Goodbye Winter, Hello SUN

200288092-001The month of March is a time to celebrate the exit of winter and make way for spring. The nights are growing short as the sun shines longer each day in Spring. Many celebrations occur throughout this month all over the world. And many of our North Texas friends come from countries with rich Sprintime celebrations.  Whether you grew up celebrating Carnavale in Spanish speaking countries, love the Mardi Gras atmosphere of our neighbors in Louisiana, embrace the blooming of the Cherry Blossom trees in Asia, or take the time to notice the longer days and shorter nights we join you in welcoming spring!

Do you have a ritual for saying goodbye to the winter months, or do you do something special each spring as a family? Do you choose these warming days to picnic near the lake? Take walks in the parks near you? Whatever ways to choose to welcome the warm weather, pack up a healthy snacks and get outside!

Tips on Healthful Snacking:

  • Spring is a time for fresh produce! Come walk our aisles of veggies to pick out healthy salad ingredients for dinner tonight. Top it off with some of our cheeses for extra protein
  • A handful of healthy fat nuts like almonds, or walnuts are a great chemical/preservative/sugar free snacks you can easily take on the go, so much better than grabbing a candy bar or bag of chips, plus they are full of healthy fats and oils like DHA which are essential for optimum body functioning. We have quite a selection of nuts in our produce department
  • Grab some fresh fruit as you head out the door! Think “portable” such as bananas, oranges, dates, plums, peaches, cherry tomatoes, or raisins. We have a large supply of exotic fruits here at Sara’s_DSC4475
  • Never eat out of the bag! Always give yourself a serving (think ½ a deck of cards for size comparison) and put the bag away so you’re not tempted to eat 2 or 3 more servings
  • Grab a bag full of our fresh made pitas, spread with peanut butter and jelly or hummus and you have a portable sandwich to eat on your way anywhere

Explore the public recreation areas in your town, take the family pet for a long walk, walk the trails, visit a playground, get some fresh air! We all feel better after we’ve been active. You’ll thank us later ;)

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All women know what is celebrated on the 14th of February and all men know there are BIG expectations for Valentine’s Day. Here at Sara’s we have all you need to celebrate your loved one all February long. Let’s not just make it about one day! And let’s not make it just about romance; we all have many people we could show love to this month. Be intentional during the month of February and spend it giving everybody some love. The best tips we can give you are to…Learn to read Love Languages. Everyone expresses love and shows love in five basic ways. Here they are:

  • Quality Time
  • Gift Giving
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Acts of Service

Tips for Showing Your Love

  • Quality Time-Arrange to take your loved one out for a special date, it can be a simple trip out for a cup of coffee at a quiet café, or a walk in a garden together, just be sure to give them all of your attention during your date!
  • Gift Giving-Those who love receiving gifts would be the first to tell you it doesn’t have to be expensive jewelry; even a small gift of specialty cookies, a tin of exotic sweets, or a nice bar of quality chocolate communicates that you are thinking of them (Sara’s Market & Bakery has many specialty items that make wonderful gifts!)
  • Words of Affirmation-Stick up a post-it note with an encouraging saying on the mirror for your loved one to see in the morning, include a note in your children’s lunch, or send a heart felt letter to a dear friend, affirming them as a special person makes them feel loved.
  • Physical Touch-Even simple ways to touch your loved ones can mean a great deal to those with this love language. Holding hands while crossing the street, braiding her hair, patting their shoulder or giving hugs as soon as they come home communicate love!

    Sara's has a wide variety of exotic sweets, they make a nice "Thinking of You" gift!

    Sara’s has a wide variety of exotic sweets, they make a nice “Thinking of You” gift!

Simple Valentine’s Dinner Recipe

4 lamb chops (Sara’s specialty)

1 medium white onion, sliced into ¼” thick slices

Extra virgin olive oil

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Season the lamb with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary on each side. Pour 2 T. of the olive oil into a saucepan over medium high heat. Place lamb chops down on the pan when very hot. Sear them on each side, about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Serve with a nice side salad and glass of wine. Enjoy!

Sara's butcher counter has a fantastic selection of fresh meats!

Sara’s butcher counter has a fantastic selection of fresh meats!

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Healthy Choices

Healthy Choices

Well, we are almost halfway through January in 2014.  How are your diets holding up?  We at Sara’s want you to know that you CAN do it!  Don’t get discourage if you fell off the wagon, get back on!  It is NEVER too late to make a change.  Diet’s are like clothes, sometimes they are in and sometimes they are out.  Rather than beat yourself up over failing at your diet, try and make simple changes.

The number one cause of excess weight is the complex and processed carb.  This includes potatoes, white rice, pasta, sugar and anything made with flour.  With that being said, if you resolve to cut these items out of your diet completely, you are setting yourself up to fail!  Instead, make choices about what you are going to eat.  For instance, the typical meal at the burger joint is a burger, fries and a drink.  In order to be successful, choose one item of those that you want to consume.  For me, it is the soda!  So I order a lettuce wrapped burger with sweet potato fries so that I can enjoy my soda!  If fries are your thing, then order a lettuce wrapped burger with water.  If you can’t imagine a burger without a bun, then choose the sweet potato fries and water.  It is all about choice!  What is most important to you??

