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FreshBox Farms – Providing Local Produce from Millis, MA

FreshBox Farms is a local hydroponic farm in Millis, Massachusetts providing fresh, hyper local, non-gmo, produce to the Boston area.

FreshBox Farms’ indoor hydroponic farms are bringing fresh produce closer to your home by breaking down the old barriers set by traditional farming. Their produce is delivered to stores within 24 hours of harvest; often in the same day. Growing indoors at their farm in Millis, Massachusetts, means greens are always in-season, and are available FRESH all year-round.

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Because hydroponics allows the plant’s roots to sit directly in water to receive nutrients FreshBox Farms uses 99% less water than field farming. The indoor growing system allows plants to grow vertically on shelves using a much smaller footprint; depending on the crop grown, one of the 320 square foot farms can yield as much as nineteen-acres of farmland! So not only are you helping to save the planet you are also supporting a local business. 

FreshBox Farms’ greens are of the highest quality and grown purely, without ever using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other chemicals. The crops are never genetically modified and proudly verified by the Non-GMO Project.

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FreshBox Farms greens do taste fresh! Every spring my family and I plant a vegetable garden and we eat fresh vegetables – lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, pea pods, eggplant, herbs, etc – all summer long. There is a noticeable different in taste between our fresh vegetable and the ones we buy in the store. FreshBox Farms lettuces remind me of the ones we grow at home – fresh tasting and delicious! I’ve been eating FreshBox Farms greens for the past two weeks and I am loving it. The lettuce really has a fresh flavor you do not typically find from supermarket produce. How will I ever go back??

FreshBox Farms can grow over 30 different types of plants. They provide leafy greens such as heirloom lettuces, arugula, spinach and herbs. Check out the Products page to keep updated on what they’re growing next!

So where can YOU buy FreshBox Farms? Roche Brothers, Foodies Markets, and dozens of other locations carry FreshBox Farms greens. Click here to find a retail location nearest you.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Ecofarms Organic Vegetable Heirloom Seeds Kit

Why buy vegetable seed packets that are often produced in bulk when you can give yourself or anyone else a fresh beautiful heirloom seed kit with real Organic Vegetable seedsIt’s a perfect gift for mom, sister, co-worker or friend. Just about anyone who enjoys gardening will enjoy this kit.

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EcoFarms products are created with two goals in mind–quality & innovation. Ecofarms hand packed organic vegetable seeds are sold in small quantities.  

IMG_0068I love gardening and I have been gardening since I was a little girl. I still go home every spring and help my mom plant the vegetable garden the backyard of my childhood home. The past few years have produced weak crops. Many of our plants justdidn’t grow, produced very little, or were eaten by bugs – or animals! Gardening is a great activity that bring’s families closer together and this gardening gift kits come presented in a fresh beautiful box to excite people about the activity. It’s the perfect small gift. Teach your family or friends about growing their own food for themselves and experience some of the best varieties of vegetables ever grown on the planet.

This kit includes TEN of the best variety of seeds ever sown. Ecofarms hand packs each tube with enough organic seeds to create a beautiful home garden. The seeds have a high germination rate because they pack the boxes in small lots and since these heirloom kits rarely sit on the shelves for more than a few weeks– they are always fresh.

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The kit includes a basic instruction card for getting your plants going and includes the following 10 varieties of seeds:

Tendersweet Carrot (50-70 seeds)
Red Burgundy Onion (50-70 seeds)
Golden Beauty Corn (7-12 seeds)
Long Purple Eggplant (40-50 seeds)
Delikatesse Cucumber (10-15 seeds)
Brandywine Tomato (15-20 seeds)
California Wonder Pepper (30-40 seeds)
Calabrese Broccoli  (50-60 seeds)
Great Lakes 118 Lettuce (30-40 seeds)
Utah 5270 Celery (50-60 seeds)

Not only are the seeds organic, they are non-GMO project verified. Choosing heirloom seeds preserves endangered food heritage traditions and encourages biodiversity in food crops.

The good thing about heirloom seeds is that you can save them for a few years without any issues. If you can’t plant the seeds now, the best way to store this kit is to keep the seeds in the tubes and put the pods or the whole box into a ziplock bag. Make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the bag before you close the bag. Once you push all the air out, seal the bag and put it in the freezer. As long as they stay frozen they will last for a few years. Onion seeds are the only ones in this kit that will not last as long as the others. Usually onion seeds are good for 1 or 2 years of storage. After that you won’t get the same germination rate as fresh seeds. The main thing that hurts seed storage is a fluctuation in temperature and moisture. Both of those factor’s will reduce the time you can save the seeds for. Since most people do not go into their freezer more than once or twice a day or keep it open to give them a chance to defrost, the freezer will be the best spot to keep them. When the time comes for planting, take out the pods and leave them out for a day before putting them into the soil. They need to reach room temperature before you plant them. 

