Kale, Avocado & Cashew Salad With Persimmon-Lime Dressing

Fall-into-winter has always meant my favorite holidays and my favorite fruit: persimmons! I still remember the first time I had one: working an aimless, uninspiring job whose only benefit aside from paying the rent was proximity to Grand Central Market. During lunch one day, a co-worker pointed out a mountain of squat, orange fruits–Fuyu persimmons. Kinda looked like a shiny, squat alien apple. I bit into the thick, dark-orange skin and marveled at the sweetness.

It’s been a love affair ever since. I buy a bag every Tuesday from the Highland Park Farmers Market. And with only about a month left to enjoy this fruit, let’s go out with a bang!

Because my sweetheart fruit makes the “medicine” of all-star kale go down so nicely, I knew a kale-persimmon paring was in order. Kale’s that guy you know you “should” date, but you keep finding excuses to put off requests for lunch. I played around with adding chopped persimmon to kale salad–that was good. So good in fact, I wanted more sweet-persimmon yumminess: I wanted every kale leaf covered in persimmon candy. And so, here’s the result:

Kids Garden Starter Kit For All Ages

The other day my hairdresser asked, “Did you know all baby carrots, even organic, are washed in chlorine?” After some research, I found a balanced account of the baby carrot controversy. Bottom line: I’d rather grow my own.

Kids, especially seem attracted to the “baby” in baby carrots. What’s cuter than a bag or day-glow orange stubs? Picking your own carrot from the ground. Without pesticides and factory farming, home-grown carrots are petite and most tasty when picked young.

But even with my community garden and backyard container garden, carrot planting can seem daunting. That’s when I remind myself to start small with one positive action, “You just have to plant a seed”, I say. Literally.

Easy-peasy Mac ‘n Cheesy Kale Chips

Kale abounds in the GreenUp! garden. Not only is it super nutritious, it’s also pretty easy to grow. But as yummy as kale salads are, they can get a bit dull, and they’re kind of hard to eat on the run. (Picture GreenUp! Guy biking all over town with a fork and bowl? Don’t think so.) But who wants to spend $8 a bag on health food store kale chips that are gone after one 3pm snack fest?

If you have 10 minutes, a toaster oven, a box of mac ‘n cheese, and a bunch of kale, you’ve got yourself a DIY portable powerhouse treat for under $5 a pop. And you can impress your friends when their finicky toddler gobbles these up!

The Un-Gwyneth Salad – All Good, no GOOP!

Evette’s “Eat One-Treat One” post was bouncing in the back of my head the other day as I stared at a jar of goji berries in my cupboard. Now, I know gojis are healthy, full of antioxidants that fight cancer and heart disease, boost the immune system, and basically turn us into Gwyneth Paltrow. But like GP, they leave me a little cold.

What could make me want to spend more time with a goji? Chocolate? Bacon? (Mario Batali?) Pine nuts! Pine nuts taste bacony, but unlike bacon they actually work to surpress hunger and might even help us lose weight. Inspired, I threw a handful of gojis and a handful of pine nuts into a large mason jar. Shake, shake, shake and my creative cooking juices were a-flowing. Searching in the fridge, I unearthed some nappa cabbage. Just the crisp kick to add to the iron-happy spinach that I’d been neglecting for days. A couple chops of the knife and I added two handfuls of cabbage and two handfuls of shredded spinach to the jar. Now what kind of dressing is all good and no GOOP? Miso dressing, baby! Just throw the following into your mini cuisinart, pour into your jar, and enjoy!

Eat One! Treat One!

If you’re like me, you feel better when you eat food that is alive and nutritious. Yet there is something so American about the convenience factor, something that fits nicely into your hand as you make a mad dash to the door.  How to mix the two?  You’ve seen it! You’ve re-pinned it late at night as you ate ice cream and watched Real House Wives and thought I’ll make this next month: Salad-in- a-Jar.

 

Vegan Coco-Cauli Cinnamon Pudding

Tired of artificial sweet-treats that add everything to your hips, but nothing to your well-being? Who better to help make dessert delicious & health-giving then cauliflower. Surprised? Think of cauliflower as broccoli’s blonde sister: she’s a little lighter, a little more fun, but just as nutritious as the green cancer-fighter. And there’s so much more […]

Kids Won’t Eat the Darndest Things!

Many parents I know are ready to pull their hair out because their toddlers, who once ate everything, have suddenly become the pickiest of three-to-five year olds. Images of waif-thin, malnourished, underachieving offspring keep so many of us awake at night. So what’s a parent to do? First of all, don’t fret too much as it seems almost every mom I know, and every mom I’ve consulted to cook for, has issued a similar complaint. At least we’re all in the same boat, ladies and gentlemen!

I’d like to rely on the principles of successful software design to issue the following guideline: know your users and creatively design for them. So, mothers and fathers, I encourage you to know your children and creatively cook for them! I’m going to lay out a couple of kiddo eater types. Do any of these resonate with you?

Mommy, Look At Me-I’m a Chegan!

So I’ve recently become a chegan (a cheater vegan who eats organic, free-range eggs). Like most things I’ve had to tweak my commitment just left of left to feel authentic…but that’s another post. Basically I don’t want to support anything that doesn’t support the health and welfare of animals or my community (including me and my family). And this vegan-egg thing does that for me.

The other day I was in a Mommy-and-me class with Matteo, and one of the mothers was commending me for not forcing Matteo to eat the way I do. I was flattered but also a little perplexed. A part of myself has been on pause for over a week wondering why I let Matteo eat humanely-raised meat and dairy. Intuitively I feel I should allow him this, but I wasn’t fully aware why.

Plastic Use Gets Fishy

While enjoying my daily Fresh Air fix I learned yet another reason to reduce our waste: so much of the plastic we consume is not recycled. Instead, it ends up in the oceans as a mulched down substance that resembles plankton to hungry fish. Here’s a disturbing excerpt from Terry Gross’ interview with Edward Humes, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash.

 “We are eating the fish that are eating the plastic, but the scarier part is that these little bits of plastic become sponges for some potentially dangerous chemicals that are released into the marine environment, and we may be ingesting that, too,” he says. “Nobody knows for sure yet. We know that the plastic does attract these chemicals and that fish are eating it. How much it actually works its way into the food chain is still unknown but being researched now.”

Soup-er Veggie Recipes

Now that my son has passed the two and a half year mark, he has become confidently assertive about his dislikes. The kid that used to eat every vegetable in sight now has decided certain greens are “yucky”. My infamous broccoli trick: “Let’s be dinosaurs and eat our trees” as I crunch down on a steamed brocolli head doesn’t entice him to copy me as it used to. Not even with my awesome dino sound effects. 

 So what’s a foody mom to do? Resort to new tricks. Here’s my latest.

Like all of us, I multi-task. So while I’m doing anything else near the kitchen I steam a collander-full of veggies that I can easily blend into a savory soup in my handy-dandy VitaMix.  Here’s my current favorite: