Saturday, June 30, 2012

Healthy Kale Chips

Scott and I decided to try the South Beach Diet to drop a few pounds this summer. I have found that dieting in general makes us both grumpy. We can't eat the things we want to eat, at least we choose not to while attempting to stay on the diet. The South Beach is all about eating protein and green veggies for the first two weeks; no carbs, no fruit, no sweets. It's amazing how I crave certain foods when I'm forbidden to eat them. I love fruit, and can't wait for the two weeks to end so I can enjoy the fresh produce that is so bountiful this time of year. But when it is salt I'm craving, nothing takes the place of a good corn or potato chip. I decided to get a little creative today with the veggies I am allowed to eat. 

Mention the word "kale" around my house and my husband is ready to throw it to the wild rabbits that dart through our yard in the early mornings. He doesn't like the roughness of the leaves, but perhaps I could get him to enjoy a few if they were crisp like a chip. Making kale chips is easy and I would venture to say, much healthier than a potato chip.

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Begin by washing one bunch of kale, then blot completely dry with a paper towel. Tear the leaves off the hard stems and place into a large bowl. Pour two tablespoons of Olive Oil over the leaves and sprinkle with Sea Salt. Mix the oil and salt into the leaves well. This will soften the kale.


  Place the freshly rubbed kale onto a cookie sheet and into a 
275 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, turning over after ten minutes. 

The kale will shrivel to nearly half its size.
Remove from oven and allow kale to dry before eating.
(It should crumble in your mouth, like a chip.) 

The outcome: he didn't feed it to the rabbits, quite opposite. He said, "Wow! This tastes really great. I could eat this all day". Kale chips may become a staple around here; at least while we're on this diet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Coffee Bean Roasting!

Where did the last year go? I decided to resurrect my blog and was shocked to find my last post was shortly after my daughter married her love; that was a year and a half ago! Life gets rather busy and the things I thought were important slowly faded to the side, as the things of most importance- family & friends- filled my time, and before I knew it a year and a half had passed and I was unaware of how quickly the time slipped away. When I thought of raising this blog up from the dead, it wasn't without questioning wether or not I could keep up with it. I pondered the fact my husband is traveling more frequently and my closest child lives over 300 miles away, so I will attempt to keep the blog up and running as long as my mind can keep guarantees.

Good friends of ours built a home here on the Palouse, with large glass windows overlooking the beautiful fields that are now covered in lush green velvet, most likely wheat. While I was visiting, David poured me a home brewed latte full of rich, creamy flavors, smooth and delicious. I asked where he got his coffee beans, fully expecting a bag of rich dark beans to be tossed my way. Across the counter shot a bag of green non-roasted coffee beans. He brought me outside on their back porch where he roasts his aromatic beans. Intrigued, I went home and did a little internet searching to find the beans and how to roast on a budget. Anyone can do this, you can do this!

As I searched Sweet Maria's for a variety pack, I watched a few videos on how to roast your own beans.

If you can't afford a roaster right away (around $300), you can use a Whirley Pop or an air pop popcorn popper, just make sure the air popper has teeth on the side of the shaft and not just an air hole in the bottom. The air needs to come in from the sides and move the beans around. If the popper has air from the bottom only it will burn the beans.

I pulled my air popper down from the shelf, only to find the wrong kind, so I drove to Walmart. They did not have this type of shaft either, so I decided to stop by the Goodwill. Not finding any poppers, I was about to leave the store  when I overheard a boy say to his dad, "Look at this awesome popcorn popper, Dad!" I never would have known it was a popcorn machine unless he had said something. I purchased it and am now the proud owner of a basketball air popper! Yes, I think it is ugly, but it has the right shaft!

Place about a half cup of green coffee beans into the shaft and turn it on. I stirred the beans occasionally with the end of a wooden spoon. Be sure to place a bowl in front of the open area where the popcorn normally comes out. The dry chaff from the beans will come off during the roasting process. For a light roast heat for approximately 5-7 minutes, listening for the beans to crack. If you want a darker roast, heat for 7-9 minutes listening for the second crack. I roasted a light and a dark and mixed the two.

When you are done roasting, place your beans in a glass jar with a lid. Do not place the lid on tight because the beans will omit Co2 while they rest. Allow your beans to rest 12-24 hours before grinding.
I purchased a sugar jar because of the whole at the top of the lid; it works perfectly!

I plan to grind my first cup in the morning. I'll let you know when my first coffeehouse opens...but then again, there is that little problem called priorities.