Kale Chips Sans Tediousness

Kale chips are addictive. I’ll take them any day over regular chips. In fact, during our juice fast, I craved the light crunch of them over any other crappy-for-you crunchy food, which was at the time, for me, really weird. But they’re kind of a pain in the ass, too.


The problem with kale chips is three-fold:

  1. They’re a hassle to make. If you’re using large kale leaves, you have to individually slice out the thick center stem, because baking that with the leaf causes uneven bakeage (get on that word, Webster!). That stem also holds a lot of moisture, so the steam from it keeps the chips from crisping up as quickly. 
  2. Store-bought is ex-pen-sive! And not nearly as delicious. In fact, I think most of them taste pretty gross. They come in all these weird flavors and some of them have weird additives and flavor powders that just don’t improve on the basics: EVOO (or ghee, butter, or other healthy oil), salt, maybe a ‘lil garlic powder or lemon zest.
  3. They are gone in a flash. I can easily down a full head of kale in chip-form in a single sitting. So after all that work, by the time you’re ready to sit down and chow on it you get a snack that’s all but picked away by your husband who can’t keep his hands off the stuff (coming soon: Kale Chip Eau de Toilette … by Debbie).

Solving this problem took a little experimentation, and the end result was what I deem a great success: Easy peasy homemade kale chips. Here’s the how-to, but do keep in mind that you could very well tweak this and end up with an even better result (that you should then share here in this open-source kitchen lab webspace):

STEP 1: Get the right kind of kale. Unless you want to “de-vein” each leaf by hand, you’ll want to use baby kale. Costco sells big ‘ol bags of organic baby kale that are perfect here. Other than that you’ll need salt, and a healthy oil (Avocado, EVOO, or ghee give great flavor).


STEP 2: Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Find your biggest mixing bowl and fill that baby with baby kale. Add about 1 TBSP of oil for every four cups of kale (not packed). Make sure your hands are clean and go ahead and mix it all up. Hands are far more effective than a spatula here. Once the oil is evenly distributed on the leaves …


STEP 3: Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pile the kale about 3-4 inches high and evenly onto the tray. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of that, and with a same-size baking sheet, press it down, making a baking sheet/parchment paper kale sandwich. Mmmmmm! Resist the urge to bite into it.


You can actually pile on more than this!

STEP 4: Grab your weights! It’s time to work out. Just kidding. It’s time to pile oven-safe heavy things atop your top baking sheet. I used a large cake pan and filled that with stacked glass pie plates. When you place that in the oven, it will perma-squash that kale, giving you flat, sturdier kale chips.

STEP 5: Bake it, sandwiched and weighted-down, for 20 minutes.

STEP 6: Remove everything from the oven, taking care not to burn yourself or your counters on any of the hot “weights.” Remove the top layer of parchment and salt lightly. Turn the oven down to 350.


STEP 7: With a pizza cutter or large, non-serrated knife, slice your kale chips into the size and shape you desire.


STEP 8: Place the tray back into the oven for 10-20 minutes. No top-parchment, tray, or weights this time! We need to bake off the steam and let the center-chips crisp. Time varies depending on how thickly you layered the kale, so check out readiness after 10 minutes and go from there.

The kale chips are ready when they are stiff and crisp but not brown, and can be easily lifted off the parchment without bending. Take them off the hot tray (you can actually just move the parchment to a cleared counter space) and let them cool for a few.


Such an easy way to get a ton of greens in! There’s a lot less crumble here than with your average crinkly kale chip. Make them thick enough and they’re dippable!

30 Days of Juice: All Our Data Are Belong To You

It’s a free-for-all!

Use this information wisely, not because it will necessarily benefit you, but because it is me posting my weight on a public forum and somehow I feel like that’s really dangerous. Like, someday down the road when I’m 106 I’ll be happily rocking on the front porch with my Hendrick’s and tonic and one of my great, great grandchildren will phone me from his arm or ear lobe or wherever they’re embedding phones those days (if phones even exist. More likely he’ll ring me up with his BRAIN ALONE), and he’ll be all “Grandma, I’m writing a research paper on ancient caveman wall scribbles they called “blogs,” and turns out you weighed 208 lbs?!? That’s not even legal. How did you manage to smuggle so much butter? I heard McDonald’s used to be one of the greatest offenders of human health and longevity, but I assumed you lived well after the banning of sugar, oil, and artificial dyes. So I’m going to have to take you in.” And then I’ll just die. And my sweet, innocent 5-year-old grandson will take a puff of his joint, pull out his pocket laser and vaporize my body on the spot. I should just erase this entire blog right now.

