DIY: Organic BluePrint Cleanse

As the winter blends into the spring, it’s natural to feel the need to do some cleaning. Sometimes this manifests in a thorough kitchen scrubdown, alphabetizing our books, or once in a while, the urge to do a juice cleanse. At Ace we never encourage readers or customers to push themselves to uncomfortable extremes in terms of food, so we hope that you only try this if you feel it would be beneficial to your body’s health. For this recipe post, we’ve decided to share the “C.A.B.: Carrots, Apples and Beets” juice from Ace customer BluePrint. BluePrint’s juices are “100% natural, raw (unpasteurized) [and use] the freshest fruits and vegetables.” The C.A.B. juice is a great source of iron, potassium, and folate–and we love the ginger and lemon overtones which make it feel even healthier!

You will need: 

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1 large organic green apple

2 organic beets

5 large organic carrots

1 1/2 tablespoons organic ginger

1/2 ounce organic lemon juice

Directions:

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Skin the carrots. Mince.

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Remove the skin from the beets. Slice.

unnamed-5Skin the apple. Cut into chunks.

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Peel the ginger. Mince and measure 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add to the mixture. Put all ingredients except lemon juice through the juicer. Mix in lemon juice.

unnamed-4Happy sipping!

Have you tried a BluePrint cleanse before? Did you like it? Is there another one of their juice cleanses that you recommend? Let us know by commenting below!

If you want to try this juice, we supply organic carrots! Email your order to orders@acenatural.com or call (718) 784-6000 to get 10% off and receive the product the next day! Just remember to mention this post when you place your order.

Photo Credit: Emily Poe

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OnApril 10, 2014, posted in: Ace News by

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It’s An Egg-Centric World

Brown-White-EggsHere at Ace, we think it’s safe to say that we live in a pretty egg-centric society. There is a plethora of egg-centered sayings, popular year-round, like “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” and “Don’t count your eggs till they’ve hatched.” Although certainly not everyone celebrates, most people are at least aware of Easter, the super popular upcoming holiday that revolves around eggs. While it’s easy to see that most people place a lot of value on these little guys and gals, those of us who work in the health food industry are especially aware of how often consumers think about them. One recurring theme that we have noticed is a preference for brown eggs over white, especially among health-conscious consumers. We wanted to take a few minutes to clear up any confusion that may have arisen regarding these two choices.

Chicken-earlobeSo–is there a difference? The answer is yes, there is, but not the difference that many people seem to think. Brown eggs are not better for you; they are not “whole grain” eggs and they are not more or less processed than their paler counterparts. The difference is a matter of earlobes…yep, you heard us: earlobes. White hens with white earlobes lay white eggs and brown/red-feathered hens with red earlobes lay the coveted brown eggs. According to The Huffington Post, the only reason that brown eggs are more expensive is because the brunette chickens are a bit larger and therefore require a greater amount of feed–thus driving up the price of their eggs.

20121002-dandelionThen what about the thickness of the shell? you may ask. Is that related to its color? You’re probably also questioning whether or not the shade of the yolk is determined by the color of the eggshell. In both cases the answer is no. Younger hens lay eggs with harder shells, regardless of the color of their earlobes. As for the yolk, its color is influenced by the type of feed that the chicken consumes, not the color of its feathers. The only real difference that we know of is conventional versus organic; as always, all of us at Ace recommend buying organic, free range eggs because we believe that they are the safer, healthier option. Now that you know there isn’t a nutritional difference between the two varieties, it’s time to get crackin.’ Eggs are wonderful because they are good for you–filled with protein, low in calories, and rich with vitamins, mineral, iron, and carotenoids–and there is literally no end to the dishes that you can make with them

Still not convinced that you can’t taste the difference between the two types? FitDay suggests blindfolding a family member and conducting a simple taste test. They predict that you won’t be able to discern a difference but we’re curious if we have any readers out there who can prove them wrong. If you conduct a blindfolded taste test, let us know the result by posting a comment below!

