Kale…mmm

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Yes, her body is sick and yes I stole this picture from Perez Hilton on my phone at 10:54 am.  But this is all about kale not Jen’s stripper body.  I’ve been hearing so much about kale lately especially people juicing with it (Yuck, no thank you).  I realized that I had never tried it and I had it in the back of my mind that one of these days I will venture into a kale recipe.  Then I saw this video.  Click here.

tone it up girls

It’s the girls from the tone it up show on bravo.  All these tips in their videos are great for snacks but this one stood out because I had been wanting to try this amazing nutrient dense food.  They pointed out it is a great lunch to take to work because kale is so hearty it won’t wilt with dressing on it.  So, I went out the next day and bought some prewashed kale from Trader Joes and made a kale salad!  My husband and I had it for lunch on our first day of our recent cleanse.  See here.  His was thrown together in a Ziploc with strawberries, goat cheese, sliced almonds and homemade dressing.

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Then I decided to make a white bean soup with kale the next week.  I seriously love white beans and white bean soups are my favorite because they are so creamy. I googled white bean kale soup and got ideas for recipes from many sources and came up with this yummy delight.

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For my husband I added Chicken sausage to my vegetarian soup.  We had grilled cheese sandwiches for a meal during one of our many snow storms here in the suburbs of Philly this winter.

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Here’s the breakdown with no measurements because I just threw it together.  I used kale, carrots, shallots, onion, vegetable broth and white beans.  I admittedly go overboard am a snob about beans and refuse to use canned beans.  So these I lovingly soaked for 8 hours and then cooked for an hour like I always do.

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I sautéed the carrots, shallots & onions with olive oil until soft then added the kale for a couple of minutes.

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I mashed up some beans with a fork in some vegetable broth to add to the soup to help make the soup creamy.

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This is a little blurry but I threw the sautéed veggies and kale along with the mashed up beans and then some more non mashed up beans in my crockpot.  I added rosemary, oregano, basil and some roasted garlic and voila delish!  The kale holds up great in soups and provides an interesting texture combined with the creamy beans.  I ate this soup for a week!

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Back to Jennifer Aniston for a moment.  Apparently to get that toned stripper ready body for We’re the Millers she ate veggies, greens, lean proteins and kale.  (Sounds like my soup!)  Also, she did yoga.  And when she wanted to cheat she ate kale chips.  Huh?  Is that a typo eonline?  My cheat is chocolate cupcakes or chocolate chip cookies or even chocolate chips not kale chips.  But one cannot help looking at that picture and not be inspired.  I’m going to add kale chips to my next Trader Joes or Whole Foods shopping list.

Beans & Rice – Rice & Beans

I just discovered Dave Ramsey…how did it take this long?  Anyways, he talks about paying off debt and living off of beans & rice – rice & beans to help to achieve that goal.  Not bad advice for your wallet and your waist!  It’s one of my favorite lunches.  Beans are such a filling lean protein that leaves me feeling full until dinner.  Also, I can make a lot and portion it out for a quick lunch or dinner.  It tastes just as good microwaved the next day.

This is so, so easy.  I know it’s hard to see but I promise you there is rice under there.

  • Produce:  1/2 cup of fresh salsa
  • Whole Grain: 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • Lean Protein:  1/2 cup of beans (I like pinto or black); cheddar cheese
  • Plant Based Fat:  1 tablespoon EVOO
  • SASS:  Mexican Salt free herbs, Ground cumin, Chipotle tabasco hot sauce, fresh cilantro, black pepper

I always soak my dry beans overnight and cook them fresh.  [Here’s a tip:  Put a teaspoon of baking soda in the water with the beans when you soak them overnight.  Also, when you boil the beans add a bay leaf.  The baking soda really softens the skins of the beans and the bay leaf adds some depth of flavor.]  I don’t like the taste of canned beans so I always do this.  You will need to plan ahead if you do this as well.

Cook your rice and beans.  Take your 1/2 cup of beans and add the mexican herbs, cumin & pepper.  Mix the 1/2 cup of rice with the 1/2 cup of salsa & olive oil.  Top with beans and I always add some cheese.  If you add cheese cut back on the beans.  Top with fresh cilantro & hot sauce.  Yum!!!

Here’s Dave Ramsey’s website – http://www.daveramsey.com/home/  He’s awesome!

Italian Veggie Soup

I had a “use what you have” recipe that I made and it was SO, SO yummy I had to share.  Here’s the recipe cinch style (except for the potatoes & bread):

  • Produce:  1/4 cup each of chopped onions, carrots, celery, potatoes; 1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes; and 2 cups veggie broth
  • Whole Grain:  Fresh french bread
  • Lean Protein:  White beans & touch of parmesan cheese
  • Plant-based fat:  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • SASS:  garlic, oregano, rosemary, black pepper

First I soaked white beans overnight.  As always, be sure to add baking soda to soften the skin then the next day bring the beans to a boil with a bay leaf and simmer for an hour.

