There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We’ll be profiling different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For February 2015, we’re putting the spotlight on Jessica Nadel, author of the blog Cupcakes and Kale, and the newly-released cookbook Greens 24/7. Here’s our Q&A with Jessica about both the blog and her first-ever cookbook (answers have been edited for length and clarity):
Tell us about the birth of the blog Cupcakes and Kale, and how it evolved into your cookbook, Greens 24/7?
The blog started as a hobby. I love food and am endlessly talking about it anyways. I’d been vegan for a couple of years already, and people always asked me, ‘What do you eat?’ So I began to think, maybe I should show people what I eat, if they’re interested. My first post I baked muffins, and shared the recipe and a couple of terrible photos. I thought my mom would read it – but as it turns out other people were interested and a community of vegetarian and vegan bloggers welcomed me with open arms. It really fuelled my creative energy. Luckily, amazingly, a publisher [The Experiment, based in New York] found the blog and decided they wanted to work together on a book. They wanted to do a book all about greens, and it went from there.
[You could WIN an autographed copy of Greens 24/7, courtesy our friends at Thomas Allen & Son! Leave a comment below telling us your favourite way to eat your greens for your chance to win. Cityline contest rules]
I think it’s fair to say that many of us could use more greens in their diets – the challenge for a lot of people is incorporating them in more creative, interesting ways… beyond salads and simple sautéed greens. Tell us about the recipes in Greens 24/7 and some of the different ways you incorporate greens into your diet?
That was really important to me [in writing the book] — I wanted greens to be the focal point, not an afterthought. I say green smoothies will change your life, because they do camouflage a green. You’re drinking them, and they’re delicious, because you’re throwing all sorts of different fruits and flavourings in there. You end up with a blast of pure, raw health. You can use collard greens, lettuce and cabbage as wraps and cups, or shave Brussels sprouts and turn them into lettuce. Start massaging your kale – it breaks down the fibres, but it still doesn’t wilt down. The rainbow shredded salad [in the book] has all these hearty vegetables that are cut really delicately, but it still holds its own over three days in the fridge. Basically, I want to turn veggie eaters into veggie lovers.
It’s about the veggies, first and foremost. But because the recipes are vegan, they’re also very versatile. So if you’re cooking for a vegetarian, or someone in your family with an egg or dairy allergy, most of these recipes will work. A lot of the recipes are gluten-free, also. You can accommodate for [various food intolerances].
Many parents face challenges getting their kids to eat vegetables – is your two-year-old son a picky eater? How do you get him to eat his veg?
Smoothies are a great way for kids to get more of their greens. [My son] won’t eat anything leafy right now. For a while I would make tomato sauce with chopped up chunks of broccoli, spinach or kale, but he’s going through a phase where everything has to be separated. He loves broccoli on its own, which is great, but he’ll tell me, ‘Something’s wrong with this,’ if it’s mixed into something. In the summer when we pick up our CSA (community-shared agriculture), he always comes, and meets the farmers. Having a hand in choosing the recipes or going to the store, and giving kids some power, does a lot. But I’m big on not forcing it, I think that often causes more friction than anything else. Sometimes he won’t touch the vegetables on his plate, and that’s fine. I just keep trying, keep offering.
Greens in baking – such a cool concept! Among the baked goods in Greens 24/7 are Spinach Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Hazelnut Avocado Torte, and Triple Chocolate Beet Greens Cake. Tell us about that.
It’s not to say have this instead of a salad, but in addition to, why not? Things like the beet greens and chocolate cake – beets and chocolate cake is something that’s done, but I hate the idea of throwing out those beautiful, luscious tops that are so good for you. So, steam them and throw them in the cake too.
One of the most popular from the blog is the High Protein Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce – it makes use of pureed cauliflower and white beans to make a creamy Alfredo sauce, and then I fold kale and sundried tomatoes into it. Also, the 4-Ingredient Turtles are really fun — they’re quick and easy, few ingredients, and perfect for a little sweet fix.
From the book, the Spinach and Mushroom Galette is a favourite. It’s also an easy foot in the door for people who don’t know what to do with tofu. I take the same tofu ricotta [from this recipe] and put it in pasta shells. The Pesto Polenta Fries are great because they’re a little bit inventive, and also the Rhubarb and Chard Pie — it’s gorgeous and I love rhubarb. In terms of greens, I love Swiss chard but sometimes those stalks end up in the compost, which is sad. I save them and put them in pie!
We want to hear from you! Do you know a blogger we should feature on Cityline.ca? Maybe it’s you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Cityline Featured Blogger” in the subject line. And don’t forget to include a link to the blog! Look forward to hearing from you!
Photo of Jessica Nadel: Stacey Lalande
Photo of Shredded rainbow salad: Jackie Sobon
Photo of Turtles: Jessica Nadel
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