Images: Mashizz, The Fowl Family, Serious Eats

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OnApril 1, 2014, posted in: Ace News by

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Faces of Ace: Alberto Gonzalez

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Meet Ace’s Corporate Social Responsibility Director Alberto Gonzalez, who joined our team last year. Half Italian and half Spanish, Alberto was born in Argentina and lived there until moving to New York 9 years ago. Some of you may know him as the guy who conceived and started GustOrganics, New York’s first certified organic restaurant. He wants to be very clear however that he’s a businessman, not a cook: “If I cooked, people would make lines to kick my face,” he laughs. “No, no, no, I don’t want to get hurt.” While he’s still the main shareholder at Gusto, he is now full-time at Ace and we are so glad to have him!

Is there a food that you’d eat every day if you could?

Empanadas. The meat empanadas or beef.

Where are the best ones in NY?

GustOrganics; I can say that with no hesitation. The empanadas are amazing.

Do you have a favorite type of cuisine?

Yes. Oh, so many different types. It is so hard for me to make a decision. But I would say…. (long pause). Let me think for a minute.

(Laughing) Okay, take your time.

I really appreciate Italian cuisine because you can get a lot of flavors with simple and healthy ingredients and its very playful. But unfortunately that’s not the kind of cuisine you find in NY that often. I’m talking about the real Italian cuisine, and I particularly like the food in the south part of Italy although I find spending time in the north more enjoyable. 

Do you prefer sweet or savory food?

(Laughing) Oh my god…okay, so this is crazy. I’m kind of a schizophrenic, right? So the reality is that I am crazy about sweet stuff but if I had to make a decision to just quit one of them, I would quit sweet. So I guess savory is the main thing, but I am so crazy about sweet stuff. Like a little kid. I mean, I eat more sugar than my four kids. And I tell you, none of them eat as much dulce de leche or ice cream or…But savory, I can’t live without it.

And what are some of your hobbies?

I’ve been skiing all of my life so it’s a big part of my life and my kids ski, the whole family, we are skiers. So that’s one. And I’m a soccer fan, as are most Argentinians. I watch as much soccer as I can. I go to the stadiums, I take the kids. They play and I did the coach training myself in order to give better advice to my sons. I used to play a lot of golf but I haven’t been playing recently.

Is there a certain type of food that you feel will ruin any dish?

Something that I hate? The cilantro. (Groaning) Oh my god. (Distressed) I don’t want to see cilantro in anything. That’s a weird taste. And everyone likes cilantro and I hate it.

(Laughing) I understand. And what are some of your favorite places to go out to eat in NY?

Oof, that’s, that’s…there are so many. I will say that I like to go to Ovest to eat pizza. This is from Luzzo’s—they opened this cool little nook on the west side and its way closer to my house so I go there often. It’s the pizza of Naples, it’s a great pizza. Then ABC Kitchen is a place that I like and I go often. I really think that they have a great combination. And Bar Pitti is a place that I go very often.

What’s the strangest dish that you’ve ever tried?

It’s the sea urchins. Actually a friend of mine took me in Chile. It’s a funny thing…we were leaving Lago Ranco. We spent 4 or 5 days in the south of Chile with a bunch of friends and then he was saying, “Oh we’ve got to try this, we’ve got to try this.” And then we couldn’t try it and the day that we were leaving we needed to take a plane very early in the morning and he just had the taxi drive there–it took 45 minutes. We arrived at 8 a.m. and the guys were not ready, they had to prepare it. It was such a terrible thing. (Groaning) In the morning, for breakfast, oh my god. (Laughing) I will never…that was very strange, very strange.

(Laughing) That sounds bad.

Yeah. Every time we get together we talk about it. “What were you thinking? Instead of taking people to get a croissant with a coffee you take them to eat a sea urchin at 8 a.m.? (Laughing). It’s a bad way to wake up. Oh my god. But I ate it. I try—and I encourage you to do the same–everything, everything, at least once I’ll try it. Unless it’s going to really do something wrong to me, I’ll try.

Are there any surprising facts about yourself that you’d like to share?

