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Put Some Spring (Holiday) in your Step with Libby's

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover, springtime holidays are the perfect excuse to gather the family together for a delicious meal. Libby’s® Fruits & Vegetables is making the meal planning process a little easier with our new Digital Recipe Box, an application on our Facebook page, that brings our recipes from your desktop to your tabletop! The Digital Recipe Box houses more than 100 recipes using Libby’s® products and allows you to share recipes with your Facebook friends, or email and print them out for future reference. The app makes it easy to plan meals by dish, ingredient or type of gathering. Through the advanced search features, you can easily add dishes like Corn and Potato Casserole or Peach Hand Pies to your Easter brunch or Passover Seder. If you prefer to create your own categories for recipes, the contents of our Digital Recipe Box are now also available on Pinterest. Do you struggle to find vegetarian options for a Meatless Monday challenge or kid-friendly dishes for that picky eater? Libby’s Table Pinterest boards can help you find exactly what you need to keep your family healthy and happy at the dinner table (and beyond.) Repin our recipes, health tips and suggestions for family activities to your own Pinterest page to share delicious food and fun family activities on your own boards. Once you have explored our app, please let us know how we’re doing! If you have any suggestions for recipes you would like to see in the Digital Recipe Box, send us an email at [email protected].

Cross Your Heart and Hope for Health

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, we’ve still got hearts on our minds. We dedicate February to heart health because many women are at high risk of cardiovascular disease [1]. At Libby’s, we love our customers and hope you will make a pact to live and eat in ways that are helpful to your hearts – starting now. Consume Legumes As the saying goes, beans are good for your heart! Varieties such as black and kidney beans are rich in soluble fiber and help to decrease cholesterol levels [2], thereby contributing to a healthy heart. Try to make a heart-healthy meal that includes beans at least once a week. We’ve got some great recipes on our website, like our Mexacali Turkey on a Bun and Chicken & Veggie Enchiladas with Spanish Rice! Vary your Exercise Regimen Do you often get bored of completing the same running path or attending the same aerobics class every week? Researchers at Louisiana State University [3] found that the best exercise regimen for your heart includes a varied routine of resistance and aerobic training. Not only will this type of program keep you interested, but it will also help you drop a few pounds and decrease your diastolic blood pressure to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Remember to consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program. Do What Makes You Happy The best way to keep your heart anxiety-free is to surround yourself with the things that make you relaxed and happy. Too much stress in your life can damage arterial linings that keep the heart working properly [4]. Whether you prefer to relax in a bubble bath or play outside with your children, block off time in your busy schedule for activities that help you wash away daily stress and allow you to enjoy life. How will you improve your heart health this month? LIKE Libby’s Table on Facebook and tell us! Sources: [1] [2] Huffington Post: [3] Reuters: [4]

Score a Touchdown at Your Big Game Party

In two weeks, families all across America will gather around television sets for the most watched sporting event of the year. While two teams of professional athletes anticipate the biggest game of their lives, you can prepare a big game party worthy of your own victory dance. Sketch a Game Plan While the pros diagram plays down in New Orleans, where this year’s game will be held, make your own game plan for a touchdown-worthy celebration. Send invitations, by traditional mail or email, with enough time for guests to respond. Tackle your menu plan ahead of time and create a timetable for the day so all your food is ready by the time the guests arrive. Map out a space big enough for all your guests to have a clear view of the game and easy access to the food. Avoid a Food Fumble Your snacks will take center stage during commercial breaks and halftime. While the big game is the main focus of the gathering, we suggest creating a buffet table so guests can grab food whenever they like. Score an extra point with your guests by preparing fun party dishes like Libby’s Corn and Mac Casserole and Southwestern Chicken Quesadillas. Fill the Viewing Arena with Team Spirit Even though your camp will be watching the big game from the comfort of your home, you can still amplify the spirit and excitement as if you were viewing it live from the stadium. Construct easy and fun centerpieces, like football floral arrangements, and hand out pom-poms in your team’s colors to create an electrifying atmosphere. Practice Good Sportsmanship Sometimes we forget that major sporting events are held to bring groups of people together, foster tradition, and entertain. As the party host, it is up to you to create an atmosphere that promotes good sportsmanship, no matter the outcome of the game. Offer prizes for all your party attendees, not only those rooting for the winning team, and make sure each of your guests leaves full and happy!

