Try it Out Tuesday: Kale Chips!

For several weeks I’ve been thinking about starting a weekly feature called ‘Try it Out Tuesday’.  After becoming *slightly* addicted to Pinterest, I wanted to find a way to hold myself accountable for actually trying some of the wonderful recipes and crafts I was ‘pinning’.  The accountability measurement, I decided, could also help me become more regular with my blogging – hence, the idea for ‘try it’ Tuesday was born!

Even though the idea came to me weeks ago, I’ve been forced to hold off on getting started.  At the beginning of the month I got pretty sick and it seemed that would never pass… Hubby went through the loss of two family members within weeks of each other, so that was the focus in our household at the time… And then it was a matter of actually waiting for the next Tuesday to get here.  lol!  I actually started to post this at the end of last week regardless of the which day of the week it was.  There wasn’t enough time to finish getting the pictures ready so I waited.  In the meantime I tried out two other recipes/crafts I found on Pinterest to use for future posts.  Yay !!!

cobalt blue colander filled with a bunch of kale, kale bunch, kale leaves
Kale!

So what is the inaugural post about?  Kale!  It was actually my wariness and sense of trepidation that made me choose kale for my first subject.  It’s a vegetable I’ve seen (and passed by) in the grocery store for many years and a vegetable I’ve recently learned is a powerhouse on many ‘superfood’ lists.  Here’s a bit of kale background info from WebMD.com (click to visit the website for the complete article):

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Sounds pretty healthy, huh?  Still not convinced?  Have you ever heard of the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI)?  Well, you’re not alone.  I had no idea what it was, but as I began reading up on the benefits of kale I came across a reference to it and thought I’d check it out.  The ANDI scoring system ranks food according to the amount of nutrients they have per calorie.  The foods with the most nutrients per calorie are given the highest scores.  Familiar with NuVal scoring?  It’s a similar system that also takes into account the amount of fats (trans and saturated), sodium, sugar and cholesterol.  Whole Foods uses the ANDI scoring system to rate foods and many chain supermarkets use the NuVal system.  I’d be happy to give you more information about each, but since I’m not an expert I don’t want to mislead anyone.  If you’d like more information, please visit sites here and here to read more!  🙂  All of that background was so that I could share one thing.  (sorry!)  On each of these lists, kale receives top honors – a perfect score of 1000 on the ANDI list and a 99 out of 100 on the NuVal list.  Pretty great, huh?

I wanted to find a way to add kale to my diet but was hesitant simply because I knew the flavor might be an acquired taste…  After seeing many references to ‘kale chips’ and pinning a link to a recipe on Pinterest, I decided that would be as good a place as any to jump in and test it as a healthy snack option.  Here’s the pin that links to the kale recipe I used (at foodcamerablog.blogspot.com), and if you’d like to follow my boards on Pinterest you can click here.

 

washed kale, washing kale, kale bunch
First you should wash the kale...

 

The first step is to wash the kale and pat the leaves dry removing as much moisture as possible.  Less moisture = better chips.  After washing and drying, pull or cut the leaves away from the thick stems.  (I tore the leaves into two to three-inch sections.)

 

kale stems, removing kale leaves from the stems
Pull or cut the leaves off the kale stems and add the leaves to a bowl.

 

After adding the leaves to a bowl you’re ready to add the flavoring and/or spices of your choice.  I wanted two different options to try, so I sectioned the kale into two piles and used the Pinterest recipe for the first pile.  One of the bloggers I follow – Jessie Kaufman at ‘Living Mostly Meatless’ – had several recipe options on a recent post and I decided to try one of her combinations for the second batch.  (She also has a review of ‘Bok Choy Chips’ that I’m interested in trying out.  Check out her blog – it’s great!)

 

whole grain mustard, jar of mustard, jar of whole grain mustard, open jar of mustard
My first batch included whole grain mustard, olive oil and garlic powder.

 

The recipe called for spicy mustard, but I didn’t have any on hand and decided to use whole ground mustard instead.

 

seasoned kale, blue bowl of kale, bowl of kale, bowl of seasoned kale, kale leaves for kale chips
Mix the ingredients together with the kale leaves.

 

Now you’re ready to put the kale on a baking sheet and get it in the oven!

 

baking sheet of kale, kale on baking sheet, seasoned kale, making kale chips, baking kale leaves
Spread the kale in a single layer on a baking sheet (I also used parchment paper since I was making two batches).

 

Different recipes call for different temperatures and baking times.  I think there’s a fine balance in the amount of oil, baking temperature and timing.  The first batch seemed great when I checked it, but looked like it needed another couple of minutes since some of it was still slightly moist.  Unfortunately, I misjudged the timing and about half of the kale was a little burnt.  😦  Taking that into consideration I adjusted the time for the second batch (parmesan and garlic) and they turned out great!

 

baked kale, kale chips, kale with parmesan and garlic, kale, healthy snacks, healthy snack options
Baked kale chips!

I have to admit I wasn’t an instant fan.  lol!  As soon as it came out of the oven I had to try a piece and it wasn’t what I expected.  The flavor is a little bitter and kind of strong, and although the leaves are quite hardy when fresh, pulling out the moisture leaves them thin and light.  Hubby enjoyed the mustard/garlic combo, but I found the parmesan more to my liking.  (I should probably confess, however, that it might have been simply because there weren’t burnt pieces in that batch.)  After trying a handful or two I decided to let them sit overnight and try it again the next day.  When I had some with lunch the next day I found them more enjoyable.  I think it’s just because I knew what to expect.

In all honesty, the first batch wasn’t finished.  The second was gone within two days.  🙂  After getting accustomed to the flavor I ate them by the handful.  They may not be for everyone, and I can’t claim them as one of my favorite foods, but I’m excited by the many seasoning possibilities and will be making them again!

 

 

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