Give Your St. Patrick’s Day Menu a Boost with Watercress

 

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, there is an image of a smoothie with watercress in it, a hand holds a bunch of Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and there is an image of dewey clover leafsGreen beer, leprechaun decorations and corned beef and cabbage are ubiquitous staples for many people on St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know many of these customs were adopted in the US as over a million of Irish people emigrated in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Prior to then, the Irish customarily ate lamb or bacon on St. Patrick’s Day in their native country. Cattle was primarily for dairy products and beef was too expensive for the average Irish person. 

If you’re planning a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, deviate from typical corned beef and cabbage main course. Instead, try a few our favorite recipes with one of our favorite veggies, watercress, which will “beef” up your nutritional intake for the day.

Top o’ the morning to you! Start your day off right by tossing a handful of Pete’s Living Greens Organic Living Watercress or  Living Upland Cress into your AM smoothie. It’s also a great remedy for those who may have imbibed in a little too much green beer. This recipe inspired by Carrie on Vegan will keep you going during the long day of festivities. Plus, watercress and upland cress contain high levels of vitamin C, helping keep your immune system strong whether you’re braving the brisk air during a parade or partying into the wee hours.

If you are planning a tame evening with friends and family, take a cue from the Irish for your dinner menu. To start, serve these adorable shamrock tea sandwiches as a light appetizer. Guinness Risotto with Shrimp and Watercress is a sophisticated dish that balances the iconic Irish brew with the emerald, peppery superfood. If you want to experiment further, prepare Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream from Food Network. Who said leafy greens and libations don’t go together?

After dinner, have the family reuse the plastic clamshells that hold our butter lettuce to make homemade St. Patty’s Day stencils. Go to about.com and Enchanted Learning for a few pointers and simple shamrock templates. May the luck of the Irish be with you as you prepare delicious and nutritious fare for your loved ones!

 

 

Saluting U.S. Presidents and their Food

American Flag blows in the wind amongst a blue sky.In honor of President’s Day on Monday, February 20, we’re sharing #FunkyFacts about U.S. presidents and their food proclivities. And if you’re looking for culinary inspiration to celebrate on Monday, read “FOOD52’s 17 Presidents’ Favorite Foods for Presidents’ Day.”


 

  • Every other Thursday at 4pm sharp, President George Washington and his wife Martha hosted a dinner for legislators. In Ron Chernow’s biography of the inaugural leader, Washington would then explain curtly [if guests were even five minutes late] that the cook was governed by the clock and not by the company. His dentures may have been the source of his persnickety remark. “By the time he was elected, Washington only had one tooth remaining and had to rely on dentures, which not only restricted his diet to soft foods, but made public speaking extremely difficult,” writes Smithsonian Magazine.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama wasn’t the first White House resident to plant a vegetable garden. The tradition goes back to 1800 where President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams cultivated a plot of land for vegetables and fruit that the first family would eat.
  • When President Theodore Roosevelt toured the American Northwest in 1902, the avid outdoorsmen noshed on foods that we see on many farm-to-table menus today. Broiled trout, lettuce salad, Roquefort cheese and roasted duck all made appearances on the menu, which you can view here.
  • According to a 1969 article in the Reading Eagle, President Richard Nixon made a regular habit of eating cottage cheese with a healthy douse of ketchup. Why? The 37th president said he ate the diet staple for health reasons but disliked the taste, hence the sweet condiment.
  • Did you know that we’ve never had a vegetarian president? The closest would be President Bill Clinton who turned vegan diet after his tenure when he was diagnosed with heart disease. But while he was in the White House, he was a notorious fast-food lover — so much so that Saturday Night Live parodied his eating habits.
  • According to Food & Wine Magazine, President George W. Bush (2001-2009) loved cheeseburger pizza for dinner, which is literally a margarita pizza topped with cheeseburger ingredients.

For more President food history, check out this CNN.com article.

Throwing a Stress-Free Holiday Party with Nancy Waldeck

 

Nancy Waldeck is a Healthy Chef Partyologist who helps people make food that tastes so good it doesn’t even taste healthy! (And she often pairs fun wine with it too.) A cancer survivor and thriver, she shares the message of better-for-you food with learners at cancer centers, cooking schools, businesses and on Atlanta and Company (NBC 11) twice a month.

We’ve asked Nancy to share a few tips and secrets on how to throw a successful, stress-free holiday party. Cheers!


Live Gourmet: As a chef and entertainment expert who has organized large events and parties, what is some advice you can give to someone who is hosting a holiday party this season? How do you stay organized?

Nancy Waldeck: Plan, Plan, Plan. By planning ahead you can enjoy your own party! Planning ahead allows you to carefully choose what you are going to make. My goal is always to make food that tastes great, looks beautiful and makes people happy by being a little better-for-you too! 

Begin the party planning by choosing 3 to 4 appetizers that can be made ahead of time, and served at room temperature. For instance, a tapenade/hummus and fresh bite-sized veggie board, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, lettuce wraps filled with not-your-average chicken salad, roasted nuts, jerk skewers, jumbo shrimp with Asian Remoulade. If you’re having lots of folks you can always add in a cheese board, (almost everyone loves cheese!) and fill it with not only cheese, but fresh and dried fruit, too. 

LG: You’re also a wine expert. What are your go-to wines when hosting your own holiday gathering?

NW: I specialize in serving wines under $20, so they are perfect for sharing!

Always a sparkling – refreshing and festive. I choose Cava, delicious, crisp and made in the same method as champagne – only from Spain. I hand people a glass as they walk in the door. A fizzy way to get the party started!

White – Unoaked Chardonnay from California is my go-to. If I have a little more adventurous crowd, I’ll stock up on Albarino or Torrontes, from Spain and Argentina, respectively. Both are crisp, aromatic, and super food friendly. 

Rose – Fruity and pretty pink wine is not just for summer, or sissies! Rose is a great pairing with appetizers that are salty, cheesy or savory. If you choose one from Provence, you’re almost always guaranteed to pick a winner. You’ll be surprised how many people will select it from a lineup.

Red – Cotes du Rhone is a easy to drink, easy to love red wine from France. Made from a variety of grapes, but mostly Grenache and Syrah, you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a bigger crowd favorite. Spans the gap from lighter to heavier reds.

LG: Which recipe are you most excited to make this holiday season?

NW: I’m going to make a trio of beautiful hummus (recipe below). Bold Orange Pumpkin, Bright Red Beet and Vivid Green Watercress hummus, all using the same basic white bean recipe. I’m going to serve it up with lots of fresh veggies, lettuce wraps and homemade nut crackers.

LG: For a host who is trying to serve healthy yet tasty options at their upcoming gathering, what would you suggest?

NW: Think color! Make it pretty. Incorporate fruits and veggies along with your cheese and meat heavy appetizers. Instead of serving lots of breads, crackers or chips include romaine lettuce as a scooper. Use nutrition super stars like arugula in pesto and tapenade. It will add lots of flavor and bright color to your food.

White Bean Hummus (with Beets, Pumpkin or Living Watercress )
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Garlic Cloves
  2. 2 Cans Cannellini (white kidney beans) drained and well rinsed
  3. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  5. 1 Tsp Cumin
  6. 1 Tsp Turmeric
  7. 1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  8. ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional
  9. Chopped Herbs or Pumpkin Seeds or Goat Cheese for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Step One
  2. Place the garlic cloves in the processor and finely chop. Add the beans, ¼ Cup Oil, ½ Cup Beets, Pumpkin or Watercress, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice and cayenne to the food processor and process until smooth. (You may need a little more oil to make it the consistency that you like.)
  3. Step Two
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with your selected garnish and a drizzle of olive oil if you desire. Serve the hummus with lettuce wraps, fresh veggies, pita chips or breads.
Notes
  1. *Add ½ Cup Chopped Beets, Canned Pumpkin or Watercress when processing the hummus to make it colorful – and taste great!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Live Gourmet’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

 

A brown paper gift wrapped in a shiny red bow for the holidaysIn a blink of an eye, it seems like the holiday season is upon us. There are gifts to be bought, cookies to be made, and cocktails parties to frequent. Wondering how you’re going to get through this jam-packed month in one piece? We’ve asked fitness and wellness specialist Charlene Rodriguez and nutritionist Barbara Ruhs MS, RDN to lend their expertise on how to maintain a balanced routine amidst the busy holiday season.

