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Archive for March, 2010

NEWS: Inko’s White Bottled Tea In NYC School System

Group of 5-230

Five of Inko’s 11 bottled flavors.
Photo courtesy Inko’s.

For those of you with an idea for the next great bottled beverage, be forewarned:

No matter how brilliant your idea is, there’s the marketing conundrum. It’s very, very hard to get your products on the shelf of major retailers. And you probably can’t make a living just selling to specialty stores.

If your product doesn’t catch on in a big way (like Red Bull—which had deep pockets), your distribution will be limited. We’re chagrined that we can’t find Inko’s bottled white teas everywhere.

When we first tried Inko’s, the first (and still the only) beverage company solely dedicated to producing all-natural, ready-to-drink white teas, we were hooked. We don’t buy many bottled beverages because of our personal pledge to limit recycling, but we make an exception for this one.

Now there’s good news for Inko’s:


Two of its flavors— Inko’s Blueberry and Inko’s Strawberry White Teas—are now available in the vending machines and ancillary commissaries of the New York City Public High School system. Not only will a large new audience develop, but the kids are getting a terrific-tasting, healthy beverage.

To improve the nutritional quality of food and beverages available for sale to students at school, the New York City Department of Education has a mandate to improve the quality and nutritional value of foods and beverages that are available for students. With specific regard to beverages, the policy states:

  • Water is permitted
  • Low calorie drinks without any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners are permitted
  • Maximum of 25 calories per 8 oz. serving
  • No serving size limit


While the regular line is sold in bottles, the vending machine line is (of necessity) in 12-ounce cans created especially for the school program, along with new graphic art to appeal to a younger market. The products are sweetened with a small amount of fructose—better on the glycemic index than sucrose, table sugar.

If you’re involved with your school system’s vending program, give Inko’s a call.

If you’re looking for a wonderfully refreshing, low-calorie beverage, look for Inko’s at fine retailers; if you can’t find it, ask your retailer to bring it in. Or order it online at Our personal favorites include Apricot, Blueberry, Hint o’ Mint, Honeydew and Honeysuckle—but we’d be glad for a bottle of any flavor.

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PRODUCT: Save Time, Eat Well With The “Stay Or Go” Slow Cooker

Like many people, we live a busy life: work, get home, walk the dog and put a hot dinner on the table. We do a lot of slow cooking.

Until recently, we didn’t know what we were missing from our Rival Crock-Pot 5-quart slow cooker. Then we were given the Hamilton Beach Ensemble Stay Or Go five-quart slow cooker.

To say that we appreciate our Hamilton Beach slow cooker—a device originally known as a crock pot—is putting it mildly. We simply love everything about it.

We love that we can prepare an entire meal simply by tossing a bunch of ingredients inside it (which can be done the night before). Then we turn it on and forgetting about it, until it’s time for dinner. We come home from work (or errands, or other obligations), our stomachs growling, to something hot and delicious.

Read the full review to see all the features and discover how much easier it is to cart food somewhere else—even across town on public transportation.

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Don’t worry about any spillage when the lid is
on the Stay Or Go Slow Cooker. Photo courtesy Hamilton Beach.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Coloring Coconut


It’s easy to color coconut to make desserts
more fun. Photo courtesy

It’s easy to tint coconut for Easter cakes/cupcakes or any other holiday.

1. Place shredded or flaked coconut in a large resealable plastic bag.

2. Squeeze food color into the coconut: 5 to 6 drops per 1 cup of coconut.

3. Shake until color is evenly distributed. If not using immediately, spread in a shallow pan to dry and store in an airtight container.

You can use the coconut in other dishes as well.

For a spring or Easter salad, toss fresh fruit (apples, bananas, mangos, pineapple) or dried fruit (blueberries, cherries, raisins, sultanas) with your greens. Halved pecans are a nice touch as well.

Garnish by sprinkling with flaked or shaved coconut—colored or white.

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PRODUCT: Naturally Nora Cake Mixes & Frosting

Prepackaged cake mixes don’t have to be full of artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils.

That’s what Nora Schultz thought when she created Naturally Nora Baking Mixes—and frosting mixes, of course! The packaging is environmentally friendly as well.

The mixes are free of artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives. Instead, the company seeks out natural ingredient suppliers to create dessert mixes that you can use to easily whip up a frosted cake, cupcakes or brownies.

All of the products are kosher and most do not contain dairy or soy (the only exception is the Doubly Fudgy Brownies mix), although they are produced in a facility that also uses milk, soy, tree nuts and peanuts.

You can use the mixes to make the basic cake or brownie recipe on the box, or incorporate them into other desserts, including the Wholly Coconut Cupakes Recipe from Naturally Nora herself.

Wholly Coconut Cupcakes Recipe

Use Naturally Nora to make all-natural
desserts. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE

Ingredients For The Cupcakes
– 1 box Naturally Nora Sunny Yellow Cake Mix
– 1 cup well-stirred canned, unsweetened coconut milk (not “lite”)
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 3 large eggs

Ingredients For The Frosting
– 1 box Naturally Nora Extraordinary Vanilla Frosting Mix
– 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
– 3 tablespoons well-stirred canned, unsweetened coconut milk (not “lite”)
– 3 1/2 cups sweetened flake coconut

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Mix cake mix, 1 cup coconut milk, oil and eggs for 1-2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.

4. Beat frosting mix, melted butter and 3 tablespoons coconut milk with an electric mixer on medium speed 1-2 minutes until fluffy.

5. Frost cupcakes generously with frosting. Press coconut on top of cupcakes.

Makes 18-24 cupcakes.

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Martine’s Chocolates & Naturally Nora Cake Mixes

These chocolate bunnies are just two of the
delicious prizes in this week’s Gourmet
Giveaway. Photo courtesy Martine’s

If the Easter bunny fails to bring you a basket full of Easter joy, there are still chances to win super-premium chocolate goodies in this week’s Gourmet Giveaway. Three lucky winners will receive adorable (and luscious) artisan chocolate bunnies from Martine’s Chocolates, in their choice of dark, milk or white chocolate.

And Martine’s is offering a freebie for all NIBBLE readers:

  • Through the end of April, you’ll receive a free 2-piece box of marzipan eggs with your first purchase over $25 (excluding shipping), or a free 2-piece box of marzipan eggs plus 2 chocolate truffles with your first purchase over $45.
  • To get your free chocolates, mention that you are a NIBBLE reader over the phone or in the comments area if you are ordering online.
  • To learn more about Martine’s Chocolates, check out our review and visit
PRIZE #2: Naturally Nora Baking Mixes

Need some brownies or a frosted cake in a hurry? Naturally Nora provides boxed cake and frosting mixes made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

One lucky NIBBLE reader will be able to make three easy frosted cakes and two pans of brownies, with a prize that includes:

  • Alot’a Dots Cake Mix and Alot’a Dots Frosting Mix
  • Cheerful Chocolate Cake Mix and Cheerful Chocolate Frosting Mix
  • Sunny Yellow Cake Mix and Extraordinary Vanilla Frosting Mix
  • Two brownie mixes: Fantastic Fudgy Brownies and Doubly Fudgy Brownies

Learn more about Naturally Nora at

  • To Enter These Gourmet Giveaways: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Chocolate Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, April 5th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!

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