Kandi S.

About

Kandi S. wrote her first short story at nine-years-old and has been a lover of the written word ever since, which makes The Publix Checkout one of her favorite things about working for Publix! Starting as a cashier in 2005, Kandi has since incorporated her love for writing and social media with her passion for the company focused on customer service. She enjoys fitness, writing, live music and local food and beverages. Kandi hopes you walk away from our blog each day with a new-found appreciation for the grocery store where shopping is a pleasure.

Posts by Kandi S.

4.19_Produce_SW_Artichoke_Header resize

April is the month for jokesters. But did you know it’s the month for delicious artichoke recipes, too? This budding thistle is at its season’s peak right now, so grab your taste buds and check out some fun and exciting  reasons to enjoy artichokes this spring!

 

A Historic Plant

Many often wonder if an artichoke is a vegetable, a fruit, or something else. In fact, an artichoke is an immature thistle, also known as a prickly, flowering plant. Artichokes have been written about and eaten for 4.19_Produce_SW_Artichoke_image 2 resizethousands of years, dating back to as early as 371 B.C., when they were being grown in Italy and Sicily. Wealthy Romans used to enjoy this plant dipped in honey and vinegar. After the fall of Rome, the plant became scarce but reemerged during the Renaissance.

In 1806, artichokes were brought to the United States, where they were cultivated in Louisiana. Today, almost all artichokes in America are grown in California.

FUN FACT:

Mythology says the artichoke was once a beautiful girl who was seduced by Zeus and made into a goddess. After becoming homesick and returning to the mortal world to visit her family, Zeus scolded her for her “un-goddess-like” behavior and hurled her back to earth to live as this prickly plant forever.

 

Tasty and Versatile

Artichokes are not only scrumptious, they also provide important nutrients. A half cup serving of cooked artichoke hearts is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. They also contain fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive system. Overall, artichokes are a great addition to your diet and are pretty tasty to boot!

FUN FACT:

Artichokes were illegal in New York for one week in the 1920s due to a member of the mafia monopolizing the market and causing “artichoke wars”.

 

Get Cookin’

Now that you know a little more about artichokes, try your hand at whipping up some recipes featuring this delicious thistle. Our Aprons Recipes are a great place to start!

What is your favorite way to enjoy this delectable plant? Share your ideas in the comments.

Beautiful female doctor in white medical coat is testing patient's blood pressure and smiling while sitting in office

Though we all try our best to avoid it, there inevitably comes a time when our bodies hit a brick wall in the form of a cold, infection, or flu. When that time comes, the first step is getting to the doctor to jump right on the road to recovery. But what if you don’t have a primary doctor set up yet?

Of course, it may be necessary to visit an urgent care facility or emergency room , but why not then take the steps to set up a primary care physician? That way when you’re sick in the future, you can connect with someone who knows you and your medical history (and  more affordable when it comes to your co-pays, too).

It may seem like an overwhelming task to establish your “home base” when it comes to doctors’ offices, but with these tips in mind, you’ll be prepared with everything you need to make the decision that’s right for you.

 

Insurance

First things first — insurance. Most insurance companies offer different co-pay levels depending on whether the doctor you visit is in or out of network. To ensure you’re keeping your costs low and going with a doctor your insurance recommends, visit your insurance website to research doctors in the network. Already found a doctor that you’re really interested in? Just give them a call before scheduling the visit to see if they are in your network. You’ll need to be prepared with your insurance provider information as well as your plan number, so have that handy!

 

Location

It seems like common sense to consider a doctor’s location before setting them as your primary doctor, but the truth is that many don’t truly think about it — especially if they’re already sick by the time they’re looking for a home base.

Take those extra minutes to really think about the location. Do you want a doctor close to your home, to your place of employment, or somewhere in-between? Is the traffic a nightmare near that area of town? Is your pharmacy of choice nearby? Taking all of these questions into consideration will help you think through your location preferences before making an appointment.

 

Reviews and Referrals

Just like when you’re deciding on a new restaurant to try, it’s important to take note of what others are saying about the doctors you’re considering. If you have friends or family in the area, ask them if they’ve heard of the doctor. Social media is another great resource to solicit opinions from people you trust in your life.

If you can’t find a personal referral, read the reviews on your insurance portal or other review websites. Take a look at the ratings the doctor has received and note any service-related reviews that may help you decide.

498882354

 

Environment

Once you’ve selected a doctor, keeping insurance, location, and reviews in mind, it’s time to make the first appointment. Don’t forget that just because you visit once doesn’t mean you can’t continue to look. Hopefully you’ll feel comfortable with your first choice, but it’s certainly okay to switch offices if the first one just isn’t for you.

Keep the environment in mind when making your decision. Is the office clean? Is the equipment up to date? Do you feel comfortable? You will likely be in this office during times when you’re not feeling well, which means you want to ensure you feel as relaxed and safe as possible.

