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Kale 101 — The Basics

Kale, a richly colored leafy green vegetable, is truly a powerhouse of healthful compounds for the body. In recent times, people have discovered this king of veggies and found some very creative ways to prepare it, making it very enjoyable to eat, even for those who hate their vegetables.

Below is a video I created about kale. My video notes are below. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!

Kale 101 – The Basics

About Kale
Like other vegetables I’ve covered so far, kale is a member of the cabbage family, being a cousin to cabbage, cauliflower, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and more. Like some other members of this plant family, kale is often referred to as a “super food.” Kale comes in different varieties with curly, or flat leaves, and colors ranging from deep green and blue-green to purple. Some common varieties of kale include Curly Kale (Scots Kale), Dinosaur Kale, Ornamental Kale, Red Russian Kale, and Siberian Kale. Their leaf styles and colors will vary, and their flavors will also be slightly different.

Nutrition Tidbits
Kale is an absolute powerhouse of nutrients and is often referred to as one of the healthiest foods to eat. PERIOD! One cup of raw kale has only 33 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate (a B vitamin), a little omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), and important minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and zinc. Kale also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that protect our eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts. The anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects of kale are well-established in scientific literature.

To learn more about the MANY wonders of kale for our health, visit Dr. Michael Greger’s website at

How to Select Kale
Look for dark, crisp, unwilted leaves. Those with yellowing or brown leaves are older, so try to avoid them if you can. The smaller leaf plants will be more tender than those with larger leafs.

How to Store Kale
Kale should be refrigerated. To help extend the life of fresh kale, wrap the bundle in a cloth kitchen towel (or paper towels) and place it in a plastic bag (even a grocery plastic bag will do) and store it in the refrigerator. As with any fresh vegetable, it should be used as soon as possible, but may keep for a week when wrapped in a towel within a plastic bag. Do not wash your kale until you are ready to use it. If it has gotten a little limp in the refrigerator, place the kale in a large bowl or pot of cold water for about 10 minutes. Then wash and use it as desired.

If your stored kale has become soft, discolored or mushy, remove and discard that part before use.

Is kale eaten raw or cooked?
Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. It is also used in raw vegetable juice blends.

How to Prepare Kale
Raw kale can be added to salads, smoothies, and added to vegetable juices. The smaller leaf varieties may be more enjoyable when eaten raw since those leaves are more tender than the larger ones.

Kale can be cooked in a variety of ways: sautéed, baked into chips, steamed, added to soups, chowders and stews, and added to any number of hot dishes along with other vegetables, grains, and sauces.

Steam kale for 5 minutes then add flavorings as desired.

Kale Chips: Here’s a 5-star reviewed, easy recipe for these beloved chips

Sautéed Kale: Here’s a video I did for Easy and Fast Sautéed Kale

Kale With Other Vegetables: Here a simple recipe for Easy Kale, Carrot, and Mushroom Combo

Kale Soup: Here’s a video where I made a really delicious soup with kale, potatoes, carrots and leeks…

See below for more kale recipe links.

Fresh vs Frozen
Frozen kale is often found in grocery stores.

You can freeze kale yourself by washing, then cutting it into small pieces. Blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 2-1/2 minutes, and stems for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water for about 3 minutes. Drain well and place in freezer containers or bags, then freeze. The kale will keep for 8 to 12 months.

Some people will freeze cut kale leaves without blanching or steaming first. Kale frozen this way will only keep for 4 to 6 weeks and should be used within that time frame. Kale frozen this way can be steamed and stir-fried.

Herbs/spices that go well with kale
Basil, bay leaf, coriander, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, lemon, marjoram, onions, oregano, nutmeg, and rosemary

Other Recipe Links
54 Kale Recipes that are Healthy Not Boring

There’s An Easy Way to Make Kale Taste Delicious

Assorted recipes using kale

Assorted recipes using kale

37 Different Ways to Eat Kale Because You Can Never Get Enough

Assorted recipes at


Spring Mix

Spring Mix 101 – The Basics

Are you wondering what to do with Spring Mix? I did research on your behalf and found that it can be used in ways beyond salads! See my video below where I discuss my findings. My notes are below the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!

