The perfect picnic basket

Picnic basketUsually, we can’t think of too many things we enjoy more than a good meal. But when the weather is this gorgeous, the answer is easy: a good meal enjoyed outdoors. At Artizone, we’re all about the art of the perfect picnic. But you won’t find any sad pasta salads or greasy chips in our basket. Here are some recommendations for a healthful and happy “en plein air” dining experience.

For the purposes of a picnic, the sandwich is the world’s perfect food. Once they’re packed, there’s minimal muss or fuss. To build a sensational sammy, start with good bread. We like Empire Baking Company’s Hippie Health Loaf. From there fill it with anything you wish. You might pair Hook’s 10 Year cheese, available from Scardello, with the roasted turkey breast from Hirsch’s Specialty Meats and your favorite condiments. Empire’s creamy peanut butter and Texas Honeybee Guild‘s Honeycomb is another winning combination. Or slather on some of Hope Hummus’ Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus, available from Green Grocer, and pile on your favorites from the produce aisle for a delectable veggie option.

Next, tasty sides are a must. True to what its name implies, Ruth’s Traditional Potato Salad, available from Butterfield Gourmet, is a true classic. For something a little different, the Cauliflower Salad from Merlin’s Baking & Catering is a deliciously tangy treat.

Dips and some crunchy nosh are also picnic must-haves. Try Merlin’s Sample Dip Box, which features an assortment of dips such as the Carrot Dip, Chickpea Hummus, Eggplant Dip and Lentil Hummus. Some baby carrots, raw broccoli florets, pita chips and veggie chips round out the spread nicely. Chef Milton‘s Mixed Nuts are just the right blend of sweet and spicy for another tasty picnic addition. Don’t forget to pack along some of your favorite fruits, pre-washed and sliced as necessary.

As far as beverages go, red wine doesn’t have to be chilled — just don’t forget your corkscrew! Rowdier bunches might prefer canned beer, and Boddington’s Pub Ale from Dallas Fine Wine & Spirits is a good one. Of course, hydration always is important, so don’t forget plenty of H2O.

Save room for dessert? Indulge guiltlessly with Kessler Cookie Company‘s Oatmeal Toffee Bars or HANK Dessert Bars’ Garden Bliss, a gluten-free dessert that combines the flavors of carrot cake, lavender and hazelnut.

Now grab a big blanket, a Frisbee and some sunscreen and you’re good to go!

Posted in Bakery, Beer, Wine & Liquor, Butterfield Gourmet, Chef Milton, Community, Dairy, Dallas, Dallas Fine Wines, Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Empire Baking Company, Food Products, Green Grocer Dallas, Grocery, HANK Dessert Bars, Hirsch's Specialty Meats, How-to & Tips, Kessler Cookie Company, Merlin's Baking and Catering, Produce, Scardello, Specialty Items, Texas Honeybee Guild | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foods for glowing skin

Foods for glowing skinWith summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about our favorite warm-weather fashions: sundresses, shorts, tanks, sandals and bikinis. It’s important to look your best when you’re showing a little (or a lot) of skin, and the things you eat can play a big role in the health and look of your skin. Here are Artizone’s top picks for skin-friendly snacking:

Low-fat dairy products are a great source of vitamin A, which contributes to skin cells’ overall health. They’re also rich in protein, which helps the skin stay firm and less likely to show lines. Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein content of regular yogurt, is an especially good pick.

Pomegranates are packed with polyphenols, which combat free radicals and help with blood flow, giving the skin a little glow. Have a few glasses of pomegranate juice, or just eat the fruit. Not sure how to separate the seeds from the pith? Here’s a helpful tutorial.

The omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts can improve skin’s elasticity. What’s more, walnuts are a good source of copper, which gives collagen production a boost.

Sunflower seeds and almonds are fabulous sources of vitamin E, which helps protect the skin’s top layers from sun damage.

Kidney beans and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which some studies suggest can help clear up acne and maintain collagen.

Soy has been shown to help reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone. Enjoy a cup of soymilk or chow on some edamame.

