Spring is right around the corner, and now is the best time to help your body prepare for the changes! Spring is the time for cleansing and regeneration, and the perfect time to take care of your liver. In Chinese Medicine, the liver is associated with green, outward growth of energy, and sour foods. The liver controls the smooth flow of qi, which when stagnant can cause issues like irritability, anger, stress, headaches, digestive issues, and more!
Start off this spring with a little extra green in your diet – let’s talk kale!
Kale is a wonderful vegetable that is full of vitamins and minerals – with Vitamin K and Vitamin A at the top of that list! Vitamin K is useful to help with blood clotting as well as helping to bind calcium to the bones and other tissues. Vitamin A is helpful for vision, growth, and development.
In Chinese Medicine, kale is a vegetable used for it’s warming properties (perfect for coming right out of this cold, snowy winter we’ve had!) and is also useful for stopping pain and promoting the regrowth of tissue (again, thank you Vitamins K & A!)
This past weekend, I visited the local farmer’s market and found beautiful bunches of kale for only $1.99 – I knew I had to make those kale chips I’ve been thinking about making for years… (Which, by the way, the first kale chips I ever had were bought from Whole Foods and must have been about $9 for the small container I got – probably 1/6 of the amount I made). They’re really simple to make, and you can flavor them any way you’d like! Swap out potato chips for these healthy “chips” instead! Check out the easy recipe:
- kale (I used about 1/3 of the bunch per tray)
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- dash of salt
- dash of any other seasonings you’d want*
* My husband is obsessed with popcorn seasonings, so for this food experiment we used them, my advice to you is if you use seasonings made for popcorn like I did, add them on AFTER they come out of the oven, or else they will burn!
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Strip the leafy parts of the vegetable from the stem – the stems get hard and difficult to eat when you cook in this way. The easiest way is to hold the stem towards the end, and then slide your fingers along the sides to rip the leaf off. I tried to make pretty large pieces of leaves as they do shrink in the oven.
- Wash and dry very thoroughly – having excessive moisture on the leaves with lead to soggy chips. I used this fantastic salad spinner I received from my mom that I seriously never though I would use.
- Drizzle about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over the clean dry leaves – to prevent uneven crisping I picked up each leaf and made sure a super thin layer of oil (basically the leaf just looks darker in green from the oil – there should be no dripping!) covered every ruffle in the leaf.
- I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then put the leaves on it – laid each as flat as possible and tried to make sure it was only 1 leaf in the layer – too much can lead to uneven cooking.
- Seasoned gently with salt and any other seasonings.*
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, then rotate pan in oven (turning each leaf was not necessary).
- Bake for another 10 minutes in oven.
- Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes – this will really help crisp up each “chip”.