Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kale Chips....

Went to the local Farmer’s Market last weekend.  I didn’t know I had one so close until I googled “farmers market” and behold they have one near the Orange Circle. What the!  All this time!  So close!  Mom, Vivian, Vivian’s friend, Luna and I went. But when got there saw the sign that said “no pets”…. discrimination I tell ya!  Luckily Vivian and her friend were more into walking around the circle than going into the farmer’s market and they took Luna with them for a walk.  Anyway, back to the market…it’s actually pretty small in comparison with others I’ve been to and the prices seemed a bit higher, but still purchased some good stuff (we practically had lunch there with all the free samples they give!).  I saw the stand with organic kale and wanted to try it as I heard/read/was told that it is better for you/me/us than spinach.   Now, I REALLY like spinach…raw, cooked, whatevs…I like it!  So, I’m at the kale stand and the lady/man (sorry couldn’t really tell) had three different varieties…the regular kind you find as decoration on plates, purple, and black.  I was told the regular (or as they in the know call it “green”) can be bitter, purple less bitter and the black is better if eating raw as not bitter at all. 
Purple Kale
There was a customer that had just purchased a bag full of kale and she said, “You can still use the green as kale chips”.  I’m like “what the heck is a kale chip?!?” but I kept it to myself as everyone around nodded their heads in agreement.  I was asking the lady/man questions regarding the black kale as I didn't even know there was such a thing and the the customer lady kept saying loudly, "kale chips are great", and "you can also use the purple for kale chips, they are so good", and "oh, kale chips are the best"...I'm like "shut your kale loving mouth lady! I'm talking here!"  But I didn't, I just looked at her and smiled and decided to go with the purple, as it was less expensive than the black.  
And it's prettier too!
Mom was impressed with my restraint....I think she thought I was going to shove a kale into the woman's mouth to shut her up.  Like I would! OK, so I thought about it.  ANYway....I had to google kale chips to find out why they had such a hold on the crazy kale lady and decided I should make some to really find out.  But then forgot.  But! Then I remembered last night and made them.  They are actually pretty good. Light and crispy.  However, I definitely will not be spouting the virtues of kale chips to unsuspecting bystanders!  

Kale Chips:
adapted from Melissa d'Arabian recipe 

2 tbs. olive oil
1 head of kale
Sea salt
parmesan cheese (optional)

Set oven at 275 degrees.  Wash and dry each kale leaf and remove the ribs.  Once rib removed cut leaf in half.  In bowl toss the kale with the olive oil and sprinkle sea salt. Toss again.  Place each kale piece on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes then turn each "chip" and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

I added the parm cheese after I turned them...about 3 minutes before they were done.  

Until next time!

Luna does not like kale chips! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Last night's dinner...

I had ground beef defrosting and had no clue what to make.  I still had polenta in my fridge and made the following Gound Beef & Polenta Bake. 
There was a lot of chopping needed for this recipe...
chopped onions...they always make me cry!
chopped red peppers
minced garlic
chopped zucchini
And finally...chopped mushrooms.
Here's the recipe...
Adapted from here

1 (26 ounce) Vodka sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 small onion finely cut
½ a red pepper chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 zucchini chopped
2 to 3 minced garlic cloves (I used 3)
1 (18 oz) tube of polenta cut into about 20 slices
½ cup shredded Fontina cheese

1.  Brown ground beef with oregano and garlic salt
2.  While meat is cooking chop veggies
3.  Once meat is cooked add onions and bell pepper and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
4.  Add mushrooms, zucchini, and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes
5.  Add half of the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes
6.  In the meantime add the remaining half of sauce to an 9” square pan (I only had a 9” pan but if have 8" would be better) and cover bottom of pan.
7.  Add half of polenta slices to pan.
8.  Once mixture done simmering add half of it evenly on top of polenta.
9.  Add half of the cheese on top of the mixture
10. Repeat steps 7 thru 9.
11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes
12.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes

And done!

Until next time…

Friday, March 9, 2012

What I made...

I decided to paint the hex nuts (shown here) for a different look.  I like they way they came out.  I tried black first but I'm sure they will look good in different colors also!  I made this bracelet….

Heres all I needed….
Oh and jump rings, chain, lobster closure, paint brush, pliers....but that's it
Simple to do just paint each hex nut, wait to dry, add connecting jump rings, connect to a chain, add a closure and done!

Having a lil' wrist party…nothing too crazy.  Never been one to over accessorize, as I hate the weighed down feeling of too many necklaces and bracelets on.

And just for kicks I made these earrings….

Have a great weekend!

Until next time!

This is the face I get when I tell her she can't sit on my lap...yeah, I gave in and she sat on my lap while I worked on the earrings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's for dinner....

We eat a lot of chicken in my casa.  This is a fact.  I am always trying to find new ways of making the uncooked chicken and the other night was no exception.  I kept staring at the chicken that had been defrosting willing it to tell me what to transform it into.  I finally decided on this old standard (I know the dang chicken wasn’t “telling” me anything new, so I decided to fall back on a favorite of Vivian's but added new ingredients...mushrooms & green olives)….

Chicken Rollups...stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, green olives and this…

I found this beauty at Trader Joe’s.  I nearly squealed with delight when I saw it. Chipotle Cheese!  Now just stop it!!!  It was love at first sight.  And I have to say it did not disappoint in the taste department either!

OK, here’s what I used to make this dish:

1 ½ pounds chicken boneless breasts
2 cups raw spinach
1 cup cut mushrooms
1 cup green olives
1 cut shallot
1 tbs. oil (I used truffle oil but any oil would work)
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper to taste
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 egg white lightly beaten

Makes 4

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
1.  Heat the oil in pan and add the shallot and cook for a minute or two on medium heat.
2.  Add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute.
3.  Add mushrooms to the shallots and garlic and cook for another minute or so.
4.  Next add the spinach and cook until wilted.
5.  Add the olives.
5.  Cut the chicken into slices (mine were small…I cut each chicken half into two so that made 4 slices all together).
6.  Place a chicken slice between two sheets of heavy plastic (a ziplock works great…insert chicken inside, close and pound away!) or parchment paper and firmly pound the chicken breast with whatever you have (I used a rolling pin as don’t have a meat mallet) to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Repeat for the rest of the chicken slices.
7.  Cut cheese into small slices….small enough to fit on chicken and easy to roll
8.  Now take the chicken slice and fill with spinach mixture and place a slice of cheese on top and roll the chicken slice.  You may need to insert toothpicks to keep it rolled. Finish doing the rest.
9.  Take each chicken roll and dip in egg white and then dip each side in bread crumbs.  Place in baking dish.  Do this for each chicken roll.
10. Bake in the preheated oven until the crumbs are browned and the chicken juices run clear, about 25 minutes.

And done! 

 Add a side salad and call it a night. J

Until next time!

Luna's right eye looks freaky in this photo! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

What I've been working on....

Here are some jewelry pieces I've been working on...

This necklace goes with anything! 
Cute bow earrings with crystal beads.  
I'm crazy for the dangly earrings! 

This necklace is my favorite...goes real well with the blue earrings above. :)
This bracelet is dainty and perfect to wear alone or with other bracelets.
That's it for now.  I hope to have these on my Etsy store soon.

I'll have some recipes and maybe more jewelry next week.  Until then have a fantastic weekend!