Crispy Kale

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Ingredients:
Kale, olive oil, salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Cut a fresh bunch of kale from your garden or pick a bunch up at the store
3. Cut out the tough stems and cut the kale into large pieces (they will shrink when baked)
4. Dry the cut leaves with a paper towel or use a salad spinner (wet leaves will not allow the kale to bake)
5. After the kale is dry coat it with some good quality olive oil (I recommend checking out http://fioreoliveoils.com/site/) and place it on a cookie sheet
6. Bake the kale in the oven for 15 minutes, check after 10 minutes (cooking times vary based on the amount of olive oil used and oven variations)
7. After the kale is baked add salt (do not add the salt before baking unless you want soggy kale)

Notes:
Experiment with adding different ingredients after the kale is baked: like lemon, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar.

Kale is easy to grow. It has grown better than any other plant in our garden this year even with the very dry conditions. We have cut leaves from ours four to five times and it is still growing strong. It is a renewable and sustainable resource that is packed with flavor and nutrition making it one of the most healthiest vegetables.

Planting a Garden

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One of the best ways to get started involving yourself with what you eat is growing your own food. It doesn’t take a lot of work and the rewards can be very satisfying. It can be as simple as clearing a spot in your back yard, turning some dirt, planting some seeds, giving them a little care and water, and watching them grow. For my garden pictured above I have planted the following:

Tomatoes
• Delicious
• Wapsipinicon Peach
• Super Choice
• Tomatillo
• Chocolate Cherry
• Pink German Johnson
• Yellow Grape
• Costoluto Genovese
• Isis Candy
• Pink Girl
• Black Sea Man

Cucumber
• Bush Crop
• Burpless

Squash
• Cushaw Green Stripped

Sweet Peppers
• Napoleon Sweet
• Chinese Giant
• Pasilla Bajio
• Alma Paprika
• King of the North
• Golden California Wonder
• Corno di Toro
• Sheep Nose Pimento
• Sweet Cayenne

Hot Peppers
• Fish
• Lemon Drop
• Nubian

Greens
• Swiss Chard
• Kale
• Arugula (Rocket)

From seeds I am growing radishes, yellow beans, green beans, snow peas, spaghetti squash, egg plants, and herbs (cilantro, lemon basil, and parsley). I also have two alpine strawberry plants and some vidalia onions in pots. I purchased the tomato plants, pepper plants, cucumber plants, squash plants, and greens from Funke’s Greenhouses a local business. This is a great resource for heirloom and rare varieties of tomato and pepper plants. They have around 130 tomato varieties and more than 100 pepper varieties.

The best part of planting a garden is that you can grow as little or as much as you want. I started out growing a limited number of varieties and in turn this year I am experimenting with numerous varieties. Once you pick your first heirloom tomato off the vine and sink your teeth into the succulent flavorful brightly colored flesh and the juice drips down your chin the experience will live with you forever and you will know what a tomato is supposed to taste like.

Fun fact: the tomato is a fruit, although it is used as a vegetable in cooking.

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Urban Farming and Food Awakening

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Through my love of food and growing my own I wanted to reach out and share my experiences to enhance the richness and meaning in the lives of others through food. I would like to provide a unique view of food and how it reaches our core. Essentially we are what we eat. Food is a necessity that keeps us alive. What we eat determines how we feel, how we look, and how we act. The food choices you make can change your life.