Tomato Soup

By Alexandra Pettit

It’s that time of year where everyone is catching the ick. A recipe for tomato soup is sure to get you back to feeling better in no time. Tomatoes have many health benefits. Tomatoes can help with bone health because of the amount of vitamin k and calcium. They also help with blood circulation because of the micrograms of selenium.


  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes   (can use rotel tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4 oz cubed cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4  teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 dashes hot sauce (optional)

Spray crockpot with pam then add all of the ingredients. Stir…cook on high for 3-31/2 hours…stir occasionally

Looking for more recipes to make for the family? Check out our recipe session.  Looking for healthy food tips or things to do with the family? Check out the Fill Your Plate Blog.

Share This:
Posted in Cooking, Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Food Facts, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Eat Healthy in an Airport

By Erin Wyatt A Recent ASU Nutrition Student


With the next long holiday weekend approaching in May, you may find yourself in an airport. Therefore, you are more than likely to find yourself delayed in an airport. Chances are, you will need to eat at some point. If you had the forethought, or the time, to pack nutritious snacks, I applaud you. If you did not, I am here to help. It is not always easy to eat healthy in an airport, but you can make the best out of any situation. Whether your choices are a restaurant, fast food, or a newsstand, there are tricks to finding the best food options for you and your family.

Airport Restaurants

If you have a lot of time to kill, you may prefer to sit down at one of the restaurants or bars to have a meal. This will provide you with the greatest variety of options, but also the greatest temptations. Try and stick to the starters and salads portion of the menu or share an entrée if you can. Steer clear of fried items and look for lean protein to fill you up while keeping you comfortable during your journey. Below are a variety of choices that you may see on a typical restaurant menu.


Best choices:

  • Hummus appetizer
  • Guacamole appetizer
  • Salad with grilled chicken or fish
  • Turkey burger w/ a salad (instead of French fries)

Worst choices:

  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Fried chicken wings
  • French fries
  • Fried chicken sandwich
  • Macaroni and cheese


Fast Food

Eating healthy at a fast food restaurant is no easy task, but sometimes it is the only option available. Some establishments have started including healthier items on the menus, but these foods are not as prominently displayed on their signs and advertising. Therefore, you need to do a bit of searching before placing your order. Some locations make the calories known, use this to your advantage when you can, as certain items that you think might be healthy can pack in some sneaky calories. The same rules apply here as with the restaurants, choose low fat and try and ignore the fried items. Be mindful of all of the extras that come on sandwiches and salads, like heavy sauces, bacon, and cheeses. You may be thinking, what’s left? Check out the best and worst offenders at typical fast food restaurants below.


Best choices:

  • Grilled chicken wraps
  • Roasted turkey sandwiches
  • Soups
  • Salads with lean meats and low-fat dressings
  • Baked potato with sour cream
  • Fruit

Worst choices:

  • Double bacon cheeseburger
  • French fries
  • Nachos
  • Fried chicken strips
  • Milkshakes



Certain terminals are more bare bones than others or perhaps you only have 5 minutes until boarding, enter the newsstand. These seemingly unappetizing kiosks have more healthy options than you think. Look past all of the tempting candy and choose snacks that will provide more staying power with fiber and protein. Be mindful when reaching for protein bars, as some are full of unnecessary sugars. Feel free to grab a few extra to bring with you on the flight instead of having to resort to in-flight snacks. Below are some of the best and worst choices at the newsstand.


Best choices:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt

Worst choices:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Chips
  • Baked goods


Travel Smart

So next time you are stranded in an airport, have no fear, healthy food can be found. Whether you have time for a restaurant, stuck with fast food, or need to pop by a newsstand, you do not need to go hungry. Stay away from the fried stuff and sugar and opt for lean meats and vegetables. Also, keep hydrated with plenty of water. This will ensure a comfortable journey. Hopefully, these general guidelines will serve you well when you have some tough food decisions to make. Bon Voyage!


Editor’s Note: Watch for an article with advice on meal planning for potential airport delays.

For more articles like this check out our Fill Your Plate Blog. Check out the Farmers Market page to find some of these snacks when you’re not traveling.

