Happy and Healthy Travels

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Traveling can be stressful on both your mental and physical health. Whether you’re traveling by a plane, train or automobile, we’ve got some tips to stay your healthiest and happiest this season. Vitamin C, mints, hand sanitizer mints, herbal zap, chapstick
  1. Boost your immune system. Cold and flu season often get the best of you during the holiday season, but maintaining a healthy immune system can help. Be sure to get that extra dose of vitamin C and zinc to help boost and maintain a healthy immune system.
  2. Keep clean. Hand sanitizing wipes are convenient when soap and water aren’t available, which can happen quite often while traveling. Grab a small pack of wipes to keep in your backpack, carry-on or car to help prevent the spread of germs.
  3. Plan ahead. If you’re taking a road trip, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. If you’re flying, check the weather for unexpected delays. Making a list (and checking it twice) will help you stay prepared for anything this busy season may bring your way.
  4. Reduce stress. Catching flights, large crowds and exhausting errands create added stress to your daily routine. Take some time to relax with the help of essential oils and natural stress relief pastilles.
  5. Enjoy time with friends and family. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the stresses of traveling, but remember, this is the time to be grateful for loved ones and the joy that they bring. Take some time to take a deep breath and appreciate the little things this season has to offer.
 

Tell Me About It, Spud!

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If sweet potato fries haven’t already convinced you, we’re here to reaffirm the greatness of this popular holiday root. Sweet potatoes are known for being staple ingredients in comfort meals, but they are often confused for yams. As you walk through the produce department, it can be hard to shake the question, “What exactly is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?”

Sweet PotatoesBag of Sweet potatoes and yams

Background:

Like the name suggests, these spuds are the sweeter of the two. Sweet potatoes will typically have a deeper and stronger orange color. They are members of the morning glory plant family and are tropical, long-season vegetables. While botanical yams are rarely found in stores in the U.S., you will find an abundance of options for sweet potatoes.

Varieties:

This is where confusion can come into play. Don’t be deceived by the names that these go by—they are actually sweet potatoes!
  • Garnet Yam (red sweet potato)
  • Jewel Yam (orange sweet potato)
  • Classic (white sweet potato)

Nutrition:

  • Sweet potatoes blow yams away with vitamin A!
  • Sweet potatoes are twice as high in calcium compared to yams.
  • The natural sugars in sweet potatoes will give you a quick energy boost.
  • Eating a sweet potato after exercise can aid in a quick recovery.
  • Higher in natural sweetener, the carbohydrates and natural sugars in sweet potatoes are released in the blood stream faster. It is good to pair with high-fiber vegetables or protein.

Yams

Background:

The name, “yam,” was first adopted from the word “nyami”—meaning “to eat.” In comparison to potatoes, yams can grow to be much larger. They are distinguishable by a starchier and drier quality. Unlike sweet potatoes, yams are related to grasses and lilies. They are typically available in countries like West Africa, Asia or the Caribbean. Fortunately, the availability of sweet potatoes in your local store will be handy for favorite dishes around Thanksgiving. The expectation is that around 1.25 million pounds of sweet potatoes will be sold during this particular time of year!  

Stone Fruit

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A variety of stone fruits Learn how to select, store, prep and cook your favorite summer fruits. We’re talking juicy peaches, sweet apricots, plums, mangos, nectarines and Rainier cherries. The fruits of summer are nothing but fresh, healthy and delicious. Try one of our recipes below or merely eat them on-the-go—juice running down your chin, and without a doubt, a smile on your face.

What is a Plumcot?

Just like its fun name implies, plumcots are a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. With dozens of varieties of apricots and plums to choose from, the assortment of plumcots is as diverse as it is delicious! Look for these extra-flavorful stone fruit in your neighborhood Sprouts.

Tips for Stone Fruit

Tip 1: Not quite ripe yet?

Place your stone fruit in a paper bag, out of direct sunlight at room temperature. Check daily for perfect ripeness.

Tip 2: Extend Freshness

When your stone fruit is ripe, store in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This will preserve freshness for an extra three to five days.

