Kale & The Culinary Black Thumb

I was perusing the produce section of my local Trader Joe’s one sunny Sunday afternoon, when I stumbled upon a bag of Trader Joe’s brand organic kale. I had seen it used in recipes on Food Network, another of my “vices”, so I thought, why not? I had never had it before, and I knew it was considered a “superfood”, so I grabbed a bag, put it in my cart, and went on shopping.


A few days later, I wanted to make stir-fry for dinner, but had had a very long day with my daughter and was REALLY tired. My wonderful husband volunteered to make it – under my supervision, of course. You see, Brad calls himself a “culinary black thumb” – last night he managed to completely murder a three step Alfredo sauce to which he was given full instructions on how to do. I typed them out in full detail in a text message to which he responded “ok”. Cause of death? An inability to stir, or read. The food coroner can’t quite determine, but the sauce looked like someone threw up their liver.

Anyway, back to my story. I didn’t want to use the conventional stir-fry veggies you find in a bag in the frozen section of most grocery stores, you know, being filled with GMOs and salt, 5+so I decided to use the veggies we already had in our fridge and freezer (mostly organic frozen and a couple fresh). I looked in my fridge in the veggie drawer and I saw the kale, thought, “why not? It probably tastes close to bok choy” and told my hubby to throw in about 1/4 the bag, like all of the other veggies. We ended up using five veggies – peas, baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and kale – all organic. He cooked the veggies in olive oil on medium low heat for a while, say about 20 minutes, successfully sweating them out, which releases TONS of flavor (this also makes the veggies really soft, which we like). After the veggies were cooked, he placed them in a large bowl and added some more olive oil to the frying pan. He then added the cubed chicken to the pan along with some salt, pepper, and onion powder (our son HATES onions, but doesn’t have a problem with the flavor). Brad turned the heat up and let the chicken pieces sear to a golden brown. Once the chicken was cooked, he then removed it to the same bowl the cooked veggies were in. While he was doing all of this, I was whisking together 3/4 cup of Trader Joe’s soy sauce and 3/4 cup raw blue agave nectar with 1 tbs garlic powder in a small bowl. Then I poured the mixture into the hot frying pan and used a plastic serving spoon to scrape up the bottom of the pan to incorporate some of those flavors into the sauce. Once the sauce simmered for a few minutes, I poured the sauce onto the veggies and chicken.


After microwaving a bag of organic jasmine rice (brown is pictured as that is all I have to use as an example), Brad served the four of us the stir fry over the rice. Let me just say, this is some of the most DELICIOUS food I have ever tasted – all completely clean. I would rather eat this than any take-out.


I just want to point out that even the “worst” of cooks can make good, clean food using the most basic of elements. My husband is a self-proclaimed “culinary black thumb”, but he makes a delicious stir-fry. Chicken and vegetables go a long way and can be made into a variety of dishes with a few minor tweaks in ingredients. This knowledge creates a different kind of satisfaction in how we eat, and makes me miss all the “crap” much, much less.

Keep on cookin’, even if you think you suck at it, you will soon find your niche 😉

Until next time,



Clean Eating, In Laws, and Avocados

We just hosted my mother-in-law and brother-in-law at our place this weekend. Rest assured, she is NOT the mother-in-law from hell, and my brother-in-law and I get along very well.

However, they were a bit skeptical about clean eating.

So, I did what any good, resourceful foodie would do – I cooked. Not just any old meat and potatoes, but my mom’s original chicken devan recipe. Vegetarian fed chicken, organic frozen broccoli, smothered in a Vermont sharp cheddar cheese and white wine sauce. 

Yeah, I know, you’re salivating just HEARING about it. Good thing I don’t have pictures…yet 😉

Anyway, they loved it, and couldn’t believe that it was a clean meal. I mean hey, I love food, and what I make is gonna have flavor. To halfway quote my late grandmother, freaking mangia!

Also, my daughter is CRAZY about avocados. We went to breakfast today and I ordered an omelette with avocado. I decided to cut up one of the slices and give it to my little Serenity (along with my cheesecake pancake. I couldn’t help it, it may be crap but it’s DELICIOUS crap, and I didn’t use my cheat day yet;) ). She pushed the pancake out of the way after tasting both and went straight for the avocado. Man am I a proud mama today! She has also recently become mobile in the form of actual crawling. Not that half-crawl, half-doing-the-worm thing she WAS doing, and I can barely keep up. I think between good, clean food and her copious amounts of energy, I’m gonna have my hands quite full. 

Recipe for the delicious chicken devan will be up soon folks!

Until next time, Jill