Spring Mix 101 – The Basics

About Spring Mix
Spring mix contains a variety of fresh greens with different tastes and textures, including red romaine, baby spinach, radicchio, green romaine, red oak leaf, mizuna, red leaf, lollo rosso, arugula, red mustard, green mustard, red chard, frisee, and tatsoi. It contains a mixture of sweet and mild, and also slightly bitter flavors. The variety may vary among different brands.

Nutrition Tidbits
Greens contain vitamins A, C, E, and K, folate, calcium, and potassium. It is very low in calories.

How to Select and Store Spring Mix
Choose greens that look fresh and dry. Store them in the refrigerator and use them before the “Use By” date because they don’t last as long as mature greens. Spring mix greens purchased in plastic tubs tend to last longer than those sold in bags because the tubs help protect them from getting damaged. Spring mix greens are so tender that they are best eaten fresh (rather than preserved via freezing, etc.).

Serving Ideas
Spring mix can be used as a bed of salad greens or mixed with other greens for a delicious salad. When using only spring mix in a leafy salad, use lightweight dressings and ingredients, as the tender greens don’t hold up well with heavy ingredients. Basil, lemon, garlic, onion, parsley, chives, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, fruit, toasted nuts and bacon all go well with spring mix.

Spring mix can also be used as a bed for fresh or grilled fruits and other vegetables.

Toss spring mix with a balsamic vinaigrette and top with fresh sliced strawberries, walnuts, and an ounce of goat cheese.

Toss greens, walnuts, and cranberries in a sweet balsamic dressing. Top with goat cheese.

Add mixed greens, Kalamata olives, feta, pepperoncini, and cucumber in a bowl. Add olive oil and lemon. Toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste.

Take your favorite homemade or premixed grain salad and toss in a handful of baby greens.

Add candied or roasted pecans to your mixed greens and toss in a bowl with feta or goat cheese. Top with fresh raspberries.

Use extra spring mix to make a green smoothie. Blend a couple handfuls with a banana and some other fruit or favored flavorings and enjoy!

Spring mix can also be lightly sautéed in a little fat of your choice along with garlic, sesame seeds, and other flavorings. Top it off with a little rice vinegar, soy sauce, or lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Spring mix can also be used as a substitute for spinach in any dish, cooked or raw.

Try also quickly steaming spring mix with no special equipment. I show how to steam spinach that way in the following video, but using spring mix instead of fresh spinach would work just as well. Judi in the Kitchen video, FAST and EASY Steamed Spinach …

Grilled Chicken and Grape Spring Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey-Balsamic Dressing

Greek Chicken, Garden Vegetable, and Spring Mix Salad

Spring Mix Salad with Grilled Chicken, Avocado, and Citrus Vinaigrette

Karen’s Spring Mix Salad

Spring Mix Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Mixed Greens with Bacon and Herbs


Easily Remove Scuff Marks Off a Wall (Without Repainting)

I had a large scuff mark on a wall where my husband’s chair was rubbing against it any time he sat in his chair. I finally moved the chair forward and tackled the scuff mark. To my delight, it was easily removed without harsh chemicals or repainting!

Here’s what I did…I took a damp sponge and rubbed a little baking soda into the sponge side (NOT the scratchy side). Then I GENTLY rubbed the scuff mark with the dampened baking soda side of the sponge. The baking soda was enough abrasion to remove the mark without damaging the paint. As the mark was loosened, I wiped the area with a clean damp cloth. That’s IT! Below is a video showing how this was done…

I hope this helps you out!

NEW Tip for Saving Fresh Vegetable Juice

It didn’t take me long after getting into drinking fresh vegetable juice every day that I realized I can’t devote that much time to the endeavor on a daily basis. Yes, I realize that’s the best way to drink it, but few people can do that every day. So, I did a little experimenting and found a new way to help keep that juice fresh a little longer. Here’s my video where I talk about it.

