I reached out to Turbana & told them about my Plantain Chip infatuation.  We've developed quite a partnership & I had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Turbana at the Disney Family Fun Day last weekend.  My love for this product grew deeper as I learned about Turbana's dedication to sustainability & social responsibility.  They proudly farm their products in the country of Colombia, utilizing small, family-owned farms.  Their corporate philosophy is "Do not give people fish, teach them how to fish."  So what is just a bag of Plantain Chips to me is a new opportunity for a family in Colombia.  It represents fair wages, housing opportunities, well-equipped classrooms and more for their employees & neighbors in Urabá, Colombia.  Another thing that is pretty cool - Turbana's Coral Gables, Florida headquarters sources many of their college interns from Colombia.   There really is "goodness inside" each & every bag of Turbana Plantain Chips. I want you to Snack Exotic with me!  You really need to try these plantain chips.  They boast 30% less fat than potato chips, no trans fat, zero cholesterol, no preservatives, no additives, and they are gluten free!  Plus... it's a Plantain Chip!  That's exotic, fun, sexy, unique.  I love impressing people with food - these chips make it easy! Turbana wants to treat The Produce Mom fans to a special giveaway!  The winner of my SNACK EXOTIC contest will get a sample of Turbana Plantain Chips AND a $100 gift card to their favorite clothing store!  Because the only thing better than your favorite snack... is your favorite outfit.  Good luck!

SNACK EXOTIC - Enter to win, no purchase necessary!

1.  Print out Snack Exotic Produce Mom 2.  Snap a picture of her doing something unique & exotic in your life... or maybe let your child decorate and color her logo... get creative! 3.  Share your pictures on The Produce Mom's Facebook page 4.  Entries must be submitted by Friday, July 6th 5.  Winner will be based off popular vote & announced on Monday, July 9th 6.  PRIZE.... $100 gift card to your favorite clothing store & a sample of delicious Turbana Chips!   Be Exotic.  Snack Exotic.  Have Fun. xoxo Produce Mom       [post_title] => Snack Exotic: Turbana Plantain Chips [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => snack-exotic-turbana-plantain-chips [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-20 14:36:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-20 19:36:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.theproducemom.com/?p=832 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 810 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2012-06-12 08:17:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-06-12 08:17:34 [post_content] => Today is my 1/2 birthday... yep.  6 months ago today, The Produce Mom made her online debut.  As The Produce Mom, I have enjoyed countless opportunities and distinctions.  I've been trademarked.  I met the President of Dole & was invited to tour the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii.  I spoke at Eli Lilly's executive wellness meeting.  I made salad with Indianapolis Colts' Cornerback Jerraud Powers & together we served it to children & residents of Haughville.  I've had meetings & established partnerships with Indianapolis Public Schools, IU Health and Little Red Door Cancer Agency.  The local news named me Indiana's Female Focus.  The Walt Disney Company named me a Kids Concern.... but the true highlight was when the USO of Indiana invited me to represent business women & participate in their "50 Business Women Salute 50 Combat Women." What an honor.  And the honor is not because I was one of the fifty Indiana business women.  Seriously - who cares about that?  The honor was standing center court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse & saluting an Army Captain who has fought in combat for our country both in Iraq & Afghanistan.  The honor was hugging Captain Spencer after my salute & HER thanking ME with tears in her eyes.  The honor was meeting the 1st woman to serve as a 3-star general for the United States of America.  And listening to the USO Executive Committee speak about the importance of this private non-profit organization that is dedicated to boosting the morale of our troops.  And just being in a room with 50 combat women & their families.  It was surreal. Captain Bernice Spencer has served in the United States Army for over 26 years.  She has given our country her entire adult life.  Captain has served several times over seas & lived on countless military bases all around the world.  She gave me her combat badge for her service with the 76th Brigade in Afghanistan during 2004-2005.  It will be sewn on my apron next to her autograph. Captain Bernice Spencer is a real hero & my night with the USO is the true highlight of my 6 months as The Produce Mom. Support our troops & our great nation! xoxo Produce Mom       [post_title] => 50 Indiana Business Women Salute 50 Indiana Combat Women [post_excerpt] => The honor was hugging Captain Spencer after my salute & HER thanking ME with tears in her eyes. The honor was meeting the 1st woman to serve as a 3-star general for the United States of America. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 50-indiana-business-women-salute-50-indiana-combat-women [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-12 08:17:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-12 08:17:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.theproducemom.com/?p=810 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 802 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2012-06-10 10:51:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-06-10 15:51:13 [post_content] =>

Tostones are one of my favorites!  The problem is the traditional preparation method include frying them... twice!  No thank you.

