2.27.2015

Cooking with Fresh Produce: Three Simple Recipes using Kale

Cooking with Fresh Produce: Three simple recipes using Kale


Since joining Papa Spud's at-home produce delivery service, I've been cooking with a lot of greens, especially kale. I seem to order kale and spinach more often than collards and swiss chard. Before joining Papa Spud's in January of this year, I rarely ate fresh kale and definitely didn't cook with it much.

Personally, I like all greens so adding kale to my diet and recipes has actually been easy for me. It's kind of ironic that before I joined Papa Spud's, greens and other winter vegetables caused me to be hesitant about joining the service. I was scared that I would not know what to with the foods when they arrived. I feared that I would get all of these funky vegetables that would make me panic on how to prepare them. That was just plain silly thinking because there are tons of recipes available that can help one cook with fresh vegetables. Also, Papa Spud's lets me customize my box each week so I can plan exactly what will be delivered to my home. If I don't want collards then I don't have to order collards.

kale is rich in many vitamins. It is a power food with many health benefits


My husband is not as in "love" with all greens as much as I am so he always gets this very "non-excited look" on his face when I tell him that I'm preparing a meal with kale for dinner. His favorite green is spinach. I do add that leafy green on my delivery in addition to kale because my son loves to eat raw spinach. We're still trying to win over my five-year-old on any leafy green in a garden. If we're lucky, she may eat one raw spinach leaf, and perhaps kale, if it is roasted to her liking.

Despite Will's lack of love for power greens, he's being a great sport and eats what I place in front of him these days We have found a few winning recipes that I'm going to share with you today. I have personally tested these recipes. You may want to follow two of my Pinterest boards if you have an interest in cooking with fresh produce in your kitchen: Leigh is Cooking with Farm Fresh Produce and Eating Healthier.

Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale 


Roasted kale is easy to cook along with roasting chicken legs and thighs
Sometimes I use thighs and chicken legs. You can purchase organic chicken through Papa Spud's. 

This particular chicken and kale recipe from Food and Wine.com is the best recipe I have found since beginning my quest to cook healthier. Everyone in my family seems to like this one. I have also prepared this recipe using just kale and no potatoes. I think this is one recipe that I found that is a true recipe staple for my family now. It gets four thumbs up from my family.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup with Kale


Soup recipe with kale as ingredient
Photo from Martha Stewart Living

This soup recipe enabled me to use sweet potatoes this winter and kale, both of which have been plentiful weekly on Papa Spud's order form. The kids ate pasta on the night I made this. They are not big soup eaters, but I thought this was great during our snow days. This soup recipe using kale is a Martha Stewart recipe. It is very simple. I also used healthy carb pasta in the soup rather than plain. However, Will and I thought this soup needed a little kick. I used a chicken sausage that was pretty mild in taste. We recommend adding a half of a jalapeno pepper to the soup, or definitely use spicy sausage when preparing.

Sautéed Kale with Cannellini Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes 


Kale Power Lunch
Kale Power Lunch 

This last recipe is something I do during the day for my lunch. In the winter, I like to eat a hot lunch instead of a cold salad. This dish really does not have a recipe. I sauté the onions and mushrooms in garlic and olive oil. I add the kale and continue sautéing until the kale is wilted. I also add salt and pepper to the pan for seasoning. I add a few cherry tomatoes then I add a half a cup of cannellini beans. Once the beans are warm, it's ready to serve. No one eats this in my family, but me. I really like it.

The Benefits of Kale 

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that a members of the mustard greens family. It is filled with the essential vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of fresh kale has only about 33 calories ,but packs almost 3 grams of protein.
I enjoy reading about health so it's not uncommon for Will to joke that I have my own WebMD since I'm always looking up diseases.  This article on WebMD is actually a great resource about the health benefits of adding kale to your diet. 
Disclosure: Papa Spud's is sponsoring this conversation today. Papa Spud's is a local produce delivery service in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Read my introduction post on why I became a customer, and if you want to sign up for the service, please use my referral link. I have been a paying Papa Spud's customer since January 2015, and I love the service. Opinions about the service are my own. 

2.26.2015

#outaboutNC Giveaway: The Downton Abbey Package at DoubleTree Asheville-Biltmore

#outaboutnc Giveaway: The Downton Abbey Package at DoubleTree Asheville-Biltmore. Ends March 31, 2015.


