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Haylie Duff Shares Tips on Comfort Cooking During the Winter Months

Winter has arrived – the days are shorter, the temperature has cooled, and warm comfort foods are on the menu. From soups to casseroles, there is an endless list of delicious recipes packed with flavorful ingredients to keep you cozy and satisfied this season.  

A slow cooker is a winter cooking must-have. Not only can you set it and forget it, slow cookers have extended cooking times to better distribute the flavors, it tenderizes meat just enough to fall off the bone, there are minimal dishes to wash, and somehow the dish always turns out delicious.

Our Libby’s® team chatted with our partner, Haylie Duff, about winter entertaining tips, discussing her favorite seasonal recipes, tips for having a well-balanced diet, and fun indoor activities for friends and family.

Check out the below discussion for some winter dinner inspiration using Libby’s® Canned Vegetables, which help create quick and nutritious meals that are packed with flavor for the entire family to enjoy!

Haylie Duff shares tips on comfort cooking

Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on flavor. What are delicious and comforting dishes you love to cook during this time of year?
I love all the warm and cozy recipes that winter brings – there are so many possibilities! But my favorite is my Winter Beef Stew made with Libby’s® Canned Vegetables. I cook it low and slow, and it has tons of flavor. It’s perfect for those chilly days spent by the fire!

Editor’s note: Haylie created a special Winter Beef Stew recipe just for Libby’s® consumers. Check it out here!

What are your go-to seasonal ingredients to include in your winter recipes?
I’m a veggie girl, eating them all year long, and they can be incorporated into so many recipes during these chilly months. In the fall I love making roasted carrots, and with Libby’s® I can enjoy delicious carrots all year long! Right now, Lulu, my littlest one, loves to eat them mashed.

Winter can be dark and chilly, and no one wants to leave their warm house to go to the grocery store. What are some easy and nutritious ingredients to always keep on hand?
I keep my pantry very well stocked (especially since I’ve become a mom!) with lots of vegetables that I can whip up into something tasty. Having a few cans of Libby’s® makes it so easy to cook a variety of dishes at the drop of a hat. My Shepard’s Pie is always a big hit with the family, made with canned peas, corn, and carrots. Yum!

Haylie Duff shares tips on comfort cooking

Slow cooker meals can make cooking a breeze. What are your tips and tricks to making sure every recipe is delicious?
Adding seasoning to your ingredients is really important. Things like fresh herbs always help boost the flavor.

The family can get antsy staying indoors, especially on a snow day. What are your favorite family-friendly games or activities that you can do together?
Cooking together is one of my family’s favorite activities. Ryan will sit on the counter and help me prep the meal. Or if she’s not in the mood to cook, she’ll bring a few coloring books into the kitchen and keep me company.

Haylie Duff shares tips on comfort cooking

Are there any winter recipes that remind you of spending time with family and friends around the table on a snowy night in?
Growing up in LA, we didn’t have too many snowy nights in but we loved to pretend! We would make stews, prime rib, and roast chicken to give you that warm-inside feeling when it’s chilly out. Today, I love the low and slow style of cooking. It’s easy and brings a calm feeling into the home.

Do you have any failsafe tips for hosting a stress-free party in the winter?
Keep your home nice and toasty, nobody wants to be cold once they arrive! Greet them with a cocktail and some delicious appetizers – stuffed mushrooms are my favorite during the winter – before gathering around the table for dinner.

April Showers: Celebrating everything from babies to brides


Spring inspires celebration. Even the weather says it’s time for a shower! Celebrating new brides and moms-to-be can be perfected with good food and company. Here are some tips for welcoming brides and babies into your inner circle in style. 



Pick a Theme


Keep the guest of honor top-of-mind when selecting the party’s theme. Does she have a favorite color, book, or sport? If so, prepare dishes that fit the mold. Everyone loves a themed appetizer or side dish, and by centering the party around your loved-one’s passion she’ll feel extra appreciated!  Let your guests in on the fun and take some of the pressure off by making it potluck style. Your leading lady’s favorites are sure to be represented in full force!

Convenience is Key


Serve finger foods so guests can easily move and mingle. If you’re hosting a brunch event consider preparing these Maple Cranberry Corn Muffins made with Libby’s® Sweet Corn. Rosemary Scallion Potato Puffs are an easy appetizer for an afternoon affair. And no party is complete without chips and dip. Sunshine Salsa will make your fete a fiesta!

