A Weekend of Food in Colorado

February 24, 2016

My stair race on Sunday was obviously a huge reason why I went to Colorado last weekend, but it’s always great to see family, and I love spending time with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece. I didn’t take many other photos while I was there… except of everything I ate!
Read the rest of this entry »

Kale Chips…in the MICROWAVE?!

February 19, 2014

This post is about food, and I need to fess up and say that my eating hasn’t been great lately. I’ve been exercising like a madman, and while I want to be capitalizing on the calories I’m burning to lose a few pounds, it’s not happening. But I’m not beating myself up over it. Just trying to make better choices and do the best I can.

Moving on…

A few years ago, I had a little kale chip kick. I was making them left and right. Kale chips, which are simply kale leaves that are roasted until they’re crispy like chips (see how to make them here), are very satisfying and super healthy. But Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted Vegetable Bonanza

March 23, 2012

When I looked in the fridge this morning, I noticed a ton of veggies that I needed to eat. They hadn’t gone bad quite yet, but the time was approaching quickly. I decided to turn on the oven and roast as many of them as I could!

First up, I still had some of the kale that I had purchased at the farmers market nearly two weeks ago. I had made kale chips with half of the kale last week (although I never blogged about it), and I thought it’d be easy and delicious to turn the rest of the kale into chips as well. Click here for my kale chips recipe. So, I piled the kale onto a baking sheet. You’re supposed to make sure they’re in a single layer, but I really wanted to keep the kale all on one pan.

Next up, two other veggies purchased at that same farmer’s market: asparagus and brussel sprouts. I halved the sprouts, so they were bite-sized.

Finally, some odds and ends: three zucchini, one red pepper, and one watermelon radish. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a radish of any kind cooked. My friend Debbie once sent me a cooked radish recipe, but I never made it, and I think I lost the recipe. Anyway – I had no idea if a watermelon radish would taste any good after a stint in the oven, but I was willing to give it try.

All three trays went into the oven, preheated to 425 degrees, at the same time. I lined all the trays with foil, for easy clean-up, and sprayed the foil with a little nonstick spray. I didn’t add any other ingredients or oil, except for a little Spike (salt-free seasoning).

After 25 minutes, the kale chips were crispy and done, and the rest of the veggies had great color and were cooked through. I took a little bit of everything and made up a plate as part of my lunch:

The kale chips were light as air – and I mean that literally, because I took the plate to my balcony for the photo shoot, and the wind carried a bunch of them off. Oh well – I hope the neighborhood birds and squirrels and feral cats like kale!

Everything was delicious, except the watermelon radish, which was good but not my favorite. And I have two Tupperwares full of leftovers in my fridge!

Keep it up, David!

PS – Just realized that five of my last six posts were food-related – that might be a Keep It Up, David record! Did you read the other four?

Sunday Food Notes

June 26, 2011

A few food-related quickies today:

1) Mystery Food.  I love my readers – you guys are awesome!  I posted this picture yesterday of a mystery food product…

…and you all respond with a flood of comments confirming that it’s dried squid.  Possibly dried cuttlefish.  I had to look up cuttlefish to remind me what they were – they’re another type of cephalopod, similar to squid (and not related to fish at all, despite their name), but with an internal shell.  That internal shell is called a cuttlebone, and it’s actually a very popular toy/accessory for parrots – it’s full of calcium and parrots love them.  And that’s a fact that I remember from my high school days, when I had a summer job working at a pet supply store, where we sold cuttlebones to parrot owners all the time.

That was a tangent.  Anyway – I will be trying my dried squid/cuttlefish, and I will be sharing what I think right here.  So look for that in the next few days.

In the meantime…

2) Produce, Produce, Produce!  I hit Whole Foods yesterday, as my produce supplies were precariously low, and I walked away with a fantastic bounty.  Wanna see?

Let’s see… clockwise from top left, we have: broccoli and cauliflower (already cut-up and on a tray), a berry tower of stacked strawberries, blueberries,  and blackberries, 2 red peppers, bananas, scallions, 2 mangoes, cherries, roma tomatoes, a bag of kale salad (which you can see close-up here), zucchini, yellow squash, fresh figs (Yay! It’s fresh fig season!), a cucumber, red plums, lemons, red delicious apples, peckham pears, celery, and baby carrots.  Phew!

Some of the veggies were purchased specifically for a recipe I created yesterday… and which I’ll share tomorrow… it’s good!

I managed to leave without buying any new types of produce to try for the first time.  I wasn’t looking too hard for new stuff, since the dried squid sorta hits the experimental note this week on the blog, although I did see dandelion greens at the store, which were tempting, so maybe I’ll buy those next time.  Seems strange to spend money on greens that are so hated when they pop up on people’s lawns!

3) Dino Kale.  Speaking of new produce items… remember these guys?