You can purchase Ecofarms Organic Vegetable Heirloom Seed Kit on Amazon

Disclaimer: I received these products free of charge to review for my blog. All my opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Ruby Rocket’s All Natural Fruit & Vegetable Ice Pops

Ruby-Rockets-LogoConsuming superfoods might not always involve eating the most delicious snacks – but Ruby Rocket’s has has a pretty good option worth noshing on. Bridging the gap between healthy and tasty, Ruby Rocket’s has found a way to make superfoods taste delicious without you evening know you are eating something so healthy! 


Ruby Rocket’s
all natural fruit and vegetable ice pops have multiple flavors of pops that include different superfoods to shake up your diet in a delicious way. These “smoothie on a stick” pops are perfect for breakfast on the go, a pre/post workout snack, or a late-night treat for when you’re craving something sweet. Each gluten free, dairy free, GMO-free pop provides you with healthy probiotics, and vitamins C and/or A. Each pop is less than 40 calories and has no added sugars, stabilizers, artificial colors of flavors. 

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Do you like beets? If so, then you are in for a treat! Both flavors, Rock-It-Red and  Celestial Cherry pops, offer up a dose of the super food beets! Beets make the superfood list because they are packed with phytonutrients that act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Or, if you’re not a big beets fan, try the Galaxy Green pop so you can consume the superfood spinach while tasting flavors of green apple, kiwi, bananas, and avocado. You can’t even tell you are eating vegetables!

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Other flavors include: Orbit Orange, Gravity Grape, Meteorite Mango, Far Out Fudge, and Planetary Pink Lemonade.

You can find Ruby Rocket’s at health food stores and grocery stores nation wide, including Roche Brothers, Fairway, Westside Market, and many more. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

 

 

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Peapod’s latest offering – Local Farm Box

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I want to share the latest news from Peapod – They have just launched a new offering called the Local Farm Box, making it even easier to enjoy fresh and local seasonal produce  Developed in partnership with FarmLogix, a company that connects local farmers to businesses, Peapod’s Local Farm Box is a convenient alternative to committing to a season-long Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) farm share. It’s a low-cost and flexible way for consumers to support farmers local to NY while enjoying the convenience of home delivery (and the freshest, in-season produce!). 

Unlike a traditional CSA, shoppers can view the contents of the box each week (as well as accompanying recipes) to determine whether they’d like to purchase the $34.99 box (sometimes even on sale for $29.99). Each box will include information about the farms where the produce is grown as well as information on the particular produce. To see what’s in this week’s box, visit peapodlocalfarmbox.com. This new service is available to customers in New York City, New Jersey, Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

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Each box contains five unique items from local farms, with approximately 10 – 14 pounds of produce per box. Items included will vary weekly depending on the farmers’ harvest.

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Last week’s box supported the farming community of Lancaster County, PA. The box contents for the week of August 24th-August 30th included: 

Italian eggplant
Red tomatoes (I received yellow)
Green or red okra
Sweet corn
Colored bell peppers

The produce was fresh and delicious. I love eating farm fresh produce, there is such a noticeable difference in the taste and quality of the products. 

Peapod’s Local Farm Box is one of many innovative offerings from the leading online grocer to meet the evolving needs of the modern grocery shopper. Peapod also recently released a refreshed mobile application to make shopping easier than ever, including Order Genius, an intuitive technology that can predict a customer’s order based on purchases made on Peapod.com and at Stop & Shop and Giant stores.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

 

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Meal Maison: A new way to create quick, easy and healthy gourmet meals

The joy of cooking from scratch can often be challenging and time-consuming but nothing beats a homemade meal you can proudly call your own. Meal Maison feels the same way so they came up with an alternative solution that enables you to create your own variety of quick, easy and healthy meals.

The brand of chef-inspired meal foundations – based right here in Queens! – are 100% vegan, gluten free, and consist primarily of fresh par-cooked vegetables, non corn-based oils, organic wine and other real ingredients. They are packaged in resealable pouches for your convenience and immediately frozen (ie. blast-chilled) to preserve their freshness and taste. 