Share This:
Posted in Diet Tips, Fill Your Plate, Food, Food Facts, Fruit, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring cleaning; how to reuse scraps for homemade cleaning supplies

By Erika Guzman a Recent ASU Nutrition Student


Spring may be here, but the weather does not prove anything for many of us! However, if you’re the type that loves to clean out the old musty winter smells and dust, spring cleaning is a wonderful way to refresh your home and clean everything with open windows and a beautiful breeze as the sun shines down on you! But instead of pulling out all of your cleaning supplies, why not try to go green and clean naturally?


First, Going green and purchasing ready-to-use green products have a different meaning. “Green” store, bought cleaning supplies usually refers to cleaners with less health and environmental hazards, but it’s quite vague. According to a study with Environmental Health Perspectives journal, products labeled as green and “nontoxic” mean quite the opposite; there’s a high potential that it is indeed toxic. There’s no such thing as nontoxic nor does the word ‘natural’ on cleaning products really mean anything since it is loosely regulated. In cleaning products with scents, they contain similar levels as volatile organic compounds as the traditional, normal products.


In short, a lot of products sold as natural, non-toxic, or green cleaners can have chemicals that could trigger respiratory problems. So what makes going green different than buying pre-made products? If you want to stick to the ‘go green’ cleaning movement it’s easy to make your own supplies with staple ingredients from your kitchen, and all of it is strong and cheap! From vinegar to sodas, these ingredients can help you clean tough grimes as well as leave a fresh clean feeling.


  • Baking soda: it’s cheap and makes a very effective multi-surface cleaner without damaging surfaces. Mix this with lemons or sprinkle on a damp sponge and it cleans everything well.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a strong acid that helps clean rough spots as well as clean stainless steel very well. Malt vinegar can kill the flu virus off of surfaces, so it is believed that vinegar has antibacterial properties.
  • Washing soda or sodium carbonate: These are multipurpose natural cleaners that doubles as a heavy duty degreaser. It cleans off a lot of grime and dirt!
  • Lemons: Lemons are known for their flavor and smell. Because it’s such an acidic fruit, it allows you to clean surfaces and help remove stubborn stains from glass and dinnerware. It also doubles as a cleaning agent with sinks and garbage disposals, leaving a clean smell without the funk.
    • Some basic tips to make a cleaner without a recipe is to combine a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and baking soda. It helps to add salt to a sponge or even the surface of lemon if scrubbing is necessary as you use the cleaning agent.
    • To make a paste, use ½ cup of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of water, and ¼ cup of vinegar; you can play with the consistency by adding more vinegar to ensure the paste you need, depending on the cleaning task.

These are simple ingredients that allow you to create wonderful cleaners for your home. If you want to add a scent, simply add essential oils that double as a cleaning agent, such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus oils. Otherwise, using homemade products allow you to know what goes into your cleaners, reduce exposure to any dangerous chemicals, reduce allergy-causing substances, and allows you to customize what you prefer!

For more articles like this check out our Fill Your Plate Blog. Check out the Farmers Market page to find some of these ingredients.







Dodson, R. E., Nishioka, M., Standley, L. J., Perovich, L. J., Brody, J.G., & Rudel, R. A. (2012).

Endocrine disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals in consumer products.

Environmental Health Perspectives. 120(7): 935-943. Retrieved at

Greatorex, J. S., Page, R. F., Curran, M. D., Digard, P., Enstone, J. E., Wreghitt, T., Powell, P.

P., Sexton, D. W., Vivancos, R., & Nguyen-Van-Tam, J. S. (2010). Effectiveness of

common household cleaning agents in reducing the viability of human influenza A/H1N1.

PLos One. Retrieved at

Watson, S. (2017). Are green cleaners better for you? WebMD. Website. Retrieved at


Share This:
Posted in Allergies, Fun Food Facts, Green Matters, Health Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Visit to an Arizona Citrus Nursery

By Alexandra Pettit

Greenfield Citrus Nursery is a beautiful oasis in the desert. Located in Mesa, Arizona this 30 Acre citrus farm is full of beauty and adventure. Upon arriving at the nursery you are greeted with the sweet smells of oranges, Tangerines, Tangelos, Lemons and limes, and wonderful grapefruit. One may also be greeted by roaming peacocks and chickens, but don’t be alarmed they help keep the bugs away.

