Kick Off Spring with a Picnic

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Portable Food Ideas for Kids of All Ages

Spring has officially sprung and it’s a great time to spend doing activities outside. Over the next couple of months, you will be able to enjoy multiple moveable feasts around our community.

A picnic can be in your backyard, on the beach or on a blanket. Spring and fall are times of especially nice weather in Richardson and the city offers several great areas for picnics for kids of all ages (http://www.richardsontexas.org). For example, not only is Galatyn Park a growing business center, but families can splash around in the Texas Instruments Community Fountain, walk the North Duck Creek Trail that runs parallel to the light rail line, or enjoy the Galatyn Woodland Preserve which features an animal sculpture playground, horseshoe pits, picnic areas and wetland ponds.

Another great picnic area is the Spring Creek Nature Areal, which offers two miles of hike and bike trails, picnic tables, scenic rest stops and even a horseshoe pit. The trail links with the Galatyn Park Woodland Preserve.

Duck Creek is a multi-use trail with a plaza, picnic facilities, playground equipment and ponds. Breckinridge Park has 4.5 miles of trails and includes 12 soccer fields, woodlands, three ponds, picnic facilities and restroom facilities.

And don’t forget picture-perfect Cottonwood Park, with its beautiful Cottonwood trees and family friendly amenities when thinking about an fun meal outside.

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Healthy Picnic Ideas 

When creating a picnic menu, think of foods that can be eaten cold or hot. Finger foods are always popular.

Sara’s offers a full range of picnic-ready items. Starting with great produce is key to creating delicious healthy meals that will make your picnic a success. Here are some fun finger foods:

• Tadium-roasted sunflower seeds.

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/06/a_new_sunflower_seed_to_add_to.php

Also comes in white chickpeas, double roasted yellow chickpeas, salted chickpeas, hazelnut kernels, roasted pistachios and classic mixed nuts with fruit

• Dried fruit, including Golden raisins, dry Turkish apricots, and dried Turkish figs. These dried fruits can be mixed and are easy to pack for picnics or come in bulk containers for larger crowds.

• Sesame Cookies provide just the right touch of sweet for outdoor feasts. These cookes are popular throughout the entire Mediterranean belt, from Turkey, to Morocco to Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, etc.

• Cedars pita chips. These chips come in garlic, ranch and pita. Here’s a pita chip recipe (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pita-chips/)

• Many refreshing beverages such Bavaria non-alcholic beers which come in flavors like apple and peach. Or try an exotic juice like Guava, Mango, Sour Cherry, Passion Fruit or Lychee.

• Fresh produce such as apples, blood oranges, bananas, plums, apricots, peaches and pears.

• Beef and chicken frankfurters from al safa (https://sarasmarketbakery.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/saras-features-healthy-halal-and-much-more/)

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Great Grilling Ideas Start With Halal Meat

And you can add a little sizzle to your adventure by grilling easily handled foods such as pre-made kebobs or meat skewers. Most picnic areas offer outdoor grilling areas. These fun summer recipes ( http://www.grillingcompanion.com/lamb-kabobs/) use fresh meats like lamb and juicy fruits like melons and peaches. Grab some pita and enjoy the tastes of summer with these kabobs. Or change up regular chicken kabobs with this surprising meal ( http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/grilled-mediterranean-skewer-recipe).

You’ll find excellent quality halal meat only at Sara’s!

Bon Apetit!

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“Fun Finds” This Month In Sara’s Frozen Food Aisle

        This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Frozen Food Month. All around the country, fresh produce is picked at its peak and flash frozen to maintain all the flavor and nutrients. Frozen foods keep longer than fresh refrigerated foods because the freezing process suspends enzyme activity that causes the food to deteriorate. And depending on the type of produce frozen, you can store it for several months without losing any quality. Sara’s offers a variety of options for frozen food and has a unique selection compared to major grocery stores in the area.  This month’s “Fun Finds” explores some interesting uses and unique recipes for some of these frozen foods. What is your favorite frozen food from Sara’s? Comment here, Facebook or on Twitter!