This sucker has pretty much all of our data from the juice fast, minus cost calculations (which I DO have – just not in the spreadsheet … yet).

A quick preview below, or click here for the actual document.

Custom Recipes

Performance Tracker

Weight Tracker

you didn't see nuthin'

30 Days of Juice: A Follow-Up

Time flies when you’re eating real food. Today marks one whole week of solid food after our 30 day juice fast. I thought I would check in to let you know what’s what nowadays. Very soon I’ll be sharing our entire tracker, which includes our daily juice intake (quantity, frequency, type), grocery lists for every week, weight tracker, ALL of our custom juice and nut milk recipes, and other stuff, too.

But first …

  • I miss juice. My friend Steve says I’m Stockholming, which is probably right. There is a sort of simplicity to juice, and once you’re back out in the big, bad world of “real” food, there is so much variety it can be overwhelming. And overeating is entirely too easy. It’s a little scary, to be honest. So we’ve still been juicing from time to time. We’ve juiced at least five or six meals since the fast ended, and it always feels and tastes so good.
  • Breaking the Fast: We stayed up until midnight to celebrate and break our fast. We were in Colorado, so as my mom pointed out to me a few days later, we could have actually broken fast at 11pm, being in Mountain Time and all. Oops. Had I made that connection, I could have saved myself the excruciating pork and bacon food specials on the travel channel, which is what I chose to watch in the hour leading up to midnight. Btw, did you know about chocolate-dipped bacon or half-bacon half-beef burgers? They’re so hot right now.  Anyways, back to the breaking of the fast. At midnight, we pulled out some leftover appetizers from my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday party earlier that day, and together we took our first bites. Mine was (drumroll) … fruit! Soon followed by a baguette cracker with smoked salmon, a little cream cheese and a honey-dill sauce. Pretty dang tasty. We ate a few more bites of party apps, and then felt full and called it a night. A thrilling, accomplished night.
  • The Transition: We weren’t as careful as everyone warned us to be, and it all went fine. Our first day back we made homemade kale chips with soft-boiled eggs for breakfast – one of our most favorite meals in the world. For lunch we were up in the mountains and we stopped at our favorite little deli in Frisco, where we each ordered a 6″ sub. Between the two of us, we finished half of one sandwich and were super full. Every meal out since has ended with a lot of doggy bags in the fridge, so sooner or later we should learn to just stop ordering a full meal each. We’ve gone right back to eating meat, but smaller portions of it. Overall we are eating a lot healthier. Fewer carbs, more veggies (and fruits!), little oil and butter. I just don’t crave what I used to (What’s that? It WORKED?!).
  • Looking Ahead: We had both been greatly anticipating a good workout routine, but were holding off until we finished the fast and got our feet back on solid (food) ground again. Andy has been on a pretty intense push-up/sit-up regimen since our first day off the fast, and yesterday we did our first real workout: Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30. It is no easy thing and I wanted to puke and die after the first five minutes. OMGsofun!!! Today I’m sore, but I feel great. Let the ripping/burning/othergymrattermsforexercis-ing continue!

Juicing Day 30: THE LAST DAY

This is it. The final day of our 30-day juice cleanse. Solid “real” food awaits us on the other side of today, and we are pretty dang excited about it.

We flew to Denver yesterday to surprise Andy’s mother for her 60th birthday (Edna screamed a lot. It was precious). Luckily, they own a juicer, so we’ve been able to keep up the gig to the very end, EVEN through the open house birthday party today with cake (which didn’t draw me in, shockingly), candy (also no craving there), and some extremely tasty-looking appetizers, some of which involved smoked salmon (now those I wanted to pounce on).

Tonight we will break our fast at midnight if we can manage to stay up that late, and tomorrow Andy and I are driving into the Rocky Mountains to picnic, lolligag, and experience extreme mountain happiness. I’m smiling just typing that.

For now, I leave you with this photo of our final juiced meals – three of our favorites to end it on a high note:

Meals for the final day: pure apple, sweet heirloom tomato (heirloom tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, chili peppers, cilantro), and pure strawberry

Juicing Day 28: FAQs

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this juicing thing we’re doing. Some of my favorites include “Why the hell would you do that to yourself?” and “Might you die?” The answer to the latter is “no,” unless you have an existing condition like diabetes – and even diabetics have been known to juice fast with success, though I make absolutely no claim to knowledge on that subject. Please: never try something like this if you have a pre-existing condition without first consulting a medical professional.

