Pack Up Produce For Back to School

Posted by Gail Moraski on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 16:08 PM

As we did this time last year in our “Staying Strong in September” post, we want to encourage our readers – and remind ourselves – that we don’t have to ditch the healthy eating and exercise habits we acquired during the spring and summer for less healthy ones. It’s all about preparation and organization, people! We’re sharing our secrets for maintaining healthy food-related habits, no matter how crazy the pace of the fall season gets.

Line Up the Right Tools – Literally and Figuratively

We think it’s so worth the investment of time and money to buy plastic leak-proof bento boxes such as those by, recommended by Jennifer Bessinger, The Clean Food Coach, in her recent piece in “Lens” magazine, “Brown Bag It. Better”. Plastic bento boxes – with distinct compartments and a place specifically for dips (see yumboxlunch sample below) – are easy to clean, won’t weigh your kids’ backpacks down, and allow foods and sauces that don’t belong together to stay that way. Let’s face it – many children won’t eat certain food items if they’ve touched each other. And, we all know some adults who feel that way too!


Also, if school and work settings don’t allow for refrigerating lunches, you’ll want to buy insulated lunch totes and ice packs, so lunch containers can be stored in the tote along with the ice pack. This will ensure cold foods remain cool and at a safe temperature to avoid food contamination risks.

Whether you pack up lunches the night before or the morning of school days, line up the number of bento boxes you need to fill, including one for you and your partner – so you’ve got healthy food to enjoy during the day too. Then, have some fun with the task of filling your boxes with food that’s diverse in texture, taste, and color. Like all Americans, we find we only have so much time and energy to be creative these days, so we love trying to make our boxes as beautiful and enticing as they can be. We also love thinking about how our loved ones will smile when they open their “smorgasbord” boxes that contain different healthy and yummy surprises each day!



Fill 'er Up

When you fill your bento boxes with fiber-rich cut-up fruits and vegetables, you’ll be filling the bellies of your loved ones too. This means you and your family will be less likely to make impulsive, bad food choices – like junk food from the break-room machine or cafeteria line. It also means everyone will likely be able to stay more focused on their school- and job-related work.

For a balanced meal that will keep students and worker bees mentally sharp, be sure your bento box food combinations include: a protein, like cheese, nuts, beans, or turkey; a fat, like avocado found in guacamole or almond found in almond butter; and the dynamic duo of fiber and carbohydrates found in fruits & veggies. To get you started, below are a half-dozen food combinations for a healthy, pretty, and delicious bento box. But, we know you’ll come up with lots of other delicious and nutritious combinations!

  • Apple slices, Simply Concord Caramel Dip, Cheddar Cheese Slices, Almonds, Turkey Slices
  • Carrot sticks, Guacamole Dip, Cherry Tomatoes, Rolled-up Slices of Swiss Cheese, Tuna Salad
  • Individual grapes, Herb Cheese Dip, Hard Boiled Egg, Whole-Grain Crackers, Almond Butter
  • Mandarin oranges, Goat Cheese Crumbles, Turkey Slices, Field Greens, Macadamia Nuts
  • Field Greens, Salsa, Mozzarella Cheese Slices, Whole Grain Crackers, Hummus or Tuna Salad Made With Some Olive Oil
  • Pretzels, Simply Concord Caramel Dip, Cheddar Cheese Slices, Olives, Turkey Slices

Get inspired

Want more ideas for packing up produce-rich lunches? Check out our “Pack A Power Picnic“, “Vegging Out”, “Produce Up” and “Fortify With Fruit” Pinterest boards and read our post on “How to Pack a Power Picnic”.

Please do share

We’ll be talking about packing up healthy, yummy produce for school and work using #produceup #packupproduce #producepusher #stayseptstrong #fortifywithfruit and #vegout on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see how you pack up produce for back to school, so please do share.

