Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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What to do with all those garden vegetables and fruits- Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This time of year for one reason or another we often find ourselves wondering what to do with all the fresh produce we have coming from our home gardens. The only downside to growing one's own vegetables is the potential for over-production. It can be difficult to determine exactly how many plants you're going to need, and, ultimately, what the yield is going to be. Now, this is a non-issue if you have friends, family or neighbors who appreciate fresh produce: you can simply give away whatever you or your family can't consume. However, if gifting your extra veggies is not a possibility, you have other options available to preserve the fruits of your labor...

Canning

Have an excess of vegetables or fruits? Canning is an option if you want to preserve them for use later. Canning involves quickly blanching your veggies in hot water, peeling them, and stuffing them into cans or jars, which are then covered and boiled in order to seal them.

The process takes some time, but doesn't require any special skills. You will, however, need to invest in some basic equipment in order to safely and properly can some kinds of foods:

  • Water Bath Canner - If you plan to can fruits, tomatoes and other high-acid foods, a water bath canner is the canner for the job. 21-quarts is the most common size, but you can also find larger versions. If you decide to buy one second-hand, make sure it still has its lid, and preferable its rack.

  • Pressure Canner/Cooker - If you plan to can vegetables, meats, seafood and other low-acid foods, you'll need to purchase a pressure canner. This type of canner is capable of reaching 240 degrees Farhenheit – the temperature required to kill bacteria.

  • Canning Rack - Most canners come with a rack to hold the jars, but if yours is missing or worn out, you can purchase one separately.

  • Jars - Glass jars with lids and rings are required for foods that will be stored at room temperature. Glass or plastic freezer jars can be used for foods that will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

  • Jar Lifter - Used to lift hot jars out of the canner.

  • Wide-neck Canning Funnel - For filling the jars.

All of the above items can often be purchased more cheaply if you go the Canning Kit route. Canning kits are great for beginners as they include everything you need to get started, and take a lot of the guess work out of setting up.

Here are step-by-step instructions for canning your own tomatoes, courtesy of food52: Grandma's Canned Tomatoes

Drying

Drying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Drying preserves foods by removing enough moisture from food to prevent decay and spoilage.

When drying foods, the key is to remove moisture as quickly as possible at a temperature that does not seriously affect the flavor, texture and color of the food. If the temperature is too low in the beginning, microorganisms may survive and even grow before the food is adequately dried. If the temperature is too high and the humidity too low, the food may harden on the surface. This makes it more difficult for moisture to escape and the food does not dry properly.

If you'd like to give the drying method a try, here is a recipe for oven-drying tomatoes (pictures included!)

Pickling

[Info courtesy of urbanfarmonline.com]

There are four general methods for pickling: quick, salt-brined, vinegar-brined and fermented. Within those basic pickling techniques, there exist many variations to pickle different vegetables and fruits and to make relishes and chutneys. Each pickling method has its own benefits, and some produce lends itself better to one method or another.

  • Quick-pickle method: Items that are pickled using the quick-pickle technique sometimes are called “fresh pickles.” The vegetables and/or fruits to be pickled are trimmed and/or chopped, sliced or left whole. In some cases, the produce is blanched (asparagus, for example) or cooked until tender (beets) and cooled. Then the produce is packed into canning jars, and a heated pickling liquid is poured over the jars’ contents. The liquid generally consists of vinegar and water, and it can include spices, herbs, sugar and salt flavor.

  • Salt-brined method: Some vegetables, such as cucumbers and zucchini, benefit from having some of their natural water removed before the pickling liquid is added. By adding salt – either on its own or in a salt-water brine – the water is drawn out of the vegetables’ cells. This allows the pickling liquid to penetrate into the cells more thoroughly, giving the pickling items more flavor, better texture and a longer shelf life. Vegetables usually are doused with salt for at least a few hours and up to an entire day. The excess salt then is rinsed off and the vegetables drained well and packed into canning jars, either cold or heated. Finally, a vinegar-based pickling liquid is added to create the proper acidic conditions and to add flavor.

