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healthy snacking

I will admit it- I have a bit of a chip addiction. I was never allowed to have any as a child, so when I hit high school and had a bit m...

I will admit it- I have a bit of a chip addiction. I was never allowed to have any as a child, so when I hit high school and had a bit more freedom with my allowance, I would buy a bag at the cafeteria almost daily. This irritated my mother to no end and she constantly harps on my weight gain as being a result of my junk food addiction. After giving up chips and such for Lent last year, I've managed to control my urges- I rarely buy potato chips nowadays, only giving in once in a while for Sun Chips, Kettle Chips, or Cheetos.

Of course, when the kale chip fad began a few years ago, I was instantly intrigued, but despite pestering my mom about buying kale, she never remembered and I was never sure where to buy it. Last month, I finally brought it up again thinking my mom would ignore me as usual, but out of the blue, my dad bought a large bunch home from Whole Foods (bless him)

Excuse the phone quality images- my cousin borrowed my camera and my dad took his own back so I couldn't use it anymore, haha. Anyway, I followed the instructions here

Here's what I learned from personal experience:

  • DEFINITELY keep a close eye after putting it in the oven- it can burn very quickly!!!! I followed the times and temperatures listed in the recipe for the first batch but changed it for the second batch as all ovens are different. I constantly moved pieces around as some were crispier than others and it made me nervous since the ones in the middle were still slightly limp. 
  • The most boring part for me was patting it dry, to be honest. 
  • Don't over-salt! I was worried there wouldn't be enough flavouring since I like things with flavour, but the kale itself is already a bit salty so going overboard is no bueno. I used garlic salt on some and truffle salt on others.
  • It wilts and shrinks a HUGE amount, so there isn't really a need to worry about spacing them out on the tray other than to make sure they all bake evenly- silly me by reflex spread them all out for the first batch as if I was making cookies (what was I thinking??)
  • I love how airy light and crunchy they are- just what I needed to combat my chip withdrawal. If there are some that haven't fully been baked, it's fine. I just pretend I'm eating salad and the kale itself is quite good.
Like I was saying about how easily it burns....

I definitely recommend trying it out if you haven't already- it's an excellent healthy substitute for chips- a bunch at Whole Foods costs me $2.99! My mum suggested buying it once a week so it'll be a nice snack and treat for me. It's a bit time-consuming for sure, but I think it's worth the effort :)

EDIT: Since writing the post above, my dad's bought another bunch, so I thought I'd do a bit more experimenting with different flavours. I suspect the large amount I had my first time was two bunches worth- the picture below is exactly one bunch.

I separated that into 4 different batches: one with turmeric, one with all-purpose seasoning, one with lemon zest + lemon juice, and one with the tried & true garlic salt (all with olive oil to mix, of course.)

Official verdict? As expected, the lemon juice batch couldn't really crisp up properly, but I actually liked it- I think if I ever tire of baking them, I'll just do a kale salad with lemon juice and some cheese because the slight tanginess of the lemons really worked well with the kale.

Turmeric wasn't bad but I don't think I'm too fond of turmeric itself, so....eh.

The all-purpose seasoning SMELLED amazing while baking, but the taste itself wasn't too great- though I think I may also have added a bit too much olive oil in this batch so all I got was a bit of seasoning and an overpowering smell of olive oil + wax paper. Gross.

Garlic salt is still my all-time favourite for now! This time I made sure to constantly turn the tray every 5 minutes or so, and I moved pieces around while they were still in the oven. Just like popcorn kernels in a bag of popcorn, there are bound to be bits that don't really end up cooked properly, but what I did this time was pick out all the ones that were already crispy or looked like they would burn soon and left the rest in the oven to bake for a while longer- it worked out quite well (just means a bit more monitoring than usual.)

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