Archive | FOOD AND DRINK

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Organic Stone Fruit While It’s in Season

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It’s stone fruit season! Wondering what stone fruit is? Stone fruit is any type of fruit that has a single seed or pit – for example; apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries. Any time a particular type of fruit is in season, it’s a great idea to buy in bulk and stock up. There are several great ways that you can get the most out of the stone fruit that you purchase. It just takes a little creativity and a few different ways to preserve the stone fruit and you can enjoy it all year long. Read on for my 6 favorites ways to get the most out of these sweet fruits.

#1: Bag It!
We recently purchased a large quantity of organic stone fruit – however, there were several pieces that were not ripe. To ripen them up quickly so that we could use them, we put them in a paper bag for a couple of days. Works like a charm.

#2: Grill It!
It’s grilling season too and a fantastic way to enjoy stone fruit is fresh off the grill. Peaches grilled quickly on each side and then topped with organic vanilla ice cream is an amazing fall treat. You won’t be disappointed and it is a super fun dessert for those get-togethers.

#3: Add It!
Stone fruit isn’t only good on it’s own, or as a dessert – it tastes amazing when added to the main course. I like to add cut up stone fruit to salads, salsas, and side dishes during the summertime. It’s adds a ton of flavor and a pop of color to our meals. The possibilities are endless!

#4: Can It!
While purchasing stone fruit in a large quantity while it is in season is a great idea, what if you can’t use it all before it spoils? Can it! Stone fruits can be used in jams, syrups and salsas, so why not get to cooking and preserve some of that sweetness for later in the year. Can you image a yummy stone fruit syrup, salsa or jam during fall, winter and spring?

#5: Dry It!
Who doesn’t love dried fruit? What could be better than dried peaches or apricots. You can either dry the fruit in the oven at 200° F for three hours or use a food dehydrator to get the job done. Dried fruit lasts a long time and will be perfect as a lunch box snack during the school year.

#6: Freeze It!
Whatever stone fruit you have leftover should be frozen before it spoils. Frozen stone fruit is amazing in smoothies and desserts, just remove the amount that you need from the freezer and enjoy!

How to Make Organic Instant Oatmeal for Cool Fall Mornings

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I love oatmeal on cool, crisp fall mornings! Am I the only one? You can make your own organic instant oatmeal packed with flavor in a few simple steps taking your regular oatmeal from ho-hum to yum-yum. Read on to learn how you can make organic instant oatmeal and wake up to goodness tomorrow.


Step 1: Bake It!
Preheat the oven to 350°, spread 4 cups of organic old-fashioned rolled oats on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Step 2: Pulse It!
Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

Step 3: Mix It!
Mix in a cup of your favorite oatmeal add-ins such as; almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and coconut.

Step 4: Store It!
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Step 5: Boil It!
Stir boiling water into a cup of your organic instant oatmeal until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 6: Enjoy It!
Oatmeal is my favorite on cool, crisp fall morning – top with a honey too!

 

How to Host a Simple Organic Family Fondue Night + Recipe

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What is more fun than staying in watch spooky movies and having a family fondue night. A couple of years ago, Eben (look how little he was!) and I hit the market to pick up all of the organic ingredients, then we were ready to give our new fondue set a try. What ensued was a fun night together, eating yummy food dipped in cheese! Read on for the simple directions for hosting your own family fondue night. It is totally worth it!

1. Gather the Supplies

  • fondue set
  • fondue ingredients (recipe below)
  • organic rustic bread
  • variety of fresh vegetables and fruits

2. Cut the Bread, Fruit and Veggies 
Wash and cut the fresh fruit and vegetables into bite sized pieces – cut the bread as well. Arrange on a large platter. We used a selection of rustic bread, fresh cauliflower, celery and apples.

3. Make the Apple Cider Cheese Fondue

  • 8 oz. organic yellow cheddar
  • 8 oz. organic Monterrey Jack
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider
  • 2 tbsp. organic potato starch

Directions: Grate all of the cheese into a medium sized bowl. Bring the apple cider to a simmer over medium heat. Add the potato starch to the bowl of shredded cheese and mix until well-combined. Add the cheese to the apple cider and stir until thick and creamy. Add to your fondue bowl over a low flame.

4. Dip and Enjoy!
We sat down and enjoyed a fun evening of everything cheesy! It was a fun way to kick off the weekend and we have already been talking about our next fondue adventure. Next time – chocolate for sure!

What is your favorite fondue recipe? Please share in the comments!

How to Make Caramel Apples with Coconut + Unreal Candy

I was looking through the archives and found this goody!

Over the weekend, Eben and I were dying to make caramel apples. We had picked up a few supplies from the market – organic apples, organic caramels and organic coconut. We also had some Unreal Candy on hand – and of course Eben wanted peanut-butter cup on his. They were divine! If you haven’t had a coconut-caramel apple yet, get on it! Read on for our recipe and make these yummies with your little mummies tonight!

1. Gather the Ingredients

  • 3 organic apples
  • 27 organic caramels
  • 1 cup organic coconut
  • 3 Unreal peanut-butter cups

2. Cut it Up
Take this time to chop your Unreal peanut-butter cups into small squares and get your coconut ready to go.

3. Stick It
Place a wooden ice pop stick or chopstick in your apple – make sure you don’t go all the way through.

4. Heat it Up
We were in a hurry so we heated our caramels with 1 tbsp. water in the microwave, and they were completely melted after 1 minute. However, I would recommend stopping at 30 seconds and stirring your caramels until melted.

5. Caramel it Up
Roll your apple through the caramel – it helps if you tilt the bowl from side to side until your apple is covered.

