Tried any new foods lately?

I like to try new foods. I get a thrill spotting a new fruit in the produce aisle and will always pick it up, though I admit, the cherimoya did nothing for me. On the other hand, dragonfruit is kinda fun.  If I go to a restaurant and they’ve added new things to the menu, I’m in heaven.  Lately, a lot of new things have been hitting the health foods radar so I thought I’d report in on a few experiments and whether or not they were hits or misses for me.

Ch-ch-ch-chia, anyone?  Yep, those chia seeds they’ve been touting as the latest health craze are the same you used to smear on a terracotta head to create a wacky countertop wig. The health reports claim they are high in omega-3s, fiber and protein.  It’s supposed to reduce blood pressure (I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure), stabilizes blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and a host of other fab stuff. But are they good to eat?  Well, I bought a bag (had to go to a vitamin store to find them) and sprinkled some on my salad.  Love it! Sprinkled on oatmeal? Num! Mixed in cookie batter?  Oh yeah!  They are pretty tasteless, and mostly add a little crunch, so I’ve been sprinkling them on everything.  If you soak them in almond milk for about twenty minutes, they gel up nicely, and then add some cocoa powder, cinnamon and Truvia, and you have a tasty drink.  Seriously, it’s good!  Hit or miss?  Definitely a hit!  I use them every day.

Cacao nibs are another mysteriously intriguing entry into the ‘eat this for your health!’ claims.  Touted for antioxidants and iron (I do need my iron), so thought I’d give it a try.  Now, this stuff is raw, pure chocolate, folks, that comes from the cacao bean, but that doesn’t mean you should expect to taste like chocolate.  It’s bitter, and hard.  I put a teaspoon in a cherry/chocolate smoothie and blend well.  If you don’t actually chew and try to taste the cacao, you’re golden.  I just nibble them a bit with my front teeth.  I liked the added texture, and as well, think it gives an ‘essence’ of chocolate flavor to whatever I use them in.  A bit spendy, but I think if you want to get the health benefits, you should go for it.  The nibs were a hit for me.

Kale!  Every time I look at the stuff I cringe.  I just looks so…mean.  And I suspect the raw form would be bitter and maybe stringy.  I say this because I didn’t try it in the fresh, raw form (not even steamed or cooked).  Couldn’t make myself buy that mean stuff!  So instead I bought kale chips.  Seemed like an easy way to check it out without having to learn how to cook the stuff.  The chips were…soft and not crunchy and I did not like the flavor at all.  The bitterness came through for me, but it could have been the brand of chip.  Anyway, I gave myself a star for trying it, but don’t think I’ll go back for more.  Kale is a miss for me.

Unsweetened Almond Milk.  Yep, you heard me, unsweetened.  This was an impulse purchase at Target. I’m not a milk drinker, but had wanted to start making smoothies with fresh fruit, so the almond milk seemed a good bet.  I looked at the label on the sweetened kind and it had as much sugar as milk (that’s a lot, people, and I’m all about no sugar) so I went with the unsweetened.  I confess, I still haven’t dared try it straight, and probably won’t.  I’m not stupid.  🙂  But in smoothies, mixed with fresh fruit, some chia and even cacao nibs, it rocks.  If you’re a milk drinker, I’d bet you wouldn’t taste  much of a difference.  And though I don’t put it in my oatmeal, I think that would be an excellent addition as well.  My favorite smoothie recipe?  Frozen cherries, a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, a tsp of cacao nibs, and unsweetened almond milk.  Heaven!  And an excellent post-workout drink.  Better than any sweet, fattening treat you could get at the Diary Queen, let me tell you.  Give it a try and let me know if you like it.  Unsweetened almond milk?  A hit!

So what new things have you tried lately?  Was it a hit or miss?  Got any good recipes to share from your adventures in trying new foods?


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24 Responses to Tried any new foods lately?

  1. loisgreiman says:

    I realize now that I don’t have a very adventerous palate. Hffff. But my younguns have been drinking milk from pasture only cattle and say it is milllllllles ahead of the regular grain fed milkers. I’m also told that raw butter is fantastic but alas, I’ve tried neither. I’m going to try to get out of the food rut though, Hauf, just because of you. 🙂

  2. debradixon says:

    Chia stablizes blood sugar, really? We believe these reports? That would be awesome.

    I’m not much of an adventure foodie. Especially health food. Because all too often it’s awful. I’m glad you’re reporting on your experiments because that makes me feel more open to trying something like Almond milk and making a smoothie!

    And I think I’m going to try some chia. A vitamin store, huh?

    • michelehauf says:

      Yes, it’s the do we believe it all or just some thing that I struggle with. But it doesn’t hurt to try something new, and if you like it, then why not?
      YOu would think with all the press chia has been getting lately, the grocery stores would carry it, but I had to venture into The Vitamin Shop for mine. Go figure.

  3. You don’t like kale? How about collard greens? Okra? Okay, I’ve never been crazy about okra, but I’m the daughter of Southerners, so properly prepared and seasoned kale is good for me. But I can’t sell it to the Mid-westerners in my household. I’d never heard of kohlrabi until I moved to ND, but I planted it in my garden at a friend’s insistence. Tried it and said she could have the whole crop.

