Diversify Your Holiday Appetizers

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Every year, my mom and I love to find some unique, and fun appetizer recipes to make for the holiday parties that we host. About a week or so prior to the party, you will find me sitting at the kitchen counter with my phone and usually a cup of some kind of tea, searching the internet for recipes to try. Then, after I’ve found some, we usually go to the store together, gather all the ingredients, and then closer to the party, have a blast making them together in our kitchen!

So, here are some that I’ve found already. Who knows? Maybe my mom and I might try some of them this year!


For more recipes, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Unique Gift-Wrapping Ideas

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Are you tired of presenting people with gifts that are wrapped up in generic, pre-printed wrapping paper? Or giving them their gift just thrown into a gift bag with some tissue paper? Here are some ideas on how to make your gift wrap more unique and decorative this year!

Gifts that keep giving

(photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Use Kraft paper

Kraft paper is one of the most versatile gift wrap options that you can use for any occasion, because it’s just plain, brown paper! You can get it on a roll or even get plain bags made out of it! Because it is so plain, it is the perfect backdrop for cute ribbon and bows, or to draw and write on with fun markers! You can even get your kiddos involved and let them decorate some of the bags with their own artwork!

Add fun charms

Instead of just using ribbon and tying bows, add a little extra flair by tying on a charm. Some cute ideas include dried citrus rings, sprigs of greenery, dried flowers, or tassels. If it is a gift for a child, you can even tie on some candy to make it extra fun!

Explore other materials

Gift wrap shouldn’t be limited to just the kind that comes on rolls. Try experimenting by wrapping with other materials such as old newspapers, pages from an old book, burlap, or old maps. Materials like these are perfect for giving your wrapping a cute, vintage look!

When you’re wrapping gifts this year, feel free to let your creativity run wild! These are just a few ideas, but there are many more out there! Not only will your gifts stand out from the rest, but you’ll have even more fun wrapping them and exploring all the different ways to make them look unique!

For more holiday articles check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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An Arizona Grown Thanksgiving Dinner

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Did you know that many of the ingredients that go into preparing your Thanksgiving dinner are grown or raised locally here in Arizona? What would be cooler than being able to tell your guests that the meal that you made was made with fresh produce, meats, and dairy grown right here in your own home state?

Thanksgiving Turkey

Besides Turkey, we have other local meat protein options. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

In addition to having that big, juicy turkey, why not serve some ham, another holiday classic, that you can get from The Pork Shop? Or, add some beef to the menu with some steaks or a roast from Arizona Grass Raised Beef! All holiday meats you can find locally on Fill Your Plate.

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without all the many side dishes to go along with that turkey, ham, or roast. Produce such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and winter squash are all in season around this holiday time! Peruse a local farmers market, or look for produce labeled as Arizona grown at your grocery store!

Now for the part of the meal that everyone looks forward to but never has room for! There are many ways to incorporate Arizona-grown foods into your dessert menu. Take for example the iconic thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie. Buy a locally grown pumpkin, make your own pumpkin filling, use locally raised eggs from Hickman’s, and top it all off with homemade whipped cream using Shamrock’s heavy whipping cream!

Who knew that so many of the foods that we serve on our tables around the holidays are actually grown locally? So, as you are preparing your menu for your delicious Thanksgiving dinner and shopping for the ingredients, consider making it even more delicious by choosing locally grown products!

Want some recipe ideas or more information on what is produced here in Arizona and where you can find it, check out the Fill Your Plate website!

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Foods To Ensure a Good Night’s Rest

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We all know how important getting a good night’s sleep is. From repairing your body’s cells from use during the day to energizing us for the next day’s activities, to reducing stress, good sleep does a lot for our bodies. Besides sticking to a regular sleep schedule and getting a full 8 hours of sleep, there are actually certain kinds of food that aid in making sleeping soundly at night much easier.

According to Registered dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick, consuming foods that help to calm the body and increase your serotonin levels. The Mayo Clinic notes that research shows that diets that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates promote more sound sleep. With that being said, there are 6 key food options that can contribute to a better night’s sleep.

  1. Complex carbohydrates
  2. Lean proteins
  3. Healthy fats
  4. High magnesium foods
  5. Soothing beverages, such as herbal teas.
  6. Fresh herbs

Incorporating some of these into your evening meal or pre-bedtime snack can help to promote a more restful night, which in turn promotes overall health.

For more articles about sleep, check out this collection from the Fill Your Plate blog!

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Skipping Breakfast Negatively Impacts Kids’ School Performance

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

We’ve all often heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it literally breaks the fast that we endured overnight while sleeping. This meal gives us that boost of energy to make sure our days are off to a great start. This is especially important for children as they head off to school every morning.

Helping children enjoy and create a tradition of always eating breakfast.

Registered dietician Katie Bradley notes that when children skip breakfast, it can negatively impact their performance at school that day. Without food in their system, they will have lower blood sugar, which means less energy, and they will be more likely to get distracted by feelings of hunger.

She suggests some quick and easy breakfast ideas to get your kids started on the right track before school each day!

  • Breakfast burritos with egg and cheese
  • Cereal and fresh fruit
  • Peanut butter and bagel with orange juice
  • Yogurt with toppings such as berries, nuts, or granola

Making sure your kids are well fed is crucial to ensuring that they have a fun, enjoyable, and successful day at school, and even after school!

For breakfast recipe ideas, take a look at the recipe database from Fill Your Plate!

Also, check out these related articles!

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