Tags: Back to School Tips, Vegetables, Fruit, packing lunches, bento boxes, staying healthy in the fall, healthy snacks

Be Crafty About Teaching Kids to Like Fruits and Vegetables

Posted by Gail Moraski on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 @ 11:07 AM

The way that “a spoonful of sugar can help the medicine go down”, creating fun creatures and edible artwork out of fruit and vegetables can be the right prescription for getting the children in your life to like and eat their fruit and vegetables.

There’s so many great reasons for being creative – literally and figuratively – about getting children to enjoy a large cross-section of produce. We all know that many great nutrients and vitamins are found in fruits and vegetables. But, you can learn more about the many health benefits of various forms of produce by reading our recent blog posts:  Conquering Kale, Supe Up Your Diet With Simply Super Strawberries, Fortify with Fruit, and Become a Pro at Vegging Out.

In addition to the health benefits your favorite children will reap from consuming more produce-based drinks and dishes, research has shown that children who learn to experiment with, and hopefully, enjoy, a variety of fruit and veggies at a young age, enjoy a very diverse, produce-rich diet as adults.

Use Fresh, Frozen, Raw or Cooked Produce to Produce a Dish That Delights!

We’ll let you decide whether you want to use fresh, raw, frozen, thawed, or cooked produce in your creations. And, depending on the age of children in-question, and the tasks involved, whether or not to involve them in design-making. Regardless, we want to share some helpful tips from our own experience creating colorful creatures – whether they be people, animals, or insects:

  • Celery and carrot sticks, and baby carrots make excellent arms and legs for the critter and creature designs we create on our children’s plates.
  • Cucumber, radish, summer squash, zucchini, apple, kiwi, banana, tomato, and potato slices (when sliced in the form of a round circle) serve as a great head/face for smaller creations. Grapes and cherry tomatoes make wonderful heads for insect food art.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and other greens ensure our creatures have a great head of hair.
  • Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and capers can serve as eyes or buttons on clothing.
  • A whole banana -- in or out of its skin-- or a half of a red, yellow, or orange green pepper provides a bright, beautiful body.
  • A small slice of purple onion or small bit of tomato makes for a beautiful smile.

See lots of wonderful produce creatures and critters on our “Kids Fruit & Veggie Fun” Pinterest board.

Provide a Smooth, Healthy Distraction

If a cute produce creature made solely with fruit and/or vegetables isn’t enough to entice children to eat the produce used to create it, consider adding something smooth and enticing such as guacamole or a thick smoothie to surround or in which to incorporate your artwork.

Given our love of great guacamole and the many mixes we offer, we had to share one of our favorite produce creatures (crocamole) that combines a dip made from fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) with fresh vegetables. Thanks for the idea!




And, given our love of #deliciousandnutritious smoothies and the many mixes we offer, we’re also huge fans of this cute-as-a-bunny smoothie bowl recipe found at that provides for a double punch of fruits and vegetables.




Use Our Containers to Keep Those Creative Juices Flowing

One last favorite crafty idea to get the children who are near and dear to us to enjoy the great taste and health benefits of produce is to encourage them to drink and eat recipes made with our lemon and lime juice. They’ve seen how much fun it is to create “juicekins” -- like the ones shown here -- from empty Concord Foods lemon and lime juice containers, which motivates them to ask us to serve beverages and dishes that contain it! Learn about our juicekin summer photo contest and get inspiration for creating your own juicekins on Pinterest.



Share Your Sweet Creations

We’ll be talking about fruit and veggie crafts using #foodart #fruitandveggiefun #juicekin #produceup #fortifywithfruit and #vegout on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see what fun creations you come up with, so please do share.

Tags: Guacamole, smoothies, fruits and veggie fun for kids, recipes for kids, crafts

How To Make A Sweet Summer Salad

Posted by Gail Moraski on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 18:07 PM

With all its deliciousness and nutrition-ness, there’s never a bad time for making and enjoying a salad, but we find our friends and family members welcome salads much more on warm-weather days. Since we like to jump on any opportunity for our loved ones to eat healthy food – and welcome the break from cooking over a hot stove – we love to make and serve salads when temperatures are high.

