Iced Teas to Please!

I have many guilty pleasures, but none more so than sitting on the deck with Kale, whiling away the time with a stack of magazines soaking up the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Since we live in Raincouver, sunshine is always welcome, as is a delicious iced tea to wet our whistles and to stay hydrated.  In fact I decided to make two different teas with you today: Pineapple Mojito Iced Iea and Hibiscus Ginger Iced Tea.

Ice Tea by Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

The Art of Superfoods

One of my favourite contemporary artist is Gathie Falk, her art pieces always make me happy.  I particularly like a painting she did of apples on a canvas, the apples are on a black background and they look like they’re suspended in outer space.  The apples are sliced and whole.  This painting allows me see this banal fruit with new eyes, as does many works of art that feature food!

Continue reading

For the Love of Tennis!

My teen idol wore shorts and a headband. No, it was not Richard Simmons but a blond Swedish god. A tennis god, Bjorn Borg. Everything about him appealed to my shy, self-conscious teenage self; his lean physique, his flowing blond locks, those piercing blue eyes, his deadly two-handed backhand and his graceful moves on the court. Because of him I took up tennis and found I was pretty good at it, not like soccer (I hate running, especially into people) or volleyball (not good for pianists as I once sprained a finger when the ball hit my hand at a bad angle and I couldn’t play piano for two weeks).

Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins by Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

Choco Chip Cookies to Chase Away the Blues

I haven’t had such a disheartening day in a long time.  Lately I’ve been asked to audition more and acting is something that I’ve done in the past, but have taken a break from it to focus on other pursuits.  I had prepared for this audition well and by the time it was my turn to go in I had been stewing in the waiting room with the other actors for well over an hour.  It didn’t go the way I had hoped and I left feeling like a failure.   Once I got home I put on some Harry Connick Jr. music, a mood lifter for sure, and then headed to the kitchen to make these baked treats.

These chocolate chip cookies are the perfect indulgence to soothe my soul without having to say “I shouldn’t have” afterwards.  For our followers, you might recall that I recently confessed to breaking a five day liquid fast by eating half a bag of Chip Ahoy cookies, not my proudest moment.  Since then, I have made thousands of cookies and have a few “go to” recipes.  Lately, the avocado is having its moment in the spotlight.  So much so that global demand for this once exotic fruit, (yes, it is a fruit) has skyrocketed.  No longer is it just for California rolls and quacamole, but it is topping quinoa salads, sandwiches, as well as being grilled, made into fries, used for chocolate mousse and now baked into cookies!

chocolate chip cookie Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

It’s All Fenugreek to Me

Have you ever been so desperate to regain something that you value, or didn’t even know you valued until it was gone? Like slowly thinning hair?  I used to treat my hair as a nuisance, since I had such an abundance of it, blow drying and styling always took forever.  But I have noticed in the last year that more is falling out when I shampoo or when I brush my hair.

Dear Hair,

I am so sorry that I took you for granted, I will do my best to take care of you from now on.  You were always there for me but I never paid much attention to you.  I am profoundly sorry for my neglect, but I am turning a new leaf.  Please come back.

With Sorrow and Regret, Kake

I didn’t feel alone as Kale was experiencing the same thing.  Desperate times calls for desperate measures.  With some research I discovered that fenugreek seeds are used to remedy hair loss in Ayurvedic (traditional healing methods from India) medicine.

Hair Pro 2 Kake2Kale

Continue reading

Valentine to a Golden Birdie

It wasn’t love at first sight, not even second sight. My “date” was quite verbose, but I was seduced by his vulnerability, the ease with which he stripped his….heart bare (clothes stayed on). Once I fell into his grasp, I fell hard for him. My husband knew of this love affair, and was fine with it because the object of my affection is a book, The Goldfinch. I devoured it for hours at a time, good thing I don’t have kids, otherwise I would surely have Child Services knocking on my door. I was swept away by the raw beauty of Donna Tartt’s writing, and how the main character wooed me into his inner life. The story unwound itself page by page and wrapped itself around me in sensurround. The Goldfinch in the title of the book refers to an actual painting that became very dear to the main character, but please go read it for yourself if you haven’t already.

I wanted to make an edible Valentine to The Goldfinch, and thought something lemony would be fitting. I decided to create golden cupcakes that are tart and sweet, which is one of the book’s messages, that is – even though your life may be sour, sweetness can still be found. Because the book is so substantial in content and length I wanted my cupcakes to be dense and substantial, almost like a pound cake quality.  For the love of The Goldfinch, below is my Valentine cupcake recipe.

Sweetheart Muffin Kake2Kale

Continue reading

New Year New Food!

What do aliens eat?  Do they have the same food groups as earthlings?  Do they care about eating local, organic and fair trade?  What do their fruits and vegetables taste like, look like?  Do they even eat?  Or, have they done away with eating, which would be sad.  I am fantasizing about alien cuisine because I’ve got food fatigue.   That is what I am experiencing more and more these days.  You must have those days too where you just can’t stomach another boring bowl of oatmeal, spring mix salad, or chicken breast.  I want to travel with my tongue.

