Category Archives: Wellness

World Food Day: How Can You Contribute to #ZeroHunger?

World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16th to honor the start of the Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. The point of this day is to bring awareness to and stop world hunger, as well as ensuring food security and nutritious diets for everyone. FAO’s goal is to stop world hunger by 2030 and they believe that it is  very achievable if we all pitch in. They have named this effort The Zero Hunger Challenge. There’s really no reason for ANYONE across the globe to be starving. We have already made progress towards #ZeroHunger, why stop now?

 According to FAO, “out of the 129 countries monitored by FAO, 72 have already achieved the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015; over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, with about 17,000 children saved every day; extreme poverty rates have been cut in half since 1990”. If this isn’t progress, I don’t know what is. This should encourage us to keep pushing, to reach the ultimate goal. 

In NJ alone, 1,141,890 people are “food insecure”, according to End Hunger NJ. This puts the food insecurity rate at 13%, which may seem like a small percentage to you, but just think about those people who are actually apart of that 13%. Luckily, New Jersey cares, and therefore, there are many programs dedicated to decreasing this number to 0. We just have to participate. 

Here are 5 New Jersey based organizations that are dedicated to ending world hunger:

1. Hunger Free New Jersey

Hunger Free New Jersey works to eliminate world hunger by educating the public of the issue’s causes and solutions, growing their organization with diverse individuals, and fighting for legislative and policy changes to ensure that NJ residents have enough healthy food to eat. 

2. Table to Table

Table to Table collects perfectly good food that would be disposed of and delivers it to over 160 community organizations which include soup kitchens, homeless shelters, elderly homes, and after-school programs. They serve the hungry in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. This year, they have promised the delivery of over 20 million meals. 

3. Rutgers Against Hunger

Rutgers University has developed Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH) to address hunger across New Jersey. This involves bringing awareness to the issue, developing research, encouraging participation, and putting an end to hunger through food drives and other events to raise money and collect food. RAH is not limited to  those affiliated with the institution. Rutgers encourages all concerned citizens to join them and take action. 

4. Community Food Bank of New Jersey 

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, located in Hillside and Egg Harbor Twnshp, fights hunger through food and nutrition programs, food stamps, and their Food Service Training Academy (FSTA). The FSTA starts from the root of the problem, by addressing the main cause of hunger, poverty. They provide graduates with job skills that make them marketable. Its a free, 15-week program that teaches students about communication,  nutrition and healthy cooking. So far, they have graduated over 2,500 students, with a job placement rate of 90%. 

5. Curbing Hunger, Inc. 

Located in Basking Ridge, NJ, Curbing Hunger, Inc. is a community based program that provides food for the hungry when food banks are unable to due to low supply. This usually happens during the summer months, which forces most bank to close their doors. This is why their motto is “Hunger doesn’t take a vacation”. Their mission is to reduce hunger during the most crucial times, when supplies are low, by supporting food banks and pantries, and encourages others to do the same. 

These are just five of the many programs available in New Jersey to help end hunger. It is so easy to visit an organization’s website and click “Donate”. Anything counts. The ways in which you can help are limitless. Volunteer, donate, start your own organization. So, how will you contribute to #ZeroHunger

Connie Dwyer Breast Center Set to Open at Trinitas

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Connie Dwyer, a known philanthropist, will be opening her second Breast Center in early October. The Center is located at the main campus of Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth

Just last year, we had the pleasure of previewing the new Breast Center at Trinitas while gaining a great understanding of Connie’s reasoning behind starting the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation. Connie herself suffered from breast cancer, which was life changing for her. She was first diagnosed in 1999 and had a double mastectomy. Her own battle caused her to become mindful of the other women out there fighting breast cancer, especially those who come from low-income backgrounds. She feels that EVERY woman who has breast cancer should be able to tell their story just like she has. She believes that they should not be denied proper care due to certain circumstances. 

Often times, women from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to the services needed to treat breast cancer, and therefore their stories are never heard. They don’t even have the option to help themselves. This is why the Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation specifically helps women in need, ensuring that they are receiving the proper care. This includes screening, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as, community outreach and education programs. The Breast Center is state of the art, with innovative technology such as 3D imaging, and highly qualified, bilingual specialists. 

Connie Dwyer’s story is one of determination, bravery, and resilience. Because of her, hundreds, even millions of women will be able to share their journeys and battles with the world, encouraging even more to step up and help others who are in need. We are so excited to see the finished Breast Center next month and even more excited about the fact that more and more women will be able to receive assistance. 

