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Archive for April, 2011

MOTHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: The Best Toffee

THE NIBBLE’s favorite toffee is a
great Mother’s Day gift. Photo courtesy
Enstrom’s.

 

Combine chocolate, crunchiness and the most buttery almond toffee we’ve ever had, and you get a great gift idea for Mother’s Day, just 10 days away.

We’ve enjoyed lots of good toffee, but Enstrom’s is number one on our list.

The company makes conventional toffee, broken from the slab into rectangular pieces, as well as these individual pieces, called Almond Toffee Petites.

Sugar-free toffee is also available—and just as delicious as the regular toffee. The products are certified kosher by Scroll K, The Vaad Hakashrus Of Denver.

  • Buy Almond Toffee Petites, 30 pieces for $19.95.
  • Buy Almond Toffee Petites, 60 pieces for $39.95.
  • Buy Sugar Free Almond Toffee, 1 pound for $20.95.
  • Buy Original Almond Toffee, your choice of dark or milk chocolate, 1 pound for $19.95.
  • Buy Original Almond Toffee, your choice of dark or milk chocolate, 2 pound for $39.95.
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    Mom will love it!

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Iced Tea

    With warm weather upon us, our iced tea consumption rises to up to 6 bottles a day.

    That’s a $10/day habit in bottled tea, $70 per week. Or, a mere fraction of that if we brew our own.

    Given our combined desire to spend sensibly and consume sustainably, we focus on home brewing.

    You don’t need any fancy equipment, but there are some specialty ice tea brewers that make sense for those who drink a lot of iced tea. Check out the options from Hamilton Beach and West Bend.

    We personally use the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker, one of our favorite kitchen appliances. We let the hot tea cool, then pour it into recycled 16-ounce drink bottles and place them in the fridge. You can just as easily pour it into a pitcher if you prefer to serve it that way, or store the tea in recycled quart bottles.

     

    Iced tea makers brew the tea right in
    a pitcher. Photo courtesy West Bend.

     

    Before we had the Breville tea brewer, we simply put loose tea in a large mesh tea ball/spice ball, or tea bags, and then placed it in a large mixing bowl and poured in an entire kettle of boiling water. (For green tea, don’t bring the water to boiling. The ideal brewing temperature is 180°F.)

    For the best iced tea, buy loose tea from a specialty tea store. The flavors are so intense, no sugar or lemon is needed. And you’ll need less tea: Loose tea can be infused two or three times, while most tea bags are made to produce one cup of tea.

  • How to brew iced tea.
  • How to make tea, including brewing temperatures.
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    COOKING VIDEO: Strawberry Pie Recipe

     

    The warmer weather inspires us to go into pie-baking mode, before the summer heat makes us avoid turning on the oven.

    Have you ever made a strawberry pie? It couldn’t be easier: Just toss fresh strawberries with sugar and cornstarch. (We also add the zest of a lemon or orange, or a tablespoon of orange liqueur.)

    Make two pies: One to serve at home with strawberry or vanilla ice cream or whipped cream; the other as a gift for someone special.

       

       

  • Check out all the different types of pies in our Pie & Pastry Glossary.
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    PRODUCT: Crystal Light Pure

    We’re enjoying all the flavors of new Crystal
    Light Pure. Photo courtesy Kraft Foods.

     

    Just in time for warmer weather, there’s a new way to hydrate.

    Crystal Light has introduced a tasty sister, Crystal Light Pure, which replaces Crystal Light Pure Fitness. Because there’s no artificial sweetener, there’s no artificial aftertaste, which is what kept us from enjoying regular Crystal Light (yes, we know that millions of people love it, including some of our closest friends).

    But if you’d like a more natural-tasting, low calorie fruit drink—as well as one made of all-natural ingredients—we nominate Crystal Light Pure.

    All-natural Crystal Light Pure has no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. It’s sweetened with sugar and Truvia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant (a member of the holly family). Stevia has no calories, so even after the addition of sugar, the drink has just 15 calories per 8-ounce serving, with 4g sugar. (Regular Crystal Light has 5 calories per serving and 0g sugar.)

    The sweetness level is so natural that even those who normally use all-sugar-sweetened drink mixes should give it a try.

     

  • Crystal Light Pure is available in five popular flavors: Grape, Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Kiwi and Tropical Blend.
  • Two flavors, Grape and Strawberry Kiwi, also contain electrolytes, potassium and sodium that help to aid hydration during light physical activity.
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    You can make a pitcher of Crystal Light Pure or add it to a reusable water bottle and drink sustainably all summer long.

    And, a bit of gin, vodka or tequila turns it into a fruity, lower-calorie cocktail.

    Crystal Light Pure is available at supermarkets nationwide and on Amazon.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Kitchen Shears

    Watching a professional chef wield a knife is impressive: in a whoosh, everything is chopped, neatly and evenly. Whole chickens are cut apart effortlessly and chives are cut into impossibly small pieces.

    If you’re not a knife wizard, consider a pair of kitchen shears. They make our tasks go quickly and don’t remind us that our knife skills could be better.

    Use them for:

  • Snipping herbs (we use shears daily for basil, chives and parsley), scallion leaves and leafy vegetables
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  • Separating pizza slices (much better than a serrated wheel)
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  • Cutting poultry, fish, crustaceans and other foods
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    In addition to cutting food, you can use the shears to trim flowers, parchment paper and twine; open boxes; and other cutting tasks.

    Newer kitchen shears have added features:

     

    These Wustoff kitchen shears are available
    on Amazon.com.

     

  • A serrated section in the center for removing bottle caps and cracking nuts (we’ve also used this to strip herbs such as rosemary and oregano from their woody stems).
  • Handles that are equal for lefties as well as righties.
  • Two metal prongs at the ends of the handles lift jar lids.
  • A hinge that makes it easy to take the scissors apart for cleaning.
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    The metals are also dishwasher-safe (although hand washing keeps the edges sharper).

    If you don’t want to buy something new, any clean, sharp scissors with a 3″ to 4″ blade can be repurposed as kitchen shears.

      

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