Without further delay I reintroduce to you, KALE! Since moving back to Arizona and in a life transition, I have been frequenting more restaurants. Restaurants can be tricky in that you really don’t know the nutritional content of your food. Not wanting to sacrifice all of this hard work I’ve put into transforming my body to its current state, I chose kale. Just about every lunch outing at work I choose kale. Eating at a brew pub, I choose kale. Salad bar at Whole Foods, I choose kale. Choosing kale wasn’t always easy. I didn’t even know of its existence before going raw vegan overnight and I certainly wasn’t excited about this green stuff in my life. I remember when I first started out buying this weird leafy green vegetable and drinking it for breakfast. It wasn’t bad if you threw just a few leaves in…and added fresh lemon juice…and some strawberries. Let’s fast forward to today, 5 years after going raw vegan overnight which I maintained for nearly half a year, transitioning through veganism, ovo-vegetarian and finally…my own educated understanding of food. Now I am blending a liter of smoothies every other day that contains 1.5 large bunches of kale. I limit my processed foods to as few as possible, I am conscious of my sugar intake, I don’t crave or eat meat very often and I cram as many leafy greens into my day as possible. I didn’t believe it when the raw vegan/green smoothie proponents said you’d get used to the taste of all the greens, yet here we are, talking about KALE. I’ll save the ridiculous list of health benefits for future posts, but here’s the hizzap for the readers:
- What’s Happening? I’m going to start sharing my Kale Salad experiences in the Phoenix area until I find the absolute best one ever. I’m not talking about kale doused in Caesar dressing, I’m talking fresh, cool, unique, healthy and insanely delicious. Something even non-kale eaters will love.
- Why? Why not? I’m not quite in the groove with my own kitchen and recipes, yet I’d love to get this blog back to the interwebs. I married my quirkiness with kale salad and Kale Yeah was born.
- Seriously, why? Kale is an insane superfood, we all know that. We’ve all been exposed to boxes of kale chips, Costco kale salad in a bag, kale at McDonald’s, etc. The Valley is an amazing food mecca and if kale is going to be on the menu, then I’m going to order the crap out of it and tell you all about it.
- Inception. After nearly a dozen unique kale salads I decided to start this journey with the one that I thought was the best so far. I’ll revisit all of the old places – but I wanted to start with a bang! I’ll go over the good and the ‘iffy’ of the salad and in due time the clear winner will emerge.
FOUR PEAKS BREWING COMPANY | Tempe, AZ
- The Good
- Their Kale Salad is fantastic! It has bacon, sweet corn, bing cherries, gorgonzola and balsamic dressing. The crunchiness of the kale and corn marries the chewy cherries and bacon so nicely. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic and the saltiness of the cheese tops off this bad boy and leaves your mouth so happy. It’s huge to boot! If I can enjoy a nice pint of Odelay AND get some greens in, I call this a major win.
- The Iffy
- There’s a lot of dressing, cheese and cherries. While delicious, it does add a potentially large amount of fat and sugar.
- 9/10 – the ratio of kale to fat/sugar in this salad could be better while maintaining fabulous flavor. So far though, it’s my top choice.
I’d really like to thank Bad Pickle Tees for my new ‘uniform.’ I saw this shirt and knew it had to go on this journey with me. I hope dear reader you stick around too!
Holy cow holy cow holy cow.
I have had a long love affair with Orange Julius’s. It all started when my Grandma would take my sister and me school clothes shopping at THE MALL. We lived 2 hours from the nearest mall and it felt like magic every time we went. I don’t remember my first one but I remember the frothy orange drink and its delicious power over me. I moved on and grew up – sadly without my beloved Julius. Even before my diet makeover I had a hard time ingesting that much sugar in a drink (I could eat like 2 packs of M&Ms instead!). The problem was I knew what went into making that glorious flavor – and it wasn’t liquid sunshine (which is calorie-free you know).
Now? Problem solved! Oh, is it ever. Looking around the web for days trying to find a vegan/paleo orange creamsicle recipe yielded too many variations. Lots of the recipes used orange juice (too much sugar) and bananas (which are actually very hard frozen and I didn’t think would give me that soft sorbet fruit popsicle texture). So I decided to wing it with the recipe using the leftover coconut milk I had had in the freezer. Lucky you, this tastes so close to the real thing you have to taste for yourself. I wanted to drink it, but I abstained and made the popsicles. Good thing I have more coconut milk…
Orange Julius Creamsicle (makes ~10 pushpops)
- 10 oz. (1 1/4 cups) full fat unsweetened coconut milk
- 8 oz. crushed pineapple in juice (I don’t think the way it’s cut will matter, rings/crushed/cubed)
- 1 med-lg orange, peeled
- 1″ piece of orange peel or 1/2+ tsp orange zest
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of pink salt
- Blend all ingredients until smooth. If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix then the chunk of orange peel will puree, no need to zest.
- Pour the mixture over ice or blend with ice. For popsicles, pour into your popsicle molds. (I use a push-pop mold that is fantastic). You could also use toothpicks and an ice tray for old time’s sake.
- Freeze for at least 4+ hours. Enjoy!
These babies come in under 100 calories, 10 g of sugar and 13 g of carbs a pop. Compare that to a small Orange Julius with 210 calories, 50 g sugar and 52 g carbs!
Would you like to know what the super sweet secret ingredient to this unbelievable delicious and easy chocolate dessert is???
The crazy “weird” dried fruit that is kind of like a raisin… maybe you’ve had it in gross fruit cake or cereal as a kid, maybe you’ve never seen them but you don’t even know what you would do with them when you found them. Well relax and take note – dates are more common than you think, forgiving and as sweet as can be. Ever had a bacon wrapped date? You’re missing out. Dates do contain a lot of sugar but they also contain calcium and magnesium in a near perfect ratio (1:1), they have 1.5 g fiber, potassium, vitamin A and other minerals; that’s per date! When dates were tested for their antioxidant content, they scored 3 times higher than red plums. The recipe below can be used as a pie filling, push pop popsicle mold, eaten solo, or even as a parfait – layered with berries and Tru Whip.
Fudgesicle Filling (makes ~3 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups medjool dates (about 16), pitted and chopped (soak in water for easier blending)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup softened coconut butter
- 2-3 tsp coconut oil, melted
- heaping 1/3 cup raw organic cacao powder
- 1 1/3 cup purified water or leftover date water from soaking
- Soak dates in purified water for 30 minutes or more. Soak them longer if they aren’t very fresh and moist.
- Blend or use a tamper and Vitamix – all ingredients until it has a thick pudding-like consistency, add more water if necessary.
- Smooth into push pop popsicle molds. You will have plenty for 4 molds.
- Freeze for 1 day. Enjoy!