Meal Maison meal foundations are available in 4 distinct flavors:

Asian Veggie Stir Fry: Roasted eggplant, bok choy and onions in sesame oil with garlic, shiitake mushrooms, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, tamari and sake.

Tofu Peanutty: Organic tofu roasted in olive oil, onions and snowpeas tossed in a lemongrass, kaffir lime and peanut-coconut sauce.

Chickpea Potato Curry: Chickpeas roasted in olive oil, onions and red & green peppers, tossed in a sauvignon blanc and curry-paprika potato slurry. 

Mixed Greenery: Roasted kale, swiss chard and baby spinach in olive oil, red & yellow onions, garlic, lemon peel and organic sauvignon blanc.

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Every meal foundation provides a reliable combination of flavor, balance and consistency that can be used as the building blocks for any great meal. These foundations let you personalize and great create with your cooking . Each one has about 3 servings, although I did eat almost the entire Chickpea and Potato Curry (over rice) by myself. I like to pair Meal Maisons with rice, pasta or gnocchi. 

I was really impressed with the flavor of each meal, and the freshness! You would never know it was frozen or not homemade. Jeremy had no idea when I made the stir fry, with added tofu, that the base was not actually homemade. 

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CREATE GOURMET MEALS IN 3 EASY STEPS

 
Each meal has incredible flavor and tastes fresh. You can really tell that these are made with quality ingredients and no fillers, just real food. 
 
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Product Review: Spiral Vegetable Slicer Complete Premium Bundle with 8 Full Recipe eBooks

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Tired With Your Usual Meals? Looking For Fresh Ideas to Make Your Healthy Food Appealing? Do You Have Problems Stuffing More Vitamins and Microelements Into Your Diet?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then I think you are really going to enjoy today’s post! Since joining a CSA this year, I am trying to find more creative ways to use my fresh, local vegetables in every meal. The Vegetizer from Yanu is a great way to add another dimension to my cooking has been delicious and fun!  

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Using spiralized vegetable noodles in place of pasta is a great way to stay healthy, eat less carbs and reduce calories if you are watching your weight.  I’ve been spiralizing all sorts of veggies – zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes – and not using them in place of pasta, but also making salads, soups, lettuce wraps, stir fries and more! It’s been great experimenting with unique recipes and meal ideas.  

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles
Serves 4
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 medium zucchinis
  2. 24-30 large shrimps
  3. 2 - 6 garlic cloves, grated or finely crushed
  4. 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
  5. Zest of 1 lemon
  6. 2- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  7. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  8. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 4 cups baby spinach
  10. salt as per taste
  11. Pepper as per taste
Instructions
  1. Wash the shrimp well, then peel and devein them and set them aside
  2. Now prepare the marinade for the shrimp. Take the olive oil, garlic, two tablespoons lemon juice, fresh parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper and mix them together. Pour it over the shrimp and let it sit in the bowl for around thirty minutes.
  3. As the shrimp are marinating, wash the zucchini well. Pat it dry completely before you put them into the spiral slicer. This ensures that your noodles or pasta are not soggy. With the help of the spiral slicer, fashion the zucchini into thin noodles. You should be getting about five cups of noodles with four zucchinis.
  4. Transfer the noodles to a strainer. Sprinkle some salt on it and toss. Let the noodles sit in the strainer for 15 to 20 minutes to drain off any excess water.
  5. Heat coconut oil in a pan on medium heat.
  6. Toss the shrimp in the pan and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Flip them gently and let the other side cook for thirty seconds too.
  7. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and let it cook for another minute. Pour some more coconut oil if required to cook the noodles.
  8. Add the chopped parsley, shrimp and the baby spinach to the softened noodles in the pan.
  9. Keep tossing and cooking till the shrimp turns opaque and is pink and the spinach is wilted.
  10. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it and drizzle the unused lemon juice.
  11. Remove it from heat. Garnish with lemon zest before serving.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond http://glutenfreebostonandbeyond.com/
The Vegetable Spirilizer is so easy and fast to use. With two julienne sizes,  1/16″ and 1/8″, it’s perfect for making long veggie noodles and angel hair spirals. It fits perfectly into my hand, and the small size enables you to store the slicer in a kitchen drawer. 61q5cKxsYGL._SL1006_

 

The spiralizer bundle comes with the slicer, cleaning brush, end cap, pouch bag, and 8 scrumptious recipe e-book. The e-recipe books are great. They are filled with so many delicious and healthy ideas making meal planning so much better! Cleaning is easy with soap, water and the mini cleaning brush. 

