Chew Your Smoothie

Drink your food and chew your drink. What does this mean? An important part of digestion happens in your mouth where initial enzymes are released to break down carbohydrates. So, it is vitally important that with each bite and sip, we take time to chew and savour what is in our mouth before swallowing. If you are a devotee of this practice, then ideally, you should be chewing each bite 40 times. That bite of food becomes liquid at the end. You may think you don’t have time (well, who does?), but this is really the proper way to make your food count. On most occasions, I’m the last to finish my plate when dining out with friends. In this age of fast food and dining, I’m considered a super slow eater but I don’t mind as quality takes time!

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie by Kake2Kale.com Continue reading

Me So Happy Beef Roll

How do you get your ‘happy’ on?  For me it is quite simple, sharing a meal with my family.  My Dad was born in Shanghai so Northern Chinese food is what our family gravitates towards, much to the chagrin of my husband and my sister-in-law (not Kale) who are not used to the carb heavy foods that are characteristic of that part of China.  The first time my husband joined us for Shanghai food, he joked that it would take him a week to digest all the noodles and breads that made up most of the meal.

What can I say, I love carbs, and so do my family.  One of the dishes that we always order, and is snapped up as soon as it arrives at the table, is the beef roll.  Even my husband and sister-in-law love it too, which says a lot about how good it is!  It is a fairly basic dish, but it is the flatbread that makes it great and holds it together, literally.

Miso Beef Sandwich Kake2Kale 1

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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!

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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

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Long Live Quinoa

Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings.  I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this.  I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.”  Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this.  On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.

I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old.  Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now.  We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years).  Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers.  Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me.  “Old people know stuff!”

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers from Kake2kale.com

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Kiss Me Quesadilla

I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico.  Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic.  It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old.  Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food.  Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti.  My Dad revelled in it!  He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy.   We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco.  Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.

Kiss Me Quesadilla by Kake2Kale.com

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Artichoke Attraction

Artichokes were not introduced into my life until I was well into adulthood.  When my friend found out that I had not eaten it before, she immediately invited me over to her place and prepared an artichoke for me.  She basically boiled it and served it alongside mayonnaise.  She claimed that “Eating artichoke was an excuse to eat mayonnaise!” “Mmmm”, I replied, happily dipping another leaf into the creamy emulsion.  The taste was unusual but it grew on me as I continued to dip and scrape the flesh off the leaf with my teeth.  What I really loved about the whole experience was eating it with my hands and licking my fingers.  It is the equivalent of eating a whole crab, but for vegetarians.

So on this note, my one piece of advice for what not to eat on a first date is a whole crab, as the business of breaking the legs and digging into the shell for every last bit of flesh is very primal.  And really, when you use the word primal to describe anything, it’s just another way to say “unattractive”.  I get into a zone where nothing else exists but me and the crab and to hell with black bean sauce dribbling down my chin.

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

But back to what is attractive, it’s the artichoke.  Not only is it a beautiful vegetable, it definitely qualifies as a superfood as it is loaded with antioxidants such as quercetin (a natural anti-histamine), as well as the antioxidants cynarin and silymarin, these may be helpful in regenerating liver cells.  Cynarin also stimulates the production of bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.

I came across a stuffed artichoke recipe many years ago, which I made with great success; it is slightly more elegant than just serving it alongside a sauce. The recipe below is a version of what I made. Please refer to the photos of the cross section of artichoke before and after I scooped out the inner pointy leaves and the fuzzy choke.

I’d like to point out that the serving “dishes” that we used are actually trivets that Kale made from wine corks collected on her travels – ingenious!

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

Other superfoods in this recipe:

Garlic – The major player in the allium family ( includes: leeks, onions, shallots, chives, green onion) contains sulphuric compounds that may help with lowering blood pressure and destroying cancer cells.  Allicin, one of these compounds in garlic is not only anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, but research has shown that allicin can help your body to neutralize dangerous free radicals.

Tomato – Technically a fruit. High in vitamin C and potassium as well as lycopene, fights free-radicals, supports prostate health, and protects skin from sun damage.   It also contains zea-xanthin, which is good for eye health.

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

Stuffed Artichokes makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 main course servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 4 slices sundried sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • ½ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ c. olive oil (or more as needed)
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. salt

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale 5

Directions:

  • Cut the tops off the artichokes, about an inch from the top.
  • Then trim the sharp tip of each leaf.
  • Fill a pot big enough to fit the two artichokes, with water.
  • Bring water to a boil and then put the artichokes in right side up.  Add ¼ c. of lemon juice and 2 tsp. of salt.   Bring water back to a boil for about 20-25 minutes or until a skewer pokes easily through the stem.
  • While artichokes are cooking, put sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olive oil and ¼ c. parmesan cheese into a blender and puree.  If the mixture is too dry add more olive oil.
  • Mix the rest of the parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs.
  • Preheat oven to 375˚F
  • Once the artichokes are cooked, cut them in half lengthwise, then scrape out the fuzzy choke out of the core.  Cut the stem off, peel the outer layer, finely chop the inner flesh and add to the pureed sun-dried tomato mixture.
  • Fill the center with the sundried tomato mixture and then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the whole surface of the artichoke.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes  and then turn to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes or until crumbs turn golden brown.  Keep an eye on it, it turns colour quite quickly.
  • Now devour!

Eat superfoods, live a super life! {Kake}

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

A 4-Carrot Soup

I once knew a couple who were very much in love.  They dated for 5 years and didn’t have much money, so he proposed to her with a 1-carrot diamond ring!  No, that is not a typo, he found the biggest carrot and carved it into a ring.  To her, that ring was more meaningful than a real diamond ring and she proudly wore it until it wasn’t fresh anymore. As demonstrated, you can do more with carrots than just eat them.

soup 2 Kake2Kale

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Blossom Berry Smoothie

Vancouver is awash in freeze-framed explosions of bubble-gum-pink-awesomeness.  Magnolias, cherry and plum blossoms are on practically every block in the city. Their dazzling, blushing petals clear my mind of the gloomy grey days that plague our city over the winter months.  Getting eyefuls of blossoms evoke in me a sweetness tinged with sadness, knowing this eye candy is fleeting and will soon flutter away.

Making a Blossom Berry Smoothie is my way of rejoicing and recapturing the joy of springtime!

smoothie 4 Kake2Kale

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Gung Hei Fat Prawns

Gung Hei Fat Choy! I love Chinese New Year!  Lots of eating with family, friends, lucky money, special treats, and new clothes (on the first day of the New Year you should wear new clothes to give yourself a fresh start).   But I also love that Chinese New Year for me is where I get to have a “do over”.  If there were any resolutions made on Jan 1 that haven’t started, then I can try again.  And, to all of you who also had good intentions to ie.  give up sugar, start a new workout, read more, floss every day, and/or eat more superfoods, well, don’t be discouraged as you can try again in the Lunar New Year….even if you aren’t Chinese!

My  Chinese New Year recipe is quite unconventional, in that the ingredients aren’t your standard New Year’s fare.  Because, frankly, most of the “special” dishes eaten at this time are not delicious to my North American palate, such as dried oysters, black moss (looks like a clump of black hair), jai (vegetarian gluten dish).  Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?  But I hope this Gung Hei Fat Prawns does! And, it’s loaded with superfoods.

Chinese New Year 2 Kake2Kale

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