Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Kale

Kale is fast becoming a popular “superfood,” thanks to its abundance of nutrients.  Kale, cousin to such nutritional powerhouses as cabbage and broccoli, is a good source of calcium and an excellent source of Vitamins C, A, and K (one cup of kale contains 134%, 206%, and 684% of the vitamins, respectively!).  Thanks to its dark green color, kale is also high in antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids.  In addition, kale is a good source of soluble fiber, which keeps you feeling full and helps lower LDL, or bad cholesterol.  I have just recently started making kale a regular part of my diet, and I’m glad I did – not only is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world, it’s also one of the tastiest.  Kale chips seem to be all the rage lately, so I had to include a simple recipe that can be used to make them at home.  I also wanted to spotlight kale the way my sister prefers to consume it – as part of a sweet, healthy smoothie.

Baked Kale Chips

Ingredients
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions
1.  Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
2.  Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3.  Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.
4.  Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.

Recipe from Food Network

Kale-Apple Smoothie

Ingredients
¾ cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
1 small stalk celery, chopped|
½ banana
½ cup apple juice|
½ cup ice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

Instructions
1. Place the kale, celery, banana, apple juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Recipe from Real Simple

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