Spruce Up Living Greens This Spring

 

Flowers on a picnic table for Sprucing Up Living Greens Blog PostSpring has graced us with its presence this week — though it may be hard to tell if you’re still thawing out in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Whether outside your window looks dreary or lush, try adding color and crunch to our greens this spring to spruce up your meals. 

Besides tasting fresh and delicious, fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet. Here’s some food for thought: Eating ten portions a day may lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and pre-mature death according to a recent Imperial College London study. Furthermore, researchers found that subjects who ate 10 portions lowered their chance of developing life-threatening diseases more than those who only consumed five. 

It’s time to up those leafy green and brightly colored produce into your daily diet. To step into spring on the right foot, we’ve included a few nutritious and delicious ideas. 

Why not knock out several tasty veggies in one dish? Taste and Savor’s Cauliflower Tabbouleh in Living Butter Lettuce Cups combines cauliflower and our Butter Lettuce to create a crisp meatless snack or lunch. Along with glucosinolate-rich cauliflower, our Living Butter Lettuce is also full of vitamins and has high doses of beta-carotene which is often linked to cancer prevention.

Spring showers have you stuck inside? Cheer up. Brita Britnell’s mango chicken lettuce wraps are sunshine on plate. Zucchini, carrots and onion commingle with mango chicken. We recommend trying our Living Butter Lettuce as the wrap.

At the beginning of the week, whip up our Cressto Pesto and freeze individual servings in small containers. Take one out to thaw in the morning and serve it with crunchy crudité for a healthy afternoon snack. 

WEBMD writes that, “Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt — and one of the simplest, experts say.”

To spruce up your daily salad, try adding our Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy dressing to a bowl full of crisp Living Greens. 

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup of good olive oil
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. A spoonful of grainy mustard
  4. A garlic clove finely chopped
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

 

Attention Friends, Fans, and Foodies…Want to Cash in on Your Passion? Enter A Better Butter Lettuce! Recipe Contest!

A Live Gourmet Original Chef Casear SaladDo you have a signature sandwich? Do you make a salad that no one can refuse? Then it’s time for you to cash in on your cooking passion with Hollandia Produce, L.P.’s first ever recipe contest.

Here’s how you can join in the fun. Now through July 31, create and submit an original butter lettuce recipe and enter it into one of our three category competitions: Salads/Sides, Appetizers, or Main Course. We’ll award a First-, Second- and Third-Place winner from each category with a $150, $75 and $50 gift card, respectively. And, we’ll award a $1,000 Williams-Sonoma gift card for the best recipe overall.

Need inspiration to get started? Visit www.lettucerecipecontest.com and download our six, chef-created recipes each featuring a different way to prepare and savor Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce. Whether you enjoy butter lettuce as a wrap, in a smoothie, on a sandwich or as Caesar, Wedge or salad, we have a delicious recipe for every occasion.

Then, when you’re ready, simply upload your recipe with a photo and the hashtag #butterlettucecontest onto the same website. A Live Gourmet original chef wrap receipeAlso, be sure to share your recipe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so your foodie friends, fans and followers can you cheer you on or join in the competition too!

Butter Lettuce is both smooth (hence its name) and hardy — it’s an ideal stand-in for bread, especially if you’re counting carbs. It’s also rich in antioxidants and vitamins, particularly K, which is essential for a healthy heart and strong bones. But, if you need more convincing, read why the folks of thekitchn.com love this multifaceted green.

We know there are countless ways that our living butter lettuce can be prepared, served and enjoyed. That’s why we can’t wait to discover and share your original butter lettuce recipe!

Greens Abound in Easter and Passover Meals

 

This week all over the world, families and friends will gather to celebrate Passover (April 3-11) and Easter (April 5). Cooking a special meal for your loved ones can be stressful, but with a bit of planning, you can calmly create delectable dishes that your guests will remember for years to come.

One of the Passover traditions is the Seder dinner. The word Seder means order in Hebrew, which refers to 15 rituals that are Greens dipped in salted water as part of the Seder Dinner ritualperformed during the Passover Seder meal. One of those rituals is the dipping of a green such as watercress in a dish of salt water before eating. These greens symbolize the coming of spring and suggest the perpetual renewal of life.

Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Photo: foodnetwork.com

Watercress serves as an excellent side dish to the traditional Seder brisket. Try Food Network’s Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette; it will add color and crunch to the dinner. Or, if you’re a garlic lover, try Six Burner Sue’s Wilted Watercress with Garlic Chips.

