Baked Kale Chips

Kale chips. Yes, you read that correctly. I made kale chips. It isn’t something I’d typically choose to make, but I was intrigued. I kept hearing friends and food bloggers rave about these as a great alternative to regular potato chips, so I was interested to see what the hype was all about.

I happened to have some kale left over after testing a recipe for America’s Test Kitchen. My family isn’t real big on leafy green foods, and I didn’t want to waste the kale, so I thought it was the perfect time to attempt kale chips.

First of all, this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever followed. Second of all, I was pleasantly surprised by the awesome flavor and texture! I now understand what everyone was raving about!

I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to make these all the time, but I will absolutely make these when I have extra kale laying around. I love how easy it is and how simple it would be to try different seasonings. The health benefits as compared to fried potato chips are undeniable as well. Enjoy!

Baked Kale  Baked Kale chips

Baked Kale Chips

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. With a knife or kitchen shears, carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bit sized pieces.
  4. Wash and thoroughly dry kale.
  5. Drizzle kale with olive oil. Make sure all the kale is covered in a thin layer. Sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  6. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt (10-15 minutes)

My Pi Day Pie

Please excuse my mini hiatus. I tend to take the month off to celebrate my birthday. Yes, the whole month. My grandma taught me that 🙂 I’ve entered a new chapter of life (my thirties!) and am fully rejuvenated thanks to a spa day at the Four Seasons that I gifted myself. So, despite the 30°F temps here in Chicagoland, it’s time to come out of hibernation.

I know, Pi Day was  12 days ago, but I wanted to share my nerdy tradition with you. If you’re not familiar with Pi Day, it is exactly what you’d expect it to be: a celebration of the mathematical constant better known as pi (π). Even though PIE Day is January 23rd, I still find it  fun to bake a pie for PI Day and give a little birthday shout out to my man Albert Einstein. Last year I made a peanut butter and jelly pie for my coworkers. It turned out…OK…but I didn’t use any sort of recipe so it didn’t turn out quite right. It was too soft. This year, keeping with the peanut butter idea, I made a peanut butter pie with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

About a week before Pi Day, I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They were a little crispier than we like, and my husband happened to comment that they’d make a good pie crust. And just like that, my Pi Day pie idea was born. It turned out great and I decided not to bring it to work – I just shared it with my boys at home.

 Pi_pie

Peanut Butter Pie with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crust

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1-1/2 cups crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
4T. butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 container (8 ounce) of Cool Whip (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup chocolate chips for decoration

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and the melted butter.
  3. Evenly press the mixture into a 9″ pie plate and top with chocolate chips.
  4. Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate chips around to form a thin layer over the entire crust.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
  6. Beat in sugar and peanut butter.
  7. Slowly pour in milk, beating mixture until smooth
  8. Fold whipped topping into mixture. 
  9. Pour mixture into crust and decorate with chocolate chips if you’d like.
  10. Freeze until firm.
  11. Store any leftovers in freezer.

America’s Test Kitchen

Time sure is flying! I just had my first temporary single-parent week and am happy to announce that I survived. My husband was gone on a business trip and I think it was the most interesting week I’ve ever had. We all survived, though, and are looking forward to a little R&R this weekend.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to plug the awesomeness that is America’s Test Kitchen for awhile now. Not only do they have incredible recipes, but they produce the trust Cook’s Illustrated magazine/books, and their TV show is fun to watch and one of the more educational cooking shows out there. But that’s not why I’m writing about America’s Test Kitchen. I’m writing about it because you can sign up to be a recipe tester! No, I’m not kidding. You can sign up to test recipes for Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.

They send you a recipe, you test it within two weeks, and then you fill out a survey. It’s that easy. So far I’ve  received three recipes but was only able to make one. (That’s another thing – if you can’t make one, it’s no big deal.) Not only did it turn out incredible, but it’s a fun thing to be a part of. Full disclosure: I signed up hoping I’d get to try some incredible desserts. I haven’t received any dessert recipes to try yet, but I’m totally OK with that.

Herb-Crusted Salmon

Alright, you guys – go sign up and have an awesome weekend!

KidKraft Play Kitchen

Welcome to 2013, readers! I hope you all had a wonderful and safe New Years’. I’m back in the swing of things and hope to give my blog (and its readers) the attention it deserves. We’re trying to sell our townhouse, so I’m not baking as much as I’d like (since our house has to be in tip top shape on the off chance we have a weekday showing), but that doesn’t mean I can slack on blogging about other things I like.