No time to watch the video? So what’s the tip?? Add about 1/2 teaspoon of pure ascorbic acid powder to your freshly made juice before it’s poured into individual jars. That amount of ascorbic acid powder has a LOT of vitamin C power, which is a proven antioxidant and works wonders as a preservative. I have found that my fresh juice is keeping far better now even though I’m also following all the other usual tips for preserving juice.

Happy juicing! I hope this helps 🙂

Save Money on Hair Conditioner

Hair conditioner is something most of us use on a regular basis. Without giving much thought to it we usually follow the simple directions…apply to hair, rinse out, dry and style hair as usual.

Have you ever given thought to how much you’re actually rinsing down the drain and how much is actually clinging to your hair? Well I have, and decided to try applying only as much as I could imagine actually stuck to my hair after being rinsed out. It’s a LOT less!

So, with that in mind, I gave it a try. I applied very little conditioner to my freshly washed hair…only as much as I imagined that stayed on my hair after it was rinsed…and then didn’t rinse anything out. Guess what??? It was wonderful. It was just as good, if not better, than having applied a lot more then rinsed it out of my hair.

So, what am I doing and how much am I using? My hair is about shoulder length. I apply a very small amount of conditioner to the palm of my hand, about 1/4 teaspoon at the most. Yes, that’s all. Then I rub my hands together, focusing on getting the conditioner onto my fingers. Then I rub my hands in my hair, disbursing the conditioner throughout my hair the best I can. Combing the hair helps to spread the conditioner around. That’s it! Then I dry my hair as usual. No rinsing; no waste. My one bottle of hair conditioner will go a LONG way with this method, saving some money along the way.

Yes, I know the question comes up…”Won’t my hair be greasy?” Well, yes it will IF you apply too much. The key to success here is being VERY stingy on how much you use. I literally use NO MORE than 1/4 teaspoon of it in one application. That’s FAR less than I would have used if I applied it to rinse it out. So, it’s a matter of experimenting to learn how much is right for you. If you do this and your hair turns out to be greasy, then you’ve used too much. Cut way back next time. If your hair turns out fuzzy, then you didn’t use enough.

Give this a try. It really does work as long as you don’t overdo it with the amount of conditioner you use. AND you’ll save some money along the way because one bottle will last a VERY long time!

At the top of this post is my video showing how I do this. I hope this helps!


DIY Air Freshener and Humidifier

Here’s a simple tip for anyone who lives in a colder climate where the humidity level drops way down as soon as the cooler weather arrives. You know the signs…your hair starts to fly around, your clothes stick to you with static cling, and you get zapped with a static shock when you touch a light switch. Ouch! When these things happen, it’s time to do something to get more moisture in the air!

Well, you don’t have to invest in an expensive humidifier. Of course you can if you want, buy why do it if you don’t need to? Here’s something anyone can do with what you already have on hand.

(1) Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then lower it to medium-low temperature and allow the steam to slowly release from the hot water. This will bring the humidity level up in your home. Just watch the pot so it doesn’t go dry.

(2) If that’s not a good option for you, try using your crock pot. Fill it with water, turn it onto high, and leave the lid OFF. Allow the water to heat up (using hot water to start with will speed up this process) and monitor the steam being released. If it’s a lot, try turning the pot down to medium or low. Experiment with this, since different brands of crock pots may maintain different temperature levels.

(3) Kick it up with aromatics! Add your favorite essential oils, herbs or spices to make the house smell wonderful. For example, I added some clove essential oil with ground cinnamon powder to a pan of hot water on the stove. In no time, our house smelled very “pumpkin pie-ish.” It was wonderful…and no baking needed! You could use any essential oils you want. If you don’t have those on hand, use your favorite herbs that you already have, such as mint leaves, fresh or dried basil, rosemary, cilantro…whatever you want!

(4) When you’re away from home, simply keep the water in the pot or crock pot with your aromatics, but leave it turned off for safety reasons. The water will still evaporate in your dry home and the great aromas will still be released, but at a slower pace. In fact, you could place bowls of water with your favorite herbs, spices or oils in them in different rooms around the house. The water will slowly evaporate, humidifying the air and releasing wonderful fragrances along the way.

