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How To Pack A Power Picnic

Posted by Gail Moraski on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 10:07 AM


Particularly for those of us who endure colder winter temperatures, one of summer’s greatest pleasures is dining outdoors. Doesn’t just the mention of the word “picnic” call up lots of great memories or make you look forward to time spent in the warm, fresh air enjoying life’s simple pleasures with family and friends? If you’re like us, though, we know there’s times you struggle with what food to pack. We’re here to share tips that make sure guests love and eat what we serve – and as a fortunate consequence – mean we don’t have to throw out a lot of left-over food that’s been sitting in the warm sun all day!


Make It Grabbable!

Our experience with picnic lunches or dinners for a trip to the park, beach, or other favorite outdoor venue is that it’s best to pack a lot of finger food or at least food that doesn’t require cutting with a knife. Since snacks and meals eaten at the beach or a park are often consumed while sitting on a blanket or a bench, it’s best not to serve food that requires guests to keep their plastic or paper plates perfectly level or steady. Plus, just by its nature, a picnic is usually served where and when there’s lots of things to distract your family and friends from eating, such as waves to be waded in and volleyballs to be punched. You’ll want to offer food that can be grabbed and eaten easily on the go.

Pack Up the Produce!

But, just because food should be easy to grab and eat, doesn’t mean it can’t still be yummy and healthy. In fact, we think some of the yummiest and most vitamin- and antioxidant-rich food is the most grabbable! Due to the ease of eating them outdoors, sandwiches and chips may have been your go-to picnic food, but we’re here to share why we believe you should move “beyond the bread.”

When you wash and cut fruits and veggies for a picnic – and you can easily pack them in a large zip-lock baggie – you’re packing what we like to call power food – food that packs a healthy punch. Your friends and family will get healthy carbohydrates to keep them energized for the day’s activities. Plus, since fruits and vegetables contain a fair amount of water, you’ll be helping loved ones stay hydrated on a warm day. And, your guests will be getting other great things their body needs like vitamins and fiber.

What picnic guest doesn’t love to snag a fresh strawberry or a piece of cantaloupe that they can quickly dunk in some yogurt dip before running off to play wiffle ball? Or, some fresh carrots or cherry tomatoes that they can dunk in guacamole? We think your guests will also love to grab and gobble vegetables and fruit skewers like these from Food.com http://www.food.com/recipe/colorful-fruit-kabobs-304813. As they describe them, “this is basically fruit salad – on a stick!” What’s not to love about them?

Be Dippy!

As we mentioned above, you can make the fruits and vegetables you serve extra-special and extra-tasty, by serving healthy, yummy dips with them. Check out our ideas for dips for vegetables that you can make with our Guacamole and Salsa seasoning mixes, and to keep your picnic powerful, think about packing some low-fat/low-sugary yogurt dip vs. chocolate sauce for guests to dip their fruit in too.

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We want to hear and see the power picnics you serve friends and family this summer, so please do share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 



 

Tags: Picnic

Lighten Up to Slim Down This Summer

Posted by Gail Moraski on Thu, Jul 02, 2015 @ 12:07 PM


Summer always feels like the ideal time to lighten up the snacks and meals you make for yourself and your family.  Regardless of where you live in the U.S., hotter temperatures make us all want to eat less-heavy dishes that include fresh – and refreshing – vegetables and fruits.  It’s likely our body craves fresh fruits and vegetables because they seem lighter than other food options like starchy pasta or potatoes, and because their water content makes them thirst-quenching.


Regardless of your reason for wanting to serve lighter, healthier fare to your family this summer – a practice we hope you will carry over into non-summer months – we’re here to help you with your goal of introducing slimmed-down, healthy dishes this summer.  Once again, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Brooks Tropicals to offer some fun and healthy recipes.  These “Skinny Guacamole” recipes instruct you how to make crowd-pleasing dishes that include a lighter guacamole made with Brooks Tropicals SlimCado avocados and Concord Foods guacamole mixes.  

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SlimCados are 100% natural, have 50% less fat and 35% fewer calories than drier climate avocados. Learn more about them at Brooks Tropicals’ really fun web site.  We know the yummy images there will just having you craving fruits and vegetables even more – particularly, tropical ones!

But, we don’t want you to just feel healthier this summer – we also want to give you a chance to possibly become wealthier, so we’ve also brought back our Skinny Guacamole Sweepstakes.  Be sure to enter between July 1 and August 31, 2015 to automatically be included in our grand prize drawing of $500 cash, plus weekly prize drawings.

To keep you on track with lightening up to slim down this summer – hopefully, both your meals and your body – check out our Skinny Guacamole Pinterest board to get more great ideas on how you can incorporate Slimcados, and other mouth-watering fruits and vegetables, in summer dishes your family and guests will simply love!


We want to hear and see the special meals you served or things you did to lighten up to slim down this summer, so please do share with us on Facebook or Twitter


 

 

Tags: Skinny Guacamole

Become a Pro At Vegging Out

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 @ 14:06 PM


With such a large and diverse group of produce to choose from, we believe it’s possible for everyone – even those who are a bit vegetable-timid – to creatively incorporate vegetables into their and their family’s daily diet. We’re sharing our favorite ideas for “vegging out” to make sure our readers and their families benefit from the great taste, vitamins and antioxidants, and high fiber of a vegetable-rich diet.

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Kitchen-Sink Your Dishes

That’s right, we’ve made “kitchen sink” a verb in our households because, to us, it’s an easy and fun action we can take to add more vegetables into the meals we make. Kitchen-sinking means throwing as many types of vegetables as you like or happen to have around into dishes that lend itself to it. 

Let’s start with soup. Whether you start with broth made from scratch, or simply open a can of soup like chicken rice or noodle, you can really bump up the soup’s or broth’s nutritious-ness and delicious-ness by adding your and your family’s favorite vegetables. We find it’s quite fun figuring out what to include, brings out our creative side, and makes us feel good about serving soup to our friends and family – even when it’s canned – when we make soup extra special and extra healthy with veggie add-ins.

As with soup, we’ve believe brightening up a home-made quiche with lots of colorful vegetables a no-brainer as far as ensuring our families get the nutrients they need. We love adding whatever vegetables are in season, so we get to enjoy both the great taste and health benefits! Right now, we’re loving throwing in things like slices of fresh summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and spinach leaves.

Remember, a little can still go a long way as far as providing the vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber your family needs. So, if large pieces of tomato or broccoli in their food will have your kids running screaming from the lunch or dinner table, include more finely-cut pieces of vegetables in your kitchen sink dishes.

Make Wellness Whimsical

One of our other favorite ways to make sure we and our families get the benefits of eating a variety of vegetables is to display them on a plate in a creative way, such as in the shape of an animal or some other object that children love. And, we’ve found that our kids, and even our significant others, are more likely to try and eat new vegetables when they’ve helped us build some fun vegetable creations such as these from The Art of Nutrition blog. What’s not to love about the tomato scarecrow and cucumber giraffe, right?


Get More

Welcome more great ideas for incorporating healthy, delicious veggies in your meals? Check out these great ideas from Eating Well for making summer meals “produce-packed” and our delicious and easy egg recipes that hold the ham while bringing on the veggies!

We’re such believers in the importance of including lots of veggies in your diet, we welcome hearing and seeing your creative ideas for doing so. Be one of the first five to share them with us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll send you a five-pack of our guacamole mixes that pair well with lots of different veggies.

 



 

 

 

Fire Up Your Father’s Day

Posted by Gail Moraski on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 16:06 PM


Doesn’t thinking of how your dad made you feel so protected as a child during a thunderstorm or watching your husband give your daughter a pep talk after she struck out at bat make you want to do something extra special for him for Father’s Day this year?  Regardless of what man you want to honor this Father’s Day – remember, it’s Sunday, June 21st, and just around-the-corner – we’ve got you covered with a lot of great ideas to fire up Father’s Day for your special men.


Great Grill Grub

If your dad is like most dads, he probably loves a hamburger, steak, hot dog, or piece of chicken fresh off the grill.  Even if your father’s a vegetarian, we bet he enjoys an ear of corn or a skewer of vegetables that has that just-can’t-be-duplicated flavor of being cooked on the grill.  So, why not fire up your grill and make this Father’s Day one that your dad or other fathers in your life – like your husband, brother, or uncle – are sure to both appreciate and remember?

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Whether it’s Father’s Day or some other special summer occasion like a graduation celebration or Fourth of July, we’ve put together some cookout recipes that all your guests, particularly any honored ones, are sure to love.  We’ve also pulled together some of our favorite ideas for yummy appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts (think North American blueberry season J) on our “Fire Up Father’s Day” Pinterest board.

Keep The Fire Where It Belongs

While nothing makes us relish summer more than an outdoor porch or backyard barbecue with family and/or friends, we all need to make sure that we don’t get so caught up in the enjoyment that we lose sight of being and keeping our guests safe.  Make sure a safety mishap doesn’t spoil your or your guests’ fun by following these grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:  http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/grilling/grilling-safety-tips.

Heat Things Up Without The Grill

Not a fan of grilling?  No worries.  We get that some people just aren’t grill people – whether it’s due to taste buds, diets, or logistics like no outdoor space for grilling, or time, money, and materials involved.  We’ve got other great ideas for you to fire up your Father’s Day get-together such as adding extra spice and heat with our Cinco De Mayo recipes that you can enjoy any time, not just May 5th. Or, heat things up with our one of tailgate recipes – no car necessary!

Sweet & Savory Food That Will Still Fire Things Up

And, for those of our readers who are neither fans of grilled nor Mexican food, we’ve still got something up our sleeves for food that’s still extra-special and sure to impress and please the fathers in your life. Your guests of honor will feel just that – honored – when you serve delicious, unique dishes, like Thai chicken satay and chicken stuffed with feta and sun-dried tomato you make using our sweet & savory recipes.


We want to hear and see the special meals you served or things you did to ignite the Father’s Day of the men you care about, so please do share with us on Facebook or Twitter


 

 

 

Tags: Father's Day

Be Dynamic This Summer

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 09:06 AM


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing clues on our Facebook page about an exciting new Concord Foods product that’s now available in most grocery stores.  So, if you’re a loyal Facebook fan or visit our web site regularly, you may already be privy to this healthy update.  We’re pleased to share that we’ve added a new smoothie mix to our line of nutritious smoothies!  And, we know that those of you out there who are constantly searching for a new food item or beverage that’s both delicious and healthy are going to love our new blueberry banana smoothie with flaxseed mix.


Our new smoothie mix is just batty about joining our kale & apple smoothie mix with protein as part of what we like to call our “Dynamic Duo” of Nutritious Smoothies. 

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As with our kale & apple mix, when you make a blueberry banana smoothie using the recipe on the mix package you’ll get lots of great vitamins and antioxidants your body needs to function optimally.  This also means you may feel better and have more energy when you regularly make and drink one of our nutritious smoothies, prepared as directed.  And, when you make a blueberry banana smoothie using our mix and recipe, you’ll also get all the benefits of flaxseed – an ingredient that not only provides fiber and omega-3s to help your body stay well, but also may reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.  Plus, it may invoke special memories of your grandmother’s delicious blueberry banana bread!

We’ve got even more great news – beyond its great taste and health benefits – to share about our new blueberry banana smoothie mix with flaxseed.  For those of you who live in North America, June and July is blueberry season, so you’ll have plenty of access to locally grown blueberries to use in our recipe to make your summer berry sweet!  


For  readers that are U.S. residence, we’ve got other berry exciting news.  Be one of the first five individuals to post a picture of the smoothie you made using our new blueberry banana smoothie mix with flaxseed on your Pinterest page (and let us know about it by e-mailing marketing@concordgoods.com) and/or our Facebook page by June 30, 2015, and you’ll automatically get yourself your own Dynamic Duos – a package of each of our Nutritious Smoothie mixes

So be sure to share a picture of yourself making or drinking your smoothie, or just of your smoothie creation, and in addition to feeling dynamic from all the deliciousness and health benefits you got from your beverage, you may feel like a super hero from your prize win!

Tags: Kale & Apple Smoothie Mix,, Blueberry Banana Smoothie Mix

GREAT REASONS TO GO GREEN THIS SPRING

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, May 22, 2015 @ 16:05 PM


There’s still plenty of time to get in great shape and health for summer, so, we’re taking advantage of the many associations with the word “green” these days to combine fun and motivating ideas to help you and your family get and stay healthy this spring and summer.


 

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The Green Earth…And It’s Great Bounty 

You know how when the weather gets warmer, you just crave fresh fruits and vegetables?  We find that when spring and summer are in the air, we automatically reach for whatever fruits and vegetables are in season to make a delicious vegetable and/or fruit salad – not only because we know it will taste heavenly because of its fresh, natural flavors, but also because we welcome serving meals that are naturally rich in the vitamins and antioxidants we all need to feel our best.

You may have already checked out this great tool we recently shared on Facebook that lets you see what produce is in season in your particular neck of the woods.  It’s an easy way to stay in-the-know on what yummy fruits and vegetables you can look forward to finding on your next trip to your favorite grocery store and to help you plan healthy spring and summer meals.

Green May Keep You Lean

Moving on to another green idea related to the above that will keep your family lean and mean this spring and summer – and we know this isn’t the first time you’ve heard it, but we feel it’s so critical to good health, we wanted to reinforce it – include lots of antioxidant- and vitamin-rich dark green, leafy vegetables (otherwise known as “greens”) in your and your family’s diet.  Whether it be field greens/spring mix, fresh spinach, kale, or some other dark green leafy vegetable that you incorporate in food or beverages you prepare, you’ll be doing both yourself and your family a great health favor when this extremely healthy ingredient is part of your recipe.

Check out our recent “Conquering Kale”blog post for more information about why you should include kale and other dark green leafy veggies in your diet.  And, learn how to make a delicious kale and ap ple smoothie that will have even your most finicky eater capitalizing on kale and other produce.

An Activity That’s All About Being Green

Finally, we want to talk about one of our favorite spring activities – because it’s green on so many levels – that will get and keep you and your family healthy.  That’s walking or running in local charity/cause walks or runs.  First of all, you’ll be helping to “raise some green” (as in dollars!) for some of your favorite causes.  Secondly, what’s better than a day with your family that’s truly green – out and about in nature, exercising in the fresh air and away from computers and technical gadgets?  Related to the aforementioned, you’ll get to see a lot of green too – trees and flowers in bud or in bloom, new grass coming in, etc.


We Want To Hear From You

We hope all of the above has inspired you to be more green this spring.  We’d love to hear other ideas for and benefits of going “green” this spring from our readers and customers, so please do share on here or on our Facebook page.

 

 


 

 

 

Tags: Healthy Living Tips

SIGNALING SUMMER: OUR RECIPE CONTEST IS BACK

Posted by Gail Moraski on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 15:05 PM


You know how the taste of lemons and limes just makes you think and feel like summer? We’re so glad on several fronts to be able to use the following cliché, “back by popular demand”, Concord Foods’ Summer Recipe Contest!  For those of you entered last year or took advantage of making and enjoying some of the great winning recipes we shared online, doesn’t it seem hard to believe it’s been almost a year and that summer is just around the corner?


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 products.  While 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. 

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If last year’s participation reflects what we can look forward to, then our judges’ mouths will definitely be watering when they review some mighty innovative and yummy recipe submissions.  Hundreds of recipes were submitted last year!  That’s a lot of food (and drink) for thought, but we loved and welcomed it!

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 $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:  Breakfast & Brunch, Entrees, Salads & Side Dishes, and Desserts. 


So, start thinking about how you can showcase Concord Foods lemon and lime juices in your own drink or dish creation.  And, while you ponder what attractive, delicious, and creative recipe you’ll share with us this summer, why not make one of our cookout recipes, or take one and add your own personal twist, to make your Memorial Day weekend menu a memorable one!



 

Tags: Summer Recipe Contest

Embrace Your Cinco De Mayo Side

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 12:04 PM


While Cinco De Mayo marks the 1862 Battle of Puebla win by Mexicans over France, for many years now, U.S. citizens, particularly those living in California because of their proximity to Mexico, have adopted and used this occasion as a cause for celebration.  As each year passes, more and more Americans, regardless of location and ethnic background, welcome hosting and attending Cinco de Mayo events because of the many festive activities associated with it. 

FESTIVE FIESTAS:

What makes Cinco de Mayo so festive?   Here’s our thoughts on the top five reasons why Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday that everyone seems to enjoy celebrating:

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  1.  Fabulous Food – who doesn’t love a brightly colored and refreshing margarita, some spicy salsa, a great guacamole for dipping, and mouth-watering enchiladas?  How often do you have an excuse to drink a bright blue drink or eat more than your fair share of nacho chips dunked in your favorite Mexican dip?

  2. Fantastic Fanfare – we all love an excuse to play loud, fun, and highly danceable music, and to wear colorful, flowy, festive clothes that are so different from what we wear normally. Cinco de Mayo party music and clothes just beg to be paid attention to.  And, when else can you get away with hanging a giant cactus piñata from your ceiling or pasting large, bright paper flowers on your walls?  Check out the great ideas for decorations we’ve collected on our Celebrating Cinco de Mayo Pinterest board or check out these two other Pinterest boards for decoration inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/BLovelyEvents/cinco-de-mayo-mexican-themed-party/;or https://www.pinterest.com/amyspartyideas/cinco-de-mayo-party/
  1. Frenzy-Free Friends and Family Time  – a holiday where you can hang out with your besties – whether that be friends and or/family – where the focus isn’t on running around buying and exchanging gifts and you can just enjoy each other’s company?  That sounds heavenly to us.  Hey, it’s been a tough winter throughout the U.S. this year, and we all didn’t get to see each other much in recent months, so why not take any excuse for a party/celebration with family and friends?
  2. Fare-Free Foreign Travel – like most of us, you may not have the time or money to travel abroad right now, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel like you’re in Mexico, if only for a few hours?  And, what a great gift to give your friends and family.
  3. Freedom from Fine-Dining Fears -- let’s face it, the average person shudders at the thought of trying to pull together a fancy dinner party that includes fine dining and/or classic menu options. The great thing about Mexican fare is that the crowd-pleasing beverage, appetizer, meal, and dessert favorites are easy-to-make and most of the food is a bit messy-looking (think melting cheese –yum! J) to begin with and/or it still tastes great even if it gets messy.  So, even the most basic cooks among us, can pull off a delicious meal using easy, delicious recipes we’ve created for you to wow your Cinco de Mayo party guests.




