May 192012
 
Pattypan squash is what is known as a summer squash – all parts of it are edible, including the skin and seeds. There are TONS of benefits from eating this delicious squash. It’s full of vitamin C and A and specific antioxidants that are wonderful protection for macular degeneration and cataracts. It is great for regulating blood sugar due to the large supply of many B-complex vitamins.
Summer squash has anti-inflammatory benefits and provides excellent prostate health support. There are even anti-cancer properties due to the mixture of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that neutralize oxidative stress.
Summer squashes are among a family of plants called Cucurbitaceae and their relatives are cucumbers, winter squashes like pumpkins and melons, such as watermelons!
Of course, the best and most nutritious way to eat these little guys is raw.  I have an awesome Veggie Pasta Salad – perfect for a pot luck – that uses these squashes raw.  In fact, I think I need to do a recipe re-do as that was one of my favs. 
Steaming is the best way to cook summer squashes for maximum nutrient preservation.  There is new evidence that the squashes still retain many of their antioxidants after steaming.  In this case I grilled them, however, the cook time is still short and we don’t have water leaching the nutrients so I consider this the second best method of preparation.
For both zucchini and squash the best way to preserve if you have a huge abundance is to slice and “steam blanch” or quick steam for about three minutes, and then freeze on parchment paper on trays in the freezer and then place into freezer safe bags, pressing as much as the air out as possible. They will loose their firm texture once thawed; however, they will still retain most of their antioxidants.
Do keep in mind that summer squashes are high in oxalates.   High concentrations of oxalates in the body MAY contribute to kidney stones, so be sure to vary the veggies in your diet.   A CSA/Farm share is the PERFECT way to do this as you will get a much wider variety of veggies than you would normally buy.  
I have read that the best way to store these squashes is in a airtight container in the fridge, however, if you get them from KYV farm please keep them on the counter. They will last MUCH longer.   I found that in the fridge they will begin to get soft and grow little pits whereas on the counter they stay smooth and firm.

 

As for the interesting history of summer squashes, scientists found the seeds preserved in Mexican caves for over 10,000 years.  All the way back then people were already cultivating these veggies!
For anyone on a meatless diet, this is an awesome recipe for when you’re craving something heartier.  The bacon tempeh was surprisingly similar to the taste of bacon-though not the texture.  The texture is  a bit softer; however, grilling gives it that crisp outside that I missed when giving up bacon.  I used quinoa as a replacement for a grain, it is mild and a tad nutty and, since it is a seed, very high in protein-making this dish even more filling and satisfying.  The onions are super sweet when grilled and the squashes make for a perfect appetizer for a party or vegan option for a cookout.

 Grilled Pattypan Squash Stuffed with Bacon Tempeh, Quinoa, Vegan Cheese and Onions

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free



Ingredients


4 pattypan squash
1 package bacon tempeh
1 cup cooked quinoa
½ cup shredded vegan cheese
2 onions
Cajun Seasoning, to taste


Options
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Parsley to garnish


Directions


1. Preheat grill to medium high. Cut pattypan squash width-wise through the center and slice onions; spray veggies and tempeh with cooking spray; place on grill. Cook until outsides of squash and onions char, about 5 minutes, turn and grill an additional 5 minutes or until center of squash is soft.

2. Once tempeh is heated through, remove from grill and place in a medium bowl with quinoa and cheese; mix well. Remove squash and onions from grill; scoop centers of squash out and mix with tempeh mixture. Chop onions and mix in as well. Stuff mixture into hollowed out squash.


Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 247.4
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 369.3 mg
Potassium 361.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.1 g
Dietary Fiber 8.0 g
Sugars 6.5 g
Protein 13.7 g

Vitamin A 0.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.0 %
Vitamin C 49.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.2 %
Calcium 37.0 %
Copper 1.1 %
Folate 1.7 %
Iron 17.0 %
Magnesium 17.8 %
Manganese 2.4 %
Niacin 1.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.4 %
Phosphorus 53.0 %
Riboflavin 42.9 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 1.0 %
Zinc 0.9 %




*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

**Post information sourced from Worlds Healthiest Foods

Mar 062012
 

Last season I created this unexpected recipe to utilize the gorgeous tops of my fresh carrots from the farm.  I just couldn’t bear to throw them away!  Since I got a few bunches with my last pick up I had to create it once again, this time using some chickpeas to create a light meal.

