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IMG_2578It’s Monday morning and I’m planning out the meals for the week. Many wonder where I get my recipes? Ideas for new recipes don’t come from a book, most of the time my best recipes come to me while I’m at one of the three grocery stores that I shop from on a weekly basis. Yes, you heard right three grocery stores! I organize the beginning of the week so that I can go to each store to get certain items from them, whether is be produce, meat, etc. Depending on the time of the year, I also enjoy going to local farmers markets. Not only am I supporting local farmers but I’m also purchasing fresh, quality produce.

Most people may be familiar with Whole Foods, a popular chain that sells organic and high quality meats, produce, and other items. They carry an abundant assortment of fruits and vegetables. I spend a good chunk of time roaming around looking at every product up and down the aisles. I get a lot of my ideas for recipes from taking the time to smell and touch each any every ingredient. I take many pictures and jot down notes when I get inspired.

Hmmm… vegetable stew with tomatoes, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, and papaya simmered together with fresh garlic, paprika, and cumin. This recipe is great for vegetarians! For those carnivores add a ham shank for a splash of smoky flavor.

Some advice to all, take the time to know the name of your butcher. Once you build a relationship with him/her, they will recommend different meats and explain how you can marinate and cook them.

At this point I am anxious to get back home. While creating different meals I always start with basics, which are usually fresh vegetables. I then add my protein. You can find periodically tasting the food while it cooks so I know which seasonings to add.

Although creating meals may seem like a long process but it’s worth every minute you put into it. Once you become aware of all the varieties of fruit, vegetables, and meats you will have fun creating your concoction.

Follow Jennifer Betances on Twitter: @Cubanwithatwist

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