Rack of Lamb with Watercress
Cooking channel TV.com Recipes: Michael-Symon

The Christian holiday also has an abundance of symbols and rituals, one of the most popular being the lamb. In past centuries, it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. Ironically, not so fortunate for the lamb, as it’s become a traditional staple of the holiday meal. We recommend this Rack of Lamb with Watercress, featured last month on our Lettuce Be Fresh Blog.

If you have little ones, you’re sure to have a visit from the Easter Bunny who may be able to sway your youngsters into eating more vegetables–at least for the holiday. Hop into the kitchen and whip up this nutritious salad that will have your children cheering for more.

Easter Bunny Salad (Originally on the Lettuce be Fresh Blog in March 2011)

(6 Servings)
• 3 cups cottage cheese
• 2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
• 2 granny smith apples, diced
• 1 to 2 tbsp. honey
Combine everything and chill. Serve over a bed of Living Butter Lettuce

Happy Easter and Passover from Hollandia Produce L.P.

 

 

 

Wishing you a wonderful spring holiday season from our family to yours! Share your holiday meal photos with us via Instagram and Twitter @livegourmet

Spring Renewal: Greens Meet Grains

Now that spring is here and our surrounding flora and fauna are emerging from their winter slumbers, we too can experience a renewal. One way we can achieve this is by consciously eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

According to a Harvard.edu article, fresh produce and grains, like brown rice and multigrain bread, are some of the best sources of fiber. The essential carbohydrate regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helps us feel full longer. While distinguishing itself from other starches and sugars, fiber doesn’t negatively contribute to your caloric intake.

Avocado, radish, upland cress, sea salt are arranged on a table
Click here to view a Flipagram video of assembling Avocado Toast with Upland Cress

Leafy greens like watercress and upland cress also provide servings of fiber. Together with an organic grain, watercress can complete the ultimate hearty meal. We’ve dreamt up two unconventional dishes that include high levels of fiber that you can eat morning, noon or night. Bonus: They also require little preparation and clean-up time.

Want to shake up your morning routine? Try Avocado toast with Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress. Toast a piece of organic whole grain bread to your desired doneness, layer with thinly sliced avocado and radish (which is also high in fiber), top with a cup of watercress, a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the colorful toast, which will be the envy of your Instagram foodie followers.

Savory Oatmeal with upland cress and root vegetables is a twist on breakfast for dinner. It’s even vegetarian! All you need is a whole grain like rolled oats, parmesan cheese, root vegetables (we used carrots and parsnip) and Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress.

Ingredients, including watercress, parsnip and rolled oat
Click here to view a Flipagram video of preparing Savory Oatmeal with Watercress

To prepare: Cook the oats according to packaging instructions while you roast the root vegetables in the oven at 400 degrees. Once vegetables are tender, add them to the oats and mix in a ¼ cup of cheese. Last but not least, add a mountain of upland cress or watercress for a subtle spicy bite.

Continue to experiment this spring by combining fruits, vegetable and whole grains to create your own unique, vitamin-rich meals. Once summer hits, you’ll have developed eating habits that make you feel energized and healthier. You may even not eye last year’s swimsuit with your usual wariness.

Top 5 Superfoods for a New Year/New You

If you’ve resolved to create a “new” you this New Year, we applaud you. While self-improvement involves many areas, improving your diet and health, will invariably impact most other aspects of your life.2015 Goals

According to a study that looked at the highest concentrations of 17 nutrients considered important for public health and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are the top five powerhouse vegetables considered the most nutrient-dense foods available today. We recommend you begin your New Year/New You resolution by incorporating these top five super foods into your daily meal planning.

1. Watercress: Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress ranked highest on the nutrient scale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. In fact, one serving of this peppery flavored veggie contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber. Also, it contains high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, K and E.

iStock_000054910914_Large2. Chinese Cabbage: This cruciferous vegetable contains natural chemical compounds that may help prevent cancer. It’s also extremely high in vitamin C, a great source of fiber; and rich in vitamin K, which is linked to slowing bone loss and promoting faster bone healing. Cabbage is also low in calories, sodium and cholesterol and fat free!

3. Chard: Chard is a relative of the beet family that includes Swiss chard, leaf beet, spinach beet, silver beet, seakale beet, and white beet. Chard contains large, tender, and mild tasting leaves. Swiss chard produces beautifully colorful stems, ranging from green to orange, pink, red and yellow. Also fat- cholesterol-free, this veggie is best known for being a great source of magnesium and vitamins A, C and K.

red swiss chard 4. Beet Greens: Beet greens are the leaves of the very nutritious beet plant. While beets themselves are loaded with nutrients, it may be surprising that beet greens have even higher levels of essential nutrients including, vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium. These dark greens, which can be eaten raw or cooked, are also chock-full of calcium, iron, and copper!

