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How To Build A Healthy Bento Box

Bento boxes have been all the rage when it comes to lunches but what exactly are they and how do you make them? Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal that’s common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in box shaped container. While the traditional version sounds a bit dicey for the average kid, there are plenty of ways to make your own bento boxes at home that are filled with fresh produce, healthy grains and protein. These lunches are not only easy to pack, they’re loaded with vitamins/minerals and they’re super fun to eat! Get creative with your combinations, incorporate tried-and-true foods and make it colourful.

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Packing healthy lunches doesn’t have to be a chore! Get the kids involved in building their own bento boxes and make room for this Japanese staple in your kitchen. For more back to school lunch ideas, tips and inspiration, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

mucci farms grilled vegetables veggies bbq barbecue fresh flavourful greenhouse grown produce

Six Tips That Will Change The Way You Grill

Celebrating barbecue month is about cooking your food in a different way and enjoying the new possibilities, techniques and flavours you create in the process. While it may seem like second nature for some people to start up a barbecue, for other’s it can be a little daunting. Being prepared, understanding how your grill works and taking the proper precautions can help you maximize your grilling experience and minimize any serious causes for concern. Check out this infographic for the top six grill tips that can take you from good food to great food, regardless of how much barbecue experience you have.

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Connect with us on social media or leave a comment below to share your best grilling tips. We’d love to hear from you! For more delicious barbecue recipes and helpful grilling tips, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

mucci farms blog grill greenhouse grown

Celebrate National Barbecue Month

May is National Barbecue month so it’s time to get out the grill, stock up on seasonal vegetables and enjoy the great outdoors! Our tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers are perfect for the barbecue and with a little practice, you’ll be seasoned grill master. Use these tips as your guide and add your own custom flare with spices, rubs and oils. We guarantee you’ll be eating more vegetables in no time!

 

 

Tomatoes

Cut out the stem of any Mucci Farms’ tomato and then cut the tomato in half and brush with olive oil. Grill them at 400-425°F face side down for 2-3 minutes and the flip them over and top with garlic, cheese, nuts or anything else you like and let them cook for another minute. Serve them as a fresh side dish or cook them a bit longer with no toppings and use them in a fresh salsa or sauce.

Grilled Tomatoes

Click here for the full recipe from Simply Recipes.

 

 

Eggplant

Cut our Mini Eggplants in half length-wise or into circle about 1/4 inch thick and brush with olive oil and lightly season with salt if desired. Grill at 400-425°F for 4-5 minutes per side. Use as a side dish, in sandwiches or to make a fresh batch of Baba Ghanoush.

grilled eggplants

Click here for the full recipe from Kitchen Ware Direct.

 

 

Bell Peppers

Cut our Sweet Bell Peppers in half length-wise (through the stem) and clean out the seeds. Brush with olive oil and lightly season with salt/pepper is desired. Grill at 400-425°F for 6-10 minutes skin side down and 3-4 minutes on the other side. Serve them as a side dish, stuff them with your favourite meat/grains or peel them to make hummus.

Grilled Bell Peppers_rev

Click here for the full recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen.

 

Grilling season is about so much more than meat! Use our fresh produce to serve healthy, seasonal side dishes and get creative with your grilling techniques. For more delicious barbecue recipes and helpful grilling tips, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Three Ways To Celebrate National Nutritional Month

Nutrition Month is celebrated every March and is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The entire month is focused on helping people make better food choices as well as giving them the information necessary to help them develop good eating and exercising habits. Spend the month of March eating well and living healthy, and carry on what you learn through the rest of the year to build strong and sensible habits that will have a profound impact on how you live your life. Not sure how to get involved? Try some of these simple suggestions to kickstart a healthier year for yourself and your whole family:

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  1. Plan family meals so you can eat together

Making time for family meals is so important. Pre-schedule and plan to eat dinner together as a family as many times as you can throughout the month. Use that time to catch up on your day, ask questions, share stories and talk about healthy eating habits. Go a step further by involving the whole family in the kitchen and delegating tasks to each person so they can see their hard work pay off at the dinner table.

 

 

  1. Explore a new fruit/vegetable every week

Habits may be easy to form, but they’re hard to break! Change up your routine and start a fun tradition by introducing new fruits/vegetables to your family each week. Make it a challenge to utilize the weekly feature in all meals and get everyone involved with the meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Step outside of your comfort zone to try new and exotic fruits/vegetables or learn how to change up your go-to choices with new recipes/techniques.

 

 

  1. Visit local farms or farmers markets

Take some time to research farmers markets and local farms in your area. Spend a day visiting different farms, asking questions, getting to know the owners and learning more about which crops they grow and what type of growing procedures they follow. be sure to stop by the market and test your vegetable/fruit knowledge before picking up some of your favourites as inspiration for your meal that night.

