April 4, 2016

Avocado Deviled Eggs - Day 3

To make 12 avocado deviled eggs, follow the recipe below.

Ingredients
  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1 fully ripened avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 tablespoon plain low or no-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • Chopped chives (optional)
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, place egg yolks; add the avocado and mash until smooth.
  2. Stir in yogurt, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in jalapeño and onion, then spoon into egg white shells, dividing equally.
  4. Arrange on a serving plate. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. (Don't serve long after 3 hours as the avocado will start to darken.)
  5. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Image and recipe courtesy of http://www.thismamacooks.com/2013/03/healthy-st-patricks-day-snacks-avocado-deviled-eggs.html

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April 4, 2016

Emerald Fluff - Day 4

To make a dessert salad serving 6-8 people, follow the recipe below.

Ingredients
  • 9 oz cool whip
  • 20 oz crushed pineapple with juice
  • 11 oz mandarin oranges, drained
  • 3 oz instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and chill until served.

2. Food coloring can be added if you want a darker shade of green.

images courtesy of Melissa Snow at http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/salad/other-salad/emerald-fluff.html?p=32

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April 4, 2016

Leprechaun Fruit Snack - Day 5

To make 1 fun leprechaun fruit snack follow the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Clementine
  • 1 Strawberry
  • 2 Edible Candy Eyes
  • 4 mini Heart Sprinkles
  • Peanut Butter or Toothpicks

Directions

1. Cut the front off the apple. Cut out a hat from that slice.

2. Use half a toothpick (or peanut butter) to attach it to the top of the apple.

3. Cut a nose out of your apple scraps.

4. Cut a mouth out of a slice of strawberry.

5. Press on edible eyes. Use peanut butter to secure if necessary.

6. Cut clementines in half for the beard. Use broken toothpicks to secure if necessary.

7. Press heart sprinkles on the hat in the shape of a shamrock.

images courtesy of http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/2014/02/st-patricks-day-leprechaun-fruit-snack.html

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April 4, 2016

Fruit Rainbow - Day 6

Ingredients:
  • Red- Strawberries
  • Orange – Orange Slices
  • Yellow – Pineapple Chunks
  • Green- Granny Apples
  • Blue- Blueberries
  • Purple – Red Grapes
  • Cloud- Marshmallows or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Gold - Pineapple Chunks

Simply arrange the fruit to form a rainbow. Put a cloud at one end of the rainbow and a pot of gold at the other.

Images courtesy of http://blog.naturebox.com/posts/st-patricks-day-rainbow-fruit

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April 4, 2016

Spring Green Fruit Salad - Day 7

Follow the recipe below for a fruit salad that will serve 2-4.

Ingredients
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, sliced into dime sized triangles
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 2 kiwis, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 Tbsp raw or roasted/salted pistachios (optional)
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs, remove and chop leaves (for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
Directions

1. Prepare all ingredients.

2. Add ingredients to large bowl.

3. Toss well with a spoon.

4. Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving.

Images courtesy of Kathy at http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2009/03/recipe-spring-green-fruit-salad.html

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April 4, 2016

Cherries have great benefits like providing nutrients for a healthy heart! They taste great too! Why not get a #plantOgram cherry tree and try cherry ginger scones!
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup dried cherries
3 ounces crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional) http://ow.ly/i/94xSp http://ow.ly/KvnKD

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April 4, 2016

There’s certain times of the year when businesses are expected to give gifts to their clients. Holidays, to commemorate special events, and sometimes as a gesture of kindness. This fosters a good relationship and keeps those clients coming back. But since all businesses do this, does it really foster a good relationship or is it just another political move? Is the end result any different than schmoozing at a charity ball?

So how can you set your business apart from your competitors? How can you find a gift that not only won’t offend anyone, but will make your clients happy? You have to do something different than flower baskets, cookies, candy, wine or gift cards. That’s what your competitors are doing. And there’s many other things to consider when gifting things like that. Gift cards are impersonal and seem like no thought went into the gift. Wine is great unless the recipient doesn’t drink. Cookies and candy could send someone into anaphylactic shock if there’s nuts in them (talk about bad press!). And finally flowers...what about those clients who are allergic? It seems everything causes another problem. There’s no universal gift you can plan to give all of your clients.

On top of those problems, those gifts are consumable. The clients eats or uses them, or more likely gives them away, and then your gift is forgotten. So what do you do?

The answer is something that lasts generations, increases in value annually, yields capital gains, provides $1000's worth in dividends, is good for your health, the environment, actually tastes good, and costs just around $50. A PlantOGram. PlantOGram offers rare and exotic fruit trees that you can gift to your clients. The fruit tree will be a constant reminder to your clients. Every time they eat a fruit or share one with a friend or family member they will mention your business.

This is essentially free advertising as you would be sending gifts regardless, and these trees will serve as constant word of mouth advertising. Don’t let your competitors beat you to the punch. Send your clients a green, eco-friendly fruit tree.

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April 4, 2016

The miracle fruit is a small, bright red berry only 2-3 cm long. So how did it get such a big name? It doesn’t have a spectacular taste itself. It has a mildly sweet and tangy taste that has been likened to a cranberry. But it isn’t the taste of the fruit that warrants its name. Instead, it’s the effects the fruit has on one’s taste buds afterwards.

