BBQ Kale Chips


In one of my other posts, I explain how to make Regular Baked Kale Chips.  With some seasoning and a secret ingredient, we will turn those kale chips into BBQ kale chips!  First, let's see what we are actually eating:
Kale is a great source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, K and C and measures very low on the glycemic index scale (about a 3 out a scale from 0 to 250).  But isn't kale those plants that the lady across the street has planted in her yard during the fall?  For the most part, yes.  There are many varieties of kale:


(the kind in your neighbor's yard during the fall)


(the one on the right)

The kale that I use for chips is of the curly variety. This type of Kale is crisp to begin with and therefore bakes really well on high heat for a short amount of time.  Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of times in which I have burned kale in the oven, because I over cooked it for 1 minutes.  But for the most part, the curly variety can hold up in the oven. 
So what are some health benefits to eating this cabbage from my neighbors yard?  Kale contains tons of vitamin K that is necessary for normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.   Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw (WebMD).  I would NOT recommend eating kale raw. So, if you are tired of eating spinach, collard greens and cheese, eat some kale!
Let's get to it!
Buy two bunches of kale from the curly variety.  I used Foxy Organic red and green kale bunches.
Unravel the kale from the twist ties and wash thoroughly, especially if you buy organic.  There were a few times in which I did not wash the kale completely and ended up eating a few bits of dirt/sand.  NOT VERY YUMMY!  If you have a salad spinner those work great for washing and drying kale!
Place the middle piece of the salad spinner in the sink and dump the kale into it.
Rinse with cool water.  Make sure you mix the kale around and really rinse it well.
As you can see by this picture below, the kale has a stem running throughout the entire leaf. 
Hold the bottom end of the stem with one hand and peel the kale from the top with a downward motion (like you are peeling a banana) towards the bottom.  The kale should then break off into smaller pieces.  Throw the stems away, or put in your Rachel Ray garbage bowl!
Add those back into the middle piece of the salad spinner and give them a whirl so that all the pieces of kale are as dry as they can be.
If you only want to bake half of the recipe, you can store the kale in one of these lettuce storage containers.  Put a little water in the bottom of the storage container, make sure the vent dial is open and store in the fridge.  When I store kale, it will last for a week in the fridge without wilting in this container.  When I have store kale in a zip top bag or the regular produce bag from the store, the kale gets soggy and therefore just ends up in the trash (skips the garbage bowl!).  You don't want to risk any type of foodborne illness by eating bad veggies.  That is the WORST!
Preheat the oven to 400
Take two baking sheets and spread the kale evenly onto the sheets.  Make sure that each piece of kale touches the baking sheet and that pieces are not piled on top of other kale pieces (those pieces tend to get soggy while baking).
Here are the spices that you are going to need.  I say about in front of each measurement, because all I do is shake the spices about 12 inches above each baking sheet and eyeball it.  But for those of you that do better with measurements, here ya go!:
 1) About 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2) About 2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt
3) About 2 tablespoons of Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4) About 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
5) About 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
6) About 1 teaspoon Onion Powder (not pictured)
7) About 1 teaspoon cumin
8) About 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
9) A Sprinkle of Sugar (this is the secret ingredient that gives the kale the BBQ flavor)
Drizzle the EVOO over the kale on both baking sheets.
Massage the oil into the kale leaves, so that each piece is saturated and glistening with oil.
Now, sprinkle the spices over the kale pieces and massage the spices into the leaves just like you did with the oil.
Place baking sheets in oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 
I find that 9 minutes with my oven is PERECT.  Keep an eye on the kale.  If you smell something burning, it's going to be extra crispy!
When you take them out of the oven you will notice that the pieces have shrunk about 50%.  Take your Rachel Ray turner and move the kale around on the baking sheets to gather up some of the oil and spices that are on the baking sheet. Then move them into a pile.

Now, place them into a bowl and ENJOY!

Funny story: Dear Husband was home from work one day watching Baby D.  The night before, I had made these BBQ kale chips for this post.  Well, I was eating them while working on the computer and a few pieces happened to end up on the floor.  The next day, Dear Husband said he heard crunching by the dinning room table.  Turns out, Baby D found the pieces of kale chips that I dropped on the floor and was nomming away! Baby D loves kale chips, too!