Give this a try! No special equipment is needed and it’s well worth trying in the colder months. I hope this helps 🙂


Heal Gums Naturally with Probiotics

I recently developed a bout of gingivitis in one area of my mouth where my teeth are crooked. I had been rinsing my mouth once a day with diluted hydrogen peroxide for a while, and I suspect that created an imbalance of microbes in my mouth that led to the inflamed gum problem. The issue flared up so that I couldn’t brush my teeth nor floss without extreme pain.

I tried using more diluted hydrogen peroxide rinses and that only seemed to aggravate the situation, making the problem worse. THEN, I realized that our bodies house a finely tuned balance of microbes…both good and not so friendly microorganisms. I realized that the balance was off, probably due to the hydrogen peroxide I had been using.

So, I experimented on myself and it worked! I stopped the peroxide rinses and turned to a little “germ warfare” of my own design. I took what probiotic capsules I had on hand (a 10 billion strength mixture of different strains of Lactobacillus bacteria), and started breaking open the capsules directly onto my tongue. My saliva moistened the powder and I did what I could to move it toward the inflamed gum area. I did this two or three times a day. By the morning of day 3, I was able to brush and floss my teeth without any pain. The redness had subsided. By the end of day 4, the redness had disappeared and my gums were returning to normal.

When doing natural therapies, it is important to monitor body signals as to when a therapy is enough and it’s time to stop. I found that four days of using probiotic capsules in my mouth was enough for my situation. On day 5, I noticed that my gum problem was pretty much gone, but my mouth and especially teeth started to feel exceptionally “clean”. Abnormally clean. I practice good oral hygiene and my mouth usually feels clean, but this was not a usual feeling…like it was “too” clean. So, I took that as my signal to discontinue the capsules. It was my sign that my body had enough of the probiotics in the mouth for the time being.

With that signal, I decided to allow the microbe population in my mouth to balance itself out and not interfere with the process. I continued brushing and flossing as usual, but did not do any oil pulling (as I usually do…once a day) until my mouth returned to normal.

Below are two videos where I discussed how I tackled this problem. If you’re suffering from gum issues, please do consider this approach. I believe this method addresses the problem at the core of the issue…an imbalance of microbes in our mouth. I hope this helps!


Regrow Celery From the Stump

Want more celery for free? Don’t throw the end away after cutting off the stalks! Regrowing celery is very simple and a fun project for all, especially for children.

Simply remove the bottom end of a bunch of celery, cutting about one inch up from the bottom. Place the cut off piece, bottom side down, in a shallow tray with about 1/2 inch of water in it. Place the tray in a sunny location or under bright lights. It will begin to regrow from the center in very little time, usually ranging from overnight to up to two days.

After some time, your celery should sprout roots. With that, it will be very thirsty, so monitor the water level daily to be sure it doesn’t run dry. Also, wash the container now and then to prevent algae from growing, which would not be healthy for the plant.

After roots are established, many people will plant their new celery plant in their garden, allowing it to grow much larger. If you choose to keep it indoors and in water, it would be best to feed it with some plant food to support its growth. The celery can be harvested whenever you want.

It’s fun and rewarding to see food grow from a scrap item that would have been thrown away. This is a wonderful activity for children to help teach them where food comes from and hopefully inspire them to do a little gardening of their own sometime.

The following is a video demonstration of how to regrow celery


Easy, Effective Fruit Fly Trap

This is literally THE most effective fruit fly trap that I’ve tried. It’s simple to make and most people would have all the ingredients already on hand…water, sugar, vinegar, and liquid dish detergent. No need to cover it with plastic wrap. Just mix it up and place it near whatever is drawing the fruit flies and they will be attracted to this mixture.

After placing a few of these traps in my kitchen, dining room, and even bathroom (yep…we had them just about everywhere!), almost all the fruit flies were caught within a day or two. It was amazing! Give it a try.

In a small cup, simply combine…
4-5 oz warm water
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 drop of your favorite liquid dish detergent

Stir it all together and place the cup near whatever is attracting the fruit flies. Do not cover the cup with plastic wrap. Leave it open so the flies can easily make their way to the liquid. That’s it!

Here’s my quick video showing how to make it…

I hope this helps!