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So you want one now right? You can get your own vegetable spiralizer on Amazon for only $9.99. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Natural Sins baked-dried fruit and vegetable snacks

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Today I want to introduce to you a brand called  Natural Sins. Natural Sins is a small Costa Rican company which manufactures healthy snacks made from fruits & vegetables and commercializes them in the North and Central American Countries.Natural Sins is dedicated to the development, manufacturing and commercialization of healthy food products where high quality, freshness, and innovation are the common denominators.

Natural Sins healthy snacks are made with fresh fruits or vegetables, and using only two natural ingredients, create the most perfect and delicious snack! Using proprietary methods, they’ve maintained shape, color, smell and taste of the fresh fruit or vegetable, yet making it crispy; resulting in a unique natural product like no other.

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At Natural Sins, they also believe that a person’s health is principally based on nutrition and they try to deliver this message through their company. The fruit thins are 100% natural, they are carefully sliced and baked to preserve the original shape, smell, color and flavor. Only 2 ingredients are involved: fresh fruit or vegetables + cane sugar. Natural Sins’ slices are 100% natural; they are very thin fruit slices which are carefully sliced and baked until reaching their unique crispiness and keeping the fresh fruit flavor; these are some of the characteristics that differentiate Natural Sins from competitors.

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Flavors include:

  • Crispy coconut this
  • Crispy beetroot thins
  • Crispy apple thins
  • Crispy mango thins
  • Crispy pineapple thins
  • Crispy orange thins

I recently had the opportunity to try many of the flavors and I was very impressed, and I have to say my favorite is the beetroot thins. Unlike other dried fruit snacks, these are actually healthy and tasty. They are not too sweet and do not leave a chemical aftertaste in my mouth. I could really taste the fresh fruit/vegetable flavors. I loved the crunchiness and any of these chips make a great (and healthier) substitute for chips.

Natural Sins are gluten free, vegan, fat free (except for the coconut), sodium free (except for the apple), non-GMO, and 100% natural, therefore, they do not contain any type of preservative, artificial coloring or artificial flavor.

Mango Thin Nutritional Information
Crispy Mango Thins Nutritional Information

Natural Sins are available in the U.S. and Canada. You can purchase Natural Sins in 12-packs on Amazon
for as little as $29.

Natural Sins was acknowledged by PROCOMER (Foreign Trade Corporation of Costa Rica) as the most innovative company in Costa Rica’s food industry, winning an award during the 2012 BTM Awards. Additionally, it was nominated by CADEXCO (Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters) for the 2012 Export Effort (Esfuerzo Exportador) award and was awarded with the PYME Exportadora by the MEIC (Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio) for being one of the small companies that has made great efforts in a professional way to start exporting their products.

10 Juicing Tips & My Favorite Green Juice Recipe

Juicing is tasty, easy, and beneficial for your health. Moreover, juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to rebuild your immune system with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. Juices help your boy cleanse, heal, and rejuvenate.

Juices are also great for detoxing and cleansing because they require very little energy to be used by your digestive system because a majority of the fiber is removed during the juicing process. This gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber and allows you to better absorb nutrients. The nutrients are fast tracked into your blood stream, which detoxifies and cleanses your system by removing toxins. Other health benefits of juicing include healthier skin, hair, and nails, better sleep, decreased risk of developing certain cancers and help in getting the 8 recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Products such as Naked and Odwalla are full of sugar and other chemicals not good for your body. These sugar filled “juices” also lack in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients and health benefits that you can only get from fresh fruits and vegetables. These juices are not suitable for my low sugar diet, which is why I’ve started making my own.

I also like to make my own juices because it allows me to pick and choose my ingredients. Choosing alkaline fruits and vegetables is vital for fighting against inflammation and candida, two things I am dealing with.

Here are some tips – and a recipe – to help you get started with juicing!