A helpful nutritional note from Barbara

In the bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to skip meals while running around with last-minute gift shopping, parties and juggling day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, skipping meals inevitably leads to over-eating. As a dietitian, I refer to this as the “starve-stuff” cycle. Avoid this pitfall of the holiday season by planning ahead with a few of these ideas:

Eat a breakfast with protein, carbs and some healthy fat, such as avocado toast topped with a scrambled egg. 

Plan and pack healthy snacks if you know that you may skip a meal. Pre-portion 2 TB of nuts and a piece of fruit. 

At lunch and dinner, use the “half of your plate” healthy rule, filling it with fruits and vegetables to maintain a nutritious balance. 

Blueberries, peaches and strawberries lay on a cutting boardMake sure to stock your fridge with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to stave off the flu and maintain a healthy immune system during the holidays. Leave fresh fruit on your countertop instead of decadent treats like cookies to serve as a visual cue to eat more!

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on http://www.neighborhoodnutrition.com/

Fitness Tips from Charlene:

During the holidays your portions might be larger and higher in calories, leading you to feel sometimes lethargic. As challenging as it may be to motivate yourself to workout in the thick of festivities, exercise is key.

To maintain your healthy weight, I recommend 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, dancing, water aerobics or going for a leisure bike ride, three to four days per week. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you should bump up the intensity, with jogging, hiking, spinning class or weight lifting, to 30 to 60 minutes four to five days a week.

Keep in mind: Taking 20 to 60 minutes out of your possibly 15-hour day to exercise is nothing!  Be mindful of your health; only you can take the best care of you.

For more exercise tips, check out this blog post from earlier this fall.

Last, but certainly not least, Charlene shares ways to de-stress through mindfulness meditation

Young woman meditating indoors

In addition to exercise and eating in a well-balanced way, taking time for yourself to breath and reflect during the holidays is equally as important. One way to do this is through mindfulness meditation.

Why practice mindfulness? It can help ease chronic pain, it elevates mood, helps with managing depression and anxiety, it improves sleep, to name a few.

To get started:

  • Choose a quiet place
  • Sit up or lie down, keeping back straight
  • Palms facing up, hands are open
  • Clear you mind from distractions, even if you have to start again several times
  • Focus on your breathing and your body relaxing with each breath (be mindful of your muscles relaxing but not to a state of slouching over)
  • For beginners, try meditating 1 to 10 minutes a day   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Gourmet on Last Minute Halloween Party Ideas

 

Finding yourself down to the wire in preparation of your family Halloween party? We’re here to help. In this blog post you’ll find everything you need for you and your family to have a spooktacular Halloween.

The holiday isn’t the same without original costumes, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Molly Sim’s “Grown in the Garden” DIY costumes are both unique and easy to put together. Dressing up as a delectable fruit or veggie may even encourage your kids to eat more fresh produce! For easy directions go to Sim’s website

Now that you have costumes out of the way, start planning your menu. Surprise your guests with our original Autumnal squash salad served in a pumpkin (recipe below) alongside skeleton crudité and pizza mummies

Don’t forget that a Halloween party isn’t the same without some “ghoul” ole’ fashioned fun. Frankenstein Bowling anyone? The game is a great way to reuse your empty can goods, and your kids can join in the fun of painting colorful Frankensteins on the cans. Go to Good Housekeeping for more Halloween game ideas

And last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to eat, drink, and be SCARY!

 

Live Gourmet's Halloween Squash Salad Served in a Pumpkin Bowl
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Ingredients
  1. (You may not need the full amount of recommended ingredients depending on the size of the salad.)
  2. 1 medium tolarge pumpkin (for a party-size serving)
  3. Or X mini pumpkins (for individual servings)
  4. 1 (1.17 pound) package of boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
  5. 3/4 cup of Olive Oil (to cook chicken and squash)
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. ½ lemon
  8. 1 (3.5 oz.) package of dried cranberries
  9. 1 (3.5 oz.) package of candied walnuts or pecans
  10. 1 (4 oz.) log of goat cheese
  11. 2-3 packages of pre-cut butternut squash or 1 whole butternut squash
  12. 1-2 heads of Live Gourmet® Living Butter Lettuce, or Grower Pete’s Certified Organic Living Butter Lettuce
Dressing Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  2. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. ¾ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Carve the pumpkin as you would for a jack o'lantern. Carve out a lid wider than
  2. usual to create the serving bowl. Next, scrape out and remove stringy, pumpkin innards until the interior is completely smooth. (To save time, prepare pumpkin(s) up to 2 days ahead.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butternut squash pieces on a cookie sheet (if cooking a full squash cut in half and place skin side down) drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
  4. Let squash cool (for full squash, peel away outer skin and cut into 1” squares).
  5. While squash is cooking, place chicken tenders in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Next, drizzle chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is tender or no longer pink.
  7. In a small mixing bowl or carafe, stir all dressing ingredients together.
  8. Remove butter lettuce leaves from head. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel or a salad spinner.
  9. In a separate mixing bowl, mix gently torn lettuce leaves, chicken and squash in a
  10. bowl. Crumple goat cheese over lettuce; add nuts and cranberries and gently toss.
  11. Transfer salad to mini pumpkins or large serving pumpkin.
  12. Pour a light coating of dressing over pumpkin filled salad and serve.
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Celebrate Fourth of July with a Red, White and Blue Salad made with our Live Gourmet Living Red Butter Lettuce

