either left too big and floppy, or it feels like you are a horse, chewing, and chewing, and chewing. Am I right? Well, welcome the massaged kale salad! By simply massaging kale leaves with sea salt, the friction gently breaks down the fibers, leaving the leaves more tender and easier to digest. Massaging also enhances the flavor of the kale, especially when tossed with a bunch of delicious goodies. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are often better tolerated as the heat breaks down fibers. Massaging the greens has a similar effect, while keeping intact heat sensitive nutrients.
Unfortunately, I know a lot of people struggle with gas and bloating after eating raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc). This is likely due to their high amounts of raffinose, a short chain carbohydrate that humans cannot digest, leaving a feast for gut bacteria. Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are considered high FODMAP foods, and are often triggers for patients with IBS. Also, sometimes individuals do not tolerate cruciferous vegetables due to an abundance of sulfur reducing bacteria in the gut that like to feed off of their sulfur rich compounds. If you have struggled with severe foul smelling gas and bloating after eating cruciferous vegetables (or garlic and onion), you may want to consider hydrogen sulfide SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or LIBO (large intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
However, if you tolerate cruciferous vegetables just fine, then they are a great addition to support liver detoxification and hormone health. Eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables per day, is a great dietary practice for overall health and wellness.
Festive Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch green curly kale (~8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons unrefined cold-press extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or brown)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted maple almonds or walnuts (see below for recipe)
**Crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese
**Dried cranberries, raisins, or currants, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Wash your kale and shake off any excess water. You can also shake them in a clean kitchen towel. Devein each kale leaf by pulling down along the stem towards the tip of the leaf. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces and toss into a large bowl.
Add the sea salt and gently massage the kale for about 1 minute or until the kale leaves begin to break down and look shiny. Do not over massage otherwise it will wilt too much. Add the olive oil and the vinegar and toss well.
Finally, add the chopped almonds, cheese, and dried fruit of your choice, and mix until combined. **Add as much of the cheese and dried fruit as you like. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: You can swap the cheese with diced avocado.
Roasted Maple Almonds
Makes 1 cup
1 cup almonds (or walnuts/pecans)
1 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Generous pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to watch that they do not burn. Set aside to cool.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium. Add the butter and the maple syrup. Stir the mixture until it bubbles a lot, becomes syrupy, and reduces in amount. Add cooled nuts and pinch of salt. Mix well to coat. Be careful as the syrup is extremely hot.
With a spoon or spatula spread almonds onto a plate and allow to cool. Break into pieces. Serve with the massaged kale salad or eat as a snack!
Are you kale lover? Let me know if the comments below!
As I am writing this I am curled up on my couch drinking green tea, the wind is blowing gusts and the fire is flickering. There is so much cozy going on right now, and I love it! The last couple days I have been making delicious soups and skillet cornbread. There is just something so comforting about cornbread when it is baked in a cast iron skillet. Am I right?
So let me tell you, this is not your typical cornbread! It is a golden delight, perfectly paired with any fall soup or stew. Most cornbread recipes include refined wheat or gluten-free flours and are loaded with sugar or sweeteners. Not the ideal combo when it comes to nourishing a good gut microbiome. My recipe uses old fashioned rolled oats and grated apple instead to keep it nice and moist. This swap not only increases the fiber content but also increases the nutrition density as well. Both oats and apples are rich in soluble fiber, while the corn flours are rich in insoluble fiber. This balance is wonderful for digestive health, increasing stool bulk, speeding up transit time, and feeding good gut bacteria. It also helps increase satiety, keeping you full for longer. Plus, the apple (along with the honey) adds a light but healthy sweetness. Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols, powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that act as prebiotics. As with all my recipes, it's gluten-free too (and happens to be dairy free as well) making it a wonderful side dish to share with friends and family. To make this recipe I suggest visiting the BULK section of your local co-op to stock up on the different flours and oats.
Are you ready to get your fall cozy on? Then whirl up this delicious cornbread in less than 45 minutes. No bowls required, just a high speed blender and a cast iron skillet. And if you don't have one, then use a 9x13" glass baking pan instead.
Whole Grain Harvest Cornbread
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 medium apple, grated with peel
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup raw local honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup cornmeal/Masa Harina
½ cup fine corn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and oil or butter a 12” cast iron skillet. I like to melt a pat of butter in the skillet before pouring in the batter. Place the first seven ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth (I use a BlendTec). Then add the rolled oats, and once again blend until smooth. Add both the cornmeal and corn flour and pulse until evenly combined. Finally, add the tablespoon of baking powder and pulse a few times until evenly dispersed.
Transfer the mixture into the oiled/buttered cast iron skillet and place into the preheated oven. Bake until golden brown for 25-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting with a knife.
Serve warm with a pat of butter. You can easily reheat a slice in the microwave for 30 seconds or alternatively pan-fry a slice in butter.
Note: This recipe is moderately high in fructose due to the honey and apple content. To reduce the fructose content, swap the honey for maple syrup. Then each serving is considered low FODMAP.
What are your favorite fall foods?
Raw Cranberry Chutney
Today I am going to share with you a healthy alternative to your traditional, highly sweetened, cranberry sauce. The first difference is that it is raw—allowing all the powerful phytonutrients and enzymes in cranberries, which have been touted with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, to stay intact and work together synergistically. When heated, processed, and mixed with a lot of pro-inflammatory sugar, the health benefits of cranberries decreases. Keeping the cranberries raw, allows you to benefit from all their health promoting compounds! Secondly, I only use maple syrup as a sweetener, and only ¼ cup, reducing the typical sugar amounts by ¾ or more! And thirdly, I add freshly squeezed orange juice, zest, and optional spice to the mix, creating a zesty and bright raw cranberry chutney. The trick to this recipe is time. The longer it marinates in its' own juices, the more developed the flavors become. I recommend making this recipe in advance and storing it in your refrigerator at least a day before you using it. Make sure to choose organic cranberries and oranges to reduce pesticide content.
Makes about 2 cups
Time: ~ 10 minutes or less
12 oz fresh organic cranberries
1 organic orange, juice and zest
1/4 cup maple syrup (or more to taste - see note)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (can replace with a little deseeded jalapeño)
Rinse cranberries and strain. Pour onto a clean kitchen towel and pick out any soft cranberries. Add the fresh cranberries into a food processor. Process until finely minced. Be careful not to process it too much, because then it will become too soggy. Pulse in the orange juice, zest, maple syrup, and grated ginger root. If you want to add heat, do so now. Season with a pinch or two of sea salt. Transfer into a glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to one week.
Note: Most cooked cranberry sauce recipes call for 1-1 1/2 cups of sugar! Adjust sweetener to your liking. May use honey in place of maple syrup for sweeter flavor. Just remember, this chutney gets more flavorful with time. Therefore, taste it the following morning to see if you really need to add more sweetener. Tastes great tossed in salads, in wraps, sandwiches, or along with your Thanksgiving turkey. A little goes along way!
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145. Accessed November 24, 2019.
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.