We have made ourselves aware of the risks and dangers and things to watch out for. There is a lot of negative feedback on juicing (as well as a lot of positive), and I wouldn’t go into anything like this without understanding those concerns. Especially with extended juice cleanses, the concerns are really important.

In no particular order …

Did you hide all the real food in your house? No. In fact, I have a set of massive jars on the counter full of pasta, marshmallows, and a gallon-size jar of semi-sweet chocolate chips staring me down every time I juice. We did have to empty out a lot of our refrigerator to make room for produce, but there is still plenty of “normal” food around. This was intentional. We didn’t want this cleanse to disrupt more in our lives than it had to, and we didn’t want to simply shield our eyes from tempting yummies. It really hasn’t made things more difficult having it in plain sight. Maybe in the beginning it did, but I’m over it.

Verbatim: I’m curious to hear about the poops. I am not above answering that question on a public site. It has been all over the place (not literally – SICK!). On average for me, “the poops” are more, shall I say, aqueous? However, in the first few days it was quite the opposite and we needed a couple of natural laxatives. We have also been taking cayenne supplements, which is a laxative in itself, so that could also be contributing. (Read more on the supplements we’re taking). It’s really mostly how your body processes it once things level out. Constipation is extremely common, as is diarrhea. Lately, things have been very average. Sorry to disappoint! I know you wanted some really exciting shit stories. Oh! Oh! Scratch that, I’ve got one! Beet juice makes your poo bright fuschia. It is hardcore. You should try it.

What juices are you drinking each day? In the next few days, I will post EVERYTHING WE’VE GOT. Check back for full access to our daily menus and intake, grocery lists and quantities, all of our custom recipes, and weight tracker.

What about protein? Aren’t you losing muscle? I am not, but Andy has started to. Do you have to ask why? Fine. I am fatter than him. Now you know. I’ve been keeping that a secret all these years and now you just made me expose the truth. In all seriousness, fat is much easier to burn off and convert into energy than muscle, so it’s what your body tries to take care of first. Andy had little fat to begin with, so he started ingesting more calories via protein supplement around Day 19.

My body still has plenty of fat to feed on, and so our experiences with this fast are radically different in this respect. That is important to note. Everyone’s body is different. Everyone is starting from a different place of health. You need to pay attention to yourself, read signs, and act accordingly. Example: We go on a walk just about every day. In the beginning of the fast, I would begin to tire early on: Aching back, thirst, and general crankiness. In the past week or so, Andy starts feeling tired early-on, and I literally need to break off to run around the block. I have begun wearing tennis shoes instead of my usual flip-flops so that I can feed the urge to run when it comes. I am bouncing off the walls (I embrace House of Pain every day now).  Don’t worry, I go back for Andy. He’s usually settled comfortably underneath the steps to this beauty of a crackhouse on our block.

Are you adding any dairy in? Can you juice bacon? Nope. No dairy, no meat, no oil (exception: flax and fish oil supplement, raw nut oils), no salt (except for those times we cheated). We add raw, natural sweetener (raw honey or raw coconut nectar) only to the nut milks, and in very minimal amounts. For instance, I use two teaspoons of honey to a full quart of nut milk.

What other supplements are you taking? Here is the list with some basic explanations.

What about all that sugar? I totally get the concern about sugar. That’s my main concern, too. We try to do about 50% vegetable juices, but it doesn’t always happen. Our original goal was 75%, but we couldn’t stick to it. Even so, it is a lot of sugar. We take the CinSilin supplements to help with that, and I’ve noticed no negative impact from the amounts of fructose we’re taking in.

Is this just to lose weight, or for overall health, or what? I sort of answered that in the Day 1 post, but to expand:  This is actually not primarily a weight loss push, but that is absolutely an added benefit! It is a test, of sorts, to see what affect it has on other things I have going on, namely allergies, a pitiful immune system, and addictions to fatty, processed foods. I’ve been to see a number of people about the allergies (including an allergist and a dietician), and tests came back negative. Yet I still had incessant sinus issues, eye irritation, post-nasal drip, fatigue, and frequent headaches.

The juice fast is an attempt at kickstarting a healthier lifestyle, but also committing to something that will put me in a great starting place: Higher energy and clarity, tip-top immune system, lighter, and diminished dependence on bad foods.

