Pineapple “Unfried” Rice

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Garnish with fresh cilantro for a great lookin’ plate!

Today we will be using a recipe from the YouTube show, The Chef and The Dietician.  They call it Pineapple Unfried Rice.  Ya’ know, fried rice…only not fried.  No oil and veggie-packed folks, about as healthy as you can get!  Bring it on! 

This is a super tasty recipe.  Hubby and kids approved and I, of course, loved it.

I used the veggies that I had on hand from this week’s CSA box instead of the ones that they suggest.

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Chopped and Ready!

It is a versatile recipe and the combo of pineapple with cilantro is out of this world!  Like, crazy good!  It is easy to throw together on a weeknight and tasty enough to serve to guests.  I think that it is safe to say that this is a hit!  You could easily scale this recipe up or down to fit your appetite and family size.  Though it packs great as a lunch to-go, so I don’t think you should scale it down…just pack it up in individual servings and eat it at school, work or anywhere your adventures take you.

Some things to note:

#1  A confession…You may notice from one of the pictures that I made this recipe using white rice, not the uber-healthy brown version.  Sue me!  I had some leftover and I just went with it.  “Waste not, want not”, right?!

#2  I used shredded carrots, but this is a great place to try out the salad sprinkles that we made earlier this week.  You really could use any combination of veggies that you happen to have on hand, even leafy greens could make up some of the vegetables in this.

#3  They suggest coconut aminos but Bragg’s or regular soy sauce will give you the same flavor profile, use what you have and “taste it as you make it”!

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Saute in juice…zero added fat.

Pineapple Unfried Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups pineapple chunks

1 cup pineapple juice

3-4 cups chopped or sliced veggies (I used carrots, broccoli, broccoli greens, and green garlic)

Grate some ginger in as well (my addition to the original recipe)

4 cups leftover (meaning already cooked) brown rice

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Stir in leftover rice.

½ cup soy sauce (Bragg’s or tamari or coconut aminos are all fine here)

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

Heat pan on medium high with ½ cup of the pineapple juice.  Cook your vegetables, garlic and ginger.  Put rice in with the veggies and continue to stir as it all cooks.  Add the other ½ cup pineapple juice if needed and the soy sauce.  Then add the pineapple and cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

I hope that your family likes this as much as mine does.  It really is a great template for any combination of veg that you are enjoying from your CSA box or farmstand purchase.

Salad Sprinkles

Beets + Carrots = No more boring salads!

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So pretty! So colorful!

This week I decided to pair up these root veggies for some color on my salads.  Shredded carrots are a pretty standard topping for a green salad, but add some shredded beets and you have added a pop of vibrant color along with four times the protein of carrots and twice as much potassium!  Carrots are no slouch, however because they’ll give you twice as much Vitamin A as you need in a day and are lower in carbs than beets.  Paired up, these two colorful veggies make some nutritious eye candy for your lettuce!

So, I know that this isn’t really a recipe, buuuuuuuuut sometimes just an idea from someone else will spark inspiration and get you thinking outside of your routine.

However you shred your carrots, be it box shredder or food processor, shred your beets the same way.  WARNING: Beets are so messy!  I like to put a paper towel or a cutting board under the surface that I am working on so that clean-up is a bit easier.  Use equal parts of carrots and beets for the perfect look!

I am thinking of trying the combo out in other dishes as well.  Wherever you use shredded carrots you could sub these “salad sprinkles” instead for a new twist.

I will share with you the salad that I made using these “salad sprinkles”.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Pineapple Salad with Salad Sprinkles

All I can say is YUM!
All I can say is YUM!

Ingredients:

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped to your liking

1 cup of pineapple chunks or tidbits

1 cup Salad Sprinkles (equal parts shredded carrots and beets)

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2 T of citrus vinegar* (I use Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)

*If you don’t have any citrus vinegar you could use pineapple juice or orange juice

Gently toss the ingredients together and enjoy!

Once you have tried the salad, let me know if these “salad sprinkles” end up in any other recipes you make this week.  I’m thinking stir fry, chili, or even a quick bread…. The possibilities are endless.

Green Soup

The important thing to note about this chef-inspired soup is that it can be used as a template for any greens that you have on hand.  Broccoli…check!  Kale…check!  Double the spinach and no beet greens…O.K.!  Even lettuce can be used as part of your huge pile of greens.  Imagine the reaction that you would get from Popeye!  This soup was a hit in my family from the youngest to the oldest.  Try it out on your family and see what they think.  I paired this with a salad and it made for a great meal.  You could also add croutons or some crusty bread!  Enjoy!

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Gather your greens to get started!

Green Soup

Ingredients:

2T olive oil or butter

3 yellow onions, sliced thin

3 green garlic plants, trimmed and sliced

1 T ground cumin

Celery, a handful of stalks (with leaves) about as thick around as a box of dry spaghetti

1 T of dried thyme

2 lbs of potatoes (I used 4 medium sized Yukon Golds), peeled and sliced thin

A whole bunch of beet greens, chopped

A whole bunch of spinach, chopped

A whole bunch of chard, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Get out that big ‘ole soup pot!  Put your butter/olive oil in the bottom of the pot and dump in your sliced onions.  I used a mandolin to slice my onions and then later my potatoes as well.  This was a huge time saver, but you could simply slice thin your onions and potatoes with a knife if you don’t have a mandolin.