Simply follow the steps below to create a summer salad that sparkles with bright colors and bright flavors!

  1. Make It Fruitful!

You know how we make salads that are extra “sweet” in all senses of the word? We add the yummy taste of summer fruit to our lettuce/greens and other vegetables. We find both our own and our guests’ mouths watering when we set down a salad with colorful strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries or other seasonal fruit.

  1. Be Cheesy!

Adding crumbled goat or feta cheese to a salad that incorporates fruit not only enhances its flavors, but also makes it a work of art. Know that your guests are goat- and feta- cheese-shy? Add some shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

  1. Go Nuts!

Beef up the health perks and the great taste of your summer salad by adding slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans. Or, go a bit wild and rogue – it is summer after all – and use some plain or spicy peanuts, macadamia nuts, or pistachio nuts.

  1. Dress Cool!

Because it’s summer, you don’t want a heavy dressing weighing your salad down. A few squeezes or squirts of lemon juice can make any dressing taste light & summery, but we particularly love this recipe for dressing made with lemon juice and olive oil. You can keep things extra simple by using our fresh-squeezed Italia Garden™ lemon juice from Italy in the aforementioned recipe, or simply mix a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil.



Make It Blue-tiful!

Not good at figuring out what nuts, cheese, fruit, etc. to combine with greens? Why not serve up the blue-tiful Almond and Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Croutons and Lemon & Honey Vinaigrette shown above, or, get inspiration for other salads that incorporate summer’s fruit bounty from our Summer Salads Pinterest board?

Share Your Sweet Creations

We’ll be talking about sweet summer salads using #summersalads #fortifywithfruit #sweetsummersalads and #94simplesummerdays on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see what #deliciousandnutritious creations you come up with, so please do share. And, be sure to enter your sweet summer salad recipe in the “Salad and Side Dish category” of our Summer Recipe Contest

Tags: Lemon Juice, Soup & Salads, blueberries, summer salads

Make It an Un-Four-Gettable Fourth!

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 11:06 AM

Let’s face it, since it’s been 240 years since the U.S. Continental Congress signed “The Declaration of Independence” to declare the 13 colonies’ independence from Great Britain, sometimes, we Americans forget what Fourth of July is all about. At Concord Foods, we think it’s important that each and every generation of Americans understands and never loses sight of what July 4th aka Independence Day is all about – so much more than a day off from work and an excuse for a barbecue (although those are great reasons for a celebration too!)

In keeping with the above, we’re encouraging our readers to make some time to organize and engage in July 4th activities that will remind family members and friends about the great history and hugely important event behind this summer day of celebrations. What follows are some of our favorite ideas for making this year’s “Fourth” un-four-gettable on both the fun activities and remembering the day’s purpose fronts.

Fun Ways to Focus on the Fourth’s Forefathers

  • Step Back in Time – attend a local parade, reenactment, or lecture where you and your friends and family will have the opportunity to learn less-known facts about circumstances leading up to and surrounding July 4, 1776 – the day “The Declaration of Independence” was signed.
  • Trivialize Events – Gather “fun facts from the video and other great content found at to provide material for a game of Independence Day trivia at your “Fourth” get-together.
  • Act out -- Notify friends and family attending your “Fourth” get-together that you’ll be awarding a prize to the group of individuals who puts on the most engaging skit depicting the days leading up to and the signing of the “Declaration”.

