Chef Nige: Cheezy Herbed Kale Chips

Cheezy Herbed Kale Chips So this month’s newsletter is all about Stress. I don’t know about you, but when the pressure is on, I am in super snack mode. This recipe is going to be nice and easy. Not too many thrills. Not too many steps. Not trying to re-invent the snack, just want a snack. I just want a snack! Give me the cheesy fries now!! No, not the cheesy fries, those taste good for ten minutes and then I crash and my body feels heavy and I feel bad that I ate a bunch of fries instead of stretching. So yes, when you are stressed out the body and brain need beautiful things like stretching and walking and meditation to slow everything down, open it up, and put it all in perspective. That being said, if I do still need a snack, I want to go for something that makes me feel good, genuinely good. For this, I go for some crunchy kale chips. And during super stressful times I make this recipe that has Lemon Balm and Holy Basil baked right into it. Let’s make The Snack part of the de-stressing equation, not something we do to avoid de-stressing techniques! Fun de-stressing plant facts: *Kale: Dark leafy greens like kale are high in folate, helping to reduce stress. Contains high amounts of vitamins a, b, c, and k. *Nutritional yeast: Packed with B vitamins, and contains niacin and zinc. B vitamins help regulate mood, help regulate blood sugar levels, and actually help create neurotransmitters like for Serotonin to create more stable moods. Also, contains compounds that help increase energy and reduce cholesterol. *Holy Basil: I cannot say enough about this gorgeous adaptogen, and how helpful it is especially during times of stress. Holy basil is beautiful and smells sweet and comforting when it is growing in the garden. Holy Basil’s ability to help the body adapt its response to stressful situations is one that I can attest to. When I have an opportunity to cook with it, I do it graciously! *Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a happy hardy nervine that grows abundantly in the Pacific Northwest. Lemon balm works directly in supporting the nervous system. It looks slightly like catnip or mint, but when you rub a leaf between your fingers you know it right away! The burst of lemon essence is unmistakable. Such a treat! Lemon balm is unassuming, gentle for kids and even pets, and helps soothes agitation, washes away gloom, and helps the body to relax. Cheezy Herbed Kale Chip Recipe: Ingredients: 1-2 bunches kale (washed and DRIED) (you will only need 2 bunches if you want a big batch for a few people) 2 tablespoons Olive or Safflower Oil 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast ½ teaspoon garlic powder or garlic granules1 teaspoon lemon balm 1 teaspoon holy basil 1 teaspoon basil ½ teaspoon oregano 2 pinches of sea salt (*note: the amounts for the herbs are for DRY form. If using fresh, make sure to mince the plant small and pat super dry with a clean cloth before adding to recipe.) Method: Grab a rimmed baking sheet or two or three if needed. Your kale chips will ideally need to be in a single layer, not overlapping along the edges. Seriously, it makes for a way better kale chip experience! Line them with foil. Set aside. For the kale: Wash and dry kale. Remove center rips from kale. (*Save these ribs for later when you need something to dip into hummus STAT)….Take de-ribbed kale and rip or roughly chop into about 2 inch pieces. Make sure at this point that your kale is super dry. Pat dry with a clean towel to ensure dryness! Set aside. For the cheezy coating/final steps: Pour olive oil into a large bowl. Whisk 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast into oil. Add all other ingredients (*note: I like to take the dry herbs and rub them in between my palms to break down any bigger flakes and to better release the flavor). Now, give your completed cheezy coating a whisk… (*Adjust flavors if you want, play around. Want some more garlic? Throw it in! Want some heat? Throw that in too. Don’t think about it too much, this is supposed to be fun, not stress you out!) Now grab your kale and add it to your bowl of cheezy coating. You may have to add a little at a time; as it gets coated it will wilt a little so you can add more. Massage coating into kale with your hands. Toss it around a lot, get all the little nooks coated for a yummier chip. Spread coated kale evenly onto your sheet pans in a single layer. Again, try to avoid overlapping. Take the last tablespoon of nutritional yeast and sprinkle it over your soon to be crunchy kale chips. Bake at 275 degrees for 25 minutes. Then, spin the pans around and bake for another 5-7 minutes depending on how crispy they feel. When the time is up, remove from oven an allow to cool. Now you can enjoy a super mellow fun snack to help curb your anxiety or chill during a hectic day! YUM! Fun uses for kale chips: Kale chips are super yummy sprinkled over a salad or to add some texture to a bowl of soup. They are also a super fun low carb substitute for chips as a nacho base! Have fun with these, they are jam packed with vitamins and minerals and loving nurturing plants to keep your brain and body running smoothly. Take your snack attack to a new level, and munch on something you feel really, really good about and your body will thank you! Much love! Nige

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