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Make Your Starch A Spectacular Spud

Posted by Gail Moraski on Sun, Feb 12, 2017 @ 13:02 PM

We really like the fact that potatoes of all kinds are celebrated in February AKA #NationalPotatoLoversMonth because we think these “stem vegetables” deserve some love. During recent years, there’s been a lot of online and printed commentary maligning potatoes, and any other starchy side, like rice and pasta. But hey, we think that when a starch is also a vegetable – think corn, peas, parsnips, potatoes (including yams and sweet potatoes), pumpkin, squash, and zucchini – there’s much benefit to serving them to family because of all the nutrients and vitamins they provide.

We’re guessing our statement about nutrients and vitamins prompted some mental question marks – nutrients and vitamins? Potatoes? Even white ones vs. orange-y sweet ones? That’s right. While some potato varieties may not lead you to believe so, because of lacking the bright colors that we often associate with foods offering big health benefits, when included regularly in your diet, potatoes support:

  • Improved digestion, sleep, and eye health
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Better heart health and circulation; and lower blood pressure
  • Cancer prevention and a stronger immune system, in general
  • Reduced signs of aging/skin protection
  • And, when you eat the skins, you’ll get much-needed calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin C; with sweet potatoes, you’ll get all the health benefits of beta carotene too!

And, if you’re concerned about the weight gain that too much white-potato consumption may cause, rotate these with sweet potatoes and yams, and serve smaller portions of white potatoes.

We know you need to mix lunch and dinner up a bit to keep your family happy, but given the above, we’re suggesting that, on most days, if you serve your family a starch with the meals you prepare, you make it a nutrient-rich potato one vs. one that has little nutritional value like white rice (vs. brown rice) or white pasta (vs. whole-grain pasta.)

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We’ve got lots of seasoning mixes and glazes to enhance the flavor of any type of potato you serve:

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Get Inspired With Our Many Potato Recipes

Check out our recipes for roasted garlic & herb mashed potatoes, apple cranberry sweet potato bake, bacon chive roasted potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, and easy roasted potatoes. Need more spectacular spuds inspiration? Check out our “Potato Power” Pinterest board, or Wisconsin Potato Board’s site.  Throughout February, we’ll be touting the many virtues of potatoes using #potatopower #spectacularspuds #potatoperks and #patrioticpotatoes on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We want to hear and see how you perk up your potatoes, so please do share!

Tags: Potato Dishes, Sweet Potato Casserole, potato lovers month

Make Your Valentine’s Treats Berry Sweet

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 15:01 PM

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know we love to talk about clever ways to incorporate produce into recipes and your family’s diet. That’s because there are so many health benefits associated with doing so. When you prepare meals and snacks with bright, yummy fruits and vegetables, not only are you making sure your loved ones get the fiber they need for their bodies to function well, you also are serving up health-enhancing vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Since Valentine’s Day is all about showing the favorite people in your life some love, why not dish up treats that are both #deliciousandnutritious?

Stack It With Strawberries to Make It Stellar

Because their very sweet taste and beautiful red color just scream “Valentine’s Day”, strawberries are our most favorite fruit to include in treats we make for our Valentines for this special day. Since most of our children and significant others love the smooth, velvety taste of cheesecake, this dessert item topped with shiny, enticing strawberries is often the star of the Valentine’s Day dinner we serve our families. We love how it’s pretty easy to make but looks like we spent hours in the kitchen on it. We start with a no-bake cheesecake recipe like this one from Martha Stewart. Then, we use Concord Foods’ strawberry glaze to make our festive fruit “shine bright like a diamond,” as Rihanna would say.

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If your Valentine’s sweeties would rather eat true cake (made with flour), why not mix up some vanilla cupcakes, frost them with white or pink frosting, and place a big, beautiful strawberry on top – or, fill them with fruit (get inspiration from our Filling Cupcakes Pinterest board). If your favorite people are big pie lovers, bake them up a gorgeous strawberry glazed pie (shown above) using this recipe from allrecipes.com.