I love the mild parsley-ish taste of the carrot tops and the crunch the carrots add to the texture.  The mint makes this super fresh and the lemon adds a tang factor.
Tip: You can save a ton of money buy cooking dried beans in salt free veggie broth and freezing them in 2 cup packages to pull out for later use.
The carrots, scallions and tomatoes came from KYV farm and the mint, parsley and lemon from my garden and my dad’s tree. Now that’s local and seasonal produce!
Tip: Use your food processor for this one to make quick work of the chopping or if you don’t have one, bribe a friend to help chop.
Carrot Top Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
Serves a LOT - bring this to a pot luck or eat it all week and share with friends
Vegan, Dairy Free, (Gluten Free Option)
**Tip: For gluten free option, replace the bulgur wheat with white quinoa (cook to package directions using appropriate amount of veggie broth.)

Ingredients

1/2 cup bulgur wheat**(see above for gluten free)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch carrots with tops (say about 6 small 51/2 inch long)
Handful fresh mint
Handful fresh parsley
1 bunch scallions, chopped
5 small organic tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained, will work too)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic

Directions

1. Heat the bulgur and broth to a boil, stirrings constantly, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool while you process the veggies.

2. Place the carrots, tops removed, into a large food processor (or in front of bribed friend), pulse several times to rough chop; add the carrot tops, mint, parsley and scallions, pulse until desired texture is reached, I like mine finely chopped.  Pour into a large bowl and add the tomatoes and chickpeas.

3. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and crushed garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over carrot top mixture and toss well.  Reseason with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Nutritional Information
Total Recipe
Amount Per Recipe
Calories  1255.4
Total Fat 46.9g
Sat Fat 6.2g
Polyun Sat Fat 6.3g
Monoun Sat Fat 31.2g
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sodium 2357.8mg
Potassium 2156.1mg
Total Carb 151.7g
Dietary Fiber 32.5g
Sugars 17.2g
Protein 29.1g
Feb 222012
 
There is a group of girls that are my lunch friends.  The same group gets together about every other week and we typically choose sushi or, our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Mandaloun.
This is one of those hidden gems that is tucked away in a non-descript strip mall.  No one would ever know it was there other by word of mouth. 
Lucky for them I have a pretty big mouth.
The owner’s name is Pierre and he is originally from Lebanon.  His family has a history of catering and hospitality that dates back to the 30s when their first restaurant was opened in the mountains of South Lebanon.

It’s no wonder that anyone I bring there is delighted. My two favorite items to order are an authentic, insanely and deliciously tangy, fresh fattoush salad and a salad bar-complete with naturally vegan options-lentil soup, steaming soft pita, creamy hummus, babaghanouj and beans, salads and a hot bar.
This was another plus to this restaurant. When I cut out meat and dairy, I could still come and get exactly the same thing I would normally get.
Such as this balila. They only make it a few days a week and it was so amazing I asked him what was in it. This is my (much quicker) interpretation.
Lebanese Chickpea Balila
Inspired by Mandaloun Mediterranean and this recipe
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup organic, sodium free vegetable broth

4 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
¼ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and cumin about two minutes, stirring constantly. 

2. Add chickpeas and salt, cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Smoosh about 1/3 of the chickpeas with a fork.