  • Vinegar-brined method: These pickled items are a little more complex to make than the previous two methods. The vinegar-brined technique basically follows the same process for salt-brined pickles – drawing the water out of the vegetables’ or fruits’ cells to make room for the pickling liquid. In this method, the water is gradually drawn out in stages by soaking, draining and soaking again, using a vinegar solution, sometimes in combination with a salt-water brine and often with plenty of sugar.

  • Fermented method: This is a considerably different technique from the others, though it uses a salt-water brine. The vegetables are covered in a salt-water brine, weighed down to make sure the vegetables are immersed and left at a specific temperature – usually at room temperature – to ferment. During fermentation, the salt draws the liquid out of the cells, and naturally occurring microbes digest the sugars from the liquid and form lactic acid (among other substances). The lactic acid reduces the pH to a level that preserves the vegetables. There’s no need to add vinegar, sugar or citrus juices to fully fermented pickled items

Here is a simple pickling recipe, courtesy of foodnetwork.com: Refrigerator Pickles: Cauliflower, Carrots, Cukes...You name it!

 

Lunch box challenge - Keeping it fun while making it healthy- Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top tips for a healthy lunch box

• Always include fresh fruit and vegetables. Vary the selection to keep it interesting.

• Switch out breads. Offer a variety of whole grain breads, rolls, pita bread and flat breads.

• Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine. Be sure to drizzle the avocado with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring.

• Use reduced fat dairy foods. Cheese and yogurt are ideal.

• Kids need a serving of protein at lunchtime. Ensure you include lean meat, egg, peanut butter (where allowed), chickpeas or tuna.

• Add a chilled bottle of water and limit juice (don’t want to give them too much sugar).

It’s important to keep food in the lunch box cold to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. An insulated lunch box is ideal. In addition to a chilled beverage, try freezing a squeeze yogurt package. It will thaw by lunchtime and help keep everything cool in the meantime.

The most nutritious lunches include foods from at least three food groups, but that doesn't mean children must have the traditional sandwich, fruit, and milk for good health. As long as children eat a balanced and varied meal, it's perfectly fine to pack hummus, whole-grain crackers, and yogurt or leftovers from last night's dinner every day, as a tradeoff for sandwiches.

Kids like fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. Fruit salad is the ideal lunch box solution; it’s colorful, easy to eat and bursting with vitamins. When you include whole fruit in the lunchbox, select fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat. Your chances of having them eat all their fruit will increase dramatically if it’s easy to handle. You can peel and slice or cut fruit and choose seedless varieties of grapes, watermelon and mandarin oranges.

Kids hate soggy bread so here’s a tip: If you’re adding tomato to sandwiches, place the tomato between fillings and not directly onto the bread. This prevents the bread becoming soggy. Add something new to sandwiches by slicing a cucumber into thin ribbons with a potato peeler for sandwich fillings.

 

Beth Guzauskas – Deli Manager

Pineapple, the "Princess of Fruits"- Tuesday, August 18, 2015

[info courtesy of library.ucf.edu, www.mindspring.com & kingoffruit.com]

Pineapple has been a popular fruit for centuries. Although it may not hold the same significance it once did, the pineapple has enjoyed a special place in our culture -- second only, perhaps, to the apple. It has been used again and again as a motif in architecture, in furniture, in textiles, and, of course, in food.

The first account of the pineapple was given by Christopher Columbus and his men, who landed on the island now known as Guadeloupe on their second voyage of discovery. Columbus brought the succulent fruit back to Europe in 1493. Its cylindrical shape and rough, spiky surface caused the Spaniards to name itpina, after the pine cone. The English noted the same resemblance, hence our word "pineapple".

To the Carib people, the pineapple symbolized hospitality... This symbolism spread to Europe, then to Colonial North America, where it became the custom to carve the shape of a pineapple into the columns at the entrance of a plantation. During early Colonial days in the United States, families would set a fresh pineapple in the center of the table as a colorful centerpiece of a festive meal, especially when visitors joined them in celebration. This symbolized the utmost in welcome and hospitality to the visitor, and the fruit would be served as a special desert after the meal.

Interesting facts about pineapples

  • Pineapples spread around the world because they were kept on ships to ward off sailors' scurvy.