Tip 3: Whoops, too ripe …

Don’t toss your stone fruit yet! Roughly chop up the fruit, toss in a saucepan with a little water, a touch of sugar and dash of cinnamon. Cook down until fruit is soft and syrupy, for a delicious fruit compote to top ice cream, waffles, pancakes, yogurt and more.

Family Tree Farms

Men working on Family Tree Farms In the heart of California’s Central San Joaquin Valley, the Jackson family grows, packs and ships over 86 million pounds of stone fruits and blueberries every year. Their mission is to consistently produce, package and market the most flavorful fruit in the world. But it’s not just about how much they produce. After many conversations around the dinner table they came together and developed a vision for the family farm that focused on producing fruit that had a flavor profile like no other. Together, the family combined faith, hard work and integrity to create a collection of the most flavorful fruit, searching around the world for varieties with superior flavor. They partnered with many of the world’s top plant breeders, securing the exclusive rights to grow their best varieties on their farms. Sprouts had the pleasure of touring their farm and the Research & Development Center is truly one-of-a-kind, allowing them to bring the science of growing together with the art of farming. Their farming practices nurture the fruit to protect those tasty properties so they can bring extra delicious stone fruits from their family to yours.

Stone Fruit Recipes

Faced with a pile of ripe stone fruits, it’s natural to think of sweet cobblers and crisps. But foodies are also using summer fruits in savory applications like salsas and salads. Toss some in your morning yogurt or breakfast cereal, throw them on the grill alongside meat, experiment with some of the recipes below, or just eat them out of the palm of your hand.  

Ready to bring home these tasty seasonal faves?

START A STONE FRUIT SHOPPING LIST ORDER STONE FRUIT FOR DELIVERY

Picking Peak Peaches

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For a fruit whose lifeline is just a few days, and whose growing season is just a few weeks, peaches go back a long, long way. They have been cultivated in the U.S. for hundreds of years, but are originally native to China, where they have been grown for more than 2,500 years. They, along with nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, olives and even almonds are known as drupes or stone fruits. A stone fruit is classified as any fleshy fruit with a single seed or pit in the center. There are many individual types of peaches and nectarines, but the two major types are the yellow and white flesh varieties. Yellow peaches and nectarines have a yellow background with a pink to red blush; their flesh is deep yellow with a good balance of sweet tart flavors. Yellow peaches are best eaten when the flesh yields to gentle pressure. White peaches and nectarines have a creamy background with a pink to red blush overlay and creamy yellow flesh. They are usually less tart than their yellow counterparts and are ready to be eaten when still firm and crunchy. The white variety also ripens faster than the yellow. Like peaches, plums also originated in China, though most of the ones sold in the U.S. are known as Japanese plums. This variety is usually small and round and comes in a variety of skin colors ranging from red, black, green and purple. Plums generally have tart skin with sweet flesh but some varieties are sweet inside and out. All three are nutrition powerhouses, full of vitamin C and A and potassium! Although peaches, plums and nectarines are harvested April through October and peak in June, July, August and September, the growing process is a year-round effort. In the winter, there are no fruits on the trees but growers are busy pruning the trees and measuring “chill hours,” which are the hours the outdoor temperature drops below 45°F (but not below freezing). Basically, these fruit trees need sleep to prepare for the next year’s crop. Chill hours can affect all stages of the growing process from pollination to harvest. The number of chill hours needed ranges from as little as 350 to as many as 900, but a total of 800–850 chill hours is considered optimal. In the spring, the trees enter the bud and bloom stage. Once they are in full bloom, the pollinated blossoms start growing fruit. Peach and nectarine trees are self-pollinating but plum trees rely on bees and the wind to be pollinated. By the summer the orchards are ready to give up their bounty with some late varieties extending the harvest through the beginning of fall. The juicy yet firm flesh of peaches, nectarines and plums hold up well to heat, making them ideal for the grill, where their sugars will be developed and caramelized by the flames. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a fun, unexpected barbecue treat.
Video Description: When selecting a perfectly ripened stone fruit look for produce that yields to the touch and has a sweet fragrance. Avoid overripe stone fruits which are extremely soft or wrinkled.
 