 

Focusing on nutrition, having discussions about healthy eating and making necessary lifestyle changes can greatly impact every aspect of your life. Expand your horizons with new fruits/vegetables, learn new cooking techniques, explore your local produce offerings and get your family excited about eating healthy!

For more fresh recipes and healthy living tips, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

mucci farms greenhouse grown tomatoes beefsteak tomato-x satori memento heirloom tango pink baby roma sano sun bliss

Treat Your Valentine With Tomatoes

February is heart month and there’s much more to it then sending out heart-shaped valentines or chocolates! February is a chance to shine the spotlight on one of the top killers in North America by providing the necessary information to prevent and treat the disease. Luckily there are many ways to fight back against heart disease, and some of them relate directly to the foods you eat. At Mucci Farms, we grow one of the best foods for your heart and it just so happens that incorporating it into your daily routine at any time of the year couldn’t be easier!

 

Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium and they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk. Plus, because they’re low in calories and low in sugar, they don’t detract from an already-healthy diet so it’s easy to incorporate them into your regular routine without adding in any unwanted extras. The best part? Cooking might actually increase the health benefits of a tomato because even though cooked tomatoes have less vitamin C, their lycopene is more available and antioxidant activity is undiminished by cooking so you don’t always have to eat them raw to enjoy their health benefits.

 

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Making a Valentines Day meal for your special someone? Incorporate our fresh tomatoes for a gift that’s not only from the heart, but for the heart:

  1. Make fresh salsa instead of using store-bought jars. The end result is loaded with tomatoes and you can control the level of heat.
  2. Love breakfast? Throw some fresh tomatoes into your scrambled eggs to make a delicious frittata or add a handful into your homemade omelette for a burst of flavour and health benefits!
  3. Try your hand at oven roasted tomatoes! Halve ripe tomatoes lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the sheet in the oven on the lowest temperature (150 to 170 degrees) and let the tomatoes dry for 8 hours, until they’re shrunken but still a little plump. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months.
  4. Stuff your favourite meats with a handful of fresh tomatoes for an unexpected burst of flavour!
  5. Whip up a batch of fresh tomato sauce at home in no time. Chop several tomatoes and put into a bowl. Add salt and let sit for 30 minutes while the juices are drawn out. Strain into a sauté Simmer and whisk in butter. Spoon over pasta, fish, or chicken.
  6. Use them as inspiration to build a better grilled cheese sandwich
  7. Pickle them! Stuff a canning jar with salt, pickling spices, dill sprigs, garlic cloves, red hot chiles, and plenty of quartered green tomatoes. Fill with hot, but not boiling, water. Screw lid on tightly. Refrigerate for a month.
  8. Slice the top off of a beefsteak tomato and stuff it! Try a Mexican or Mediterranean flare and have fun with different flavour combinations.
  9. Slice up a few tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and serve with fresh herbs for garnish.
  10. Make a bed for grilled chicken, fish, or steak. Chop tomatoes and marinate in olive oil and salt for a few hours. Spread on plates and top with your favourite protein.

 

Sometimes small steps can make a big difference. Incorporating more heart-healthy foods like tomatoes will help you fight back against this disease and keep your heart healthy and strong for years to come. For more heart healthy tips and Valentines Day recipes, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

mucci farms blog half your plate blog bella sweets seedless cucumbers smuccies sweet strawberries tomato-x greenhouse grown

Can You Fill Half Your Plate?

If you’ve ever thought “I should really eat more vegetables but I just don’t have time” or “I don’t know how to cook with that ingredient so I’ll just stick to my usual routine”, you’re not alone. Canadians should definitely be eating more fruits and vegetables and there’s stats to prove it. Statistics Canada reported that in 2011 only 40.4% of Canadians aged 12 and older consumed fruit and vegetables five or more times per day. Consumption rose gradually from 2001-2009, where it peaked at 45.6% of the population reaching the level of five or more daily servings, but ever since then it’s been on the decline and Half Your Plate wants to change that.

 

The initiative aims to show Canadians how easy it is to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal while also providing all the tips, tricks and recipes they need to make it happen on a regular basis. Whether you’re looking for healthy school lunch ideas or smart shopping tips, Half Your Plate is a fantastic resource!

 

Chef Michael Smith is the Half Your Plate culinary ambassador and he’s committed to empowering Canadian’s in the kitchen. He knows that many Canadians have a hard time including fruits and vegetables in their daily routine because it seems like a difficult task. It’s easy to confuse the unfamiliar with the difficult which is why he focuses on teaching real-world skills and reminding us all that at heart, healthy cooking is simple cooking.