Meatless Monday’s: Pereg Natural Foods & The Cheese Guy Team up

It’s summertime so that means farmer’s markets and grocery stores are overflowing with fresh and crisp produce. And the perfect way to put it all to delicious use is by creating vegetarian safe meals! VICKIGJ Public Relations knew it was a great time to feature some meat-free recipes featuring products from Pereg Natural Foods and The Cheese Guy.

Pereg Natural Foods and The Cheese Guy are a match made in vegetarian heaven. Pereg proudly bears all natural and non-dairy, lactose-free certification on its entire collection of exotic spices from around the world, as well as their gluten-free pasta, gluten-free cereals and gluten-free flours and their extensive line of all-natural products made from ancient grains. Many Pereg products are also non-GMO and Whole Grain certified. Brent Delman, a.k.a. “The Cheese Guy,” partners with small dairy farms to produce more than 35 varieties of hand-crafted, all-natural and kosher certified artisanal cheese.

These wildly popular recipes are perfect for Meatless Mondays … or any day of the week, especially in the summertime! Try these recipes for meat-free comfort foods that’ll even keep meat-lovers happy – perfect for the whole family.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche
For crust:
2 cups Pereg Natural Almond Flour
½ tsp. Pereg Coarse Red Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, more for greasing pan
1 large egg whisked
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

For quiche:
1 medium shallot diced
1 cup fresh spinach
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ tsp. Pereg Kosher Salt
¼ tsp. Pereg Red Pepper flakes
½ cup The Cheese Guy Fresh & Creamy Goat Cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt. Then add in remaining crust ingredients and mix into a shaggy ball. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and heat olive oil. Add shallots and sauté for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Then add spinach and sauté just until slightly wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in the cooled spinach mixture and goat cheese.  Pour the mixture in the crust and bake for 35 minutes or until the quiche is firm and just barely jiggles. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Quinoa Pasta Mac and Cheese
1 8 oz. package Pereg Gourmet Quinoa Curvo Rigate
2½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour (or brown rice flour)
1 tsp. dry mustard
¼ tsp. nutmeg
4 Tbsp. butter, plus more to butter the pan
1 small onion diced
Salt
2 cups milk (2% or whole milk)
½ tsp. black pepper
10 oz. The Cheese Guy Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Shred the cheese for about 3½ cups)
1 cup The Cheese Guy shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup Pereg Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. butter melted
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring 4-6 quarts of water with ½ tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Add pasta and return to a rapid boil. Cook uncovered stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, dry mustard and nutmeg. In a large stockpot, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Then add onions and a pinch of salt and sauté until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes.
Add the flour mixture to the onions and cook for a few minutes until the fat is absorbed and you form a roux. Then add in the two cups milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce is thick and smooth. Add in black pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese (reserve ½ cup for the topping) and Parmesan cheese and combine. Season to taste with salt. Stir in pasta and mix until combined. Spread the pasta in a 9×9 inch casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, combine Panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle mixture and remaining cheddar cheese over the pasta. Bake for 15-20 minutes (uncovered) until cheese is bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes and serve.

Kañiwa Cheese Burger
Kañiwa, a cousin of quinoa, is a tiny nutrient-rich grain that cooks up to a crunchy texture.

2 cups water
½ cup raw Pereg Natural Foods Kañiwa
1 cup water
1 cup cooked chickpeas, smashed, with the skins removed
½ cup Pereg Natural Foods Fine Panko
1 large egg whisked
1 garlic clove minced
¼ cup white onion, minced
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
Cheese to taste (The Cheese Guy recommends a creamy, easy-melting Gouda or Havarti)
Combine kañiwa and water in a medium saucepan and bring water to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool. You should have 1 cup cooked.
Combine kañiwa with smashed chickpeas, panko, garlic, onion and spices. Form into two big patties or four smaller patties.  Fry 4-5 minutes per side in coconut oil over medium heat until outside is brown and inside is heated through. Melt cheese over top and serve.

ABOUT THE CHEESE GUY

Yonkers, NY-based Brent Delman has been involved in the specialty food business for more than two decades. His 35+ varieties of handcrafted kosher cheese range from several types of raw, organic, and sharp cheddars to gouda, brie, assorted Italian sheep milk cheeses, aged Parmesans, fresh mozzarellas, havartis, spicy varieties and more. Follow him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BrentTheCheeseGuy) or Instagram (www.instagram.com/thecheeseguy).

ABOUT PEREG NATURAL FOODS

Pereg was established in 1906, and is based in Clifton, NJ. They first became known for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.  Today Pereg produces an array of all-natural products that include ancient grains and ancient grain blends, gluten free pasta, couscous, rice, gluten-free cereal and flour, and much more. Pereg Natural Foods products are available at select retailers throughout the US and Canada, and on their website, www.pereg-gourmet.com.