It’s the dino kale I bought last week.  Jennifer left a great comment on that post about all the stuff she does with dino kale, but I ended up doing what I’ve done before with curly kale: make kale chips!  I didn’t document the process, because I’ve done that before (see my kale chip recipe, and lots of pictures, here), but I did take a couple pictures of the final product:

It is much easier to make kale chips with dino kale than regular kale.  The leaves are flatter and heartier, which makes removing the stems a breeze, and they lie flat on the baking sheet, so they’re easier to line up.  This time around, I spread about a teaspoon of basil-infused olive oil on them, some cumin, and some Mrs. Dash.  When they came out of the oven, I sprinkled some vegetarian bacon bits on them, because (fake) bacon makes everything better, but it wasn’t a great idea, because the bacon bits didn’t really stick to them.  I had to manually re-apply some bacon bits to take this picture:

They were really good, though – I took them to a little get-together I went to, and they were gone within minutes.  Everyone that I’ve introduced kale chips to seems to become a fan!

Keep it up, David!

Orange Flesh Melon

May 22, 2011

Last week I brought home a new item that I’ve never tried before from the produce section at Whole Foods: An orange flesh melon.  I mentioned its purchase in this blog post, and shortly thereafter, a buddy who posts comments under a pseudonym posted this comment:  “MMMMMM. Flesh Melons.”  His goal, when he comments, is to make me laugh, and this one did the trick (most of them do, actually).  Seventh-grade titty humor gets me every time!  Since then, every morning when I saw the orange flesh melon sitting on my counter (it needed to ripen), my mind went straight to the gutter, and I tried to come up with a stupid pun or double entendre, along the lines of “David got kicked out of Whole Foods for squeezing other customers’ flesh melons.”  Stupid dirty jokes aren’t a bad way to start the day.  You should try it sometime!

Yesterday, the flesh melon seemed plenty ripe – time to dig in!  Here’s the melon:

See? An orange flesh melon!

After I bought it, I did some research on the interwebs and learned that the orange flesh melon is a hybrid between a cantaloupe and a honeydew.  The orange flesh is (obviously) a trait inherited from the cantaloupe side of the family tree, while the taste and rind comes from the honeydew side.  It’s also smaller than both cantaloupes and honeydews… although I don’t know if that’s true of all orange flesh melons, or just the batch that were at Whole Foods when I was there shopping.

Time to crack this sucker open!

The suspense is killing me!  Is the flesh really going to be orange?

YES, IT IS!  I scooped out the seeds, and gave it a taste:

Delicious!  It’s kinda bizarre, actually – I’m so accustomed to orange melon tasting like cantaloupe, but the interwebs was accurate – this orange flesh melon tasted just like a honeydew.  It was sweet and perfectly ripe, and I felt like I was getting punked by some farmers somewhere with every bite.

It didn’t stop me from eating half of it in a matter of minutes, though:

The other half is sitting in my fridge – it’ll be part of my breakfast tomorrow!

One more double entendre:  “Joanie always felt a little insecure about the size of her flesh melons, but still liked showing them off in the checkout line.”

A couple links before I wrap this post up.

1) This morning, my mom emailed me to gave me a heads up that they were making kale chips on “Down Home with the Neelys” on Food Network.  Since my mom lives three times zones ahead of me, I was able to tune in a little while later and watch for myself.  It’s basically the same recipe that I used in my recent kale chips post, with one notable addition: Gina Neely sprinkled brown sugar on them after they came out of the oven.  She said they counterbalanced the kale, since kale is naturally a little bitter.  Brown sugar on kale doesn’t sound appealing to me at all – and, as my mom pointed out, it didn’t really stick to the kale anyway.  But if you’re looking for a way to sweeten up your kale chips, give it a whirl!  You can find the recipe here.

2) Do any of you read Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit?  Jack is a really wonderful weight loss blogger who uses humor to motivate himself and others, and he’s really funny.  He does a really inspiring recurring post called W.I.D.T.H (Why I Do This Here), where other bloggers and readers share, via photograph, the reasons why losing weight and/or healthy living are so important to them.  Guess what?  Yours truly is featured in this week’s W.I.D.T.H. post!  You can check it out here, and, while you’re there, look around on Jack Sh*t’s site – I bet you’ll enjoy it!

Keep it up, David!

Kale Chips

May 17, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my friend and office-mate Maggie bringing in some homemade kale chips.  Maggie was inspired by watching Gwyneth Paltrow talk about them on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (watch the segment here; she also makes a vegan paella), and I, in turn, was inspired by Maggie.  So I made kale chips a few days ago, and I documented the process with my handy-dandy camera.

The first step?  Buying kale.  I recently bought kale for the very first time.  See?

