Prisco’s Family Market

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What you may not know about cranberries!- Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Most folks don’t know that our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, is the leading producer of cranberries in the US. Some 60 percent of all cranberries packaged and canned in the US come from 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin. Actually, the cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. Cranberries are the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, but they are harvested using water. I know, we’ve all seen too many Ocean Spray commercials. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants. Diets including fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant values, like cranberries, may help support memory function and coordination.

  • Cranberries are a cholesterol-free, fat-free and low-sodium food, and help maintain a healthy heart.
  • Cranberries are part of a healthy diet and contain antioxidants that may help maintain a healthy immune system.
  • As part of a healthy diet, cranberries can be added to low-fat vinaigrettes, whole grain pancakes, and yogurt.
  • Cranberries are ingredients in more than 1,000 food and beverage products on the market, and only 5 percent of Wisconsin's cranberry crop is sold as fresh berries.

 

Pomegranates – one of our lesser known Super Fruits- Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Are you looking for refreshing alternatives to sugary sodas? We suggest you try enjoying pomegranates, both in their natural state and as a juice. Yes, recently pomegranate has become increasingly popular, popping up on trendy salad and martini menus everywhere, but there are good reasons for this...

The Pomegranate tree is native to Asia and has been revered among many ancient religions for medicinal purposes. Researchers believe that the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be used to help certain heart conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Known as one of the "super fruits", pomegranates contain elements that can help prevent fatty deposits from building up around our arteries. Studies have found that consuming pomegranate juice can reduce the development of these fatty deposits, a problem commonly found in patients with chronic conditions (such as diabetes).

While drinking pomegranate juice is the easiest way to get the benefits of this super fruit, don’t overlook the fun and great taste that can be had eating the fruit as well. Whole pomegranate seeds contain a good amount of fiber, too, which is essential for proper digestive and heart health.

Don’t overdo it, however. These little red bombs are high in naturally-occurring sugar. Eat the fruit or drink this delicious ruby-red juice in moderation — a small dash of juice in a glass of regular or seltzer water goes a long way!

Unlike those bananas or navel oranges which are easy-to-peel-and-eat fruits, round, hard, tough-skinned pomegranates are a bit more difficult to break open. Here are some ways to master this fruit and get to the juicy seeds inside.

  • Option one: Quarter the pomegranate with a knife and place the pieces in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the rest of the fruit’s pith floats!

  • Others cut open the top of the fruit (like you would before carving a pumpkin) and then cut the fruit into slices, scooping out the seeds and putting them in a strainer for rinsing.

  • Try your hand at peeling. Starting from the pointy end, try your best to peel back the sides. (You can use a knife to get the process started.) Once you’ve peeled back some of the skin, use those fingers to gently loosen the kernels. Peel back the white pithy membranes as you go, and discard.

Healthy Snack Ideas That Kids Will Eat & Love- Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sometimes it’s awfully hard to come up with fresh new ideas and parents especially like new, good-to-eat, and good for their health ideas to prepare for their kids. We thought we would throw a few out there...Perhaps one or more might be a winner in your family.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a sure-fire hit with kids, and... it's a whole grain! Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it's endlessly versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, nutritional yeast, or cinnamon and sugar.

Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butter (no added sugars and other kinds of fats) is a great snack option. It gives your kids protein and healthy fats, and pairs perfectly with apples, bananas, celery and whole-grain crackers or toast.

Cheese

Cheese is super-flavorful and satisfying, and gives your kids protein and calcium. Just make sure it's not in every meal and snack. Pairing cheese with apple slices or carrot sticks (or whatever fruits and vegetables your kids like) is the ideal power snack.

Grilled Cheese

Snacks don't need to be made from snack foods. Serving a sandwich (or half of one) can be a smart solution for snack time. Even grilled cheese can be a good choice when you use 100-percent whole-grain bread and add in sliced apples for extra fiber.

Super Crispy Rice Treats

Everyone loves marshmallow and rice crispy treats. Give them a health boost by including dried apricots, apples or cranberries, some ground flaxseeds, and roasted unsalted hulled sunflower seeds. Use puffed whole-grain cereal to make them even better for your kids.

Healthy Chips and Dip

A serving of pita or tortilla chips is really fine nutritionally — it has filling fiber and can be a tasty vehicle for healthy dips, such as hummus, black bean dip or salsa.

 

Eating almonds is good for your health and can help you lose weight.- Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack with plenty of health benefits. Loaded with minerals, they are also among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevent weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese, and a good source of fiber, copper, phosphorous and riboflavin. A one-ounce serving has 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fats, just 1 gram of saturated fat and is always cholesterol-free. When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. Every crunch carries lots of important vitamins and minerals, including one that most people don’t even think of in nuts: calcium. Usually associated with dairy and dark leafy greens, calcium works with vitamin D to build your bones and keep your body’s systems running at peak performance.

Almonds can help stave off hunger and satisfy your cravings. Almonds are considered a good fit with many popular weight-loss plans because they provide stellar satiety, plentiful nutrients per calorie, and great, go-with-every-food flavor and crunch.

What about calories in almonds? A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a one-ounce serving of almonds (about 23 nuts) has just 129 calories as opposed to the previous count of 160. That's a 20% decrease. Even better, almonds are also super simple to integrate into your diet. Just grab them as a great weight loss snack or make them part of a meal, and you could see the scales tip in your favor.

 

Flaxseed and Quinoa, Two Healthy Additions to Any Diet- Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As people become more and more conscious of their food choices, we are finding that many obscure and previously difficult to find food items are becoming more and more commonplace. For example, up until a handful of years ago, not many people had even heard of quinoa, let alone known of its many health benefits. The same is true for flaxseed meal, which is also experiencing a surge in popularity due to its nutritional properties -- especially its usefulness as a low-carb fiber source in many weight-loss diets.

Some nutritional information

What's so special about quinoa? Quinoa's reputation as the epitome of natural health foods is well deserved. It's gluten-free, packed with protein, and contains all nine of the essential amino acids required by the human body for proper function. It's also high in fiber, B-vitamins, potassium and calcium, and vitamin E. A cup of quinoa contains 220 calories, 39 grams of carbs and only 4 grams of fat.

How is quinoa used? Quinoa is a versatile grain and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed on its own (cooked, of course), or as part of a recipe. Most folks use it in a similar manner to rice or bulgar wheat; you can try mixing your favorite seasonings with cooked quinoa and using it as a stuffing. It also makes for a fantastic and filling salad, such as this Quinoa Tabbouleh or Tuscan Quinoa Salad.

Flaxseed (sometimes referred to as "linseed"), is a real powerhouse of a food. It's been shown to improve digestion, lower cholesteroal, help maintain hormone balance, and promote weight loss. Flaxseeds are also the richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids available, making it perfect for vegans and strict vegetarians who may have difficulty finding a source elsewhere. Flax is also high in fiber but low in carbohydrates, making it a filling option for folks on a diet. And, like quinoa, flaxseeds contain complete proteins, which means they have notable amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Two tablespoons of flaxseed meal contains 60 calories, 4 grams of carbs and 5 grams of healthy fats.

How is flaxseed used? Flaxseeds are most commonly used ground, as they are not easily digestable whole. Flaxseed meal can be integrated without issue into most recipes that use batters or doughs. You can expect to see flaxseed meal as an ingredient in many baking recipes (cookies and muffins especially), but you can also stir a tablespoon or two into yogurt, oatmeal, or your next smoothie for a little added fiber and protein. Interested? Try this recipe for Apple and Carrot Muffins or this one for Blueberry Pancakes. We also have a recipe for the kale lovers out there.

 

Low-Carb Cauliflower – A healthy food substitute- Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This week, we wanted to place the produce spotlight firmly over one of our favorite vegetables, cauliflower. This may seem like an odd choice, but if you are a foodie or simply keen on cooking, you've probably already come across a number of articles and other media featuring this under-appreciated vegetable. It's become popular as a low-carbohydrate substitute in many recipes, replacing common ingredients such as flour in certain dough recipes (ex., gluten-free pizza crusts), or as an alternative to starch- and carb-laden dishes like mashed potatoes.

A little about cauliflower

While there are many different cultivars of white cauliflower, they are all marketed under the same name. In addition to the white varieties we're all well aquainted with, cauliflower also comes in other shades, including orange, green, and purple. Such varieties include the "broccoflower", a genetic cross which combines the physical features of cauliflower with the chlorophyll of broccoli, while mostly maintaining the cauliflower's unique flavor. With heads ranging from yellow-green to lime-green, broccoflower has a slightly sweeter taste than conventional cauliflower.

Selecting and storing a head of cauliflower

When choosing a cauliflower, look for a clean, white head with tight bud clusters – you'll want to avoid cauliflower whose florets are starting to separate or sag. The head of the cauliflower should be surrounded by thick green leaves, leaving the florets better protected and ensuring freshness over a longer period. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower, of course, should be avoided if possible.

Cauliflower will keep forup to five daysif stored in a perforated plastic bag or in an open dry container in the refrigerator, but is best eaten as soon as possible. Never seal your cauliflower in a plastic bag or other closed container and always keep the head stem-side up to prevent moisture form collecting on it during storage, which can accelerate rot.

Cauliflower recipes

So, how to prepare your cauliflower? As mentioned previously, you have plenty off options when it comes to cooking this incredible vegetable. There are a number of substitution options for more complex recipes, and cauliflower can serve as a standalone ingredient for simple sidedishes in place of other, more conventional veggies. Consider the following examples...