Finally, make it yourself!  It isn’t really as hard as it seems to cook healthy meals at home!  Here at Sara’s we have so many healthy items for you to choose from.  Plan your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list so that you stay on track.  This will not only help your waistline, it will help your budget too!

Come on by and check out all the things we have to offer that will help you stay on track and lose weight!  We believe in you!  You CAN do it!

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Here are a couple of our healthy favorites. :-)

Quinoa Tabouli

Ingredients 

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tomatoes, diced

1 cucumber, diced

2 bunches green onions, diced

2 carrots, grated

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

 

Directions

  1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, carrots and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa.

Simple Hummus

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can chickpeas

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 of a large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 to 3 tablespoons water

Dash of ground paprika for serving

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making smooth and creamy hummus possible.
  2. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.
  3. Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth.
  4. Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the consistency is perfect.
  5. Scrape the hummus into a bowl then drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika.
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Good LUCK in the new year!

As the new year approaches, we take time to reflect on the year that has just passed; remembering the good times and learning from the bad.  We prioritize family and begin thinking of the new year and all the things we want to do differently; resolutions are made.  We ring in the new year with the best of intentions and we participate in traditions to bring us good luck..

  • In America we eat black-eyed peas. byp
  • In Asia they eat long noodles.
  • In Peru they eat 12 grapes at midnight. unnamed
  • In Turkey they eat pomegranates.
  • In Ireland and Germany they eat cabbage.cabbage

We all seek good fortune in the new year, and fortunately for you, Saras has all the ingredients you need to bring you good luck!  We challenge you to celebrate a multicultural new year and give yourself the blessing of luck in many different ways!!

May your 2014 be filled with family, love, laughter and above all else, good LUCK! :-)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you know that there are several other thanksgiving traditions around the world?

  • Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, which takes place in October. This has been celebrated for over 90 years and is an all day celebration including a church service, parade, dancing and feasting on harvest foods.
  • Japan hosts a annual celebration of the first harvest in which they offer their crops to the Kami.  After WWII, this celebration became known as Kinro Kanahsa No Hi and would be celebrated on November 23.  In addition to the harvesting, human rights and rights in the workplace are celebrated on this day.
  • India celebrates Pongal, which is a four-day celebration!  Day one, known a Bhogi Pongal includes an offering to the king of gods, Indra. Day two, Surya Pngal is honored with a delicacy known as sarkkarai pongal.  Day three, Mattu Pongal is celebrated by giving thanks to the cows and bulls.  The last day, known as Kaanum Pongal is very much like our American thanksgiving in that the people visit their families and give thanks for the harvest.

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches we want to take a moment to thank you, our loyal customers for your patronage.  The spirit of Thanksgiving is one of friendship and grace.  It is a time of reflection and introspect.  We give thanks.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are all the reasons we give thanks.

We are thankful for:

*your patronage *Ÿyour support Ÿ*your shopping Ÿ*your appetites *Ÿyour enthusiasm Ÿ     *your wallets :-) *Ÿyour tenacity Ÿ*your fearlessness Ÿ*your positivity *Ÿyour love for us *Ÿyour children Ÿ*your laughter *Ÿyour cravings *Ÿyour feedback *Ÿyour sense of adventure *your kindness *Ÿyour loyalty Ÿ*your compassion *Ÿyour affection Ÿ*your charm Ÿ             *your determination Ÿ*your fabulousness Ÿ*your friendliness Ÿ*your smiles

But most importantly, we are thankful for YOU!  Without you, our existence would cease to be so thank you for being you.

From our family to yours, please enjoy your thanksgiving!

A few family favorites :-)

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 (10-ounce) blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup soft plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well. Set aside. Place milk, flour, and onion salt in a quart jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously 1 minute. Stir together flour mixture, 3 1/2 cups cheese, and macaroni. POUR macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish or 2 (11 inch) oval baking dishes. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese; drizzle evenly with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2-1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into florets
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine cauliflower and garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Transfer, in a single layer, to a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 450 degrees F for about 25 minutes, stirring once. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately Yield: 6 servings.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

 Ingredients:

Cooked Broccoli
Cooked white rice
Cream of mushroom soup
Sliced Onions and mushrooms (optional)
Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Sauté onions and mushrooms in butter. Once done add cooked broccoli, cooked rice (2 to 1 broccoli to rice ratio), can of cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well. Mixture should be moist, but not too cheesy (based on preference). Transfer mixture into light buttered baking dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake covered at 350 for 20-25 min.

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Freekeh

Ever wonder how we have become so far removed from the foods of our ancestors?  In this day and age, it is more about convenience and less about nutrition.  Did you ever think, maybe our grandparents, great grandparents or even great great grandparents had it right all along when it comes to food?  While to them, cooking was a big endeavor that took a good amount of time to accomplish; we have the convenience of modern technology.  What used to take hours, now takes us minutes!  Therefore, I have to wonder, why aren’t we utilizing our modern technology to make quick AND nutritious meals for our families?

