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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kale Smoothies

I know, sounds weird, right?  Kale in a smoothie?  That's just crazy talk, but here at TCC we are crazy talkers.  I was skeptical going into this but in the name of culinary science, I had to give it a whirl and you know what I discovered?  Crazy good!

When I went to buy my kale, I saw that they had both green AND purple which inspired my second smoothie.  Be brave and try these, I promise you won't be sorry.

Green Kale-Pear Smoothie

3/4 cup green kale, chopped
3/4 cup pear, peeled and chopped
1 (6 oz.) container lowfat French vanilla yogurt, cold
3/4 cup almond milk, cold

In a blender, puree the kale, pear and yogurt together until the kale is in even smaller bits and the mixture is semi-smooth.

Add in the almond milk and blend until well mixed.  Pour and enjoy.

Purple Kale-Blueberry Smoothie

1/2 cup purple kale, chopped
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 (6 oz.) container lowfat French vanilla yogurt, cold
1 cup almond milk, cold

In a blender, puree the kale, blueberries, and yogurt together until the kale is in even smaller bits and the mixture is semi-smooth.

Add in the almond milk and blend until well mixed.  Pour and enjoy even more. This was my favorite of the two.


I keep all my ingredients in the fridge to make sure my beverage is cold.  You could always add crushed ice to chill it down, or use some frozen yogurt to make it chilly too.

If you want to add some protein to the mix to make it more of a meal, you can add a dab of almond butter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good and Good for You -- Kale

At lunch today, one of my co-workers was talking about how she keeps pre-packaged portions of smoothie ingredients in her freezer, you know for easy early morning smoothie production.  I did a double-take when she mentioned that one of them was kale.  What the kale is that about?

Though I was kind of eyeing a big curly-leafed bag of kale at the grocery store the other day and flashing back to a dish that one of my catering folks makes, a delectable concoction of kale, corn, cheese and rice which is to die for.

I've not worked with a lot of kale so thought I'd do a little investigating and try it out.  But first, let me tell you why this green veggie should be a part of your daily do too.


Kale comes from the same family (borecole) as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, collard greens and cabbage, though it most closely resembles wild cabbage.  It can have green or purple leaves, the more common being the curly green.  Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was THE green veggie, the most commonly used throughout Europe.  Couldn't find info on who or what usurped its hot spot, but probably that upstart cabbage.

Kale has a long growing season which extends well into the winter. It has a very intense, almost bitter taste but interestingly enough, when exposed to a bit of frost, it becomes sweeter and more flavorful. On the other hand, when kale is combined with lemon juice or oil, it becomes much more mild.

Kale freezes well and can be steamed, stir fried, boiled, or eaten raw.  It goes well with bacon, eggs, and cheese (mmm, kale, corn, cheese and rice).  When you bake or dehydrate kale it takes on the crispy consistency of a chip and is quite tasty.  Adds a nice little crunch to any dish.

FYI, kale is similar to spinach in that it shrinks a lot when cooked, so don't skimp on your initial toss-in.  And always make sure to carefully wash your kale because those curly leaves are notorious for capturing sand and soil in their twisty little grasp.

Besides its culinary versatility, kale is a very nutritious.  It contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any veggie and it also contains more calcium and iron than any other veggie.  It also has:

* Selenium, helpful in the fight against cancer
* Lots of vitamin C, making it a very efficient vegetable in that it provides enough vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron it also provides
*Magnesium and vitamin E, useful for maintaining a healthy heart
*Calcium, for keeping your bones healthy
*Carotenes, for keeping your eye healthy
*Indoles, which can assist in lowering bad cholesterol
*And a host of other nutrients that help your skin stay healthy and young looking

Anybody else up for a kale smoothie now?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Orange Cinnamon Pecan Waffles

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the maternal gals out there!  Since my momma loves her some pecan waffles, I treated her to a flavor upgrade for Mother's Day brunch.  So yummy!  With a little turkey bacon on the side, it was all good and then some.

Orange Cinnamon Pecan Waffles
will need to use a waffle iron with this recipe, just FYI

2 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1-3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup saffron oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, beat eggs until they're "fluffy."  Whisk in milk, oil and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry mix and beat together until smooth.

Mix in the orange zest until well incorporated.

Heat your waffle iron according to instructions.  For a single waffle, pour 1/2 cup of waffle batter on the iron and as it spreads out, sprinkle some of the chopped pecans on top before closing the waffle iron lid.

Cook for 3-4 minutes or until iron lid lifts easily and the waffle is to your consistency taste.

Remove, drizzle with your favorite syrup and try not to hurt anyone as you shovel your waffle into your face.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cold Crab Casserole

Picnic food!  Or backyard eating food, whatever your pref is.  What I'm bringing you tonight is an up-scaled fancy pants variation of one of my all-time favorite dishes from childhood.  It's filling and tasty and easy to make.  And because it can be served cold, it's an ideal dish to make in the morning to enjoy later in the day or tote with you to a friend's house for sharing.

Cold Crab Casserole

1 (16 oz.) box small shell noodles
2 (4 oz.) cans lump crab meat, drained
1-1/2 cups mayo
1 (8 oz.) can peas, drained
1 tbsp. capers
1/2 tsp. Spanish paprika

Prepare noodles according to box directions.  Once cooked, rinse noodles with cold water and set aside to finish draining.

In a big bowl, mix together everything.

Yeah, that easy. The best thing about this dish is that it can be eaten at any temperature, but I recommend cold.


This is based on my Mom's Tuna Noodle Casserole which is cooled cooked elbow macaroni, mayo, peas and tuna instead of crab.  Delish and it never lasts long.

You can use any kind of substantial noodle (would not recommend spaghetti or fettuccine).  We chose small shells because, well, it was shellfish. :)