 

FullSizeRender (3)What would Fourth of July be without hot dogs grilled on the barbecue, your aunt’s famous cherry pie and creamy potato salad? Though these ubiquitous summer dishes are tasty, it doesn’t hurt to add fruits and veggies to your spread.

A red, white and blue salad made with our Living Red Butter Lettuce will be a colorful tasty addition—not to mention it will boost your vitamin and mineral intake for the day. Did you know? “Red-leaf varieties of butter lettuce [like ours] feature leaves that are similar to green-leaf varieties but have distinctive edges, swirls or speckles of red on the foliage,” says the SF Gate.

Butter Lettuces have the softest leaves among all lettuce varieties and are tender with cup shaped leaves that create a loosely formed head. They often resemble a flowering rose. Red Butter Lettuce is rich in calcium and a good source of iron, vitamins A and C.

Pick up our Live Gourmet Living Red Butter Lettuce in your local grocer’s fresh produce section and get cookin’!

Red, White and Blue Salad with Live Gourmet’s Living Red Butter Lettuce
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Salad
  1. 1 Head of Live Gourmet’s Living Red Butter Lettuce
  2. ½ cup cherries halved and pitted
  3. ½ cup raspberries
  4. 1 cup blueberries
  5. 1 apple peeled and diced
Dressing
  1. 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  2. 1 tablespoon grain mustard
  3. 2 teaspoons honey
  4. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  5. pinch of Cayenne pepper
  6. ½ cup of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients together except for the olive oil. Once the ingredients have been mixed well, slowly add the olive oil into the mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Wash all of the salad ingredients and tear the Living Red Butter Lettuce into bite size pieces.
  3. Peel and dice the apple
  4. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle the dressing on top
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Live Gourmet Twist

 

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day nor is it National Margarita Day. It actually commemorates the infamous Battle of Puebla where the Mexican army defeated the French in 1862.

An intrinsic part of many people’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations is traditional Mexican food. Yet, the taco that many Americans have grown to adore — ground beef, iceberg lettuce and cheddar cheese stuffed into a hard shell — isn’t authentic Mexican fare at all.

The first iteration of the taco is thought to have been invented by Mexican miners in the eighteenth century. Many traditional tacos, which are still made today, are prepared with soft white corn tortillas and can be filled with spit-roasted meats, fish, or even exotic protein like grasshoppers, reports Serious Eats. These tacos are often small and easy to eat on-the-go, hence the name “street taco.”

This week in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’re featuring a twist on the classic street taco by substituting corn tortillas with our living butter lettuce. This variation is both Paleo-friendly and gluten free.

Fed and Fit’s Paleo Street Taco (serves 3-4)
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package of reduced fat ground turkey
  2. 3 carrots cut into 1/8” discs
  3. 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  4. 1 cup fresh salsa
  5. 3 limes (2 for cooking and 1 for garnish)
  6. 1 cup chopped cilantro
  7. 1 head of Live Gourmet or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Butter Lettuce
  8. ¼ cup of diced purple onion
  9. 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  10. Guacamole for toppings
  11. Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the ground turkey, carrots, cumin and about ½ cup of the salsa. Stir the mixture together – making sure to crumble the turkey meat as it cooks.
  2. For complete directions go to: http://fedandfit.com/2011/07/11/paleo-street-tacos/
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up Your Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Dinner with our Living Watercress 

 

shamrock_01_png_by_clipartcotttage-d7979djGreen beer, leprechaun decorations and corned beef and cabbage are ubiquitous staples for many people on St. Patrick’s Day. But did you many of these customs were adopted in the US as over a million of Irish people emigrated in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Prior to then, the Irish customarily ate lamb or bacon on St. Patrick’s Day in their native country. Cattle was primarily for dairy products and beef was too expensive for the average Irishmen. 