At Greenfield Citrus Nursery you have many varieties of citrus trees to choose from. Along with this you also can choose the size of the tree form small to large. The Greenfield Citrus Nursery team prides themselves on customer service and guaranteed product. Which means if you’re not pleased they will do everything they can to send you home a satisfied customer. The team will even take a special trip to your home to help you assess problems with your tree(s). For example, one customer purchased a tree from Greenfield Citrus Nursery and years later began dealing with problems, and Greenfield Citrus Nursery was willing to evaluate the problems and even replace the tree.

During my experience at Greenfield Citrus Nursery, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting the owner that makes it all happen, John P. Babiarz. He first started in his backyard. Then in 1979, his first nursery was off Greenfield road, where he had 52 acres. Then in 1986, that property was sold and they moved to where they are now starting with just 10 acres. During this move, John explained how they moved about 10,000 trees from one location to the other, not an easy task.


Throughout my visit, John shared many facts and practices about his citrus nursery and even let me sample the citrus, my favorite being the honey Tangelo. I really enjoyed my visit. John and his wife, Debra are very proud of what they do and are amazing at it too, and by the way, they are Arizona Farm Bureau members.

Editor’s Note:

While on my trip I learned that John has a passion for all things history. Mainly fossils and Sabretooth Cats. He has published a couple of books on Sabretooth Cats. He has also been featured in National Geographic and in several BBC and Discovery Channel movies.


Looking for more articles like this check out the Fill Your Plate Blog. Looking for some yummy citrus filled recipes? Check out our Recipe Section.

Share This:
Posted in Arizona, Arizona farmers and ranchers, Ask a Farmer, Fill Your Plate, Focus on Agriculture, Fruit, In Season, Members, On the Farm, Water, Website | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in season? Eggplant

Erika Guzman A Recent ASU Nutrition Student

When vegetables are in season, it usually means it’s very tasty and it’s cheap! This season, it’s eggplant! Although the large purple vegetables very common around the states, there are also other types and species. Most of them contain the same spongy texture, and it’s a great alternative to mushrooms.

Eggplant is one of the most economically important crops as well as one of the healthiest vegetables for it’s low caloric value and it’s high content of vitamins and minerals. In eggplants, there are anthocyanins, or the violet hues in eggplant which can actually protect the heart! In short it functions as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body. Anthocyanins are associated with flavonoids, and they have the ability to protect against diseases. Naturally pigmented fruits and vegetables usually help with heart health and cardiovascular health. With eggplants, they contain a chemical called nasunin, which may help improve blood flow to the brain, allowing your cognitive to function more clearly and properly.

Lastly, eggplant is great for weight management. It is high in dietary fibers for a vegetable and it’s low in calories which allows your stomach to feel more satisfied and reduce your appetite overall.


Nutrition facts

Amount Per 100 grams
Calories 25


% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 229 mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 6 g 2%
Dietary fiber 3 g 12%
Sugar 3.5 g
Protein 1 g 2%


Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 0% Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 5%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 3%



Although eggplants can be beneficial to  many people, it can also cause problems. The eggplant is part of the nightshade family; it may aggravate arthritis or inflammation due to the alkaloids in the vegetable, or the natural chemical compound that are also commonly used in morphine or poisons. Fortunately, it’s not severe, but it may cause problems and pain for those who suffer problems with their joints.

Another plausible problem is with overconsumption of eggplants, it can contribute to problems with the gut and kidneys. Too much eggplant can cause oxalates in the kidneys, or where kidney stones are formed from calcium deposits and too much sodium. People who are prone to kidney problems should limit their intake of the vegetable, as well as some common ones in the same family. Lastly, it absorbs iron. Unless if you happen to have too much iron, it should also be limited, so people who suffer from anemia, limit your intake as well.

Overall, eggplants are healthy and delicious. They’re loaded with nutrients and have a very low calorie content, and it can be beneficial. It’s an extremely economical vegetable as well as healthy, and when in season, it’s tasty and even cheaper.















Norris, J.  (2013). Oxalate. Vegan Health. Website. Retrieved at


Taher, D., Solber, S. O., Prohens, J., Chou, Y., Rakha, M., & Wu, T. (2017). World vegetable

center eggplant collection: origin, composition, seed dissemination and utilization in

breeding. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8:1484. Retrieved at


Ware, M., RDN LD. (2017). Eggplant health benefits and tasty tips. Medical News Today.

Website. Retrieved at




For more awesome recipes be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section.

Share This:
Posted in Arizona, Fill Your Plate, Food, Food Facts, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, In the Kitchen, Produce | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment