It's Citrus Season

Citrus Fruits 

The season of citrus has arrived. During the winter months, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruit are plentiful. Visit any market and you'll be tempted by the vibrant colors and fresh scents of these delicious, versatile, and nutritious fruits.

There's practically no end to the ways in which you can use citrus fruits. They have a place at the breakfast table, in your lunch box, and as ingredients in many dinner recipes. Apart from mealtimes, fruits make wonderful snacks and can be used in smoothies, cocktails, and luscious desserts. They're perfect in salad dressings, marinades, and baked goods either as accents or the primary flavoring.  

We've already mentioned the most common citrus fruits, but your supermarket probably also carries more exotic varieties like Kumquats, Blood Oranges, Mandarin Oranges, Tangelos, Key Limes, Citron, Clementines, Pommelo, and Ugli Fruit. 

Citrus fruits offer many health benefits. Most people know that they are high in Vitamin C (which boosts your immune system), but did you know that they are also good sources of fiber (which aids digestion), and flavonoids (antioxidants that reduce inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and cancer)? Citrus fruits also supply calcium, potassium, folate, and Vitamin A.  

While we are big fans of eating oranges and grapefruit “straight out of the peel,” citrus fruits combine beautifully with many other ingredients. You won't need any coaxing to sit down to a dinner like this: 

  • Salad of mixed greens with mandarin orange sections and toasted walnuts 
  • Roast chicken with lemon and herbs 
  • Orange glazed carrots
  • Key Lime Pie 

Or how about this one? 

  • Lobster salad with grapefruit and avocado
  • Citrus marinated pork chops
  • Crispy lemon oven-roasted potatoes
  • Lemon pound cake with whipped cream

You can find easy recipes for dishes like these and countless others. Just type “citrus fruits, recipes” into your search box and start cooking. 

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Fresh Start!

Resolution

Happy New Year Everyone!  

It's January. Here come the resolutions. You stop something. You start something. You change something. We've just ended a holiday period in which eating is a big part of the fun, so it's no wonder many people's resolutions revolve around food. We care a lot about good food here at San Luis Sausage and we have a few ideas about eating. So allow us to share some thoughts. 

Let's acknowledge that most resolutions fizzle out within a matter of weeks, if not days. With the best of intentions, people plan strict diets and rigorous exercise regimens only to realize that this is not the way they want to live. Anything done to the extreme won't last. So how can you approach the goal in a way that allows for success?  

Get Real: With the right priorities and a dose of realism, you can lose holiday pounds. You don't have to give up enjoyment. You might simply eat all the things you would normally eat but cut the portions in half. Or if you really crave something that's off-limits in a weight loss plan, you might create a menu  that focuses on lean meats (San Luis Sausages included!) and lots of veggies, but that also provides one splurge day per week during which you can have whatever you want. Or try this: lunch on Wednesday and dinner on Saturday are “no holds barred” occasions. If you're careful the rest of the time and not impatient, the pounds should come off.  

Course Correction: Sharks navigate through the water trying to detect the scent of prey. They adjust course based on incoming information and zigzag their way to the goal: a wounded fish, a fisherman's bait, or a pretty girl in a bikini foolishly swimming alone at night. You can achieve your goals in much the same way by correcting your actions when a “misdirection” (pigging out during a football game) causes you to change course back to grilled salmon and asparagus spears. Just make the adjustment at the very next meal and try to stay on course 

Falling Off the Wagon: When you make a drastic change, especially one that feels like deprivation, it requires fierce determination and will power. But few people can maintain that for long, and sooner or later, they revert. If you fall off the wagon most authorities will advise you to dust yourself off and jump right back on. But many people view the “fall” as failure and use it as an excuse to stop. Our advice: if you don't think of it as a wagon, there's nothing to fall off of. Your plan isn't ruined. It's not about failure; it's about success. And if you string enough “successful” meals together, you'll get to your goal.

We believe that most people know exactly what to eat if they want to lose weight. They also know what not to eat. It's really not complicated. If you maximize the former and minimize the latter, you should be pleased with the result. 

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Nuts!

NUTS

During the holidays, it's common for people to go a little nuts – nuts over shopping for the perfect gifts, nuts by eating too many goodies, and nuts obsessing over every detail when entertaining. Now that the holidays are behind us, there's another way to go nuts that's beneficial any way you look at it. Go nuts – literally. 

Nuts are truly wonderful – you might even call them Super Food. They're nutritious, versatile, and delicious. They're good raw, roasted, candied, by the handful, as a snack, in savory recipes, in baked goods... and there's so much variety: peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias, Brazil nuts, pistachios... we're getting hungry just thinking about it. 

The health benefits are plentiful. We won't bore you with a lesson on nutritional chemistry, but it's nice to know that nuts are loaded with anti-oxidants, that a small handful of nuts every day can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, that nuts are high in fiber, and that they may also reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.  

On the down side, nuts can be high in calories if you over indulge. Also, depending on how they're prepared (loaded with oil and salt, for example), they may introduce elements you want to curtail. So keep that in mind, but don't let that stop you from finding creative ways to use nuts.

Here are a few ideas to add more nuts to your cooking. 

  • Mix finely chopped almonds or pecans with bread crumbs as a coating for chicken or fish. 
  • Toss cashews into a stir-fry with onions, mushrooms, crisp green beans, and chicken. 
  • Put some raw walnuts into your salad.
  • Incorporate pecans or hazelnuts into a squash or sweet potato casserole.
  • Add nuts to home made pies, muffins, cakes, and breads.
  • Combine walnuts, pecans, or almonds with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, add any other spice you like (pepper, cumin, garlic powder), and bake on a cookie sheet at 350-degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Eat them alone or use them as part of a party mix. 

Get out your nut cracker because this is the time of year when you'll find raw nuts in the shell in every supermarket. Or buy them already shelled and ready to use. It doesn't matter. We know you'll come up with lots of ideas once your imagination starts going NUTS!

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