3. Add broth and lemon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened.  Top with parsley and pine nuts

Jan 032012
 

Goodbye 2011, you were a good year. 
Let’s see…..I gave up meat and most dairy (that is a work in progress), hosted a farm to table dinner and held a Free Range Yoga workshop at the farm, went on LOTS of campouts, trips to St. Augustine, took an amazing trip to the Keys and finally, am at a point where I’m comfortable with myself.  For one, I don’t step on the scale every day any more, I don’t record every bite, and I’ve lost weight and feel better than ever.  After trying every diet in the book, I have finally settled into the aforementioned meat and dairy free diet.  I’ll admit I thought I was going to be tired, but I have more energy than ever.  In fact, on New Years I didn’t get to bed until 3AM!  I used to have to drink 5 Hour Energy and sugar Free Red Bull just to say awake until 11:00.
One of the biggest challenges was (is) not cutting meat from my diet, but how the people around me reacted and the availability of animal free foods at social events and during travel.  I can’t say how many times I’ve been told it is unhealthy to not eat meat and been asked how I get my protein and calcium. I have learned to still participate in social events but to bring along something delicious that everyone can eat and to not make a big deal about my abstention from meat.
For the New Years Eve party I attended, I decided to make a pesto with the fresh Meyer lemons that my friend Gregg brought me to yoga that morning and I paired it with herbs straight from my garden.  As “dippers” I skewered a small tomato, a bit of fresh beet green and broccoli-both fresh from the farm.  For the folks that weren’t into the “salad on a stick”, a loaf of sliced Cuban bread and a whole grain baguette were on the side as well.  It turned out so well I am going to make another batch for a dressing and sandwich spread.
As for my 2012 New Years Resolutions….. I finally settled on two.
  1. Meditate daily
  2. Stay in the present moment
  3.  
A BIG, HUGE thanks to everyone that has visited my site, supported me, tried my recipes and even introduced themselves to me when I’m out and about.  It is so fun to meet some of the folks that actually read my posts!  I love, love, LOVE every comment, suggestion and insight.
So THANK YOU and I look forward to the new year!
Now tell me…..what are your resolutions this year?
Fresh Meyer Lemon Pesto with Tomato, Beet Green and Broccoli Skewers
Inspired by Epicurious
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
Ingredients
Pesto
2 packed cups of fresh herbs, I used basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Zest and juice of one fresh Meyer lemon
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the skewers
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 fresh beet greens, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 large head broccoli
Directions
  1. Add herbs through lemon zest and juice to a food processor or blender and pulse to chop finely; slowly stream in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, taste and re-season if necessary.
  2. For skewers, thread one tomato, a rolled bit of beet green and a broccoli floret onto a toothpick.
Dec 272011
 
This loaf was super easy to make-it sounds like a lot, but it took under 30 minutes to prep using my food processor to chop the veggies; and, leaving it uncooked overnight in the fridge worked out well, as the flavors has more time to work into the tofu.  And leftovers?  Don’t even get me started!  I made a gorgeous loaf sandwich with a slather of my holiday roasted garlic-maple mustard, a bit of reduced fat Vegenaise and some fresh lettuce from the farm.  On the side were some fresh peas we harvested by hand (also from KYV farm), simply sautéed in some Earth Balance, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder.

Walnut-Tofu Loaf
Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
Pinch sea salt
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 medium-size carrots , finely diced or grated
1 handful yum yum peppers,  (or red bell pepper , finely diced)
6 pieces oil-marinated sun-dried tomato
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme 
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 block firm organic tofu, pressed of water
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (or regular)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

Seasonings
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (tamari or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; add onions and a bit of sea salt, sauté about 1 minute.  Add garlic through lemon zest and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the seasonings together in a small bowl; add to the veggie mixture.  Crumble the tofu into the same bowl and add the breadcrumbs, walnuts and parsley and mix well.  Spray a loaf pan with organic non-stick spray and press in mixture.  Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over top evenly. **

4. Bake, uncovered, for about 35 to 40 minutes or until top is browned.

** The loaf can be made ahead and stored overnight until baking.  Simply complete through step 3, cover and refrigerate.  When ready to bake, let the loaf sit out until it comes to room temp (about 30 minutes or so while you preheat oven to 375F) and then proceed to step 4.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 217.6
Total Fat 16.6 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 8.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 436.2 mg
Potassium 469.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 17.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Sugars 2.6 g
Protein 12.0 g

Vitamin A 102.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 13.7 %
Vitamin C 82.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 6.6 %
Calcium 41.3 %
Copper 23.3 %
Folate 12.9 %
Iron 16.1 %
Magnesium 17.1 %
Manganese 65.7 %
Niacin 6.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 18.6 %
Riboflavin 7.7 %
Selenium 19.2 %
Thiamin 13.5 %
Zinc 10.2 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dec 042011
 
Last Thursday was my second CSA pickup and I stayed behind to discuss some workshop ideas with Vivian and Francisco for KYV farm.

As we chatted, Vivian offered me some soup. 



It was delicious.  A hearty mix of all the veggies we got from our CSA, lentils and barley.



The most surprising ingredient was radishes.  They tasted, well, not very radish-y.  More like a mild, soft potato-I couldn’t believe it!  Normally I’m not a fan so I’m so glad to have found a new way to prepare them.



I cut some fresh herbs from my garden but a mix of dried would work just as well.



My daughter and I shelled some of the pigeon peas.  This is really weird but it’s one of my favorite tasks.  I can focus on the mindless task of shelling and working on my intention of staying in the present moment, especially through the holidays.




