It’s a Super Food! Super food – a popular buzzword in the nutrition industry, designed to peak your interest in less popular but highly nutritive foods. Like spinach, for example. Personally, I’m not a fan of spinach unless it’s in a dip, but that sort of defeats the purpose. And that’s the real push of the whole “super food” campaign – to try to get people to try foods out of their comfort zone by promoting them as avenues to health.
I will admit to being pretty stodgy in my veggie and grain experimentation in my young adult years. Exotic grains were more likely to be found in the liquid I drank on a Saturday night than on my plate, and I thought corn was the only ‘vegetable’ that mattered. I was more likely to eat foods that came from a chemists lab than from a farmer’s field.
And now, here I am, so much older and wiser (well, for sure OLDER), touting the benefits of super foods and about to give you some recipes of my favorites. Please note that many of my recipes will not have sugar or flour in them, but they may have gluten (some whole grains, like barley, have gluten in them), dairy or eggs. My main goal isn’t to adhere to any specific plan, but to give you the opportunity to try healthy alternatives to processed foods.
Two of these are foods that I like, have made in the past, and will make again. Most likely, you may have eaten them already too, especially the first one I list. The last one is something I experimented with over the weekend, and I am not sure I will make again.
1. Sweet Potato Fries – this is very popular in restaurants now, even ones that offer more mainstream entrées. Feel the Force of the Super Food, Luke.
4 medium sweet potatoes / 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil / 1/4 teaspoon paprika / 1/2 teaspoon of salt / pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Cut potatoes in to wedges and place in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange in single layers on cookie sheets and bake 25 minutes.
2. Pumpkin custard (an alternative to pumpkin pie – a favorite of mine at Thanksgiving).
1 can evaporated skim milk / 12 oz can pumpkin / 4 eggs / 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or to taste) / sweetener (optional – I use agave nectar as a drizzle over the top when I eat it)
Beat all ingredients together and place in two mini casserole dishes that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Put the casserole dishes in a larger pan with 1 inch of water (I actually never do this – I just pop the pans in the oven, but my OCD and anal retentiveness will not permit me to omit this step from the written recipe) and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set (inserted knife comes out clean). Chill overnight (I don’t always do this either. I’m such a rebel.)
3. Kale chips
This is the new one I tried. I have eaten kale before – I tried it when I heard how many nutrients it contained. I wasn’t a huge fan – it has a pretty strong taste. But when a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was making these, I decided to give kale another shot.
For those of you who are new to the nutrition game, kale is a leafy vegetable that looks rather like romaine lettuce on steroids. It’s not super popular, so you may have to check your larger grocery stores to find it.
Remove the leafy sections of the kale from the stalk. Rinse and pat dry. Lay as many leaves as you can in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Coat with olive oil (I use olive oil cooking spray – worked pretty slick if I do say so myself) and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning – I used Mrs. Dash table blend, salt and a little garlic. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
You know what? I mostly liked these, but I put way too much salt on them, and then I got lazy and didn’t make another batch. Also, a few of the chips had a stronger taste to them than some of the others, and I wasn’t sure I liked that. I think I will try them one more time and go easier on the salt!
Until next time!