    I’ll try anything but puppy soup.

  4. kylie brant says:

    Wow, I am so impressed. I have the palate of a ten-year-old so anything ‘new’ other than Cheetos and Skittles gets looked at with suspicion 🙂 But go you! I wish I liked more things, really.

    • michelehauf says:

      That makes me a little sad, Kylie. I want to come over to your house with chia and cacao and kohlrabi and everything not artificially flavored. 😉

  5. captainhellion says:

    I’m totally trying the chia seeds now. That’s on the list. I frequently see the almond milk as a score for my WW group. *LOL* I prefer lowfat or skim milk though. I haven’t managed to go hard-core no-sugar either. 🙂

    I do eat kale, but not as much as spinach, it’s friendlier friend. 🙂 I recently made some soup (out of a WW cookbook) that’s a tuscan bread soup, and it makes a TON of this soup: it’s chicken and beef broths, onions, carrots, celery, white beans, kale, tomatoes, and italian bread (at the end). It’s a thick rather vegetable stew. Filling, hearty, and I like to think healthy in at least some elements. 🙂 Even with the white bread. I’m afraid if I explained it to my dad, he’d call it stewed tomatoes…and I don’t think I’d eat it with that picture in mind.

    (I love okra.)

    • michelehauf says:

      That soup sounds awesome. I’d keep the bread out of it, but everything else? Great! Yes, do try the chia!

  6. Leanne says:

    I’m not all that adventurous, but the chia seeds sounds interesting. I can’t remember the last time I ate kale. It was frequently offered in elementary school and I thought it was gross. This is a wonderful topic. I’m sorry about the high blood pressure. Have you tried yoga? xoxo

    • michelehauf says:

      Oh, Leanne, the funny thing is, I’ve been doing everything right lately. Eat super healthy, exercise every day (P90X and yoga) and recently learned I not only have high blood pressure, but also high cholesterol. Which only goes to prove that the healthiest habits cannot overcome genetics. I’m blaming my dad for this one. Sigh… 🙂

  7. Candace Schuler says:

    Don’t give up on kale, yet, Michele. Like most greens, kale is a powerhouse of vitamins, especially calcium. According to studies I’ve read, the body can more easily absorb the calcium in greens than it can from dairy. Couple of kale recipes you might try…

    Green smoothie: About two cups of kale leaves (strip out the rib), a banana, a bit of agave nectar or raw honey, some plain yogurt or a raw (organic) egg for protein. A few ice cubes if you like a thick, milkshakey texture. Blend very well. Yum! I do this with all kinds of greens and fruit combos but kale and banana is one of my favorites. Makes a great quick breakfast.

    Marinated kale salad: Strip the ribs out of several kale leaves. Roll the leaves up like a cigar and then cut them in a chiffonade (long, thin strips). Mix with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Get in there with your hands and massage the marinade into the kale. Cover and refrigerate (it’ll keep for a couple of days). This softens the kale a bit and the lemon juice sort of “cooks” it much like the citrus juice in Ceviche “cooks” raw fish. Once it’s marinated for a while add whatever other salad stuff you like, chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, whatever. You could even toss in some chia seeds:).

  8. lindina2 says:

    Truffle Oil! Drizzled over French fries turns fries into the best thing I ever ate. Parmesan sprinkled over is optional. Truffle oil is good drizzled over popcorn or scrambled eggs, too. It’s rich and buttery. I once tried a truffle and thought it was highly overrated, but it sure does make good oil. I carry a little bottle in my purse in case I run into fries.

  9. Truffle oil over French fries—a new gourmet treat! 🙂 I love fresh parmeson over just about anything. The best news I’ve heard lately was about how super healthy popcorn is–higher in antioxidants than many veggies. Now if I could just leave off the butter….

    • michelehauf says:

      Roxanne, you have intrigued me. I think I’ll look for a small bottle next time I’m in the grocery store. On popcorn would be great. I wonder about on cooked cauliflower or broccoli?

      • michelehauf says:

        Sorry, that was Lindina who intrigued and then Roxanne just made the intrigue all the more. 😉

      • lindina2 says:

        I am sure it would be great on vegetables. I’ll have to ask the oil/vinegar department people what kind of oil it is. I sort of wanted to suck it out of the papertowel the first time I used it on fries. Now I drain the fries before I put them in a bowl for eating. Kosher/coarse salt makes it better, too.

  10. MaryC says:

    I usually mix a serving of chia seeds with water to form a gel and put it in my oatmeal. Just purchased some Kale Krunch (quite cheezy and cheesy chipolte)- not biiter and a nice crunch.
    Kale’s flavor reminds me of spinach, so i cook it and add hot bean curd to it.
    For a treat I like the mini Almond Dream ice cream sadwiches – a 100 calories each.

  11. Quilt Lady says:

    I will have to say I have not tried some of the things you have but I love cooked Kale but the Kale has to be fresh kale, I don’t like the canned stuff. When I was pregnant with my son I cooked it every week I think. I buy fresh kale and wash it well put it on the stove with some baking soda and salt and pare boil it for about fifteen min. Take if off the stove drain that water off and put fresh water back on it with salt and a little bacon grease, very small amount and cook until tender it is delish! Love it.

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