Rosemary Kind Bars

Trust me…

Rosemary Kind Bars

1 1/3 cups dates, chopped

1/3 cup raw almonds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 sprig rosemary (I used a little more!)

generous dash of celtic sea salt (1/4 + tsp)

Process all ingredients in food processor. Don’t worry if you still have large pieces of almonds or dates, the mixture is hard to completely process. With wet hands roll into bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Makes 6 bars.

Forget back-to-school snacks for the Littles these healthy, raw bars are all kinds of yum for the mama! I’ll let you know what the Littles think if I decide to share, but for now Rosemary Kind Bars are my grab & go, carpool snack of choice. And just in time since school starts tomorrow! Oh my…

Kale Chips

Kale Chips hit the food blogging scene well over a year ago and seemingly everyone had their own version of the crispy uber-green. While the trend of making kale chips may be very 2009, I think kale is the new black and destined to be a classic.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to have several friends participate in Food Naturally, a cooking class at The Schell Cafe. We spent the morning making simple recipes and discussing ideas to encourage  loved ones, especially Littles, to embrace real food. We all know processed food is unhealthy, but it’s so convenient! Convenience, however, comes with a hefty price tag — our health! We talked about ways to transition our palates & pantries from SAD (Standard American Diet) to WHOLE.

During our class we made kale chips, testing out three varieties of kale: curly, red and lacinato.  Curly kale is green and, well, curly. Sometimes labeled  simply green kale at grocery stores, I’ve never had a problem finding it nestled amongst the lettuces.  Red kale is also very curly, but has color much like red leaf lettuce. Lacinato kale is an Italian heirloom variety, and has long, hearty, flatter leaves. I’ve noticed lacinato kale less around town and generally only find it at Whole Foods. But, keep your eyes peeled it’s a great kale to try.

All three varieties of kale roasted into crispy, delicious chips that disappeared as quickly as we pulled them out of the oven. Experiment with your favorite spices and herbs, the possibilities are truly endless.

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale, washed and dried

2 TBS olive oil

1-2 tsp mixture of your favorite herbs and/or spices (I love cayenne!)

1-2 tsp coarse sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and dry kale thoroughly – it’s very important the kale is dry. Wet, even damp, leaves will result in soggy chips. In a large bowl mix olive oil with herbs and seasoning. DON’T mix in salt yet. The salt draws out moisture and keeps kale from getting crispy.  Tear  kale into bite sized pieces and place in the bowl with olive oil.  Gently massage the kale leaves until the leaves are evenly coated.  Place kale on baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully, the kale can burn quickly. Once toasted to a crisp, remove from oven and generously sprinkle with salt.

We generally eat kale chips straight off the baking sheet. However, two of the Littles have yet to commit to the kale craze. I won’t give up and in the meantime, I sprinkle crumbled kale chips into bowls of popcorn for a healthy snack. And, everyone seems to enjoy the crispy addition to scrambled eggs. The crispy kale also adds a pleasant crunch to leafy green salads. See, I told you the possibilities were endless….

If you need more inspiration check out how to take your kale chips to a new level at The Sensitive Pantry. Nancy offers several ways to really kick your kale up a notch!

Have you joined the kale craze?

Roasted chickpeas with a KICK!

I love roasted chickpeas.  Also called Garbanzo Beans, these petite peas are packed with protein and fiber and the crunch is irresistible.  Sometimes I toss them in salads or use as a garnish for other vegetable dishes.  Mostly, I just keep ’em hanging out in a bowl on the counter for hungry Littles to grab and go as they zoom from one activity to another.  They are also a great ‘tizer to nibble on while you enjoy a glass of wine.

You can use dried chickpeas, but I stock up on the organic cans when they are on sale at Whole Foods or Central Market.  Experiment with seasonings and herbs.  There are infinite possibilities.  My latest fave is with a double dash of cayenne pepper! A handful of these will have you kickin’ up your heels!

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (15 – oz) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarse sea salt

2 big dashes of cayenne pepper

After rinsing and draining chickpeas, dry thoroughly on paper towels.  In a small bowl combine olive oil, sea salt, and as much cayenne pepper as you can handle.  Add chickpeas and stir to coat.

Spread chickpeas onto a foil lined roasting pan and roast at 450 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.  Keep a watchful eye on the peas towards the end of the cooking.  You’ll know they are done by their golden color and crisp texture.