Baked Kale Chips Are My Jam

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After basically a month and a half of weird yet challenging physical ailments — and all the sometimes mind-altering medications that come with it — I’ve been trying to eat pretty cleanly in the past few days in an effort to clear all that stuff out of my system. Not quite a detox, though I’m trying to hit the steam room and sauna at the gym more often, as well as be super-good about getting green smoothies in the morning. (I have always loved my green smoothies, so it’s no hardship, really.) I don’t really like fasting much — I know people who’ve done it and swear they love it, but I like food and eating. I like chewing! I really think you don’t have to be all drastic to clean out your system — it just takes a little more time and patience, and a lot of water as well. You could call it a lazy lady way to detox, but I think it’s just sort of a nice, normal, human way of helping your body do what it would do naturally.

I don’t find it a terrible hardship to avoid processed foods and refined flour-y stuff for a few days — it’s easy enough to eat lots of fruits, veggies and lean protein, though I always do cheat a bit with a bit of cheese. And I always do crave a salty, savory snack, too. For ages I’ve been on the lookout for a healthy snack food that isn’t fried, something that isn’t a cracker or a chip. People had recommended nuts, and while they’re nice enough, they don’t quite do it for me — they’re just not snack-y enough! But then I found a recipe for baked kale chips, and they’re just about perfect for me: salty, crispy and yet healthy! And very simple to make. I found a few different recipes, but this is the one that works for me and my oven.

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch (about 6 oz.) of kale
1 tablespoon or so of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and dry the kale, and then tear off the leafy bits from the center stem and tough inner ribs. (I find they tear off pretty naturally into the proper size, but I tend to prefer larger pieces — they shrink quite a bit after baking.) Throw ’em in a bowl and throw some olive oil in there, mixing it up to make sure the leaves are covered in oil and salting them nicely all the while. Then arrange the leaves in a single layer on a cookie sheet. (You can line them with parchment paper or even foil if you want an easy clean-up, but you don’t have to.) The single layer is important — otherwise they won’t bake and crisp evenly. I add some more salt and pepper and then pop them in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they’re nice and crispy. Then take them out, let them cool and then enjoy!

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It’s actually fun to experiment with different seasonings with this recipe: I like garlic powder, and I’ve also done chili seasoning, cumin, paprika and even Parmesan cheese. The trick is to flavor them up before they bake, of course — please do try some different flavors out and let me know what you do to vary it up!

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