Keep Produce Fresh

Do you ever buy a lot of produce and have it go bad before you can eat it? This used to happen all the time to me! Through research, trial and error, I found some tips to keep produce fresh longer!

Keep Produce Fresh

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We’ve adopted a new habit of washing our produce as soon as we get home from the store. It’s a little bit of work upfront but I save that time later when I’m cooking and every time my kids want an apple.

We used to be a little more lax about washing produce. I would usually do it but the rest of our family wasn’t as consistent. Then our son was diagnosed with cancer and it became a real concern. It should have been already.

Every year we hear about produce that is contaminated with e.coli, listeria, and other nasty things. It’s important to wash your produce every time!

Interesting fact, people with compromised immune systems (pregnant women, people with cancer, etc.) are discouraged from eating processed fruits, veggies, salads, etc. because there is such a high risk of contamination in those products.

There are other things on produce we want to clean off as well like pesticides and waxes.

Now, we wash all our produce before use, most of it is washed as soon as we get in the door.

Does your produce go bad before you can eat it? These tips will help keep your produce fresh.

Washing Fresh Produce

For most of our produce like apples, peaches, plums, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, citrus, melons,  etc. I give them a sink bath.

I thoroughly clean my sink, fill one side with cold water and sprinkle baking soda in the water and mix it with my hand. I don’t measure but I probably use 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. When I use more water, I use more baking soda, less water…less baking soda.

Then I add my produce, all mixed together, into the sink bath. I set a timer, because I always forget, and let them soak for 15 minutes. Then I rinse them off with cold water and stick them in my dish drainer.

If something is especially dirty, I use my veggie brush to give them a good scrub.

Washing Berries

Berries require a different method of cleaning. My son could eat his weight in berries! When we have them, he will easily eat pounds of them every day! When possible we buy in bulk. If you buy in bulk, or even just small amounts that may sit in the fridge for a few days, I recommend you inspect them closely. One moldy berry will ruin the whole bunch quickly.

Washing berries is one way to inspect all our berries. The moisture can make them spoil faster so if you will not be eating them quickly, you may want to wait until just before eating to wash.

Rinsing berries under cold water will clean them. My friend Sarah at Never Free Farm gave me a great tip for berries. She fills a small basin with cold and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Then soaks up to two pounds of berries for 5 to 10 minutes. If you don’t know Sarah, follow her, you’ll be impressed!

Washing Mushrooms

There are different schools of thought on washing mushrooms. Some people just wipe them with a damp cloth. Others use a special mushroom brush. I usually rinse them just before using and carefully dry them off.

Produce Storage Containers

While foods that are stored whole like melons and apples don’t need special containers. I’ve found a few inexpensive containers that have done wonders for keeping cut food fresh longer.

Containers like these Rubbermaid Freshworks keep produce from spoiling for much longer. I have the older model but the old ones don’t have as many size options. Read the reviews and you’ll see why I love them! Containers like this make it easier to keep cut veggies ready for quick meals like this Plant-Based Mediterranean Bowl.

I use these for cut cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots and sometimes fruit, like freshly cut pineapple. Many of the reviews mention people putting whole fruits in them, including berries. Berries never last long enough at my house. Most get eaten while they are drying on the counter.

I don’t have a special container that is big enough for my lettuce. When washing my romaine, I give them a sink bath, pull all the leaves off and dry them individually. Then I store the whole leaves in a large container with paper towels on the bottom, a few layers of romaine leaves, another layer of paper towels, and so on. I’ve had romaine last for 2 weeks this way! 2 WEEKS!

A salad spinner works well too. If you want to avoid the waste of paper towels, you can store your washed lettuce in a salad spinner.

Where you live plays a big part in how you store produce too. Since I live in Arizona, it is hot most of the year. Some foods that are typically stored on the counter top have to be stored in the fridge when the temperatures get high. If you live somewhere colder, you may be able to keep most of your whole produce on your counters for a long time. Check out this seasonal produce chart specifically for Arizona!

What are your tips to keeping produce fresh? Do you have a special tool that you love?

Healthy Vegan Baking

I’ve shared recently how I gave up on baking for a while. I felt like I would spend hours in the kitchen trying to make something allergy-friendly and healthy only to fail. I’ve finally gotten over my fear of failure and you can too!

Lucie at WIN-WIN Foods has created a Healthy Vegan Baking ecourse that will teach anyone how to create healthy, delicious treats.

Healthy Vegan Baking eCourse

Allergy-Friendly

If you are like me and avoid dairy and eggs this ecourse will show you how to bake everything from cake, sweet breads, cookies, cream pies, heck…even tiramisu. Plus all of the lovely fillings and frostings.

