Smoky Sweet Potato, Kale & Pineapple Salad

This salad is a mix of sweet, smoky and spicy, and just the thing to share at an upcoming Memorial Day barbecue or other gathering this summer. I recommend making it ahead of time, so that it can sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating. The salad becomes much more flavorful, although it’s still good if you don’t have time for that…or aren’t patient. I really enjoy this side dish with chicken, but think it would pair well with nearly any protein.

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live on Friday, May 26! Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!


  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium orange sweet potato (I used a jewel), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt-free mesquite seasoning blend, separated (I used this one, which is unsweetened)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed curly green kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread sweet potatoes onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of the mesquite seasoning, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside to cool completely.
  4. Add the kale to a large bowl and generously season with sea salt. Massage the sea salt into the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes (this helps the kale soften and makes it more flavorful). Then, add the olive oil, red onion, pineapple, and remaining 1 tsp of mesquite seasoning. Stir well.
  5. Once sweet potatoes have cooled, add to the kale mixture and gently stir. Taste and add more mesquite seasoning, sea salt, black pepper or olive oil, if desired.
  6. If possible, allow flavors to marinate in the fridge for at least a couple hours before serving. When ready to serve, I recommend sprinkling on a dash more mesquite seasoning, but this is optional.

Easter Eats 2013

It’s hard to believe I go back to school already today, but then again, I did only have one week off. Anyway, I feel settled in again after my trip home to Michigan, and had a lovely weekend. It felt so good to not have any schoolwork and besides that, the weather was in the 70s! It felt incredible and I did my best to soak up the vitamin-D!

Look at all those daffodils in our back yard!
Look at all those daffodils in our back yard! Sun and green grass too! Hooray for spring!

Because this is already going to be a lengthier post, I’m going to recap about our Easter dinner and then talk about my Saturday in Tuesday’s post. Here’s a little precursor about Saturday though: sauerkraut tasting!

I mentioned on Friday that I was thinking of making deviled eggs, and so I did. I didn’t want to make a big batch, so I made just enough for Jesse and me to eat. I had never made deviled eggs before, but have looked at many recipes and eaten them before, so I knew the basic idea. These turned out great, and Jesse and I sat out on the patio in shorts and t-shirts while eating them. We also enjoyed some chardonnay in our new wine glasses that my aunt and cousin sent as a shower gift, and had some pleasant conversation.

For dinner, we had a petite ham from US Wellness Meats with a homemade glaze, pineapple chutney, a spinach salad and cooked asparagus. We had a cake for dessert, which you’ll see my note about at the bottom of the post. Recipes are listed below.

For the small-batch deviled eggs:

  • 4 hard-cooked pastured eggs, peeled
  • 1.5 Tbsp macadamia nut oil mayo
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • Paprika for garnish, optional
  1. Slice eggs in half, lengthwise and carefully scoop the yolks out into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork and then add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Mix well and spoon into a small zip-lock baggie.
  2. Snip one of the corners from the baggie and pipe yolk mixture back into the egg cavity.
  3. Before serving, garnish with paprika, if using.
Small-batch deviled eggs.
Small-batch deviled eggs.

For the ham and glaze:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ham in a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze ingredients. After 30 minutes, brush half the glaze on the ham. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and brush on the remaining glaze. Bake for another 10 minutes.

The chutney was inspired by a Whole Foods recipe, but modified to my liking. It was a wonderful accompaniment to the ham and together, it was out of this world (and the glaze was not overpowering or super sweet). I hadn’t tasted ham probably since early high school and boy, was it good! I’d buy this US Wellness Meats ham again in a heartbeat! Compassionate-raised pasture ham is hard to come by, especially one that is both sugar-free and nitrate-free. This is a major win.

For the chutney:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer for 10-20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
  2. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm atop of ham.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and caramelized asparagus.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and browned asparagus.

The salad idea came together while grocery shopping for Easter dinner…on Easter Sunday. Ha, we never made it to the store on Saturday, like we usually do, so we had to go on actual Easter day. I expanded upon my salad idea as I assembled it at home, and the result was refreshing and summer-like.

For the spinach salad:

  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup curley parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp chopped raw cashews
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Tessemae’s lemon garlic dressing (Whole Foods carries this line now! So excited!)

In a large bowl, mix together everything, but the dressing. Just before serving, mix in the dressing.

Easter dinner.
Easter dinner.

If you really want to know what I did for the asparagus, I melted 2 Tbsp of grass-fed butter over medium heat. Then, I added a bundle of asparagus (woody ends removed) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I tossed the asparagus occasionally and allowed it to brown and caramelize a bit. Once tender, after 5-7 minutes, I removed from heat.