Asheville, North Carolina has made top travel lists this year as the number one place to vacation in 2015. That's NUMBER ONE in the U.S, folks. That is huge for North Carolina tourism. We've known about the beauty of Asheville for quite awhile now, and of course, we're all about the hotels on this blog. I am so excited to announce that I have partnered with DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore to bring you an outstanding opportunity to experience Asheville, the Biltmore Estate, and Biltmore's Downton Abbey exhibit, which is on display through May 25, 2015.

You have the opportunity to win the following through this special giveaway

  An overnight stay at DoubleTree Biltmore, with breakfast for two

 2 tickets to the Dressing Downton exhibit with audio tour at the Biltmore Estate

 Official Tour book of the Dressing Downton exhibit

 Arrival Amenity of English tea and biscuits


Some important notes about this giveaway:  The winner must be able to travel between April 7 and May 25, based on hotel package availability. One winner will be selected at random. Additional nights can be added to your vacation when booking at your own expense. 


Details about DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore 

The DoubleTree Biltmore Hotel is located in the heart of Biltmore Village and is 2 miles from Downtown Asheville. It is just a one-minute drive to the Biltmore Estate entrance.  It is a full-service hotel with newly renovated rooms.  And of course, guests will receive those delicious chocolate chip cookies at check-in. My kids love those cookies.  Breakfast is available in the Ducker's Tea Room, and at the new marketplace for breakfast on the go. This hotel is also pet-friendly and kid-friendly. That's good since I have two kids and we'll be checking this package out for ourselves in the spring. Kids will enjoy the indoor pool and there is a fitness center on site, too. 


Recenly renovated rooms at the DoubleTree Asheville-Biltmore

The DoubleTree Biltmore in Asheville is a full-service property with indoor pool and fitness center.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore is located at 115 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, North Carolina 28803.

Weekend rates for the Downton Abbey Package can run anywhere from $277 to $427 per night, depending on type of room booked and availability. Regular non-package room rates range from $209 to $350 depending on room type and availability. 

Visit the DoubleTree Asheville Biltmore website to plan your Asheville getaway today, and also explore the Explore Asheville website to learn more about the area. Call the hotel at 828-274-1800 if you would like more information about the Downtown Abbey package and rates for booking. 

Learn more about the Downton Abbey exhibit  at Biltmore from this previous post on the HinesSight Blog. 

Be sure to follow the #outaboutnc feed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Tag your photos to be featured on these account. 


If you have problems understanding the Rafflecopter system, please email me at hinessightblog@gmail.com and I will help you. To enter, log in with your email address or via Facebook. Do the entries that would like to do then click on the blue box on the right side under each entry option in order for your entry to be recorded.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Biltmore Farms has a wonderful selection of hotels in the area for all budgets. See my previous post about my stay at the Hilton Biltmore Park Hotel. Biltmore Farms is sponsoring this #outaboutnc giveaway. I have not personally visited this property yet, but it is the official hotel outside the Biltmore gates to offer an official Downton Abbey package. 

2.20.2015

Eating Fresh Produce: Simple Ways to get in your Daily Vegetables

I'm starting to really love Fridays, and not just because it is the end of the week. Friday is the day that my Papa Spud's Produce Order opens online up for me to customize my produce box and meal plan for the following week. My produce is delivered every Tuesday based on my address, Every Friday afternoon (sometimes on Saturday, if I'm busy) I plan my weekly meals for the following week. I've been a Papa Spud's paying customer now since early January, and I have to honestly say it has changed my way of eating. And that's a good thing!

Farm-Fresh Produce: 5 simple ways to get in your daily veggies.


I have always loved vegetables, but never really bought them like I should have in a grocery store weekly, or at least, not like the vegetable variety I am now buying since joining Papa Spud's. Before becoming a customer, my family meals were not balanced very well with enough fresh vegetables. I also found that we ate way too much pasta because it was easy to prepare on those busy school nights. That's all changed these since I started produce home delivery.

Farm-Fresh produce: 5 simple ways to get in your daily veggies. Cucumbers make a great snack with hummus.


Now, I munch on red peppers, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, kale, cabbage and so much more during the day. I don't prepare sandwiches any longer for lunch, and instead, I may roast cabbage and toss the the cabbage with cashews. I also like to eat leftover quinoa or rice and mix it with lots of fresh veggies. For this particular lunch, I mixed in red onion, red pepper,cucumber, lentils and quinoa.

