Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hoppin' John in My Crockpot and Spinach in My Blender?

              Right before the New Year I read an article about adding beans (the dried kind) to our diet to help with weight loss and maintenance.  Then along came an article in the Post Standard, Syracuse, NY’s daily newspaper, about Hoppin’ John.  It’s a recipe used primarily in the New Orleans area for New Year’s Day celebrations.  The recipe incorporates black eyed peas (which really aren’t peas!) and kale.  Sounds like a good combo – right – that’s what you’re thinking!  Well, I am willing to try most recipes and when you put crockpot in front of it, I am really game to try it. 
                So I put everything together in the crockpot – I used the bunch of kale that it suggested and I used low fat turkey smoked sausage instead of the high fat, regular stuff.  I really do like Kale!  I was introduced to it by a friend who told me to make Kale chips with it.  Yes – chips!  Mix bite size pieces of kale with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast on a baking stone at 400 degrees until crispy.  They really do come out crispy and quite tasty.  The first time I made them, the kids were expecting potato chips for dinner!  After their initial disappointment, they really enjoyed them and have asked for them again. 
                Okay, so back to the Hoppin’ John.  The recipe went together easily and tasted great.  When the boys get off the bus in the afternoon, their first question is, “What’s for dinner.”  The night we had this recipe I explained to Jacob that it had black eyed peas in it.  Who wouldn’t want to try something named after a great band – or is it the other way around?  Anyways, Jacob (my five year old) told me that he didn’t like black eyed peas.  He had never had them – neither had I.  The recipe came out stew like and was very flavorful.  The black eyed peas were soft and the kale was sweet.  Jacob was the only one who didn’t eat much of it, saying he didn’t like it.  Joey (my ten year old) really liked it and said that the recipe was a keeper!  The recipe is attached!  Try it for yourself.  Maybe play some music from the group to get the kids excited about eating it!
                Now, another green story – from the same friend came the suggestion to add spinach to smoothies and shakes.  Right!  I was very skeptical about this and the fact that she said you wouldn’t even taste it in there.  Well, she was right.  I added two handfuls of spinach to my protein shake and it was great.  I didn’t taste the spinach and was very full after drinking it.  It made almost double what I usually get from one recipe!  Try it today and let me know what you think. 

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