Kale Chip Birthday Cake
This year, my husband and I decided not to send gift cards or money to our sons and daughters-in-law for their birthdays. We weren't giving them much money, anyway, but it was a little something extra in their cards. This has not worked out for me--I have felt like they were not getting the recognition they each deserved for their birthdays. I made it until November (with two birthdays earlier in the year), but Carrie's birthday is tomorrow. No money, but I asked her what little thing she might like. She said, "The only thing I want is your kale chips." What? Not cake, or even brownies or cookies? Nope, kale chips. So that is what she is getting. I made her a batch tonight (at her house, while she was gone, so they would not get broken during transport.) I hope she likes them! Here is my usual recipe:
Seasoned Kale Chips
The biggest hint is, buy a bag of chopped kale (less than $2.00 at Kroger's this week.) This way, you don't have to cut out the thick stems or chop up the kale. Kale is pretty messy to work with because it is curly, sticky, and needs to be in small pieces.
Use a big bread or baking pan, but not a cookie sheet. Fill the pan with a thick layer of kale, which was half a bag for this batch. If the kale is damp, use a dishcloth to pat it dry, but don't crush the kale. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive (or canola) oil to the pan, and gently toss the kale to get a little oil on each piece. (You can use cooking spray for even fewer calories.) To season: shake two or more of these seasonings over the kale, which needs to be a little salty: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, steak seasoning, paprika, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, a little red pepper flakes, sea or kosher salt, or some other flavoring you like. Toss a little to make sure the seasoning is even throughout.
Bake the kale chips in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Take out, toss lightly, and bake for 5 more minutes. Most of the chips should be crisp, but some will be chewy. Some of the kale will probably be almost powder. Kale is not like potatoes--it is tender, so it will vary in texture. Gently move the kale chips to a bowl or plastic container to serve or store. They should stay fresh for 2-3 days in a sealed container, but moisture may affect this. Eat one small piece at a time because each piece may be chewy. This is definitely a delicious change from potato chips, and may require some rethinking of expectations of a snack, but for virtually no calories, kale chips are a good choice.
Another birthday next month, and I know what that son is getting. And for the two earlier birthdays, we will see that son and d-i-l at Christmas, and they will have an extra treat from my kitchen. Let's just say, each treat will have "sugar and spice, and everything nice." (And one is Paleo-approved, and one treat is not.) Happy birthday, kiddos!