Feast Like a Founding Father

Why not keep the history lessons and the day’s focus on the past going by serving up food that’s reminiscent of fare eaten in 1776? We’re thinking that, almost 250 years ago, newly minted United-States-of-America citizens were feasting on lots of dishes made with produce, because, hey, produce has been a U.S. staple for centuries. And, this great piece by the Huffington Post echoes our thoughts. You’ll see that it’s likely that at the time of the “Declaration’s” signing, that in addition to forms of protein such as turkey, lamb, and fish (think crab cakes and trout), Americans were enjoying the below as well as other produce-incorporating fare:

  • Corn chowder
  • Green beans
  • Cherry pie
  • Lemon- and orange-glazed pound cake
  • Apple and cranberry desserts


Since Concord Foods specializes in products that make fruits and vegetables extra-special, check out our lemon and lime juices and our seasoning mixes to see how you can add some extra pizzazz to any “Fourth” fare that includes yummy, healthy produce. We think our “Founding Fathers” won’t mind your adding a modern-day twist (pun intended) or taking advantage of the convenience of our lemon and lime juices or seasoning mixes!

While all the recipes we’ve collected don’t feature fruits and vegetables, you can get more “Fourth” fare inspiration at

Regardless of how you choose to spend Independence Day, we wish all our readers a very safe one.

Follow Us and Share All Summer Long

In addition to tweeting and posting about “Fourth” festivities using #fabulousfourth and #unfourgettablefourth, each summer day, we’ll be tweeting and Facebook-posting about low- and no-cost pastime ideas for you and your family to enjoy summer’s simple pleasures – using #94SimpleSummerDays. We hope you’ll follow us for daily inspiration to help you unplug this summer and maximize the short season that is summer.

We want to hear and see how you celebrated Independence Day as well as what simple summer pastimes you and your family are enjoying, so please do share with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


Tags: Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, July 4th Menus, Vegetables, Fruit, lemon, Fourth of July, limes, Independence Day

Make It A Summer of Simple Pastimes

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 10:06 AM

Make It A Summer of Simple Pastimes

It’s quite obvious to all of us – particularly those of us who grew up in the days before the internet, social media, and Smartphone apps – that we are living in an extremely technology-driven and information-overload time and world. Of course, there are benefits to this; for example, you can now read blogs like ours to get healthy recipe and activity ideas for you and your family. Still, as we discussed in our 2015 holiday post, “Serve Up Simple Holiday Pleasures”, we could all benefit greatly from some time away from electronics and the constant influx of information. So, in addition to tweeting and posting ideas all summer long to support your having #94simplesummerdays, we’re sharing below one of our favorite simple pastimes for “unplugging” this summer.

Replace Juicy Gossip with Juicy Fruit

Sometimes when we’re trying to motivate ourselves to choose behaviors or activities that are mentally or physically good for us vs. those that aren’t, we ask ourselves, “at the end of my life, which am I going to be glad I did more of – spending time on social media or spending time in the great outdoors?” It reminds us to capitalize on any beautiful, warm weather day with a simple activity. In keeping with the aforementioned, and the fact that North American Blueberry season is underway, why not step away from celebrity tweets and schedule a blueberry-picking outing with family and/or friends?

There’s so many great reasons to love blueberry-picking. Some of our favorites include:

  • Fresh air and exercise
  • Sun on your face, back, legs, and arms
  • Luscious aroma of blueberries that takes you back to grandma’s kitchen
  • Beautiful blue hues surrounding you
  • Daydreaming about what you’ll make and enjoy with your blueberry bounty
  • Healthy competition to see who can pick the largest or most blueberries

Use this great map from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council to see where you can enjoy a day of blueberry picking.

Looking for a great recipe idea for all the #beautifulblueberries you picked? We’ve got a smooth one. And, read our recent “Powerful Pairings” blog post to learn how and why to pair beautiful blueberries with other great produce, or visit our “Beautiful Blueberries” Pinterest board for other blue hue inspiration.




Be A Beneficiary of Bountiful Benefits

We, our friends, and our family love the experience of blueberry-picking so much, we often forget the benefits we’ll get from our blueberry-picking treasure beyond fresh air, exercise, family/friend bonding, and a much-needed break from the digital world and online activities. Those sometimes-overlooked benefits are all the wonderful health benefits associated with blueberry consumption.