Beautify With Blueberries

Like strawberries, blueberries add such a great burst of color and flavor to any dessert. If your loved ones are bigger fans of blueberries than strawberries, we’ve got lots of yummy recipes for you to make them up a blue-tiful Valentine’s treat. Our blueberry gingerbread loaf with lime glaze is sure to please any blueberry lover in your life, and because of their perfect size and cuteness factor, we think your favorite children will adore this recipe for baby blueberry key lime pies.

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Add Flare with Fruit

Whether it be with strawberries, blueberries, some other berries, or non-berry fruit – like bananas or apples – we’ve got lots of great dessert recipes for adding flare to your Valentine’s treats with fruit. And, if you want more inspiration for making sweet treats for your Valentines, check out one or several of these Pinterest boards:

Sweet Recipes Are Meant to Be Shared

During the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about “berry sweet” Valentine’s treats using #produceup #producepusher #fortifywithfruit #berrysweettreats, #valentinestreats, #treatsforsweeties, and #producepower, and hope you’ll join in the conversation on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. We’d love to hear about the sweet treats you made for all the sweeties in your life.

Tags: Valentine's Day Treats, strawberry treats, Fortify With Fruit, Valentine's Day, Fruit, blueberries, strawberries

Support Both of Your Favorite Teams While Big-Game Watching

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 10:01 AM

We love the excuse that the Big Game provides to gather friends and family for a casual, fun get-together with festive food. Just post-fall-and-winter-holiday season, we’re grateful that the only shopping we have to do is for fun, delicious ingredients for our tailgate recipes. Other than a friend or family member here or there reminding us to make their favorite football food recipe, we aren’t asked or told too much what to buy. And, as the one in our family who does most of the cooking and who feels responsible for keeping family members healthy, we welcome calling the shots. We love putting on our “creative hats” and surprising family members with new recipes that we come up with ourselves or that we find online that allow us to serve up tasty recipes that pack a powerful produce punch!

Double Up on the Cheerleading and the Produce!

With the Big Game just around the corner – Feb. 5, 2017 – we’re already planning what #deliciousandnutritious food we’ll be serving or bringing to friends’ or family members’ homes for game day. We like knowing that while we’ll be cheering on our favorite team, we’re also cheerleading for our friends and family by making healthy game-watching snacks available. If you’ve been a Concord Foods fan for a while, you know the guacamole and salsa recipes that you can make with our mixes are huge crowd-pleasers. While both of the traditional forms of these dips already incorporate produce like avocado and tomatoes, you can increase their produce power by serving them with more fruits and vegetables or incorporating additional, unique produce in the dips themselves, as shown in the following great recipes (just click on the recipe name link to access the recipe.)

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  • Field Goal Guacamole – we love this recipe from Spark Recipes (shown above) because it already contains beautiful tomatoes in addition to the avocado used to make the guacamole, and you can serve it with carrots, celery sticks, or green peppers to multiply its produce power!
  • Cherry Lime Guacamole or Cherry Salsa – these cherry creations combine the sweet taste and nutrition of cherries with other produce powerhouses, like avocado and peppers. Add raw snap peas for dunking and you’ve got a sweet and snappy treat!
  • Salsa Hummus – never mind doubling up, you can give your guests a triple produce punch, when you serve this dip from Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and salsa alongside cut-up veggies like cucumbers.

Make Another Healthy Play By Serving Additional Flavorful Fruit!

In addition to your sneak play of adding cherry or some other fruit to the salsa or guacamole you serve, you can make a bold, more-obvious move by serving eye-catching recipes whose star players are vitamin-rich fruit. We love the recipes below that feature fruit but also provide a little crunch or other texture temptation to get our favorite people to eat and enjoy fruit.

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Good, Healthy Food Is Meant to Be Shared

Throughout the year, we’ll be introducing more great ideas and recipes for doubling, tripling and quadrupling the produce you serve using #produceup #producepusher #biggerthanyou #producepowerhouse #supportyourteam #smartwaytovegout #fortifywithfruit and #producepower, and hope you’ll join in the conversation on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. We’d love to hear how you’re supporting your favorite team by creating and serving recipes that incorporate yummy, healthy produce, so please do share!