  • Pineapple is good for treating colds and coughs. The fruit is packed with Vitamin C and bromelain, an enzyme which is excellent for digestion and has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus.

  • Pineapple is low in calories, sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol while being a rich source of fibre, so it’s the perfect weight loss food.

  • The bromelain enzyme contained in pineapple breaks down proteins, so pineapple juice is sometimes used as a meat tenderiser.

  • You can grow a pineapple plant by twisting the crown off a store-bought pineapple, allowing it to dry for 2-3 days, and then planting it.

  • Although originally from South America, most of the world's pineapples now come from Southeast Asia. Thailand is said to be the biggest producer of pineapples in the region.

  • A single pineapple plant produces only one pineapple every 2-3 years.

  • Pineapple canneries use every bit of the pineapple. The skins, core and end portions are used to make a variety of products including vinegar, alcohol, and animal food.

  • Pineapple is not, strictly speaking, a fruit. Rather it is 100-200 fruitlets all fused together.

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Reducing the stress of heading back to school- Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The phrase “It’s back to school time” is certain bring on many emotions for both the kids affected and the parents who need to make certain they are prepared for the big change coming. Early wake up times, packing lunches, deciding what to wear, getting homework done in time, new surroundings, new teachers, new classmates, new subjects, tests and exams, dealing with bullies and peer pressure, plus countless after school activities. There can be lots of excitement for our children, but as we can all recall from our own childhood, there can also be a lot of stress placed on their shoulders.

When we were raising our daughters it always seemed that mornings were a huge stress generator and whenever we could do things to dial down early morning stress, everyone in our household had a better day. So what can you do to eliminate the unnecessary early morning angst associated with back to school time?

Here are a few things Rob & I picked up over the years from other parents and friends, our own trial and error, and most recently the internet.

  1. Don’t let the clock take control. One of the best things about summer vacation is that you no longer need to set an alarm and jump out of bed before the sun comes up. At the end of the day, children’s bed times become more relaxed and staying up late to finish a game or read a book are often acceptable. That won’t work once school starts, but making an abrupt change the night before the first day of school is tough to handle. Why not make a habit of getting children in bed at the time they will need to be in bed for school the last week of vacation? Be certain each child has an easy to set alarm clock and that they know how to use it.

  2. Plan ahead. Putting a minimal amount of time preparing for the next day will pay tremendous rewards the next morning when everyone is a bit cranky and still half asleep. Most kids aren’t ready to function at full capacity when first jarred out of their sleep, and putting together their outfit can turn out to be a paralyzing task. Deciding what to wear is tough, but remembering where the matching socks and shirt are for the rest of the outfit can be a game stopper. Spend three minutes before tucking them in at night picking out (and getting their buy-in) on the next day’s outfit. Once the little ones are tucked in, don’t head straight for the sofa and the TV -- put in ten more minutes in the kitchen assembling their lunches and put out cups and cereal bowls for the morning. You won’t want to do it then, but you will be so much happier in the morning when it’s not one more stress point in the start of everyone’s day.

  3. Start with a good breakfast for a better day! If you are good about getting the kids in bed on time and planning ahead the night before, breakfast should be stress free and enjoyable for all parties. If not, however, never let the children tell you, “I’m not hungry”, or I don’t have time to eat this morning. Offer them quick, healthy alternatives. Instant oatmeal in a cup, bananas, and juice boxes can be ready to grab-and-go. Extra protein bars can be stashed in backpacks for just-in-case hunger cravings, just don’t let them skip their breakfast!

  4. Create a family bulletin board. Best location is the kitchen somewhere near the refrigerator. Fill it with announcements, and stuff needing a parent’s signature can go there as well. The bulletin board can serve as a place to post "atta boy/girl!" messages recognizing school accomplishments. The bulletin board can also be a tool to help teach your children to become responsible for their own schedule. Use a different colored pen for each child and with them present, mark down their weekly music lesson, soccer practice, field trip, sharing day, and spelling test under the date and time. Once posted, get everyone in the family in the habit of checking the board for upcoming events before they leave for school or when they get home each day.