5 simple ways to get in your daily veggies. Top rice or quinoa with farm-fresh veggies.


I worked hard on a weight loss plan for January. I lost weight by eating more veggies, cutting my sugar intake, consuming less gluten (pasta, breads, beer), and by watching my portions, except I allowed myself to eat HUGE portions of vegetables. Overall, I lost about eight pounds. I'm still working to keep up my healthy eating plan even though on occasion, I work in a doughnut here or a glass of wine here. That's OK. One has to live.

I'll be sharing lots of new recipes and healthy eating ideas in the coming weeks with Papa Spud's sponsoring this new recipe content. Papa Spuds sells more than just local farm-fresh produce so I've tried a few, organic meats, too. And I'll be trying more in the coming weeks.

When I signed up I chose a medium box for my family, and basically, I've been filling that box mostly with produce.  After being a customer now for close to two months, I'm seriously thinking of going to the family box so I can order more meats weekly. Meats and cheeses are more expensive than vegetables so they do eat up more of your weekly credits based on the your box cost. The medium box costs about $25 per week, and that gives me over 20 food credits for purchase.

5 simple ways to get in your daily veggies. Roast veggies along with your main dish for an easy meal.


Through my own experience with this process, I'm learning that farm-fresh produce tastes better so I' have been doubling up on some veggies in my produce order. For instance, last week I doubled my cucumber order with Papa Spud's. Here's why. I bought a big bag of cucumbers at BJs Wholesale Club because I needed them. I eat a lot cucumbers and hummus these days for snacks. I was able to taste the farm-fresh cucumbers next to the store bought cucumbers. The difference in taste was unbelievable. The BJs cucumbers were basically tasteless next to the farm-fresh ones. I can get about two or three cucumbers for 1.50 credits at Papa Spud's. It's the same things with red peppers. I love them, but they are so expensive in the stores. I can get about three red peppers for 3.50 credits. I did another taste test with a Food Lion red pepper vs. a farm-fresh pepper. Again, I found the store pepper lacking in taste over the pepper in the produce delivery.

With Papa Spud's I try to buy and cook with what is in abundance because it is more cost-effective on the budget. They say winter is the hardest time to cook farm-to-table. I have enjoyed my selections. Papa Spud's has developed contracts with out of state farms so things do come from out of North Carolina. The red peppers are out of state at the moment. Here's just a sample of what I may order weekly using my 20 weekly credits.

Papa Spud's Produce Delivery; sample of cost. Farm-Fresh veggies delivered to your doorstep weekly.


If you purchased this same produce at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods, I bet it would be double the cost.

Papa Spud's is local so if you are reading this in Michigan then I can't help you sign up to experience what I do here in North Carolina. Sorry about that, but this is a growing trend in all cities. We are fortunate in North Carolina because we are a huge agricultural state.

But, I do have a few tips or recipes to help you eat more veggies on a daily basis.

5 simple ways to Eat more Veggies Daily


5 Simple Ways to Eat More Veggies Daily

1. Roast an assortment veggies on a pan while roasting salmon. This is such and easy and healthy meal that can be cooked at one time. 

2. Roast a medley of vegetables in a casserole dish. Use any vegetables of your choice: I used broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and squash. I tossed the veggies with olives, salt, pepper, and some balsamic vinegar. This can be a side dish or you can easily have it for lunch the next day to get in several good servings. 

3. Saute kale or spinach with garlic, onions, and top with northern beans for a nice hot lunch. This could also be a main meal. Can't get my husband on board with that one, though for dinner. 

4. Snack on raw veggies during the day. I do this instead of grabbing the Triscuits.

5. Make soups that include a lot of vegetables. 

Next week, I'll be sharing some of the recipes I've been using while being a Papa Spud's customer. You can also follow my Pinterest Boards to help you with meal planning. If you are in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, and want to get produce delivery then you can use my referral link.


Disclosure: I am a paying customer of Papa Spud's. All opinions are my own. For the next four weeks during this special series, my produce boxes will be comped. I will be going back to a paying customer after those four weeks, and I'll continue to share with you great recipes. I love this service and am a happy customer. 

Linking this post up to Small Victories Sunday Link-up. 

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