  • Go organic. Studies show that the nutritional profile of organic produce is always better than its non-organic counterparts, sometimes drastically so.
  • Wash produce thoroughly. Unwashed produce can be contaminated with pesticides and bacteria (do you know how many people at the grocery touched the food before you did?) so this is an important step in the juicing process, especially if you do not buy organic produce.
  • Focus on vegetables, but include some fruit. I’ve found that one small apple, or other fruit, makes a huge difference in flavor. Try to keep it 75% vegetable to 25% fruit. I like to add an apple or pear for sweetness, but the best fruit to use is papaya because it contains an enzyme called papin, which is extremely helpful in aiding digestion.
  • Include 1-2 root vegetables–such as carrots or beets–to add additional flavor, sweetness, and antioxidants. Including carrots or beets tend to contribute a bit more sugar and sweetness (like the fruit).
  • Add at least one leafy green vegetable. Kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, and cabbage are all loaded with nutrients. These are also very powerful so don’t go overboard; start slowly and add more as you go.
  • Include at least one watery vegetable. Cucumber, celery, zucchini, and other watery vegetables help dilute the too-strong flavors of the previous 3 ingredients. This can make a big difference in drinkability, while adding some nice flavor and additional vitamins.
  • Avoid fruits with low water content. Bananas and avocados are the two main fruits that are pretty dense and very low in water content. Such fruits do a lot better in the blender. I don’t juice with bananas, rather I cut them up and freeze them to use in smoothies. Bananas and avocados are great for thickening smoothies, adding a creamy texture without having to add dairy or extra fat.
  • Start slow with the celery. Celery has a strong flavor and if you put in too much it will be overpowering. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Start with less, and you can always add more until it gets to be too strong.
  • Juice the skins, peels, pith, tops, and stems. Peels and skins are loaded with antioxidants. Avoid juicing the skins of oranges and grapefruits. The pith (the white stuff between the peel and the pulp) and other white membranes of citrus fruit are a great source of nutrition. But avoid juicing the skins of oranges and grapefruits.
  • Rejuice your pulp. Once your produce has been passed through the juicer, check to see if your pulp is still damp (it usually is). If yes, pass it back through your juicer and you’ll be able to get more juice from the leftovers! I do this every time and I am always amazed by how much more juice I get!
  • Don’t forget a garnish. A small amount of a strong flavored item such as ginger, lemon, mint or other herb can make your juice a real pleasure to drink while adding extra antioxidants and health benefits. Fresh lemon juice is a key ingredient in homemade juices, enhancing the flavors of almost any combination. An added bonus – I was recently told that lemon juice can also help balance the acid levels in the body and reduce inflammation. Don’t actually run the lemon through the juicer; instead, squeeze it into the finished juice. Similarly, fresh ginger will bring out the natural flavors of the fruits and vegetables you use. Start with a very small amount, adding more as desired.
  • Drink your juice as soon as possible. For optimal nutritional value it is best to drink them right away. When juice is exposed to the air, it starts to lose its nutrients rather quickly, and there are no preservatives to keep it from spoiling. You can keep juice stored in the fridge for up to 24-48 hours.

 

Jessica’s Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • Kale, 3 or 4 leaves
  • Celery, 3 stalks
  • Apple, 1 small
  • Cucumber, 1 medium or large
  • Zucchini, 1 small or medium
  • Lemon, one slice

First, clean your vegetables and fruit. Place everything in the juicer, except for the lemon juice, and juice it, twice! Squeeze the lemon, stir, and enjoy!

 

What’s your favorite juice recipe? Share below!

 

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Product Review: Melissa’s Exotic and Tropical Fruit Basket

Get your gift-giving thinking caps on, it’s that time of year again! Before you head to the mall or buy any gift cards online, check out Melissa’s for some unique and healthy gift basket ideas.Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 4.25.26 PM

Not the gift basket type? I suggest you take a look at Melissa’s before making that decision. They’ve got something for every taste, from practical and family-friendly to exotic and gourmet. We’re not talking supermarket quality basket, we are talking high-end, quality produce—that’s what Melissa’s does. Melissa’s is an actual produce company, not just a gift basket company, and these people know their kumquats from their clementines!

There are many great gift baskets to choose from, including the Deluxe Exotic and Tropical Fruit Basket that the kind folks over at Melissa’s sent me! IMG_5707This stunning assortment is arranged in a woven basket with cellophane wrapping and colorful ribbon. If you are looking for a fresh, juice selection of the season’s best exotic fruits, look no further. Melissa’s gift baskets would make a great gift for anyone—family, friends, and co-workers. Or if you are looking to add some new and different fruits and vegetables into your life, you can order one for yourself!

