Monday, April 22, 2013

Kale, Bacon, & Asparagus Stir-fry

Lets talk about two of my favorite foods. Kale + Bacon. It's no oxymoron that these two foods go together so darn well. After all, if you haven't made this Bacon Brittle Kale Salad yet, then you should probably re-think your priorities.

Per my last post, you are now all aware that I am currently studying Holistic Nutrition. What I love about my Program is that I am amongst other crazy passionate people who believe that good whole foods can make one feel amazing. Every week, one person brings a snack to class. This past week was my week and I chose to bring a kale, bacon, and asparagus stir-fry to share. If your immediate reaction is "you bring bacon to a nutrition class?" then you should know: this aint' no fat-free nutrition program.

I don't think I need to convince you why I did this. #passionateaboutpork

But lets talk nutrition for a minute - I promise not to bore you as this is probably quite relevant to many of you.

Kale has amazing health benefits! It's a fabulous source of Vitamins A, C, K (especially important for heart health!), fiber, and minerals like magnesium. How you prepare the Kale is important too and could potentially impact your thyroid function if you have thyroid issues.

This is because kale is a goitrogenic food, like soy and other cruciferous veggies. What on earth does that funky word mean? Goitrogens are substances in certain foods that can potentially interfere with our body's thyroid gland. This is because goitrogens interfere with iodine uptake and iodine is needed to produce ample active thyroid hormones.

So what does this mean for you!? No biggie. Really. You still gotta eat your greens.

But if you have hypothyroid issues (low thyroid), consider cooking your goitrogenic veggies. This will help to inactivate the goitrogens and you can still get your greens in! Consider limiting your intake of raw goitrogenic veggies - save it for special occasions if you will.

The second best part of this stir-fry (bacon is obvs the first) is that it makes amazing leftovers.

Kale, Bacon, & Asparagus Stir-fry

8 slices bacon
1-2 bunches kale (Curly or Lacinato will work), the leaves torn off from their stems
1 bunch asparagus (about 10 will do), chopped into bite-size pieces

3 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 small yellow onion or shallot, chopped finely
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt & pepper to taste

1. In a frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon and place on a plate with paper towels to help soak up the extra grease. Transfer the bacon grease from the pan to a bowl or jar. Once the bacon is cool, tear it into small pieces.

2. While the bacon is cooking, tear the kale leaves away from the stems and place in a bowl. Add the chopped asparagus in.

3. While the bacon is cooling, using the same pan as it was cooked in, add 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease into the pan and add the onion. Stir for a few minutes over medium heat, until the onion begins to brown and caramelize. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients in, as well as the kale and asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until the asparagus become more tender. Add the bacon pieces in and cook for 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm.


Friday, March 22, 2013

An update.


I've been meaning to write on here for a while now. And in all honesty, I've just felt as though time has escaped me over the past few months. I actually didn't think anyone would notice, but then of course, my Mother informed me that some of her cooking students were asking about my blog. Figures.

You know you better get on it when your Mother, who still uses aol dial-up Internet, is asking about your blog. And yes, aol-dial up still exists.

I'd like to share something that has been a huge part of my life lately, which I've kept fairly private. Last September, I started school. Again. I am currently enrolled in a year and a half program at Bauman College in Berkeley to become a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. The curriculum is heavily based around taking a whole foods and wholistic approach to nutrition.

A love for food is in my blood, people. I grew up on a few acres in which my Dad transformed into an amazing fruit and vegetable orchard. We'd pick blackberries and make fresh pies on Sunday mornings, Laura Ingalls-Wilder style. And my Mom. Well, she instilled a love for cooking and baking from scratch in me from the moment she refused to buy me an Easy-Bake Oven.

But about 3 years ago, I met an inspiring woman named Lisa. She is a Registered Dietitian with an MS, a Holistic Nutritionist, an Herbalist, and a general health-wonder woman. Upon my first consultation with her, I was completely addicted to learning about all things nutrition-related. After obsessively telling all my close friends how amazing my time with Lisa was and inundating Lisa with nutrition/health questions constantly via email, she told me "you should probably enroll in a nutrition program as you are clearly passionate about this."

Two years later, I finally bit the bullet. And here I am. Nearly 6 months into my Holistic Nutrition program. I've struggled for the past few years with finding my way, career-wise. I put so much pressure on myself to find that perfect balance of passion and financial stability, and the classic work-life balance. I have not found it yet and continue to struggle.  I don't love my day job. But I will say this. The moment I walk into my classroom on Wednesday nights, I feel relieved, excited, and like I am home. When I am stressed professionally or personally, I think about school. And how much I love it. And then I think about how one day, maybe I'll be able to help someone make a really small change in their diet that will end up making a huge change in their life.

The thought of this ability to do so makes me giddy.

Work, family, and friends; it is hard to find balance among all these while enrolled in school. However, I feel that what I am learning in school is so valuable and I can't wait to share it.  I plan to pop in on my blog from time to time and share both recipes and my growing nutrition knowledge. I hope this sounds good to you.

And also, I would just like you all to know that as I write this I am eating a delicious gluten-free triple chocolate brownie. Just because I'm studying to become a Holistic Nutritionist doesn't mean I have perfect eating habits. It's definitely a journey.

I can't help that I keep it real.

I just hope that one day, I can sit down with you, and maybe teach you just one thing that improves your health long-term. Thanks for your support.