Then I did lots of chopping.  I usually do a fine chop for soups but decided to do a rough chop and I liked it so much better.  I use a Vidalia Wizard Chop that my mom gave me:

Saute onion, carrots & celery in olive oil for about 15 minutes because they are big chunks.  Add the garlic in the last 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, diced potatoes, veggie broth & spices.  Here’s the canned tomatoes I use which are my absolute favorite:

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the beans 5 minutes before serving to heat up.  Here’s the soup simmering.  This is 3 servings.

I did cheat and skipped my whole grain bread for just a plain baguette that I got for my husband.  I toasted it and dipped it in the soup.  For my husbands soup I chopped 2 slices of bacon in olive oil and then added the veggies and followed the same recipe.  He really liked it and I will for sure make it again.  Anything with olive oil, tomatoes & garlic I’m gonna love.  I heated this up for 2 more meals and it tasted just as great.

Day 19: The Cinch! Diet

  • Espresso, Berry Almond French Toast (P. 99)
  • Fruit Snack
  • Veggie Quesadilla
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Cheese & almonds snack

I took the day off from exercising today.  I was pretty busy.  Here is the yummy french toast with blueberries, bananas and toasted walnuts.  I could eat this every day.  On the days I don’t have it I miss it.

I didn’t take a picture but I had such a yummy snack for my fruit snack.  1 cup of strawberries and 1/4 of ghirardelli chocolate chips.  Then I had a piece of cheese and left out the whole grain.  So good and easy.

For dinner I tried to come up with a quesadilla recipe.  It was good but after making it last night I’m going to try to tweak it today and see if I can fix it.  It was too oily and 2 cups of veggies do not fit in that little corn tortilla.

The quesadilla was very filling and I made it late so I wasn’t very hungry.  So I just ate a slice of gouda cheese and sliced almonds later that night.  I’ll try and improve the quesadilla recipe and put it up tomorrow.  Tonight I am going to soak the beans overnight for the Superbowl chili!

Superbowl Vegetarian Chili – Cinch Style

I’ve given up working on my taxes.  I have 3 different states to file in for 2010 and turbotax is not very helpful and has completely frustrated me.  So I decided to work on a chili recipe for Sunday following the 5 piece puzzle from Cinch.  Of course, my husband will have ground beef, shredded cheese & sour cream in his chili being a meatatarian.  Thanks Stephanie for your suggestions.  It helped a lot.

  • Produce: 1/4 cup each of chopped onion, poblano pepper, zucchini, carrots; 1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes; 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Whole Grain: 1/2 cup corn
  • Lean Protein:  1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup kidney beans
  • Plant-based fat:  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • SASS:  garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, cilantro or scallions

Soak beans overnight with water & baking soda to soften skins then the next day boil the water and simmer for an hour.

Heat oil and saute onions, poblano & carrots for about 3 minutes.  Add garlic & zucchini and cook another 6 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, veg stock, corn, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and bring to boil then simmer until you are ready to eat.  Add the beans right before serving to heat them up.  Top with cilantro or scallions.

I know I’m going to miss the freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Oh well, it will be delicious I’m sure.  I’ll post pics on Sunday.

Day 10: The Cinch! Diet

  • Cappuccino with skim milk, Fruity Waffle Sundae (Shape Blog )
  • Pineapple Avocado Tacos (P. 110)
  • Piece of Dark chocolate
  • Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro-Jalapeno Guacamole (P. 133)
  • Cinnamon Walnut Apple Crisp (P. 107)
  • 45 minutes walking on the treadmill

I did a lot of repeats today to get rid of leftovers.  I’ve had a lot of tacos in the past 10 days but I’m really enjoying the corn tortillas.  I’ve never had them before and have always used flour tortillas.  Also, I really like avocado & all of the tacos call for them.  Here’s my Pineapple Avocado Tacos.  I found these canned pinapples from Whole Foods.  This is the best canned pineapple I’ve ever had.  One can is enough for 6 Tacos.  It has just the pineapple in it’s juice & nothing else.

I made the black bean tacos for the first time.  I do not care for canned beans.  If you have time use dried beans.  Here’s a tip:  Put a teaspoon of baking soda in the water with the beans when you soak them overnight.  Also, when you boil the beans add a bay leaf.  The baking soda really softens the skins of the beans and the bay leaf adds some depth of flavor.

I enjoyed the black beans but I modified the recipe.

I was on the phone with my sister (Hi Cindy!) and then realized it was almost 6 and I had to make dinner.  I mashed up the beans with cumin.  I mixed the avocado with store bought fresh salsa, lime juice & cilantro.  Then I topped it with shredded lettuce.  My husband got cheese on his 3 tacos.

I had to make the Cinnamon Walnut Apple Crisp again.  My husband smelled it the night before and really wanted it.  So I made 2 of them.  I sprinkled sugar on his.

I did 45 minutes on the treadmill to work off the extra chocolate from the day before.

I might have to make the popcorn tonight for a snack.  I’m excited for the Real Housewives Beverly Hills reunion.  I love the drama!