Florida Fall Harvest Soup



Ingredients


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (or 2 cups pre-prepared)
1 bunch radishes, chopped
1 handful baby carrots, chopped
2 cups yum yum peppers, chopped (or 1 red bell pepper)
Handful fresh herbs-parsley, culantro and chives
1/4 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning (or salt)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup shelled pigeon peas
1/3 cup lentils
1/3 cup barley
6 cups organic vegetable
1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped


Directions 


1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in Dutch Oven ;add onions, sauté about 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent; add garlic through fresh ground pepper, cook an additional 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients except kale, bring to a boil; reduce heat, set cover askew to let steam out, and cook on low 30 minutes.  Add kale to pot and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Dec 032011
 
My second KYV Farm CSA bag, once again, had such variety. Thanks to KYV!

Radish and Broccoli


Bok Choy and Lettuce


 Onions

Kale


Golden Beets


Pigeon Peas


Arugula

Now-for the “turkey” tempeh-I have a confession.

I was going to cave.

I’ve cut out meat and have been doing awesome, but for Thanksgiving I was thinking about turkey.  I still had a little hope that I might be able to make something that would be just as delicious.


 I created a marinade-this green soupy stuff to marinate the tempeh in.  After looking at my concoction I can’t say I had high hopes.  The goal was a marinade made with seasonings I would normally pair with turkey-since I know that a lot of times when I marinate tofu in a sauce or seasoning I’m craving, it actually does satisfy that craving.

Tempeh, for anyone who has never heard of such a thing, is a sort of fermented soy cake.  I know that sounds gross, but I really love the texture and flavor.  It has more “meat” than tofu and a subtle nutty flavor.  Some folks steam it, as sometimes tempeh can have a bitterness to it, but this marinade I created was strong enough to take any bitterness out of the tempeh.

Much to my suprise, when I tried the marinated and pan seared tempeh, it was delicious!  It had a nice hearty texture and I didn’t miss turkey ONE BIT.


“Turkey” Tempeh
Inspired by All Recipes
Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

1 package tempeh, I use Lightlife
4 Tbsp EVOO, (1 Tbsp reserved for cooking)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce
Juice 1 lemon
1 Tbsp mustard
Handful fresh chives
1 1/2 Tbsp dried sage
Handful fresh oregano
Handful fresh parsley
2 Tbsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 fresh sprig rosemary

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients but tempeh; marinate tempeh overnight in mixture. Store in the refrigerator.

2. Scrape as much of marinade off tempeh as possible.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Sear on one side until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Flip and sear second side an additional 3 to 5 minutes.  Slice and enjoy.



Nutrition Facts for Tempeh only
(From Lightlife Site)
Per Single Serving
Serving Size 4oz. (113g)
Servings per package: about 2
Nutrition: Amount per Serving Percentage Daily Value


Calories 240
Calories from Fat 100
Fat, g 11 17%
Saturated Fat, g 2 10%
Trans Fatty Acids, g* 0
Cholesterol, mg 0 0%
Sodium, mg 10
Potassium, mg* 360 10%
Carbohydrate, g 16 5%
Fiber, g 9 36%
Sugars, g <1
Protein, g 20 40%
Vitamin A, % 0%
Vitamin C, % 0%
Calcium, % 8%
Iron, % 15%


Ingredients
Cultured organic soybeans, water, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, lactic acid (from plant sources).

Oct 232011
 
My 3-year old and I made up a song about our trip to the farm last weekend since my description of the trip was turning out REALLY boring.  So here goes.
  You have heard the story of Old McDonald, right?  This is the story of Old McFrancisco and his Black Eyed Peas.  (Cows, dogs, chickens and seedlings too.)

Old McFrancisco had a farm, it’s called KYV

And on this farm there was a cow. He was named Sir-Loin.

With a moo moo here, and a moo moo there.

Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.

Old Mc Francisco had a farm.  Ei ei oh. 





And on this farm there was a dog. He was named Whis-key.

With a ruff ruff here, and a ruff ruff there.

Here a ruff, there a ruff, everywhere a ruff ruff.

Old McFrancisco had a farm. Whiskey loves Sir-Loin. 





 And on this farm there were chick-ens. Ei ei oh.

With a cluck cluck here, and a cluck cluck there.

Here a feather, there a feather, everywhere a fea-ther.

Old McFrancisco had a farm. We should make ear-rings.


And on this farm there were seedlings. ei ei oh.

With a yum yum here, and a yum yum there.

Here a yum, there a yum, everywhere a yum yum.

Old McFrancisco had a farm. We can’t wait to eat.



And on this farm he had some peas ei ei oh.

With a black eye here and a black eye there.

Here a pea, there a pea, everywhere a pea-pea (hehehe).