Homemade Baby Oatmeal

Tired of paying for pre-made baby food, especially the organic kind?  I got real sick of that fast.  When Baby D was old enough to have oatmeal (not to be confused with oatmeal cereal) I started buying the Earth's Best Oatmeal in the glass jar and also in the squeezy thingies (as my sister would say).  The squeezy thingies would always be on sale at Babies R Us; most of the time they were 16 for $20 and on rare occasion they were 10 for $10.  Let's do some basic math for 25 days worth of oatmeal that is store bought vs 25 days of homemade oatmeal.  Maybe there are some days when baby wants eggs :)

Store Bought Oatmeal
Each oatmeal pouch/jar cost around $1.25 each plus 9% sales tax.  Baby D ate 1 of these a day for 25 days. So....
$1.25 x .09 = .11 sale tax
$1.25 + .11 = $1.36 per pouch/jar
$1.36 x 25 = $34 for 25 days I spent $34 on JUST oatmeal for 25 days.  Now let's take a look at how much the same quantity of oatmeal costs to make at home:

Homemade Oatmeal
One 2lb container of Natural Old Fashioned Oats: $3.29
1 bag of frozen fruit: $4.99
1 box of 300 count BPA free sandwich bags: $5.99
Add 9% sales tax: $1.28
$1.28 + $3.29 + $4.99 + $5.99 = $15.55

But here is the kicker...  It only took 6 cups of oatmeal to make 25 days worth of oatmeal.  It only took 25 sandwich bags out of the 300.  If you really want to break the cost down even further you can to see how much you are saving.  But just by the two totals of the:
store bought oatmeal ($34)
homemade oatmeal ($15.55)
you are spending 45% less money if you choose to make your own oatmeal right off the bat.  Let's break it down further:

Baby D has one serving of oatmeal that consists of 4oz or 1/2 cup.  The 2 lb canister of rolled oats contains 30 servings per container at 4oz or 1/2 cup per serving.  So, if one canister has 30 servings it should last only 30 days, right?  Noooooo.  Oatmeal is super absorbent and expands once it is cooked. So this canister of oatmeal is going to last a while.  I'll prove it:

I cooked 12 servings (6 cups) from the canister of oatmeal and it gave me 25 servings!
That leaves me 18 servings left in the canister of oatmeal. So technically I could get another month's worth of oatmeal servings out of the canister.  Therefore, the I only spent half the amount of money of the cost of the canister of oatmeal which would total to $1.65.  Next month when I make more oatmeal, I only have to buy a bag of frozen fruit which costs around $5.  Ok, enough with the do you make baby oatmeal??

  • 6 cups of rolled oats from one 2lb canister of Old Fashioned Oats.  If you are going the organic or non-GMO route like me, then make sure your rolled oats have writing on the container that says "Organic" or Non-GMO.  I use Meijer's Natural Oats.  Either way, the only ingredient listed should be "100% WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS".

  • 2tb of Cinnamon
  • 1lb bag of frozen (or fresh) fruit
The below recipe is for 25 days worth of oatmeal:
Boil 11.5 cups of water.
Once the water comes to a boil, pour in 6 cups of rolled oats and stir until all oats have settled in the pot.

 Once the oats have settled, add the 1lb bag of frozen fruit.
Now, add the cinnamon.
 Stir it up!
Let the mixture cook on medium-low for 5 minutes.
Once the 5 minutes is up, turn off the heat and let the oatmeal sit for another 5 minutes to absorb some of the liquid.
5 minutes later........
Scoop the mixture into the food processor.  If the mixture seems sticky, add a tablespoon of water at a time to loosen the thickness.

Do not overfill food processor.

Puree the oatmeal mixture to the desired texture.
Now pour the pureed mixture into a separate container to use for bagging:

To get an accurate measure for 1 serving, I used a 4oz jar.  Now-a-days (6 months into making oatmeal) I just eyeball it.
Now pour the 4oz serving into a zip top sandwich bag.

Squeeze out all the air and zip up the bag.
Label the bag with the date the oatmeal was made and write thawed (I'll explain below).

Lay the bags flat and put in the freezer.  You can leave one or two servings in the fridge for tomorrow and the next day, but I recommend freezing the rest of the batch.  You never want to leave food (especially food you have made for baby) in the fridge for more than 3 or 4 days.  Bacteria starts to grow and the food takes on the infamous "fridge smell". Remember, fresh is best. 
Question: So, if I just freeze all this baby oatmeal the night before, what is the best method to thaw/reheat one serving for tomorrow?
Answer: Excellent question!  This is what I do:  I put one of the frozen bags of oatmeal in the refrigerator the night before.  In the morning the bag of oatmeal is thawed.  I take the oatmeal out of the fridge and cut the tip of one of the corners of the zip top bag off, as seen below:
Then I squeeze the bag of thawed oatmeal into a glass jar from previously purchased baby food (before I was smart and decided to make my own food).

 Then, I remove the label from the zip top bag and place it on the jar and write today's date on it:
So, now my child's care giver knows that the oatmeal was made on 3/15/14 and it was thawed on 3/16/14.  If Baby D decides he doesn't' want oatmeal that morning, my care giver (or myself if it is a weekend) knows that the oatmeal can still be consumed within 3 days.

If you breastfeed and are familiar with pumping and storing breastmilk, then you know the rules of breastmilk storage.  Food storage lasts a little bit longer, but I like to keep in mind the breastmilk storage rules just to be on the safe side of things.

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