 

 

Healthy habits are for life but we know they can be difficult to build and maintain. Keep things simple and make a commitment to the #HalfYourPlate initiative. Visit the website, watch Chef Michael Smith’s video and get inspired to eat more fruits and vegetables today! Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Stretch Your Dollars With These Produce Storage Tips

We’re all too familiar with the winter budget crunch that creeps up on us every December. You’re in holiday mode and whether you’re spending money on gifts, wrapping, decorations or party fare, a little needs to go a long way! At Mucci Farms we understand how important a budget can be, especially when you’re juggling so many extra seasonal responsibilities, so we’re sharing this infographic from the American Heart Association that will show you how to store smarter and waste less produce regardless of the season. Don’t cut back on fresh produce for fear of waste, learn how to store it properly so you can serve, eat and enjoy your favourite fruits and vegetables any time of the year!

Get Fresh Infographic

For more tips, tricks, resources and recipes, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Shake Up Your Salads With A Spiralizer

Who says salads have to be boring? We know that getting creative with your meals isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be, especially when it comes to cold no-cook options, but the routine of stuffing some lettuce in a bowl and covering it in a store bought dressing has to go! Luckily, spiralizing is a fun and simple way to make fruits and veggies more appealing and you don’t ever have to turn on your oven. Once you’ve chosen a spiralizer that works for you, you’ll be amazed at all the new, healthy dishes you can create! We’ve compiled some of our favourite cucumber spiralizer recipes below that will have your whole family eating more raw fruits and vegetables before you know it.

 

If you’re unsure about spiralizers and how they work, you can learn more by watching this video from My Fussy Eater. Discover which fruits and vegetables are best for spiralizing and how to choose the best appliance to suit your needs at home.

 

 

Strawberry Cucumber Poppyseed Salad

It’s no secret that the same old lettuce salad can get really boring after a while! Mix it up with the crunchy and delicious flavours of Mucci Farms Seedless Cucumbers and Mucci Farms Smuccies Sweet Strawberries drizzled with a homemade poppyseed dressing.

 

Cucumber Strawberry Salad

 

Click here for the full recipe from With Salt & Wit.

Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

Keep it simple with this delicious and fresh take on asian cuisine featuring Mucci Farms Seedless Cucumbers and Mucci Farms Hot Shots Mixed Hot Peppers. The red onions add a nice tangy flavour and the sesame seeds are the perfect finishing touch. You can prepare the sweet dressing in advance for a great grab-and-go weekday lunch option.

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Click here for our full recipe.

 

 

Greek Cucumber Noodles

Greek salad is the perfect balance of crunchy and salty. Fresh toppings elevate it from a simple side to a meal you can devour on your own. Try this spiralizer take on the classic greek salad with greenhouse grown Mucci Farms Seedless or Mini Cucumbers and Sweet Grape Tomatoes.

 

Cucumber Greek Salad

 

Click here for the full recipe from Two Peas + Their Pod.

 

Sweet/Sour Thai Cucumber & Carrot Salad

Thai food is known for being fresh and hearty but this recipe takes the cuisine to a whole new level. If your family enjoys Thai or Vietnamese food, then this is a must-cook recipe that will be replacing your takeout runs in no time. Try it out with our bell peppers and cucumbers.

 

Thai Cucumber Noodle Salad

 

Click here for the full recipe from Peas & Crayons.

 

Step up your salad game and let the spiralizer help you appreciate a delicious cold lunch again. Get creative with your vegetable and fruit combinations, create your own dressings/sauces, mix colours and have fun in the kitchen knowing that the end result is a healthy, hearty meal the whole family will love. For more healthy recipes be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Boost Brain Power With These Healthy Foods

September can be an incredibly busy and stressful time of the year but despite how hectic it can seem, it’s the perfect time to create new routines and encourage new habits. Whether you’re in school, working part-time or putting in 60 hours a week, we could all use a little brain-power boost from time to time. Forget the supplements and energy drinks, did you know that Mucci Farms Smuccies Sweet Strawberries and Mucci Farms Sweet Cherry Tomatoes are two excellent sources of brain-boosting, mood-balancing antioxidants? Learn more about their benefits and get inspired to include them in your family’s daily snack routine.

 

Strawberries

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Did you know that people who eat more brightly colored fruits have less cognitive decline than those who don’t? In an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists concluded that eating strawberries can help maintain a sharp memory and prevent the onset of mental decline due to their high levels of antioxidants which help protect cells from harmful free radicals. Scientists have found that berries also help protect the brain by changing the way neurons communicate. The changes in signaling can not only improve motor control and cognition, but also prevent inflammation in the brain which leads to neuronal damage.

