Kale Me Crazy

A few months ago, I randomly (and compulsively) began watching Food Network shows that are available on Netflix. Before 2016, I’d never willingly watched a show on Food Network. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve done some serious growing up in the last two years or maybe it’s the fear that I’ll die alone if I never learn to cook – either way, I’ve slowly developed a strong interest in the domestic chore. After binge watching a few different shows, I fell into a deep, passionate love with Giada De Laurentiis for many reasons.

First of all, how in the heck does one person smile that often? If she wrote a book titled “How to Smile Literally All the Time and Seem Genuine About It,” I would be the first person in line for that book. Even when she’s giving criticism on different TV shows, she is continually smiling! Sometimes, I wonder if her parents shoved one of those giant molder things that dentists use to take x-rays into her mouth when she was unhappy just so she would learn to smile during all hours of the day (this is a technique that I 100% plan to use on my RBF children).

Second, she says everything all fancy-like. I’ve heard people complain about her obsession with “over-pronouncing” all Italian words, but honestly, if I knew how (or remembered) to say “spaghetti” like “spayg-hait-ee,” I would. Every single time she says a fancy Italian word on the show, I actually repeat it out loud to myself to see if I can mimic her.

(Side story: I have a weird habit of watching TV shows in public places. In college, most people found creative places to study on campus; I found creative places to watch Netflix until it was time to return to my apartment to sleep. Now, I spend most of my days at the local Starbucks, and I’d be lying to you if I said that I was 100% productive during my full 8-hours there. One time, I was watching a Giada show, and I said the word “prosciutto” after Giada had pronounced it and about 37 people in the Starbucks turned to stare me down until I buried my head in my computer so they would stop visually attacking me. I still don’t know how to say that word.)

Third, I’m convinced that Giada is one of the tinniest people on planet earth, and she’s a famous chef (OF CARBS)! I’m not a famous chef; in fact, sometimes the food that I cook tastes like literal garbage, but I still seem to eat enough to maintain my regular chubby figure. If Giada wrote a book titled “How to Love Italian Food AND Maintain a Body Weight of Under 70 Pounds,” I would also be the first in line to purchase that.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t taken any of my suggestions for books yet, but she has published quite a few cookbooks. Flash back a few months when I fell in love with Giada, I also simultaneously decided that I should buy my first real, adult cookbook. (Even though I have one now, I still have a really bad habit of texting my mom a list of ingredients, then saying, “Ok. What can I make with those?” Someday I’ll grow up.)

Since Giada has a few different, themed cookbooks, I didn’t know which one to choose at first, so I spent a few days researching her cookbooks and why you should buy each one. Since I wanted a more adult cookbook to teach me fancy, but healthy, recipes, I choose Giada’s Feel Good Food.

I quickly found that the majority of recipes called for very fresh, strange ingredients that I don’t normally keep in the house, so it would cost me quite a bit to make each one. That month, I tried two different recipes that called for ingredients that we already had – one I loved and one I loathed (both were oatmeal). Since then, I haven’t opened it. This past weekend, I wanted to cook a sweet potato as a side, but I wanted to cook it in a new way since I eat sweet potatoes pretty often (don’t worry – I did eventually learn how to cook them).

In case you aren’t already aware, my brother is sort of a health freak. And by “sort of,” I mean that he is a total freaking nutcase. I was brought up in a family that loves carbs and sugar and really unhealthy junk food; apparently, he was raised by some very nice cavemen who lived nearby and taught him that protein and vegetables were the only important food groups. Normally, he avoids potatoes at all costs (yes – even french fries) and rarely eats sweet potatoes.

Saturday night, I figured that if could find a healthy sweet potato recipe in my Giada cookbook, Kirk wouldn’t mind eating them nearly as much. So I grabbed my book, flipped to the index, and found the one sweet potato recipe in the whole dang book – Sweet Potato and Kale Chips. It made me cringe; I actually cringed when I read the word “kale.” I’d never eaten kale before, but I’ve spent the majority of my adult life afraid of it. Determined to make a healthy, sweet potato side-dish, I went to the store, got the ingredients, and cooked it.

I warned Kirk, “Listen. These will probably taste like cardboard, so I seasoned them a lot, but I feel like I at least have to try them.” So that’s what I did. I tried the stinkin’ kale chips.

And they were frick frackin’ delicious. Not only was I surprised at how much I loved them, but I’ve convinced myself that was the last bit of training that I needed before I’m prepared for Motherhood. Thank you, Giada, for helping to morph me into the kale-eating psychopath I’ve always wanted to be (now please excuse me as I’ve just pulled up to McDonalds and need to order a large fry).

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