Tag Archives: paleo

Mint Julep Kale Krunchies

Summer in San Diego means the Del Mar Racetrack is open and an abundance of mint in our garden. Both were the inspiration for “mint julep” kale krunchies, our latest variation on kale chips. Using the same technique and creamy cashew base as my Cilantro Lime Kale Chips, these kale crunchies are flavored with the summer drink ingredients. Yes, even a splash of bourbon.

Mint Julep Kale Krunchies

Mint Julep Kale Chips Recipe

  • 1 head of kale
  • 3/4 cups of raw cashews, soaked in water for at least one hour, then drained
  • handful of fresh mint, washed
  • 1-2 tablespoons of agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon of bourbon (optional but fun)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • a little water, if needed, to process in the blender

1. Wash the kale in cold water. Holding the end of the stem in one hand, firmly and quickly slide your other hand down the center rib. The leaves should tear off of the rib in one move. Dry the kale very well and rip any large pieces into smaller bits.

Or – Purchase a bag of kale pre-washed and cut. Just make sure to remove the thick center ribs as they do not dehydrate well. (Little Bird likes to help rip and sort the kale.)

2. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a small food processor, like a Magic Bullet, or blender. If the blender struggles, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until it blends well. Blend at highest speed until smooth, scraping down the sides at least once. Keep in mind the more water you add, the longer the chips will take to dry out in the oven.

3. Preheat oven to 200° F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, massage the “sauce” into the kale. Then spread it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking and gently stirring the kale occasionally, until it is dried but not overly toasted.

For step by step photos of how to make kale chips, please see my previous recipes for Easy Homemade Kale Chips and Cilantro Lime Kale Chips.

Enjoying the Mint Julep Kale Crunchies with the eponymous drink is optional, but highly recommended!

Kid-Approved Brussels Sprouts: Cooking with Kids Continued

How do you get kids to eat and like Brussels Sprouts? Let your kids help cook them! Little Bird has enjoyed cooking since she was a baby. Last night was no exception. Together we tried out a recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo book that was featured on the Good Food Blog, “Cavolini Al Forno,” a warm Brussels Sprouts salad with a mustard vinaigrette, topped with prosciutto crisps (we used bacon) and crumbled egg.

Kids cooking Brussels sprouts

You can find the full, delicious recipe here. The only substitution we made was bacon for the crispy prosciutto.

Little Bird is only 2 1/2 but there were many, many steps of this recipe that she was able to do:

  • Wash the Brussels Sprouts
  • Move the Brussels from the colander in the sink to the cutting board
  • Move the trimmed ends and loose leaves into the compost
  • Salt and pepper the Brussels
  • Massage the sprouts with oil
  • Pour olive oil from the measuring cup into a jar
  • Place the chopped shallots in the jar
  • Put mustard into the jar
  • Shakey, shakey, shake the jar of salad dressing
  • Carefully put raw eggs into a pan
  • Peel hardboiled eggs
  • Crumble bacon
  • Stir the salad together

Basically, she did everything but the knife skills and taking things in and out of the oven. To me it is just common sense: kids enjoy eating things they make! Her Papa loved the dish, too, and she just shone watching him enjoy it.

You can find more recipes to make with small children here:

Making Cheese with Kids  — Chèvre is fun to make, like a science project.

Making Cheese with Kids Part Two  — Kids love rolling and shaping logs and adding their favorite toppings, like cranberries.

Easy Homemade Kale Chips “Kale Crunchies”   — Another great way to get greens in their diet, Plus who doesn’t enjoy shaking the bag?

Baby Bird’s Applesauce  — Recipe for the youngest of babes, 6 months old and up.

Raw Energy Bites — Includes tactile fun and licking sticky hands.

What do your kids like to make?? Please share in the comments. Links are fine.

Easy Homemade Kale Chips – “Kale Crunchies”

Do you love buying kale chips for snacking but get tired of paying so much? You would be surprised how easy homemade kale chips can be. I have been experimenting with several recipes, techniques and temperature/time combinations over the last year, and the following recipe has been the best so far.

Easy Homemade Kale Chips

Easy Homemade Kale Chips – Kale Crunchies Recipe

  • 1 bunch kale
  • a little olive oil (approx. 1 Tablespoon)
  • salt (approx. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon)

1. Preheat oven to 200° F. Wash the kale in cold water. Holding the end of the stem in one hand, firmly and quickly slide your other hand down the center rib. The leaves should tear off of the rib in one move. (This is the Brazilian way–a tip my friend Michelle taught me.) Dry the kale very well with a kitchen towel or a salad spinner and rip any large pieces into smaller bits. (Little Bird likes to help dry, rip and sort the kale. For more on cooking with the littles, click here.)

Or – Quick and Easy Tip: Purchase kale pre-washed, such as the cut organic kale from Trader Joe’s. Just make sure to remove the thick center ribs as they do not dehydrate well. Don’t bother washing or drying them, the drier the kale is the better it will crisp up.

2. Here’s the fun part: Place the kale in a plastic bag. Add olive oil, about a tablespoon to start and a sprinkle of salt and shaky-shaky-shake it until every leaf is well covered in a fine film of oil. (Alternatively, you can place it all in a large bowl and massage the kale with your hands.)

