Hand Painted Beads (yes please!)

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handmade, hand painted, beads, rocks, design, diy, crafts

A few hand painted rock beads I designed. Soon I will add these to hemp jewelry! Check back for more creations.

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Taking advantage of my father’s grill and the last few weeks of nice weather.

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Sweet potato wedges, grilled corn, and perfectly cooked barbeque chicken. Fall Grilling.

Sweet potato wedges, corn on the cob, and perfectly grilled barbeque chicken.

The other night I had some friends over for dinner (check back later for some awesome grilling recipes!) and managed to churn out quite the deliciously impressive grilled menu.  I love cooking for other people because it gives me filling validation.  There aren’t many things as rewarding as someone reaching for a large second helping, or a plate licked clean.

My family always gathered together for dinner.  Even amid the chaos of three very busy kids with very different schedules; without fail, we always share a meal together at the dinner table.  I know I’m in the minority, but even now I will feel a little odd when people don’t find a communal dinner necessary.  So I try to continue my family tradition. Invite people to your dinner table, fill them with food, and basque in the afterglow of good company and a meal well served.

Kale Chips

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kale chips

“Can’t eat just one”…more like “Will eat almost all”

If I paused for a second while shoveling two trays (direct from the oven) of kale chips into my pie hole, I would have a better picture.  Alas, it was not my immediate priority. I had a firm focus and one track mind for consumption.

I know the name is misleading, but these are not really a substitute for chips! Healthy snack food: yes. Disguisable as potato chips: not so much.  But don’t be led astray, they are insanely delicious and will curb any crunchy/salty/chip-like craving.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like kale, and those who don’t. Be realistic. If you don’t like kale, you probably won’t enjoy these.  If you do like kale this will become the basis of your go-to kale recipe. Trust me, I know things.

Recipe:

  • 10-12 Kale Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt** (less or more if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic** (less or more if desired)

** Alterations to this recipe are unlimited.  Get inspiration from your pantry.  This is my favorite recipe, scroll to the bottom for more recipe ideas!

Kale

Rub a dub dub, some kale in a tub

Step 1: Wash your Kale.  I grow kale in my garden so unless I want an occasional slug in the mix, this step is essential. Be aware that you will need to completely dry the kale in order to achieve the ultimate crispy experience.  I use a colander to rinse and wait until after the the kale has been cut to finish drying.

Step 2: De-stem and cut the Kale.  I find that it is easiest to de-stem when the leaf is turned upside down.   See diagram: Kale A for optimal cutting techniques.

Cutting Kale

Diagram: Kale A


Step 3: Thoroughly dry Kale.
 Seriously, I use a paper towel and a clean dishtowel.  If the kale is wet it will not crisp to perfection.  No excuses.

Kale Chips

Dry the kale thoroughly! I use both a paper towel, and clean dish towel.

Kale Chips

Add oil, seasonings, and shake, shake, shake!

Step 4: Place Kale in a bag and add your ingredients (olive oil, salt, garlic). Don’t drench your kale in olive oil, you just want the pieces to be lightly coated! Add one tablespoon at a time if you are unsure. Seal the bag and shake.

Mush everything around with your hands, shake some more.  Make sure everything is just lightly coated and the seasonings aren’t left in clumps.

***TIP:  I’ve found the bag method minimizes cleanup. Another method is to lightly spray the kale with an oil aerosol.  Then sprinkle on the seasonings.  Or you can mix it all up in a bowl.***

Step 5: Assemble Kale on baking sheet.  Spend some time arranging the kale!  You will want to make sure the pieces haven’t folded over, and none overlap.  Try to lay the pieces curly side down (for some reason these will crisp better).

kale chips

Arrange kale on a baking sheet. Bake 300-350 for 8-10 minutes. This batch got a little too crispy!

Step 6: Bake Kale at 300-350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Flip kake or rotate tray at 4-5 minutes. Disclaimer: All ovens are different. There is a fine line between kale chips and burnt kale.  I used a convection oven set to 325. When 4 minutes have passed I flip the larger pieces of kale. At 8 minutes I check again. Many times they will need an extra minute or two.

Other Kale recipe ideas:

  • Great recipe, the spices are fantastic, I’m a little jealous I didn’t come up with this!
  • Oil, chili flakes,  chopped almonds,  garlic powder, onion powder
  • Substitute half of the oil with low sodium soy sauce
  • Oil, garlic powder, chipotle pepper spice
  • Add sesame seeds to any recipe
  • Be creative with oils, truffle oil, sunflower oil, etc.
  • Add cheese: parmesan, asiago, romano
  • Add a teaspoon of Sriracha to the oil if you like heat
  • Oil, chili powder, garlic, and sprinkle with lime juice after baking
  • Substitute half of the oil with vinegar for a “salt and vinegar” chip
  • Nutritional yeast gives a wonderful cheesy taste, great with garlic and onion powder.

First Date Deal Breakers

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I’ve been on some pretty terrible first dates, some of them even doubled as vivid embarrassments.  One gentleman took me to a classy restaurant where dinner cost more than my monthly student loan payment.  I wore a pantsuit and visible mismatched socks. He searched the menu for an appetizer without nuts or shellfish, mentioned something about an allergic reaction.  Thirty-five dollar appetizer arrives and is piled high with shrimp and almonds.  It was too expensive to waste so I ate it all.  I ate it all while he watched and talked about Freud.  It was mortifying.  I remember chewing as fast as I could. One time I was so nervous I accidentally called my date “mom.”

I never devoted energy into racking up a list of dating deal breakers; I’d rather make sure we have similar life goals and aspirations.   However, here are 5 ways to guarantee our first date is also the only date:

1. Catch Phrases.  “”Who’s Da Man” or “Woah Dude” to name two.  -100 points if the phrase is also a tattoo.  -1000 if it’s decaled on their white minivan.

2. Enjoying Nickelback.  Or bringing up Miley Cyrus.  I feel like that fits in here as well.

3. Admitting to posting a missed connection ad on Craigslist.  Guilty.

4. Using your Mensa membership as a launching point for all conversations.  I get it, it’s the only part of you that’s interesting.

5. Eating off of my plate. That’s just weird.