Trick or Treat Yo’self DIYs

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Three different body scrubsWhy play tricks this Halloween when you can treat yourself to a DIY fall-filled spa day? From a snickerdoodle body scrub to a soothing oatmeal face mask, you’ll be surrounded by sweet fall scents and utter relaxation. Feel boo-tiful with these easy fall DIYs.
Video Description: Tune in to learn how to make Snickerdoodle Body Scrub, Oatmeal Face Mask and Soothing Body Soak recipes by One Lovely Life. Recipes included below.

organic coconut sugar

Simple Snickerdoodle Body Scrub

If cold season dryness is plaguing your skin, give this coconut sugar body scrub a try! It will help exfoliate and moisturize dry skin. For a 60-second pseudo manicure/pedicure, scrub mixture into your hands or feet for one minute, then rinse in warm water and pat dry. You won’t believe the difference! (Note that this mixture is a bit too coarse for the face and is meant for body use only. Also, if you’re using it in the tub or shower, know that the coconut oil can make things a little slippery!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Big Tree Farms Vanilla Coconut Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sprouts Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, combine coconut sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg until creamy and smooth.
  2. Transfer to a jar with a lid. Store at room temperature for up to one month.
  3. To use, gently apply a small scoop of the scrub to dry skin and rub gently to exfoliate and moisturize. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  4. If your mixture separates, simply stir it a bit with your finger before using.

Soothing, Calming Oatmeal Face MaskVirgin coconut oil and raw oatmeal

If your skin is feeling a little dry or irritated, this soothing oatmeal mask will do the trick! Oatmeal calms inflamed or dry skin, and coconut oil adds a natural layer of moisturizer that will hydrate dry skin without clogging pores. If you need a little help clearing up a breakout, you can also add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the mixture!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Oatmeal (quick cooking or old-fashioned)
  • 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey
  • Optional scent add-ins: 1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract and/or nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Pulse oatmeal in a blender or food processor until fairly fine (no big pieces).
  2. Add coconut oil, honey, vanilla and nutmeg (if using). Stir to combine until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a jar with a lid and store at room temperature for up to one week.
  4. To use, spread 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture over a clean (freshly-washed) face and let sit for at least 5–10 minutes. Rinse off and gently pat your face dry.
 
BAG OF EPSOM SALT

Soothing Body Soak

This soothing, detoxifying body soak is great when you’re tired, sore or overwhelmed. Try experimenting with various oil combinations for a different effect—cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus for a dose of fall aromatherapy, lavender for a relaxing effect, or a combination of peppermint and orange for an energy boost.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Sprouts Epsom Salts
  • 1/2 cup Baking soda
  • 10 drops Favorite essential oils

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and massage together with your fingers. (This will help distribute the oils evenly.)
  2. Transfer to a jar with a lid and store for up to one month.
  3. To use, scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into a warm bath, sit back, and enjoy! Soak 20–40 minutes, for best results!
     

Meet Emily

Healthy Living Blogger and Recipe Developer

Emily lives, loves and cooks at One Lovely Life, where she shares healthy recipes and inspiration for living a happy, full life. You’ll find fresh, vibrant, allergy-friendly recipes that don’t feel like they’re missing anything. In addition to healthy recipes on her blog, you’ll find made-over sweet treats, book recommendations and tips for living a life you love.  

Non-Toxic Cleaners You Can Make at Home

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Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to freshen up our winter-weathered homes. Unfortunately, the often-toxic ingredients found in most conventional cleaning products can be just as harmful as the dirt and germs they are meant to eliminate. The good news is that spring cleaning doesn’t have to be dirty work. You can avoid the toxins in most conventional cleaning products by making your own. White, distilled vinegar is great for disinfecting, degreasing and non-toxic cleaning. It’s also extremely economical and readily available. Note: The smell of vinegar does dissipate fairly quickly, but if the stench bothers you, try scenting it with fragrant essential oils.different cleaning bottles

What You’ll Need:

  • Aura Cacia Essential Oils (we recommend lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree)
  • Sprouts Baking Soda
  • Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Clean distilled water
  • Toilet brush
  • Spray bottles
  • Cotton cloths

Disinfecting Surface Cleaner

Wipe away grime with this gentle, yet effective surface cleaner. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to disinfect walls, doorknobs, crib rails, and so on. If desired, add 5–10 drops of essential oil, per 2 cups of mixture. Dampen a sponge mop or cloth with the mixture and get to work!