Best luck in the new school year, may the learning come easy and the time in school be a pleasant experience.

 

Georgette Prisco

An introduction to unique summer melons- Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tis the season to surround yourself with melons. Although available year round, they reach their sweet, nutrient-packed peak of perfection right around now. They are also the least understood of all summer fruits. Did you know that melons are in the same family as cucumbers and squash? They are all members of the gourd family, except most melons are fruits not vegetables and are luscious, sweet, and juicy, each with its own individual personality and appeal. -- thedailymeal.com

Cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew: These are some of the most popular summer fruits, and they are used in a wide variety of seasonal recipes. However, contrary to how it may appear, they aren't the only melons currently available, and they certainly aren't the only ones deserving of attention. There are close to a dozen other melon varieties at peak season and on the market, and it's a shame more people haven't experienced them...

Types of melons
Technically, there are hundreds and hundreds of melon varieties, but it's unlikely you will encounter the majority of them unless you live or work in a farming community, or have access to an expansive Farmers Market. For everyone else, there's are still plenty of varieties to try. Here is a short list of specialty melons to get you started:

Casaba
The Casaba melon is unique in its appearance. It has an ovoid to round shape that comes to a point at its stem end. When ripe its skin will be a golden yellow with hints of green throughout. Its thick rind has irregular, shallow furrows running from end to end. The creamy pale green to white flesh is mild and sweet in flavor with nuances of Asian pear.

Uses: Casaba melons are best utilized in fresh preparations. Its flavor will work well in both sweet and savory salads. Pureed it can be added to cold soups, smoothies, sorbets, sauces and cocktails.

Crenshaw
The teardrop shaped Crenshaw melon, also spelled Cranshaw, has a yellow and green, corrugated, rough, firm rind void of netting. Its dense, tender, peach-colored flesh is sweet and slightly spicy. The melon's skin turns golden-yellow at the peak of ripeness and will have slightly waxy feel. Crenshaw melons can weigh as much as eight to ten pounds.

Uses: Fresh Crenshaw can be used as a breakfast fruit and as a salad ingredient. The Crenshaw may also be used as an ingredient in cold soups and desserts.

Canary
he Canary melon is oval-shaped, with a smooth skin. When the melon is ripe, its hard rind turns bright yellow, it develops a corrugated look and a slightly waxy feel and its flesh will be pale ivory in color. The texture of the flesh is notably succulent, almost wet and semi firm, similar to a ripe pear. Within the flesh, the fruit bears a dry salmon-orange seed cavity. The melon possesses flavors both tangy and mildly sweet. Only choose Canary melons which are bright yellow (no green coloring on the skin) as these signal that they are mature and ready to eat.

Uses: Canary melon pairs well with citrus, ginger, honey and other more flavorful melons. Use Canary melon in fresh preparations such as cold soups and salads.

Persian
Persian melons look like a larger, rounder, heavily-netted, unridged cantaloupe. Its light, pistachio-grey rind turns a tan color when ripe. The melon's flesh is coral colored, aromatic and sweet. Its texture is buttery and firm. A perfectly ripe Persian melon will feel heavy for its size and release aromatics from its stem and blossom ends.

Uses: Persian melons are best utilized in fresh preparations. They can be sliced, balled, pureed or when just ripe or slightly under ripe cut into ribbons. Persian melon puree can be used in sorbet, smoothies, pop-sickles or cold soups. Persian melon balls can be used fresh or frozen to enhance cocktails and juice.

People often ask, "What's your secret?"- Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I had a customer stop me in the aisle recently in front of the beef section and ask, “What is your secret? I’ve been buying steaks at Prisco’s for more years than I can remember. Every so often, however, I see an ad for a great price somewhere else, go there and buy some of their meat. I may get lured away occasionally by a low price somewhere but I always find myself coming back to Prisco’s because I have never found anything consistently better."

Well, just how do you respond to that?