 

Tags: Fortify With Fruit, Vegetables, Fruit, fruits and veggie fun for kids, football food, tailgate, tailgaterecipes, big game, superbowl, vegout

Ring In the New Year With A Plan To Be Healthier

Posted by Gail Moraski on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 12:12 PM

Last year during this window when one year ends and a new one begins, we blogged about making resolutions that were “bigger than you”, i.e., committing to helping loved ones maintain a healthy lifestyle by serving and sharing healthier snacks, meals, desserts, and beverages. Maybe you kicked off 2016 with the best possible intention to make it a healthier year for yourself, family, and friends, but weren’t able to make or take the time to actually score a better-health field goal? It’s never too late to try to implement new healthy habits and we’re here to help you.

We love the statement “the smallest act of kindness is always worth more than the grandest intention” from MarcandAngel.com and their “40 Things Your Soul Wants You to Know” blog post because we believe the message pertains to being kind to yourself as well as to loved ones and serves as a reminder that small actions matter. So, make 2017 the year you turn your good health intentions into a simple healthy plan with bite-sized actions – that have broader implications – which you can take to improve your health and the health of those with whom you surround yourself.

Out With the Old, In With the New

One step we take to make sure any new year starts off on the healthiest possible note is to get rid of any particularly unhealthy holiday snacks and treats – ones we made ourselves, or that family or friends brought to our home and/or gifted to us. Think snacks that are high in sugar, particularly ones that contain a lot of high fructose corn syrup and/or snacks that contain a lot of artificial ingredients. While we don’t like to waste food, we find having these snacks and treats around too much of a temptation as we attempt to cross the new-year threshold with healthier behaviors. And, in keeping with wanting to make and keep “bigger-than-you” resolutions, we don’t want to be passing these less-healthy snacks on to a neighbor or co-worker to entice them to kick off their new year with particularly unhealthy food.

Once we’ve cleared our counters, cupboards, and tables of any food and beverage items we consider particularly unhealthy, we stock our homes with those that we consider smart choices – clean-label/ simple-ingredient foods or beverages, and ones that encourage our children and other loved ones to eat healthy fruit and vegetables (produce). If you’re not familiar with the clean-label/simple-ingredient food movement and its benefits, learn more by reading our “Keep It Clean & Simple” blog post. As far as stocking our homes with items that pair well with produce that cause even the most finicky eaters and produce-phobes to enjoy eating and drinking their fruits & veggies goes, read on! Being a food company whose products pair with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, we’ve got lots of great ideas and solutions!

Play It Smooth

As you’ve likely discovered yourselves, we’ve found both our children and spouses don’t want to be told what to do, particularly when it comes to healthy eating! That’s why we “play it smooth” when we incorporate lots of delicious & nutritious fruits and vegetables in the smoothies we serve made with our smoothie mixes and recipes. We don’t mention the great produce or health benefits associated with the yummy drinks we serve them each morning, but we do grin widely when we hear them slurping them!

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Dress Things Up

If your favorite children are like ours, they love to play dress up – masquerading themselves for princess tea parties or spontaneous Batman and Spiderman superhero maneuvers, or simply dressing up their favorite dolls, miniature cowboys, and action figurines in their best attire or uniforms. So, we capitalize on our kids’ desire to mask, spiff up, and suit up themselves or their favorite toys, by providing the same type of activity with regards to fruit and vegetable consumption. We serve dips like our new clean-label, simple-ingredient Simply Concord caramel dip for dunking apple slices and other fruit and guacamole dip for dunking carrot and celery sticks. We think it’s a smart way to get our children – and even our adult loved ones – to enjoy the great taste and healthy benefits of a produce-rich diet.