About myself? I’m crazy about music, but a very particular kind of music. I love jazz but I like all kinds of music as long as it has three main things: it’s played with real instruments, it has some improvisation, and it has solos. If you get me that three I can listen to Indian music and enjoy it all the way. When those three things are combined I tend to like it.

Alberto’s Homemade Organic Flan

Ingredients:

12 organic eggs (distributed by Ace)

3 cups organic whole milk (distributed by Ace)

3 drops organic vanilla extract (distributed by Ace)

3/4 pound organic sugar plus extra (distributed by Ace)

Directions:

Crack the 12 eggs and place in a mixing bowl. Add the milk to the mixture along with the vanilla extract. Stir it up with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Take the extra sugar and put it in a saucepan to caramelize. Be patient, make sure it is spread evenly over the surface of the pan, and keep it over a medium light. When done, place a bigger pan with a lot of water in it in the oven, already heating at 400°F. Take the egg/flour/sugar/vanilla concoction and mix it again, this time until it bubbles–this will give it a fluffier, lighter texture. Pour the contents into the pan holding the caramelized sugar and place it in the oven, over the pan with the water. Keep it there for 30-45 minutes depending on the oven. Watch it and serve when ready!

Thank you, Alberto!! Readers, have you ever eaten sea urchin? Have you been to GustOrganics? Is there a special spot in NYC that you frequent when you’re craving flan? Let us know by commenting below!

 

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OnMarch 24, 2014, posted in: Ace News by

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Faces of Ace: Dawn R. Jones

unnamed-1Meet Ace’s Produce Sales Champion Dawn R. Jones. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Dawn moved to New York 6 years ago and now resides in Queens with her two kids. She often goes back to visit Cleveland despite the teasing she gets from native New Yorkers: “Tor [my boss at Ace] would call it the ‘mistake on the lake,’” she laughs. “I can never live that one down.” Dawn has been with Ace for exactly 4 years and 4 months: “I sought out Ace Natural. I searched for them. I was a stay-at-home mom for 2 1/2 years and I had just become vegan. So when I realized that I wanted to go back to work I just knew that I had to work for a company that had the same core values that I stand for. And I found Ace Natural and it was the most beautiful thing.” Read on to learn more about Dawn and discover how to make her amazing tofu salad. 

Best NYC brunch spot?

My favorite brunch spot is in Brooklyn. It’s Champs Family Bakery. They’re one of our customers.

Did you grow up eating organic/health food?

No, I didn’t. I became aware of it when I became a vegan eight years ago. That transition led me to living a more holistic lifestyle, which included being more conscious of what I put in my body, what I put on my body. And then in a matter of a year after becoming vegan I started eating organic.

How did you get into veganism?

I watched a video called The Rave Diet and that video literally changed my life–the same day I became a vegan! And for health reasons; I grew up with migraines and allergies and…I suffered horribly until I was about 20. Also my mom has diabetes, my grandmother had breast cancer and diabetes, and high blood pressure runs in my family. All of these things that they say are hereditary, I also learned they could be caused from our diet. So I said, “Let me give this a try and see.” And that’s it. I haven’t had a migraine in probably eight years and it helped my allergies. I also have children and I didn’t want them to grow up like I did. So my two children, who are now 7 and 8, they’re also vegan…100% for their entire lives so far. 

Do you have any tricks for getting them to enjoy health food/vegan food?

No tricks. That’s how they were raised so that’s all they know. They snack on cucumbers, oranges, fruit, vegetables, carrots. From a young age I’d leave those things out on a plate for them because I also allow my children to graze. I don’t want them stuffing their face three times a day. I made their food, too, when they were younger. I pureed everything. I peeled the apples and made the applesauce, I bought fresh broccoli, steamed it, and then put it in the puree, froze it in little ice cube trays. Then I would take it and put it in a little plastic bag. I don’t believe in microwaves, either, so wherever we would go, when it was time to eat I would put it in the bowl and let it thaw out. And then they’d eat it like that.

Unusual fact about yourself?