 

Service

Another major factor to consider when making your final decision is the service you experience during your visit. Consider how the appointment was booked, how communication occurred between the booking and the appointment time, and how you were greeted when you arrived. Though the comfort and service your doctor provides is important, it’s also necessary to have great service from the office personnel and support staff too. Know what you expect from a health provider and don’t be afraid to keep looking if you don’t find it the first time.

485461844

 

Follow-Up

When all is said and done, be sure to keep the communication after the appointment in mind too.  Whether your preference is to be left alone or you expect to have a detailed follow-up with your doctor, know that going in and hold your doctor to those standards. Follow-up may be one of the factors you can control by simply having that conversation with your provider, but it’s nice to see how their process works right from the start.

 

Choosing a primary doctor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re under the weather, but with a few tips and help from those around you, it can be done in a jiff.

Are there important factors you keep in mind when selecting a health care provider that we forgot to list here? Shout out your recommendations in the comments below.

Popcorn in a bowl on wooden table

Whether you’re hosting a casual movie night with friends or a lavish wedding, we know you’re always looking for ways to make your events special. What’s one way to bring a unique atmosphere to life? Building your own popcorn bar!

Let’s face it — popcorn is a fan favorite for guests of all ages. So, grab your party planning hat and read on for ideas that will make your next event POP!

 

Presentation

First things first, you’ll want to set the mood with your popcorn bar presentation. From themed and detailed to kicked back and casual, this is your chance to dress up a classic snack in a fun way.

 

For the layout, you can simply line a folding table with a nice cloth that goes with your theme. If your event takes place outside, you may want to take this up a notch by using old barrels, a 02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 3trolley cart, or something else robust and festive.

Once the table is covered, start with the basics. What will you put your popcorn in? You may choose country-themed snack bags, large glass jars and containers with ribbons, beautifully woven baskets, or (for the more casual event) just your nearest large serving bowls. Whatever you choose, make sure you have 2-3 good “starting” bowls that are large enough to fill with popcorn for your guests. And if you can score an old popcorn machine to hold it all? Even better! You’ll also want to find several medium-sized bowls or jars to hold your “extras”, which we’ll touch on later.

Next, you’ll want to provide your guests with their personal carrier. Whether you choose paper bags, small bowls, glass jars, or something else, make sure you find a size that’s small enough to carry in one hand yet not too small that guests will have to refill often. You can even take your guests’ personal popcorn holder to the next level by adding a fun saying with a sticker, marker, or personalized vinyl adhesive. For instance, “Life is salty, but love is sweet” for a wedding, “All because he popped the question” for a bridal shower, or “Let’s get this party poppin’” for an everyday get together or special occasion!

 

Once you’ve got the table lined and the containers ready, make sure your guests have clear directions on what to do. You can use a chalkboard sign to write it out or simply line up the table in a way that guides them, for instance, their individual containers at the far left of the table, then the large popcorn bowls, then add ins, etc.

02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 4Now all that’s left is to put your own personal flair on the setting! Grab a few LED letter lights to spell out “BAR” or use twine and flowers to decorate with a country style in mind. If it’s a fun movie night for the kids, you can line the table with blinking bulbs and play up the red, white, and black theme of a classic movie popcorn bar. This is your chance to add your unique touch, so go crazy!

 

The Base

Your table is set, so now it’s time to choose the ingredients your guests will use to make their tasty treats come to life. Up first? Well, popcorn, of course!

We recommend having at least two or three “starter” popcorns for your guests. For instance, you may choose salted, unsalted, and buttered popcorn for your large bowls. Or, if you’d rather give them flavor options, you could do butter, white cheddar, and caramel to start.

The important thing to remember is that this is your guests’ chance to make their own magical creation, so don’t go too crazy giving them a ton of popcorn choices. The simpler the better, as it’s the seasonings and add-ins that will amplify the flavor later.

You can always start with our famous Deli Popcorn. Easy peasy!

 

Flavors

Now that your guests are armed and ready with their containers of popcorn, it’s time to let them jazz it up.

The idea here is to offer fun flavors they can shake over top. You might want to start them off with a light coating of melted, salted butter so that whatever seasoning they add sticks to their popcorn.

Next, simply fill regular salt and pepper shakers with custom seasonings and salts. Don’t forget to label them so your guests know what they’re getting. You’ll find a lot of these already pre-made at your local Publix, but you can also mix and match your favorite herbs and spices to make unique flavors of your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

  • Cheddar
  • White Cheddar
  • Caramel
  • Truffle Parmesan
  • Butter (powder or liquid form)
  • Kettle Corn02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 5
  • Curry
  • Smoked Paprika, Saffron & Garlic
  • Garlic
  • Barbecue
  • Sriracha-Tandoori
  • Bacon-Maple
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Italian Herb
  • Spicy Jalapeno Cheddar

Now that the popcorn is dusted, time to kick up the flavor with some special add-ins.