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Get Inspired

Need more ideas for updating food cupboards or incorporating produce in your loved ones diets? It’s not too early to re-read our “Spring Clean Your Home & Diet” blog post and why not revisit our “Be Crafty About Teaching Kids to Like Fruits and Vegetables” blog post.

Good, Healthy Food Is Meant to Be Shared

We’ll be introducing more great ideas and recipes for “ringing in the new year with a plan to be healthier” using #produceup #producepusher #biggerthanyou #smartwaytovegout #fortifywithfruit and #producepower, and hope you’ll join in the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We wish you and your loved ones a very healthy and happy new year!

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: smoothies, Fortify With Fruit, New Years Resolutions, Fruit, nutritious smoothies, fruits and veggie fun for kids, clean eating, caramel, simple ingredients, clean label

Tackle Holiday Stress With Football Fun

Posted by Gail Moraski on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 @ 10:12 AM

Whether it’s the holidays or some other big day or event that’s on the horizon, sometimes you just need a fun, relaxing break that doesn’t focus on that particular celebration and all the preparations that go into it. Just because during the holiday season you want to think about something other than gift-giving or making small talk at a party with folks with whom you’re not well-acquainted, doesn’t mean you’re a “Grinch” or a “Scrooge.”  It just means you need a little R & R from all the demands of the holidays. We all do. And, we’ve got a great idea for escaping from all the holiday frenzy – football-game watching!

Unwind With Your Favorite Friends and Pastime

We’re so fortunate in the U.S. to have college bowl games – from mid-December through early January – as a relaxing reason to gather our favorite squad together. This year’s bowl games kick off December 17 with the AFR Celebration Bowl and run through the CFP National Championship game on January 9. You can view the full schedule here. With 32 games in total, you’ve got lots of opportunities during the holidays to unwind with friends around a favorite pastime. Plus, you can hold a post-holiday-season football get-together as well.

Didn’t your whole body and mind relax, just thinking about football watching? We bet it conjured up images of you planted on your couch or a best buddy’s sofa, dressed in your most-cozy sweater, jeans, team jersey, or sweats, with a favorite warm throw keeping you toasty. And, of course, surrounded by your favorite people, and your favorite tailgate snacks and beverages.

Instead of having to make eloquent, witty conversation with your boss’ wife at the office soiree, you can simply grunt short, simple phrases directed at the TV, your favorite team, or game referees, like “go for three!”, “come on!”, “bad call!”, or “you got this!.” So, say good-bye for a while to the pressure to be up-to-date on all the local and national news – unless it’s football-related, of course. No-one really wants you talking much during the game, anyhow, so you can just relax and enjoy low-key hanging out with your fam and buds.salsa_hi-1.jpg

Keep It Casual

The whole idea behind holiday-season football-watching is to slow down and take a break from holiday errands and chores. The friends and family members you invite to join you for football fun don’t and won’t want you creating a lot of extra work for yourself or want lots of dishes for everyone to tend to post-game. So, keep things casual. Use paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils for serving food, and consider a paper tablecloth for the “designated snack table” that you can just throw out after guests are gone.

Serve simple, but delicious, crowd-pleasing snacks, like chips and salsa or guacamole dip, as suggested in our “Take Tailgating Indoors” blog post. Or, bake or cook one of our great tailgate recipes, like grilled quesadillas. You’ll be voted MVP for serving up any or all of this aforementioned yummy, satisfying football fare!

Looking for other tailgate food and beverage ideas? Check out our “Touchdown Tailgating” Pinterest board.

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Season of Sharing

We’ll be sharing lots of football fun ideas on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using #gamechangingtailgating #touchdowntailgating, #footballfun, #footballfare, and #bowlgategrub, so please join us and share there. May you enjoy much great unwinding time with friends and family this bowl-game and holiday season!