Steel-cut oatmeal takes a while for the body to break down, so it helps keep blood sugar at a stable level. When blood sugar spikes, it elevates the body’s production of androgen, a hormone that can contribute to wrinkles.

The antioxidant EGCG found in green tea can help reduce redness and fight inflammation.

Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and rainbow trout are rich in fatty acids, which help the cell membranes allow in nutrients and push out waste. They also help the skin cells hold water in, which contributes to plumper, younger-looking skin.

And then, of course, there’s water. It’s not technically a food, but there’s no arguing that ample hydration means ample health. Aim for eight glasses a day to keep cells hydrated and flush out toxins.


Posted in Community, Dairy, Dallas, Food Products, Grocery, How-to & Tips, Meat & Seafood, Produce, Specialty Items | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Artizone Can Make Your Party

Artizone PartyWe at Artizone know that how well you plan can make or break a party. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, bridal brunch or baby shower, our delivery service and awesome array of artisanal vendors make it super-simple to throw an event that’s sure to be remembered.

Our artisans offer items you simply cannot find in your typical grocery store. For example, why serve Triscuits when you can serve Butterfield Gourmet’s Parmesan-Thyme Crackers? And you simply won’t find a better selection of unique desserts, including Dude, Sweet Chocolate’s PDA Chocolate Salamigourmet cake balls from Isabelly’s Sweet Treats and the naughtily-named cupcakes from Trailercakes.

And think of all the party-planning time you can save with Artizone. Rather than spending hours bouncing from shop to shop picking up ingredients, you can just click, pay and schedule a date and time for delivery or pickup. You don’t even need to make a liquor store run — we’ve got you covered there, too.

Many of our artisans offer convenient tray and platter options, so feeding a crowd is easy. We like the Beef Tenderloin Platter from TJ’s Seafood Market, the Shrimp Cocktail Platter from Rex’s Seafood and the Cheesemonger’s Choice Cheese Tray from Scardello. Pick up some fresh veggies from the produce department for a crudité tray and some mixed nuts from Chef Milton.

Artizone can even help prettify your place with an elegant floral arrangement or some gorgeous scented candles.

And our list option makes getting the goods a breeze. If you’ve got a bit of time before your party, you can create a “party list” of items you’d like to order. Once you’ve perfected your list, it just takes one click to order everything. If you’re working with a few people to plan a party, you can divvy up your party supplies into wishlists and send them out to your co-hosts. And if any of the recipes in our always-stellar recipe section catch your eye, all you have to do is click on the ingredients list to add them to your cart.

Don’t let the stresses of party-planning get you down. Let Artizone help get your next party started in style!

Posted in Bakery, Beer, Wine & Liquor, Butterfield Gourmet, Chef Milton, Community, Dallas, Dallas Fine Wines, Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Food Products, How-to & Tips, Isabelly's Sweet Treats, Meat & Seafood, Rex's Seafood, Scardello, Specialty Items, TJ's Seafood Market, Trailercakes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Artisan of the Month: La Duni Latin Kitchen and Baking Studio

La Duni storefrontIf you’re feeling nostalgic for Mom’s baking, Dunia Borga’s pastries might be just what you need. Borga, who co-owns La Duni Latin Kitchen and Baking Studio with her husband, Taco Borga, is all about all-natural ingredients. Here you’ll find no artificial flavors, no preservatives and no pre-made ingredients.

Borga admits that her preference for whole ingredients makes more work for her. Because her cakes and cookies don’t have the same shelf-life of other baked goods, she must get started baking at 4 a.m. every day. But, she said, she’s proud of her finished products. She feels good about feeding them to her son, and she feels good about feeding them to her customers.

The family connection is a big part of Borga’s baking ethos. “I’m a mom and I love to spoil everyone,” Borga said. This connection between food and affection stems from Borga’s own childhood in Colombia. She remembers coming home from school, smelling something good wafting from the kitchen and knowing instantly that her grandmother was home.

“I couldn’t wait to find out what she would have,” Borga said.