6. Sweeten It Up
As soon as your apple is covered in caramel, roll it in peanut-butter cup or coconut.

7. Eat and Enjoy!
We had to immediately sit down and nosh on our caramel apples – they were so good. I was especially fond of the coconut (my favorite!) – it was perfect.

Green Tip: Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Green Tip Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Did you plant your pumpkins and gourds last spring? If so, you should have a bounty of them to use for decorating and baking this fall. If not or if you live in Florida like me, that’s alright, you can find lovely organic pumpkins and gourds at your local organic farm, farmer’s market or organic grocer. Do you need help locating great organic pumpkins in your area? Check out Local Harvest to locate a farm in your area, and enjoy autumn!

Where do you get your pumpkins?
Do you purchase local organic ones?

Get Thermos Happy: New School Hot Lunch Ideas!

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If you have one or more kiddos in school that depend on you for their lunch everyday, step up your game and introduce new hot and healthy meals into your child’s lunch routine. The perfect way to do this is by investing in a good thermos that will fit in your child’s lunchbox. Of course, the options for thermos designs and colors are endless so be sure to include your little one in the shopping fun – and make sure it is eco-friendly too!

Don’t be skeptical that what you put in the thermos before school will remain hot until your child’s lunch period – it will stay plenty warm! A hot lunch can be a nice change from a cold sandwich – especially with the cooler months approaching. This change may also give you the opportunity to be resourceful by eating more leftovers. If you have the ability to send part of last nights meal in a thermos with your kids the next day perhaps you won’t waste as much food – which is good for the environment and your pocketbook.

You know better than anyone what foods your kids will eat but here are a few thermos meal suggestions to try! What kid doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? Add your favorite spaghetti recipe to your thermos and enjoy! Another favorite is to make veggie mac-n-cheese by mixing frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with mac-n-cheese to make a hearty lunch for any season. Is your kid a chicken nugget fan? Send a few warm ones along with your child’s favorite dipping sauce for a special lunch treat!

Make your little one feel warm and toasty on cool days by sending your special homemade soup! Or sometimes there’s nothing better than eating breakfast for lunch. Send cold or hot breakfast thermos options such as yogurt and berries, or hot oatmeal with fruit. Power up!

How to Make Mealtime Less Stressful in the Busy Fall Season

How to Make Mealtime Less Stressful in the Busy Fall SeasonNOTE FROM SWEET GREENS: This article wasn’t written by me. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Sweet Greens in business.

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With the kids heading back to school and the seasonal work picking up, preparing supper can suddenly become a great source of stress in some people’s lives. Depending on the number of people who need to be fed, your work schedule, taking care of the kids, and any other responsibilities, you may feel like cooking is a chore that is best left to a restaurant. That is, if you can afford one. Here are some tips to make mealtime at home a little less frantic and stressful.

Make a Weekly Menu
Believe it or not, trying to figure out what you are going to cook on any given night can be quite time-consuming. If you are not really sure of what to whip up, you may be stressing yourself out thinking about all your options. Everything that is associated with food and eating should be enjoyable, so try planning out a menu to follow for the whole week and see if this cuts down on your stress. Don’t use do it for yourself, keep in mind the kids too. If you plan out school lunches in advance, you can save yourself precious minutes first thing in the morning.

Prep on Sundays
Arrange your schedule so you can do all of your meal prep on Sundays. Or, if you happen to work on Sunday, put another day aside that you can devote entirely to meal prep. Don’t use that time to just prepare dinner for the week, prep breakfasts and lunches as well. If you send your kids off to school with their lunches, this kind of prep can be a life saver first thing in the morning. Just grab their lunch out of the fridge, toss it in their bags, and away they go! If you want a few days where you don’t have to cook, prepare double of what you normally do so there will periodically be leftovers to enjoy. Chop up any vegetables you need and, if necessary, separate them. Precooking and freezing meals, so you can just pop them into the oven when you are ready to eat, can be a huge time saver. Also, consider investing into a crockpot or slow cooker so, in the future, you only need to pull a prepped bag of food out of the freezer to toss into the crockpot to cook while you are at work.

Assign Roles
Get your family to help out. The kids should be home from school by the time you start on supper, so their hands should be free! On days when you are making spaghetti, delegate boiling the pasta to someone else and have another person cook the meatballs and sauce. By getting your family involved and helping out more in the kitchen, mealtime can become easier, more enjoyable, and far more efficient.

Buy Easy to Cook Foods
There is nothing wrong with enjoying making all of your meals from scratch. However, doing so does add more work to mealtime. Every now and then, go grocery shopping for easy to prepare foods. These are the kind of foods that you can simply pop into the microwave, or that you can eat straight out the package, like yogurt from Hampton Creek. Either way, easy to prepare foods or premade meals can be a lifesaver on those days where you are just too tired to put on your apron and cook.

Stay Positive
Your mood can dramatically impact your attitude about cooking. There may be many reasons why you may not be in the mood to cook, or even reasons why you dislike cooking. The back to school season can be an exhausting time. However, you should not let those moods overpower your need to stay positive. Maintaining a positive mindset about things you don’t like to do can help to make them more bearable.
Look for ways to keep yourself positive. Listen to some music while you are in the kitchen cooking, or watch one of your favorite shows. Talk with one of your friends or family while you are cooking, as long as you remember to stay attentive to what you are doing! No matter what you decide to do, remember to stay safe and never leave cooking food unattended.

With the right changes to your routine, preplanning your meals, and a little help from your family, mealtime doesn’t have to be so overwhelming and stressful. It can be fun and engaging! Advanced meal prep can also help keep your grocery budget under control as you no longer making daily trips to the store. The best part about all of this is that you’ll feel better, be less stressed, and have more energy to spend with the people that you love!

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