Tags: Tailgating tips, Tailgating recipes, Guacamole Dip, Salsa Dip, holiday simple pleasures

Embrace The Season's Simple Pleasures

Posted by Gail Moraski on Sun, Dec 04, 2016 @ 17:12 PM

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that we frequently write about enjoying the simple things in life with loved ones. That’s because we totally believe the best things in life are free. Many of our fondest memories center around simple activities and good food enjoyed with friends and family. And, since, without a doubt, the holiday season provides an abundance of such activities and opportunities for enjoying special time with special people, we’re, once again, sharing ideas in this vein.

In preparation for writing this post, we thought and talked about some of our favorite holiday-season simple pleasures, and we realized that, like the word “simple” itself, many of these activities began with the letter “s”. So, here’s our short list of simply sensational, seasonal, sentimental activities to share with super-special friends and family. We bet you can’t say that five times fast.

Snow- Building or Gazing – Whether it’s simply watching the snow fall from your window, walking in the snow, or building a snowman, we think playing in the snow –  or just admiring its beauty – is a great way to step away from the fast pace and demands of the holiday season. Why not build snow forts and great memories simultaneously with the people you love?

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(Snowman "juicekin" made from one of our of lime and lemon juice containers;

see more holiday juicekins at http://www.pinterest.com/concordfoods/juicekins)

 

Stringing and Seeking Out Holiday Light Displays – If you don’t live in an area where snow is a beautiful by-product of winter, why not simply gather friends & fam for some other outdoor activity this season like a walk around your town center or neighborhood to discover and vote on your favorite holiday light displays? Or, ask family members or friends to help you put up your own display or to trim your holiday tree with shiny lights in exchange for your serving up your best holiday cookies and eggnog?

In her monthly letter to readers in the December 2016 issue, Shape Magazine’s editor mentioned how holiday lights can be both calming and a source of great joy during a season whose demands may feel overwhelming. We plan to follow her advice and turn to their beautiful means of providing a soothing, simple pleasure when the holidays seem particularly frantic. We hope you’ll do the same.

SingingEven if you don’t want to sing or hum along, we think you’ll find it quite relaxing – and beautiful – to listen to favorite holiday songs. So, select the “Christmas-Traditional” channel on Pandora, throw in your Bing Crosby Christmas CD, or grab your favorite peeps to attend an indoor or outdoor holiday music performance. Even better, organize your clan for an old-fashioned neighborhood caroling stroll – you’ll benefit from the fresh air and song that fill your lungs, brighten neighbors’ days, and create lasting memories.

Sledding & Skating – As with playing in the snow or going for a caroling or light-display stroll, you and the friends you invite along for snow-related sports like sledding and ice skating, will benefit from the de-stressing value of winter exercise and the joy of the giggles that will erupt from watching each other’s small snow- and ice-related mishaps.

Sipping - We saved this holiday-simple-pleasure activity for last because we think it’s one that should accompany all of those above.  What’s a fun winter holiday get-together without great “sippable” refreshments like hot soup, hot chocolate, or warm apple cider served post-activity at your home or mid-activity via thermos? We’ve collected lots of sip-worthy soup and beverage recipes on our Sip-worthy Soups and Beverages Pinterest board, so you can easily find and serve up body- and soul-warming soups and drinks, like “Grinch” hot chocolate from cookingwithcurls.com.

Need/want to serve more than drinkable refreshments? We’ve got you covered with our Holiday Simple Pleasures recipes for appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Welcome more ideas for serving up simple holidays this year? Get tips from our “Serve Up Simple Holiday Pleasures” blog post.

Good Food Should Be Shared

We’ll be sharing lots of great holiday recipe and party ideas on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using #bellywarmingbreads, #fortifywithfruit, #givelemonstheirdue, and #givelimesometime, so please join us and share there, and check out our “Holiday Simple Pleasures”, “Belly Warming Breads”, “Fall Flavors” and “Fortify with Fruit” Pinterest boards for inspiration.

May Your Holidays Be Safe, Peaceful, and Simple!