Veg Out

Let’s face it. Whether we’re facing picky eaters or we’re in a salad rut, most of us could use a boost when it comes to enjoying more vegetables.

When serving veggies to kids, it’s very important to avoid setting veggies up as undesirable– as in “eat two more bites of broccoli and then you can have dessert.” Rather, serve them and then let the kids decide how much they want (you can suggest a “try it” bite.) And remember, they need to see you eating your veggies, too. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:

Serve Them For Breakfast
Vegetables are a morning staple for many cultures around the globe. A few basic ideas to start your day with a veggie serving:

  • Cook up a mini-omelet with eggs, chopped spinach or mixed veggies. Layer with cheese on a small bagel.
  • Grab a piece of leftover vegetable pizza
  • Sauté chopped onions, bell peppers and sweet peas with scrambled eggs. Wrap into whole wheat tortilla.
  • Pair raw, crunchy veggies with a peanut butter and lowfat vanilla yogurt dip.

Make Them Sweet With Heat
Roasting veggies brings out a natural sweetness – my go-to recipe is toss raw or canned veggies with a few tablespoons of olive oil, minced garlic, dash of salt & pepper. Herbs and spices also bring out the best in veggies. Some combos for the oven:

  • Carrots + cinnamon + nutmeg
  • Green beans + ginger + sesame seeds
  • Broccoli + tarragon + garlic
  • Cauliflower + cumin + lemon zest

Give Them a Whirl
While I’m not a big fan of hiding veggies in food (again, implies veggies are the bad guys,) pureeing cooked veggies can enhance a recipe both in taste and nutrition. It’s up to you whether or not you tell the family what’s in the dish!

  • Mix pureed butternut squash or pumpkin into homemade mac & cheese
  • Puree onions and carrots into tomato sauce for pasta or pizza
  • Blend root veggies like turnips or parsnips with potatoes for a rich, creamy soup base.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, blend spinach or kale into a fruit smoothie.

Family Meals Matter

Believe me, I get it – gone are the days of seven days a week, dinner around the table with the entire immediate family (if you do manage this, I truly admire you!) But while it may not be happening every night, nowadays with a grim economy and unemployment rising, most of us have cleaned the clutter off our kitchen table (or maybe just put it on a chair like myself) and are dining in instead of out. While the current financial picture may be motivation enough to eat at home more often, unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean we’re eating together as a family. You may be surprised that there are so many benefits, besides healthier eating habits, which can be credited to the family meal. Take a look:

OK, we’re convinced – but HOW can we make this work with our overbooked lives and truly “get back to the table”? Here are three basic tips:

Schedule Family Dinner
Whether it be a Smartphone sync, a day planner or a good old fashioned calendar, get out whatever you use to coordinate schedules and mark down “FAMILY DINNER” for at least one more night a week than you’ve been doing it. And here’s the extra challenge: besides an emergency, do not bump it once it’s on the calendar (unless you can reschedule for the very next day.)

Keep It Simple
Of course the food selection is important, but don’t let visions of a turkey with trimmings or three courses from scratch thwart your family time efforts. This dietitian says a take-out pizza, salad and pitcher of milk can count as great dinner, too.  And of course, Libby’s has you covered when it comes to convenient, nutritious and delicious recipes.

No Multitasking at the Table
Make the family dinner table a cell phone-TV-computer-handheld-free zone. Without these major distractions, it’s easier to ask about everyone’s day, share stories or even tell jokes. The key is to have an actual conversation with your entire family.

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.