Jack here, bringing you one of the many joys from our Japan travels – matcha ice cream. We had no idea, before going, that green tea ice cream was even a thing. But the minute you walk down the street in any touristy area, you’re guaranteed to see giant fake green soft-serve cones outside of ice cream shops. Seeing something so American and familiar as a giant fake soft-serve ice cream cone, but *green*, was, well, it made me want to eat some. Fast forward through the trip, and Jeanine and I must have eaten 1 cone each every other day. So enough about us, it’s time to share one of our favorites with all of you.
Of course, the “cream” in our ice cream continues to be coconut cream, and I have a dirty secret. I love dairy, I love dairy ice cream – but I like coconut ice cream better. There. I said it. Coconut ice cream is better than dairy ice cream. And this is coming from the guy that is sometimes happy his wife is lactose-intolerant so that he can have the cheese from her pizza.
Besides the coconut cream and matcha, the secret of this recipe is that we have some maple syrup, vanilla, and a squeeze of lemon. All of these help to cut through the natural bitterness that matcha (or any tea) has, and gives you a sweet ice-cream-y dessert.
It doesn’t get much easier than this one. I’ll admit, I often get very veggie-happy. While I don’t mind chopping up a rainbow of vegetables – sometimes it’s more than ok to keep it simple and let just one ingredient be the star. Last night, I chopped up this beautiful red chard and tossed it with a few simple pantry ingredients. Dinner was done in less than 20 minutes and Jack and I were able to get right back to our House of Cards marathon. (Don’t tell me what happens, we’re only a few episodes in).
Chard works especially well in a 1-vegetable meal because you get two textures in one. The stems lend a nice crunch and the greens softly wilt. I sautéed the chard with canned tomatoes and some white beans that I happened to have left over in my fridge. I topped it all with a few pine nuts (although chopped walnuts would be equally delicious), and a few generous shavings of pecorino. Super simple.
When it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches, I think more is more. I say, skip the white bread and American singles and instead opt for:
1. thick grainy bread
2. fancy sharp cheese
3. fresh herbs
4. something sweet or tart, to balance it all out
In this case, component #4 – the tart cherries – are sweet and tart, making this my ultimate grilled cheese. Plus, I like to sneak in superfoods wherever I can.
Tart cherries (also called sour cherries) have some unique super-fruit benefits. They’re a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a source of melatonin. Nutrition aside, they also just taste really good. I especially love their tangy flavor in combination with the savory sage. And they become deliciously plump and juicy when smothered in melted cheese.
They’re available in dried-form year round – I find mine in the bulk bins at my grocery store.
Quinoa! It’s one of my favorite grains because it’s just so healthy and versatile. I find myself reaching for it more and more in the wintertime (especially now that we’re actually having a little bit of winter). It’s so easy to keep on hand in my pantry and it’s quick to make. Here are a few of my all-time favorite recipes:
Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers (these are vegan, if you skip the mayo on top)
Quinoa & Chickpea Salad / Carrot & Quinoa Salad in a Pita
Quinoa Quesadillas / Butternut Squash & Tart Cherry Quinoa
Mushroom & Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
Two things I’m obsessed with: vegetables (no surprise there), and Instagram. I love posting images of pretty vegetables, but I also look to my feed for fresh, colorful veggie inspiration. Which is why I’m excited to participate this week in #urwhatupost – a fruit and vegetable takeover movement by Bolthouse Farms. They’ve created this cool website that shows how many people are tagging healthy vs. unhealthy foods in real time. For example, as I type this, the scale is about 65% junk food, and 35% fresh produce, but today through March 6th, we’re trying to change that.
Things like #icecream (11 million tags) and #pie (14 million tags) are the top two socially shared foods. So here’s the goal: let’s all get together and start sharing gorgeous colorful veggies like #carrots (6 million), #kale (3.9m), #mushrooms (3.5m), #potatoes (7.2m), and #brussels sprouts (56K) and shift the dial this week toward the fresh foods we all love most. All you have to do is simply label your favorite fruits and vegetables as hashtags or keywords in your posts on Instagram and/orTwitter.
Here are 5 of my favorite seasonal vegetables along with some of my favorite recipes. (Also, a recipe for Carrot Top pesto at the bottom – don’t toss those tops!)
Roasted Carrot Turmeric Soup / Farmhouse Farro Salad / Spiced Carrot & Chickpea Salad / Carrot Muffins with Coconut Whip / Vegan Carrot Cake / Collard Wraps with Carrot Hummus
Brussels Sprout Recipes:
Brussels Sprout & Sunchoke Salad / Brussels Sprout, Broccoli & Avocado Rice / Sweet Potato & Brussels Skillet / Shredded Brussels Sprout & Apple Salad
Shiitake & Napa Cabbage Gyoza / Creamy Polenta & Mushrooms / Mushroom & Quinoa Lettuce Wraps / Walnut-Mushroom Veggie Burgers / Mushrooms & Wheatberries / Sesame & Shiitake Soba Noodles
Sweet Potato Recipes:
Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili / Spicy Sweet Potato Tostadas / Healthy Loaded Sweet Potatoes / Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini / Curried Sweet Potato Soup / Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad
Kale Walnut Pesto / Winter Roasted Kale Salad / Kale Egg & Avocado Toast / Matcha Kale Smoothies / Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Kale / Butternut Squash, Kale & Quinoa Stew
Also, these fruits & veggies (not pictured in this post) also count toward the cause: #pomegranate, #berry, #potato, #avocado, #grapes, #beets, #vegetable. They can be typed in singular or plural form, with or without the hashtag.