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Molokhia Leaves
        Molokhia is a dark leafy green plant that looks similar to spinach but tastes quite different. It has been described as “slippery” like okra (also included on the frozen food list at Sara’s) when cooked. This Middle Eastern super-green, known as Jew’s mallow or Egyptian spinach, has a high vitamin and mineral content. This “food of kings” dates back to the time of the pharaohs, when an Egyptian king drank it in soup to recover from an illness. Today, it’s one of the most widely eaten vegetables in Egypt. A healthy diet including this leafy plant can prevent blood clots and improve blood clots.
http://mideats.com/2011/09/molokheya/

Taro Roots
         Taro roots are starchy carbohydrates that look and feel like potatoes. You can boil, fry, or roast the root vegetables. When you buy them frozen, it takes away the work of peeling and chopping the root. Make sure to cook the vegetable thoroughly because eating raw or undercooked could lead to stomach pains due to the high level of calcium oxalate. These vegetables are worth trying because they are high in fiber, potassium, as well as vitamins C, E and B6.
http://deep-fried.food.com/recipe/taro-chips-like-potato-chips-108515
http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Roasted-root-vegetables-over-greens-297046?columns=1&position=15/36&ad=340181,dae83492-f610-41b5-ae6a-6c2c65baa25a,Search%20Results,15,with%20image,http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Roasted-root-vegetables-over-greens-297046

Artichokes
        You can enjoy artichokes all year  long when you buy them frozen. Artichokes are a rich source of silymarin, an antioxidant used to treat liver, gallbladder and digestive problems.  Boil the hearts for about 20 minutes after thawing so you can use them in all kinds of dishes including casseroles, dips, pastas, sandwiches, just to name a few.
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tamras-lemon-artichoke-pesto/detail.aspx
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-with-artichokes-and-goat-cheese/detail.aspx
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/health/nutrition/10recipehealth.html?ref=artichokes&_r=0
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Falafel, Pizza, Samosas and More
        A quick lunch or dinner has never been easier with frozen, prepared foods at Sara’s such as frozen falafel. There’s no need to go through all the effort of making fresh falafel when all you need to do is just warm it up. Make it even easier by pairing with fresh pita from the bakery or make your fun find last even longer by using frozen pita. Other quick frozen fixes at Sara’s include pizza, beef samosas and chicken patties.

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Pressing Matter. Olive Oil Enhances Body, Enlivens Taste

Nablus Extra Virgin Olive Oil available at Sara's Market and Bakery

Nablus Extra Virgin Olive Oil available at Sara’s Market and Bakery

From the earliest known uses in antiquity to today’s rediscovered Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been a major player on the world’s stage. It was a common belief in the ancient world that olive oil conferred strength and youth. In addition to being used in food, it was an ingredient in religious rituals, medicines, as fuel for oil lamps, soap making and skin application. In the cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, in order to produce both medicine and cosmetics the oil was often infused with flowers and grasses. Olive oil symbolized healing and strength. 

Throughout history, olive oil has been a precious commodity and seen as a sign of wealth. Some ancient rulers were even buried with barrels of olive oil to denote their wealth and power. Today, the virtues of olive oil are known worldwide and have been made affordable for most consumers.

At Sara’s Market and Bakery, we specialize in top brands produced in Italy, Chile, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey and much of our olive oil is categorized as “extra virgin.” “This means once the olives were picked and washed, they were pressed and no other processing occurred. The lack of extra processing is why health experts state “extra virgin” has the greatest amount of health benefits.

“Cold pressed” means that there is no added heat to the oil during production. Heat can change the composition of oil and the “cold pressed” oil ensures the oil is the best condition possible before purchase. Any oil can become rancid if it’s not properly stored. Olive oil should be kept in a dark bottle or stored in a dark place, out of direct light. One olive oil expert suggests wrapping the oil in aluminum foil in order to completely block out the light. When cooking, remember to keep olive oil away from the constant heat of the stove. Heat can also speed up the shelf life of the olive oil.

Il Grezzo Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil available at Sara's Market and Bakery

Il Grezzo Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil available at Sara’s Market and Bakery

Olive oil is high in calories but it is made up of monosaturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends that 25 to 35 percent of our calories should come from this type of fat. Switching from olive oil from butter can reduce your bad cholesterol and increase the good. Olive oil also has 8 percent (check this fact) of the recommended intake for vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. These are a few reasons the Mediterranean diet suggests olive oil can lead to a healthier lifestyle. (From ulcers to osteoporosis, olive oil has been linked to lower incidences of many illnesses and ailments, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. See our http://www.blog about the Mediterranean diet for more of the important health benefits.

In addition to traditional olive oil, Sara’s also features grapeseed, sunflower, white truffle and ginger oil as well as a few different options for dipping oils. These oils have been infused with other flavors, like garlic, or include a blend of herbs, salt and pepper so it is ready with flavor so you don’t have to add anything else when preparing a meal..

Here are some great recipes to get olive oil into your everyday cooking. Don’t forget to use olive oil when baking, grilling, sautéing or even just in your salad dressing.

HYPERLINK “http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_and_pomegranate_48177″http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_and_pomegranate_48177

HYPERLINK “http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/how_to_make_pesto_18843″http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/how_to_make_pesto_18843

HYPERLINK “http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-potatoes-oven-roasted-and-delicious-87782″http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-potatoes-oven-roasted-and-delicious-87782

HYPERLINK “http://www.food.com/recipe/roasted-asparagus-50847″http://www.food.com/recipe/roasted-asparagus-50847

HYPERLINK “http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-garlic-bites-27733″http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-garlic-bites-27733

HYPERLINK “http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-garlic-rice-71739″http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-garlic-rice-71739

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It’s Tea Time: Five Ways to Dress Up One of the World’s Favorite Beverage

January is National Tea Month. Or, as tea expert Kakuz Okakura, author of The Book of Tea, says “Tea … is a religion of the art of life.” And there is no doubt it has been long regarded as such around the world.

Tea is the bind that ties countrymen together. In the United Kingdom, tea drinking is widely known for its rituals. Queen Anne drank tea so regularly that she substituted a large bell-shaped silver teapot for the tiny Chinese teapots. The earliest tea service dates from her reign. And famed Englishman Henry James tell us that “Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Check out this link to see how people in even more exotic locales around the globe drink their tea. In Laos, “Tea leaves are roasted or steamed then packed into bamboo tubes or baskets and fermented.” In Mongolia, they add goat milk to their tea. In Eygpt, they boil their tea with mint. http://www.omotesenke.jp/english/chanoyu/map.html

Sara's carries various types of teas including the Ahmad Tea blends. A few of their flavors include Raspberry Indulgence, Apricot Sunrise and Lemon and Lime Twist. Come by Sara's to see the full collection of their tea line.

Sara’s carries various types of teas including the Ahmad Tea blends. A few of their flavors include Raspberry Indulgence, Apricot Sunrise and Lemon and Lime Twist. Come by Sara’s to see the full collection of their tea line.

To Your Health

Tea has several different health benefits such as reducing cancer and heart disease risk or improving dental health. Read all about the health benefits from the Dallas Morning News.

Drinking tea is a great way to loose weight. Healthy eating and loosing weight has been a big priority at Sara’s. One study found that people who drank hot tea regularly had a smaller waist circumference and lower BMI than the people who didn’t drink it. In addition, the antioxidants in green tea can help the body burn more fat.

This brand of tea has flavors such as Fennel, Ginger-Lemon Peels, Rosehip and many others. Find a new flavor today!

This brand of tea has flavors such as Fennel, Ginger-Lemon Peels, Rosehip and many others. Find a new flavor today!

Need a Boost?

Need caffeine? Make sure you choose black tea because it is caffeinated where as chamomile tea isn’t. If you are trying to switch from coffee to tea, read this article for inspiration.

New Tips Taking Tea

Try these tips to using tea:

Let us know your favorite ways to use tea in the comments below!