3. Spread kale onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking and gently stirring the kale every 10-15 minutes, until it is dried out but not overly toasted.

Options: You can toss them with a little parmesan cheese or your favorite seasoned salt. Try a little cayenne or spice.

Click on any picture in the gallery below to expand.

Check back tomorrow for my favorite variation on these easy homemade kale chips, Cilantro Lime, made with a slightly spicy and creamy cashew sauce.

Raw Cashew “Horchata”

Horchata is a sweet rice drink found in most Mexican restaurants around here. I love it, but it is so sweet and not that good for you. Let’s just say I wouldn’t give it to Baby Bird. My husband the other day made a comment about how I should honor myself enough to eat as well as I feed her. Hmmm, something to think about.

Anyway, I’ve had this bag of raw cashews that I have been wanting to use. The other day I threw a few in a version of this puréed butternut squash soup, which was good, but I was still wanting to try out a nut milk with our new blender. I was inspired today to try making a horchata-inspired cashew milk.

raw cashew horchata

Forgive the poor photo quality and any typos as I’m blasting this off from my phone.

Raw Cashew Horchata Recipe

  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon of agave, golden syrup or sweetener of your choice, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups of water
  • Ice

Place first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend very well. Serving chilled over ice vastly improves the flavor.

Variation: This would probably be delicious with raw almonds as well.

And the verdict? Two sippy cups quickly drained and baby sign for “more.”

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Roasted with Vegetables: Two Meals in One Dish

Did you not get enough turkey yesterday? Or do you have too many leftovers and are looking for tasty ways to use them? This recipe features many of the flavors of Thanksgiving in a one dish meal. And part two of the recipe is a hash — a perfect way to make a second night’s meal, or to use extra Thanksgiving leftovers.

We didn’t cook the whole feast ourselves yesterday but joined a large, extended family gathering. I brought pies. The hosts are great cooks and so gracious that they actually send every guest home with a large to go container of leftovers. Still, I couldn’t wait for the tastes of Thanksgiving last weekend. I also make this recipe with chicken, but the chicken just didn’t look as good in the store as the half split turkey breast. Normally I wrap chicken breast in prosciutto or stuff the turkey with a mix of pancetta and fresh herbs, but this time I had bacon at home. To be perfectly honest, we preferred the taste of the prosciutto over the bacon. Any of them will work for adding moisture and flavor, so use what you like! Similarly, any number of vegetables will work. Use whatever you have on hand. Winter root vegetables are particular well suited to the dish and mushrooms add a lot umami.

Meal One: Turkey Breast Wrapped in Bacon Roasted with Vegetables

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Vegetables (Sweet Potato, Mushrooms, Fennel, Onion, Garlic, Parsnips, Potato, Bell Pepper, Butternut Squash, Leeks, Carrots etc.)
  • Black Pepper, Cayenne
  • 1 Split Half Turkey Breast, Bone-In (can also use Chicken)
  • Prosciutto or Bacon
  • Fresh Herbs (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup of Sherry, Marsala or White Wine

Preheat oven to 400° F. Add oil to a large oven proof skillet, pan, dutch oven or baking dish. Chop the vegetables into chunks (slightly larger than bite-sized as they will shrink down) and add them to the pan. Sprinkle with pepper and cayenne (salt is optional since the bacon/prosciutto is salty). Stir so that all are coated with a little bit of oil, and add a little more oil if needed.

Sprinkle pepper and fresh herbs on the turkey breast. Wrap with slices of prosciutto and bacon so that just the top is covered. Place on top of the vegetables. Toss any extra herbs in with the vegetables. Roast in the oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. (I remove it just before then as I find the temperature continues to rise slightly.) Move the meat to a serving dish. If the veggies need more time, throw them back into the oven. If they are near done, add the sherry, marsala or wine, and stir. Place back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. (This can also be done on top of the stove, if using a skillet or dutch oven.) Using a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape up the caramelized bits, stir and serve.


  • If you are using chicken it will be definitely be done before the vegetables. So either cook them alone a little before adding the meat, after, or both.
  • For a nice variation, stuff the turkey with pancetta and herbs instead of wrapping. Make a slice length-wise down the breast and stuff.
  • For a true taste of Thanksgiving, use sage, among other herbs. I try to avoid eating sage while breastfeeding, however, since it can reduce milk production.
  • This is easily a one dish meal, but this time I served it with my favorite green salad of late: baby kale, citrus, fennel and feta.

Meal Two: Turkey, Roast Veggie and Bacon Hash

  • Leftovers from the above dish, or any combination of leftover meat, potatoes and/or veggies
  • 6 or so eggs, beaten

In a large pan heat any fat that has congealed in the leftovers. If needed, add a little oil. Remove the bacon (if any) from the meat and chop finely. Add to the pan. Remove the meat from the bone and cut into bite-sized chunks. Add the meat and vegetables to the pan. Add the eggs. Stir occasionally, like scrambled eggs, until the eggs are done and the other ingredients are heated though. No seasoning is usually needed since the leftovers are seasoned. Can be served with hot sauce and/or ketchup.

What is your favorite way to use leftover turkey?