Per this great piece from Women Fitness, blueberries’ bountiful health benefits include:

  • Promote overall good health because of having highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit
  • Neutralizes free radicals, positively impacting how your body ages and fights disease
  • Aids in your digestive system operating effectively and reduces belly fat
  • Supports vision preservation
  • Assists with cancer prevention
  • Promotes good brain, heart, urinary tract, and mental health

Follow Us All Summer Long For Simple Pastime Inspiration defines a pastime as “something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport.” Each summer day we’ll be tweeting and posting on Facebook low- and no-cost pastime ideas for you and your family to enjoy summer's simple pleasures, using #94SimpleSummerDays. We hope you’ll follow us for daily inspiration to help you unplug this summer and maximize the short season that is summer.

We want to hear and see what simple summer pastimes you and your family are enjoying, so please do share with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Tags: Summer Recipe Contest, Blueberry Banana Smoothie Mix, blueberries

Juice Up Your Summer Recipes To Make Them Winners

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

We know that nothing makes a recipe – whether it’s a salad, entrée, dessert or beverage – look and taste more summery than a few squeezes or squirts of lemon or lime juice. And, from all the great entries we’ve received the past few years in our Summer Recipe Contest, we know many of our readers already know how to capitalize on this great secret for adding sparkle to any summer dish or drink!

Because we want to encourage chefs and cooks who already recognize the benefits of using lemon and lime juice in recipes to keep doing so, as well as encourage those who haven’t yet dipped their toes in the lemon and/or lime juice pool to do so, we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be running our Summer Recipe Contest again this summer.



 We just can’t wait to see what kind of unique and tasty recipes you’ll come up with this this year, using one or several of our lemon and lime juice productsWhile we won’t be accepting recipes until June 1 – and entrants have until August 31st to submit their prize-winning recipes – we wanted to give you some advance notice, so you can get those creative juices (hah, hah) flowing now. 


Recipes will be judged based on the following criteria: creativity, use of Concord Foods juices, visual appeal, ease of execution (how easy is this recipe to make by the average home cook), taste test, and entry content (additional information you provide with your submission).

In keeping with Summer Recipe Contest tradition, we’ll be crowning one grand prize winner who will win a $500 cash prize.  We’ll also be awarding one first ($200 cash prize) and one second ($150) place winner in each of the following categories:  Appetizer, Beverage, Entree, Salad & Side Dish, and Dessert. 


To inspire you to turn on the juice this summer and enjoy the fruits of your labor – okay, so we love our produce puns – check out these winning recipients from past contest entrants. And, we’ve collected more inspiration for you on our Summer Salads, Fire Up Father’s Day, Fabulous Fourth, Twist That Fish, and Lemons & Limes Pinterest boards.

Never entered a recipe contest? There’s a first time for everything, and if you win not only will you be juiced, but other Concord Foods fans and followers will benefit from our sharing of your winning recipe! You’ll also be helping the plight of poor lemons who sadly and unwillingly continue to be maligned in negative expressions such as that “car is a real lemon”. So, create and submit your winning entry to empower lemons and limes everywhere!


We’ll be talking about juicing up summer recipes using #givelimesometime #givelemonstheirdue #summerrecipecontest #summersalads and #twistthatfish on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We know you won’t want to share all the details about your contest entries, but please do share what and where you can, and particularly your recipes that include lemon and lime that you don’t plan on submitting!

Tags: Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Summer Recipe Contest, lemon, lime

Pair Powerful Produce for a Potent Punch!