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Dry Mlukia Leaves Recipe

Dry Mlukia leaves
1 cube Maggie chicken flavor
broth from the chicken or lamb
Fresh cilantro
1 pinch Coriander,
1 pinch Salt
2 to 3 fresh Garlic or garlic powder
1/3 tsp. Tomato paste
Fresh Lemmon

Place dry Mlukia in boiling water. Boil until soft.  Strain Mlukia wash and sauté with little vegetable oil. Keep sating until almost cooked. Add  Maggi cube chicken broth.
Dissolve  1/3teasp. tomato paste in 2 tab spoons water and add to Mlukia (this will make the Mlukia not  slimy). Add garlic, salt and chopped fresh cilantro to taste. The Mlukia should be more then the broth. Add the chicken or meat and let simmer.

(Cut fresh Lemmon in 1/2 and squeeze on to the Mlukia to eat. )

Optional: pine Nuts
Amount desired golden brown in vegetable oil and place on top of Mlukia.

Chicken or Lamb
Fresh chicken or lamb
1 Onions
Pinch  Salt
Pinch Black pepper
Pinch All spice
All spices are to taste.

Wash desired chicken part with vinegar or Wash lamb with water. Rinse well. Place washed chicken or lamb in pot cover with water.  Add 1 onion cut into 4 pcs, salt, pepper, allspice To taste. Start with pinch.  Bring chicken to a boil taste broth to see if you want to add more salt, pepper or all allspice.

Cover and let cook. Check chicken in 25 to 30 minutes to if done.  Lamb might take longer

Rice
1 cup jasmine. or any med rice
1/2 cups water
Salt
Pepper
1 tabsp  veg oil
1 tabsp butter
Hand full Vermicelli

Sauté vermicelli  in oil after golden.
Add water,  salt, pepper and butter in put bring to boil.
Wash rice and place in boiling water.  Stir rice in water cover and turn down heat. Check in 10 min to see if done.

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Eating Better with Sara’s in 2013

As soon as January rolls around, we feel like we need to re-evaluate and make healthier decisions. The holidays definitely take a toll on our stress level and determination to eat right. Most diets, including the three below, are more about portion control and choosing the healthier options for our bodies. At Sara’s Market and Bakery, we do not endorse any diet but highlight the main points of a few of the most popular diets. Each diet is customizable to your life and you can find many of the products you need at Sara’s Market and Bakery.

Mediterranean Diet

Each Mediterranean county has their own style and signature dishes but there are a few staples that seem to occur in all of the Mediterranean countries like olive oil, beans and nuts. Please read this information on the Mediterranean Diet for more detailed steps including recipes and a sample. Also note how it compares to other diets and your lifestyle.

The U.S. News and World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet the third best diet because it is easy to follow and promotes healthy eating through your lifetime, instead of a short-term success. The diet adapts easily to your daily life because it only takes a few changes, like substituting olive oil for butter and eating less red meat.

mediterranean_diet_infographic

 

The idea behind the diet is to eat around 1,500 calories a day in order to lose weight. Throughout the day you should be consuming a good amount of protein like Greek yogurt, nuts and produce such as spinach or asparagus. At Sara’s you will find there are a lot of different ways to increase your protein levels without eating mass amounts of red meat.  Keep in mind, these numbers were calculated by using a sedentary lifestyle. So if you move a lot during the day or work out on a regular basis, you will need to adjust the calorie intake and protein levels to fit your lifestyle.

http://www.wholeliving.com/135928/heart-healthy-mediterranean-diet-recipes#132686

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/NU00526

Paleo Diet

There has been a lot of hype in the news around the Paleo, or rather the Paleolithic, Diet. Supporters believe people need to get back to the basics (like caveman basics) to root out modern diseases. Skeptics believe that our bodies have adapted to eat foods unavailable to cavemen in ancient times. To read more specifics about the diet, check out this link: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm.

