Will you be my Valentine?

February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; it’s no wonder Valentine’s month is devoted to the heart! The best way to love your heart is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, exchange saturated fats for unsaturated fats, exercise, and manage weight and stress. From my personal experience in nutrition, most of us eat too many processed foods and not nearly enough plant foods packed with heart-healthy nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Certainly, we don’t have to cut out foods we love; we simply need to creatively come up with healthier, more natural alternatives. Do something sweet for your heart this Valentine’s Day. Instead of an extravagant, high-calorie dinner, opt for a romantic dessert at home. Combine dark chocolate, rich in phytonutrients that may improve Continue reading

Year of the Dragon

Chinese New Year celebrations kick off on January 23 this year.  We’re joining in the celebrations for the Year of the Dragon in many countries in Southeast Asia.  Shoppers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan will see special USA Pear displays and giveaways with purchase.  In some markets, customers receive a “6-pack” USA Pear gift box so that they can mix and match varieties. The color red is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so whether it be an addition to one of the traditional meals or as a gift exchanged between family and friends, Red Anjou pears are a perfect addition to the festivities! You, too, can ring in the New Year by incorporating Red Anjou pears into one of our Asian-inspired recipes, like Braised Pears with Soy-Ginger Glaze, Grilled Asian Shrimp Skewers with Pears, or Spicy Wasabi Pear Lettuce Continue reading

Something to be Thankful for: Ripe Pears!

I bought these beautiful Bosc at the store on Sunday. They will be served as an hors d’oeuvre at Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, topped with parmesan cheese and wrapped in prosciutto (similar to these, but with my own twist). A light, yet savory-sweet prelude to our feast! To make sure that the pears are at their peak ripeness for the big day, with that honey-sweet flavor that Bosc is famous for, I’ve left them at room temperature in the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter.  I’ve been checking the neck daily, and they are going to be pear-fectly ripe for Thursday! Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn

Pre-pear for the Holidays!

This week I held a brown bag lunch with coworkers to discuss ideas for staying healthy over the holidays. The holidays are hard for everyone; eating healthfully and exercising take a back seat to stress and holiday celebrations that focus on eating and drinking. Although most people only need about 2000 calories per day, the average Thanksgiving meal has 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat!* I think we should enjoy our celebrations responsibly. Here are some healthful tips to get you through the next few weeks. First, eat a balanced meal before heading to parties, and always have a snack handy. Try a pear with some peanut butter, or carrot sticks and a handful of nuts, to keep you satisfied when you’re fighting crowds at the mall. Next, make eating breakfast a tradition on Thanksgiving! Balance protein, fat, and Continue reading

Bacon & Blue Cheese Sliders with Pear Ketchup

This delicious combination is perfect for Dad’s big day! This Sunday, let your dad relax and impress him with these savory sliders. The umami from the bacon and blue cheese blends perfectly with the tangy, inventive pear ketchup. This recipe was developed by Chef John Therres of Renaissance M Street Hotel, Washington, D.C. Ingredients Pear Ketchup 2 Anjou USA Pears 2 teaspoons clarified butter or vegetable oil ¼ cup diced sweet onion, like Walla Walla or Vidalia 1 cup clear apple juice or cider 2 to 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ⅛ teaspoon white pepper Kosher salt to taste Sliders 12 slices thick-cut bacon, well-chilled or frozen 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese 4 small soft rolls, preferably brioche Directions To make the pear ketchup, peel and core the pears and cut them into large cubes. Warm the clarified butter or oil Continue reading

Chocolate, Colored Eggs, and…Pears!

Bunny ears. Jellybeans. Honey ham. Fruit. Ever since I can remember, Easter meals have always included the same family traditions, from “egg fights” to Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Egg fights aren’t as messy as they sound, by the way: you just bump your hard-boiled Easter egg against your sister’s or your dad’s, and if your egg comes out unscathed, you’re the winner! Then you choose another opponent and continue “fighting” until both ends of your egg are cracked, then you peel it and eat it. It’s a fun way to play with your food and eat it, too! Now that I’m older, I still appreciate some of the chocolate and the familiar old eggs, but I also look forward to including fresh fruit in our meal. To me, Easter not only signifies new life and celebration, but a Continue reading

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with Pears

Top ‘o the mornin’ to ye! My Irish grandma would be proud if she saw me today—I’m wearing a green scarf and my lucky four-leaf clover bracelet, AND of course, I have green pears on the menu. Anjou pears are a fun and easy way to celebrate the day, Irish recipes or not. Lately, I’ve been loving simple sautéed pears. I just melt some coconut oil in a pan, lay thin slices of Anjou pear in the pan, and then flip them until they become translucent and start to brown. Before I remove them, I sprinkle them with cinnamon, and voila! I have a simple, delicious dessert. Or breakfast. Or midday snack. Other festive (green) recipes: Feed the kids Pears in a Pod. They’ll be distracted, so you can hide leprechaun treats around the house while they snack. Start—or end—your Continue reading

Cheers to Pears!

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and being a good portion Irish, I enjoy this particular holiday. Although it started as a religious holiday celebrating St. Patrick, one of the patron saints of Ireland, it has become much more of a celebration of Irish culture and… beer. I always feel conflicted regarding how our society celebrates St. Patrick’s Day – mostly the part about overindulging in green libations. Although alcohol does have a place in the diet, and indeed, does have nutritional benefits, drinking in excess is not healthful and seems to have become the way to celebrate in America. I plan to celebrate responsibly, meaning I’m going to take care of my body while commemorating the holiday. Already, I have a couple of events to attend and of course they involve drinking, early and often. I like Continue reading

Show Your Love with USA Pears

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! I decided to round up some unusual gift ideas involving, of course, USA Pears. First, you could go the obvious route and give, well, pears. Red Anjou pears are in season now, and with their pretty red skin and light citrus notes, they’re a lovely gift for any girl or boy. Harry and David has some fun Valentine’s Day-themed gift sets. I especially like this Fondue for Two with their signature Royal Riviera Pears. If your sweetie has a knack for cooking, why not splurge on a Le Creuset dutch oven? Every cook I know covets one if they don’t own it already. And in bright, vivid red, it’s a fitting reminder of the romantic holiday. Or if you’d rather focus on the experience, why not make your Valentine a delicious dessert? Poached pears turn decadent Continue reading

Celebrating CNY with Flying Colors!

In honor of Chinese New Year, I thought we’d visit one of our Asian markets this week.  We recently held a coloring contest in Taiwan.  Sounds simple enough, right?  I know I participated in many a contest at my local grocery store growing up, for every holiday – even taking home 3rd place and $10 prize one year for my bunny and Easter egg masterpiece.  But Taiwan’s dense population (meaning, there’s a lot of people living in a relatively small amount of land) turned into 10,000 entries! Art professors and local artists judged the contest and announced 106 winners.  At first glance, you might not realize that each entry started with the same coloring sheet—so you can see that we received some very customized and creative entries! Don’t forget to pick up some Red Anjou pears for the year of the Continue reading