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, May 13, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

As part of celebrating National Nutrition Month in March, a highly regarded healthcare organization operating near our Greater-Boston-area headquarters promoted their on-site eatery offering of healthy smoothies to staff, faculty, and patients. We adored the enticing names they gave their smoothies and their associated produce pairings and just had to share them:

  • Antioxidant Blend: Baby kale, mango, banana, pineapple, mandarin orange, and almonds
  • Cholesterol Crusher Blast: Baby kale, banana, blueberries, oatmeal, cacao, and almonds
  • Energy Refueler: Greek yogurt, banana, chia seeds, cacao, and almonds
  • Fountain of Youth: Mango, avocado, blueberries, baby kale, and chia seeds
  • Emerald Pineapple: Baby spinach, pineapple, mandarin orange, banana, and chia seeds

It’s amazing how much great taste you can bring out and how many nutrients you can pack in, when you combine two or more colorful, healthy, and delicious forms of produce in one convenient-to-consume smoothie! To encourage our readers and customers to reap all the great benefits of playing it smooth and pairing powerful produce, from June 1 – September 30, 2016, when you buy three packages combined of our kale & apple smoothie mix with protein and/or our blueberry banana smoothie mix with flaxseed, we’ll give you $0.55 back at the cash register when you use our IRC (instantly redeemable coupon.)




One of the many things we love about the pairing of kale and apples is how the sweet taste of apples compliments and greatly tones down the more bitter taste of kale. As we discussed in our Conquering Kale blog post, kale has just so many great health benefits, we wanted to help our customers find an easy and delicious way to incorporate more kale in their diets. And, we think you’ll find drinking a smoothie made with our kale & apple with protein mix is a smooth way of doing just that!

Never made a smoothie and feeling intimidated by the process? Check out this easy-to-follow video for making a kale & apple smoothie from our friends at Chelan Fresh.

Want more great ideas for pairing powerful produce for a potent punch? Follow our and Pinterest boards for combination inspiration!

Sharing Your Pairings!

We’ll be talking about powerful produce pairings using #producepairing #powerfulpairing #playitsmooth and #nutritioussmoothies on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see what #deliciousandnutritious pairings you come up with, so please do pair and share!

Tags: Kale, Spring produce, smoothies, Smoothie Mixes, Kale & Apple Smoothie Mix,, Blueberry Banana Smoothie Mix, nutritious smoothies, blueberries, apples, bananas

Supe Up Your Diet With Simply Super Strawberries

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, May 03, 2016 @ 17:05 PM

For many years now, diet and nutrition experts have referred to strawberries as a “super food”. That’s no surprise to us. With all the great nutrients and health benefits that strawberries offer, we’ve long thought of them as a food champion! So, we’re taking advantage of the fact that May is National Strawberry Month to sing the praises of one of our favorite and daily-eaten fruits.

We think we all should supe up our diets, like our favorite cars, to support creating our dream bodies and making optimal health more than a pipe dream. Here’s why and how regular consumption of strawberries – both fresh and frozen – will help get you get your body and health “suped-up” for spring.

  • As explained in a great piece by Reader’s Digest best health, strawberries are a good source of antioxidants like Vitamin C, potassium, and folate (a B-12 vitamin).
  • Because of their rich nutrients, strawberries promote good eye and heart health – they reduce “bad” cholesterol and help to regulate blood pressure.
  • Daily consumption of strawberries – whether it be in their natural form or incorporation in food dishes or beverages – is believed to support cancer prevention.
  • Strawberries have anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties which support overall good health and well-being.
  • If you’re planning on getting pregnant, because of the folate they contain, strawberries may help ensure you and your baby have a healthy pregnancy.
  • These super berries also may help you develop younger-looking skin because of their wrinkle-fighting properties.
  • And, this amazing fruit may assist with weight loss because, while strawberries do contain some natural sugar, they are among the fruits that have the lowest sugar levels. They are also naturally salt- and fat-free, and a great source of fiber – something your body needs to function optimally.

Get and impress your friends with other great “fun facts” about strawberries from




Make Every Day Super With a Simply Super Treat

As if all their wonderful health benefits weren’t enough, we think strawberries are one of the fruits most enjoyed by us, our friends and our families. They are so delicious that just eating them in their natural state gives the feeling of having a decadent treat. We’re sure their bright red color adds to that extra-special-treat feeling; in fact, we bet just viewing these beautiful photos from the California Strawberry Commission will have your mouth watering!