Overflowing with some on the world’s most luscious, brilliantly colored fruits, selected at their peak of perfection, promise the mouthwatering flavors of far away places. Based on seasonal availability, the selection may include: Asian Pears, Blood Oranges, Feijoas, Kiwis, Kumquats, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Sapotes, Tamarillos, Lychees, Passion Fruit, Specialty Bananas, Strawberry Papayas, Cherimoyas, Baby Pineapples, Pepino Melons, Mangoes, Starfruit, or Coconuts.IMG_5697

My basket was filled with:

Passion Fruit, Kiwis, and Mangoes – some not just ripe, which was nice so I didn’t feel rushed to eat them all right away.

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Passion Fruit

Feijoas, sometimes known as the Pineapple Guava, are a lime-green, egg-shaped fruit with a soft, succulent flesh similar in texture to a pear. Its flavor is reminiscent of pineapple, quince and lemon, with a hint of eucalyptus. I like to cut them in half and spoon out the white, succulent pulp and edible seeds—yum! Or slice it up and add it to a fresh fruit salad. IMG_5698

Sapotes closely resemble an apple in size and shape. The inside is filled with small black seeds, and the flavor is similar to a blend of banana, peach, lemon, and coconut. IMG_5710

I loved the juicy mangoes, sweet papaya, and baby pineapple, which has the same delicious flavor as the full sized pineapple and is actually a bit sweeter.IMG_5764

The kumquats were sour, like a lemon, and I put them in my water, like you would a lemon.

I also really enjoyed the Tamarillo, also known as a tree-tomato. The full-flavored, tart flesh is an excellent source of vitamin C.

The Red bananas were small and plump with had a creamy flesh that is sweeter than a yellow banana. I couldn’t eat all the ones in the basket so I used the rest to make banana bread.

Is your mouth watering yet? Head on over to Meilssa’s and check out their wide selection of fruit, vegetable, wine, grilling essentials, and many more baskets!IMG_5708

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Our Gluten Free Cooking Lesson with Kitchensurfing & 25% off code

Kitchensurfing brings a chef into your kitchen for parties, lessons, and so much more.Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.34.17 AM

Kitchensurfing (KS) is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. From hobby chefs to Michelin chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or thirty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.

Last month Jeremy and I had a wonderful, restaurant-quality, 4-course meal with Chef Chris Hallahan. We were blown away not only by his culinary talents, but also by his passion for food and locally sourced ingredients. He was friendly and engaging, and answered all our questions. You can read all about our first KS experience here.

The whole experience was so wonderful that I decided to use KS again, but this time I wanted a cooking lesson.

After browsing a few profiles and menus to see who would be a good fit for a gluten free, dairy free cooking lesson we chose Michelle Lahey. Michelle is a Boston based personal chef and I love her blog, The Economical Eater, so I was thrilled when she replied to my request for a cooking lesson for my sister and I!

The Menu for our cooking demonstration:

Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki
Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash
Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BarsIMG_5677

Services Included

  • Ingredients
  • Cleaning
  • Transport

Michelle’s food was fantastic. She was engaging, super friendly, and really easy to talk to. She was really knowledgeable about vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free food, such a relief!

Michelle’s menu incorporated fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.IMG_5652

I really like Brussels sprouts but have never cooked them myself, so I was eager to learn to do this once and for all. And it’s much easier than I thought!

Our previous attempts at making veggie burgers have all failed. Michelle’s recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers was easy to follow and can easily be swapped with different types of beans and spices. We loved the Middle Eastern spices and flavor combinations in this burger.IMG_5649The vegan tzatziki was also easy to make and paired perfectly with the burgers. This is something I plan on making again. Since going dairy free I hadn’t eaten tzatziki. I was surprised with the simplicity of the recipe. Michelle used So Delicious almond based yogurt and also recommended coconut yogurt was well. I haven’t been able to find plain coconut yogurt so I just bought the almond yogurt when I made it.IMG_5679The pumpkin chocolate chip dessert bars were to die for.  My sister and I felt like we had died and gone to heave. The secret ingredient— garam masala—gave the bars an unbelievable flavor. They were absolutely incredible. And lucky for us she left us her recipe so we can make them again and again! The recipe is also available on her blog.IMG_5680

Not only did Michelle show us how to prepare the food, each step of the way she explained what we were doing with all the ingredients and how each one contributed to and played a role in the dish.IMG_5659

We enjoyed learning new recipes that we can now add to our repertoire. I like that Michelle focused on healthy, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. We liked everything about this meal and we felt good eating it.IMG_5677

Click here for a 25% off coupon for your next Kitchensurfing booking! This code is valid through Dec. 31 (you don’t have to have your meal prior to the 31, it just has to be booked by that date). This code can be used on any KS service.

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.