COOL DOWN, IT’S HEATING UP

I love summer and all, but this heat does not fare well for a pale Polish auburn-head like me. I walked to the library and thought I’d melt into a swirl of green and purple ooze.

Okay, I’m done whining now. YAY SUMMER. To help you cool off, here are just a few ideas of inexpensive, healthy and unique snacks to cool you down. Once you make some, please invite me over.

Make Your Own Popsicles: What better way to control exactly what goes into a frozen treat than to make it yourself? This is a fun, healthy and inexpensive way to have a little summertime snack. Water freezes (obviously – hello Pennsylvania winters!) which makes for an easy base ingredient. Take some fruits, maybe some citrus juice and a little agave nectar, blend together, and pour into popsicle molds. HOW EASY IS THAT!? Go to the farmers market and go crazy with different kinds of fruit.

You can also try making some with vegetables if you’re feeling extra-healthy. Carrot juice popsicle? I’ll eat it. Cucumber and mint? Sign me up. Adding bananas or silken tofu to any base will give the popsicles a creamy consistency. You can find popsicle molds at most kitchen stores, or online!

Make Your Own Ice Cream: Much like making popsicles, making your own ice cream is a great way to play with unique flavor combinations and ensure the ingredients are exactly what you like. Making vegan ice creams is easy with non-dairy milks (try coconut, almond or hazlenut from a nice change from soy!). Experiment with flavors like pineapple, graham cracker and cherries for a pineapple upside-down cake, or try something savory like ginger ice cream.

Ice cream makers can be found in the stores for around $30 – affordable, and a small price to pay for health and fun. (Shown here – the Deni 5200 Automatic Ice Cream Maker, here on Amazon for $42.95)

Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas: This super and delicious snack is easy and barely costs anything. Unpeel a banana, cut in half, and stick a popiscle stick in the flat end. Melt some tasty dark chocolate, and dip the banana in. Allow to cool on wax paper. Wrap in wax paper, place in wax paper baggies, or just use some tupperware and pop in the fridge.

This is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! The bananas freeze, but maintain their soft creamy texture, so it really feels like an indulgence.

Frozen Grapes: This is a nod to my Gram. Every time I visited her house when I was a little kid, she always had grapes in the freezer. We’d sneak into the kitchen (just because sneaking was fun, not because we had to be quiet or anything) and grab a handful and have a snack!

Wash grapes, put in a tupperware container, and stick in the freezer until frozen. That’s all! They are sweet and juicy without freezing to a perfect solid, so no need to worry about cracking a tooth. Thanks for awesome snack idea, Gram!

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Cooking Class

The cooking class was a huge success! It took some extra planning since I didn’t have access to a full kitchen, but what a fun challenge to take on! I balanced in my yellow heels and vintage apron and we cooked up 5 meals and 1 dessert. ย Everyone left full and happy, and I left feeling accomplished and proud of myself.

When I started Save the Kales! a few months ago, it was more of a personal outlet after a truly difficult time in my life. Without getting into the fine details of that situation, cooking and talking about food became the only thing left that was “mine” alone. I could do it, and I was good at it. I was hoping a few people may read the blog and get a few ingredient ideas, but it has now lead to a complete life reevaluation in the best way, and allowed me to clearly imagine what it would be like to make a living doing something I love.

It’s easy to be afraid of viewing your dreams as tangible goals. For the longest time I didn’t even know what that meant, and felt actual guilt at the thought of asking someone to pay me for a talent. Yet, I never thought it odd to pay a stylist when I got my hair cut, a chef at a restaurant, an artist to make something beautiful for my home. Why is it so hard to believe we ย can do something?

Guess what? You can. Really. It’s as simple as that.

Being in a place where you have nothing left to lose is a vulnerable, uncomfortable place. But after the frightening part subsides, you find it opens to you all possibilities – and the most humbling part is they have been there all along.

I love cooking, talking about food and nutrition, exposing people to ingredients they may not have otherwise tried. To be able to teach a class my way, my style – informative, colorful, silly – was reinforcement that I’m doing something right. It made me wonder if the hard times we experience, or the hard times we give ourselves are just a way for us to reassess our thoughts and actions to propel us into greatness.

But take my advice – don’t wait around for that moment if you can help it. You are already great and talented, and people will benefit from what you can offer. Just get up and do it.

(To my first class, I thank you with so much sincerity, and as per request I’m already planning the next class built around tofu as the common ingredient. Thanks to Christa Timko and Lisa O’Brien for the photos!)

KITCHEN CONTEST

Part of the moving process involves getting rid of a lot of things – in my case, a LOT. But I know most of it would be useful to other people. So, I thought it may be fun to have a little contest and I’ll send the winners some fantastic prizes!

May I present:

SAVE THE KALES! 1ST EVER “SHOW ME YOUR KITCHEN” CONTEST

The rules are simple! Take some photos of the space you do your cooking. Stories and comments about why something is important to you or helpful are encouraged! (Have a hand-me-down martini shaker with a great story? Found the vintage avocado-green mixer of your dreams?) Let me see your space, your things, or photos of a favorite homemade dish.

