It’s that time of year where we have to start planning Graduation parties and I’m here to help. Our Deli and Bakery Departments have a wide variety of items you can order that will make any party a huge success. Continue reading “Graduation Parties Made Easy”
We’re getting into my favorite season of the year: lake season! For those who are lucky enough to live on the water year round, perhaps the excitement doesn’t overcome them quite like it does me. This is the time of year when my family gives up dusting and vacuuming for the summer, doesn’t invite company to visit our home, and perpetually leaves the suitcases out on the coffee tables in our family room – always in packing and unpacking mode throughout the week – all summer long until the new school year starts. When each Thursday night comes, we tuck the kids into bed, then load up the car so that at 5:00 on Friday, we can hit to the road!
During particularly hectic weeks, I order groceries for the weekend menu and a bag of ice from CobornsDelivers and have them deliver my order to my office. I meet them in the parking lot with a cooler in my trunk and voila! I’m all set for the weekend.
In order to survive the madness of constantly being on the go, we plan our weekend meals to be as simple as possible. Yes, sometimes we bring a box of cereal for breakfast or PB&Js for a boat ride, but we honestly eat pretty delicious food by simply planning smart. For instance, we don’t ever bring loaves of bread – they always get smooshed; instead we use pitas, tortillas or sandwich rounds. And there’s nothing wrong with the occasional meat/cheese/crackers combo or veggie tray on the boat if it’s too nice to come in to shore for a meal.
This year for Memorial Day weekend, here’s what we are bringing.
Friday Dinner – BLT Wraps & Grapes
Time- Saving Tip: Use precooked bacon.
Saturday Breakfast – Campfire Omelets & Sliced Watermelon
Time- Saving Tip: At home, mix eggs, cooked sausage, chopped peppers and onions, milk and cheese and bring along in a Ziplock.
Saturday Lunch: Tacos in a Bag
Time- Saving Tip: At home, brown taco meat and simply reheat before filling chip bags. Have kids help chop olives, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes.
Saturday Dinner: Pie Iron Pizza Pockets, Lettuce Salad & S’mores
Sunday Brunch: Campfire Oatmeal, Skewered Bacon & Cut Watermelon
Time- Saving Tip: At home, combine all the dry ingredients for the oatmeal and bring along in a Ziplock.
Sunday Lunch: Tabbouleh Salad in Pitas, Celery and Hummus
Time- Saving Tip: At home, prepare Tabbouleh – the longer it marinates, the better the flavor.
Sunday Dinner: Sausage Hobo Dinners, Jiffy Pop & Fruit Pies on the Fire
Time- Saving Tip: If you’ve caught some fish, you can easily sub fish for the sausage.
Use biscuits in a tube for pie crust – simply flatten one out inside each pie iron side, then scoop in some pie filling and close them tightly before cooking on the fire.
Monday Breakfast: Cereal, Milk, Yogurt & Leftover Fruit
Monday Lunch: Leftovers!
It never hurts to resort to PB&J if you run out of leftovers; although, I’ve never once had that happen. Ever.
The key to all of this is to relax and go with however the weekend flows. You might have an impromptu potluck with neighbors or a rainstorm that sends you to a nearby restaurant. Or maybe you’ll get lucky like we once did and find a fantastic wild blueberry patch and eat an entire lunch of blueberries. Wherever your summer weekends take you, make some memories without having to spend your weekend in the kitchen!
Coborn’s, Inc. Communications Manager
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Let’s face it, life is busy. By the time you get yourself and everyone out the door, spend 8 hours at work, pick up the kids from daycare or activities, and arrive home to find no groceries and no idea what to make for dinner, you might feel a little burned out. With just a little bit of planning, you can better be prepared for the 5:30, “What’s for dinner” question.
In comes the Menu Board. Here is the best way it works for my family and myself. I go through the Coborn’s flyer on Sunday – the first day of the sale for those of us in Minnesota – find the sale items that would work for dinners that month, plan my list so that I have everything that I need for meals for the entire week, and off to the store I go.
For example, if spaghetti sauce, ground beef and pasta are on sale, guess what Monday dinner is going to be? Find a good price on a chuck roast? Simply pick up some carrots and potatoes and get ready for a slow cooker Tuesday. Finish out your week and it’s as easy as that. Then you can simply write your meals on your board and you have a plan. When Monday morning comes, all you have to do is check your board and see that you are making spaghetti for dinner that night and grab the ground beef out of the freezer so it can thaw out by the time you get home. Even though this adds a little extra time on Sunday and some planning on my part, oh, how happy I am the rest of the week that I took that time to plan my meals!
