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Tag Archive | "veggies"

Five tips for building a better lunch


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) Keeping lunch ideas inventive and exciting can become challenging over time. Lunchbox envy may start in grade school, but when you open yet another uninspired sack lunch, you may find yourself wishing you could trade with a friend or co-worker, if only for the change of pace.

Whether you’re packing lunch for the kids or looking for ways to boost the grownup lunches in your family, these ideas will help pull you out of your lunchtime rut.

Customized carrier: Get a customized lunch box that will make you and your kids excited about lunch. Add a monogram, showcase a favorite color or pick a favorite character or hobby to personalize your pack. Features like bento boxes and cooler compartments add a practical touch to the fun.

Menu collaboration: Talk to your kids about what they want to eat and come up with menus together. Involving them in the process helps them feel empowered and may give you some ideas to liven up your own routine.

Tasty treats: Kids and adults alike can appreciate new ways to enjoy their favorite flavors. For example, Dole Mixations are a one-of-a-kind fruit fusion that’s a simple and delicious twist on two snack time favorites: applesauce cups and cups of fruit. Available in four satisfying varieties, each serving includes a combination of smooth fruit sauce with juicy chunks of real fruit that kids and adults of all ages will love.

Words of encouragement: Whether you’re packing a lunch for your little loves or your big one, include a note or message that’s sure to bring a smile at lunch. Look for fun, inventive packaging features that you can customize with personal messages for a fun lunch-time surprise. You can also add a pen to your youngsters’ lunch boxes and encourage them to express their own creativity on the lid before they dive into the delicious fruit fusion.

Pack a punch: Balance basics like sandwiches with fruit and crunchy veggies to ensure the meal has a healthy, fulfilling variety to keep energy up throughout the day. An option such as Dole Mixations is an enjoyable mix to brighten any meal. They contain non-GMO fruit, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors. Plus, they are naturally gluten free and rich in vitamin C.

Find more ideas to wipe out lunchtime boredom at dolesunshine.com.

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Veggies aplenty? Ways to share your bountiful harvest


(ARA) – Plenty of tender, loving care went into those vegetable seedlings planted this spring. Weeks of watering, weeding, pruning and feeding have likely resulted in a harvest so bountiful it is beginning to overwhelm the kitchen.

What an exciting sight to have watched that seedling grow with sunshine, water and good soil in the backyard garden or patio container garden to produce such a plethora of fresh vegetables. By harvest time, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers weigh down the vines and stems of the formerly tiny seedlings, and many gardeners are running out of storage space and recipe ideas for all the incredible vegetables picked at the height of freshness.

So what can be done with the garden leftovers? Donating and gifting are two great ways to help friends and the community with fresh produce. Miracle-Gro and America’s Test Kitchen teamed up to provide  recipes that are perfect for parties, providing a delicious meal for a shut-in and sharing with co-workers.

Tomatoes from the garden can be canned and easily transformed into chili, spaghetti or pizza sauce even into the winter months. From salsa and pico de gallo, to zucchini bread and cucumber salad, these popular foods will have family and friends enthusiastically eating garden vegetables all summer long. Expand the menu options by growing some different vegetables or herbs each year, and investigate new recipes that may become family favorites.

Create gift baskets for friends and neighbors with excess fresh produce. Whether celebrating the summer holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or for no reason at all, summer crops can inspire a variety of gifts. Ask your friends for their favorite recipes featuring delicious vegetables and herbs. Then, print out the best recipes on colorful cardstock and bundle up the ingredients, including fresh produce from the garden, giving the whole package as a gift. Who wouldn’t be overjoyed to receive a fabulous gourmet meal in the making?

Donate any extra harvest to a local food shelter where it will benefit members of the community. Contact local food pantries prior to harvesting the vegetables to find out what restrictions they might have on garden vegetables. If the local food pantry does not accept fresh produce, contact area churches to see if any have a food donation program established.

While the first harvest is exciting, do not forget to continue nurturing remaining plants in the garden. Some plants will produce vegetables until the weather gets considerably cooler, allowing for the enjoyment of fresh produce well into the fall. Ensure that plants have aenough water, and continue pulling weeds competing with vegetable plants for water and nutrients.

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