The best part, these are all healthy, you don’t have to feel guilty about making them.

The eCourse also covers oil-free, gluten-free and soy-free options.

Healthy Vegan Baking eCouse

Healthy Vegan Baking eCourse Content

When you sign up for the 7 week ecourse you’ll get a new module each week. The modules include:

  1. Intro to Healthy Vegan Baking (and how not to get overwhelmed)
  2. Baking with Unrefined Flours (including gluten-free options)
  3. Healthy Fats and Low Fat Baking (including oil-free options)
  4. All about Egg Alternatives and A Little About Non-Dairy Milks
  5. Banishing Sugar and Finding the Best Alternatives (including natural calorie-free options)
  6. Decorating Desserts Naturally (icings, frostings, colorings and other decoration options)
  7. Putting All the Knowledge Together and Troubleshooting

Plus you get AMAZING recipes!!! You will also get live Q&A sessions each week and a private Facebook group. 

Healthy Vegan Baking eCourse

Still undecided?

This course is for you if you:

  • Struggle to bake delicious but healthy treats.
  • Have a lot of food allergens to avoid.
  • Used to be a great baker but can’t get the hang of plant-based baking.
  • Can spend 1-2 hours per week learning how to bake.

For me, this ecourse is a gold mine! Every subject is covered. Don’t wait too long, enrollment closes on May 8th. What a great Mother’s Day Gift!

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Ultimate Oatmeal Guide

Breakfast maybe the most important meal of the day but it’s also the most chaotic. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to eat healthy in the midst of a busy morning.

We have some quick and easy breakfast items like frozen waffles and cereal but we don’t feel as satisfied after eating them. Maybe because they are processed foods and not whole foods. I want a hot, filling breakfast.

My go to breakfast is Oatmeal.

Everything you need to know about oatmeal

You may be thinking, “oatmeal takes too long” or “it’s too complicated.” I want to share my tricks for easy, delicious oatmeal that everyone in your house will love. [Read more…]

How to Eat More Veggies

This blog post is adapted from one of the lessons in the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse. The eCourse is designed to walk beginners through everything they need to know to adopt a plant-based diet. 

Easy tips for everyone wondering how to eat more veggies.

Most of us could stand to eat more veggies. Personally, I have a tendency to fill up on beans and grains. Veggies just don’t “do it” for me but I know that they are important so they have to be prioritized or I’ll just skip them.

If you are new to plant-based eating or just trying to add more veggies to your diet these ideas will offer you a variety of options for adding more veggies.

How to Eat More Veggies

I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining the various nutrients because I think most of us know we should eat them but struggle to actually do it.  Throughout this conversation keep in mind that many veggies can be eaten both raw and cooked and it’s a good idea to eat both.

Eat More Salads

You can easily get 2-3 servings of veggies in a really well made salad. If you use 2 cups of greens, ½ cup of carrots and ½ cup grape tomatoes you’re doing pretty well. You don’t have to make it that plain though.

Think about some of your favorite salads from restaurants. Most of the salads are beautiful with vibrant colors and have at least 5 ingredients. They consist of greens, two veggies, something crunchy like croutons or nuts/seeds along with dairy and a dressing. Why not use those salads for inspiration, just leave out the unhealthy ingredients. (In the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse I have lessons about replacing meat and dairy in your favorite dishes.)

Need More Salad Help

When making a salad at home try to incorporate as many colors as possible. Here are some suggestions:

Reds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Radishes

Yellow: Bell and Banana Peppers, Squash, Corn

Greens: Lettuces/Greens, Cucumbers, Peppers, Broccoli

Purple: Red Onions, Beets, Olives, Cabbage

Orange: Carrots, Sweet Peppers

Remember, your salad isn’t limited to veggies, you can also add fruit, beans, grains, and nuts or seeds. Let your imagination run wild.

Soups

My favorite way to get lots of veggies is in soups. I can eat bowl after bowl of soup, each packed with fiber-filled veggies. In fact, soup is my favorite way to eat kale. You can find all of my soups on my Soup and Stew Page or visit my Plant-Based Soup Pinterest Board for inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers but be wary of creamy soups that may contain nuts (if you are trying to lose weight).

Side Dishes

I’m not a big “veggie on the side” kind of gal. If you’ve followed any of my meal plan you know I don’t usually have side dishes. I’d rather have everything mixed together but to each their own. Steamed broccoli is a favorite in our house because it goes well with pasta or baked potatoes.