Old McFrancisco had a farm.  It’s called KYV.
The end.
________________________________________________
We left the farm with our bag of scary Halloween worms aka. black eyed peas (see below) and sat down to shell them.  Who knew my daughter would have so much fun she would fight me pea for pea.

And what did we do with them? Since I didn’t have a lot of experience with fresh black eyed peas I had to wing it.  We tried them raw, cooked, and in a wrap.
Here’s a salad I made with them raw.  Isn’t it pretty?  I hope this inspires you to both get creative and keep it simple.

roasted beets
red onion
lettuce
raw black eyed peas
drizzle of my favorite vinaigrette
______________________________________________
We also made a pickled black eye pea recipe from Epicurious.  Simple and delicious.
Pickled Black Eyed Peas
Ingredients
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
2 red bell peppers
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves
6 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
Directions
Click here for the directions as I didn’t change much other than to use less oil and cook the fresh black eyed peas as directed until tender to my taste.

___________________________________________

Finally I made a lettuce wrap recipe.
Lettuce Wraps with Pickled Black Eyed Peas and Barley

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce leaves
Cooked barley
Pickled Black Eyed Peas (recipe above)

Directions

1. Layer barley and black eyed peas in the center of each romaine lettuce leaf.  Wrap and enjoy.

What are your favorite ways to use black eyed peas?  We may just try it next time!
Sep 122011
 
I do believe I have discovered the dressing secret of my favorite salad at Mandaloun Mediterranean.  It is tart, tangy, sweet perfection and I think I figured it out by accident.  On a whim, while at the St Augustine Farmers Market I decided I would make a version of the fattoush salad with the organic kale I had just bought.  I got all the fresh herbs I would need, twice-baked my own pita chips for superb crunch, ruby red tomatoes, red onion instead of radish and Forks Over Knives 3-2-1 dressing recipe of 3 Tbsp vinegar, 2 Tbsp mustard and 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (now my favorite oil-free dressing). 
How did I discover the secret of the dressing you ask? (Especially when theirs is laden with so much oil, as restaurants are known to do, and I have failed at my fattoush attempts in the past.)
I decided to try a reduction with the 3-2-1 dressing and when I tasted it, I knew I had hit gold.
It is almost an exact match, but oil free; tart, tangy, sweet and rich.  Oh baby it is SOOO good.  I was dipping kale leaves in and munching like they were potato chips.
Here is what I did.
Crunchy Kale Fattoush
Salad inspired by Mandaloun Mediterranean and dressing inspired by Forks Over Knives 3-2-1 dressing pp.118
Serves 4-5
Ingredients
1 bunch curly kale, washed and de-stemmed**
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh oregano
1/2 red onion
2 large tomatoes, seeded
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or about 1 1/5 cups cooked
1 cup pita chips, (bake your own from fresh pita*** or use Stacy’s Pita Chips)
Dressing
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
Directions
1. Heat the vinegar, mustard and syrup in a small pan to just boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until reduced by half and has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Meanwhile, chop kale and set in a large bowl. De-stem and chop mint, parsley and oregano finely and set aside (do not mix in with kale yet).  Chop onion and tomato and set with herbs.
3. Once balsamic mixture has cooled, pour over kale and massage in until it begins to wilt a bit; about 30 seconds.  Add herbs, onion, tomato and chickpeas; season with salt and pepper, toss salad to mix.  Top with pita chips.
**Romaine can be used in place of the spinach; do not massage dressing in first.  Add all ingredients together except pita chips and toss to mix.  Add pita chips and serve.
***To bake your own pita chips, preheat oven to 250F, cut edges from pita and separate sides.  Spray with cooking spray and lay rounds directly on oven racks, start checking at 10 minutes as different areas of the oven may brown faster, remove from oven, break up, season, place on tray and re-bake 3 minutes or until super crunchy.  Keep a close eye so they don’t burn.
Nutrition Information
5 Salads (Including 4 oz Stacy Pita Chips)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 281.4
Total Fat 5.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 483.6 mg
Potassium 618.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 50.5 g
Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
Sugars 6.4 g
Protein 9.7 g
Vitamin A 446.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 30.4 %
Vitamin C 140.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.6 %
Calcium 15.6 %
Copper 20.8 %
Folate 19.5 %
Iron 21.3 %
Magnesium 14.1 %
Manganese 67.4 %
Niacin 6.0 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.3 %
Phosphorus     12.4 %
Riboflavin 9.4 %
Selenium 5.3 %
Thiamin 9.2 %
Zinc 9.7 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.