Favorite foods and favorite memories are closely connected for Borga. One of her own favorite childhood memories is using her lunch money to buy Glorias — puff pastries filled with guava paste and baker’s cheese — from a corner bakery while waiting for the bus. Today, the petite treats are among the many items she proudly carries in her Artizone storefront.

And so when Borga started baking, her goal was to create (or recreate) memories for her son, and later for her customers. Many of the treats offered through La Duni are inspired by those nearest and dearest to Borga. Anything made with apple is for her sister, who loves the sweet fruit. Her husband is Nutella fan, so Borga found a way to incorporate the hazelnut spread into cake. Many of her confections are inspired by her chocoholic son.

In fact, the Brandon cookies aren’t just named for the boy, but they’re made by him, as well. Borga recounts that Brandon was an avid video gamer when he was younger. It was becoming an expensive habit — Brandon could beat a game in only a week — so Borga decided to come up with a way for her son to earn money for his hobby. Together, they developed a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. To this day, Brandon, now 13, goes to his mother’s baking studio to make them. Borga said 25 cents from their profits go directly to Brandon, and the rest goes to his college fund.

“It holds a sweet place in my heart,” Borga said of the cookie recipe.

And we think this cookie — and many of the other treats Borga bakes — will hold a sweet place in yours.

Posted in Bakery, Community, Dallas, Food Products, La Duni, Specialty Items | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Supers

SuperfoodsWhile we at Artizone can find the benefit in almost any food (hey, if that macaroon makes you happy, it has value!) we recognize that some foods just have a little something extra going on for them. So-called superfoods are especially rich in certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients, meaning they can do a lot of super things for your body. Naturally, we’ve got the 411 on what’s good.

Coconut oil is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, and some studies have shown that it can improve thyroid function, blood sugar control, digestion, cholesterol levels and weight management. It’s an easy addition to baked goods and tastes great with veggies, but if you’re seeking a little instant coconut oil gratification, we like the Hail Merry snack line available through Green Grocer.

Chia seeds are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, plus they contain 500 percent more calcium per serving than milk. Who knew something so small could pack such a nutritional punch? Stir two tablespoons into water and drink ‘em down, sprinkle them over your morning yogurt or soak them in sweetened almond milk for a pudding-like treat.

It’s not that those egg-white omelets were bad for you, but you may have been missing out if you like to skip the egg yolk. While not exactly low-cal, egg yolks ar a great source of calcium, magnesium, protein and carotenoids, plus vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12. Plus, studies have shown that eating one per day will not change your cholesterol levels. So, let’s get cracking… eggshells, that is.

Blueberries were one of the first buzzed-about superfoods out there. Rich in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids as well as potassium and vitamin C, they’ve been linked to decreased risks of heart disease and cancer. Plus, they taste great. Eat them in yogurt parfaits, in salads or by the handful.

Sweet potatoes have 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries, plus beta carotene and vitamins A and C. These make a great substitute for regular potatoes. Eat them baked, mashed or in French fry form.

Any kind of dark leafy greens are great for you, but kale and spinach probably are the best known. They couldn’t be easier to eat: toss them into soups and salads, or sauté with a bit of olive oil and top with a pinch of Parmesan.

Fatty fishes like salmon are a great source of omega-3s, which can help stave off heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, and may even reduce symptoms of depression. Aim for two to three servings a week.

Finally (and perhaps most deliciously), cocoa is shown to elevate mood-boosting endorphins and serotonin. It’s also rich in flavonoids, which can help reduce the risk for diabetes, stroke and other heart diseases. Make sure to look for dark chocolates that are at least 70 percent cocoa, and limit yourself to about a square a day. If you’re not a fan of these bitter sweets by themselves, crush up your cocoa and sprinkle over oatmeal.

For a super-easy superfood salad, check out this recipe for kale salad with cranberries, avocado and Parmesan.


Posted in Community, Dallas, Entrees, Food Products, Green Grocer Dallas, Grocery, How-to & Tips, Meat & Seafood, Produce, Side Dishes, Snacks, Specialty Items | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment