Category Archives: cheese

spinach+salad, easy+salad, pear+salad, gorgonzola+cheese, easy+salad+recipes, Newman's+Balsamic+Dressing, balsamic+vinegar, delicious+salad, spinach+recipes

Pears to the Rescue!

Simple, Delicious, Nutritious!

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
I have always love Bartlett Pears.  They are sweet and the texture is just right.  We would eat them by the dozens when I was growing up.  But when I left home for college I learned that some people did not love them like I did!  
 
Maybe you are one of those who haven’t yet learned to appreciate the humble pear.  So here are some great facts about them!
 
A medium pear has about 100 calories, and no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.  They are nutrient dense; high in Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  A single pear has almost 25% of the recommended daily amount of fiber!   Here is a brochure with pear facts and more recipes.
 
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree.  They are mature, but still green, when they are harvested.  If you leave the green fruit in a bowl for a few days, you’ll see them begin to lighten to a nice yellow color.  Eat them before they get too yellow or start to brown.  Delicious!

Pears are Wonderful in Many Recipes! 

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
 
Many times when I am going out to eat I will find a spinach salad on the menu that appeals to me.  I often order it, and I’m always happy with my choice (I have no menu envy when I do!)
 
When I noticed that these salads often only have four or five ingredients, I realized that I could make them myself, and now I do–a lot!  
 
So instead of spending upwards of $15 for a spinach salad, make it yourself!  This recipe serves 3-4 (2 for a main dish salad).

Spinach Pear Gorgonzola Salad

 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 package of washed, organic, baby spinach 
  • 2 TBP organic raw sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup organic raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup crumbled organic gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 ripe organic Bartlett pears
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil, or your choice of Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Optional — Candied Pecans

If you’d like, you can candy your pecans.  I think it adds a nice crunchy sweetness to the salad, but it is optional.  If you want to do it, here’s how.

 

lassensloves.com, Lassens, Lassen's Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears, candied+nuts

 

In heavy-bottomed dry pan, pour 2 TBSP sugar.  Shake the pan to spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat to medium and watch the sugar as it heats.  Be careful to not let the sugar burn on the sides, where the pan may be thinner.  You can stir it around.

 

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The sugar will melt.  Right when the sugar crystals have all melted, turn off the heat and sprinkle the pecans over the top.  

 

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Using a spatula, turn the nuts over.  You have to move quickly to coat the nuts with the sugar.

 

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Turn the nuts onto a plate to cool.  I try to separate them as much as possible as I get them onto the plate.
 
While the nuts cool, assemble the salad.  

 

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Place the spinach on a plate, core and slice the pears, sprinkle the cheese and nuts over the top of the salad.

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I twisted a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top.  
 
Then just choose your dressing!  Lassen’s carries a large variety of delicious balsamic vinaigrette dressings!  I like the Newman’s Own brand, but sometimes I just like to use plain Extra-Virgin Organic Olive Oil and Organic Balsamic Vinegar with some freshly ground salt on top.

 

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And there you have it!  A restaurant quality salad with your own, gorgeous organic ingredients, including the humble and delicious Bartlett pear!
 
Happy eating!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
healthy+lunches, pizza+rolls, homemade+lunch+rolls, ham+and+cheese+rolls, cooking+with+kids

Take Some Time to Save Some Time on Healthy Lunches

Homemade Lunch Rolls

Making lunches before school was always such an ordeal at our house.  With kids going different directions and with different schedules and tastes, it was a huge challenge every weekday morning.

 

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But one year I started doing something that made a big difference.  And yesterday I recreated it with four grandsons: We made pizza and ham-n-cheese rolls.

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Back in the day, about once per month, I would make a large batch of these rolls.  Then I would  individually wrap and freeze them, and each morning the kids could choose the kind they wanted (or make another kind of sandwich) and pack their own lunch.  Since the roll was frozen, it would slowly thaw until it was just right at lunchtime.  

It seems like a big job, but the kids had fun helping to make them, and then the morning routine was much faster.

You Will Need:

 
https://sites.google.com/site/lassenslovesgaylerecipes/homemade-healthy-lunch-rolls

Makes 12-15 Lunch Rolls

  • 2 cups organic whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 cups organic unbleached white flour, divided
  • 1 TBSP yeast (or two packages)
  • 1 cup organic whole or 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup organic raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup organic butter
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • Fillings such as pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sliced ham, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, left-over shredded chicken, pulled pork, etc

Step One:

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Make the Dough

  • Blend 1 cup each of whole wheat and white flour, add the yeast and stir together
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  • Heat to about 100 degrees (it should feel slightly warm to the touch) the milk, sugar, and butter.  Do not overheat or you will kill the yeast.
  • Slightly beat the eggs with a fork
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  • Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and blend on low with a hand mixer
  • Add the eggs and mix at medium speed for 3 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup of white flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and blend, using a wooden spoon
 
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  • Remove the spoon and blend with your hand until the flour is incorporated.   Add enough of the remaining flour to get a smooth and slightly sticky dough.  You don’t want it dry.
  • Pick up the dough and pour 2 tsps organic olive oil on the bottom of the bowl.  Put the dough on top of the oil and turn it over and over until it is coated.  This will prevent the dough from drying out.
 