If you’re planning a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, deviate from typical corned beef and cabbage main course. And instead, prepare a tasty roasted lamb and add a few vegetable sides to “beef” up the meal’s nutritional factor. 

The most nutrient dense vegetable that you can incorporate is our Living Watercress and Upland Cress varieties. Watercress is a significant source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health and vision. The green leafy vegetable’s nutritional value doesn’t stop there.  One cup provides 106 percent of DV for vitamin K, 22 percent for vitamin A and 24 percent for vitamin C. 

Photo: YUKI SUGIURA via The Telegraph
Photo: Yuki Sugiura via The Telegraph

Combine a powerhouse side dish like the Telegraph’s baby potatoes with watercress with Martha Stewart’s stout braised lamb for an authentic and well balanced Irish meal. 

Do you have a watercress side that pairs well with your St. Patrick’s Day meal? Snap a photo of your culinary feat then share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us @LiveGourmet. We will share them with our foodie followers! 

Live Gourmet to the Rescue with Healthy Post-Holiday Meal Ideas

 

The holiday season is often a whirlwind with gift wrapping, cocktail parties and spreading good cheer in the community. If you’re hosting dinner over the holidays, you most likely won’t have a chance to relax until after Christmas Day.  To help you recharge, we’ve compiled a few simple post-holidays meals.

Holiday Leftovers InstagramAfter noshing on copious amounts of egg nog and cookies, you may be in search of something green. Look no further than this walnut gorgonzola butter lettuce salad —compliments of our very own Sam Overgaag. The toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, living butter lettuce, upland cress and gorgonzola cheese make a flavorful combination while our greens provide ample amounts of vitamins A and C and calcium. Add a hard-boiled egg for a boost of protein.

To make use of your leftover bird, add white meat to these Asian-inspired lettuce cups. Just substitute the ground turkey for shredded. The finger food also makes a great hors d’oeuvre for a New Year’s party!

Did you prepare pork tenderloin, chicken breast or even fish for a gathering and have extra? Use this Eating Well recipe, made originally with grilled filet mignon, as a source of inspiration to try something new with your leftover entrée. The delicious herb butter is versatile and is great on just about any kind of protein and even on veggies.

With a bit of ingenuity and remaining dishes from your holiday feast, you can whip up a healthy, satisfying meal without missing out on quality time with your loved ones. 

Thanksgiving Part II with Live Gourmet® – The Final Countdown

 

If you caught last week’s LETTUCE BE FRESH™ post, you now have a delicious turkey and stuffing recipe in the works and some helpful food safety tips under your belt. But before you cast your apron aside, make sure you you’ve planned a few quick and easy side dishes as well. To help you prepare, we’ve raided the Live Gourmet recipe vault for autumn-inspired healthy, yet delicious recipes. These will surely satisfy both your meat- and veggie- loving guests!

IMG_87741Live Gourmet’s Terrific Turkey Day Accompaniments

Sautéed Watercress with Cranberries, Pine Nuts and Raisins – A quick-fix veggie medley featuring our Living Watercress, an indelible superfood to boot!

Upland Cress, Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil Thanksgiving Salad – With vibrant pumpkin and creamy goat cheese, this Upland Cress salad won’t go unnoticed on the buffet. It’s also a hearty option for your vegetarian loved ones.

Butter Lettuce, Persimmon, Feta, and Hazelnut Salad – Who said there could only be one salad this holiday? Persimmon, an adorable seasonal fruit, joins forces with feta and hazelnut to create a truly unique butter lettuce salad.

Holiday Party Watercress Cocktail — Wow your guests with this unexpected, vibrant green libation made with our very own Living Watercress!

IMG_8792Even after your pleasantly full guests have all gone home, you can still enjoy the fruits of your Thanksgiving labor for days to come. How? Check out our blog for more unconventional recipes that will surely make your turkey leftovers exciting again.

Also, share your pics of your Live Gourmet-inspired dishes by tagging us @LiveGourmet and use the hashtag #LiveGourmetForTheHolidays.