Disclaimer: I was provided product from OrganicGirl to review for this post. All opinions are my own.
Hello, readers! Long time, no post, eh? Ok – I’m sorry. Life has been crazy – and I have been living off of peanut butter sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, ham sandwiches … and yogurt. And oatmeal. So, I didn’t really think you’d be too excited about that menu, right?
Over the past month, I have checked a BUNCH of things off my bucket list of things to do before I turn 26. The first – maybe most important item – was running my first half marathon. That is a whopping 13.1 miles, unless you take the wide turns – which Mr. Grumpy made me take. So, it was more like … 14.1 miles. With Mr. Grumpy as my SAG man (aka, safety and gear), the 13.1 miles went actually relatively fast, until the 10th mile when the marathon planners thought it would be hilarious and awesome to hit us with the largest hill I think exists in all of Ohio. Which was ridiculous. And we were basically the ONLY people in our running corral that ACTUALLY ran the hill. Which was not easy on the mind games – but alas, I survived. And I did it all without walking. Check that baby off.
Ok, I know I said that I checked a bunch of stuff off my bucket list, but I really didn’t check that much more off. Really the half marathon counted for like eight items on my bucket list, so I’m sure you’ll understand. I did paint a chevron pumpkin. And went to a clam bake. And ate 3 dozen clams at that clam bake. And then I turned 26 (yes, it hurts, in case you were wondering). It especially hurts when you celebrate it at Ohio University. So, now I’m making a new bucket list of things to do before I turn 30. Here’s a recap of all those activities completed:
Readers, I have missed you so terribly. So what better way to bless you back with my presence than a review about OrganicGirl’s latest, most fabulous product yet! (If you maybe recall the last time I told you all about OrganicGirl when I made super yummy brie sammies with their Vive la France mix).
I am one of OrganicGirl’s biggest fans. Why? Well – there are a few reasons. First, they make absolutely sure that, when you buy their greens in the produce aisle, that they are ready for you to eat. This means that it is washed THREE times before it gets to you. Which makes me feel really good and safe about what I’m eating. Plus, it comes in these really nice packages that keep your produce fresh for a super long time. We experimented with the last bunch, and it lasted at least a week longer than the other greens in a plastic container you can buy at the grocery.
I’ve been really excited about kale lately. Mr. Grumpy insisted we try it the other day, and so we jumped on the bandwagon. Then, he shared with me all these facts about kale that came out of NOWHERE (this is the same guy that while I was cooking dinner tonight was eating slices of cheese and Laffy Taffy…). I’m not sure he was sharing ACTUAL facts. For example, he claims that broccoli is human-made from baby kale. I’ve seen the Hidden Valley commercials, so I’m not convinced that his source – Uber Facts on Twitter – was being completely accurate. But if it IS true, it is probably why I love kale so much.
OrganicGirl’s baby kale is so crunchy and fresh – I was eating it like potato chips while I cooked. It has such great flavor – the perfect ingredient for my wintertime twist on one of my mom’s chilly evening staples – minestrone soup. As a kid, I used to get so excited to come home and smell Suzie Q’s minestrone soup. It warmed you up from head to toe. Plus DS and Erin always complained when she cooked it – so I would get to eat like 10 times more servings than everyone else (I was a really active kid, so that was ok).
Kale is extremely important for people like Mr. Grumpy (who’s already training for another half marathon … …) and me (I’m working on mustering up the strength to run a 10K) because they absolutely need nutrients in their system after long runs or endurance work outs. Kale has the highest nutrition rating out of ALL the greens and vegetables. It has one of the highest level of nutrients out there (right up there with collard greens) and acts as an antioxident (you can read all about it on Whole Foods’ website). I mean – kale is just jam-packed with goodness. But what’s even better is you can do way more with it than just make a salad. Plus, literally everyone can cook with kale (I promise you) because it’s a great substitute for other greeny ingredients – including spinach (sorry, Popeye).
And that’s exactly what we did… So, here it is – adapted from a Cooking Light recipe from a 2005 issue of the magazine (Suzie Q has never shared her minestrone soup recipe with me … thanks, Mom).
Baby Kale Minestrone Soup
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 cup low-sodium, organic chicken stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 links of sweet italian sausage (this can be optional, but it’s really tasty)
- 1 zucchini, quartered and cut into small slices
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cans low-sodium, organic great northern beans, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground Himalayan pink salt (or just normal salt if you’re not cool like me)
- 4 cups OrganicGirl 100% baby kale, de-stemmed
- 1 cup cooked ditalini noodles (minestrone noodles basically)
- 2 tbsp Parmesan flakes
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
First, chop up your zucchini and onion. Slice the uncooked sausage into little 1/2 pieces. Then, in a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sausage and cook about 8 minutes until the sausage is cooked all the way through. Then, add the garlic and the zucchini, and let that cook for another 5 minutes. Add the beans, salt, pepper, 3 cups of kale, tomatoes and chicken stock. Let that come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let that simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add in the noodles and the final cup of kale, and serve immediately!
This is just a ridiculously delicious, wholesome soup. If you’d like, you can sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top like you would with a traditional minestrone soup. It is so good. In my mothers words, “Your tongue will literally slap your brains out.”
And now – on to some fun pictures of my past month or so in the CLE!! Enjoy, readers! It’s good to be back. 🙂