I was super excited to buy this kale, and I bought these two bunches knowing that they were destined to be turned into chips, and yet they sat in my fridge, untouched, but about a week.  Kale is a hearty green, however, and so when the time came for the kale to meet its destiny, it was still in good shape.

I got out my cutting board, and laid out the two bunches of kale:

Each kale leaf has a thick stem going down the center that you don’t want to eat – so you gotta cut them out, one by one.  It’s easy to do:

After depositing the stems in the trash, rip up the leaves into chip-sized pieces.  No need to be scientific or exact – just rip big pieces in several smaller ones.  Then, you give the kale a good wash.  My kale was kinda gritty – so I piled all my kale pieces into a colander, and rinsed it all under the faucet.  If you have a salad spinner, use it!  I don’t have one (and don’t want one, either – just another kitchen device that I don’t have room to store), so I got out a clean kitchen towel, and rolled the kale up, and gave it a good squeeze, and than seemed to work pretty well.

Here’s the dry kale, in my new orange bowl that I got about a month ago:

I drizzled 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the bowl.  I have this basil-infused oil, and I actually don’t remember exactly where it came from… it was either given to me as a gift, or I may have won it in a foodie-related package at a silent auction a few years back.  Either way, I like it, and thought it’d work well here:

Most kale chips recipes also call for salt, but I try to cut out salt wherever I can, so instead, I tossed in some Mrs. Dash (table blend) and cumin, because I love cumin and thought adding a little smokiness might be fun.

One you have your kale oiled and seasoned how you want them, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  I sprayed my sheet with a light coat of Pam, just to be safe:

Into the oven they go!  350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes.  You want the kale to be crispy all the way through, but they’ll go from crispy to scorched quickly, so you gotta watch them near the end.  I pulled out mine out after 25 minutes, and about half of them were perfect, and half of them were a little too brown.  Not inedible, but not perfect, either.  Those not-perfect ones, interestingly enough, taste really similarly to scorched microwave popcorn; whereas the good chips taste so much like potato chips, you can hardly believe it.  They’re crispy, light, subtle, and delicious.

That’s the finished product in a Tupperware-type container.  I divided the chips between two of those containers, with the idea that I’d eat one over the course of the day, and take the other to share at the office the next day, but guess what happened?  I ate both containers, completely, before bedtime.  All gone.  And they were good.  And so guilt-free it’s ridiculous!  Oh, and I haven’t mentioned that kale is a superfood – a great source in vitamins A & C, copper, manganese, calcium, and a bunch of compounds that may help prevent cancer.  I’m going to keep making kale chips – are you gonna give them a try?

Keep it up, David!

Pulling Myself Back On The Wagon

April 27, 2011

So.  Just to catch everyone up… yesterday, I felt like I was getting dragged behind my wagon, nearly ready to fall off the wagon altogether.

Today, I feel like I have two firm grips on the wagon, and I’m in a great position to continue pulling myself up and out the dirt and dust.

Yes, that’s an improvement!

I’d say today was a successful day.  More successful than the past few days.  Here’s why:

  • I went to the gym after work, and did the exercise I was planning on doing.  Almost exactly.  The intended workout was going to be 30 minutes of weights, then 30 minutes of arc trainer, and then abs.  I ended up doing 25 minutes of weights before jumping on the arc trainer (because one opened up, and I had to claim it before someone else did).  I burned well over 600 calories on the arc trainer, then did my sit-ups (about 100 of them), and walked out of the gym feeling good.  I take that back – I felt great.
  • I ate much better.  I ate all the veggies I brought along for the day (the uneaten broccoli and cauliflower from the day before, bell pepper, and yellow squash), and supplemented it with proteins (beans, tofu, a little grilled chicken) from the salad bar at the cafeteria near my office.
  • Snacking was curtailed.  I didn’t go completely snack free – I had 8 saltine crackers mid-afternoon, and a few pieces of candy, too.  A big improvement over Monday.

Oh, and there another small morning snack that made its way into my mouth.  “Snack” might be too generous a word – it was a sample.  My new friend Maggie, with whom I share an office, made…

…Kale chips!  I tried a couple (for the first time ever):

Basically, you can take kale, which is a dark leafy green, rip it up in pieces, drizzle them with a little olive oil and salt, and bake ’em for about a half-hour, and they crisp up and taste like potato chips, except for that they’re not potatoes, they’re kale (which is a nutritional powerhouse)!

Maggie was inspired to make kale chips by Gwyneth Paltrow, who was recently on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and showed Ellen how to make them:

I’ve eaten kale before, at restaurants and such, but I’ve never bought it before.  I think I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m at the store!

Before I wrap this up, I just want to thank all of you that posted such wonderful, supportive comments yesterday.  My tendency, despite knowing better, is to gravitate towards thinking that I’m on this road to health all by myself, so thank you for reminding me, for the 10,000th time, that I’m not.  Keep it up, readers, and…

…keep it up, David!