Prisco’s has had a reputation for selling excellent meat since the family opened their first store in 1926. Over sixty years ago my dad, Tony Prisco, recognized the importance that good meat played as a cornerstone of our business. He understood that if he wanted to compete with the large chains who had the advantage of buying goods at a lower cost, he needed to offer his customers only the best quality at affordable prices, and the best customer service possible. At one point dad actually took an extended leave from the family business so that he could attend the National Meat Cutting School in Toledo, OH.  There, he learned modern meat purchasing, cutting, and merchandising methods.  This was truly a bold step for the time and one that eventually helped give Prisco’s the reputation for quality that we still enjoy today.

For as far back as anyone in the family can remember, we have been buying the majority of our beef locally from the Aurora Packing Company. Like our store, theirs' is a family operated business that places high value on having a rock solid reputation for good quality meat. The beef that we purchase from Aurora Beef is all USDA Choice Black Angus beef. They work closely in partnership with their Midwest farmers and producers to guarantee the finest Black Angus Beef, which is fully traceable from farm gate to the dinner plate. The cattle are raised humanely in the Midwest and corn fed for exceptional flavor and tenderness. Livestock is sourced within 300 miles of their processing plant in North Aurora, reducing animal stress and guaranteeing the best tasting beef.

So you may still be wondering how I answered the question: What is our secret? I told that gentleman the truth... There is no secret. It’s quite simple. We buy the best quality raw materials available -- in this case, USDA Choice Black Angus Beef -- and process it minimally, but always with skilled craftsmanship, and we always make certain to keep it fresh. Our customers appreciate that and stick with us year after year from one generation to the next.

 

Regards

Rob Prisco

How to make the perfect Iced Coffee- Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Although coffee is frequently enjoyed by people all year round, there's something to be said about beginning (or ending!) a hot summer day with a perfectly brewed and delicious iced coffee. Iced coffee is a highly flexible beverage from a flavor standpoint; aside from the cooling-down factor, it can be enriched in numerous ways with many types of ingredients: From chocolate infusions and fruit flavorings such as orange, raspberry and strawberry, to seasonings and spices like cinnamon, ginger or pepper, you can add just about anything to iced coffee and come away with a unique taste experience.

Of course, before getting to the point where you can creatively enhance your coffee, you need to brew it. So what's the best method for making the ultimate iced coffee that won't result in a watered-down/diluted, flat-tasting mess? Well, we recommend "cold brew"! Cold brewing makes for a smoother tasting and much less bitter coffee, one which also happens to be lower in caffeine. Although it does require a little more patience and attention than traditional brewing methods, cold brewing is not a complicated process at all.

For the basic steps for preparing cold brew coffee, try the following recipe: Easy Cold-Brewed Coffee. It's a very straight-forward process and does not require any special equipment...Odds are very good you will already have what you need at home.

Once you have your cold-brewed coffee it's finally time to decide on a flavoring. After all, why would you want to limit yourself to cream and sugar? Here are some simple syrup ideas (courtesy of annies-eats.com) for livening up your brew!

Vanilla Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and throw in the pod. Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla bean pod and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator.

~~~

Raspberry Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cup raspberries, preferably fresh

Directions:

Combine the sugar, water and raspberries in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the berry solids. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator.

~~~

Coconut Syrup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1/4 cups cream of coconut*

2 tsp. coconut extract

*Note: Cream of coconut is most often found in stores near the cocktail supplies and mixers, as it is often used for making piña coladas.

Directions:

Combine the sugar, water and cream of coconut in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut extract. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator.

~~~

Caramel Syrup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cups caramel sauce

Directions:

Combine the sugar, water and caramel sauce in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Thinking about Healthy Eating in the Off Season- Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Everyone knows that eating healthy is an important part of living a healthier life and feeling better about ourselves. That’s nice, but how many of us are doing anything about it on a regular basis? Yes, as the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas pass we all want to start out each New Year by turning over a new leaf, and we all vow to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight. For the vast majority, however, that genuinely sincere commitment has vanished from our conscious thought before the first page on the new calendar gets turned.

What is wrong with this picture? Why are we so weak when it comes to sticking to our commitment of eating healthier and exercise?  If you are looking for the magic bullet we can use to help strengthen our backbones and get us to stick to our commitments, I’m sorry, no such thing exists... At least, not as far as I know! However, there has to be something that can help motivate us all to try harder for longer periods of time so that a healthier lifestyle need not be a wild, unattainable dream.

I’m somewhat convinced that part of the problem is that when we finally take on the task of addressing how we eat and exercise, we feel the only way to succeed is to “go all in”.  Going all in, however, is not how we are built and that approach tends to set us up for failure.  Many of us ask ourselves, “If I can’t do it exactly correct, why bother at all?” 

Once doubt sets in, failure and resignation are quick to follow.

I’d like to suggest a different tack and a different time of year.  You see, some people are indeed successful at changing their less-than-good eating habits, and often this happens because of some outside influence like a warning from the doctor that they need to change their diet and lose weight or suffer dire consequences.  So, my idea is this: Why not start a weight loss/healthier eating campaign now at a time of year when it’s not the thing everyone is doing?  The weather is warn, exercise is easier, and fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables are most plentiful.

The other thing to do to give us at least a fighting chance is to keep it as simple as possible. Let’s not try to lose twenty pounds in a month or run a marathon by October.  Let’s just try to stick to some very basic good habits for as long as we can, and in time see if we can add to that discipline if prudent. The key to our success is being able to maintain this perspective: Our food should be about pleasure and nourishment.

Here are some practical ideas I’ve run across while researching healthier eating options.

1. Eliminate processed foods.

Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the ingredient list of each item in your kitchen cupboards, refrigerator and storage room. Avoid anything that has artificial additives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, or vegetable oils. This includes fried foods, sweets and refined grain products such as cookies and bread.  Processed foods will mess up your digestion, increase your anxiety levels, and more than likely lead to weight gain. There are plenty of healthy alternatives for your favorite comfort foods, such as raw chocolate, flax crackers, oven-baked sweet potato fries, and fresh green salads.

2. Choose whole foods.

Whole foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and beans. They're unprocessed, unrefined and don’t contain any added salt, added sweeteners, added fats or artificial additives.  Whole foods are very high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and water, which is why they will keep you healthy, beautiful and energized. By choosing whole foods over processed foods, you'll be able to enjoy delicious meals without feeling guilty or bloated afterward.  Our produce department is your best source for these foods, and check out some of the homemade salads and prepared foods in our deli. Beth and her team are always tweaking our offerings to add new healthier and tastier items.

3. Have at least 1 green smoothie a day.

Admittedly, this a a bit radical for most folks, but it’s not so far out there that it is impractical to try.  Green smoothies are an excellent way to start your day. They will satisfy your sugar cravings, cleanse your colon, and provide your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep you energized and happy. Green smoothies are also incredibly high in chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant that flushes out heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic residue from your body.  Not certain how to make a green smoothie?  Here is a very simple recipe: 1 large ripe mango (or 2 ripe bananas), two handfuls of spinach (or any other type of leafy green) and 1 to 2 cups of water. Add everything to your blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

4. Don’t be afraid of fruit.

If you ever tried a low carb diet, you were most likely taught that fruits were loaded with carbohydrates and something to be avoided.  Well that is a misconception and not a good rule of thumb; you see, not all carbohydrates are created equal!  Yes indeed, you will want to avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread, cookies, wheat pasta and sugar-laden breakfast cereals, but you should consume healthy carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and sweet root vegetables. They'll reduce your cravings for sugary snacks and keep your energy levels high at all times.  As with anything, too much of a good thing can be a problem.  In order to prevent blood sugar spikes and to protect your teeth from fruit sugars, try combining your fruits with leafy greens. A fruit and spinach salad tastes delicious and does the trick.

5. Eat your greens.

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens and romaine lettuce will help you to detoxify, alkalize your body and get your mineral levels up. They're packed with essential nutrients such as iron, zinc and magnesium that will boost your energy levels, strengthen your immune system and clear up your skin.  Enjoy your leafy greens as the base for a colorful rainbow salad, blend them into a creamy green smoothie, or treat yourself to a fresh green juice. Green juices are an excellent way to avoid that dreaded afternoon slump!

 
Good Eating – and stay healthy.

Bill Vella, Produce Manager