Make Room for this Super Food in Your Diet


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Kale – Deliciously Healthy Salad

We know…there’s a new “super” food every other day, but kale is one that you should certainly add to your grocery list.

One of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, kale offers an incredible array of benefits.  And it has a benefit that you may not think of at first: it’s tasty.  At least it is when you prepare it well!

So why eat kale?  Why not stick with your old iceberg lettuce?  Unlike lettuce, which is  mostly water, kale is packed with an impressive list of nutrients.  It has over 45 different flavonoids, with include kaempferol and quercetin.  It’s not important to necessarily know these specific flavonoids – but you’ll want to know about the benefits to your health.  They combine the power of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.  Green leafy kale has been shown to have the following benefits:

•It lowers cholesterol, especially if you steam it.
•It lowers the risk of at least five different types of cancer, including cancers of the bladder, colon, ovary, breast, and prostate.
•It detoxes the body at a genetic level.  Everyone can use a good cleanse, and besides being good for the body itself, it is excellent for a healthy appearance.  Yes, kale can help your natural beauty shine a little brighter.
•Kale can help prevent chronic inflammation.
•It can help us avoid oxidative stress, which is a factor in things like heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

An added benefit: kale is very easy to grow and is a hardy plant. Some varieties even take a frost or two and keep producing wonderful leaves.  Whether you plant it or buy it, though, cooking it properly is essential.  As mentioned, steaming it is great.  Add a little butter and you have an excellent side dish.  You can eat it raw, chopped small, in salads.  You can eat it
in soups or baked dishes where you would use spinach.  You can sauté it in butter and garlic…the list is endless and delicious.

This recipe for kale chips will get you started.  You will need:

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Curly Leaf Kale

•    A bunch of kale.
•    A tablespoon of olive oil.
•    A teaspoon of seasoned salt.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Get rid of the stems (the stems can be a bit tough and woody) and tear the leaves into pieces that are just bite-sized.  Wash the kale, and dry it with a salad spinner or paper towel.  Then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake them for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges are brown.  They’ll satisfy a need for crunch, like a potato chip, but your body will like it a whole lot better.

Finally… Something That Is Good And Good For You!

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, a healthy alternative to saturated fat when preparing or cooking foods. Too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels, which contributes to clogging the arteries.

Extra virgin olive oil, the oil that is good and good for you!

Tasty Brands of Olive Oil Readily Available

Monounsaturated fats improve cholesterol levels for better heart health, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Extra-virgin olive oil goes through the least processing to retain the most nutrients. Virgin olive oil is you next best bet over standard olive oils.

Use olive oil instead of butter when cooking eggs or potatoes. Sauté onions in olive oil instead of butter. Add one teaspoon olive oil in place of butter when cooking packaged rice or pasta mixes. Top broiled fish fillets with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice. Sir fry chicken or beef in one tablespoon olive oil and add assorted vegetable slices for a heart-healthy meal.

Here are tasty recipes featuring olive oil:

Honey Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

2 ½ lbs chicken, quartered
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs honey
1 ¼ tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine olive oil, orange juice, honey and paprika in a small bowl. Brush chicken pieces with mixture. Place chicken in a roasting pan and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake chicken again. Continue baking and basting for about 30 to 40 minutes until skin is crisp. Serve with rice.

Rice With Lamb

Serves 6

2 lbs lamb
3 medium chopped onions
3 garlic cloves
½ Tbs tomato paste
½ tsp harissa
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
3Tbs olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups rice
3 sliced green peppers
1 lb peas, shelled

Chop and arrange lamb in a casserole. Add onion, garlic, tomato paste, harissa, bay leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil and water. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Add rice, peppers and peas and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

Macaroni and Bean Soup

Serves 6

½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 medium zucchini, sliced
½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained
¾ cup elbow macaroni
3 minced garlic cloves
½ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Place celery, onion, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, bay leaf and black pepper in large soup pot. Add water to cover, bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add kidney beans and macaroni. Bring to a boil over heat, reducing to medium and cook another 15 minutes. Blend garlic, basil and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Add mixture to soup and garnish with Parmesan cheese before serving.