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  • Cover with a clean light dish towel, and let raise until double in size.  This depends on the temperature of the room, but it will take at least an hour
 
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  • Gather your fillings
  • When the dough has risen double, punch it down and clear your workspace.  Since I had helpers, I cleared the whole counter!
  • Take about a 1/3 cup size of dough, and flatten it into a circle about 5″ across and 1/4 inch thick

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, healthy+lunches, lunch+ideas, lunch+rolls, lunch+pocketslassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, healthy+lunches, lunch+ideas, lunch+rolls, lunch+pockets

 
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  • Add your fillings–pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese, or ham and cheese (Sun-dried tomatoes and olives would be great!  Or chopped broccoli and cheese!)
 
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  • Fold up three edges and pinch together, and then fold up the rest and pinch together to hold the filling inside
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I did it!
  • Place the rolls on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray
 
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  •  Brush with butter.  This will help the rolls to bake a golden brown color.  
 
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  • Allow to raise for about an hour.  The won’t get significantly bigger, but you’ll see the dough gets puffier.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden
 
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We had these for dinner last night with watermelon and cucumbers!

 

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Yum!
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Even the pickiest eater ate it!
 
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And the one-year-old loved it!

Lassen’s carries a selection of fun lunch boxes to help reduce lunchtime waste!  This one is a full kit! 

 
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Or you can add these fun reusable containers to the box you already have
 
 
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How do you like this stainless steel stacking set?
 
 
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Or a spaceship fabric set!
 
 
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With a little planning and preparation, making school lunches doesn’t have to be stressful!
 
 
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Happy Back to School!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
team+member+spotlight, lifestyle+products, favorite+products

Team Member Spotlight–Megan!

She’s One of Our Great Team Members!

 
Megan is our Regional Lifestyles and Gift Buyer. She especially watches out for unique and exciting gift items.  She is also the model for our Beads of Hope necklaces!  
 
Megan grew up in Northern California and got a degree in Geography with an emphasis in City Planning.  She even speaks Polish!  She spent 18 months in Poland during her college years.  
 
ragnar
 
Megan really loves to eat healthy and she is also a runner.  She has run the Ragnar Relay and some half-marathons, too.  She loves to work in her garden and is devoted to clean and green living.
 
Three quick fun facts about Megan:
1. Because she was raised in Northern California, she is very partial to Redwood trees and foggy beaches.
2. Not only does she run for exercise, but for stress relief and meditation.
3. If she had to listen to the same musician over and over again for the rest of her life it would be Cat Stevens.
 
Megan’s favorite part of her job is learning about the different products that Lassens carries and meeting with companies that are passionate about their products, as well as passionate about improving our world.
Megan says, “Many of the products found in Lassens represent companies that give back to their communities in a big way. These contributions range anywhere from Alzheimer’s research to providing clean drinking water in developing countries. The contributions go beyond donations, because a lot of these companies choose responsibility in every aspect of production–such as fair labor practices, sustainable sourcing, waste reduction, etc. It’s exciting to me and also further convinces me of the power of the consumer in supporting such responsible companies.”
 
Megan’s heros are her grandparents– on both sides. “They were such hard workers–both in their professions and also in their volunteer work. They took great pride in their communities and volunteered much of their time and energy to improve them.”

 

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When I asked Megan about some of her favorite products she mentioned these adorable Flipside hats.  Flipside is a family owned and operated business, the hats are made in the USA (California and Oregon), and they are made with repurposed and/or recycled materials.  

 

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They use all of the organic materials that they can.  These great hats are just in our Ventura and Los Feliz stores right now.  So cute!

 

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I totally agreed with her next recommendation–a “Winning Combination.”  You should try this!  Get some Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps.  They are small, thick, tasty, crispy breads in amazing flavors (Cranberry and Hazelnut, Rosemary, Salty Date and Almond, Gluten-free Oat, to name a few!) I love that they are fancy and so delicious.  They make me feel like a gourmet when I eat them!

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Take a crisp and then spread on some Drake Family Farms fresh Chèvre cheese.  The Drake family farm is a six-generation operation!  The original farm is in Utah, but they also have a farm in Ontario, California where we get our fresh Chèvre.   

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The cheese comes in a convenient plastic tub so you can have some now and save some for later! 

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This is Megan’s favorite combination!  Yum!  

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Megan also recommended the Evanhealy facial care line.  Her favorites are the Rose Geranium Facial Tonic HydroSoul, and the Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer.   