Make it Last


Both new brides and new moms will be looking for new meal ideas! Before guests arrive, ask them to send you their favorite recipes, and compile the suggestions into a custom cookbook. One great weeknight meal ideal for busy families is Vegetarian Gumbo. The bride/mom can keep all of the ingredients, like Libby’s® Organic Black Beans, in the pantry, and pull everything together in a pinch when grocery shopping gets neglected. 

No matter what, remember a shower is all about bringing people together to celebrate a special person and a special occasion. As long as you focus on the bride or mom-to-be, your shower will be all blue skies ahead!

Be the Boss of Your Holiday Buffet

Hosting friends and family is what the holiday season is all about, but entertaining can create some chaos. Grab your holiday party by the reins by serving a holiday buffet that’s easy to prepare and pleases everyone from the foodie to the health nut. Here are a few tips to help you deliver a bountiful buffet and still enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Warm Up with Winter Soup

The best friend for a holiday host is a slow cooker. This Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Roasted Garbanzo Beans takes up to six hours to cook, which gives you plenty of time to tend to other party preparations. For even greater ease, serve the soup in the slow cooker so it stays warm while your guests serve themselves!

Brighten Your Buffet

Serve a colorful and healthy salad, like our Carrot and Beet Salad, and skip the worry about keeping your dishes warm during your holiday soiree. Remember to serve the dressing on the side in a decorative carafe so the lettuce stays fresh and crisp.

Treat Guests with Bite Sized Treasures

We all indulge in our favorite holiday desserts, but the abundance of sweets makes it easy to over-do it. Serve extra-small desserts like mini cookies, tarts, and cupcakes, or Carrot Cake Bites, so guests can try multiple items and enjoy the right-sized portions guilt free.

We hope these tips help you be the boss of your buffet this holiday season! Let us know how you prepare for a large crowd during the holidays in the comments.

Tips to Help Make Organizing Your Family Reunion More CANvenient

Libby’s Meal Plans, Helpful Tips and More to Avoid Breaking the Bank While Getting the Family Together

September is Get Back to the Table Month and this year Libby’s Fruits and Vegetables asked families to pledge to reunite with extended family members by entering our Family Reunion Contest at the Libby’s Table Facebook page. We will be rewarding one lucky family with a trip for up to 10 family members, including travel and hotel accommodations, to gather for a reunion dinner. We are currently reviewing the entries and will unveil the five finalists who will compete for America’s vote to win the grand prize on October 3. Be sure to visit the Libby’s Table Facebook page to see the finalists and vote up to once a day to determine the winner!

Planning your own family reunion? Here are some helpful tips to help make organizing your family’s get-together a little easier!

  • Create an invite list. Make a list of family members that you will invite to the occasion. Reach out to one person from each branch of the family to help you contact everyone else on your list. Collecting email addresses can make it easier to provide updates and ask questions.
  • Gather Information. Whether your event includes 10 family members or 100, you’ll want to make sure that everyone who wants to attend, can attend! Send an email survey to help determine details such as dates that will work for the majority, recommendations on where the reunion should be held, as well as any food preferences or menu ideas.
  • Set the date and location. Oftentimes it helps to schedule a reunion to coincide with a summer vacation or holiday, since many family members may already have plans to get together. Also, be sure to look for a location that’s accessible and affordable to the majority of family members.  
  • Plan the menu. This step is often the most complicated, as satisfying everyone’s taste buds can be a challenge. However, to make it easier, you can choose a theme and focus all the dishes around it. Perhaps you have a summer barbecue and include traditional items like barbecue chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs, as well as creative side dishes like Libby’s Sunshine Salsa, Sweet Pea Dip, French Style Potato Salad and even meatless hamburgers, for any vegetarians in the family. Using these recipes can keep your meal CANvenient, affordable and nutritious with Libby’s canned fruits and vegetables. You can also ask everyone to submit their favorite family recipes so you’re sure not to forget to include Grandma’s famous fruit crisp and others!
  • Capture the memories! Ask a member of the family to be the photographer so you can capture heartfelt moments and make new memories. Give several family members disposable cameras with assignments to capture memories of the day. Prior to the event, ask your family to bring snapshots of family activities and milestones (weddings, births, etc.) from the past year and display so that everyone can enjoy them.  
  • Get back to the table. Depending on how many people you are expecting, you can determine if you should have a buffet style or sit-down dinner. Either way, you can have fun with table settings by labeling each spot at the table with a baby photo or fun fact about the person that is assigned to sit there. This will get your guests talking about old memories and provide a fun way for everyone to find their seats.
  • Keep in touch! To make sure everyone stays in touch, be sure to create and send out a post-reunion contact list with any stories or photos taken at the reunion. Also include family members that couldn’t attend, so they can be filled in on the fun.