We had a delicious chocolate cake for dessert that I will post about later in the week. I think there’s enough recipes here for one day!

I’d love to hear about your Easter, and what you cooked and ate! Feel free to share!

Pineapple Turkey Burger Bowl

Baked pineapple burgers with brussel sprouts.

First off, pardon my no-post yesterday. Usually I always post on Tuesdays and take a break on Wednesdays, but I was anxiously studying for a final yesterday and took advantage of every precious minute. The funny thing is, I got to school yesterday all raring and ready to go, only to hear the teacher announce that the test was now optional. She said she was really proud of the hard work we did this term and even though she wrote what she called, “a really great exam,” decided to leave things in our hands. You see, she experimented with a new class structure this term after some changes were made, so we were essentially her guinea pigs. We had some challenging, yet beneficial assignments and discussions, as well as a couple tough quizzes. I guess she felt like it was enough. Anyway, we could take our current grade as is or take the test to try and boost it, if needed. Since I already had an A and didn’t want to risk losing that A (the test could still hurt you if you did poorly) I opted out, but still had my jaw dropped when I left the classroom. All I could think was,”Holy crap, is this real life? This never happens!” I was elated and grateful, but at the same time, could have really used the time I spent preparing to study for my other exams. Whatever though, it’s still better than having to take the test and studying helped me retain the information that much more. Afterward, I used my freed up time to finish a final project and spent three consecutive hours at the library to do so. Two finals down, two to go!

Anyway, onto the food! When I brainstormed this recipe, I never expected it to turn out the way it did. Don’t get me wrong, I figured it’d taste good, but didn’t think it’d taste as wonderful as it did. Jesse and I both raved about it! My intention was to make patties with the burger mixture, but after a few tries, I could see it was not happening. Instead, I added an egg, patted it down into a pan and tossed it in the oven. Problem solved. This way, it gave me a chance to cook the veggies and time things out appropriately. The pan really was the easy way out, but it was for the better.

For the baked pineapple burgers:

  • 1 lb ground turkey thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped canned pineapple pieces in its own juice (reserve juice)
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1 Tbsp reserved pineapple juice
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands. Pour mixture into a 9×9 pan and pat down evenly. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until burger mixture is cooked through.

For the veggie mixture:

  • 2 slices US Wellness Meats grass-fed beef bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 tsp additional bacon fat, if needed
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • Splash of reserved pineapple juice
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped bacon and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Next, add the brussel sprouts and the additional bacon fat, if needed. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook a few minutes, until brussel sprouts are browned.
  3. Add the green onion, pineapple juice and cayenne, and stir. Continue to cook a few more minutes.
  4. Serve on top of a slice of baked pineapple burger, and top with macadamia nut mayo. Garnish with some leftover pineapple pieces, if desired.


Simple Supper Friday: Tropical Chicken Salad

Tropical chicken salad.

I finally cracked open the macadamia nut oil AND macadamia nuts I brought back from Hawaii. The nuts were really tempting to open right away, but we ate a lot of them during our trip and they’re expensive, so I held off. I never really buy them here because of the price-tag, but when in Hawaii, I take advantage of it. They’re still expensive, but better than the prices on the mainland. The oil was a really good deal though. I think I paid $6.99 for a 12.7 oz bottle at the Whole Foods in Honolulu.

This salad makes for an easy lunch or dinner, or heck…even breakfast! It’s refreshing and summer-y, with flavors reminiscent of Hawaii. I ate mine on top of massaged kale (see #3 here for instructions), but romaine, mixed greens, or spinach work as well. Sure, you can eat it plain, but I recommend something leafy and green.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! I have TONS of homework to do this weekend, so that’s what’s in store for me. On the bright side, this term is nearing the end!


  • 1 lb cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup homemade macadamia nut oil mayo (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Torn raw kale (stems removed) or romaine, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, mayo, pineapple and macadamia nuts. Mix well and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Serve atop of raw massaged kale (see link above) or romaine. Other leafy greens work as well.

Yields: 3-4 servings

For the macadamia nut oil mayonnaise:

  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 cup macadamia nut oil (for a different variation, avocado oil is also delicious) 
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add the egg, vinegar and mustard to the blender, and blend. Once mixed together, slowly and I mean SLOWLY, pour in the macadamia nut oil and only pour little bits at once! If you are not patient and pour too much or go too fast, your mayo will not emulsify.
  2. Once your mayo is creamy and has emulsified, add sea salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 1 cup