Carrots, peas, green beans and corn are veggies that are typical side dishes at home-style restaurants. More often than not they are probably pushed to the side in favor of Mac and Cheese. Do yourself a favor and reintroduce a veggie side dish, it can even be a veggie-filled salad.

Starchy Vegetables

Don’t forget your starchy vegetable (yes, I’ve mentioned a few already) potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc. These veggies are filling, fibrous and low in fat. If you aren’t sure about starches read anything from Dr. John McDougall.

Starchy veggies are great as a side dish or as the main course. My family loves to eat giant baked sweet potatoes, some times I’ll add raisins and cinnamon for a slightly sweet meal. Starchy veggies are great roasted.

Dips

I eat double or triple the amount of raw veggies when I have a dip. Raw veggies are just more appealing to me when I have something to dip them in. They same is true for my kids. I always recommend using dips for parents trying to win their kids over to veggies but there is no reason that adults can’t enjoy dips too.

Hummus is a favorite dip of mine but many store-bought dips contain tahini and oil; both are very high in fat. You can make hummus at home if you aren’t comfortable with what is offered in your local store. My favorite dips and salad dressings can be found here.

Mix It Up

Some people won’t go for it but you can always try mixing veggies into other things like puree them into pasta sauces or on top of pizza. I’ve made many a lentil loaf filled with random veggies and I’ll often create off-the-wall veggie pasta combinations. It doesn’t have to be about hiding veggies either Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Shepherds Pie are great options loaded with veggies.


 

The most important thing is to keep trying new things. As you adapt to this healthier way of eating things your palate will change. Foods you once hated will become delicious (maybe not every food, but a lot of them will). You just have to keep trying.

What are your veggie eating tips and tricks?

31 Day Plant-Based eCourse

Next Plant-Based eCourse Starts May 1

Summer’s coming and it will be here before you know it. If you’ve been considering getting started on a plant-based diet now is the time to make the commitment and get ready for summer.

Many people are able to reverse disease and eliminate health problems on a plant-based diet. Others lose weight and clear up conditions like acne, asthma, and seasonal allergies. Whatever your reasons the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse will lead you through a one-month journey that could ultimately change your life.

If you are new to the Plant-Based Diet or struggling to be successful in this new lifestyle you have come to the right place.

31 day plant-based ecourse 500x750

I created a 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse that will lead you through everything you need to know to start a plant-based diet.

There are two options:

  • Self-paced eCourse that you can start immediately, or
  • The group eCourse that starts May 1st

Susan took the January eCourse and says:

The simplicity yet thoroughness of the eCourse allowed even a novice Plant-Based person to educate themselves about why this lifestyle is better than the Standard American Diet and to implement steps to take to eat and be healthier. The meal plans were great and included a variety of recipes to suit many different sorts of tastes. I found many recipes that I can incorporate into my meal rotations and I would do this eCourse again, just to solidify my knowledge and share with others. The fact that there was a group of us all doing the same thing meant for a great camaraderie.

Jennifer says:

The eCourse helped me stay focused and gave me the encouragement to never bring anything non-Plant-Based into the house. The meal plans were wonderful ways to jump-start my shopping list and give me ideas of where I wanted to take my week in food and nutrition. The workout routines kept me motivated the first couple weeks when I was stuck in a hotel for 10 days. Overall it was a fun month and I really appreciate the hard work the design team put into the 31 Day Challenge eCourse.

Whether you decided to start on May 1st with the group or go at your own pace the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse provides you with everything you need to be successful with the plant-based lifestyle. You’ll have the additional benefit of a private Facebook community for support.

This 31 day class is less than $1 a day!

You’ll get:

  • The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide ebook
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • optional Weekly Exercise Guides
  • Daily lessons that will teach you the basics of plant-based living
  • Group support in a private Facebook group

All of that for only $30!

Find out about the limited-time individual coaching opportunities!

Buy Now

Need Extra Help?

For those participating in the 31 Day eCourse that need a little extra help consider purchasing the 31 Day Coaching add-on!

The 31 Day Coaching add-on is an individualized coaching program that will:

  • Help you set and track goals
  • Assist in Meal Plan development (work together to customize a meal plan to meet your goals)
  • Daily accountability via email/messaging and a daily food log
  • Weekly 20 minute phone call/skype/google hangout (only one) to discuss progress and next steps.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, eliminate processed foods or finally go plant-based this 31 Day Coaching add-on can give you the individualized help that you need.

Space is limited!

Add this one-on-one coaching to your 31 Day eCourse experience for only $95 dollars. Email me at myplantbasedfamily @ gmail.com (remove spaces) to purchase or inquire about the one-on-one coaching.

Buy Now