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Where’s the Kale? Bonus: Mushroom Chard Recipe

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/One of my favorite grocery stores to shop at is regionally owned and operated in the North West with only 5 locations. The location I frequent has the biggest produce section I’ve ever seen in a grocery store, with local and organic options in addition to conventional produce. On a recent trip to stock up on dark leafy green and root veggies, I met a couple who where searching for the kale.

The husband was holding a familiar yet unknown vegetable to him trying to figure out what it was. Being a little more sociable than I normally am in public, I interjected to say it was kohlrabi. He mentioned they had eaten it when visiting another country, but never knew what it was exactly. The wife, who was seated in one of those electronic scooter carts, asked me if I knew where the kale was since she wasn’t sure which of the dark leafy greens it was. Having been known in my day to come home with cabbage instead of iceberg lettuce, I could relate. She kept reading about kale and they decided to try it. The couple wanted to start eating more vegetables and new foods in an effort to improve their health and lose weight.

That’s when I lit up. It’s not that I’m that ecstatic about kale. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some kale chips. But what really got me excited was the chance to talk about kale with this couple. If they could get excited about one food change maybe it would lead them to some of the same life altering positive changes eliminating processed foods did for me.

We talked about how to make kale chips. How to remove the stems. Trying different seasoning options. And giving it more than one shot, because often you have to try something multiple times before you like it. The wife saw me put rainbow chard in my cart. Which lead us to discuss my current favorite way to cook rainbow chard. At this point we were all happy just standing in the produce section of the grocery store talking about veggies.

Reading an article in the Harvard Business Review, regarding a study about positive work conversations versus negative conversations and the effects they have on the chemistry of the brain, reminded me again of the couple in the grocery store. Positive comments and discussions release oxytocin, which is a feel good hormone. The positive conversation the three of us had in the produce section must have released oxytocin for all of us since we all left the store with smiles on our faces and baskets full of dark leafy greens. Which is probably why sharing and talking about my favorite recipes makes me so happy. To keep the oxytocin flowing here is a recipe for mushrooms and rainbow (or red) chard.

Crimini Mushrooms

Mushroom Chard

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch of red or rainbow chard with stems - diced (set stems aside, separate from chard leaves, with mushrooms)
  • 1 lemon
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in heated skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and chard stems to melted butter.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste, onto mushrooms and chard stems.
  4. Saute for 2-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are lightly brown. Add more butter if the thirsty mushrooms have soaked up all the butter in the skillet.
  5. Add chard leaves to skillet. Mix chard leaves with mushrooms and chard stems, stirring slowly until the leaves are wilted.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and place mushroom chard mixture on a plate.
  7. Squeeze juice from one lemon over the mushroom chard mixture. Enjoy!

 

Interested in Kale Chip recipes? Check out a few of my favorite recipes:

Baked Kale Chips from Nom Nom Paleo

Baked Nacho Kale Chips from Stupid Easy Paleo

Spicy Kale Chips from Eat Drink Paleo

Travel Eats

Leafy greens and protein Smoked tri-tip and grilled veggies Travel for work is unusual for me but has happened twice in the last month. By the end of this week, I will have spent a total of 15 of the last 34 days away from home. While I’d much rather have a home cooked meal, where I can control the quality of the ingredients in my meals, that’s not an option while I’m away. I’ve been lucky enough that there is a Whole Foods near the hotel so I’ve been visiting  twice a day to build meals from their salad bars. But I’ve found a few other ways to get gluten free and Paleo meals while I’m away from home.

Here are some of my quick travel eats tips:

– If you can find a salad bar, build a meal by choosing a protein (eggs, tuna, chicken) and dark leafy greens dressed with oil and vinegar. You can also build your own semi tuna salad by adding celery and grapes if they are available.

– If the salad bar has hot foods options locate a protein (usually chicken or beef) and add 2 to 3 veggies to complete the meal. If there are sweet potatoes and you need more carbs for energy or weight maintenance go ahead and get them too.

– Find a burger joint on Google. You can always ask for no bun if a lettuce wrap isn’t on the menu.

– Look for Chipotle or Baja Fresh or similar fast Mexican food restaurant. Get a salad or bowl with protein, no beans, and no rice (if you are Paleo) and ask for double veggies.

