Monday, April 30, 2012

Sauteed Kale with Carrots and Walnuts

After scoring a case (that's 18 bunches) of kale yesterday for $12, I got busy making some of our favorite kale dishes. After washing and stemming a bit of it, I decided to roast some kale and make this tried-and-true side dish with another. Now what to do with the remaining 16 bunches...

Stir-Fried Kale with Carrots and Walnuts

Serves 3 - 4

Adapted from Greens, Glorious Greens

handful of chopped walnuts
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 bunch kale, washed and stemmed, coarsely chopped
optional: chopped ginger and garlic to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 handfuls of chopped or shredded carrots
2 - 4 Tablespoons water or broth
coarse sea salt

In a large skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat for a minute or so, until they begin to darken slightly and have a toasty aroma. Remove the nuts from the skillet and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in the same skillet. Add the ginger and garlic (if using) and saute for 10 - 20 seconds, until fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and carrots and saute for 1 minute.

Finally, add the chopped kale to the skillet and toss to coat with the oil. Cover and cook for 30 seconds. Uncover, toss again, and cover again. Let cook another minute or so. Uncover again. If the kale seems to be too dry, or is in danger of burning, add a bit of water or broth. By now, the kale should be tender and bright green. You can set it aside, covered, while you prepare the rest of dinner, or dig in now.

Before serving, sprinkle the walnuts on top and season the kale with coarse sea salt.

(Three of us ate the entire batch with dinner last night. Picky Teenage son abstained. Can you imagine?)

Friday, April 27, 2012


That's us - me and my husband Steve, in NYC!

I promised an update on our Clean Eating, and I had a bit of a challenge this past week, as I traveled to New York for the Edgar Awards (my husband's book was nominated for "Best First Novel"). I was prepared in that I packed some shelf-stable healthy snacks such as almonds, dry cereal, bananas, peanut butter and grape tomatoes. I also carried an insulated lunch bag down with me that had my lunch, fruit and cheese in it.

In a nutshell, it was very easy to maintain my clean eating while I traveled, because I could carry food and drinks with me and I was in Manhattan, which is a very forward-thinking place when it comes to healthy food choices.

Breakfast turned out to be easy. Our hotel offered oatmeal as well as hard-boiled eggs and fruit at breakfast - I was delighted. My delight turned to angst when I saw the breakfast bill - about $90 for both of us! The second morning, I ate from my larder - an Ezekial English muffin, some peanut butter and a Svelte protein drink. It worked for me, and was about $87 less expensive than the day before. Unfortunately, my husband got two Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast. And was proud of it. Sigh.

We only had one lunch in New York, and we chose Pret a Manger, a restaurant we were familiar with from traveling in Europe. Lentil soup, a salad with chicken and avocado, and a liter of water hit the spot.

We had two dinners; one was at a terrific restaurant called Novita. The salads were large and fresh, and the seafood was perfectly prepared. The second dinner was at the banquet; I opted for the vegetarian plate rather than the short rib Wellington, which was a perfect choice for me.

The most amazing thing about eating so well was how much energy I had during the trip, and how I felt about myself. I swear my skin and hair do look better than they did a couple of weeks ago, and I credit clean eating.

Now that I'm home, I'll work to get the family back on track. Tonight I made fillet of sole, pasta with marinara sauce, and steamed asparagus and cauliflower for dinner. Tomorrow my daughter and I will go for a run in preparation for the 5K we are running on May 5, and make a stop at Whole Foods for a few provisions. It's good to be back, and feeling great.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eating Clean

Although I am supposedly the "expert" when it comes to cooking, occasionally I get inspiration from my clients. Two of my clients are into eating clean. One is a busy mother of three who eats clean when she can. She flagged a few recipes in Clean Eating magazine for me to make for her, and they were good. This was my introduction to the term "clean eating/eating clean."

My other clean-eating client is a serious body builder who's all muscle. He doesn't touch gluten, alcohol or fatty meats. My assistant and I have been making most of his meals for the past few months, and he recently told me we've changed his life. His headaches are gone, his body fat is down, and his strength is soaring. Wow!

After hearing that, I decided to do a little more research into the topic, and what I've read makes a lot of sense.

The basic advice*:

1. Drink lots of water (8 cups or more per day)

2. Eat whole foods (fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains).

3. Eat sensible/small portions of these foods every few hours.

4. Include healthy fats in your meals.

5. Avoid white flour, white sugar, artificial sweeteners, over-processed, preservative-laden foods and other "junk food."

6. Avoid or limit alcohol.

* adapted from The Eat Clean Diet, Recharged by Tosca Reno

According to the proponents of this way of eating (as well as a couple of personal trainers I know), 75% - 80% of your appearance is directly related to what you put into your body. The remaining 20% - 25% is genetics and exercise. Think about it. You can look and feel better just by drinking more water, cutting out processed foods and being a little more mindful of what you buy and eat. I'm in!

The bowlful of berries was part of my attempt to encourage my family to eat better. Rather than buy the berries and let them sit in the fruit drawer until someone discovered them, I washed and dried them and put them in a bowl. Guess what? They were gone within hours. We all had them for dessert last night, and today my son told me he snuck down during the night for a second helping. My husband scarfed the remainder with his Greek yogurt at breakfast.

Are you a clean eater? Tell me about it, and I'll keep you posted on how we're doing.