Tags: Holiday Recipes, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Eating, Holiday Eating, holiday simple pleasures

Teach Your Children Well This Thanksgiving

Posted by Gail Moraski on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 @ 09:11 AM

We think Thanksgiving provides a lot of teachable moments for children. Whether they be our own children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, or our best friends’ kids, children learn by example. We’re sure that there are many more Thanksgiving-related opportunities for teaching and learning than those we’ve listed below – and our thoughtful readers will surely come up with some great ideas of their own – but, here’s our food for thought (pun intended!).

Pass the Muffins Beyond the Table

As we discussed in our “Give More than Thanks” blog post, why not bake up an extra batch of muffins or an extra loaf of your favorite holiday bread for a local food kitchen or an elderly neighbor this Thanksgiving? Even if you can’t gather your favorite children to help you bake, ask them to join you in delivering your sweet treat to its intended recipient. That way, they’ll get to see how the hearts of both giver and receiver are warmed by a good deed.

 

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Healthy Food Can Still Be Delicious                               

Of course, as a company that offers products that pair with fruit and vegetables, as well as one that provides parents with a smart way to get kids to eat their fruit & veggies, we’re a big believer, and speak from experience, that healthy food like beautiful, nutrient-rich produce can be as delicious – in fact, even more delicious – than some comfort-type foods that lack nutritional value.

We’ve got lots of great seasoning mixes and delicious side dish recipes to make all sorts of fruits and vegetables pop at your Thanksgiving get-together! So, why not set a goal to serve a “rainbow” of fruit and vegetables this Thanksgiving? And, consider tying it in with November’s #ProduceChallenge from The Produce Mom.

 

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There’s Great Reasons to Give Thanks

We saved the most obvious and easiest lesson to teach for last – and that’s the importance and benefits of “giving thanks.” Regardless of religious beliefs, research shows that adults and children alike benefit from “counting their blessings” and expressing and acknowledging gratitude for them. Regardless of whether or not a prayer accompanies it, why not ask each guest at the Thanksgiving table to share things and people for which they are grateful before diving into Thanksgiving favorites? And, why not work on this great “Gratitude Turkey” craft (shown in picture below) from Parents Magazine with your child guests pre- or post-Thanksgiving-meal?

 

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Share This Season!

During this season of sharing, officially launched by the Thanksgiving holiday, we hope you’ll share with us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram photos of the special dishes you make, time spent with family and friends, and/or things you did to give more than thanks this Thanksgiving, using #givemorethanthanks. And we promise to share too using the aforementioned hashtag as well as #bakedwithlove #madewithlove #blessingcounting #produceup #producepusher #fallflavors and#holidaysimplepleasures. And, throughout the November and December holiday season, we’ll be sharing both our and your great recipes on our “Holiday Simple Pleasures” Pinterest board.

Tags: Holiday Recipes, Holiday Entertaining, Healthy eating, Thanksgiving

Bake Bread to Nourish Body and Soul

Posted by Gail Moraski on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 21:10 PM

As late October and early November usher in colder temps in many parts of the U.S., we’re reminded that it’s time to break out our loaf pans and engage in one of our favorite activities – baking bread with our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. While summer provides the opportunity for lots of great family bonding time via outdoor activities like picnics at the beach or campfire s’mores-making, you and your family can keep the quality time and memory-making going with indoors activities for gathering family together, such as fall and holiday baking.

Stir Up Soul-Satisfying Reminiscences

We love baking fruit-rich breads with our favorite children this time of year because we feel like it nourishes everyone’s bodies AND souls. Family members get to spend time huddling around a mixing bowl, playfully arguing about who is going to get to add the next ingredient, stir the bread mixture, or pour or spoon it into the already-greased loaf pans. And, because family members can’t wait to taste the bread whose delicious aromas fill our homes as it bakes, we find no-one travels too far from the kitchen, which lends itself to more fun, lively chatter, and device-free time to catch up with each other. Yeah, we love the excuse that baking provides to get family members to leave their hand-held devices behind – okay, we admit we over-emphasize to family members the risks associated with bringing cell phones and tablets into the kitchen, such as the chance of getting baking ingredients or spills on them.