Now on to the fun part! Making the Menu Board. You know I love my crafting and I couldn’t make just one menu board for this blog; I had to make two. So here are the photos of the boards I made along with instructions and some free printables to help you along the way. Don’t you love the colors I chose? Don’t worry, you can simply use the same design and use colors that will fit better in your kitchen. I would love to see the boards you make, so please be sure to comment with photos below! Have fun!
DIY Chalk Menu Board
- 17” x 23” Chalk Board
- 1- 8½” x 11” Thick Tan Card Stock
- 1- 8½” x 11” Thick Off White Card Stock
- 1- 3½” x 8” Note Pad
- 12”x12” Thick Patterned Card Stock (Click Here for printable box diagram)
- 3 Shades Burlap Material (Small pieces for flowers)
- Jewels (To decorate flowers)
- Hot Glue gun & glue sticks
- Click Here and print this printable on tan card stock.
- Cut out the days of the week.
- Arrange evenly on board.
- Glue days of the week onto board as shown.
- I cut out the word MENU (two-inch letters) with my Cricuit® (You can hand cut or buy sticker letters if you do not have a Cricuit®)
- Glue 'Menu' letters onto your board as shown.
- Glue Note Pad onto board as shown.
- Use chalk to write the menu items for that week.
- Create box out of the patterned paper to hold my recipe cards for the week. (Click Here for the box diagram printable)
- Draw around the diagram onto patterned paper.
- Cut out and fold it to make the box.
- Glue the backside of the box to the board as shown.
Here is another fun DIY Menu Board that you can make. Remember, the colors I used on this one are kind of funky, so just use the colors what will work best for your kitchen and home decor!
DIY Magnet Menu Board
- 12”x12” Frame
- 12”x12” Metal Sheet
- 2 - 8½” x 11” Thick White Card Stock
- 7 Small Clothes Pins
- Teal, Lavender & Yellow Paint (Or colors of your choice)
- Lavender/Purple Ribbon
- 1 Wooden Spoon
- 12”x12” Thick patterned Card Stock (Box pattern attached)
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
- Paint wooden 12"x12" frame teal.
- Glue metal sheet into frame. (I had bought that at the craft store, too).
- Using white paper, I cut out the letters S, M, T, W, T, F, S (For the first letter of the days of the week)
- Glue letters on to sheet of metal as shown.
- Type or write your meals on white paper and cut out.
- Cut out "What’s For Dinner," (I used my Cricuit®, but you can hand cut)
- Glue words on to sheet of metal as shown.
- Click Here and print box diagrams on patterned paper. (Two boxes will need to be made. One for recipes that need to be used and one for recipes that you have used. This makes it easy to cycle through.)
- Cut the box pattern out, then lay it out on the backside of the paper, drawing around it.
- Cut out and fold to make boxes.
- Glue the backside to the sheet of metal as shown or add a strip of magnet to the bag so you can remove the boxes and move around at any time.
- Paint the wooden spoon yellow and allow to dry.
- Add ribbon bow around spoon.
- Glue spoon to frame edge as shown.
- Paint 7 small clothes pins.
- Glue on to metal sheet as shown or add magnet strip to the back of each clothes pin so that you can remove pins at any time.
There you have it. Two menu boards that serve double duty, adding some character to your kitchen and helping simplify your busy life.
Coborn’s, Inc. Graphic Designer
Click Here for more articles written by Lynell
Well, it’s hard to say it’s time to start thinking about “Back to School”. AND when you ask most children what their favorite thing about school is . . . what do they say?? Recess and LUNCH, right?!
I’m here to share with you some tips on packing a safe lunch. If you keep in mind The Food Safety “Recipe for Success” you will always be successful in preparing a safe lunch. So let’s get started!
Clean your lunch box
But, wait . . . first, we need to find that lunch box! For some kids, it may still be squished in their backpack from the last day of school! When you find it or if starting with a brand new one – wash it up good with hot soapy water. Also, make sure you have an insulated lunch box as they are much better at keeping items cold.
Clean all surfaces before meal preparation
As with all meal preparation, start with clean surfaces and clean hands. This is truly a critical step, even more so now because these meals will not be eaten immediately after preparation. The Temperature Danger Zone, which is 41°F to 140°F, is the temperature range where bacteria like to grow. Granted, we have our insulated lunch box; however, keeping in mind the time kids leave for school until lunchtime, could be 5-6 hours. That’s a long time until lunch! Even an insulated lunch box with freezer packs may not keep the food below 41°F for that entire time, so it is always best to start with clean hands and surfaces to minimize any bacteria that might get onto the food during preparation.
Wash ALL fruits and vegetables
Another “CLEAN” tip that cannot be overlooked is ensuring all fruits and veggies are thoroughly rinsed under running tap water prior to packing for lunch. This also includes those with rinds and peels that are not eaten. Bacteria on the surface can contaminate the edible portion when peeling or cutting.
