Ask the Expert
Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived, I’m beginning to see the first signs of local produce stands in my area. I’m always thrilled with this for two reasons: A) the produce sold locally is especially fresh and tasty and B) local produce is very budget-friendly , which means I end up trimming my grocery bill.
In most areas of the country where cold weather keeps fresh fruit and vegetables from being grown during the winter months, May is when you’ll find the local farmer’s market, produce stand or orchard offering "fresh from the field" produce again. At first you may see asparagus, spinach and butter lettuce, but before long strawberries, snow peas and green beans begin to appear. And this is just the start of the season! Come summer you’ll be able to select from a wide variety tree fruit (peaches and plums), zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, corn …the list goes on and on. The point is to take advantage of what your local area has to offer–you’ll find it easier to eat healthy and you’ll see that grocery bill decline.
I find it very easy to plan my meals around fresh, local produce during this season. My family may have three different fruit or veggie dishes as our main meal. Here are a few recipes that take advantage of in-season fruits and/or veggies:
- Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Sandwiches
- Fresh Tomato and Pita Chip Salad
- Corn on the Cob w/Chili Lime Butter
- Grilled Peaches
- Avocado and Blueberry Fruit Salad
- Strawberry Shrimp Ceviche
So, keep an eye out for those produce stands. In fact, you can search our Community database to see what fruit and veggie events may be happening near you. Or, if you know about something, add it yourself!
This week we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in 1862. For most of us, it serves as an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage and history while enjoying the delicious foods Mexico has to offer. In recent years more and more Mexican restaurants have popped up across the country and it is fairly common to see them packed on May 5th with patrons enjoying such things as fajitas and margaritas. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I’d like to share a recipe I use quite often and in a variety of ways–homemade guacamole.
Aside from the most familiar serving suggestion–as a dip for tortilla chips, I also use this as a spread for sandwiches and as a topping for grilled chicken. I’ll give you the version I make most often, but you can tweak this recipe to your liking (some may choose to omit the jalapeno pepper or use more/less cilantro). You might want to check out some other tips for enjoying avocados on our website since they are tasty, filling and versatile!
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 plum tomatoes, seed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I typically use more than this since I love the flavor!)
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- Peel all four avocados and remove the pit. Mash two into a mixing bowl using a metal or wooden spoon. Take the remaining two and dice into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the mashed avocado.
- Add chopped jalapeno pepper, minced garlic, chopped red onion, chopped tomatoes and chopped cilantro to the avocados.
- Mix well and add cracked black papper and/or a little salt to taste.
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