Cauliflower Rice

Instead of the usual white rice, substitute cauliflower in your favorite recipes. Just pulse the florets in a food processor or grate them on a box grater (via medium-sized holes) until you have small, rice-sized pellets. Once you have your "rice", just saute in a skillet over medium heat in olive oil; cover and allow the heat to steam the cauliflower until desired tenderness. You can then season your "rice" as you see fit. - Cauliflower rice can be used in any dish that calls for white rice, including sushi.

Cauliflower in place of potatoes

This applies to both mashed varieties and chopped. Instead of diced potatoes in your corned beef or breakfast-style hash, try cauliflower. It cooks up roughly the same without any additional fuss, and really provides the texture you'd expect from a good hash. The cauliflower does an excellent job of soaking up the other flavors, whether you are cooking with bacon or meat or simply spices, and is an excellent base for highly seasoned dishes.

Cauliflower also makes for a fantastic mashed potato substitute. If you are trying to shave off calories and carbs, serve up mashed cauliflower at your next meal. It's easy to prepare: Just steam the cauliflower for about 14 minutes then place in a food processor. Add some cream or buttermilk, some butter, salt and pepper, and garlic if desired. Pulse until desired consistency and serve.

Basically, the sky's the limit when it comes to subbing cauliflower for potatoes. Shredded or diced cauliflower works splendidly in other potato-heavy dishes...Cauliflower Tots and Cauliflower Pancakes (fritters) are also fantastic. Just use your imagination!

Cauliflower pizza crusts

One of the most talked about uses for cauliflower these days is as an ingredient in low-carb and gluten-free pizza crust. Preparation is a bit more involved than making mashed cauliflower, but you're using many of the same utensils. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until you have a powder – this is your flour alternative. For the specifics on preparing your cauliflower crust, see below.

Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

2 cups freshly grated mozzarella

1/4 cup Pizza Sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor to a fine snowy powder (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer the processed cauliflower to a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, wrap the cauliflower in the towel and wring out as much moisture as possible, transferring to a second towel if necessary. In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and press into a 10-inch round. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and top with the pizza sauce and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes more.

Cauliflower in place of pasta in some dishes

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, right? Well, even if you don't personally, surely you know someone who does. Cauliflower makes it possible for folks who love their mac to continue enjoying it, albeit modified. Just substitute small, bite-sized cauliflower pieces for the macaroni: Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for about five minutes; you're going for a more al dente texture, crisp-tender. Drain well and pat dry, then transfer to a baking dish. Pour your preferred cheese sauce over your "mac" and cook until browned on top and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Cauliflower in cookies

This may not seem very appetizing, but it turns out that powdered/processed cauliflower can make a pretty good substitute for regular flour in cookies. For a tasty treat, try this recipe courtesy of thesmartcookieblog.com:

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup frozen cauliflower, thawed

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used 1%)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

2 prunes, soaked in water for a couple minutes (the longer they soak, the better)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cauliflower, cottage cheese, cinnamon, ginger, milk, maple syrup, honey, and prunes in food processor. Process until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the bowl with oats. Mix to combine. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Form dough into cookies and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Let cool before removing from baking sheet and serving.

 

Sensational summer blueberries are now available!- Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer is the best times to purchase blueberries. This amazing fruit is officially in its peek season and not only readily available, but in its prime in both texture and flavor. You'd be hard pressed to find blueberries bursting with this much sweetness any other time of year. Why are blueberries hard to beat? Here are a few reasons:

Nutrition

Blueberries are considered a superfood. Superfoods, for those not familiar with the term, are foods (usually raw items, such as fruits and vegetables) that have been confirmed to be nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for the health and well-being of the consumer. Blueberries fall into this category because they are high in fiber and low in calories, and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals (such as K1, vitamin C and manganese) and antioxidants.

While blueberries are often eaten fresh, they make for an excellent ingredient in many baked goods, and are perfect in jams and jellies, and even juiced. They are also easy to store, lasting several days if refrigerated (be sure they are dry and free of mold before placing them in the fridge), or months if frozen.

Freezing blueberries:

There is a specific process to this if you want to maximize consistency: First, spread your blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and let them firm up in the freezer for a couple hours. Afterward, transfer them into a resealable plastic bag and pop them back in the freezer. They should keep for a few months. Note: Because freezing can break down the cellular structure of the berries, you may wind up with a less plump texture. Because of this, your best bet is to use your (still delicious!) berries in baking recipes or smoothies once they are removed from the freezer.