Easy to Peel Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

EggsCracked

Our family eats a lot of hard boiled eggs. Part of our weekly meal prep includes hard boiling 18 eggs every Sunday. We eat them for breakfast with a side of green leafy vegetables, alone as a snack, in a salad, and take them to go. Hard boiled eggs are quick, easy to make, and an excellent source of protein and nutrients such as B12, Vitamin D, Choline, Iron, Omega-3’s and more. Getting to the delicious nutrition can be a pain when your hard boiled eggs are hard to peel.

I’ve tried the baking soda in the water trick. Boiling older eggs trick. My eggs were still hard to peel. When half the egg ends up in pieces as you try in vain to peel the egg, that’s no good. It defeats the whole purpose of a quick easy snack if you cannot get to the protein and nutrients beyond the protective shell.

I finally found a simple trick for getting eggs to peel easily. Instead of placing eggs in cold water and bringing to a boil, boil a pot of water THEN add the eggs. Bingo! Easy to peel eggs at last! Fresh eggs or old eggs, it doesn’t matter as long as you bring the water to a boil first.

Easy to Peel Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Cook time: 

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Ingredients
  • 1 Dozen Eggs
  • Water - enough to cover the eggs when they are added to the pot
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Add water and a teaspoon of salt to a pot and bring to a boil. The amount of water will vary depending on the size of the pot and how many eggs you are cooking. Use enough water to cover all your eggs once they have been added in step 2.
  2. Once water is at a rolling boil, add eggs one at a time with a slotted spoon.
  3. Allow water to come back to a boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and cover pot, leave pot on burner for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove eggs from pot into a bowl of ice and water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Eat or refrigerate for later.

 

Eggs
Hard boiled eggs, Remond Real Salt, and Paprika. Perfection.

 

 

Dude, is my hair okay?

Barbell
photo credit: undergroundbastard via photopin cc

The big commercial gym I used to be a member of was much like every other big commercial gym, mirrors everywhere. I have a streak of vanity. After all, I was working out not just to be healthy but because I wanted to look good. Put me in front of a mirror or a dark reflective window and I’m going to check myself out, every time. I just can’t help it.

Running on the treadmill at the big commercial gym I would glance over and notice how I looked while I was running. It wasn’t pretty. I’d tug and rearrange my clothes trying to look ‘cute’ as I ran. Which is impossible, I’m not a cute runner. In the middle of a lift I’d catch a glance of my hair and become distracted. Between sets I’d have to fix my hair several times. If I happened to catch a glimpse of my lifting faces, that was never good. There was a good chance I’d fail a lift trying not to laugh at myself. Then there was the woman who took a photo of her behind in the mirror every single day. I’m sure she ended up with quite the collection of gym mirror behind photos. Or the guy doing bicep curls in front of the mirror who fixed his hair more than I did.

Once I made the change to a CrossFit box, that only had mirrors in the bathrooms and one very very small section of a wall in the front of the box, how was I supposed to know if my behind looked cute that day? How was I supposed to keep track of what I looked like when I was lifting? What if I made a funny lifting face and missed it? Because come on we all know those mirrors aren’t really there to check on your form. They are there to make the commercial gym look bigger and for the members to check themselves out constantly.

Without a hall of mirrors there to distract myself, I stopped caring what I looked like mid-workout. I stopped tugging at my clothes and fixing my hair. My focus changed to be where it should have been all along, on my workout. I don’t need a mirror to know if my form is suffering or wrong. My coach will tell me. I started to be able to FEEL when my form was wrong. I know when my back isn’t flat, I didn’t go below parallel, or my shoulders were to far back. Being able to feel and recognize my form improved it greatly. I don’t need to see it, because I can feel it.

Of course, now I get the lovely shock of my post work out red sweaty face, clothes amiss, and crazy frizzy hair post workout. And I love it since it means I put all of myself into it! I no longer care about how I look when I workout. I care about my form, the reps, and the weight. I get a laugh at seeing photos of myself mid lift with my crazy lifting faces, without stopping to laugh mid lift. If you took out all the mirrors at the big commercial gyms what would people do without being able to see every single thing they did? What would that woman do without the opportunity to publicly take a picture of her behind every day? How terrible would it be for bicep curl man to have a single hair out-of-place?

Really, it’s okay not to see what you look like when you workout. It’s probably even better not to see what you look like. It takes away the vanity portion so you can focus on what really matters in the moment, form. A funny thing then happens. You end up looking better outside the gym because you are performing well in the gym. Mirrors at the gym are only bad when they draw more focus to how you look than how you perform. Don’t go smashing mirrors at commercial gyms now, just try not to look.