Regardless of why most individuals adore strawberries, we think you’ll like our ideas for incorporating these simply super berries in your diet, throughout your day.

Need more ideas for incorporating strawberries in your and your family’s spring and summer diets? Follow our “Simply Super Strawberries” Pinterest board. We’ll be adding more cool recipes throughout the month of May.

Share Your Suped-up Success!

We’ll be talking about Simply Super Strawberries using #simplysuperstrawberries #strawberries #superfood, #superfruit, and #Nationalstrawberrymonth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see how you and your family suped-up for spring!

Tags: Desserts, smoothies, Soup & Salads, snacks, strawberries

Olé – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Your Way!

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 10:04 AM

As we shared in our “Embrace Your Cinco de Mayo Side” post, Cinco de Mayo gains more and more U.S. popularity each year, and many American citizens look forward to celebrating it, even though the holiday originates from Mexico! Who doesn’t welcome a festive excuse to break out favorite Mexican recipes after all? We don’t know many friends or family members whose mouths don’t start watering at the thought of tortillas chips, salsa, guacamole, black bean dip, enchiladas, margaritas, and other fare we all associate with Mexico.

We’re going to share with readers standard (and simpler) as well as more unique menu ideas for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, and let you decide what makes the most sense for you and your guests, based on the prep time, your love or lack thereof of cooking and baking, and the taste buds of your party attendees.

Raise the Bar Without a Lot of Heavy Lifting

If your schedule leading up to and around Cinco de Mayo looks to be a busy one with not a lot of time for cooking and baking, why not keep things simple by setting up a taco and/or burrito bar for your guests? Partygoers will love choosing their own toppings and making their own Mexican creation, and you’ll love how easy it is to throw together a fun, engaging event for friends and family.

Here’s some of the basics you’ll want to include in your Mexican bar -- presented in the order you’ll want to lay them out on the table that will serve as your bar:

  • Hard, corn taco shells and/or flour tortillas (burrito wraps) – buy these pre-made and follow package heating instructions, but just a few minutes on a baking sheet in your oven and these should be ready to serve.
  • Ground beef and/or chicken – use a bit of tomato sauce and chili powder, some pico de gallo, or salsa made from our basic recipe to season hamburger meat or small pieces of sliced chicken.
  • Refried beans – your easiest option will be to buy canned ones that you can heat quickly, and keep warm in a chafing dish, mini crockpot, or casserole dish with cover.
  • Black beans – ditto the above.
  • Chopped lettuce – dice up some iceberg lettuce or go less-traditional and serve up field greens or fresh spinach.
  • Tomato salsa – combine our salsa mixes with fresh tomatoes, and diced onion; make both hot and mild varieties, and label appropriately, so guests can decide just how spicy they want things to get.
  • Guacamole – using avocado and a variety of our guacamole mixes, mix up a mixture of guacamole dips – since some will like it hot, and some not.
  • Shredded cheese – we say, “go for the bright orange cheddar cheese” – it just looks festive!
  • Sour cream – snag a tub in the dairy aisle and you are good to go!


Show Off Your South-of-the-Border Cooking and Baking Chops

For those whose schedules, skills, and desire allow for more elaborate and unique Mexican fare – and honestly, we believe all our readers have the potential to be great cooks if they set their minds to it, and we do keep our recipes simple so everyone can follow them – we’ve created a series of Cinco de Mayo recipes, from breakfast through dinner and dessert. Your guests will be particularly impressed when you offer up a Mexican dessert like dulce de leche rice pudding and/or coconut lime bars to top off your Cinco de Mayo lunch, dinner, or other get-together.

Need More Inspiration for Your Cinco de Mayo Celebration?