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The rose line is for combination/oily skin, but they have other lines for different skin types.  Megan likes that the line is really clean (no chemical, preservatives, non GMO, etc) and extremely gentle.  She quoted Evan Healy herself:  “The less you interfere with the skin’s own ability to achieve balance, the better.” 

When I asked Megan what she would like to change about the world, she said changing primary school curriculum to include gardening education. “So many people are disconnected from the food they eat and I love that gardening helps reconnect people to basic food. Working with the soil, watching how food grows cultivates a deep respect for the earth, energy, and other resources that go into making a tasty meal.”
 
Thank you Megan for sharing your favorites with us!  Love those “Buyer’s Picks!”
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
 
egg+recipes, avocado+recipes, hearty+breakfast, breakfast+wrap, lucky+breakfast, cinco+de+mayo

Ole Ole Ole! Cinco de Mayo!

It’s Avocado Season!

 
breakfast+burrito
 
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and avocados weren’t exactly on our shopping list or in our grocery stores.  But when I married a Californian, they became an essential item at our house.  And I became more acquinted with Mexican food!  (The closest we had in Washington was Taco Time.  Sad, I know.)
 
But our children grew up with lots and lots of avocados, and we use them in so many dishes.  

Here is One of Our Favorite Breakfasts, Featuring Avocados!

breakfast+burritos

Eggs with Everything

Creative name, right?
 
 
 

Our daughters spent a lot of years in gymnastics, and meet days always required a favorite breakfast.  Our youngest daughter always requested this one because it tastes wonderful and is filling, but never felt heavy.  She called this her lucky breakfast!

breakfast+burrito
 
 

You’ll Need:

  • As many eggs as you have people, plus one or two, depending on how heartily they eat.
  • Shredded and mixed Montery Jack and mild Cheddar cheese–1 TBSP per person
  • Bacon (if desired), cut in small pieces–1/2 slice per person
  • Spanish onion, chopped–2 tsp per person
  • Green or red peppers, chopped–2 tsp per person
  • Mushrooms, sliced–1 per person
  • Jalepeno pepper (if desired), chopped 1/2 tsp per person
  • Tomato, chopped–1 TBSP per person
  • Avocado, chopped–1 TBSP per person
  • Cilantro, chopped–1 tsp per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortillas (if you want your breakfast burrito style!), warmed 

Chop First, Then Cook

 
breakfast+burrito
 
First, chop your vegetables.  Set the tomato, avocado, and cilantro aside.  Shred the cheeses and set aside.

 

breakfast+burrito

With a fork or whisk, scramble the eggs in a small bowl, and then set aside

 

breakfast+burrito

Now You Can Start to Cook

If you are using bacon, fry it until it is almost crisp, and then drain off the fat.
 

Add the onion, peppers, mushrooms and jalepeno to the pan, and fry until tender.

breakfast+burrito

Pour the eggs over the vegetables and bacon, and stir it around.

 

breakfast+burrito

Add the cheese, tomato, avocado, and cilantro, and stir until eggs are cooked through.

 

breakfast+burrito

Spoon into a warm tortilla, and serve with salsa!

And Prepare to Receive Applause!

 
 
 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

And enjoy avocados!

love,
 
Lassen’s
 
 
mac+and+cheese, fancy+macaroni+and+cheese

Fancy up your Mac & Cheese!

Heathier and Happier!

It’s hard to find a person in this world who doesn’t love (or at least like) mac & cheese.

It is, I believe, the ultimate comfort food, right up there with chili and grilled cheese sandwiches.

When I was a wee one my sister and I had mac-&-cheese-offs. Back then it was the big brand in the blue box full of sodium and artificial colors. I preferred mine with full cream and butter while she insisted it was best dry as a bone with clumps of cheese powder sticking to the noodles (guuuh!).
Over the years I’ve come across hundreds of varieties based on the old favorite with all sorts of gourmet renditions and fancy additions such as smoked gouda, apple bacon, carmalized onions and sweet potatoes, just to name a few. There are even vegan versions using creative options like cashews to make that perfect savory “cheese” sauce. While those are all BEYOND AMAZING, there’s still the ease factor of that blue box that can not be denied.
 
Thanks to Annie’s Homegrown, I can throw together mac & cheese with all the finesse of my 9 year old self without having to succumb to tweedle-yellow-5-dee and tweedle-yellow-6-dum. However because I am no longer 9, I thought the fancification of this boil-and-eat delight was in order.
 

My Quest: Maximum flavor with minimum effort.

 
macaroni+and+Cheese

My Prize…

 

Jalapeno Garlic White Cheddar Shells with Kale

(with 4 simple ingredients)
 You’ll Need:
 
lassensloves.com, Macaroni+and+Cheese
 
1. Annie’s Homegrown Organic Whole Wheat Shells with White Cheddar
I know, technically its not “macaroni” but shells have a wonderful tendency to trap sauce better!
 
