Healthy Pantry, Healthy Eating

Coborns well stocked pantryIf your New Year’s resolution has anything to do with healthier eating, the first place to start is your kitchen. We’re guessing you’ve already stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies (good job!), so the next step is making sure you have the meal staples on hand to throw together a quick, healthy dinner from your pantry. We’re focusing on the things that last a while, that can help build a meal, and that are easy to incorporate into a family friendly dinner, so here’s a list to get you started.

Pastas: Nothing makes for an easier meal than a quick pot of pasta. These will last for months (or longer) so stock up on long pasta like spaghetti or linguine, short noodles like elbows or penne, or some fun shapes like letters or bowties.

Tomato sauces: Jarred pizza or pasta sauces are the ultimate quick meal fix, but if you have a good selection of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, you can easily make your own sauce in just a few extra minutes.

Beans: These are an excellent and inexpensive meat substitute. Even avowed carnivores are occasionally trying a meatless Monday, and beans are the ultimate protein alternative. Variety is key here–definitely experiment with dried beans, but don’t be afraid to get time-saving canned beans–kidney, great northern, garbanzo, pinto–and try them in soups or stews or main dishes.

Olive Oil: You’ll want two, actually—one for cooking and one as a condiment. A basic inexpensive variety will work well for sautees, and you can splurge on a nice extra virgin for the times when it won’t be heated. Olive oil is a great ingredient to use in homemade salad dressings, atop pastas, with breads. You know by now that olive oil is one of the healthy fats that are great for you skin, hair, and heart health, so stock up and use it liberally. Buy only what you can use in a few months, however, because freshness matters.

Nuts: Cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts are all filling, healthy, and tasty. Of course they’re good for snacks, but they can make guest appearances on salads (so much healthier than croutons), in stir fries, and to add crunch and nutrition to baked goods. Again, don’t buy the super extra value size unless you know you’ll use it quickly. Nuts can become rancid.

Spices: Dried spices are a great way to add flavor to any dish. They also help you avoid over-salting your food by adding strong tastes without the excess sodium. And, they’re wildly healthy and pack a powerful punch of healthy flavors. Check your cabinet for cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, coriander, crushed red pepper, cumin, ground ginger, paprika, rosemary, thyme leaves, oregano, garlic salt, chili powder. They’ll all come in handy!

Oatmeal: This one gets a category of its own. It’s one of the easiest way to get a high-fiber whole grain breakfast, so get stocked up on traditional oats as well as the hugely popular steel-cut oats. Just a little more time than a bowl of cereal will give you a healthy  breakfast that keeps you going all morning.

One more suggestion–when you’re stocking up with healthy staples, be ruthless with your purging. Get rid of the half bag of chocolate-covered-anything, the huge container of potato chips, the odd jar of preserves with a ’08 expiration date. Make room for clean shelves of healthy choices and suddenly meals become easier and healthier.

We know lots of you are world-class organizers–what are your best tips?

Behind the Scenes at the Coborn's Bakery

Coborn's Blog: Coborn's Central BakeryCoborn's Blog: Coborn's Central Bakery

John Schneider has likely had a hand in baking your bread for the past 13 years. As the head of the Coborn’s and CobornsDelivers bakery, he’s part of the team that works hard to bring fresh bread, buns, cookies, candy, and pastries to your store, your cart, and your table every day. He’s been a baker since he was 16 years old, and he oversees a staff of 110 who work in the Coborn’s Central Bakery that supplies every Coborn’s store and CobornsDelivers. Even though some of his work happens in an office these days, he still wears his bakery whites to work every day and likes to be “where the action is”, so you can be assured he played a part in your latest bakery purchase

A few things you may not have known about the Coborn’s bakery:

