Foodie & Recipe Review: Welch’s D-I-Y Frozen Fruit Pops & Zoku Round Pop Molds

A few weeks ago we received this pretty awesome DIY kit. Featuring Zoku’s round pop molds, Welch’s 100% Juice White Grape, recipe cards, and carrying bag I knew my family was in for a pretty special treat once the weather warmed up.

Welch's DIY Kit

Luckily, the past couple of days have been gorgeous here in Michigan and we were able to pick up the necessary ingredients to put our DIY kit to the test.

My boys, Eli and Ben, were super excited to help. Between the three of us, we were able to prep these pops in about 5 minutes. I halved the grapes and sliced the strawberries while the boys measured out the blueberries and grape juice. We had to modify the recipe slightly to ensure we didn’t over fill the Zoku round pop molds, but as long as everything is evenly distributed and you follow the instructions on the pop molds, you should be good to go.

Strawberries Blueberries and Grapes

After the boys and I filled up the pop-molds and inserted the corresponding pop sticks, the pops went into the freezer. The recipe called for a four hour freeze time, but we let ours sit in the freezer for a full day before removing.

Once removed, we ate. And they tasted just as we imagined – super fruity and delicious! As we enjoyed my boys kept shouting out fruit combinations to try the next time we break out the molds. As an RD mom, there really isn’t anything better than my own kiddos getting just as excited about foods that are good for them as they would over a doughnut. Yep. These are that good.

Fruit Pop

So go and grab the recipe from Welch’s website and try it for yourself. And if you are looking for a pop mold, I highly recommend Zoku’s Round Pop Maker. Over the past few years we’ve brought in a few different varieties of pop molds at thePlate Boutique and I have to say that none have worked as well as these. The innovative secret behind these pop molds? The silicone! Instead of having to run your pop under warm water, hoping it will loosen up the mold enough for you to easily remove the pop, you simply peel the mold away. Best idea ever!

We don’t currently carry Zoku in the store, BUT its definitely on our list. In the meantime, you can get yours here.

We’re also giving away some free Welch’s and wine stoppers to FIVE lucky readers! Enter to win by following the directions below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a fruit pop recipe that you love? Share it in the comments! Or better yet, snap a picture and share on our Facebook page

Dislcaimer/Disclosure: I received this toolkit to review as a part of Welch’s Handpicked program. We were not compensated financially for this post and all opinions expressed are Kati’s alone. We just thought you should know. For further information on our disclosure/disclaimer policy, please check out our legal page

Have a Healthy Memorial Day with Beef This Weekend

I just got back from a pretty amazing trip to Kansas City thanks to the Missouri Beef Council. It was literally a week all about the beef – from the menu to the speakers, it was a great opportunity to learn how beef can compliment a well-balanced diet.

Kansas City Ranch

If you ask me, the timing couldn’t have been any better either. After all, what Memorial Day weekend wouldn’t be better celebrated with a little beef on the grill?

Over the years we’ve kind of shied away from red meat – especially beef – because of the saturated fat content. But in reality, beef is a natural, nutrient-rich option worth considering. The key to healthy beef though is often more associated with how it is prepared. Luckily, my trip offered multiple ideas and suggestions for ways to keep it healthy.

So if you want to enjoy a little beef this Memorial Day weekend, here are a few tips to consider:

Lean Beef Is A Great Option on the Grill 

Steaks on the Grill

On its own, lean beef is pretty nutrient-rich. In fact, you’ll find all sorts of great vitamins and minerals in each bite. From zinc to iron, it packs quiet a punch. A 3 oz serving of lean beef also provides about 25 grams of protein – an important macronutrient that helps build up our muscles and keeps us feeling fuller longer – just to name a couple of its important functions!

Grilling beef really means that we keep a lot of the beef’s integrity intact. We shouldn’t have to add a lot of extra fat or combine it with too many ingredients to get maximum deliciousness. Instead, we’re going to look for ways to maximize its benefits. This means focusing in on adding simple, real-food ingredients to the mix.

Curious which cuts of meat are lean and grill-ready? Consider going with a strip steak or flank cut.

Adding Flavor Matters

If you feel like the “healthy” foods you are eating are boring, odds are good you are missing the mark. Nutrient-rich foods should be FLAVORFUL! And yes, I capitalized that on purpose because its that important! To add flavor to your beef the real food way, think rubs and marinades! Acidic marinades can also help tenderize less tender cuts of meat (if you chose a flank cut, this one that may need a little tenderizing before grilling).

Marinades usually need time to permeate the meat, so make sure you have 15 minutes to 24 hours to spend. If you don’t, a dry rub can also work really well.