So, that brings me to one of the coolest Christmas presents that my little guy got this year: a play kitchen! My husband cooks and I bake, so we spend a lot of time in our little kitchen. Our little chef always wants to be where the action is, so we decided to give him his own kitchen space to stir, cook, wash and organize things. We decided on this KidCraft play kitchen.

KidKraft Play Kitchen

I swear this thing is sturdier than half the furniture in my house! My husband built it over the span of a couple days (I think took around 3 hours to build). It wasn’t a breeze, but it wasn’t that difficult. The end-result is a beautifully crafted play kitchen that will last for years (hopefully). My little guy can’t reach everything yet, but enjoys opening the refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher parts of it. He also got some play food to cook with and stock the refrigerator with. I’m all for play kitchens in general, and don’t have another one to compare it to, but I definitely recommend this one (and have) because of its great quality, affordability, and gender-neutral look 🙂

Chef Noah

Chef Noah

 

Your Favorites of 2012

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. I had another great Christmas and spent a lot of time with family – what a blessing! My little guy had so much fun opening gifts and visiting with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great-parents. I can’t wait until next year when he “gets it” even more.

With the new year upon us, it’s time to wrap up 2012. Following are your favorite ‘Things K Likes’ posts from the year. Thanks for reading, sharing, commenting, and giving this blog a purpose. Cheers to a happy and safe new year for all!

5. Birthday Cake Truffles

bdaycaketruffles

4. Homemade Flaky Pastry Dough

pastry dough

3. Rent The Runway – Designer Dresses at Affordable Prices!

dress_jay_godfrey_iris_lace_sheath

2. Caramel Apple Pie with Cinnamon Roll Crust

Caramel Apple Pie

1. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

The Re-Fashionista

I think I’m late to the party when it comes to discovering the re-fashionisa blog. In any case, this lovely lady takes old or slightly damaged clothing and refashions them into really cute outfits. You can read her story here. She’s totally inspiring and has encouraged me to take the sewing machine out of my closet. I swear, in my next house I’ll have a sewing room…just you wait and see!

And this is what I want in my next house.

And this is what I want in my next house.

Mincemeat Pie

I made my very first mincemeat pie over Thanksgiving. I had heard of it before, but never seen, tried, or attempted to make one on my own. One of our Thanksgiving celebrations was with my husband’s dad, stepmom, and grandma. I always make his dad a pecan pie when I see him, but this year I decided to make them each a pie, so I made a mincemeat pie for his stepmom and a chocolate/French silk pie for Grandma Z.

I found out later that they sell mincemeat pie filling in a jar. Really?! Nobody told me. It’s not in true Kim-fashion anyway to use a jarred mix of sorts. So, per usual, I scoured the interwebs in search of what sounded like the best recipe. I ended up adapting this one from Allrecipes.com for the filling. This ended up to be really tasty! I had no idea what to expect, but it was so flavorful and received rave reviews from even the toughest critics.

I should note that this is a sweet pie, not savory as you might expect. It’s definitely for dessert, but I may or may not have eaten the leftovers for lunch. Hey, it has fruit, meat, and carbs in it, so it’s a perfectly suitable meal if you ask me… Enjoy!

Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat Pie

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 4-1/2 cups apples – peeled, cored and diced
  • 2-1/4 cups dried fruit (I used dried cherries and cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup and brandy
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 cups and 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • orange zest to taste (I used the zest of half a softball sized orange)

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Make the dough for the crusts:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:
2. Make the filling. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef thoroughly, being sure not to over-brown it.

3. Place chopped apples and the cooked ground beef in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is made up of pea sized chunks.

4. In a non-reactive skillet combine the apple and ground beef mixture with the dried fruit, half of the brandy, the pickle juice, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg and the white sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Cool filling to lukewarm and store in covered container in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze. Continue to add brandy to the filling and mix it up every few days.

Assemble your pie:
6. Preheat your oven to 325°F

7. Roll out the dough for the two crusts on a floured surface, making sure not to overwork it.

8. Put one crust in the pie pan. Pour in the filling. Top with the second crust. (I chose to do a lattice top for mine, but you could just cover it and put a few slits in the top if you prefer.)

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool and serve!