Tostones are often made for the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Here is my take on the popular Latin treat.  Enjoy! [recipe] Enjoy! xoxo The Produce Mom Sign up here for our NEW weekly newsletter if you want more fun recipes, cooking tips, and more! OR  Text "TPM" to 66866 to sign up!  [wpurp-searchable-recipe]Tostones: Oven Baked Plantains - - plantain, canola oil, non-stick spray, salt (to taste), Preheat oven to 375 degrees. ; Score plantain peel with a knife & gently remove. ; Toss slices with 2 tbsp of canola oil.; Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Arrange slices in a single layer on a baking sheet – bake for 10 minutes. ; Plantains will be brown on bottom, remove from baking sheet. ; Place cooked Plantain slice in between 2 wooden spoons & smash into a flat tostone. ; Re-spray baking sheet. Arrange tostones in a single layer on the baking sheet – bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping tostones over 1/2 way through baking. ; Sprinkle with salt & enjoy warm. ; - I prefer ripe plantains, but traditionally tostones are prepared using green plantains.[/wpurp-searchable-recipe] [post_title] => Tostones: Oven Baked Plantains [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tostones-oven-baked-plantains [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-10 10:51:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-10 15:51:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.theproducemom.com/?p=802 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => recipe [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 792 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2012-06-08 10:56:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-06-08 15:56:07 [post_content] => Caprese Pasta Salad... One of my favorites from our new Garden Cut Summer Menu!  Have you utilized Chef Concetta's recipe index or downloaded our free smartphone/tablet app?  Get on it!  Our new Summer menu will roll out on June 20th & you do NOT want to miss this!  I have been spoiled the last few months - every Thursday has been spent in the test kitchen preparing for the Solstice menu change.   I spend Thursdays with Chef Concetta... helping her cook, tasting the food, plating it for pictures.  It has become my favorite day of the week :-) My other favorite day of the week is Monday.  Most people hate Mondays.  I'm not like most people.  There is something refreshing about starting anew every week AND... there is the Bachelorette.  I'm a huge junkie!  I have seen every episode of the Bachelor & the Bachelorette.  Yes.... Every.  Episode.  It's turned into a tradition for me & my friends.  We gather at my house every Monday night to watch the show together & catch up.  Many memories have been made in the GNO Cave - that's the Girls' Night Out Cave aka my basement.  Whatcha got, Man Cave? The GNO Cave girls love Chef Concetta almost as much as I do.  We always have a snack during the Bachelor/Bachelorette & lately, it's been one of Concetta's recipes from the Garden Cut website.  This week it was Caprese Pasta Salad.  I felt like a hero serving it.  So simple, yet so good.  GNO Cave Approved! [caption id="attachment_796" align="aligncenter" width="224"] Best Friends are a Blessing![/caption] Be the hero at your next party - serve Caprese Pasta Salad! [recipe] **I also recommend having a cute sous chef.  Makes cooking more fun!** xoxo Produce Mom    [wpurp-searchable-recipe]Caprese Pasta Salad - - red onion (diced), grape tomato (halved), mozzarella (fresh, diced), basil (fresh, chopped or julienned), pasta ((I recommend cavatappi pasta)), balsamic vinegar, olive oil (extra virgin), salt and pepper (to taste), Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain pasta & set aside to cool. ; When pasta is cool, toss with diced onion, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella & basil. Pour the balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil over the mixture and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt & pepper. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. ; - I was in a hurry &amp; didn't have time to allow the pasta to cool on its own so I just ran cold water over the noodles.[/wpurp-searchable-recipe] [post_title] => Caprese Pasta Salad [post_excerpt] => I have been spoiled the last few months - every Thursday has been spent in the test kitchen preparing for the Solstice menu change. I spend Thursdays with Chef Concetta. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => caprese-pasta-salad [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-08 10:56:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-08 15:56:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.theproducemom.com/?p=792 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => recipe [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 758 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2012-06-01 11:45:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-06-01 15:45:15 [post_content] => Indianapolis Fruit Company recently hosted a wellness competition amongst all employees, "The Biggest Improver" It is a true honor to announce that my co-worker & friend, Collin Miller, is Indy Fruit's 2012 Biggest Improver!  Congratulations!  He worked so hard & to show my personal appreciation for his dedication, I invited him & our wellness coordinator, Lauren Drew, into the Garden Cut test kitchen to help make what has become one of my signature snack items: Kale Chips.  Kale is a notorious superfood & one of my favorite vegetables.  Prepared correctly, Kale Chips are a satisfying alternative to potato chips & other unhealthy junk/snack food. You are probably familiar with the term "Superfood."  I use the term all the time.  I had a radio interview last night where I talked about my favorite produce items & referenced superfoods.  I think my exact quote was "I believe in the power of superfoods."  The irony here is the fact that dieticians, scientists & medical professionals do not necessarily use or believe in this terminology.  Superfood is a term that was coined by marketers.... which is probably why I say it during every interview :-)   I think it's a great concept & makes complete sense!  Plus, I can guarantee you that the consumer's awareness of "Superfoods" has helped produce departments sell more blueberries, pomegranate, sweet potatoes, kale, etc.  When people are making healthy choices, what's to argue?  Oddly enough, though - marketing a product as a "Superfood" is against the law in Europe!  Their stance mimics that of dieticians & some of the docs - there is no medical evidence or solid scientific studies that these foods are healthier for us. Guess what....  I'm not a European, a Doc, or a Dietician.  I believe in Superfoods & I think the distinction is a cool way to segregate this category of high-nutrient & phytochemical-rich fruits & veggies.  The marketers at Dole agree with me - check out their Nutrition Institute to learn more about Superfoods! Now lets talk about Kale Chips.  I have made them several different ways - think about how many flavors of potato chips line the snack aisle at your grocery store... the same amount of options exist for you when preparing these Kale Chips.  I've used countless seasonings: southwest, garlic, chipotle, cajun, thai, rosemary & olive oil,  salt & pepper, even cinnamon & stevia (don't ruin a superfood with sugar!)... the options are truly endless!  My favorite "seasoning" is Nutritional Yeast.  This is a favorite ingredient amongst vegans & often used as a cheese substitute.  I will admit that it's not always easy to find.  I buy mine at the Indy Food Co-Op in their bulk foods section, but mainstream brands like Red Star, Bob's Red Mill & Barry Farm all offer Nutritional Yeast.  Remember what I say... if your grocery store doesn't have what you want or need - just ask them to buy it for you! PRODUCE MOM KALE CHIPS Here's what you will need: 1 large bunch of Kale - I prefer Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale (flat leaf Kale) versus the traditional curly kale, but either variety will work! Olive Oil, to taste - I use approximately 1/4 cup per bunch Nutritional Yeast, to taste - I use about 3/4 cup per bunch - feel free to use your seasoning of choice in place of nutritional yeast! Sea Salt, to taste DIRECTIONS Wash the Kale thoroughly.  Using your hands, remove the leaf from the thick stem of the Kale & then tear the leaf into 2 - 4" size pieces.  (The Kale will shrink substantially when it is baked).   Place the Kale pieces into a big mixing bowl & coat with olive oil.  Use your hands & toss the Kale so it is fully coated with the olive oil.  Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast (or whatever seasoning you are using) & again toss to coat the Kale evenly.  Arrange the Kale pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt (optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy! xoxo Produce Mom PS> Congratulations again to IFC's Biggest Improver, Collin Miller!  Collin has lost 70 pounds in 6 months.  He is a true inspiration to me & the rest of the IFC family.  We are all SO proud of you, Collin!  And.... inspired!  His firm dedication to healthy eating & regular exercise has resulted in the lifestyle & freedom that he deserves.  Collin admits that he now has joy when he ties his shoes.  