Holy Guacamole! That's a Lot of Produce for $15

It's no surprise that a good chunk of my whole foods diet comes from fresh fruits and vegetables. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out Bountiful Baskets opened a pick-up site in my neighborhood. I think I signed up within 30 seconds of the announcement.

What's this fresh produce program all about?
If you haven't heard about Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op (BBFC), they're a volunteer-run, grassroots organization working to get fresh healthy food to you! The program offers whole fruits, vegetables, artisans breads, organic produce and other surprise goodies for a modest contribution. Conventional baskets are $15, while an organic option is $25.

Want to learn more? Check out the BBFC website for more details and to learn how to sign up.

What's in the basket?
Here's the good part. Take a peek below at what I received in my first basket. Mind you, the cost was just $15 for all of this fresh goodness. (Plus a $3 first timer basket fee and $5.50 shipping fee to cover fuel expenses.)
  • 7 bananas
  • 6 oz. blueberries
  • 1 lb. of strawberries
  • 8 nectarines
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 5 limes
  • 10 green apples
  • 7 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 8 red potatoes
  • 4 long green peppers - Poblano peppers?
  • 2 spaghetti squashes
I'm estimating this amount of fresh vegetables and fruits would have cost at least $40 if purchased at the grocery store. But by participating in a co-op, I'm able to get rock bottom prices on healthy food. Nice!

Have you ever participated in Bountiful Baskets or a similar food co-op program? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Easy Vegan Green Smoothie Recipe

The hubby and I have been sipping on smoothies for months now. They make a quick meal on the go, plus they're full of vitamins and minerals.

You really can't go wrong with fresh fruit and vegetables in your glass, you know?

So this past weekend I created a new green smoothie for myself. I'm not a huge fan of the green drinks that taste like grass, so this was a nice change. Often I add a handful of spinach to my smoothies, and it's simply too flavorful. So, now I'm experimenting with baby kale. If you're not a fan of grass-flavored smoothies, try this!

Spinach-Free Green Smoothie
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 1 cup green seedless grapes, frozen
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 2 cups almond milk*
Mix all ingredients in a blender until they're creamy and smooth. Serve in a tall glass. I use a beer mug and tall straw for fun.

*Note: You can use any type of milk in this recipe. I can't digest cow milk very well, so my choice this week was Almond Breeze flavored with a hint of honey. The extra sweetness makes this smoothie taste even better! Next time I plan to try vanilla-flavored almond milk.

What's your favorite green smoothie recipe? Please share in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

The Farmer's Market is Open!

Bring on the kohlrabi! Hello, tomato plants! My local farmer's market is officially open!

This afternoon I spent part of my lunch break exploring the booths at the market downtown. Although there were only eight stalls, the number of vendors will quadruple in the next few weeks as more fresh produce ripens and the crafty folk have more free time to devote to the summer market.

I was surprised at the variety of fresh vegetables available already: asparagus, several types of lettuce, kohlrabi, parsnips, radishes, kale, collard greens, turnips and spinach.

Of course one of the honey vendors and bakeries were also set up for business. New this year: a man who makes fishing lures.

You just never know what you'll find at the farmer's market!

Have you been to your local farmer's market yet? Tell me in the comments below about your favorite finds at the market while I munch on this fresh kohlrabi!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

How You Can Make Baking a Healthy Hobby

Last week one of my wonderful Whole Foods Living readers admitted her baking hobby simply doesn't fit well into a healthy lifestyle.

At first glance, she's right.

Photo by Angela Tague
Chocolate chip cookies, layer cakes and cream pies aren't exactly nutritious. But, there is a way to make them healthier!

Sometimes I think finding out that I'm gluten sensitive is a blessing. I've been learning about healthier types of flour and baking ingredients beyond all purpose bleached flour and bleached white sugar. (Anything bleached should not be part of your diet, folks!)

Here's a quick guide to healthier baking ingredients to keep in mind:

Instead of all-purpose flour try:
  • ground oatmeal  -- Pulse fiber-packed quick oats in a food processor to create a simple flour.
  • almond meal -- This protein rich "flour" is simply finely ground almonds.
  • brown rice flour -- I like to use Bob's Red Mill flour. It's full of protein!
Note: Recipes made with non-glutinous flours will need an extra binding agent such as xanthan gum or guar gum to avoid a crumbly texture.

Instead of white sugar try:
  • raw honey -- I've successfully used honey in sweet breads, doughs and cakes. Using half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe works well. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of honey. However, stick to granulated raw (unbleached) sugar for cookies and bars since it helps give the treats structure.
  • agave syrup -- It's lighter than honey and gives extra sweetness to homemade whipped toppings, frosting or icing.
  • stevia powder -- It's a zero-calorie sweetener made from the leaves of a plant!
Even if you don't need it for dietary reasons, get your hands on a good gluten-free baking cookbook to learn how to incorporate non-bleached, natural ingredients into your baking. You'll be amazed at the number of healthier ingredients that can be used in lieu of all-purpose flour!

So, what have you been baking?

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living
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