Mirrors and Windows

To give your windows and mirrors a smudge-free shine combine 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 cups of water. Add 12 drops of lemon essential oil for added fragrance. Pour the ingredients into a clean spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surface and wipe with a clean cloth.

Multipurpose Cleaner

From the stovetop to the countertop, keep your home clean, fresh and safe with this multipurpose “greener” cleaner. Take an empty spray bottle and combine 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap, 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water. We recommend lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender essential oils to create a sweet and wholesome scent. Put the cap on and shake well.

Toilet Cleaners

For regular toilet seat wipe downs, straight vinegar will do the trick. For tougher jobs, combine 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray the bowl and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet. Then, scrub with a brush and flush.

Bath and Shower

The best way to prevent soap and scum from building up is to regularly spray the bath and shower walls with vinegar. For a deep cleaning, make your own soft soap cleaner with baking soda and Castile soap. Use the baking soda in place of scouring powder. Sprinkle it liberally on porcelain fixtures and rub with a wet rag. Add a little soap to the rag for more cleaning power.  

Mother’s Day Mason Jar Vases

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Nothing says “I love you” quite like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers. This Mother’s Day, why not take it a little step further and create these beautiful, DIY hand-painted mason jar vases that you know she’ll love. Better yet, if you’ve got little ones of your own, get them involved too! Mix and match multiple colors or simply choose the ones that go wonderfully with her favorite flowers. Either way, these do-it-yourself vases are easy to make, plus, Mom will know that they were painted with love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mason jars
  • Chalk paint in your preferred colors
  • Sandpaper
  • White chalk
  • Clear acrylic spray
  • Paintbrush

1. Paint the outside of each mason jar with chalk paint and let dry for one hour before applying another coat.

2. After the jars have completely dried, use sand paper to take the paint off of the raised, designed areas of the jar.

3. Rub white chalk over jar to create a distressed look.

4. Seal jars by spraying thoroughly with clear acrylic spray and let dry for at least two hours.

5. Once dry, add your mom's favorite fresh flowers.

Ice Cream Float Bar

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Summer is in full swing and what better way to celebrate the season than with a DIY Ice Cream Float Bar? Kids will love the option of creating their own recipes and adults will enjoy the nostalgia of this diner delight. Keep cool with these tips on how to create the perfect ice cream float bar.ICE CREAM BAR FLOATWhile you can’t go wrong with traditional vanilla, mix things up by providing a variety of flavors like mint chocolate chip or strawberry. You can find a number of dairy-free ice creams that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Sneak in an extra serving of fruit by dicing up fruit popsicles as a colorful option. Save time by prepping your ice cream the night before, by pre-scooping and freezing on a cookie sheet. Keep your frozen treats cool by serving the containers on ice.


The Drinks

Along with good old root beer, be sure to offer a variety of sodas for guests to mix and match flavors. To keep things even more interesting, add cold brew coffee, flavored seltzer water, sparkling lemonade and even kombucha to the mix. Be sure to display some adorable patterned straws for an added touch of color.SODA, STRAE AND ICE CREAM


The Toppings

To make your ice cream float bar extra special, you’ll need more than just a cherry on top! Fresh fruit, crushed graham crackers or marshmallows are just a few of our favorite toppings. Stop by our Bulk Department to pick up just enough dried fruits, chocolate or gummi bears to make your guests’ floats even more unique.

CHERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, MARSHMELLOW, CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND COCONUT


The Pairings

Give guests inspiration by creating a chalkboard with different recipes for one-of-a-kind pairings. Don’t know where to start? Here are some recipes that we’re loving.