 5. Spinach: Like watercress, this well-known super food is available year-round and its mild flavor and texture make it a versatile recipe ingredient. Spinach is also rich in magnesium, folate and iron, nutrients that are necessary for energy and healthy red blood cell production. And, like our other leafy green it’s high in vitamins A, C, and K.

Start your year on the right track by planning well-rounded meals for you and your family. Keep in mind, no single fruit or veggie can give you all of your necessary nutrients, so incorporate a large variety throughout the day, and you’ll be well on your way to creating that healthier new you this new year.

 

Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wraps

Time to get a little nutty. In honor of National Nut Day, here’s a new wholesome and scrumptious gluten-free, Cashew Chicken Butter Lettuce Wrap recipe from shescookin.com. This quick and warm meal is perfect for the autumn weather, and the best part about it is, it’s also ideal for leftovers.

Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com
Photo by Priscilla Willis from shescookin.com

Ingredients

(Servings: 3)

2 Large chicken breasts

2 green onions

4 beet greens or  Swiss chard leaves and stems

½ cup of low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup of peanut butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or peanut oil

¼ cup of cashews

2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

10 Live Gourmet or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables and chicken breasts into half inch pieces.
  2. Heat sesame and sunflower oils over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and cook for 2 -3 minutes, until wilted. Remove greens from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Stir fry chicken pieces in hot oils for about 8 minutes or until they’re no longer pink. Remove and add the chicken pieces to the cooked greens.
  4. Add peanut butter and coconut aminos to the hot oils and stir together until thickened. Next, add in chicken broth and continue stirring until well mixed. Fold in the cashews, sesame seeds, and chicken and greens mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head. Rinse and pat dry.
  6. Go “nutty’ and create your own wrap!

 

Dos and Don’ts for Extending Leafy Greens

best-practices-for-produce

How frustrating is it when you have to discard unused leafy greens, because they wilted before you had the opportunity to eat them? This is bound to happen with fresh produce. Fortunately, you can extend the shelf life of your leafy greens and to help you, we’ve compiled this list of dos and don’ts.

Dos:

  1. Do choose living leafy greens with their roots still attached such as our Live Gourmet® or our certified organic Grower Pete’s brands; they preserve freshness longer (usually 5-7 days) than conventionally grown greens.
  2. Do store living lettuce products in their plastic clamshell containers and keep their roots attached. live-gourmet-living-butter-lettuceThese clamshells function as mini-greenhouses or micro-climates, and provide a protective barrier that helps maintain and extend the product’s natural freshness, color, and flavor.
  3. Do store our cress products in an air tight container (such as a Ziploc® or Tupperware®) with their roots still attached.
  4. Do refrigerate your leafy greens as soon as possible. Produce needs to be stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Our lettuce can be stored anywhere in the fridge as long as it’s in its clamshell. Cress products should be stored in the crisper section.
  5. Do store leafy greens away from other fruits and vegetables, because the hormone that plants produce, called ethylene, can hasten ripening.
  6. Do pre-clean surfaces being used to prepare leafy greens, then wash and pat dry your leafy greens before using or storing. This is best practice for all produce.
  7. Do check your leafy greens often and remove wilted or damaged leaves and throw-out the product if the whole plant looks wilted or old.
  8. Do adhere to your product’s Use By date and discard unused product that exceeds it.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t store your leafy greens anywhere other than your fridge or leave them outside of it for too long.
  2. Don’t store the root ball or plant in water. Our products have absorbed all of their necessary waterlive-gourmet-living-butter-lettuce before they reach you.
  3. Don’t refrigerate leafy greens while still wet, or even damp. Dry them well after rinsing and return them to their recommended containers.
  4. Don’t store leafy greens and other produce near any potential contaminants, such as raw meat
  5. Don’t feel obligated to eat the whole plant in one meal. Our leafy greens are harvested at your will. You remove as many leaves as needed and return the remaining product to the fridge for future use.
  6. Don’t eat your leafy greens past the expired Use By date; discard them immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  7. Don’t waste your leafy greens or other produce. Stock up on their nutritional value and eat 7-9 servings per day!

fruits-and-veggies-more-matters

Back to School Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

 

The summer has come to an end, and that means the kids are heading back to school! We know it’s difficult to provide your children with healthy meals all of the time, especially during the busy work week. That’s why we’ve put together these fresh ideas for nutrient-rich lunches that are quick and easy to prepare and tasty for your kids!                                                                                                                                          healthy- lunchbox