 

Extras

Remember those medium-sized containers we laid out on the table earlier? Here’s where you’ll put them to use. Give your guest the option to add more than just seasoning to their popcorn. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas:

  • Taffy
  • Chocolate (think M&Ms, Milk Duds, Reese’s Pieces, etc.)
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.)
  • Marshmallows
  • Pretzels

Again, this is your chance to really add pizazz. Have fun with your add-ins!

 

Finishing Touch

 

02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 5.1Wow, you did it! Your popcorn bar is an absolute masterpiece. But now, your guests have a salty-sweet snack that’s sure to leave them thirsty. So, for your finishing touch, offer the perfect complementary drink.

There are so many options for drinks to pair with popcorn. You can go simple with water (after all, they’ll be wanting that quench!) but you can also add in some extra flavor.

For instance, what about a soda bar? Line another table with regular cola as well as flavored syrups. Let guests fill their personalized jars/cups with cola and flavor to their liking, then finish with a themed straw and voilà! Ice cream is an added bonus for floats!

For the adult entertainment, you can pick the perfect wines and beers to pair with their snack creation. Our Aprons Meals Tech Specialist, Patrick Walley, says there are many pairing options. For instance, Pinot Grigio would pair well with the Truffle Parmesan while a nice India Pale Ale will complement the Sriracha-Tandoori.

Whether you choose simple or decadent for this last touch, your guests will appreciate the thirst-quenchers.

 

There you have it! Everything you need to know to put your popcorn bar together. For an added bonus, let your guests “vote” on the movie (if  it’s a movie night) or have them enter a competition for the best name of YOUR love story movie (for a wedding).

With so many ways to add your own unique touch, we know your next special event will have the whole town poppin’.

 

Have more ideas for a unique popcorn bar? Drop them in the comments below!

Special Olympics Florida Summer Games 2015, Jonathan Doring, Platinum Award

Each January, Publix associates and customers team up to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics, an organization focused on empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities. You have most likely already heard of this amazing organization, but there’s more to their story than meets the eye. Take a look at these interesting facts about Special Olympics! … (Read the full story)

Christmas home decoration with poinsettia flower and candles in foreground and tree lights in background

With the holiday season comes spruce trees, mistletoe, and of course — poinsettias. Why, exactly, are these red-leafed plants such an integral symbol of this time of year? And how do you ensure your poinsettias stay fresh throughout the month? Read on to find out!

 

 

Flowers of the Holy Night

We know this seasonal foliage as the poinsettia because the first man to bring the plant to America was Joel Roberts Poinsett. Poinsett brought the plant back to South Carolina with him in 1828; however, it has flourished for ages in Mexico.

So, why is the poinsettia plant tied to Christmas?

Well, the old legend says that a young girl named Pepita did not have a present to bring baby Jesus. She was very sad about it, but her brother encouraged her to still bring whatever she could — no matter the value — because surely Jesus would appreciate any gift from someone who loved him.

Pepita picked a bundle of weeds on their journey and laid them at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the weeds burst into a beautiful bundle of bright red flowers. Everyone present was certain they had witnessed a miracle, and thus the poinsettia became better known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena’ — Flowers of the Holy Night.

It is said that the shape of the poinsettia leaves symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, the red color of the leaves symbolizes the blood of Jesus, and the white leaves symbolize his purity.

 

Poinsettias from Publix

12_12_KS_Poinsettias_Image 3

Though there are many places you can purchase this seasonal plant, we hope you’ll chose the place you know and trust — Publix! Not only are our poinsettias two-cane plants (which means more soil volume, less time watering, and more time enjoying!), but we also offer a six and a half inch pot. You can expect the same freshness and length of life from our poinsettias that you’ve come to know with our other flowers.

Just like any plant or flower, poinsettias need to be cared for, and we make sure to keep ours protected from the elements. That’s why you’ll notice fresh, beautiful poinsettias available in our stores all the way up to the holiday.

Another bonus? We offer custom pot-covers to make our poinsettias stand out even more. In fact, we have a team of graphic design artists and vendors dedicated to creating these plant dresses! They’re exclusive to Publix, which means you won’t find these beauties anywhere else. Not only will the stunning plant brighten up your home, but its cover will add its own special element, too.

 

Make it Last

You can grab your poinsettia this year for just $6.99 at one of our stores. Once you get it home, make sure to properly hydrate the plant and keep away from the elements (think pets, little humans, etc). As we mentioned previously, the poinsettia is a very tender plant, and the more care it gets, the longer it will last. Also, ensure the plant is stored in a place with low lighting and no harsh, direct sun. If you can follow these simple tips, your poinsettia can easily last the entire month of December!

 

 

What do you love most about this holiday plant? We’d love to hear your thoughts and memories!