Indianapolis Fruit Company recently hosted a wellness competition amongst all employees, “The Biggest Improver”
It is a true honor to announce that my co-worker & friend, Collin Miller, is Indy Fruit’s 2012 Biggest Improver! Congratulations! He worked so hard & to show my personal appreciation for his dedication, I invited him & our wellness coordinator, Lauren Drew, into the Garden Cut test kitchen to help make what has become one of my signature snack items: Kale Chips. Kale is a notorious superfood & one of my favorite vegetables. Prepared correctly, Kale Chips are a satisfying alternative to potato chips & other unhealthy junk/snack food.
You are probably familiar with the term “Superfood.” I use the term all the time. I had a radio interview last night where I talked about my favorite produce items & referenced superfoods. I think my exact quote was “I believe in the power of superfoods.” The irony here is the fact that dieticians, scientists & medical professionals do not necessarily use or believe in this terminology. Superfood is a term that was coined by marketers…. which is probably why I say it during every interview 🙂 I think it’s a great concept & makes complete sense! Plus, I can guarantee you that the consumer’s awareness of “Superfoods” has helped produce departments sell more blueberries, pomegranate, sweet potatoes, kale, etc. When people are making healthy choices, what’s to argue? Oddly enough, though – marketing a product as a “Superfood” is against the law in Europe! Their stance mimics that of dieticians & some of the docs – there is no medical evidence or solid scientific studies that these foods are healthier for us.
Guess what…. I’m not a European, a Doc, or a Dietician. I believe in Superfoods & I think the distinction is a cool way to segregate this category of high-nutrient & phytochemical-rich fruits & veggies. The marketers at Dole agree with me – check out their Nutrition Institute to learn more about Superfoods!
Now lets talk about Kale Chips. I have made them several different ways – think about how many flavors of potato chips line the snack aisle at your grocery store… the same amount of options exist for you when preparing these Kale Chips. I’ve used countless seasonings: southwest, garlic, chipotle, cajun, thai, rosemary & olive oil, salt & pepper, even cinnamon & stevia (don’t ruin a superfood with sugar!)… the options are truly endless! My favorite “seasoning” is Nutritional Yeast. This is a favorite ingredient amongst vegans & often used as a cheese substitute. I will admit that it’s not always easy to find. I buy mine at the Indy Food Co-Op in their bulk foods section, but mainstream brands like Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill & Barry Farm all offer Nutritional Yeast. Remember what I say… if your grocery store doesn’t have what you want or need – just ask them to buy it for you!
PRODUCE MOM KALE CHIPS
Here’s what you will need:
1 large bunch of Kale – I prefer Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale (flat leaf Kale) versus the traditional curly kale, but either variety will work!
Olive Oil, to taste – I use approximately 1/4 cup per bunch
Nutritional Yeast, to taste – I use about 3/4 cup per bunch – feel free to use your seasoning of choice in place of nutritional yeast!
Sea Salt, to taste
Wash the Kale thoroughly. Using your hands, remove the leaf from the thick stem of the Kale & then tear the leaf into 2 – 4″ size pieces. (The Kale will shrink substantially when it is baked). Place the Kale pieces into a big mixing bowl & coat with olive oil. Use your hands & toss the Kale so it is fully coated with the olive oil. Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast (or whatever seasoning you are using) & again toss to coat the Kale evenly. Arrange the Kale pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt (optional).
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
xoxo Produce Mom
PS> Congratulations again to IFC’s Biggest Improver, Collin Miller! Collin has lost 70 pounds in 6 months. He is a true inspiration to me & the rest of the IFC family. We are all SO proud of you, Collin! And…. inspired! His firm dedication to healthy eating & regular exercise has resulted in the lifestyle & freedom that he deserves. Collin admits that he now has joy when he ties his shoes. Such a simple act of living, yet it was always so cumbersome & tiring prior to weight loss.
His favorite activity now that he’s 70 pounds lighter…. “Dance parties with my girls. We put some music on & just dance in the living room! I used to spend a lot of time watching them play while sitting in an overstuffed chair.”
Welcome to your new life, Collin. You deserve all this & more!