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Staying Strong in September

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 @ 12:08 PM

While we’ll never be ready to usher out the more laid-back days of summer, the barrage of back-to-school advertisements, as well as the slighter cooler temperatures here in New England – where Concord Foods is headquartered – have got us thinking about what we wish for ourselves, our friends and family, and particularly you, our dear readers, this fall. And, what we wish is that all of us will stay strong this September, and not let fall’s frenziness get us off track from the healthy eating and exercise habits we put in place this summer.

Staying the Course

Whether it was at walking or golf courses, we’re guessing you, your family, and friends spent a fair amount of time exercising this summer. Maybe you made a commitment to walk in your neighborhood after dinner or to meet for a weekly tennis or golf game, or swim. Didn’t you look forward to, enjoy, and feel great after? Well, we challenge and encourage you to keep those healthy habits going.

We believe that, with a little creative and flexible thinking, you can maintain your summer exercise stride. And speaking of courses, why not make fall a time of investing in and beginning classes and activities for the body, not just the mind? Why not try that yoga or Zumba class at your gym or one offered through a local adult education program. Or, check out the pool at your local high school?

Pack It Up to Prevent Packing It On

We loved the August 9, 2015 edition of Parade Magazine – particularly its cover photo (shown below) – that focused on what Americans are packing for both themselves and their children for lunch these days.

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 We’re huge fans of the great new “bento” lunchboxes, such as those in the photo, because their separate compartments allow you to pack and store several healthy smaller snacks such as cut-up fruits and vegetables and dips like yogurt and guacamole, and hummus. Hey, we all know kids don’t like it when different foods run together, and if you’re like us, we’re betting you’re not a big fan of it yourself!

Because summer offers such a great bounty of enticing fruits and vegetables, it’s likely you made produce – like berries and summer squash – a key component of summer snacks and meals. Regardless of the type of pail, box, bag, etc. you use, as we did regarding summer exercise habits, we encourage and challenge you to pack up healthy lunches and snacks for you and your family so you don’t pack on the pounds this fall. Check out or revisit our blog posts regarding packing a power picnic and vegging out for ideas about packing – or simply making and serving – snacks and meals that incorporate lots of healthy produce. And, don’t forget that grab-and-go smoothies such as the kale and apple and blueberry banana ones you can make with our Nutritious Smoothie mixes are an easy way to continue to incorporate lots of healthy produce in your and your family’s diets this fall and winter.

Show Us How You are Staying Strong

We want to see and hear how you are staying strong in September, so please do share how you are meeting this challenge with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (#stayseptstrong).

Smoothie Love

Posted by Gail Moraski on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 @ 15:08 PM

Call it a craze or a phase, but as you’ve likely noticed -- particularly in the last year or two – both nationally and globally, many individuals are recognizing the numerous health and convenience benefits of smoothies and jumping on the smoothie bandwagon. While smoothies have been around for many years, the fact that they’ve gone more mainstream – meaning more and more individuals of all ages, income levels, genders, etc. are enjoying their daily smoothies – has encouraged both food companies and food establishments, including fast food restaurants, to offer smoothies containing a variety of delicious and beneficial ingredients.


 

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At Concord Foods, we’ve long since recognized the multitude of benefits smoothies provide, and have been offering delicious and easy smoothie recipes made with our mixes since 2009. Wanting to offer smoothie recipes that were even more nutritious, we launched two new smoothie mixes in the last nine months – Kale & Apple with Protein and Blueberry Banana with Flaxseed – to create what we like to refer to as our “dynamic duo” of “Nutritious” smoothies. And, to encourage you to check out and reap the many benefits of recipes made from our new Nutritious smoothies mixes, we’re offering a smoothie summer savings promotion.

What’s Trending

Because of how they can serve as a nutritious “grab and go” meal, as well as the increased public awareness of how incorporating healthy ingredients like kale, blueberry, flaxseed, and protein in them can benefit your body, we think smoothies of some type will be around for many years to come. Still, we wanted to share some new and fun ideas we’ve heard about recently. Like smoothies, you can find “bowls” on many restaurant menus and many grocery store shelves. Whether they’re rice or quinoa bowls, or bowls containing other yummy ingredients, we all seem to be loving the convenience and deliciousness of food favorites being combined in one container. So, we weren’t surprised to see and love the idea of smoothie bowls. Learn how to get started making and enjoying your own bowl creations with great tips from Food Network at http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2015/06/02/smoothie-bowls-for-a-smarter-morning/.

Another popular and growing trend among smoothie makers and drinkers is incorporating exotic fruits in your beverage creation, so you can enjoy the delicious juice and nutrition associated with those fruits. We’re not talking fruits like mango, papaya, guava – those are so yesterday – we’re talking even more exotic ones that many local grocery stores carry to meet their customers’ demands for more diverse produce. These include passion, dragon, and star fruit, ambarella, jackfruit, camu camu, rambutan, and more!


 

Show Us Your Smooth Side

We want to hear and see how you demonstrate your love of smoothies, so be one of the first five individuals to share a picture of you making or drinking one of your favorite recipes with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (#mysmoothside) and we’ll send you our dynamic duo of nutritious smoothie mixes.

Tags: Smoothie Mixes

Savoring Summer’s Simple Pleasures

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, Aug 04, 2015 @ 17:08 PM

The month of August is here and you may be feeling like summer’s already over. Particularly if you have children you have to get ready for school – or you may be going back to school yourself – your head may be starting to spin with all the shopping and other planning you need to do. But, dear readers, we want to encourage you not to sell your summer short. After all, summer is a very special gift that is ours until September 22nd! So, let’s continue to make the most of this season that lends itself so perfectly to savoring life’s simple pleasures.

Speaking of lemonade, what goes better with it, or tastes better after a day of hosting a lemonade stand, than food cooked on the grill? Whether it’s hotdogs, hamburgers, steak, chicken, fish, or vegetables – or all of the former – food cooked on the grill is surely one of summer’s most savory simple pleasures. We think your friends and family will love this great grilled shrimp recipe from food.com, and when you make it using our lime juice – in keeping with this blog post’s theme – you can keep things simple, by avoiding the mess of cutting limes. You can find more tasty cookout recipes to help you savor summer at http://www.concordfoods.com/cookout.

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Another simple pleasure we know you, your family, and friends will savor is picking and eating summer’s bright, beautiful, and bountiful produce. Whether you select it from your favorite grocery store, snag it at a farmers’ market, or pick it yourself from a local farm – in many parts of the U.S., you can pick strawberries and blueberries throughout the month of August – is there anything that tastes as heavenly as fresh, in-season fruits or vegetables? A bright red ripe tomato sprinkled with olive oil and a little salt – now that’s definitely a simple pleasure of summer, for both the eyes and ears, to savor!

We want to hear and see how you continue to savor summer’s simple pleasures in August and September, so please do share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

Tags: Lemon Juice, Recipes

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

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