We also love how baking with our favorite children conjures up memories from our own childhood – adding ingredients and stirring as we chatted with our moms, grandmothers, and aunts – and sharing those memories with our children to keep family history and traditions alive. We’ve discovered children also enjoy learning and knowing that, by baking bread, they are perpetuating an activity dating back to at least the fifth century, B.C.

 

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Bake Up Body-Nourishing Blessings

In addition to the blessing of quality family time that bread-baking provides, when we stir up bread recipes that incorporate healthy, nutrient-rich produce like bananas and blueberries, we know our family members will be getting vitamins and minerals their bodies need from our belly-warming creations.  We think baking produce-rich breads are a smart way to fortify your family’s diet with fruit in the late fall and winter when bodies are craving something more calorie-rich and comfort-food-like than a stand-alone piece of fruit, as we shared in our “Why You Should Make The Time to Bake” post.

Our banana bread and blueberry muffin mixes – both of which can be used to mix up bread or muffins – make it easy for you and your family to create fruit-fortifying breads without having to purchase lots of costly ingredients. You can take the nutrition-level of the breads you bake up a notch further by incorporating several fruits in your recipe, like Allrecipes.com did in their apricot-orange bread creation, or by adding nuts like walnuts and pecans to your recipe (as long as the family members who will baking with you and enjoying the masterpieces you create don’t suffer from nut allergies.) We’ve found that our banana-walnut-chocolate-chip bread recipe and our tropical cranberry bread recipe that contains macadamia nuts are always family favorites.

Share How You Care For Loved Ones

We’ve collected a bread-basketful of recipes on our “Belly-Warming Breads” Pinterest board to inspire you, and we’ll be talking about how to “bake bread to nourish body and soul” using #bellywarmingbreads #fortifywithfruit #maketimetobake and #bakedwithlove on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We’d love to see what you bake up to nourish the bodies and souls of your loved ones, so please share!

Tags: Concord Foods Blueberry Muffin Mix, Breads, Bread Mix Ideas, banana bread mix, Belly warming breads

Scare Up a Healthier Halloween

Posted by Gail Moraski on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 15:10 PM

 

It’s that time of year again where those of us who are parents or guardians of small children (and even teenagers), have to play policeman and watch guard over the Halloween treats that our children receive. For better or worse, we’re tasked with providing direction on what our kids should and should not eat (think a treat that may have spoiled because of days of sitting in the bag your child used when “trick or treating” or one that’s sure to break a tooth), and how much they can/should eat in one sitting, etc. It kind of makes you feel “batty”, right?

We can’t control the healthiness of treats that our children receive from knocking on neighbors’ doors, or at friends’ or school Halloween celebrations, but the good news is we can make sure that the treats we give out at our own spook-tacular get-togethers, or provide for parties our children will be attending, are somewhat healthier than standard Halloween fare, particularly candy. We can also make sure the treats and meals we serve to our family, leading up to and on Halloween, are fairly healthy ones. Read our ideas below for scaring up healthier Halloween treats.

Sweeten Things Up Naturally

One food item our friends and family always find hauntingly delicious is fruit. Who doesn’t love a naturally sweet strawberry, banana, apple, pineapple, grape, or slice of melon? Simply by dipping the aforementioned fruit in simple-ingredient, clean-label caramel or chocolate – there’s no need to cover it entirely – you can make beautiful Halloween treats with no artificial ingredients. We guarantee, like any good Halloween vampires, family members will enjoy sinking their teeth into these bewitching treats; meanwhile, that gorgeous fruit will be providing nutrients and fiber everyone needs. Watch how to make Halloween fruity beauties from YoYoMax. And, learn how to make a “ghostly fruit dip” from twohealthykitchens.com.

 

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Stir Up Savory Instead of Sugary Treats

Since you know that your children will have lots of opportunities for snacking on sugary treats during the Halloween season, you may want to forego making and/or serving sugary treats for any celebrations at your home or for the festivities family members will be attending. We believe you can stir up savory vs. super-sweet, spell-binding treats that will still have that Halloween magic. Check out these “deviliciously delicious” appetizers/finger food ideas from Woman’s Day Magazine, these Halloween-season savory treats from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and hauntingly good recipes from Food Network.