  • It’s like Santa’s toy shop this time of year. The volume goes up significantly during the last quarter of the year, so the bakery staff are at work seven days a week. What are the making? Quantities of buns, cookies, and candy all go up around the holidays.
  • But, surprisingly, they just had what is historically the quietest week of the year–right after Thanksgiving. While we were all nibbling on leftovers, we weren’t buying many baked goods. (The second quietest? The week after New Year’s. Draw your own conclusions).
  • This stuff is fresh. The trucks go out every morning so what you see on the shelves is what came out of the oven just this morning.
  • We eat a lot of sandwiches! Every day the Coborn’s bakery turns out up to 300 fresh, one-pound loaves of white bread and another 150  pound and a half loaves.
  • If you love Coborn’s kolaches or kringle–John and his crew can’t take the credit. That’s because they don’t come from the central bakery.  Each community has such individual preferences, so the central bakery focuses on the items that every store sells and lets the in-store bakeries do the local favorites.
  • We really, REALLY love candy. Five thousand pounds of peanut brittle and three thousand pounds of Klondike (that’s the decadent peanut brittle with flaked coconut) are made in small batches, just in the last quarter of the year.
  • You get what you pay for. Schneider says people sometimes tease him by saying they can find peanut brittle at their local drugstore for a dollar a pound. He challenges them to count the peanuts. Coborns’ brittle is made up of 40% peanuts, but  the cheap stuff you find elsewhere? “You can count the peanuts on one hand!”
  • Baked goods can be much healthier than you think. For instance, Schneider explains that if you’re keeping an eye on sugars in your diet, Coborn’s Fiber Rich White Bread uses 30% less flour and instead uses a resistant starch that keeps the sugars from bouncing up after you eat it. It’s been a favorite among diabetics and people trying to watch their weight.
  • The bakery also uses the best ingredients to make their baked goods as healthy as they can possibly be. The doughnuts and cookies are transfat-free, Coborn's Blog: Transfat- Free DonutsCoborn's Blog: Transfat- Free Donutsand the whole wheat bun has only 37 units of sodium per serving. His bakery isn’t looking for the cheapest way to make things; they’re always aiming for the absolute highest quality.
  • And the big question: how does the guy who’s surrounded by all these treats and goodies every day resist the temptation of overindulging? “I’m not much of a cake and candy guy,” says Schneider. His treat of choice is a coconut cream pie which happens to not be among the items made at the Coborn’s bakery. Smart move, John.

So maybe try something new next time you’re strolling through Coborn’s breads and buns and cookies and candy, or add it to your CobornsDelivers.com cart. We’re pretty sure you’ll taste the care and quality that goes into every item that leaves John Schneider’s bakery.

Easy Entertaining: Antipasto Skewers

If you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe, this is for you! Run to the store or hop online to order, and you’re already half way done with the Coborn's Blog: Antipasto Skewersprep. Not only are these simple to make, but the skewers taste fresh and delicious!

Ingredients

Hard salami

Olives

Tortelloni

Olive Oil

Skewers

Directions

Cook pasta al dente, arrange antipasto ingredients as desired on skewer. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Hot Drinks for Cold Days

Warm up your winter with warm drinksIt was hard to crawl out from under the down comforter this morning, wasn’t it? The kitchen floor felt extra cold and stepping outside to get the paper was a full-body early winter blast. That first cup of coffee was the perfect remedy, but there are still 16 hours left in this chilly day. Most of us can’t take on quite that much coffee, so here are a few warm-you-up-all-over alternatives for the months ahead.

Hot Chocolate–Of course. Who doesn’t love this stuff? From the beloved Swiss Miss packets to the more sophisticated Ghiradelli mix, all you really need is the cocoa powder and water, or milk if you’re feeling decadent. That’s not to say you can’t class it up–here’s a creamy hot cocoa recipe that’ll leave you wanting more!

What You’ll Need: Continue reading “Hot Drinks for Cold Days”

Easy Entertaining–Rondelé Stuffed Peppadews

We promised you another effortless party recipe (earlier in the week we had Easy Jalapeno Dip), and here it comes. This one only has two ingredients; see–we told you it’d be easy! It takes just a couple minutes to prep, and you’ll have pretty, elegant-looking appetizers in a snap. It uses Rondelé spreadable cheese and mild, sweet peppadew peppers.

Here we go:

The ingredient list doesn’t get much simpler than this: jarred peppadews and Rondelé cheese.
You’ll want to get your hands a bit messy for this one–stuff a bit of Rondelé into each pepper.
Look how pretty and colorful! We love this on a crudité plate–it has great holiday color and delicious flavors.

 

Let us know if you use this for your holiday appetizer buffets–we think it’ll be a big hit.