I do this thing with my throat (demonstrates abnormal scraping sound in the back of her throat). (Laughing) I scratch my throat. I do this literally in the middle of a sentence. I’ll be talking and all of a sudden (demonstrates again). I don’t know how to explain it but that’s an unusual fact about me. 

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy dancing. I also enjoy spending time with my children and really just giving them the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. Like my daughter’s a dancer, my son plays tennis. So that’s important. Oh, and I used to be a personal trainer. I was a personal trainer for four years. I loved it. I just no longer have time for it [so] I had to quit. And I love to travel.

Do you have any upcoming destinations?

Yeah. First and foremost I go home to Ohio quite a bit because that’s where I’m from. I’m going to Atlantic City this year, Cancun, Mexico and Charlotte, N.C. Last year we went on a cruise to some Caribbean Islands that left out of Puerto Rico.

If you had to listen to one song on repeat all day what would it be?

Well right now my favorite song is “Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé. I’m not really a huge fan of hers but the new album is really awesome so I’ve been repeating that a lot lately. If it had been two month ago maybe it would have been Miguel’s song “How Many Drinks?” (Laughing) It just depends, I go through phases. I listen to R&B, hip hop.

Do you have a life motto?

Yeah, I do. It’s basically like, “I do what I can when I can.”

Who are your heroes?

Ooh, good question. My mom. Yeah, she taught me everything that I know. How to be a mom and how to clean and how to cook and how to navigate and drive all over the place and how to be a good person.

Greatest invention ever?

The tofu press. The TofuXpress. The apparatus that takes the water out of tofu.

I didn’t know they had one! I always just do it by hand.

It’s a really great invention, it’s the coolest thing ever.

Dawn’s Tofu Vegan Salad

1 package organic soft or firm tofu (Available at Ace!)
1/2 cup organic celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup organic white onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup organic jalapeños, finely chopped (if you desire spice)
1/4 cup organic vegannaise (add more or less as desired)
1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric (for color)
1/4 tsp organic soy sauce (preferably gluten-free)
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Use TofuXpress to drain water from tofu if desired. Chop tofu into cubes. Mix all ingredients. If you want to make a spread, throw it all in the blender. Once mixed, put on bread or use as a dip for crackers or veggies.

Thank you, Dawn! Readers, have you ever used Dawn’s favorite invention, the TofuXpress? Do you have a favorite tofu salad recipe? Have you been to Cleveland? Watched The Rave Diet? Do you have any suggestions for what Dawn should do in Cancun? Leave a comment below!

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OnMarch 18, 2014, posted in: Ace News by

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DIY: Organic Kale Chips

If you’ve been dreaming of snacking on something that is simultaneously crunchy, salty, and chip-like as well as green and nutritious, our latest creation from the impressive The Clean Plates Cookbook: Sustainable, Delicious, and Healthier Eating for Every Body is for you. Authors Jared Koch and Jill Silverman hit the nail on the head with these super simple chips which they describe as “a healthy snack, rich in vitamins, nutrients, and heart-healthy fat.” For this post we chose to use dinosaur(or lacinato) kale which certain food bloggers have referred to as a “superior Italian variety,” so peerless that it would be “unfair to pit it against any other kale.” While all of us at Ace value diplomacy, we are secretly in agreement with this brave truth-writer. These dinosaur kale chips are the best we’ve ever tried and are guaranteed to knock your socks off!

kale 6You will need: 

12 large leaves organic kale, ribs removed, leaves cut or torn into 1-to 2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275°F. Arrange a rack in the upper half of the oven and another in the lower half. Wash the kale leaves.

kale 7With a knife, separate the leaves from the ribs.

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Cut or tear the leaves into 1-to-2 inch pieces.

kale 1In a very large bowl, combine the kale, oil, and salt.

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Mix it up!

kale 5Arrange the mixture on two large, rimmed baking sheets in an even layer and bake until crisp, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring and rotating the position of the baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

KALAdd more salt to taste and serve. Happy crunching!

Are you a Clean Plates fan? Have you ever tried this recipe yourself? Let us know–leave a comment below!

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OnMarch 10, 2014, posted in: Ace News by

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