2. Fage Total 0% nonfat greek yogurt
In place of milk and butter, this thickens the sauce while adding a slight tang!
 
Any fat% Greek yogurt will do. I was just trying to keep this as skinny as possible. 
 
 
macaroni+and+cheese

 

3. Organic Lacinato Kale
Where the goodness comes from!
 
 
macaroni+and+cheese, macaroni+&+cheese
 
…and the secret ingredient that really packs this easy-peasey dish’s punch…
 
4. Majestic Garlic Jalapeno garlic 
I can not fully stress my undying love for this product. 
I discovered Majestic Garlic about 2 weeks ago and it has since become a welcome condiment to most meals.The amazing zing of the organic raw garlic plus the unexpected kick of the jalapeno really puts this over the delicious edge. 
 
 
Instructions:
1. Start by following the instructions on the Annie’s Box. Boil noodles for 8-10 minutes until tender. Drain and pour back into pot. 
2. Add 6 oz container of Fage 0% nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons of Jalapeno Majestic Garlic and white cheddar packet from the Annie’s box. Stir until completely mixed. 
3. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 cup of organic chopped kale. Put cover on and let sit for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until kale is wilted. 
4. Take off heat and serve!!! If you’d like add sea salt and Parmesan to taste. 
Yields 2 servings.
 
Simple and AMAZING. 
 
Do you have an awesome macaroni and cheese recipe of your own?
Share it with us on our NEW Facebook page and we might feature it in our blog 
(with full props to you of course!)
 
Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy!
 
Love,
     
Lassen’s
 
goat+milk+blue+cheese+green+onion+dip, green+onion+dip, goat+milk+cheese

Goat Milk Blue Cheese & Green Onion Dip + Overcoming my inane fear of goats

Yummy Dip! 
 
It might have been the curly ivory locks that sway carelessly from their chins as they perpetually chew their oats. It also might have been their reptilian-esque eyes from which a sideways slit of a pupil stares mysteriously like an ominous minus-sign… but for one reason or another, there was a rather long period where I had a complete and ill-founded fear of goats.
 
Goats+milk+cheese+dip
 
Needless to say, when I found out about goat milk and goat cheese, there was a resounding “no way” that had chiseled itself into my face in the shape of a scowl whenever one or the other were mentioned. 
 
Until I began working at Lassens, I had no idea that people milked goats. Why would anyone even touch these beasts? How could anyone get close enough to one to milk it?
 
Eventually I realized I was being ridiculous. I don’t know what came first but at some point I realized that not only are goats sweet, friendly and unbelievably cute, but goat cheese is creamy, tangy and unbelievably delicious! Yes, they still have sort of crazy eyes, but now I find them fascinating rather than frightening (it turns out that the near rectangular shape of goats and most hoofed animal’s pupil enables them to have a vision of 320-340 degrees, allowing them to see virtually everything around them). The moral of this story is to never (and this goes for all facets of life) judge something at first glance. 
 
It has come to pass that I incorporate goat cheese into every meal whenever possible. Talk about a complete 180! Goat cheese is so versatile, you can pretty much put it into anything; hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salads, pasta, and surprisingly dessert. It’s even amazing simply spread on an apple slice. It also turns out that goat cheese is leaner than cow cheeses and actually helps your body absorb nutrients like calcium and iron more effectively. 
 
Since it’s Saturday and more often than not, weekends yield parties and get-togethers,

I present to you a delicious goat cheese dip with the hopes that you will be doing something exciting this weekend.

 
goats+milk+cheese+dip

Goat Milk Blue Cheese & Green Onion Dip 

You’ll Need:
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Goat's+Milk Blue+Cheese Green+Onion Dip+Recipe
 
  • 1 – 2 wedges of Mountchevre’s Chevre in Blue goat milk blue cheese 
  • 1/4 cup thinly diced green onion
  • 8 ounces Horizon organic original cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
Instructions:
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients together in a bowl, leaving a few pinches of green onions for garnish
  2. Sprinkle desired amount of paprika and place remaining green onions on top in a decorative manner.
  3. Serve cold and with your favorite cracker (We recommend Wisecrackers spicy pepper low-fat crackers) or vegetable platter.

This recipe comes lovingly from the mind of Vanessa, our Lassen’s Regional Cheese Manager.

goats+milk+cheese+dip
 

Vanessa is always coming up with creative and easy ways to assemble savory masterpieces using the many varieties of gourmet and specialty cheeses that we offer here at Lassen’s. Be sure to check out the cheese department for samples and new recipes. 

Have a beautiful weekend and if you happen to meet a goat, make sure you give him a friendly pat and a thank you for making such wonderful and delicious cheese!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s