April is National Pecan Month!
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April is National Pecan Month!

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 4:38 pm
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PecansDid you know that April is National Pecan Month? This delicious and versatile nut is the only native North American tree nut. In fact, America produces around 80% of the world’s pecan supply. Texas even made the pecan tree their national tree in 1919. With so much love for the pecan in the states, it’s no wonder why we devote a whole month to it!

In addition to tasting great, pecans are extremely nutritious. Pecans are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are great for your heart and overall health. They are high in healthy unsaturated fat, which can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels in your blood. Some research even shows that diets high in dietary fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids help prevent artery disease and stroke.

Pecans are also packed with more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. They also contain a lot of your dietary fiber with just 1 ounce containing about 10% of your daily recommended intake! The high level of vitamin E helps protect your mucus membranes to keep you free from infection and protects your skin from harmful free radicals. They’re also high in B-complex vitamins, which make them a great energy-boosting snack!

Pecans are fantastic because there are so many ways to enjoy them! You can enjoy eating them plain as a mid-day snack, or added to some of your favorites. Pecans can be used in place of croutons to give your salad a little crunch. Try them chopped on top of oatmeal, cereal or even ice cream. Of course, they’re delicious in baked goods like pecan pie, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and more.

You can find bulk amounts of pecans for a better deal. You can store shelled pecans for up to two years in your freezer. A sealed plastic bag is best when storing this way. They’ll also last about 9 months when stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.