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With warmer weather approaching and the crisp smell of fresh spring in the air, it's time to get into the veggies and healthy foods that define the season! Our recipes this month focus on hearty dishes that you can pack into one of our Food or Lunch Jars to keep warm, take anywhere you go, and not feel guilty about the great flavor. We're using ingredients that are trending for their health benefits and versatility in menus. Take a look and keep up, friend!
Our quinoa dish has the fragrance of the Far East, as it combines the wonderful aroma of curry and the crunchy texture of bamboo shoots, combined with light and fluffy quinoa.
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Only couscous could make ordinary peas and carrots stand out, right? If you love couscous, try this warm salad with mushrooms as the perfect complement to one of the most popular grains on menus today.
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This Middle Eastern cracked wheat grain is popular for its versatility. Here's an imaginative way to blend it with Italian flavorings to get the best of both sides of European cuisine!
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Spicy salsa with the healthy nuttiness of brown rice--this is one way to get your fiber with an explosion of taste; and so colorful and photo worthy!  
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It has become popular to categorize foods that are nutritionally dense, or good for your health, as a "superfood". There is no real scientific classification, so the term is probably more a marketing buzzword than anything else, but certain foods like blueberries, kale, kiwis, beans, acai, salmon and others are enjoying a reputation for having health benefits. While it's true that many of these foods are rich in vitamins, fiber, minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids, experts always maintain that a balanced diet is best.
We did some unique salads this month based on some popular grains, that are perfect for a hot meal and ideal for our "energy on the go" Food Jars. Let's learn why these grains are so good for us.
Quinoa, which is easier to pronounce (kinwa) than it looks, is a grain crop grown mostly for its seeds. The origins of quinoa dates back 3000 to 4000 years to the Andean people of South America, where the grain was first domesticated for human consumption. The ancient Incas regarded it as a sacred food.

It needs processing after harvest to remove its bitter outer coating, but after that quinoa is easily cooked like rice and is versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes. Even after cooking, quinoa maintains a healthy daily value of protein, fiber and minerals, while being easy to digest and gluten-free. The nutty taste of quinoa has become very popular today and you can find hundreds of recipes, for salads, in pilafs, with meats and vegetables, as a breakfast cereal, or even as filler for hamburgers and meatloaf.

Couscous is semolina (a coarse wheat flour often used to make pasta) that has been moistened with water to just the right amount, then rolled and passed through a sieve until they become small pellets. Since the process is labor intensive, traditional North African households, where couscous originates, would gather their women and do a large quantity together. Then a special two-tiered pot would be used to steam the couscous in the upper pot, while a stew would be cooking in the bottom pot. Since couscous doesn't have any flavor on its own, it would absorb the aroma and flavor from the stew cooking below it. Ingenious!

Today instant couscous needs only to be reconstituted with hot water, and can easily be used in salads, stews, soups, etc. As a whole grain cereal, its nutritional properties and 4 lower calories make it a popular dietary food. One cup of couscous is only 176 calories, which compares to an equivalent cup of 254 calories in quinoa.

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat, commonly found in the Middle Eastern cuisines of countries like Armenia, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, among others. Because bulgur is parboiled, it cooks fast and is easy to prepare at home and use in a variety of recipes--particularly popular in vegetarian diets for its high fiber, low fat, low calorie and no cholesterol properties.

Bulgur isn't that well known, but it's the common ingredient used to make tabbouleh, a popular Arabian vegetarian dish, made with tomatoes, chopped parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. The nutty texture of bulgur gives the dish its substance. And bulgur isn't always vegetarian--it is also the primary filling in a traditional Arabic dish called kibbeh, made with minced onions and either ground beef, lamb, goat or camel(!) meat. The most common type of kibbeh is the deep fried croquettes that look like little footballs or elongated torpedos.

  The air between the outer and inner layers of the stainless steel has been removed to create a vacuum. This absence of air reduces heat from transferring through air, which greatly minimizes the temperature change of your drink.  
You may have noticed that your Zojirushi bottles and food jars make a rattling noise when you shake it. That is the copper or aluminum foil wrapped around the outside of the inner wall, to increase heat retention. This foil reflects the heat that cannot be blocked from just the vacuumed wall. With the foil, this type of heat is reflected back into the beverage and helps to maintain temperature within the vacuum insulated container longer.  
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We will be featuring onigiri (rice balls) recipes next month, from the basic kind, to unique ones. Don’t forget, rice is the essential ingredient when making onigiri, so have your Zojirushi Rice Cooker ready!