Kale Chips

So kale chips seem to be the recipe du jour these days and since I accidentally bought too much kale (random, I know), I thought I’d try them. Basically, you just throw them on some parchment paper with some olive oil and salt and heat them for about 15-25 minutes (less if your kale is dry, more if your kale is soggy, like mine was.)

They were… fine. I mean, they’re not packed with flavour but it’s a pretty painless way to eat greens. P was not convinced however. I believe his exact words were “Those are not chips. They’re green.” But M liked ’em.

Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie

This was going to be a photo of an amazing drink I recently discovered, but by the time I got around to taking a photo – it was gone.

So these days chocolate is practically health food, right? So why not have it for breakfast? I couldn’t believe adding cocoa to a smoothie hadn’t occurred to me before, but here’s how I made it.

1 c plain yoghurt (not French vanilla!)
1/2 c frozen or fresh raspberries
1 heaping tbsp of unsweetened cocoa
optional – add some coconut milk to water it down

Blend. (I used my Braun handheld). Sweeten if desired. The raspberries are probably sweet enough, but I threw in a bit of Agave nectar because, well, I have a huge container of it I’m trying to get through and I like the way it mixes into drinks. I know there is controversy about whether agave nectar is any better than refined sugar, but I like the consistency. A touch of maple syrup would work nicely too.

Just in Time for Oscar Night

Remembered at about 10:30 that I have to make a snack for a party I’m going to tonight… it’s a snowy day and I didn’t want to leave the house so I scoured the place for ingredients. Then inspiration struck – popcorn balls! I forgot how easy it is to make popcorn. I coated the bottom of a pan in vegetable oil, put down a layer of kernels and turned the stove to medium. The baby needed a change so I rushed off to get her dressed. When I came back to check on my popcorn, I opened the lid to find this:

Then I made the caramel. Needed:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of loosely packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt (or none if you’re using salted butter)
a candy thermometer
(This will make enough for 12-16 cups of popped corn depending on how caramelly you want it)

Put the caramel ingredients on the boil and keep a close eye on the thermometer. Once it gets to 234F, aka the softball stage. Drizzle it over your corn and mix quickly.

Caramel bubbling on the stove

If you want to make popcorn balls, as I did, act quickly before the caramel cools. But it’s also really tasty just to eat it without balling it up. Mmmmmm.

Peanut Butter Bars

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I saw some steel cut oats, and thought “Hey, didn’t someone say those were healthier than regular oats?” So I bought some, but of course I never, ever remember to soak them the night before. And so poor P doesn’t get his oatmeal. The one time I did remember to soak them he said “Mama, I don’t LIKE this kind of oatmeal!” Which got me thinking, what’s so bad about rolled oats anyway? Aren’t they pretty healthy too? Shouldn’t I just be thankful my kid actually eats oatmeal? And so I went back to quick oats. But those darned steel cut oats – I wasn’t sure what to do with them. So I decided to bake with them.

I adapted a recipe from Rebar, one of my favourite cookbooks. I’m not sure if baking with steel cut oats is “accepted” but I found they gave the bars a very appealing texture – sort of as if I’d made the bars with chunky peanut butter instead. Sure, you could just go buy chunky peanut butter if you wanted that texture, but the goal here is using up those oats! If you are the kind of person who actually remember to soak oats, or never buys steel cut ones in the first place, you can also use regular oats, although the texture will be different. The original Rebar version also has a very yummy icing, but I left that off in order to make these into an every day “can go in P’s lunch” kind of treat.

You’ll need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter (preferably smooth!)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Half a bag of chocolate chips

Soften the PB and butter and then mix with the sugars – I used a KitchenAid but any mixer will do. Add the egg and vanilla to the wet mixture too. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Once combined, add the dry mixture to the peanut butter mix and stir well. Throw in as many chocolate chips as you like. Spread mixture in an 8×8 buttered pan and cook at 350F for 25 minutes.

Mmmm. They were gone in a day.