Sandwich Spruce-up:  The USDA recommends that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Here’s a simple way to accomplish this at lunch. Buy a lunchbox with separate compartments and fill with your child’s favorite fruits and veggies. We recommend cutting them in fun shapes and sizes. If raw veggies aren’t appealing, try steaming them the night before. Fill the other compartment with a fun shaped sandwich, using a cookie cutter, that’s filled with lean cold cuts, freshly sliced tomato, a slice of cheese, a large leaf of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce, and a bit of mayo and mustard served on whole wheat bread.
thermos- lunch

Warm- up with Watercress: Prepare for the cooler autumn weather by purchasing your child a good thermos to take to school. During a cold week make a nutritious soup like this Garden Cress Soup for dinner from recipetips.com. You can even substitute the garden cress with Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress to increase nutrition, since watercress is the most nutrient dense vegetable available. The soup will be great for leftovers, which you can put in a thermos for your child’s lunch the next day. Your child will be so happy to have something warm they won’t event notice they’re eating vegetables! Compliment this meal with a little lettuce or fruit salad and a slice of cookie cutter, fun-shaped bread to dip in the soup.

Live Gourmet Butter LettuceCheer up chicken: Send your child with a “make your own lunch.” Make this quick and tasty chicken salad recipe the night before. When you wake up put the chicken salad in one compartment of the lunchbox. Then tear off and rinse a few leaves from a head of Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce and add those into another compartment. Put in a spoon, and tell your child to scoop the chicken salad into the lettuce cups so they can make their own little lettuce wraps at lunch!  Add some sliced fruit to another compartment and there you have it a fun, well-rounded lunchbox meal, which makes a delicious to-go lunch for you too!

Super Confused about Superfoods?

Ever wondered what’s so super about a superfood? Are you confused about the difference between watercress and upland cress? You’re not alone, so let us clarify the facts for you.

A superfood is an extremely nutrient-dense food that, when eaten, is considered to be very beneficial for maintaining good health. These foods tend to be unprocessed, and often contain high concentrations of antioxidants and phytonutrients, believed to help prevent cancer and a wide range of other chronic diseases.
Cress is an overarching name for the peppery-flavored, dark leafy greens that fall within the mustard family. It comes in a variety of forms including: watercress, garden cress, upland cress, winter cress, bitter cress, yellow cress, pennycress, and rock cress. These plants are related to the more popularly known superfoods, broccoli and kale. In fact, in a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cress has just superseded kale and broccoli, having been named the most nutrient-dense vegetable available on the market.

living-upland-cress-brochure

At Hollandia Produce, we grow two strains of cress: Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress. Both products are certified as antioxidant superfoods with 127 percent higher antioxidant density than the USDA reported average value. In addition to being loaded with essential nutrients, our cress products also contain as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than milk, and of course, high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, andvitamins A, B1, B6, K, and E!

click here to read brochure

 

It’s important to remember: no single food can provide you with the all of the nutrients necessary for good health. However, maintaining a healthy and diverse diet, filled with fruits and vegetables, including those that are considered superfoods, is good practice toward achieving this goal. Besides, in addition to being nutritious, they’re tasty and typically low calorie and high in fiber! Isn’t that reason enough to call them superfoods?

How Hollandia Produce, L.P.’s Watercress Can Help You Avoid Chronic Diseases

Our zesty watercress has always been a tasty favorite to add a little spice to any recipe, but who knew it was also one of the highest vegetables in nutrient density. In a new study naming powerhouse fruits and vegetables, our watercress has been named a category leader in nutrition.

grower-pete's-organic-watercressThe study, which was recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was conducted by Jennifer Di Noia, a researcher from the William Paterson University in New Jersey. Di Noia conducted the study, in order to provide a clear definition for “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” that are known to contain the highest amounts of crucial nutrients needed to avoid chronic diseases. It looked at fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate, zinc, and Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, the 15 nutrients considered of public health importance by The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and Institute of Medicine. “It is a nutrients-to-calories ratio that expresses the means of percent daily values for the qualifying nutrients the food provides per 100 calories, so the higher-ranking foods provide more nutrients-per-calories,” explained Di Noia.

Of the 41 fruits and vegetables identified as meeting the criterion, watercress topped the list. That’s right ladies and gentlemen our organic watercress is at the top with a perfect density score of 100, now who can top that? Watercress-nutrient-dense-vegetable

Earlier this year our cress products including Live Gourmet ® Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Watercress, were certified as antioxidant-rich Superfoods by SCS Global Services, a certifier of food quality and safety. SCS confirmed that these greens not only contain cancer fighting antioxidants but also support eye health, with their high levels of lutein. This study validates our own third-party research and recent Superfood certification, as well as helps you make more informed choices about foods that can positively impact your overall health.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and grab some watercress to add to your favorite meal today, and start strengthening those biological binoculars, absorbing your necessary vitamins and minerals, and kicking those cancer-causing compounds right out.