Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cookin' Greens Sautéed Kale with Lemon & Chickpeas

I know I'm not alone when I say that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with New Years Resolutions. I love the idea of starting fresh and becoming aware of and making a conscious effort to achieve your goals, but at the same time, it's easy to bring yourself down when you inevitably give up on those resolutions within a month or so. When sitting down to write out my resolutions this year (I'm convinced writing them down makes them more likely to happen) I made sure to set goals that, yes, pushed my boundaries and challenged me a little bit, but were still reasonable to incorporate into my life and daily routine. I got a little carried away this year, and ended up with quite a long list of goals, but one of the ones that I have remained the most aware of is to try and follow the alkaline diet. The alkaline diet is different from many of the popular diets you hear about because it is not very strict and is very forgiving. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have an extremely acidic body, which has resulted in me dealing with lots of skin and stomach problems, so taking care to reduce the amount of acid I consume and increase the amount of alkaline-rich foods on a daily basis could potentially eliminate any health problems I have encountered in my life to date. With so many delicious natural foods rich in alkaline, there's really no excuse to not be able to follow the alkaline diet, even if your just upping your alkaline intake and keeping your acid as is. The real trick to following any diet is to educate yourself and be open to trying new flavours.

Not long ago I received an email from Cookin' Greens, a company setting out to make extremely healthy dark leafy greens more convenient to cook with for the average North American. Their line of frozen greens featuring spinach, kale, rapini, and more stands out among other frozen vegetable products on the market due to their commitment to health. Cookin' Greens takes great care in retaining as much vitamins and minerals from their vegetables as possible by taking it straight from the farm (from the moment it gets picked) to the freezer in less than 6 hours! Cookin' Greens had immediately caught my attention! Although I was looking forward to trying all of their greens, the one that stood out for me was their frozen kale. I had heard a lot about kale, and knew it as one of those fantastic super foods that everyone should eat, but had never actually tasted the green myself, nor did I even know what the flavour was like. To be honest with you, I just assumed that I wouldn't like kale, so I never gave it the shot it truly deserved. Now was my chance! I took advantage of the sample they offered me and went to my local grocery store (I had no trouble locating Cookin' Greens at all!) and picked up a bag.

For my first ever kale recipe, I wanted to keep it simple so I could get an idea of the flavour and texture of kale for future recipes. Because I had never eaten kale before, I decided to begin with a recipe and taste and adjust the ingredients to my own taste from there. After just attending the Best Recipes Ever Set, which features all Canadian Living recipes, I was inspired to give one of their kale recipes a try, Lemon Kale with Chickpeas. This recipe was super easy to execute, especially with the help of Cookin' Greens frozen kale, which allowed me to save a huge amount of time and prep work. In next to no time my side was ready...but not quite complete just yet. After tasting the final dish, I felt that it was missing something, I wanted to add another bit of texture to the dish and perhaps a little spice. For texture and fantastic nutty flavour, I lightly toasted some pine nuts to stir in, along with some paprika to give the dish that little kick I was looking for, and alas my dish was complete! I couldn't have been more happy with how the dish turned out. Tangy, comforting, and delicious, who would have thought I would enjoy something so incredibly healthy! It's one thing to like the first bite of a healthy dish, but I have a tendency to get sick of most super healthy foods part way through eating my portion, I was extra nervous of this when I saw how much I had accidentally made, a ton! Thankfully I adored this dish all through the week as I snacked on it and brought it into work each and every day until it was done...which surprisingly didn't take long! I now feel confident that I can make kale part of my weekly routine all year long thanks to the incredible convenience and health benefits to Cookin' Greens! Go me!

Click here to see a chart on restoring the pH balance in your body and following the alkaline diet!

Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
2 cups Cookin' Greens Frozen Kale
zest of half a lemon
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. In a pot, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic, salt and pepper for about 4 minutes or until softened.

2. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back down to medium and add kale and lemon zest and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the chickpeas, pine nuts, paprika and lemon juice and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until no liquid remains. Drizzle with remaining oil and serve.

Listening To:
Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup - Serge Gainsbourg et France Gal

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