Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homemade Kale Chips Recipe

I enjoy eating crispy, salty, crunchy, flavorful chips. That's exactly why chips are not allowed in my house. I show no restraint when eating them. Now I have a nutritious alternative which gives me the crunch and flavor I like in a chip, but is actually good for my body. Introducing... Kale Chips. Before you roll your eyes and think "Not gonna happen" consider just giving it a try. It only costs about $1.

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale (stems discarded and leaves torn into chip-size pieces)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt or 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oil and salt in a bowl. Toss kale pieces in the oil mixture. Rub the oil mixture into each individual piece of kale. Place kale on two cookie sheets making sure no pieces overlap. If they do overlap they won't get crispy and will just steam. Bake in oven for about 9 minutes. Ovens vary and those variances show up with this recipe. Some people only bake their kale for 6 minutes or it burns. Others' ovens require the kale to bake for 20 minutes in order to get it crispy. In my oven it only took 9 minutes. You have to watch it closely. Mine didn't look crispy to me, but when I touched the kale with a spatula, it crumbled.

Kale is a nutritious vegetable high in vitamins A, C, K, manganese, and B6. Kale is rich in anti-oxidants, detoxifying enzymes, carotinoids, and high in fiber.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Weren't We Friends in High School?

High School.

What is the first emotion you feel when you hear those words? Were you a cheerleader or involved in a sport? Did you have lots of friends and frequently date?

If you would have asked me last year about my memories of high school, I would have quickly - far too quickly - blurted out how I hated high school. My thoughts would have been tainted by the fact that my school closed its doors with only 9 weeks left my senior year. A shell of the school reopened in a different location under a new name. Half the students, staff, and faculty disappeared going their separate ways as they tried to somehow make sense of the nightmare brought on by lack of funds. The students received no senior yearbook even though we paid for them and they were ready for printing. And to this day I can't tell you which classmates I started AND finished with during my senior year.

Perhaps I'd recall my mediocre social life. I wasn't involved in any sports, so I didn't experience being part of a close-knit high school team. I had a few friends I was very close with at school and a handful of classmates who were more like acquaintances. The rest of my classmates I lumped together as "snobs" or "nerds" (how unsnobbish of me- ha!). For most of my junior high and high school years I attended a church youth group which consisted of three youth, including me. I had a few fantastic friends in my neighborhood I loved hanging out with. My dating life was nonexistent. I had lots of guy friends who only saw me as a friend. Various crushes I had went unnoticed and unreciprocated. My older sister left home, my school collapsed, I moved to a different neighborhood, and my two best friends and I got into a terrible, nasty, horribly painful fight. Blah. I hated high school. Thank God (and I really mean that) for grace and forgiveness as one of those friends and I restored our relationship a year after graduation and have been friends ever since. I really love her and treasure our friendship.

But those feelings of disgust at the mere mention of high school have relinquished their hold on my heart and mind. Over the past year I have slowly, reluctantly at times, reconnected with several high school classmates through facebook. And do you know what has happened? I actually like, really like, many of the people I never even spoke with when we were in school together. I keep asking myself, "Why in the world weren't we friends in high school?" I really like who these people have become, and maybe, part of it is also that I really like who I've become too.

This past weekend a number of us former classmates got together for an impromptu reunion of sorts. I had such a wonderful time both evenings. There were times of laughter and times of deeper, heart-felt discussions. We were real and honest with each other. I walked away grateful for the time we had together, and thankful I no longer carried resentment for high school years that paled in comparison to my expectations. I had a prick in my heart of how many years of friendship we lost out on, but so thankful for facebook, maturity, and second chances. I cannot wait to see these girls again. Plans for a reunion next summer will be in the works shortly. Until then, we have facebook.