The outcome as of Day 28? I sleep like a log. The sinus inflammation and eye irritation have improved, but I still have some post-nasal drip. I do not get headaches anymore, and as I’ve mentioned maybe 50 times, I’ve got all sorts of energy. Other bonuses include: 20 lbs lost, vastly diminished muscle tension, and a clear mind with laser-like focus (for me. I’m pretty ADD, so take that for what it’s worth).

What if I just want to lose weight? Would you suggest juicing? Doing it for the weight loss alone is definitely tempting. But so far, even though the cravings aren’t as ferocious as the first few days, they are still there and I don’t see this as having any lasting impact on weight. I don’t kid myself that this is a fix-all, because it is not, and I know I will want to pig out on pizza again in no time. But it is a pretty great jump start and reset for ongoing healthy habits, and if it kicks some addictions to salt and fats, all the better! The greatest thing is that my immune system is up and running again. I feel healthy, strong, and clear as opposed to lethargic, congested, and head-achey.

I’ll also note that I do consider this extreme. I mean, holy hell, we’re not eating food for 30 days! Sometimes extreme is good. Some people get their stomach stapled, some people start spending hours every day at a gym. Our bodies can handle and benefit from being pushed, but as with anything else, you have to listen to your body and proceed with caution (steps off soapbox).

How did you prepare? I very loosely used pointers and info from a ton of websites, and as you know, the internet cannot lie. I don’t have all of them, but I did save a few blogs and articles:

I also watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (a documentary on Netflix Instant if you’re interested), but that doesn’t really tell you much about the process or offer planning information. It’s more of an awareness campaign and a way for some guy to make some bank. Still inspiring, though.

Anything else? Just ask!

Juicing Day 27: Inception Nut Milk Recipe

Are you ready for mind-bending deliciousness? Brace yourselves, because this recipe is just that, and I somehow came up with it myself. Shocking!

It’s completely raw.

It’s dairy-free.

It’s low-fat.

It’s like a creamsicle full of crack and unicorn magic. (Not really. I wouldn’t know what either of those tastes like.)

I call it … well, you already know. Don’t you sense an over-the-top illustration coming on?

Please make this. You will not be disappointed.

Inception Nut Milk Recipe

(Makes 9 cups)


  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • zest of one whole orange
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. raw coconut nectar (like this)
  • 2 Tsp. pure vanilla extract (use a raw variety or make your own if you’re hardcore)


  1. Follow steps 1-3 of the easy nut milk how-to, combining the orange zest with the nuts as you puree them. Freeze nut pulp for later use in cooking or baking!
  2. Whisk or blend in the honey, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Note: The coconut nectar does not add coconut flavor to this drink. But that does sound fancy, doesn’t it?
  3. Serve over ice, freeze into actual creamsicles, or imbibe via beer bong. Your choice.
  4. Let me know what you think!

Juicing Day 24: A One-Night-Stand With Gelato

On Saturday night, we broke our fast for just. one. meal.

Prior to venturing into the juice fast, we bought tickets to a rooftop Sunset Dessert Party fundraiser hosted by our friend Zach to support our friend Melanie in her run for the American Heart Association at the Chicago Marathon this fall. Did I mention she also goes by “Chef” Melanie, as in mad-skills-with-food Melanie? Yeah. Her victuals of choice are gelato-themed pairings and she owns and runs Gelato Vero here in Chicago. Yeah, again. Commence the breaking of a 22-day fast.

We were lucky enough to have been invited to one of her underground dinners last Cinco de Mayo, and we have been avid fans of Melanie’s food and Melanie herself ever since. Saturday’s flavors of gelato and sorbet included watermelon rosemary, spiced cranberry, orange cardamom, and the most uniquely delicious: sweet corn gelato, which tasted exactly like salty, buttery, fresh corn on the cob … incredible and oh so impairing to mind-mouth coordination.

Back to the fact that we cheated: It’s all good. Interestingly, this served as a really informative experiment of sorts with unexpected results. As we drove to the event, Andy and I wondered if going back to the juice the following morning would prove excruciating once we had indulged in real food. Partway through the event, I leaned over to Andy and said “I kind of want some juice.” Andy’s response? “Me too!” Y’hear that? We both couldn’t wait to get back to juicing.

