Ann-Marie Stephens and her husband, Ed, created Precise Portions divided plates so people could easily see what a healthy portion size looked like.
About half the plate is designated for non-starchy vegetables – and that throws veggie haters off, said Ann-Marie Stephens, who started the company with her husband in 2010.
“It’s a huge barrier because most people don’t know how to make vegetables taste great,” she said. “That is why they try to fill that spot with other things… We want to make it easy to add more vegetables to the plate.”
The couple have expanded their Precise Portions line, adding five spice blends they are calling Precise Spices. Used with a basil-infused olive oil that is also new to the Precise Portions line, the spices give vegetables a flavor boost whether roasted, stir-fried or steamed, she said.
“We are from the Caribbean. We really created the line based on recipes we grew up with,” said Stephens, a former executive at the now-defunct Circuit City chain.
“We have something we call a green seasoning which is a staple in almost every home, at least in Trinidad and Tobago, which is where I’m from. We created that as a dry spice. That features lots of celery and thyme and chives and oregano.”
The other spice blends are jerk, Himalayan seasoning salt, coconut-curry and tropical.
“We’ve had a request for at least one spice people can use for baking,” Stephens said. “The more people cook at home, the happier and the healthier everyone will be.”
The couple, formerly of the Richmond area, have relocated to Hampton Roads.
Precise Portions’ new spices line was among the Virginia-made products on display at the recent Virginia’s Finest conference presented by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and partners/sponsors in Richmond. The Virginia’s Finest program has promoted Virginia-made products for 30 years.
“It is so incredibly satisfying to share in the joy of Virginia specialty food and beverage producers bringing their products from kitchen to market to the delight of our community. Buying local is a win-win and we thank everyone for supporting Virginia agriculture,” said Olivia Wilson of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Find a list of Virginia-made products at vdacs.virginia.gov/vafinest.com/ and check many specialty stores for products, including Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, Homestead Creamery milk and ice cream, Edwards hams, Route 11 Potato Chips and Virginia peanuts.
Precise Spices are sold by mail order. Reach Stephens through www.preciseportions.com.