Kale, artichoke dip and minestrone soup

So about a week or so ago one of my bosses (bosses son, so I guess he’s my manager? The lines are a little blurry) gave me two huge heads of kale. I was SO excited. He always grows veggies in his back yard to try them out but then can never eat them all. Most of his lettuce goes to the swans and bunnies that we have at work, but I got to the kale before he divvied it up.

More times than not I can never use it all fast enough, but this time I made a point to use it all.

The first thing I did was make kale and artichoke dip. I was heading to a friends house for dinner and was bringing the before-dinner snack. It was delicious, but of course I don’t have a photo.

This is the recipe I used:

Kale and Artichoke Dip

1 (14oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped coarsely
4 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
6 oz kale (8-10) cups

Chips or crackers of your choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic salt and kale until completely mixed. Pour into a 1 1/2 qt baking dish or pie plate and cover. It definitely will not look cheesy enough but the kale will cook down. I was worried for a while but if you stir the dip a few times while in the oven you will see it change. Bake 2o mins. Give a good stir (or a few) and bake for another 10 mins.  Top with another 1/2 cup of mozzarella and bake uncovered for 5 mins.

It was a hit… so much that we got a non-kale eater to finish it off. We didn’t really tell him that it wasn’t spinach that he was eating.

Next thing I did was split the second head of kale in half. One half got cleaned, chopped and put in the freezer for some future winter recipe. Points for me!


The other half was put into my minestrone soup. This soup recipe was kind of made up by me but also loosely based on other recipes. Usually thats how I cook, I read recipes to find out the gist, then I wing it depending on what I have or what I like to eat.

I think I make this soup at least once a week when the weather starts to get chilly.

4 slices of bacon
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic

4 medium carrots (I have used parsnips in place of the carrots also)
3-4 celery stalks
2 russet potatoes (I have used red potatoes too)
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (roasted or garlic flavor, whichever you prefer)
1 14oz can of white beans

1 quart of water (4 cups)
2 cups of beef broth
4 cups of kale or swiss chard

I start with 4 slices of bacon. Sliced into small pieces and browned in the bottom of my ceramic soup pot. Once the bacon is crispy remove and drain on paper towels. Then in the bacon fat I sauté the chopped garlic and onions, chopped carrots and celery. Add in chopped tomatoes (small, bite size pieces so that they cook quickly). Drain beans and drop them into the pot along with the entire can of undrained tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add broth and water. Let boil until potatoes are soft and then add in chopped greens. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.

I always top with grated parmesan cheese and I have also poured the soup over elbow noodles in the past as well. Im not a fan of cooking noodles in soup because I prefer my pasta on the al dente side.

Heres a photo of all of the chopped up veggies. I dropped the ball on more photos though. I love this soup.


I hope someone tries my recipes. : ) If you do, let me know.


A rant and new shoes

I don’t feel good. I kind of fell off the wagon last week with my diet. (By the way, I hate the word diet. When I say it I don’t mean the I’m-on-a-diet kind of diet.. I mean my diet, the what-I-eat-on-a-daily-basis diet.) Glad we cleared that up.

Anyway, with such a busy schedule last week, it turned into I eat when I can kind of lunches, and let me add cheese to everything I eat because I’m too tired to care if I break out. Three pieces of pizza for lunch one day.. soooo tasty, but the first wheat flour I’ve had in months. Cheddar cheese added to my salad topped with turkey (great combo), creamy soups, and then Easter. Of course I had to have my aunt’s coffee cake yesterday too, because she went so far out of her way to make it for the holiday. Aye.

My point is, after eliminating a lot of things from my diet (especially wheat) I completely notice a change in myself when I mistakenly (or purposely) eat it again. My daily motivation hits the floor, I feel groggy, my brain is foggy, and I can get cranky. So for the next few days I will focus on getting away from those bad foods again and cleansing my body.

I dont look at this as a negative thing, I actually think its really positive that I see a difference, even when its bad. It reminds me how good I can feel and the reasons why I’ve eliminated these foods in the first place. It makes me wonder though… what do certain foods do to people who don’t really know they shouldn’t be eating something particular?

I wish people knew how good their bodies were supposed to feel.

Thats my rant.

On a lighter note, I got new shoes.


New Balance Minimus. And I mean it when I say “on a lighter note”. These shoes have nothing to them, and I LOVE them. Its as close to barefoot as you can get without actually being barefoot. I love it, especially because I believe being barefoot is extremely beneficial. I’m a person that is on my feet all day long and I want my stance and walk to be as natural as possible. They breathe tooooo! There are warnings on them to slowly introduce them into routines so that you don’t hurt yourself. Going from sneakers to minimal shoes can put stress on your arches, calves and achilles. I have to space them out and incorporate them into my days. I like the bottoms:


I’ll let you know how it goes.

Do you guys believe in going barefoot?