  • Mint Mocha – 2 scoops mint chocolate chip, cold brew, chocolate sauce drizzle
  • Strawberries & Cream – 2 scoops strawberry, 1 can cream soda, fresh strawberry garnish
  • S’mores 2 scoops chocolate, 1 can root beer, whipped topping, graham cracker crumbs and mini chocolate chips
  • Strawberry Lemonade 1 strawberry popsicle, sparkling lemonade, crushed mint leaves
  • Blueberry Kombucha – 2 scoops vanilla, 1 blueberry kombucha, fresh blueberries

POPSICLES, TALENTI ICE CREAM AND SPROUTS ICE CREAM

Homemade Gifts in a Jar

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Cookies in a mason jarSome hosts are so easy to shop for: bottle of wine or scented candle. But if you’re trying to stay within a holiday budget or think of a creative gift idea for the person who “has everything”, these gifts are the perfect solution.

Gifts in a jar are festive, heartfelt, easy and delicious. Not to mention, cost effective for you! Simply layer the ingredients in a jar, add a ribbon and tag, and you have a simple but stylish gift.

Soup Mixes

For an easy shortcut to homemade jar gifts, simply visit our Bulk Department and find your favorite soup mix. Pour the mix into a jar and be sure to include cooking instructions on a gift tag.

Baking Mixes

Give the gift of baking by attractively assembling all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies, muffins or brownies in tall glass jars. Use pretty ribbons to tie on the recipe, along with a wooden spoon or whisk for an extra special touch. Friends will be encouraged to easily bake their own treats that come from the heart, not a box!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup White sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda

Instructions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 8–10 minutes. Allow to cool, then enjoy!

Bulk Candy & Nuts

Our Bulk Department is a snack lover’s paradise. Fill a mason jar with an assortment of candy, dried fruit and/or nuts, tie it with some beautiful wired ribbon, and you’re on your way. For the avid hiker on my holiday list, I combined six of my favorite bulk ingredients to make a trail mix that’s full of energy, flavor and texture. You could certainly layer each ingredient separately for a more artistic presentation.

Ingredients:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried cherries

 

Edible Adornments for the Holidays

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apples and apple ciderNow that winter is almost upon us, it’s “root vegetable” season in the Sprouts Produce Department. Things that you may have ignored all year long, like yams, beets, turnips and parsnips, are suddenly much in demand for soups, stews and savory dishes. However, the colorful fruits of fall aren’t quite done yet. In fact they can be used to make some very dramatic displays throughout the holiday season.

Fruity Flounces & Flourishes

As you gussy-up your house for the holidays, there’s no need to go to the craft store. Just head to the Sprouts Produce Department for a one-stop shop! Apples, pomegranates, citrus fruit and pears are easy alternatives to fragile glass and crystal knick-knacks, and best of all, they are eco-friendly and don’t require storage once the festivities have concluded. Simply discard in the trash, or better yet, add them to the compost heap.

Check out these simple ideas for some fresh food frills:

Apple Assignment

Apples are a quick, inexpensive way to add whimsy to your dinner table. Use your very best handwriting or print out names on small name cards. Cut a small slit in the top of the apples and insert the place card. Place a finished apple at each place setting. Alternate red and green apples for a festive color scheme. Try this technique with pears and pomegranates too.

Frosted Fruit

Choose small sturdy fruits that will last, such as small limes, lemons, tangerines, apples and pears. Generously coat each piece with egg wash and shake off the excess. Roll in white granulated sugar and let dry. Arrange the sugared fruit on a decorative cake stand dusted with more sugar for a snowy feel. Add a few pillar candles for added drama. It’s perfect as a centerpiece for your holiday buffet. Use the sugar-and-egg white technique to frost evergreen boughs and pine cones, too.

Crowning Cranberries

Fill clear glass vases of various sizes halfway full with fresh, whole cranberries and place on a mantle or table. For variety, fill clear glass cylinder vases halfway with water and add the berries. Cranberries are buoyant so they will float; add a floating candle for glowing warmth. Cranberries will last up to two weeks in water.

Cinnamon Sensation

Bundle whole cinnamon sticks and secure with a rubber band. Tie a bow using colored, decorative ribbon around the bundle and cover up the band. Leave a loop or insert an ornament hook for easy hanging.