After eating a miracle fruit, if you eat anything acidic, it will taste incredibly sweet. This happens because of a protein called miraculin. This protein binds very strongly to sweet receptors on our tongues, however it does not activate the receptors at neutral pH. When acid is introduced, the miraculin changes shape. It then turns on the sweet receptors which creates an incredibly sweet sensation. Once the acidic food is swallowed, the miraculin returns to the inactive shape, but does remain bound to the sweet receptors for up to an hour.

Theoretically, miraculin could be used as an artificial sweetener. This idea was introduced almost 50 years ago. Despite initial success, drama and suspected foul play by the sugar industry prevented this from happening. The FDA, although previously supportive of the endeavor, declared that miraculin was an additive which meant that the berries could not be sold as a sugar substitute without further testing.

A new idea to integrate the powder into desserts has arisen, but there are problems with this too. Refrigerating and heating the miraculin cause the protein to activate, so its ability to modify one’s ability to taste would be gone by the time the food was consumed. Scientists are trying to create a heat stable form of miraculin that can be cooked with.

There has been a recent push for miraculin to take the place of sugar. Some benefits are obvious, like getting the taste of sweetness without the sugar. Sugar-free desserts could still be sugar free but without tasting sugar-free. With obesity being such a concern, this is a legitimate reason to pursue miraculin. In addition to this benefit, it could be a great discovery for diabetics since it provides sweetness with no sugar. It also can be useful for chemotherapy patients whose tastes are sometimes altered during treatment making it difficult to eat at all.

In general, some restaurants serve miracle fruits and they are at some parties. These are usually high end restaurants or parties with the sole purpose of “flavor-tripping.” Miraculin is native to West Africa, and is currently being produced and sold in Japan. It is possible to by in the US, but it is not as readily available. You can purchase your own Miracle Fruit plant from PlantOGram. It can be grown in your backyard or in a container on your patio.

In the future, if anyone were to procure enough funding, they would likely be able to convince the FDA to overturn their 1970s ruling as there is nothing dangerous about miraculin. Rather than concerns about the fruit itself, the drawback at the current time is funding.

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April 4, 2016

PlantOGram now sells Guarana fruit trees. They come from Brazil, and the seeds contain over twice as much caffeine as coffee beans. The white fleshy fruit surrounds dark brown seeds giving the fruit the appearance of an eyeball. It is used just as we use caffeine. It is considered “generally safe” for use as a supplement by the FDA.

The caffeine in the Guarana works as a natural insecticide in the wild. It keeps away plant eating bugs. Birds can still eat the fruit and the seeds pass right through their digestive tracts. They then land in a new location which helps generate new Guarana plants.

While no scientific studies have proven other uses of Guarana, it has been used for many other things. These include weight loss, to enhance athletic ability, as a stimulant, and to reduce both mental and physical fatigue. Guarana speeds up your metabolism which aids in the fat burning process. This is how it helps one lose weight. The boost of caffeine improves memory and cognitive function by decreasing fatigue. It is commonly added to energy and weight loss products. Some also use Guarana to treat low blood pressure and chronic fatigue syndrome. It has also been cited to help prevent malaria and dysentery. More everyday uses of the Guarana fruit include treatment of diarrhea, fever, headache, joint pain, backache, and heat stress.

In general, to consume Guarana, a teaspoon of powder is mixed in a cup of cold water. The powder creates a reddish-brown solution. The taste is pleasant when combined with sugar and in any sugary substance, however it can be rather bitter when eaten alone.

This unique fruit is definitely something to consider growing. While it does require warm temperatures to thrive, it can be grown and kept in a container. It does best in full sun and in temperatures above 60°F. However, keeping it in a container is a great way to still be able to enjoy the Guarana fruit no matter where you live.

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April 4, 2016

With Mother’s Day around the corner, everyone is looking for gifts. And let’s face it. Moms are usually the ones handling the preparations for things, so when it comes to Mother’s Day, things tend to fall through the cracks or get pushed to the last minute. So moms end up with generic, ordinary flowers or maybe a gift certificate. Or, if you’re lucky like me, a picture of something your family has ordered you online. But they forgot to order it until that morning so all I get is a picture. Then I have to be there to get the package off the driveway when it does arrive.

What is so frustrating about Mother’s Day gifts is that most gifts are well…lackluster. Once the kids are too old to make cute crafts, the holiday loses something. And you end up with a half dead bouquet of flowers from the grocery store.

A great alternative is a fruit tree. PlantOGram ships them right to your door. You can even plant it and surprise mom with it on Mother’s Day. It’s definitely too big for you to leave under the deck and forget about for two weeks (Yep…my husband did that with a plant for me too!). And it’s an easy way to personalize the gift. You can find a fruit that you know mom likes, and choose a tree based off of that.

Consider the weather and sun, soil, and water conditions in your area. There are trees for all climates and conditions so anyone can gift a fruit tree.

This is also a great eco-friendly gift. You’re helping the environment by planting a tree. Also, the tree and the fruit will provide food and habitats for animals. If your mom is active in conserving the environment, this is an ideal gift.

Another bonus, is a lot of fruits can be used for things besides cooking. For example, apples can be used in a number of crafts. This can be a fun way for the kids and mom to connect during Mother’s Day and later when the tree has fruited.

Look through PlantOGram’s inventory of trees. There’s definitely something for mom!

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at freedigitalimages.net

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