September 2014 Fig Focus

Supercharge September with Lots of Fruits and Veggies!

Americans are not alone in needing to eat more fruits and veggies. A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found the majority of adults worldwide would have to at least double their current consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet the World Health Organization’s minimum recommendation of five servings per day.

Supercharge your September menus with these tips to boost your fruits and veggies

Breakfast

  • Spread peanut butter mixed with chopped California dried figs or use to make sandwiches for lunch.
  • Grab a bag of dried figs as you run out the door.
  • Take a small bag of chopped dried figs with you to work to stir into your instant oatmeal.
  • Add veggies to your fruit smoothies.

Lunch

  • Ask the deli to put extra veggies on your sandwich.
  • Go vegetarian a few times a week.
  • Take a little full-fat dip to go with your veggies (measure the dip). Studies shows people eat more veggies over a longer period of time with full-fat dressings.
  • Ask the restaurant to give you extra veggies.
  • Keep cut up fruits and veggies available in the refrigerator.

Dinner

  • Measure the fruits and veggies in your recipes generously—mound in the measuring cups. Most recipes can handle extra amounts.
  • Make some stir-fry recipes. Choose ones with lots of veggies and little meat.
  • Prepare veggies differently. Grill, broil, bake or even puree.
  • Add fruit to desserts. There are lots more great recipes at valleyfig.com.

How many fruits and veggies do you actually need each day?

Women ages 31-50, Light Active: 1 1/2 cups Fruits + 2 1/2 cups Veggies = 4 cups total.

Men ages 31-50, Light Active: 2 cups Fruits + 3 cups Veggies = 5 cups total.

Check out the chart and see what you need? ChooseMyPlate.gov

Mediterranean Fig Kebabs on Mixed Greens

1 c. Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
1/4 med. eggplant
1/2 med. red onion
1 med. red bell pepper

Sherry Marinade

1/2 c. dry sherry
1/4 c. water
1 T. orange juice concentrate
1 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Citrus Dressing

2 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. orange juice concentrate
1 t. dried thyme leaves

Garnish

2 oz. feta cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts

Trim stems off figs. Combine figs with marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, slice eggplant into thin wedges, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut pepper and onion into 1 1/2 -inch squares. Remove figs with slotted spoon, reserving marinade and 2 figs.

For kebabs, alternate eggplant, onion, pepper and figs on skewers. Set aside and prepare dressing. Dice the 2 reserved figs and combine with 1/4 cup reserved marinade; add to Citrus Dressing. Grill or broil kebabs 5 inches from heat source, brushing with remaining marinade and turning every 3 minutes. Grill for 6 to 10 minutes or until eggplant is soft. Toss 8 cups lettuce with remaining dressing; place on 4 plates. Sprinkle with 2 oz. feta cheese and 1/4 cup pine nuts then top with kebabs.  Makes 4 servings.

Apple-Fig Crumble

6-8 oz. Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and quartered
3 T. Marsala or water
3 large tart, crisp apples, peeled, cored, cut into thick slices
1 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. honey
1 T. butter
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt
6 T. butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

Heat oven to 350°. Coat 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place figs and Marsala in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until most of liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

Place apples in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with flour and cinnamon, toss to coat. Heat honey and butter until melted; drizzle over apples. Arrange figs over apples. For topping combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples and figs. Bake 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

“Try ‘Em, You’ll Like ‘Em” Healthy Lifestyle Tips

So far you’ve taken to heart the Super Three, Gone Fishing, picked up some tips on drinking more water, learned to listen, and washed up. This month, keep from falling into fall by improving your balance.

A healthy lifestyle requires balance—in the foods you eat, in the way you carry out your daily activities, and in the amount of exercise you include. Our healthy lifestyle balance tip focuses on your physical balance. Improving lower body strength, improves your balance, and good balance helps you avoid falling. Here are some ideas to add a little balance to your day.

  • Stand on one foot for 30 seconds.
  • Try standing on one foot with your eyes closed.
  • Walk heel to toe in a line.
  • Do back leg raises.
  • Do side leg raises

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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