 

Strawberry Banana Chia Seed Smoothie

Everyone loves a delicious smoothie and this one is not only taste-bud approved, but also brain approved. It’s loaded with ingredients that will help improve mental focus and concentration while also providing fibre, antioxidants and proteins.

Strawberry Brain Power Smoothie

Click here for the full recipe from She Knows.

 

Berry Snack Wrap

Wraps are a great snack, especially if you’re on the go! This brain booster is filled with our Smuccies Super Sweet Strawberries and has the added bonus of peanut butter which provides a great dose of Vitamin E. A kid-friendly, adult-approved snack that’s delicious any time of the day!

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps

Click here for the full recipe from Cheat Sheet.

 

Tomatoes

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Bright red and orange vegetables are a top source of a type of nutrient called carotenoids, which can help improve cognition and memory over longer periods of time. One of the most powerful of these nutrients is lycopene, which is found in high doses in the skin of tomatoes. Lycopene combats dementia, improves mood balance and also protects you from depression-causing inflammation, so working it into your daily diet can also boost your mood. If you’re serious about increasing your lycopene, make sure to stock up on cherry tomatoes since they carry more per volume than their beefsteak brethren and remember that you’ll need to cook the tomatoes to release the lycopene.

 

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

A simple recipe with an end result that can be worked into any snack or meal you like. Try Mucci Farms delicious Sweet Cherry Tomatoes on homemade pizzas, tossed in a pasta, pilled high on chicken breasts or mixed in with your favourite vegetables for the perfect side dish.

Garlic Roasted Tomatoes

Click here for the full recipe from The Novice Chef.

 

Cherry Tomato, Spinach, Garlic and Mozzarella Pasta Bake!

Looking for a one-dish wonder the whole family will love? Try this incredibly flavourful pasta bake that’s easy to make and even easier to devour! Perfect for a potluck or a relaxing night at home, this dish is sure to become a family favourite.

Cherry Tomato Pasta Bake

Click here for the full recipe from A Mummy Too.

 

Whether it’s you or your kids who need the brain boost, arm yourself with the ingredients and knowledge you need to pack healthy snacks that will help your family stay focused, energized and productive throughout the day. For more brain-boosting recipes be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Go Back To School With CuteCumbers™!

If you’re searching for kid-sized snacks that are healthy, simple and have endless applications, look no further than a bag of our greenhouse grown, Non-GMO CuteCumbers™ Snack-sized Cucumbers! Packing healthy lunches and snacks doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can definitely be stressful when you’re balancing budgets, and managing schedules. Spend less time in the kitchen by learning how to turn a bag of our kid-approved CuteCumbers™ into five different healthy snacks, lunches and treats that even the pickiest eaters will devour.

 

 

  1. CuteCumbers Boats

Our crunchy, kid-sized CuteCumbers™ make the perfect vessel for your favourite hummus! Get your kids into the kitchen to help you make this fresh, brain-boosting snack that’s easy to eat, fun to put together and will keep them fuelled all day.mucci_farms_cutecumber_boats

 

  1. CuteCumbers Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are the perfect addition to any lunchbox. They’re hearty, healthy and super easy to customize for picky eaters. Plus there’s no need for the extra chopping and prep that comes with full sized cucumbers because our CuteCumbers™ are the perfect size. They add just the right amount of crunch and pair really well with any meats, cheeses and vegetables you’d like to add.

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  1. Mini CuteCumbers Sandwiches

Sandwiches are a simple lunchbox staple but sometimes it can be difficult to create something that’s healthy and appealing. Next time you’re in a bind, get creative with some fun cookie cutter shapes, their favourite bread and spread and some thinly sliced CuteCumbers™! Easy to carve and layer, they add a delicious crunch to tuna salad, egg salad, goat cheese, cream cheese and just about anything else you can place them on top of.

Star Cucumber Sandwiches

Click here for the full recipe from Framed Cooks.

 

 

  1. CuteCumbers Ranch Dip

Sometimes simple really is best! Chop up our CuteCumbers™ to make this dip and serve it with them too! Pack them sliced or whole for dipping. Fresh, raw veggies make the perfect after school snack or lunchbox side dish, especially when paired with this refreshing and delicious Cucumber Ranch Dip.

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Click here for the full recipe from Hidden Valley.

 

  1. Frozen CuteCumbers Treats

Cold treats can be the perfect end to a long day but something filled with artificial ingredients and colour dyes is never the healthiest decision. Use our CuteCumbers™ to whip up a batch of these cool summer treats so you’ll always have them on hand any time of the year.

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September can be incredibly busy but these five simple recipes will help you get the most out of your CuteCumbers™ and your time in the kitchen so you can focus on what matters most, spending more time with your family! For more healthy cucumber recipes and ideas for picky eaters, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.