And so it was with gratitude that I came across 2014’s top ingredients of the year.  And I find myself behind the food trend because it is now 2015 and there are foods from last year’s list that I have never heard of, ie. shishitos, leaf lard (I didn’t know leaves have fat) and gribenes to name a few.  But I am happy to say there are many ingredients that are staples in my pantry.

The number one ingredient of last year is the spice mixture, zaatar, I remember reading about it a few years ago when it first burst onto the culinary scene, but have never tried it.  Until now, it is a new year and new food, well, at least for me.  So I went on the hunt for zaatar, and found it at a Mediterranean market.  What exactly is zaatar? It is a mixture of herbs – thyme, oregano, marjoram – sumac and sesame seeds.  You may be familiar with the first three ingredients, but sumac?  What the heck is that?  When I had gone to Turkey in the past, I brought some sumac back and didn’t really know what to do with it.  But it is a berry that is dried and then ground into a powder.  It has a tangy citrusy flavor.

Spicy Chickpeas 2 Kake2Kale

Continue reading

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate

Is it too early to talk about chocolate?  Valentine’s Day is a month away, but oh what the heck.  Chocolate never goes out of style, is never passé, and no one will ever says “Chocolate is so yesterday!”

One year when the season of Lent was approaching, I was wondering what I would give up for 40 days.  Christians observe Lent by going through a season of self-denial to make room for the presence of God in our lives, and as a preparation for Easter.  One should give up something that will be missed, something that will hurt a little.  And so I gave up chocolate for 40 days because it had become something I had to have every day.  It did hurt, but it made me aware of how much I thought I needed it.  Was I on my way to becoming a chocolate addict?  This might be overstating it, but I want to live a life where I am free to choose.  And the act of giving up chocolate was a stark slap in the face, that is – I wasn’t free to choose chocolate as it had become something I had to have and not something I “get” to have.  Once Lent was over, that first bite of chocolate tasted divine!

My relationship with chocolate has since become more balanced, and I don’t have to have it everyday.  When I do have it, it should be really good.  So, as I  think about some food related highlights from 2014, I feel that visiting Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France with {Kale} was one of them.  You can read about our visit here.  We had the drinking chocolate and I have been meaning to make a version that was a little less rich, but no less satisfying.  As a result, here is my ultimate hot chocolate!

Hot Chocolate 1 kake2kale

Continue reading

The Ginger Bomb

Who knew cola could be a medicinal drink? When I had the sniffles or a sore throat as a child, I was given a hot drink of cola, boiled with ginger and lemon.  And, by gosh, after drinking this delicious concoction I seemed to feel better.  Once in a while, I order this drink, which is still served at Hong Kong style cafes, and let it transport me back to my childhood.

Now, instead of hot cola, my husband and I make a hot drink with ginger when we feel under the weather.  “Shall I make you the concoction?” offered by my wonderful husband is music to my ears when my nose is runny and my chest is congested.  After a cup or two of this drink, the congestion loosens up and I am able to expel the, ahem..mucous.  Since this drink does such a good job of chasing away those nasty symptoms I am calling it the Ginger Bomb!

Ginger Drink 2 Kake2kale

Ginger is a rock star in the superfood realm, it might not look very pretty with its knobby physique, but it is packed with medicinal and therapeautic properties.  You may think of it as a root, but in fact is the subterranean stem of the plant, called a rhizome, from which roots and shoots extend from.  It has been used in China for thousands of years, and spread to many other cultures via the Silk Road.

It is full of antioxidants like zingerones and gingerols, as well as having antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic properties.  Ginger may also be just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in helping with pain relief.  Studies have found a significant decrease in pain from muscle soreness in women athletes, and a reduction in migraine headaches and even in menstrual cramps.  It is also well known to be effective in reducing nausea and upset stomachs.  It is also great for coughs because it helps drain the lungs of mucuous, which is why it is in our concoction!

Ginger is usually sold in pretty large chunks, so when I can’t use it up fast enough, I put it in the freezer, and just grate what I need.

Naturally, you can enjoy my Ginger Bomb concoction even if you don’t have a cold or the sniffles!  It’s a cozy and healthy drink anytime of year.

Other Superfoods in the recipe:
Pineapple – Contains Vitamin C, bromelain which is a digestive enzyme.
Lemon – Contains Vitamin C and lots of phytochemicals.
Honey – May help in treating seasonal allergies if you take a daily dose of honey made from your local area.  It fights infections, in particular manuka honey, which is made from the tea tree plant.

Ginger Drink Kake2kale

The Ginger Bomb serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 5 slices ginger*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Put ginger slices into a pot of water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add pineapple juice and heat through for about 2 minutes.
  • Then add honey and lemon juice. Serve immediately while hot.

*You may save the ginger slices to be used for another bomb.

Eat well and stay healthy!  {Kake}