Feel The Beet!

Confess it, don’t you love getting free samples?  Well, I most certainly do, especially when they are the latest and greatest in the health food industry.  Last weekend, the Canadian Health Food Association Trade Show took place in Vancouver.  I sampled all sorts of delights from chaga mushroom tea, brown rice kale chips to a salted caramel, cashew milk frozen dessert.  Besides trying great food, there were talks given by doctors and health experts.

One of the speakers was Kathy Smart who is a registered nutritionist, holistic chef, named Canada’s health activist, and she was even a guest on Dr. Oz.  Kathy had clients who wanted to slim down, so she tested a theory on them which she claims worked time and time again.  Her theory is that a plant-based protein works better for apple-shaped women and meat based protein is best for pear-shaped women. Whether you’re wanting to trim down or not, here is a tip about how much protein to eat.  Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half, then this is the number in grams that you should be eating a day.  So let’s say you weigh 140 lbs., then you should be eating 70 grams of protein per day.

Kathy Smart also talked about her list of top healthy foods.  Can you guess which vegetable she thinks should be crowned vegetable of 2015?  BEETS!  This superfood is a powerhouse of nutrients with some not readily found in other vegetables/fruits.  As an example, beets have a high concentration of betalains (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying).  They also contain vitamin C, magnesium, iron, folate, manganese, nitrate and potassium.  This purple vegetable offers a huge range health benefits including: warding off cancer, supporting the digestive tract, boosting the immune system and energy, lowering blood pressure, helping arthritic pain, preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.  In China when women are menstruating they eat a lot of beets to replenish their iron levels. Don’t throw out the beet greens (tops of the beets), as they have a good dose of lutein, an antioxidant that supports eye health. I cook them like I would spinach or swiss chard.  So, if you didn’t believe in the benefits of beets before, then it’s time to embrace and feel the beet!

Roasted Beets and Kale Salad Kake2Kale.com

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Lemon Sunshine Cake

Easter is upon us. For me, it is a reminder that we can all have a fresh start.  After days and days of grey, gloomy wet weather, that stretch into weeks with nary a ray of sunshine, you think you can’t bear to put on your trench coat and rubber boots yet again.  Then, all of a sudden, the days grow longer and the sun pokes its head out more; tulips, daffodils and fragrant hyacinths are in full bloom.  And that is when I feel the stirrings in my heart of new possibilities.

Easter - Lemon Sunshine Cake from Kake2Kale 2

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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

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I Want to Be a Spice Girl

I don’t really do resolutions anymore, because I realize something about myself (which is probably true of a lot of people) and that is – I have no trouble starting something, but sticking with it is a whole other matter.  This doesn’t stop me from trying something new!

“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want”  I want to be a Spcie Girl!  It’s because I want to use more spices in my cooking and which one to start experimenting with?  In the last few years, turmeric has been gaining popularity in the supplement world because of its powerful active compound curcumin, which is actually a golden orange hued pigment.  It has antioxidant,  anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties and may even be instrumental in slowing down the effects of Alzhiemer’s disease.  It has also supports the liver as a detoxifier.

tumeric drink 3 Kake2Kale

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Ginger Kale Cake

Kathy and I have been friends for the longest time, since we were children playing with our Barbies.  Our families immigrated from Hong Kong to Canada when we were just kids.  There was a close knit group of Chinese families that met up regularly for parties, mah jong, generally just to be together because they wanted to create a mini Hong Kong.  Assimilation into Canadian society looked different in each of our families.  Kathy’s Mom worked at an office job during the day and taught Chinese Cooking to eager Canadians at night.  While my mom studied Radio and TV broadcasting, taught piano and in her spare time baked her heart out trying to be a good housewife in this new land.

To prepare for life in Canada my Mom took a baking course from a professional baker, I remember her bringing home cakes with clowns, elephants, a Barbie cake, it felt like Christmas every time she came home from her baking class.

To inaugurate our blog I thought it would be fitting to make a ginger kale cake and to lend some sophistication to the humble kale, a limoncello icing.  It is a little sinful, but it is offset by superfoods:

Kale – high in calcium, high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, anti-inflammatory

Ginger – helps with digestion, anti-inflammatory

I have baked a spice kale cake twice before with wonderful results, it didn’t taste much different from a carrot cake.  It seems intimidating to eat a cake with this pungent hardy veggie, but the taste of the kale fades into the background while giving the cake a bright verdant hue.

This cake is a moist dense cake, you can certainly add more grated ginger if you’d like, or add 1 tsp of lemon extract if you want more lemony flavor in the cake.  This recipe actually had enough to make one Bundt cake and 5 cupcakes.  Just check the cupcakes after 20 minutes.  – {Kake}

Ginger Kale Cake

Ginger Kale Cake Ingredients Serves 10-12

  • 2/3 c. grapeseed oil
  • 2 c. kale (4 big leaves with stem removed, blanched and shocked)
  • 2 3/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 T. grated fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 c. ginger ale
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest of two lemons

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.
  • Put oil and kale in a food processor or a good blender and puree, set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, crystallized ginger and lemon rind.
  • In a large bowl, mix honey, eggs, yogurt, grated ginger, beat until blended.  Mix in kale puree and ginger ale.
  • Next add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, don’t over mix.
  • Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.   Bake for 45 -50 minutes.  Do the toothpick test to see if it comes out clean.
  • Then cool in pan for ten minutes, then flip onto plate and let it continue cooling. Once cooled, ice the cake, then devour with your 10 friends!!

Limoncello Icing

  •  2 c. icing sugar
  • 2 T. Limoncello
  • Juice of one lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. cream cheese
  • pinch of salt.
  •  Put all the ingredients in bowl and mix until smooth.

Ginger Kale Cake