Wednesday, September 5, 2012


For the 2nd year, Lynn has grown kale and other vegetables in small raised beds. She prepared the soil carefully and the beds are watered regularly by our sprinklers but it is still surprising how much can grow in such a limited space.  One bed is 3 x 6 ft and the other is about 3 x 10 ft.  So, in 48 sq. ft., she grows quite a bit of food.  

The crop I like is the kale.  I have liked the taste of kale since I was a little boy and I still do.  A friend says,"All hail kale", praising its nutritive value.  As a kid, I was accustomed to a meat, a starch like potatoes or corn and a green.  Kale was the top choice.  

Kale is a hearty plant and can survive and keep growing after a mild frost.  We eat the leaves but the stems are very thick and strong.  We are always impressed at how much kale, turnip greens or spinach cooks down.  We usually use a 4.5 qt. pot which just holds our steaming rack comfortably, although Lynn often just boils water in a smaller pan and puts the greens directly into boiling water.  The rack produces hot steam from just a little water, making the preparation time a bit shorter.

A pot that size crammed with kale cooks down so that the end result fits in a cereal bowl easily.  But Lynn took even more kale and put it in a dehydrator.  That resulted in a cup of dried kale flakes for soups, stews and maybe smoothies.

It helps diabetics and pre-diabetics to avoid white rice and we do.  Until recently, we never saw brown or other rices (wild, black Japanese and many other kinds sold in a local specialty store) in quick cook form.  Now we can get quick brown rice but we still like a mixture of different rices.  About a pint of cooked rice frozen in its own container can be thawed and warmed to edible form in 2.5 minutes in the blessed microwave.  We also like quinoa (keen-waa), a grain from the ancient people of central and South America and cous-cous, both of which can be cooked quickly.  Today, I plan to try quick-cook barley.

With our finicky great-grandson and sometimes just for ourselves, we put various good tasting and nutritious foods in the blender and make a milkshake-type smoothie.  Many different foods can be nicely included in such drinks.  Even a local coffee shop serves mango-spinach smoothies with other juices added for flavor.

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