To keep it simple, start with a base of olive oil, lemon juice, and a flavored vinegar. Get creative from there with what you add – herbs and spices, peppers, fruit, 100% juice – let your inner foodie shine through!

Rubs are also a great choice – especially if you are short on time. You can mix up your favorite herbs and spices and then store in an air-tight container to use whenever needed. A simple combo like rosemary and oregano could work. Or look for more creative add ins – like cocoa powder or ground coffee beans!

Temperature Is Everything

Once you’ve picked out your cut and have infused some flavor, its time to grill. And temperature is really your best indicator to know whether your meat has been cooked sufficiently. If you slice your steak open to check doneness, the juices are going to run and you don’t want that. Instead, use an instant read thermometer to determine when your steak should come off the grill. For medium rare, take your meat off the grill at 145 degrees F. For medium, take your meat off the grill at 160 degrees F. For well-done cook until the thermometer reads 170. You then want to let your meat sit for 5 minutes after you remove from the grill before serving. Viola! A perfect steak!

Want to learn more? Visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com for additional information on how beef can fit into a healthy meal plan. You can also find GREAT marinade and dry rub recipes there too. Happy grilling!

Disclosure/Disclaimer: We were not financially compensated for writing this post; however, our trip to Kansas City, MO was sponsored by the Missouri Beef Council. All opinions expressed in this post are Kati’s alone. We just thought you should know. For additional information regarding our disclaimer and disclosure policies, please visit our legal page

DIY Painted Wooden Spoons for the Kitchen

Looking for a super simple way to add a dash of color to your kitchen? This DIY project is easy to tackle and can be a great way to add a hint of fun and excitement to your kitchen!

Wooden Spoons

Supplies needed:

Masking tape
Craft paint (we used Martha Stewart’s outdoor/indoor non-toxic paint)
Foam paint brushes
Wooden spoons
Paper plates or bowls

Directions:

Step 1: Grab your spoon and a small piece of tape. Wrap the tape around the spoon’s handle about mid-way up the spoon.

Wooden Spoon with Tape

Step 2: Choose your paint and put it onto a paper plate or bowl. Using a foam brush, apply the paint to your spoon handle. Let paint dry completely before applying additional coats. Paint until desired look.

Painted Wooden Spoon

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have your spoon collection complete!


FullSizeRender (42)

We used Martha Stewart’s indoor/outdoor craft paint. Its non-toxic and should hold up to washing once completely dry. Hand washing of spoons recommended.

A Few Veggies To Look Forward to This Year with Central Michigan CSA

There is nothing quite like spring. A somewhat in-between season that is full of hope, excitement and anticipation.

This year, like every other year before it, I find myself ready for not only consistently warmer days here in Michigan, but flavorful, local produce as well!

If you live in Michigan like I, you too are probably pretty excited to leave winter behind. Hopefully, you are also pretty excited about fresh produce and the added flavors, textures, aromas, and experience the versatility Michigan produce can provide.

Farmer's Basket

Thanks to some of our local farmers, getting access to that local produce has never been easier. In fact, this year, I’d encourage you to check out the Community Support Agriculture (CSA) programs in your area. Not only will this ensure you get fresh, quality produce consistently throughout the growing season, but you’ll also enjoy the convenience of nearby pick up locations within your community.

Although CSA programs can vary in what they offer, I spoke with Joe Crawford from the Central Michigan CSA in order to discover what produce one might expect here in Central Michigan. For my veggie lover fanatics, you’ll be pretty excited about what Joe expects to be available this year. For my not-so-keen-on-veggie fans, perhaps I can entice you to at least consider incorporating an extra serving or two.

Although Michigan has a variety of produce to choose from each growing season, there are a few veggies in particular that you may want to take note of– especially throughout the earlier part of the season. Although all veggies offer great benefits, there are a few that tend to stand out from the rest. You can expect to find these and more in your Central Michigan CSA shares this season.

Curious to know which veggies I’m talking about? This year, let’s get excited about kale, Chinese cabbage, Swiss chard, radishes, and tomatoes! All are expected to be in supply and are loaded with good-for-you nutrients. Of course, these aren’t all you’ll find in your shares this year, but these may be ones you’ll want to get more familiar with after you discover their unique nutrient profiles.

Kale and Chinese Cabbage 

Kale and Chinese cabbage may be utilized differently in the kitchen, but both share some pretty interesting nutritional benefits. First, both kale and Chinese cabbage have cholesterol lowering benefits thanks to the fiber they contain. To maximize these benefits though, you may want to consider steaming these particular veggies first. This will allow the fiber to better bind with bile acids in your gastrointestinal tract.

Kale and Chinese cabbage also contain glucosinolates – natural components that have shown certain cancer prevention properties in some studies.

