Kale Juice

posted on: Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm going to tell you a story because I like telling stories, because parenting isn't parenting without a good handful of stories to tell.

We have this rule in our house that Enzo needs to try everything we put on his plate. On Monday I made rice, beans, green papaya salad, and sauteed kale, for lunch. Rice and beans he'll happily eat, the other two side dishes he wasn't stoked about. When that happens, meaning every single meal, he gets his die and he rolls it. Depending on what number he rolls that's how many bites he has to take. This is a full on event where I'm cheering loudly for him to roll a number six and he's screaming "One. One. One" as loud as he can. This technique only works because Enzo loves games. If you can make something into a game I promise you he'll play along. You know those people who go on the show Surviver and eat nasty things and call it fun? Well, either Enzo will be on Surviver when he grows up or those 30 something year olds who go on that show have the maturity level of a 5 year old boy.

Actually that's a totally bad comparison because kale is delicious and Surviver food is not.

So on Monday Enzo rolled a 6 for the green papaya salad and a 1 for the kale. I hate when he rolls a 1 and here is why, if he rolls a 6 or even a 4 then by the time he's taken 2 or max 3 bites he stops complaining. By the 4th bite he's finally enjoying the food - or at most tolerating it. When he rolls a 1 he creates this huge obstacle in his head that he has to take 1 bite and it's going to be sooooooooo hard. This is why I always tell parents to not the one bite rule. The one bite rule is horrible, your children will freak out about the one bite. If anything do a 3 bite rule or even a 4 bite rule because I guarantee that by the time they've had a couple bites they'll relax and start enjoying what they're eating. Or you can try the dice game because anything called a game sounds better than a rule.

On Monday Enzo took one bite of that sauteed kale and started having a mild panic attack. He put it in his head that he could not swallow it. He stayed with that bite of kale for over 10 minutes in his mouth, just leaving it there, drinking tons of water, basically making the whole thing way worse. Because he was late for school and because we scolded him (I hate when I have to scold him over food, it feel so counter productive) he finally swallowed that bite of kale. The whole time that he was jumping up and down and hyperventilating with the bite of kale in his mouth Christian was telling him the health benefits of kale. If it was me I would of gotten the saliva soaked kale and thrown it on Christian's face, because there is nothing I hate more than being told what's good for me when I'm doing something bad. But this is why we have children, so that we create human beings that are better than we are. Enzo not only listens but he remembers. After school he went on and on about how strong the kale made him feel (yes, I know it's all psychological) and how he was able to out run all the other kids at school. Great!

Here is the thing, kale is delicious, kale is good for you, and kale is dirt cheap. At least here in Brazil it is. The salad boy brings me fresh kale, clean and chopped in a baggie and it costs me in the cents. So of course I make kale, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you make kale every single day too? And then there's the pineapple. Pineapples are originally from Brazil,  and there's this guy who brings pineapples in a little handcart, pineapples that he picked early in the morning, ripe juicy honey tasting pineapple, also super cheap, like super super cheap, to sell on my street every day.

So, like kale, we pretty much eat pineapples on a regular basis. As for meat, well meat only come on Wednesdays and Saturdays to our town and it's good but it's also super expensive, so we don't eat meat every day, we try to stick more with the fruits and veggies.

Fruits and veggies can be a bit tricky because after a while you can get bored eating them the same way over and over again. Juice and smoothies are a great way to try new flavors without to many steps.

A couple weeks ago Enzo had kale juice at the restaurant next door, and loved it. And then about a month ago I started making the kids tropical smoothie with pineapple and ginger, they both loved it. So today I made them kale juice, with a good serving of pineapple and a touch of mint.  And we all loved it.

I guess we found a way where everyone can enjoy kale, I mean really enjoy kale.

Makes about 8 cups.

This is a no-recipes kind of recipe, where the measurements are not exact. The five ingredients you need are
  • Water- I used 3 cups water. You can use more or less depending on the consistency that you want. I wanted it to be a juice and not a smoothie.
  • Kale - this can be chopped or not, depending on what kind of juicer you have. If you don't have a juicer then finely chop the kale and use a blender. The same way that kale cooks down a ton, it also comes down a lot when you juice it. Use a nice big bunch of kale.
  • Pineapple - Do you have access to ripe pineapples? If so then use half of a fresh pineapple. If you don't then can you find frozen pineapples? Is so use 2 cups of frozen pineapples. If you can't find fresh or frozen pineapples then go with the canned pineapples. 1 large can will be more than enough. Make sure you rinse out the canned pineapple to take some of the syrup out.
  • Mint- Do you like things super minty to the point where your mouth feels uber refreshed? I do. So I put at least 30 mint leaves.
  • Sweetener - If your pineapple is sweet you won't need to add any artificial sweetener, if your pineapple is not then you may want to add honey, or sugar, or agave, whatever kind of sweetener you're used to.
  1. I don't have a juicer so I used my blender. I first put a cup of water and then added the chopped kale in three separate batches. My blender has a metal strainer attachment which strains out all the kale fiber. If you don't have one of these then use a strainer and put the kale juice in a cup and reserve.
  2. Then back in the blender add two cups water, the chopped pineapple, and the mint leaves. Blend on high. Again, use a strainer to get all the pineapple and mint fibers out.
  3. Mix the kale juice and the pineapple with mint juice in a large pitcher and add any additional sweetener to taste. 
  4. Enjoy with ice. 


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