Try some of these fabulous blueberry recipes

For fresh blueberries, try:

If you have frozen berries:

 

So, Just What is a Nectarine?- Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A nectarine is a fuzz-less variety of peach. It is NOT a cross between a peach and a plum. Every once in a while, a peach tree mutates – the gene responsible for the fuzz is turned off, and out comes a smooth-skinned nectarine. Peach seeds may occasionally grow into trees that bear nectarines, and nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches. It is not possible to know which fruit will grow on trees grown from nectarine seeds, so nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of nectarines.

The word 'nectarine' means sweet as nectar, and this is very likely the origin of the name. Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish.

Nutritionally, a nectarine is a real dynamo. A medium nectarine is approximately 4-5 ounces in weight and will cost you only 60 calories. In return, you get a lusciously sweet snack with 2.5 tsp worth of sugar, evened out by 1.5 grams of fiber. Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C and also have good vitamin A and potassium values, and they are also contain an abundance of antioxidants.

If you love nectarines, now is the time to buy them as their season, as with other soft fruits such as peaches, plums, apricots, etc., is limited in the US.

Four Common Food Myths Debunked- Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Myth 1 - You can eat as much healthy fat as you like

The truth: While olive oil, packed with monounsaturated fat, is better for your heart than the artery-clogging saturated fat in butter, both have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon. In fact, all fats have roughly the same number of calories, says Samantha Heller, RD. So go easy. One way is to try an oil mister—one spritz delivers a fraction of a teaspoon.

Myth 2- Dark bread is always better than white

The truth: A dark bread might just have caramel coloring but be no better than white bread, University of Scranton psychology professor Michael Oakes, PhD, says. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the package: that means the bread is made from unrefined wheat, which has more than double the fiber and is also higher in selenium, potassium, and magnesium.

Myth 3 - "Eggs are bad for your heart.”

The Truth: Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks—about 211 milligrams (mg). But labeling eggs as “bad for your heart” is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. Studies show that most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University.

The cholesterol we eat in eggs doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart disease culprits are “saturated and trans fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol,” notes Kris-Etherton. Seen through that lens, eggs look more benign: a large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of the Daily Value) and no trans fats.

As with any food, it’s not the eggs but the amount of eggs that you eat that can become unhealthy. According to the American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations, which Kris-Etherton helped write: Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg daily. Rule of thumb: it’s safe to eat a bit less than one egg per day, say two or three per week.

Myth 4 - High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar

Not true… The truth is neither one is good for you and both should be limited or eliminated for a truly healthy diet. “The debate about HFCS and sucrose [table sugar] is taking the focus off the more important question,” says Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., R.D., a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who has studied the sweetener extensively. “What we should be asking is ‘What are the effects of all sugars (HFCS and sucrose) in the diet?”

Our bodies weren’t designed to handle a large amount of fructose at a time, Stanhope notes, because we wouldn’t have come across it in our food supply. “If you look at what nature provided for humans to eat, we only had fructose in whole fruit, in amounts that are relatively dilute.” Problems arose when we learned how to turn foods—which contain fiber, water and other nutrients—into pure sources of sugars (e.g., refining sugarcane into table sugar). Despite its name HFCS contains only a little more fructose than sucrose does, Stanhope emphasizes. It’s the sheer amount of the sweet stuff we consume that matters or, once again, it’s the dose that is the problem. Too much honey, agave syrup or dehydrated cane juice would likely cause the same health problems.

“The American Heart Association recently recommended that women consume no more than 100 calories a day in added sugars [6 teaspoons]; men, 150 calories [9 teaspoons],” Stanhope notes. Our current intake, however, hovers around 355 calories per day. “The U.S. population isn’t anywhere close to [the AHA’s] goal.”

What you may not know about almonds.- Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Just a handful of almonds per day may help you get more of the nutrients your body needs while helping maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol levels. A handful of almonds is a tasty way to help crush cravings and keep energy levels up throughout the day. Almonds are also easy to take on the go and pair well with lots of other foods.

Here are some other good-to-know facts about almonds:

  • When asked "What is an almond?", folks naturally reply "It's a nut." This is true, but only partially so. As a member of the peach family, the almond is technically the hard-shelled fruit of the almond tree.

  • Almonds are among the lowest-calorie nut meats. A single serving of almonds (1 oz. – 23 whole almonds) provides just 160 calories. They also have more calcium than any other nut, plus nearly 9 grams of monounsaturated, heart-healthy fats, 6 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber.

  • Almonds are healthiest for you raw or dry roasted. You will want to avoid "roasted" almonds as they may have been heated in unhealthy fats.

  • There are 98 published research papers to date (with 19 more in progress) on the health effects of almonds, in particular their positive effect on heart health, diabetes and weight management.

  • Almonds eaten as a mid-morning snack can help moderate your blood sugar levels throughout the day. They help to slow absorption of sugar and carbs