When I began this post, I didn’t realize I would be posting it on the 100th Birthday of Julia Child. A recipe post is very apropos. Her legacy lives on in every food blog, every recipe “Pin” and every Instagram picture we share. Creating good food is an art and social media has helped up become part of this Food Appreciation culture.
Julia encouraged us all to simply TRY. She is the Godmother to all of us, the kitchen goddesses and gods everywhere, that play in our kitchens each day cooking, baking, entertaining and sharing our love of food. Happy Birthday, Julia!
Everywhere I go, people are kicked into high gear “Back to School” mode. Especially this past week, as I have been helping my sister and her teacher/friend/colleague decorate their classroom. (Jen, what the ‘h’ do you call Carolyn?) As you can see, I have had to turn on my “teacher speak” since working at a place that molds and shapes young minds. Not easy when a hammer, nails and a power sander are involved. That is how my sister and her teacher friends speak…”What the “H”?!…”Don’t be such a ‘B’!”
That is why I could never be a teacher. I would yell, “What the HELL?” Then, open the TOP drawer of my desk for my flask. Why even bother hiding it in the bottom drawer? I have raised four children. I know exactly where the stash should be hidden: Within reach.
I remember those getting ready days. All the forms to fill out, the summer reading to cram in, the packets to pour over, trying to wind down summer sleep schedules for the brutal early mornings around the corner. I lived it. I loved it.
I do not miss it.
I listened to my sister and her friends going over “first day” itineraries and lesson plans. As I worked quietly on the bulletin boards, all I could feel was relief and gratitude wash over me. Relief, that I do not ever have to receive an email from “EDLINE” again and Gratitude, that the good Lord up above gave me the strength to survive emails from “EDLINE”.
(FunFact: Edline is an online service for students and parents to keep up with grades and assignments under the guise of being helpful, when really all it does is stress you out entirely.)
I had one of those perfect summer days. You know. Productive, kids visiting, fabulous weather, dinner with friends…even a hilarious prank call to a friend at work. The only thing missing was my dear hubby, working in Texas, supporting my perfect summer day lifestyle. Thanks, honey.
It all started with a bike ride, early in the morning.
There were strawberries at every farm stand.
As I peddled on, more and more berries. So, I started thinking…between breathing, of course….
How about a nice, cold, refreshing strawberry cocktail?
Sometimes a rigorous workout leads to divine inspiration. Usually around the time you start seeing spots.
Let me preface: I drank plenty of water first. By happy hour, I was ready for my divine summer spirit.
Strawberry, Cucumber, Champagne Cooler
12 strawberries, stems removed and halved
6 slices, peeled cucumber
1 tsp. light agave (or natural sweetener)
champagne or sparkling wine
Puree strawberries, cucumber and agave in a blender with one or two ice cubes.
Pour into a glass and top off with your favorite champagne.
I know, I know. A spicy, Indian-like chili dish in summer. But, it has been “chilly” and rainy here, so we were craving, well…chili.
With the fat burning properties of turmeric and super powers of kale combined with summer temperatures, think of it as Hot Yoga in a dish.
Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
Healthy, Hearty Turkey, Lentil, Kale, Bean Chili
2 cups mixed lentils
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes ( 28 oz)
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (I may have used 4; I really went to town)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can of kidney beans, optional for extra “heartiness”
2 cups chopped fresh kale
salt to taste (taste before salting; kale has a salty flavor…we don’t need extra salt)
Bring lentils and vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, celery, ground turkey; cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly and no longer pink and looks more like ground beef, so the men-folk don’t balk; about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, turmeric, cumin. Play with the spices to your personal level of zest-iness. Simmer about 5-10 minutes.
Stir the turkey mixture into the simmering lentils. Add the kidney beans, if you wish to do so. Continue simmering until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Right before serving, stir in the kale and just look in awe at the gorgeous color of healthy, green goodness. I garnished with a low-fat cheddar cheese and avocado slices, because we are Texans.
The Boy, who is growing and always hungry, could only eat one bowl. He was actually satiated for one hot second.
I had planned to post this on Friday, but had to attend a funeral in South Texas. As we made the drive from Harlingen Airport to Brownsville, I was taken aback by the sheer number of brand new fast food restaurants that lined the freeway. South Texas, known as “the valley”, is 81 percent hispanic. This many fast food options, in this area, simply does not make sense.
“According to a national examination survey, Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. They have higher rates of end-stage renal disease, caused by diabetes, and they are 50% more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.” –Office of Minority Health/U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
March is National Nutrition Month. As a Latina, health conscious blogger, I felt obligated to pass along these statistics, along with good information about how vital it is to make better choices about food and your health, especially within the Hispanic community.
I’ve had so many relatives develop Diabetes, including my dad, who also survived a massive heart attack last summer. Between my mom, my sister and myself, he is lucky: he has 3 bossy, latina women in his life that tell him what to eat! So, once more, here you go, dad: for the love of you…and Kale!
Last year, I spent my first New England winter at our vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. MV is a popular summer haunt that depends on the tourist season to survive; many businesses and restaurants shut down for the winter. For year round residents, fresh food variety can get pretty limited and expensive. I noticed that the market, which carries local farm produce, was always in abundance of this inexpensive, beautiful, green leafy vegetable…Kale. I was intrigued.
In Texas, we eat greens, as well. There are plenty of southern dishes that include mustard greens, collards, cabbage and spinach. But, I wasn’t familiar with preparing kale. Well, there are as many ways to add kale to your diet, as you can imagine. Remember “Bubba” in Forrest Gump? “…shrimp gumbo, shrimp creole, shrimp kabobs….” It’s just like that with kale.
The best news is that Kale is not just good for you. Kale is a Superfood!