The basic principle is to eat less processed food because modern-day food has led to greater numbers of obesity, diabetes, and different types of cancer. The diet promotes food that we are biologically designed to eat, which does not include grains, sugar and other processed foods.

paleobenefitsinfographic

Although the diet has many restrictions, there is a good amount of food you can eat to follow the diet. You can find all of the basics at Sara’s. You can eat as many vegetables as you want (as long as they aren’t deep-fried). If you are a meat-lover, then this is the diet for you. Like the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is highly suggested for cooking. Fruits will give you the natural sugar the body craves. Nuts will provide energy to get through the day. The Paleo diet does not prohibit dairy. The decision to cut it out of the diet is up to each person.

Eat like a caveman all day long because the diet believes that someone cannot overeat on the diet due to the food being so filling. Please read the meal plans, recipes and additional information to decide if this diet is right for you.

http://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/meal-plans-shopping-guides/

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-diet-recipes/

Weight Watchers

U.S. News and World Report named Weight Watchers the #1 Best Weight Loss Diet as well as the Easiest Diet to Follow in 2012. The popular diet is flexible and works with your everyday life. Although you must pay to enroll in the program, you choose what food to eat on the diet. The program has even developed easy tools such as mobile apps and barcode scanners for you to shop anywhere you want.

Weight Watchers is pretty simple as it assigns a point value to all foods based on the nutritional value. Each day you get a certain number of points based on your current weight and goal weight. The goal is to eat more foods rich in protein (like those discussed in the other diets: olive oil, nuts, vegetables) that will keep you filled up during the day.  One unique distinction is that Weight Watchers integrates exercise into your meal plans so you can gain more points by exercising and work towards a goal.

Here are some weight loss blogs that will help with recipes and encouragement:

http://www.skinnykitchen.com

http://www.food.com/recipe-finder/all/weight-watchers

http://www.snack-girl.com/snack/weight-watchers-recipes/

 

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Sara’s Tips for New Year’s Eve Appetizers

The holidays may almost be over but the cooking is not! Sara’s has some great ideas for a simple and stress free New Year’s Eve party. Ring in the New Year Mediterranean-style with some fun and inventive appetizers.

Our aisles are full of prepared snacks and treats for you to feed your own guests or bring as a gift to any type of party.

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The first popular idea is to bring a variety of olives. Sara’s has a selection of Kalamata olives or green olives. Some great additions to any party would be the garlic stuffed olives.

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Don’t forget about the always favorite hummus and pita bread! We have several different brands of hummus or find all the fixings s to make your own! Here is a basic recipe but you can easily change it up with unique ingredients all around Sara’s.

http://mideastfood.about.com/od/appetizerssnacks/r/hummusbitahini.htm

blog122712_3

 

If you are looking for a hot appetizer, try an easy pita pizza. It’s simple as grabbing some of Sara’s famous pita bread, some marinara sauce, cheese, halal pepperoni and some of our fresh produce. The combinations are endless but if you need inspiration, check out the helpful link below.

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/mediterranean-flatbread-pizza-appetizer/b731bf5d-59e1-4221-a88a-

Making a vegetable platter couldn’t be easier with Sara’s selection of fresh vegetables. Make your platter more interesting with a Mediterranean inspired dip with Greek yogurt and feta. Everything you need to know is in the link below.

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/greek-yogurt-and-feta-dip/a1e7e6aa-fd56-4b9a-8657-e119dee26ccc?sc=Mediterranean%20Appetizer%20Recipes&term=Mediterranean%20Appetizer&itemId=a36bce3c-97a1-4120-9bb0-02a381eb502f46b40fec9164?sc=Mediterranean%20Appetizer%20Recipes&term=Mediterranean%20Appetizer&itemId=a36bce3c-97a1-4120-9bb0-02a381eb502f

Need something more filling for your party? Or maybe even a new vegetarian appetizer? Check out the link for a twist on the usual falafel recipe using fresh beets and chickpeas.

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/crimson-beet-falafel.aspx?nterms=50150,50026

If you need more ideas, here is a great link with more recipes using fun ingredients like grape leaves, lamb and pomegranate molasses. Have fun creating new twists on the Mediterranean classics!

http://www.thekitchn.com/mediterranean-inspired-appetizers-5-ways-to-get-snacking-175480

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