We think you’ll agree that there are lots of great reasons to celebrate this holiday, so why not embrace your Cinco de Mayo side?  Break out your sombrero, and be sure to show us your festive fare by sharing your recipes and photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 



 

Tags: Cinco de Mayo

Conquering Kale

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 09:04 AM

Kale Crazy

Okay, everyone may not share the enthusiasm for kale expressed in this photo we recently shared on Facebook, but kale seems to be going mainstream!  In fact, we think it’s safe to say there’s a kale craze going on right now in the U.S., and maybe worldwide!

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Like us, everyone seems to be recognizing and loving the many health benefits of consuming kale regularly, including:

  • Kale has lots of iron and Vitamin K to help your body perform important, key functions.

  • Kale is high in antioxidants which can help protect your body from certain cancers and other health conditions.

  • Kale is high in fiber and fat-free – who doesn’t love that combination?

  • Kale also contains Vitamins A & C and calcium – more great vitamins and minerals to help you get and stay well.

You can learn more about the many great health benefits of kale at http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

More and more professional chefs – as well as individuals who don’t cook for a living but who want to make healthy recipes for themselves and their families – are finding creative and tasty ways to incorporate kale into their menus.  Both party hosts and guests as well as restaurant chefs are serving up yummy, crispy kale chips in lieu of potato chips or fries.  And, more and more food companies like us here at Concord Foods, want to help their customers enjoy the best possible health, and are figuring out ways to incorporate kale in their products by pairing kale with seasonings and other food items that reduce kale’s bitterness. 

Take Our Conquer Kale Challenge

To help you conquer and capitalize on kale, we introduced our fast and delicious kale & apple smoothie recipe that combines the sweet taste of apple with kale to create a tasty treat that will have you running to, not running from kale.  Just follow the steps below to conquer kale!

Step One

Set a goal to make an apple & kale smoothie in the next two weeks, using the above recipe and/or this easy-to-follow video from our friends at Chelan Fresh.

Step Two

Create a habit of making and drinking at least three kale & apple smoothies each week, so you can really take advantage of the many health benefits described above.

Step Three

Share your success.  Post a picture of you drinking or making our kale & apple smoothie or just a picture of the great-tasting beverage you made with our kale & apple smoothie mix with protein on Facebook.  The first five individuals to post a picture by May 15, 2015, will win a five-pack of our kale & apple smoothie mix with protein.

Tags: Kale, Kale & Apple Smoothie Mix,

Playing It Smooth -- Part II

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about all the benefits you’ll reap when you play it smooth. We talked about the many mental and physical health benefits you might expect to enjoy as a result of making your own healthy and delicious smoothies at home.  And, we shared that making your own smoothie vs. buying it at your favorite take-out place or smoothie bar is likely to save you both time and money.

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Despite understanding all the benefits you, your family, and your friends might get from playing it smooth, we bet – and we completely understand because we hear it all the time from our customers, and our own family and friends – you might still find the thought of making a smoothie intimidating.  That’s why we are so pleased to share this short, but extremely helpful, video made by our friends at Chelan Fresh marketing with you.  It shows you through an easy-to-follow demonstration, accompanied by written instructions, just how simple, and how fun, making a smoothie can be!

While in this case, you’ll learn how to make a kale & apple smoothie with our kale & apple smoothie mix with protein, we think once you watch this video, you’ll see how easy it is to make all sorts of smoothie creations, as the basic principles will apply.

 

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=779654052130681&set=vb.276009075828517&type=2&theater

We can’t wait to hear from our readers how you liked the video and to hear about and see how your smoothies turned out! 

So, please do share.

Tags: Kale & Apple Smoothie Mix,

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