Enter freekeh.  Freekeh has been around for over 2,000 years.  2,000 years people!  It is a whole grain packed full with fiber and is low on the glycemic index.  Freekeh is harvested when it is still green and then gets toasted and cracked.   The cracking process is what speeds up your time in the kitchen.  Cracked freekeh will be ready to eat in 15-20 minutes!  Prepare it just as you would rice. 

Still not convinced?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has labeled it a super food.  Dr. Oz has named it one of the 7 essential foods for women over 40.  Finally, Queen O herself has featured it in her O: The Oprah Magazine,and we all know Oprah’s word is law! J 

 

RECIPES

Freekeh with Peas and Carrots

Serves 4-6

1 pkg kabtilo coarse freekeh
1 pkg skinless bone in chicken breast
1pkg frozen peas and carrots
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
A pinch of cardamon
A pinch of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil or butter ghee to sauté veggies  (more if needed for freekeh)

 

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Wash and strain freekeh until water is clear.

Add oil or butter ghee to a pot and sauté the peas and carrots (about 3-5 minutes).

Add the washed freekeh to the pot and if needed add more oil or butter ghee to coat the freekeh. add warm water (or vegetable stock for more flavor) to cover freekeh and veggies and add spices, mixing well.

Bring to a boil and wait for a few min before covering and turning heat to low,  simmer for 15-20 or until water has dried. 

Fluff with a fork and serve with salad and yogurt salad.

 

Freekeh with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

Serves 4-6

2 cups kabtilo freekeh
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
5 cups broth, or water
3 cups butternut squash, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup hazelnuts or cashews, chopped

 

Wash and strain freekeh until water is clear.

Combine freekeh and broth or water in a pot.  Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low, add diced onion, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

While the freekeh cooks, prepare the butternut squash.  Toss squash in a bowl with olive oil.  
Spread on foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until tender, but not soft.

Stir cooked butternut squash and cranberries into freekeh.  If desired, top with chopped nuts.

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Making Food Fun for the Whole Family

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How to Bring The Mediterranean Diet to Your Table

TheMediterranean Diet is everywhere. Its health benefits are making headlines from coast to coast and cooks everywhere are incorporating it into creative and fun recipes. But the Mediterranean Diet is not just about recipes or lowering cholesterol. It’s a blueprint for a healthy lifestyle that includes time spent with family and friends.

The Mediterranean Diet reflects a way of eating that is traditional in the countries that surround the Mediterranean. In these cultures,  meals are carefully prepared and are savored. Family and friends come to together to enjoy the delicious flavors and textures of their food and enjoy a sense of community.

But you don’t need to travel any further than your local grocer,  such as Sara’s Market and Bakery in Richardson (add website link),  to bring the remarkable cultural and health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet to your table every day.  Sara’s offers a complete selection of produce and products.  Click here for a downloadable shopping list.

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And here are great tips to to get started
http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-diet-pyramid/tips-families?page=0,1

To get your family involved in preparing meals, take them around the world without leaving the kitchen.Schedule theme nights such as “A Night in Tuscany” and make a hearty soup with beans and farro. Experiment with the different flavors of each region and get your kids excited about trying new dishes. AND let your kids help prepare the meals. If your children don’t learn basic kitchen skills they’ll regret it later in life and won’t have a legacy to pass along to their children.

If hamburgers are popular in your household, try substituting Mediterranean wraps with spicy hummus or pitas stuffed with tabbouli and falafel.

89792459Mediterranean vegetables are very versatile, so experiment with different cooking methods. Kids often prefer a raw or roasted carrot to a steamed one. Green almonds are in season now and can be found at markets like Sara’s this spring. These fuzzy green delicacies will surely intrigue them and please them as snacks. Eggplant that is sliced, brushed with olive oil and lightly browned on both sides under the broiler may have more appeal than when it is sautéed – and soft. Try serving potatos as healthy, oven-baked fries rather than mashed with butter and cream.

Make your own trail mix. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid recommends eating small amounts of nuts in order to benefit from their healthy proteins, fats, and fiber. In a large bowl, combine peanuts, chopped walnuts, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries or blueberries, and whole grain cereal. Package it in “snack-size” zip-lock bags to have on hand for car trips and lunch boxes.

Add veggies to the foods your kids already like. If pancakes are popular, add some grated carrots, or shredded zucchini to the batter. Toss frozen peas and corn with pasta or mac and cheese. Or, add diced sautéed onions, peppers and feta to scrambled eggs.

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Dice up apples and strawberries or toss a few blueberries into the morning meal. If your child is looking for a savory snack, offer up black or green olives as nutritious option. Stock up on clementines, grapes, pears, and melon for after school munching. Encourage kids to eat fresh fruit rather than drinking fruit juice for a better source of fiber, which is often lacking in their diets.

When kids need an after-school snack, offer up small bowls of Mediterranean dips like hummuis, tzatziki, baba ghannouj, and spicy muhammara. Pair the dips with an ever changing variety of fresh vegetables, or offer whole grain pita bread for dipping.

Additional tips and recipes can be found at http://www.livestrong.com/article/340564-mediterranean-diet-for-kids/” l “ixzz2R8dOFqg8

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