Such a simple act of living, yet it was always so cumbersome & tiring prior to weight loss. His favorite activity now that he's 70 pounds lighter.... "Dance parties with my girls.  We put some music on & just dance in the living room!  I used to spend a lot of time watching them play while sitting in an overstuffed chair." Welcome to your new life, Collin.  You deserve all this & more! [post_title] => Kale Chips - Superfood Snack of Choice! [post_excerpt] => Kale is a notorious superfood & one of my favorite vegetables. Prepared correctly, Kale Chips are a satisfying alternative to potato chips & other unhealthy junk/snack food. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => kale-chips-superfood-snack-of-choice [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-06-01 11:45:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-06-01 15:45:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.theproducemom.com/?p=758 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1042 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2012-07-10 01:01:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-07-10 05:01:55 [post_content] => I have a real appreciation for Mexican cuisine & flavor profiles.  I actually lived in Mexico during college while participating in an international study program.  I believe food is culture.  I have no real heritage in my family – we’re just your classic mix-breed Americans.  So, when it comes to cultural cuisine, I can identify best with Mexican food since I actually lived in the gorgeous colonial city of Guanajuato for a semester. While living in Guanajuato, I occasionally helped my host mother prepare dinner or went grocery shopping with my host sister.  This was the first time I was exposed to cooking with chile peppers, eating lengua tacos with corn tortillas, fire roasting ears of corn & topping them off with mayo & chile powder.  Yum.  The best part about this simple list… each one of these foods brings back memories from that semester in Mexico.  The corn tortilla story is my favorite – it was my 1st dinner living in the Ortiz family home in Guanajuato.  My conversational Spanish was mediocre, at best.  My brother Felipe asked me if I liked the food & my reply was “Sí, pero yo prefiero tortillas de orina” Which translates to “Yes, but I prefer urine tortillas.”  Everyone laughed, of course.  And when I was finally brought up to speed with the joke – I learned that flour = harina.  Not orina.  I think I’ll die knowing how to say flour in Spanish.  The moment was truly unforgettable. Sometimes I play around in my kitchen & reminisce about my time in Mexico.  That’s exactly what happened Monday night when I took a stab at my own version of a Jalapeno Lemonade… which became a Limeade.  And I used brown sugar, only because I didn’t have any piloncillo in my pantry.  And, if you are following this blog & calling on my recipes – you really need to buy agave nectar & truvia.  Since I started exercising more, I’ve become really conscious about cutting back my sugars.  Agave nectar & truvia are sold in the baking aisle right by the regular sugar… I use them all the time.  If you don’t have agave or truvia, use honey to taste.  It’s better than white sugar. [recipe] Jalapeno Limeade ¡Salud! xoxo Produce Mom PS – YES… you can add tequila.[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Jalapeno Limeade - - lime, lemon, jalapeno (more or less to taste), brown sugar, agave nectar, Truvia, Juice 6 limes & 1 lemon into a large pitcher.; Fill pitcher with cold water. Stir in brown sugar, agave & truvia until dissolved.; Slice remaining lime & lemon into thin circles & add to mixture.; Slice jalapenos lengthwise, to open chile & expose the seeds, being careful to not cut through the stem & halve the pepper. ; Allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer the limeade rests, the more infused it will become with the jalapeno.; When desired heat is achieved, remove jalapenos from pitcher.; - <p class="p1"><span class="s1">For less intense heat, simply prick or score the jalapenos with the tip of your knife.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">For a medium heat, slice jalapeno lengthwise (as described above) but do not half.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">For extreme heat, halve the jalapenos to expose ribs & seeds</span></p>[/wpurp-searchable-recipe] [post_title] => Jalapeno Limeade [post_excerpt] => This jalapeno limeade is made from scratch and completely delish! PS...feel free to add tequila! 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Jalapeno Limeade
Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Figs