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!

IMG_6759

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.

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:
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.

IMG_6828

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

 

Supplements & vitamins

Warning – this could get boring.

Let me start by saying I am not a doctor, dietician or a nutritionist. Im just a Regular-Joe with a healthy mentality and an interest in nutrition. I’m only talking about this because I personally think that it is important for me. 

As I’ve talked about before, I see a nutritionist weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) and I take vitamins three times a day. I do not take a multi-vitamin because I feel they are too generic, meaning: not everyone needs that exact amount of those pre-determined vitamins on a daily basis. In case you didn’t already know – we are all different!

I count out my vitamins at night for the following day, and keep them in a pretty little bag in my purse. It makes life easier – my purse is already full of unnecessaries, I don’t need to add tons of chunky bottles to the mix!

I just wanted to give you guys an idea of what I take everyday and the foods that you could eat to get some of these vitamins & minerals. (This is a program designed by a Nutritionist for my body only, not yours.)

After this you may either think “Wow she’s a wing-nut” or “Wow, maybe I should see a nutritionist and get a regimen.” Either way, it’s fun to read about what others do to boost their health.

Here goes:

Vitamin C – is essential for me. It supports adrenal function (one of my past issues), skin, bones and immunity.

Vitamin C food:

vitaminc

Total Liver D-tox – is a natural liver detox. This supp helps boost your liver to get rid of excess toxins.

Liver detox food:

Lemon-a-day

Chlorella – helps detox heavy metals (which we all are full of from antiperspirants and certain fish!)

Chlorella is an algae form… so I don’t have a food form to show you… go drink some pond scum…kidding!

Vitamin B12 – for immune support, and mood support.

Vitamin B12 food:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Calcium – supports bones, blood, cells & muscles

Calcium (non-dairy) food:

kool-kale

Vitamin D – to help absorb the calcium!

Vitamin D food:

2008_03_26-EggFreshness

Magnesium – supports nervous system, digestion, and heart. I also take it to alleviate pms and cramping every month. It has helped immensely!

Magnesium food:almonds-saidaonline

My supplements may change on a weekly basis due to my levels or deficiencies, but these are all vitamins that I have been on, and will stay on as a maintenance schedule.

I hope this made you think a little about supplementing and possibly finding a nutritionist to maximize your health!

Do any of you take any vitamins or supplements? How do you feel about supplementing?