And, of course, we know how you can simplify any of the savory dips you serve related to some of the recipes above. Simply use our salsa and guacamole dip mixes to stir up dips to put any of your guests under your Halloween spell, and if you haven’t got the time to prepare complex recipes, just serve carrot and celery sticks, grape or cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices along with our easy-to-make, great tasting dips.

Send Trick-or-Treaters Off With Light Meals

We all know our favorite trick or treaters – and likely the adults who take them trick or treating – are going to sneak a treat or two from their Halloween bag as they go door-to-door, and without a doubt, beg us to let them taste some of their Halloween booty when they get home. Why not send them off with a light, but festive meal before they head out? We love these fun Halloween supper ideas from PopSugar.

Scare and Share

We’d love to hear and see all the treats (healthier and not-so-healthy) you scare up this Halloween, so please do share with us on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where we’ll be sharing sweet ideas for Halloween treats using #heavenlyhalloween #healthierhalloween #appleactivities #apeoverapples #appleacumen and #caramelcrush.

And, despite the theme of our post, we know that some of you may still want to haunt Halloween with some less-healthy treats. We’ve collected a mixture of both “good witch” and “bad witch” treats at https://www.pinterest.com/concordfoods/heavenly-halloween/

We wish all our readers and their friends and family a gloriously ghoulish and safe Halloween!

Tags: Halloween treats, Halloween Caramel Apples, Candy Apples, apples, clean eating, clean label

Combine Your Passion for Apples and Art

Posted by Gail Moraski on Sat, Oct 01, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

It’s U.S. apple season and we can’t keep our eyes off of all the red, crimson, and/or green beauties we’re seeing in the grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at local u-pick farms. One of the many reasons we love apples is for the blank canvas their broad, shiny skin provides – allowing you to make something naturally beautiful even more beautiful! We worship at the throne of apples because many of us have young children at home who are still in that finicky eater phase. You know the one – “I don’t like fruit” or “I’m not eating that”.  We are so grateful for how apples just lend themselves to being decorated, and how that decoration is just enough to get our kids to try and enjoy eating this fruit that has so many great health benefits, such as those described in this fun facts piece from Washington Apples. 

Make Apples a Work of Art

Being a food company that offers many apple-related products, we’ve got lots of “decorating” ideas that will make your favorite children go ape over apples. And, you’ll get to indulge your artistic, creative side too!  While some may require more adult supervision and involvement than others (and are, therefore, less hands-on for your children) – such as making candy apples with our candy apple kit or caramel apples with our caramel wrap – children should still enjoy watching you make them, and of course, enjoy the great look and taste of your creations.

CaramelandApples-2-042807-edited.jpg

 Raise The Apple Bar

Two easy, yummy, and eye-appealing ways to allow your children, or adults guests, for that matter, to enjoy the fun of apple art are:

  • Create a caramel apple bar – offer toppings like coconut, sugar and cinnamon mixture, or small toffee crumbles that guests can sprinkle on their caramel-coated apple slices. Be inspired by these ideas from Craftberry Bush.
  • Lay out an apple nachos bar –serve apple slices that your children and guests can decorate like they would a plate of nachos. See how Delish dishes out ooey-gooey apple nachos.

Increase Your Apple Acumen

Want more ideas for getting friends and family to reap the benefits of apple activities and for combining art and apple passions? Read our “Ape Over Apples” blog post and view an apple-cart-full of recipes on our “Apple Activities”, “Fall Flavors”, and “Caramel Creations” Pinterest boards.

Show Us How You Combine Your Passion For Arts and Apples

We’ll be talking about apple art and activities using #apeoverapples, #appleart, #appleacumen, and #appleactivities on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Please do join us and please share how you and your family combined your passion for art and apples this fall.

Tags: Halloween treats, Candy Apples, apples, caramel, caramel apples, food art

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