We think our readers will enjoy this wonderful Pinterest board that combines ideas for two Mexican favorites – enchiladas and tamales: And, if you and your guests are fans of quesadillas, check out this great Pinterest recipe collection. You can also get ideas for all of the aforementioned Mexican favorites – enchiladas, tamales, and quesadillas from our “Celebrating Cinco de Mayo” Pinterest board.

Share Your Sombreros and Sangria!

We’ll be talking about Cinco de Mayo using #mayfifth #cincodemayo #mexicanfare and #southoftheborderfare on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see how you and your guests celebrated the fifth of May, so please do share!

Tags: Guacamole, Cinco de Mayo, Salsa, Mexican fare

Smooth Moves to Spring-Clean Your Home and Diet

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 @ 12:03 PM

Even though, in certain parts of the U.S. the weather may not make it feel so, spring is officially underway and it’s got us thinking about both the fun and chore-like activities that the new season brings. On the practical side of things, there’s something about spring that brings on the urge and need to engage in some heavy-duty home spring cleaning like washing rugs, curtains, and comforters, or to reacquaint our feather duster with parts of our home it hasn’t seen in a while.

With Easter now past us, there’s no reason to let dust bunnies linger right? So, why not check out these two great pieces from HGTV and Sylvane that provide tips and checklists for pointing all your spring-cleaning energies in the right direction. We think you’ll reap both mental and physical benefits from the breath of fresh air that literally and figuratively comes from having digs that are less-cluttered, and invigorated by the spring air that comes from opening windows to let winter aromas out!

Create a Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Diet

All of our energies and reading around spring cleaning got us thinking, “shouldn’t we be giving our bodies and our health at least the same – if not a greater level of attention – than what we give our homes during the season of spring?” And, hey, if we’re willing to follow a checklist to get our homes in tip-top shape for spring, why not do the same to get our own and our family members’ health in glowing spring form?

Because we’re a food company, and that’s what we know best, we’re going to make the focus of our spring health and body checklist diet vs. exercise – we’ll leave the hard-core exercise suggestions to the experts! Below is the diet spring cleaning checklist we created, plan to follow, and will share with friends and family. We hope you’ll follow ours or create a similar one for you and your family!



1) Add 1 new fruit, plus 1 new vegetable, to my diet each month of spring

2) Start my day on a healthy note by including veggies, fruit, or both in my breakfast

3) At least 3 times a day, consume meals or beverages that include 1 or more forms of produce

4) Replace go-to snack of chips and dip with veggies and dip like carrots with guacamole or celery sticks with salsa

5) Replace usual dessert fare like ice cream, brownies, and cookies with fresh, cut-up fruit and yogurt dip

6) Serve meals that remind me of a rainbow because of the many and diverse colors of bright, beautiful fruits and vegetables I see on my and family members’ plates

How to Succeed at the Spring Six

So, now that we’ve detailed in our diet spring cleaning checklist above what we like to call the “spring six”, we’d be remiss if we didn’t provide tips and tools for achieving them. One of our favorite ways to ensure that we and family members succeed at the spring six is by drinking and serving daily smoothies. When you make a smoothie with one of our mixes, and include the one or several forms of healthy produce, as directed, you’ve got yourself a nutritious and delicious beverage that strongly supports your achievement of the spring six.

Another secret to succeeding at the spring six is to prepare dips that are made themselves of fresh fruits and veggies, such as guacamole or salsa. When you add veggies or fruit for dipping, you’ll be getting a double dose of healthy produce to help you achieve your spring six objectives. What’s not to love about a spring snack like that?

Check out our recent blog posts for more great ideas for fortifying your food and beverages with fruit and for planning beverages and meals that make you a pro at vegging out.

Please Do Join Us and Share

We’ll be talking about spring cleaning your diet and the spring six using #dietspringcleaning #springsix #healthyspring and #playitsmooth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear about and see your diet spring cleaning checklist – and how you achieved it! So, please do share.

Tags: Healthy Food Options, Spring produce, smoothies, healthy drinks, Vegetables, Fruit

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