Vegetable Soup 

img_3086So, now that the weather is cooling down soup can be added to your menu planning rotation!  That’s great for me because I love soup.  On a cool crisp day, after being outside with your kids, or your animals, or even alone with nature it feels so satisfying to sit down to a steamy bowl of hearty soup.  As with most of my recipes, this is a guide to give you ideas and not a strict formula for soup success.  Although, with soup how could one go wrong?  Well, even though it’s hard to mess up soup, if you don’t add any salt, sometimes people complain, lol!  So, let me qualify…as long as it’s seasoned adequately, it’s hard to mess up soup.

This is a great way to use whatever is in season and whatever you have on hand.  In my bowl I used tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and kale.  Oh, yeah…KALE!  It’s still a very fashionable vegetable and can boost your leafy green intake at any meal.  When chopped up small and cooked in the soup, the leaves just melt in your mouth.  I also added some rice to this vegetable soup to thicken it and make it more substantial for a stand alone meal.  You can start with a vegetable broth or just plain water, toss in your chopped vegetables and your dry rice.  Then bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender and the rice is nice and soft.  Then it’s time to add your favorite herbs (dry or fresh) and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so and then remove from the heat.

This soup features onions, carrots and kale from my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box, however you can use just about any veggie from our farm to create a delicious and satisfying soup for your Autumn enjoyment!

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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.

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!

Prep for Organic Broccoli

Broccoli is one of my all-time favorite veggies.  I have always liked it, even as a kid.  My Granny and I were the ones at get-togethers standing by the veggie tray eating the broccoli.  It’s something we’ve shared, and I like that.

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Aphids Love Organic Broccoli!

Here’s the tricky bit, virtually ALL organic broccoli has aphids.  Why, well because aphids (the little greenish-grey guys hiding in your florets) love broccoli and are nearly impossible to get rid of organically.  Organic eating means dealing with a few bugs rather than ingesting toxic poison. It’s a trade-off, but one that has amazing benefits for your health, and the health of the Earth.

No need to feed your chickens any more of that fabulous broccoli.  No need to [gasp] send nasty emails to the hardworking folks at the farm, not that you would do that, ahem [cough, cough].

Here is the method that I used today to get those pesky aphids out of my organic broccoli.  First I separated the bunches of broccoli from each other.  Then I filled up my sink with cold water about half way.  Next I added salt to the water.  Think ocean water as you taste it.  Seriously, add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt to your sink.  Then comes the part that you may or may not enjoy.  I found it astonishing, but rewarding because I now knew that my broccoli would be clean and shiny when I was done.  Using a quick plunging motion, crown down in the water, get rid of the aphids.  Shake and plunge and shake and plunge.  You will see the little buggers just floatin’ away.

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Clean and Shiny!

Repeat with all of your broccoli and then set them aside, while you drain and rinse out your sink.  Then, using a sprayer if you’ve got one, rinse thoroughly with cold running water.  Voila!  Clean and shiny!  Way to go!

Oh! One more thing…Do this as needed.  By that I mean, if you want broccoli for dinner, do this as part of your meal prep.  Do not do this ahead of time, you will end up with rubbery broccoli.  After this careful, loving preparation it would be devastating to rubberize your prized broccoli, no?

Now that my organic broccoli is prepped and ready to enjoy, I can call my Granny!