Kale is also considered to be a “super food” by many. This may be because it contains over 45 different flavonoids, making it both an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse! It also contains almost 3 grams of protein, which is pretty impressive for a vegetable, and small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Chinese cabbage doesn’t tout quite as many nutritional accolades as kale, but it can add a unique flavor and crunch to your favorite summer burger while also ensuring you are getting more vitamin C and K into your meal plan plus all that great fiber it provides.

Swiss Chard 

I bet you never realized all the versatility found in leafy greens! Swiss chard is another leafy green that you may want to give a go this season. Not quite sure how to incorporate it? Simply sauté in olive oil and add a little cheese! Or throw into your next omelet or batch of scrambled eggs. Swiss chard belongs to the chenopod family along with beets, spinach and quinoa. Talk about a power family! You’ll find 13 different types of polyphenols in Swiss chard in addition to vitamin K, C, and A. Again, this means we’ve got some major anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory action going on here. Some animal studies have also shown benefits in blood sugar regulation with the incorporation of Swiss chard into a regular meal plan.

Radishes

Radishes may not seem super versatile, but in reality, they can add great flavor and crunch to all sorts of dishes. From a nutritional standpoint, you’ll find that radishes are also loaded with fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

To make good use of them, here are a few suggestions our own Nutrition Expert, Michelle Voss, RD, shared at her last in-store class:

  • Slice into everyday salads
  • Top off some whole grain crackers and add some Laughing Cow Cheese
  • Throw into a light cucumber salad
  • Create radish chips in your oven
  • Pickle them and add to fish tacos

Tomatoes

This vegetable (or fruit, depending on how you label things) is probably a little more common to most households, but let’s not forget all a tomato has to offer. First, they contain all four types of carotenoids – including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. They too are also rich in fiber and have a pretty high water content – something especially important to consider during the hot days of summer. Because of its unique nutrient profile, tomatoes have been linked to reduced risk of multiple chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

This year, I hope you are able to incorporate fresh produce from your corner of the world into your day. Not quite sure where to look? Check out LocalHarvest.org to discover fresh, local foods in your area.

For my Central Michigan fans, consider checking out Central Michigan CSA and learn more about the farming philosophy behind it and what you can expect from one of your local farmer’s this year.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Central Michigan CSA. We did receive compensation for writing it; however, all opinions expressed are Kati’s alone. We just thought you should know. For a full list of our disclaimer and disclosure policies, please visit our legal page.

Grab thePlate Boutique’s May 2015 Calendar of Events & Sales!

Have you had the opportunity to stop and visit one of our retail store locations yet? If not, this might be the month to plan your trip to thePlate Boutique! Just like last month, we’ve got plenty of activity for you to jump in on. Roll up those sleeves, grab an apron, and get ready to have a little hands on fun at one of our classes, demos, or ever-popular lunch breaks!

A few things to note about May…

We’re Celebrating Mother’s Day with a Special DIY Gift for Mom Station! 

Bring the kids and while you shop, we’ll help them make a fun kitchen-inspired gift for mom! You can join us either May 2nd or May 9th during our open hours for this fun DIY-inspired activity.

Our Spring Clean Your Plate Class is Open! 

Looking for a fun, hands-on way to discover healthier ways to eat? We’ve got just the series for you! For only $75, you can join our nutrition experts in either Mt. Pleasant or Grand Rapids for a 3 part series that covers appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. We’ll show you how to use expert techniques in the kitchen for fast and easy cooking, plus we’ll share a few nutrition tidbits along the way. Registrants also receive recipes, resources, and exclusive discounts and buying opportunities at each class. Seating is EXTREMELY limited though, so don’t wait to register. And register by April 30th and we’ll give you a $10 gift certificate to the store too!

For our Central Michigan readers, please register for our Mt. Pleasant series location here.

For our West Michigan readers, please register for our Grand Rapids series location here.

We’ve got Chef Cheryl Powell from the Grand Central Market & Deli Back for Another Cooking Class in Grand Rapids! 

Back by popular demand, we’re bringing Chef Cheryl Powell from the Grand Central Market & Deli back to thePlate to wow us with her amazing meal creations! This is a great opportunity for an afternoon out with friends, a loved one, or maybe even the perfect gift for mom this Mother’s Day! You can register for this class here. Just a heads up though – our last cooking class sold out VERY early! Don’t wait. Reserve your spots today.

This month will also be full of great deals and discounts too. Plus, we have some extended hours you’ll want to check out. So grab our calendar and share it with your friends! Here’s to a happy, healthy May!

May 2015 Calendar
Click on the calendar to download, print & share!