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The Common Language

March 9, 2015

Food sustains life, can keep us healthy and is often at the center of celebrations and holidays.  Traditions and recipes vary from place to place and from family to family but food is a common language, breaking down barriers, encouraging people to gather and enjoy time spent around the dinner table.

Vegetable MaskDo you have a favorite food you like to eat in the spring?  With winter dragging on, keep alert!  Certain foods can signify the changing of the seasons!  Once you pass the fresh peas around your table you can bet that spring is coming.  Common spring produce includes asparagus, broccoli, collards and peas.  They can be included in soup if there is still a chill in the air or added in a crisp salad as the warmer weather shines in.  Pasta salad is also a great way to incorporate fresh veggies into an easy meal.

Often, you will see similar produce used in recipes all over the world, like collard greens.   An African recipe, common in the western coastal areas, uses collard greens in a traditional soup.  This soup is called N’Dole.  For more information about cultural recipes check out the following site: http://www.africaguide.com/culture/recipes/westafricanrecipes.htm

These early spring vegetables will add some color to your meal and are full of vitamins and antioxidants.  For the picky eaters in your family, smoothies can be a great way to get those nutritious vegetables in to their diet.  Below is an example of a smoothie that masks the more bitter taste of collards with the sweetness of fruit.

Collard Green Smoothie

1 large ripe banana

2 cups fresh collard greens

1 cup blueberries, frozen

¼ cup strawberries, frozen

1 cup pure water

Pour water into a blender. Add the banana by placing it close to the blade. Add the remaining ingredients on top, and blend the contents until smooth. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Who would have thought that including vegetables in a smoothie could taste so good?! And the great thing about this cool treat is that it is packed with vitamins and minerals! Take a look at what all is inside:

BANANA-This fruit is full of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

BLUEBERRIES– Blueberries are a wonderful source of antioxidants, which help protect your body from disease.

STRAWBERRIES– Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. One serving of strawberries actually has more vitamin C than an orange!

COLLARD GREENS– Collard greens are full of vitamins A, C, and K, and they are great sources of fiber in the diet. Collard greens are low in calories and help lower cholesterol levels.

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