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Slice ’em thin and sweat ’em

Stir the onions around and let them sweat on medium high heat.  Trim and slice your green garlic and sprinkle over the sliced onions.  Stir and continue to let ‘em sweat.  Toss in your cumin.  Stir.  If you need to add water to prevent stuff from sticking to the bottom of the pot, go ahead and add it anytime.  Chop your celery, stalks, leaves and all and add it to the pot.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir and continue to let this fragrant mixture cook until the onions become translucent.

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See how they’ve cooked down?

Use this time to peel and slice your potatoes.  The thinner they are the more confident you will be that they will be fully cooked when your soup is ready to be blended to creamy perfection at the end.  These potatoes are the key ingredient for a velvety smooth soup.  Add the thyme and potatoes, stir.

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Fluffy chopped greens added to the pot!

Chop your greens and cram them into your pot.  You can add half of the greens and wait until they wilt a bit then add the other half if the whole pile is just too fluffy to add all at once.  Add water to your pot.  Fill it up to 2 inches below the rim of the pot.  Bring this up to a good boil then turn the heat down and let is continue to simmer for at least an hour.  Taste your broth and add more salt and pepper to taste.  Use an immersion blender (or transfer soup in batches to your container blender) and puree this hot swampy mess into a gourmet soup fit for a fancy brunch!

Two Spinach Smoothies

It’s smoothie time!  I do like me some kale and lettuce, but when I saw the spinach in my CSA box, I immediately thought of smoothies!  The weather is warming up and so I like to change up my usual breakfasts from the comforting oatmeal or hash brown scramble to a cool and frosty treat.

I will admit right off the bat that I have a Vitamix.  For reals though, I got it second-hand so don’t be a hater.  Yes, they are expensive and yes, they are worth every penny (if you actually paid for one, which luckily I didn’t have to).  Don’t worry though, I will not give you any recipe where you will have to blend an entire Chevrolet into a decadent dessert or something.  It’s all fruits and veggies, peeps.  Anything I do in my blender, you can do in yours.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about my favorite way to consume spinach.  I think that a few “go-to” strategies are important when you are eating healthfully, especially if, like me, you grab whatever is easiest more often than what is most nutrient-dense.  It is a bonus when you can set yourself up for success by knowing ahead of time what is easy and healthy!

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Ready for some smoothie action!

A great tip to be ready for smoothies whenever the mood strikes is to keep frozen bananas in your freezer at all times.  I intentionally buy extra bananas and let them over-ripen on my counter, then I peel ‘em, roll ‘em in foil and freeze ‘em.

Enter my two smoothies…

The first is a fruit smoothie.  The best fruit to hide greens in (that is why we put greens in smoothies, right?!  I mean, if you wanted salad for breakfast, eat it on a plate and have a mimosa to drink!) is mangoes.

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Frozen Mangoes!

I buy a big bag of organic frozen mangoes.  They are cubed and ready for smoothies.  I think that they can even stand up to kale, if you are so bold!

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Oh…Stick a straw in it!

Green Smoothie – Mango Style!

Spinach (as much as you can cram into your blender)

1 frozen banana, cut into slices

Frozen mango chunks (between ½ and 1 whole cup)

2 cups pineapple juice (or water, or oj, or plant milk, etc.)

Blend it then stick a straw in it and pretend you are on a beach somewhere, soaking up some rays!

Smoothie number two is a treat!  Well, anything healthy and delicious is a treat, but this is a “sometimes-smoothie” for me.  I feel indulgent when I drink this.  I save this for when I need a little boost, a little “me” treat.   It is a chocolate peanut butter smoothie, that also just so happens to contain vegetables.

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When chocolate and peanut butter love each other very much…

Green Smoothie – Chocolate PB Style!

Spinach (as much as you feel like)

2 frozen bananas, cut into slices

1 heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter

1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder

A dash of cinnamon

A dash of vanilla

1 to 2 cups of non-dairy plant milk (or water, or even cow’s milk if that’s part of your diet)

A few ice cubes (cuz’ this tastes best as frosty as possible)

Blend, then drink while binge watching your favorite show!

Both of these breakfasts are full of plant powered nutrition and will help you get your day started right.  They can also be consumed for a snack or lunch, or whenever.  Feel free to experiment with the greens that you include.  Spinach is the easiest green to disguise, but lettuce, kale and chard are all worthy of a try.  “Taste it as you make it”, use what you have on hand and enjoy the bountiful health provided by nature in a cup!

Green Garlic Storage Tip

Hello!  You know, the first week we got the green garlic in our boxes I just chucked it in the crisper and went about the business of unloading the rest of the box.  Then later in the week, when I wanted to use it, I found it had wilted.  It still tasted great, but it looked sad and less of the green leaves were usable because they had become withered.

Not wanting a repeat of that I decided to store it differently this time.  This time I thought…hey it still has roots, it’s a plant, right?!  So I put it in a glass, filled with an inch of water and set it on the counter.  Guess what?  The rest of the week the green garlic was firm and upright!

Winner! We have a winner!

There is a trade-off, the tips yellow a bit but I think that it is a better storage option because throughout the week more of the plant is useable than the wilted version from the crisper.  Just trim off the tips where they have yellowed (from overwatering, I think) and enjoy more of that mouth-watering garlic flavor!

Do you store your green garlic differently?  Have you had success? Failure?  What works in your kitchen?  Let’s have a conversation!