The holidays are here, possibly the happiest and unhealthiest time of year. On Thanksgiving when we’re giving thanks and celebrating friends and family, we seem to put health last. Start a new tradition and make health a priority this year! Why not start the holiday with a Turkey Trot or family fun run/walk in your neighborhood? And eat breakfast, even though you may plan to eat a large meal later. Studies show that exercise and breakfast keep us from eating too much throughout the day. For breakfast try fiber and protein-rich foods to keep you satisfied, maybe a veggie omelet with a side of fruit. And, for the big meal, keep two or three of your family’s favorite traditional holiday foods and scrap the least favorites for fresh veggies and fruit salad. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab Continue reading

The Pear Witch Project!

Halloween is here and so is the candy… I’ve devised some tricks, not treats, to keep the candy calories at bay. Start the holiday by filling a bowl full of yummy, healthful snacks that include pears, apples, and your other favorite fruits and nutrient-dense grab-and-go items. Snack on these instead of the bowl of candy while the ghosts and goblins ring your doorbell. Speaking of that bowl of candy, leave it by the door, on the porch, or somewhere where you can’t easily grab a treat. Even better, get out of the house and walk with your kids or your friends’ kids as they collect treats – you get the benefit of spending time with friends AND getting in your steps! Now that all of that collected candy is in the house, put it out of sight – maybe in Continue reading

Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year is upon us once again, and the Year of the Snake is sure to be extra-exciting for USA Pears – which, for the first time, will be available in China! We’re very excited to introduce USA Pears in Chinese supermarkets. The first Green and Red Anjou pears are currently on a ship en route over the Pacific. To celebrate the holiday – which takes place on February 10 this year – in China as well as other Southeast Asian countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, we’re setting up special pear displays in the produce section. Shoppers can receive USA Pear festive gift boxes and red envelopes to symbolize good luck and prosperity for the New Year. Red Anjou is particularly popular in Asia thanks to its unique and auspicious color.  So this variety is a great choice for Continue reading

Merry and Light?

I have been counseling one of my culinary students for weight loss; she has been successful and is very determined to lose weight through the holidays. Although I know she can, it’s important for each of us to relax and take care of ourselves in every way at this time of year. Generally I suggest that the holidays are a good time to maintain weight, rather than lose. Many of us experience increased stress, more social events, limited exercise schedules, and an abundance of treat foods! Although weight loss is possible, why not focus on exercise, eating well, and allowing some holiday enjoyment?  After the New Year, set healthy goals and go for it! Having a healthy relationship with food and outlook on the holidays is important, as is enjoying yourself and your social calendar. Here are some tips for Continue reading

Prepare and Prevent!

I was in the market’s frozen aisle perusing veggies when I overheard a disheartened lady down the aisle say to her friend, “The holidays are here. I’ll never lose this weight.” I think we’ve all had a splurge-filled holiday season before, but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to repeat this disaster every year. The unofficial end of the holiday season, New Year’s Eve, is two months away! Let’s not throw 1/6 of the year away because of back-to-back holidays. Change your mindset to take care of yourself. This year, vow to prepare and prevent instead of repair and repent! Clean out your pantry and fridge, and pull those clothes off of the treadmill! Instead of boxes and bags of processed food, fill your pantry, your fridge, and your body with fresh, delicious fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Toss the leftover Halloween candy, too. Save Continue reading

Star-Spangled Spirit

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday and it’s just around the corner! I love the food, the fanfare, the fireworks and fun times with friends. Instead of the rich, heavy foods served on winter holidays, Independence Day is an opportunity to explore summer’s fresh foods without ruining your waistline. Alongside sweet corn grilled in the husk and fresh hand-picked tomatoes topped with basil and olive oil, I am particularly fond of grilling fresh pineapple, peaches and pears or fresh fruit salads that marry the flavors and patriotic colors of summer fruits. Fruit salads are incredibly easy to make, and since you only need fresh fruits, they are a healthful addition to any outing. For a red, white and blue salad, start with raspberries or sliced strawberries, add blueberries or blackberries, and finish with fresh cut, slightly crisp pears; mix Continue reading

Happy Birthday, MyPlate!

It’s already been a year since Michelle Obama and the USDA revealed the MyPlate logo, which has helped thousands of Americans make healthier choices when grocery shopping, preparing meals, and eating. Thankfully, we went from the confusing, complicated MyPyramid (where’s the nutrition?) to the streamlined, easy-to-understand MyPlate. And just in time, too – statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that more than 1/3 of American adults are obese, as well as 17% of all U.S. children and teens. It’s time we make healthier choices, for ourselves and future generations! So as MyPlate celebrates its first birthday, I thought I’d share some timely tips for keeping your party plates fresh, colorful, and healthy! See things in a new light! Even simple ingredients can be re-imagined in exciting new ways. Take my recent example: I had delicious roasted radishes in Continue reading

A Pear-fectly Sweet Easter

For me, it finally starts to feel like spring when Easter rolls around. Everything’s awash in pastel colors, the weather is (hopefully) warming, and fresh spring foods take the menu: asparagus, lamb, berries. This year, I decided to bring together my love for great food and creative crafts with these little Easter projects: Sweet Easter Treats Everyone loves a good Easter egg hunt, right? There’s the spring sunshine, the thrill of the hunt, and best of all, the eggs! Filled with chocolate or coins, they’re a small but sweet award. Imagine if your next Easter basket looked like this after the hunt: Beautiful! But let’s take a closer look.   These aren’t your ordinary Easter eggs. They’re egg-shaped Anjou pears! Decorated with a careful hand and some sugary cake frosting, these pears become even sweeter. They’d be delicious sliced and Continue reading

Mint-Poached Bosc Pears

I’m visiting the markets in Mexico this week, and attended a recipe demonstration that is, coincidentally, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day! Ingredients 8 Bosc USA Pears, peeled, cored, and cut in half 1 ½ cups sugar 1 ½ cups water 1 teaspoon green food coloring ¼ cup mint liquor Directions Boil water in pot, add sugar and pears and cook for 15 minutes at a rapid boil. Turn down heat and allow to cool. Add food coloring and liquor, covering the pears. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serve with chocolate sauce, if desired. yield: Serves 4 preparation time: 25 minutes difficulty: easy Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn

Luck ‘o the Irish with USA Pears

So pears and leprechauns might not have too much in common, but I still think you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend with USA Pears. In fact, I often amuse (or annoy?) my family members with my way of bringing pears into the fold. Pear and pancetta crisps at Easter! Pear crostini for a Thanksgiving appetizer! Pear tart for Christmas! You see the pattern… Here’s a roundup of delicious-looking pear scones, which I’m generously interpreting from the original Irish soda bread. The two pastries originated in different countries, but they’re both quick breads, and they’re both quite accommodating of pears. Any of these combinations sounds like a great way to celebrate: Whole Wheat Pear Scones from Marcus Samuelsson Maple Nut and Pear Scones from EatingWell Pear Scones with Almond Glaze from Two Cooks One Kitchen If your festivity-making leans Continue reading