Saturday, June 2, 2012

DIY Kale Chips! Easy, Cheap and the WHOLE Family will Love them!

I started my own raised bed gardens the summer that my daughter, Lady Bug, was born. My parents, who are avid gardeners, helped my husband and me plot out our little garden which was great. I really wanted to be successful at this whole gardening thing! The major benefit of using a raised bed garden is that you can control the soil - that's a beautiful thing when you're dealing with clay in your soil like we are. In our raised garden beds we used organic soil purchased at Home Depot. My parents use the natural soil for their garden beds and often they commented on our how veggies were fuller and healthier than theirs. It’s just something to think about when considering whether or not to plant a garden.

My dad was interested in trying a kale plant so I figured it can't hurt to try it too so we split the four plants. Kale is one of the most nutritious greens out there. According to WebMD, "One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus." Kale when cooked is an excellent source of fiber and aids in lowering blood cholesterol. Anything that I can grow that's this nutritious is worth a shot!

Kale is best planted in full sun in a cooler climate. While it can withstand hotter temperatures it doesn’t thrive in constant heat. Kale is a great addition to any garden because once harvested it will produce more buds making it productive all season long.

When my kale was ready to harvest, I had a ton of kale to use and no idea how to use it. I figured that kale chips were the way to go. I found this recipe on - Crispy Kale Chips. My husband and I loved it, my son, however, liked eating the kale raw from the garden. (Kale has a really bitter taste and I have no idea why he liked this!) I have heard from my friends that kale is excellent in green smoothies and on salads. My dad prefers to add kale to his sandwiches.

Have you tried kale? What is your favorite way to eat this most nutritious green vegetable? 

Elizabeth (aka Bert) is a stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for She Thinks Media. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Ben, her son Buggie, and daughter Lady Bug.  When she's not trying to convince Buggie to expand his interests beyond Thomas the Train or put his pants back on she's writing about her experiences as a mom on her blog, First Time Mom (FTM). After all, Bert maintains there's a first time for everything, even if you  have more than one child! 


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