It happens every spring. We can’t wait for the smell of freshly cut grass, robins flying back into our yard, and the sprouts of fresh vegetables emerging from the earth. But what happens when the novelty of those veggies wears off, and we run out of creative ways to use them in our everyday meals? We have some fresh ideas to get your gears running, and make the most out of your fruits and veggies this season!
Instead of a bowl or plate, let’s start with a glass. Invest in a juicer or blender. There are thousands of great juicing and smoothie recipes on the internet. My favorite is a juice blend of fresh oranges, carrots, and ginger. You don’t need to be a chef to turn out some delicious drinks. The fruits and veggies “speak for themselves” and don’t require added sugar or salt. Just remember a few quick tips when juicing or blending: get the most nutrients by drinking first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and use immediately-don’t store in your fridge for longer than 24 hours because the juice is perishable. Vegetable juices don’t increase insulin as much as the fruit juices do, but they are still better than soda! Start out small with some easy palatable blends like celery, cucumber, and apples-then add kale or beets as you get used to the taste. Use your imagination-I certainly had to throw out a few concoctions before I perfected my recipes! Don’t forget to freeze your juicing pulp too. The pulp can be used to blend into smoothies, added to Popsicle molds to make “Pulpsicles”, or added to veggie bread like zucchini bread or carrot cake.
In keeping with the “glass” idea first, add fruit/veggies/herbs to an ice cube tray, fill to the top with water and freeze. It’s a refreshing addition to a glass of water in the summer heat. If you have a large pitcher, you can cut some lemons, mint, ginger, and cucumber and throw it all into the bottom of the pitcher, fill to the top with water, and refrigerate. It’s a cooling, refreshing, easy way to drink your daily amount of water-and get some added vitamins and nutrients.
Now that we have your “glass” figured out, let’s move on to the plate and bowl. Have you been thinking of joining a CSA this year? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Farmers typically offer a box of seasonal veggies, fruits, honey, jam, eggs, and recipes for a set price to buyers during the growing/harvest season. My farmer even delivers it directly to my doorstep! It’s a fabulous way to eat the freshest food and try new things! The easiest way for me to use these veggies is to toss them onto my grill or under my broiler with a little olive oil and cracked pepper (kale and asparagus is amazing this way). And everyone loves pizza! I always add broccoli and spinach toppings to my homemade pizza. Also, don’t forget your crock pot! Toss in kale, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and spices into a large crock pot and cover with vegetable or chicken broth. Set on low for 6-8 hours. It’s a fast, easy, and hearty meal.
So when a salad “just won’t cut it”, try out these fast and easy tips. You never know what creative concoction you might churn out!
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