Preparing the night before
I know for me the morning can be quite hectic, so preparing lunch(es) the night before makes for a somewhat less stressful morning. If preparing the night before, keep lunch items in the refrigerator overnight and pack the next morning. You can keep the entire lunch box in the refrigerator, but wait to add the frozen gel packs until right before the kids leave for school. This will help keep the lunch as cold as possible during the long wait until lunch! I always use a couple of frozen gel packs for good measure. Frozen juice boxes also work great! I also like the insulated lunch boxes that have a divider in them. This allows me to place all of the items together that need to be kept cold with the frozen gel packs and separate from items like crackers, eating utensils or napkins. No need for the frozen gel packs to keep those items cold! Remember, the frozen gel packs (and frozen juice boxes) are not meant for all day storage. Keeping food cold until lunch is the best they can do.
Perishable items must be tossed if not eaten
That being said, all perishable items (items meant to keep cold) that are not eaten at lunch should be thrown away. Encourage kids to eat those items first. Items like leftover crackers or a sealed (manufacturer sealed) shelf stable fruit cups can be kept for the next lunch. Fruit cups purchased cold or prepared at home should be discarded if not eaten at lunch time.
Keep it cold
It is also good to remind your kids to keep their lunch boxes away from any heat sources once they arrive at school. Do not store by heaters or in direct sunlight.
Using insulated containers
One final tip . . . when using insulated containers for food storage, either cold or hot food, it is best to acclimate the container to the temperature of the food it will be storing. Depending on the food item, fill the container with either very cold or boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes. Discard the water then fill with the food item. This will help in maintaining the temperature of the food item. Also, sorry, to point out the obvious, but if packing hot food, this will need to take place in the morning. The insulated container will not keep the food hot overnight.
Enjoy what’s left of the summer!
Coborn’s, Inc RD and Food Safety Coordinator
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Party planning can be a lot of fun, but just be sure to remember that all of your guests may not be meat-eaters. You don’t want your vegetarian guests to be restricted to the raw veggie platter, so here are three recipes that you can serve your vegetarian guests to keep them happy and satisfied.
Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango
The first recipe is a quinoa salad with black beans and mango. This is a great option because the quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it has all of the essential amino acids as well as fiber, B vitamins and iron. This makes it a great protein option for people who are vegetarian or vegan as these are nutrients that can be challenging to get enough of in their diet. A bonus to this recipe is that it is also considered vegan, meaning that it does not use any animal products.
- 1 mango, peeled and diced small
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced as small as you can get it
- 1 cup chopped scallion
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1½ cups black beans, drained and rinsed (a 15-ounce can)
- Combine the mango, red pepper, scallions, and cilantro in a mixing bowl.
- Add the red wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, and salt and stir to combine.
- Add the quinoa and stir until everything is well incorporated.
- Fold in the black beans.
- Serve immediately or let it sit for a bit to let the flavors meld.
Tofu and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
The second vegetarian recipe option is stuffed peppers. I’ve always been a fan of stuffed peppers, but the biggest problem I’m sure most of us have is that we stuff them full of sausage and cheese. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.
- 14 Oz. Package West Say firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
- 16 Oz. Jar Full Circle Black Bean Corn Salsa (or your preferred salsa)
- 12 Oz. Box Ancient Harvest Traditional Quinoa
- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Cup Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese
- 12 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Start by cooking the quinoa per the directions on the box. This is usually a very simple process of adding 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, bringing to a boil, then reducing heat, covering and simmering until it is tender.
- Rinse and wash your peppers, then remove the tops and seeds while the quinoa is cooking, and set to the side.
- In a skillet, heat up a small amount of olive oil and add your tofu, sautéing until it has a nice golden brown coating.
- In a large bowl, combine your tofu, black bean salsa, cooked quinoa, and red onions.
- Stuff each pepper with the mixture and top with a small amount of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese has a golden brown color to it.
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
The third recipe is fudgy black bean brownies. What, brownies you say? Brownies are already vegetarian. However, serving this brownie option is doing your vegetarian friends, and non-vegetarian friends at that, a favor. By removing the white flour and adding black beans in its place it makes this recipe higher in fiber and protein, which again are challenging nutrients for vegetarians to get in their diet. Did I mention this recipe is also delicious? So not only are you serving a healthier brownie option, but a tasty one too. Just see if anyone can tell that there are black beans in these fudgy, delicious squares.
- 15 Oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 Large Eggs
- 3 T. Canola Oil
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp. Peppermint Extract (optional)
- ½ tsp. Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- ½ Cup Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly oil or coat an 8x8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
- Add eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract if desired, baking powder and salt.
- Process until smooth.
- Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan,
- smooth the top with a rubber spatula and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.
Catering Manager, Coborn’s Sauk Rapids, MN
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