I’ll pick a winner (or winners, depending on how many entries I get) and send you a fun package of vegan-themed surprises!
Send contest entries to: savethekales@gmail.com

  • Please send submissions by Wednesday, June 2

And remember, we’re already winners. (Roll your eyes now.)

Save the Kales! First Cooking Class – TONIGHT

By this time tomorrow, I’ll be able to tell you all about the first (sold-out!) class! For those of you coming tonight, I am so excited I couldn’t sleep at all, so I hope you’ll overlook my zombie-eyes and really enjoy yourselves.

I’m off to finish picking up ingredients and recipe cards. I can’t wait to see you all in a few hours!

Class: 6:30pm – 8:00pm at Underwired Boutique, South Side Bethlehem

Fresh Ingredients, a Fresh Start.

My friends, as if this week isn’t exciting enough with my first catering event, beginning nutrition school, teaching my first cooking class this Wednesday (!) – my heart is bursting to tell you this breaking news:

I found my new home!

And it’s a beauty! ย Aside from the fact that it has a billion amazing things (washer/dryer, a BACK YARD where I can have a GARDEN and a table and CHAIRS and a GRILL, ahhh! Never had this before!), a fancy schmancy garage, etc etc etc…. the kitchen is what stole the biggest part of my heart.

New appliances, lovely cabinets, a fireplace (! I know!) and best of all, an open layout – so what does this mean for Save the Kales? Better cooking videos, more efficiency, but also – IN (my) HOME COOKING CLASSES! I’ll be able to invite all of you over to hang out and drink wine while we get messy and cook up tasty dishes together!

This week is crazy, with preparing for the Wednesday class (which is already at capacity, and I can’ wait to meet all of you!), starting my nutrition classes, and now the task of, uh, moving, so bear with me while the next week of posts will be scattered narratives of me being even more excited than usual.


“We opened the windows and the warm air touched us with coarse hands. The buildings looked like buildings I’d seen before – they had straight lines and neat corners and windows in between – but they seemed closer to something imagined and built by architects of another world. We flew beneath their roofs and I grinned to the wind, because we’d at least come this far, and that meant we’d won.” – Dave Eggers

MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY

I’m sure I’m not the only Nosey Nancy among us. You know what I mean. It’s just another day at the grocery store, and as you pass people in the aisles you catch yourself rubbernecking to see what they have in their cart. THEN come the judgements… “That soda isn’t even DIET soda… Those crackers are so full of crap!… White bread!? WHO still eats plain WHITE BREAD?!…”

Today I was running all over the grocery store and found that this is something I do without thinking about it. And I began to feel really guilty.

When you are living your life in a way you deem “moral” – whether its by pushing extra hard at work, you incorporate spirituality into all you do, or you eat a plant-based diet especially on the grounds of animal welfare and rights, it can become all too easy to cast judgement on others who don’t do the same.

I wasn’t born with the knowledge I have about factory farming. In fact, I am embarrassed and hesitant to admit that one of the first articles I ever wrote and self-published was titled “Why I Believe in the Vegetarians Cause and Why I’m Not One”. (I know, right!?) When it comes to our diets or lifestyle choices, we could stand to be reminded that for most of us, this was a choice that came about after an “awakening” of sorts.

Maybe you saw a gruesome slaughterhouse video, or adopted a pet and made the connection between that pet and all animals. For me, it was when my Dad died when I was seventeen. Suddenly all animal-foods appeared to me as “someone’s dead father”, and when I was suffering so deeply how I could I do that to another being, human or nonhuman?

We have these stories, and it does us good to recall them from time to time to have more compassion for people that live differently than we do. The meat and dairy industries do all they can to keep consumers in the dark about what is going on. That’s why, for many people, once they see a video of the inside of a slaughterhouse, they become vegetarians. It IS gross. It IS horrible. It DOES affect people. But many folks, myself included when I ate meat, don’t make the connection between their grilled chicken sandwich and the pain and horror of what chickens endure. I’m certain no one wants to promote pain and suffering, but when it is so veiled and secretive, people don’t see any reason to change.

Another point is the fact that, for many people, it costs a lot more money to eat healthy, whole foods. I can argue that if you know where to shop and how to cook well, you can eat a vegan diet even on a strict budget. But that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to educate myself and have the time to prepare meals. Even then, sometimes I spent $50 at a grocery store and look into my cart think, “Really? That’s it?” It’s limited thinking to believe that just because we are able to maintain a lifestyle it’s something easily, or instantly, achievable for most.

If we start to live our lives in a way that we feel so self-righteous as to be “better than” another, we have missed the whole point. Vegetarianism and veganism, for most, is about compassion and kindness. Let us all strive to live with open minds and hearts, and find comfort that while we hope to inspire and inform, we can only be responsible for our own choices and actions.