Kale monster

January 31,2012
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

We are starting the fourth week of the new semester, and I'm already horribly behind. The kids are both fighting head colds, and getting them up and going in the morning has taken double the amount of work (triple for L.). We can't seem to make a dent in the laundry pile. The stack of quizzes to grade doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, and the papers are piling up. Although I would love a day to stay in bed, I have been fantasizing lately about having a day to catch up--no students, no course prep, just me in my office, working my way through the grading, and crossing off things on my to-do list. 

Oh, the bliss of it all, such a dream.

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On a lighter note...ever since I discovered that I can buy a gigantic pillow-sized bag of chopped, pre-washed kale at Whole Foods for only $4.99, I have been in kale heaven.

I love the stuff. I also seem to crave it, with an intensity that I thought was only reserved for chocolate. But I truly do. This makes me happy, because it's proof that the more good things you put into your body, the more your body wants them. In fact, I eat so much kale these days that T. has dubbed me "Kale Monster" and she took this picture of me the other day, standing over a tray of roasted kale. The added bonus is that T. loves kale, too, and my heart does little jumps of joy when I see her stuffing the rich, green kale leaves into her mouth as an after school snack, or at dinnertime. If I could only get L. to eat kale I would be truly happy and, while Scott will eat kale when I prepare it, he has confessed that he likes spinach more.

One of my favorite ways to eat kale might not be the healthiest, but it certainly can't be all bad. I spread out big handfuls on a baking tray, and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top. Then I top it all with generous sprinkles of nutritional yeast, which, despite its name, is a truly delicious must-have for anyone on a vegan or even vegetarian diet. Nutritional yeast not only provides essential vitamins not found in a vegan diet, but it satisfies that "fifth sense"--or umami. Last year I wrote about how I had discovered the concept of umami, or the "fifth sense" and I wrote up a post listing my top "umami" friendly vegan foods. I left nutritional yeast off the list, however because, sadly, I hadn't really discovered it.

Now, I can't get enough of it. I like it sprinkled on popcorn (it gives it a nutty almost-cheesy taste), or on both roasted or steamed kale. T. prefers kale steamed, and I simply season it with nutritional yeast, some sea salt, and a little lime juice. Nutritional yeast is also perfect on roasted potatoes and mashed potatoes, and it thickens gravy nicely and lends texture and "density" to sauces.

I still have almost half of that gigantic bag of kale left. 

Oh, the bliss of it.