This is not to say the food and wine and gelato wasn’t delicious and fun – it’s just that we’ve settled into this comfortable zone of nutrition through juice. I cannot believe I just typed that. Anyone of you who knows me in real life is all “WTF times a million??!? Someone throw a beer in her face right now.” But it’s true. We’ve built a little juice love nest and we’re pretty happy here. Don’t get too worried – we are definitely also excited to work “real” food back into our daily lives. It’s a confusing time for us, like puberty or rumspringa. Oh my God, we’re Amish! (But not the totally fake kind – remind me to tell you about that sometime.)

Feelings and Things

  • Still not downing enough water.
  • Still sleeping like a baby.
  • Had some concerns about becoming overly ketotic last week, so we picked up some ketone strips to pee on and test our ketone levels. We were slightly ketotic, which is okay for a little while if you have some cushion to lose (which Andy does not) and you’re not diabetic. But it is not something you want to ride on for too long. Andy has been having additional protein drinks, and with a little more nut milk it’s all under control.

Juicing Day 20: Anatomy of a Fresh Juice

Well, if it ain’t our 20th day of juicing! What can I say I’ve learned so far? Probably number one is this: If you don’t like a vegetable, chugging it in its juiced form will not make you grow to like it. I am going to say it outright: I am SO SICK of vegetables. Fruits? No problem! Give me all of the fruits! I will drink all of the fruits and be the merriest berry there ever was. But our green juices are just making me want to vom every. single. time. That’s not exciting when over half of the juices we make are veggie-based because, you know, sugar.

Today I thought I would share with you the anatomy of a juice. Pretty simple, really.

Juicing Day 18: Taking Supplements While Juicing

Before I get into it – there’s a Groupon deal today* for the Dash Premium Juicer in case any of you have been pondering a purchase and don’t want to lay down more serious bank. (Thanks, Megan!)

I get a lot of questions about “filling in gaps” during our juicing cleanse. While I don’t think supplements are an absolute necessity during a juice fast, we do take some every day. We have a pretty sweet “pill packing” system involving a saran wrap roller from Home Depot, too, so we have a 30-day stash of grab-and-go supplements instead of having to fill a pill case, which don’t even fit everything we take in a day.

Here is what we’re rollin’:

  • Omega-3 Fish oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Resveratrol – This makes you live forever. No questions, just trust.
  • Cinnamon supplement – This helps keep blood glucose levels lower, which is especially helpful during a juice fast when you’re consuming a lot of sugar from fruit. We take trunature® CinSulin®.
  • Cayenne – The higher the heat, the more effective. This cleans you out real good-like. We take a capsule of 100,000 heat units. You can mix regular cayenne pepper with a little water and shoot it down (we’ve done this and it’s not that bad), but most cooking-grade cayenne peppers are only about 30,0000-40,000 heat units. You can find 90,000+ loose cayenne pepper, but it might not feel so nice going down the gullet.

Rarely or never used (but we have it on hand):

  • Protein powder – We have used a single scoop of protein powder thus far. You just don’t need it, even with exercise. Plenty of protein comes from the juices, and green juices especially pack a punch of amino acids. Now that we’re having nut milk, too, we are completely set.
  • Natural laxative or Psyllium husk – We have the meetyourherbs™ supplement, which contains dandelion root, chicory root, fennel seed, caraway seed, boldo leaf, cumin seed, and fennel seed essential oil. I only used it a couple times in the beginning and have been fine since, but it’s good to have on-hand, I guess. Psyllium husk is another natural laxative, and we have it in “powder” form, which in actuality would be better deemed “weedwhacked hay.” It doesn’t dissolve or mix well into drinks and I hated how it felt in my throat, so I never actually use it.

That’s it!

*Still not getting paid for this, dangit!

Juicing Day 16: Lemon Aid Recipe

A favorite has been found! This juice in particular is so very perfect and refreshing for our afternoon at the beach that I highly recommend you make it yourself. Like, right now. And then go to the beach and drink it and be happy. See how happy we are?!

That IS Andy's happy look.

Lemon Aid

Adapted from The Juicing Bible – 2nd Edition

Serves 1 (I recommend making this in bulk. Because of the citric acid in the lemons, it will remain fresh at least one day if kept cold.)

  • 2 lemons, peels removed
  • 1 two-inch slice of watermelon, cut to fit juicing tube
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 tsp honey (Optional. We didn’t use it)

Directions: Put produce in a juicer. Duh. Whisk in honey if you want it. Enjoy!