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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Diet Nibbles

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Veggie Fries

If the only way to get the family to eat more veggies is to feed them fries…well, Veggie Fries should become a very big brand.

You can make veggie fries, which substitute all or some of the potato for a more nutritious vegetable, from scratch at home.

Or, you can buy Veggie Fries, a new line that has debuted offering:

  • Broccoli fries (27% broccoli and beans)
  • Carrot fries (32% carrots and beans)
  • Chickpea & Red Pepper fries (25% chickpeas and bell peppers)
  • Tuscan Bean & Herb fries (29% beans and herbs)
  •  
    The all natural line mixes better-for-you vegetables and legumes in with potato, to deliver more fiber and vitamins. The fries are low in sodium and gluten-free.

    The company tried more than 300 recipes to create the perfect veggie fries: extra crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. We hope you love them as much as we do.

    Learn more at EatVeggieFries.com.

       

    broccoli-fries-plate-bag-230

    One of the new fries in town: Broccoli Veggie Fries. Photo courtesy Healthy Life Brands.

     

    chickpea-red-pepper-plate-230sq

    Chickpea & Red Bell Pepper Fries. Photo
    courtesy Healthy Life Brands.

     

    The fries bake in the oven, and in just 18 to 23 minutes you’ll have crispy fries to enjoy with your favorite foods—or all by themselves as a lower-guilt fry snack.

    Serve them with your favorite condiments, or try a new one, like ponzu sauce—an Asian alternative to the malt vinegar preferred by the Brits instead of ketchup. Or take a look at these more unusual, sophisticated condiments from Chef Johnny Gnall.

    If ketchup is your condiment, take a look at the best ketchup brands. For example, blend your own chili paste and honey or hot sauce, a dip of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, or flavored mayonnaise.

    And consider creating a signature fries recipe with different toppings.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Nothin’ But Snack Bars

    Jerri Graham, founder of Nothin’ But Premium Foods, had some of the same concerns of many people who carefully read nutrition labels. She realized that the snack bars her family enjoyed were lacking.

    “Everything was either loaded with artificial protein powders or a ‘log’ of foodstuff that left much to be desired,” she says. “So, I started making bars that I wanted to eat, give to my friends, and most importantly, what I wanted to feed my own child.”

    Jerri developed recipes and began selling her better-for-you snack bars to local cafés, farmers markets and gyms. People loved them and wanted more, but her production capacity was limited.

    One day, she received a phone call from a businessman who had discovered her product, and agreed with her mission. Together, they launched the Nothin’ But line of bars and granola cookies.

    Everything tastes so fresh, so good—a healthy indulgence with simple ingredients yet layers of flavor. Nuts deliver 4 grams of protein per serving, oats contribute 2 grams of fiber, honey, organic cane sugar and dried fruit are the sweeteners.

       

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    These snack bars look healthy, and they taste delicious. Photo courtesy Nothin’ But Foods.

     

     

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    Granola cookies. Photo courtesy Nothin’ But
    Foods.

     

    NOTHIN’ BUT PREMIUM SNACK BARS

    Nothin’ But Premium Snack Bars are 100% natural, made from a blend of organic oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits; plus honey, organic cane sugar and olive oil. They are egg free, gluten free, cholesterol free and certified kosher by OK.

    The four bar flavors include something for everyone:

  • Cherry Cranberry Almond
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Ginger Lemon Cashew
  • Peanut Butter Banana
  •  
    NOTHIN’ BUT GRANOLA COOKIES

    If you prefer a cookie treat, tasty granola cookies, made from the same good ingredients as the snack bars, are available in:

  • Cherry Cranberry Almond
  • Chocolate Almond
  •  

    Retail distribution is currently limited, as is typical of new brands; but you can buy Nothin’ But online at NothinButFoodsStore.com.

    Different gift assortments are available.

    Send them to your favorite student, or to anyone who appreciates better-for-you foods.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Diet Ice Pops

    paletas-taza-2-230

    Turn diet soft drinks into ice pops. Photo
    courtesy Taza.

     

    Looking for something sweet, cool, and virtually non-caloric?

    You can buy sugar-free or no sugar added ice pops from Edy’s or Popsicle. Or, you can make your own from your favorite diet soft drink.

    It couldn’t be easier. Prep time is five minutes plus freezing time.

    RECIPE: DIET ICE POPS

    Ingredients

  • Diet soda, diet fruit beverage, tea (steeped to double strength, as with iced tea)
  • Ice pop molds
  • Optional: yogurt
  •  
    Preparation For 6 Ice Pops

    1. POUR 20 ounces of beverage into a large pitcher.

    2. POUR the mixture into the pop molds; freeze for 3 hours or until completely frozen.

     

    Variations

  • Tea. If you’re a tea fan, experiment with fruit teas, sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners or a bit of agave (which is twice as sweet as sugar or honey, so use half as much).
  • Mix-Ins. Add chopped fruit (fresh or frozen) or citrus zest; for example, diet raspberry soda with chopped raspberries or diet lemon-lime soda with lime zest.
  • Layers. Create layers of different flavors. Add the first flavor, freeze and add the next layer.
  • Yogurt. For a few extra calories, mix flavored, no sugar added yogurt with the beverage. Or, create a separate yogurt layer. We couldn’t find the No Sugar Added Creamsicles at our store, so we made our own with diet orange soda and vanilla yogurt.
  •  
    On a related note, you can also make flavored ice cubes by freezing your favorite diet beverage in an ice cube tray. Toss them into your drink instead of regular ice, and the melting cubes won’t dilute the flavor.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lärabar’s Renula “Granola”

    The Lärabar brand of healthy, gluten free energy bars (now owned by General Mills) has reinvented granola. They call their new product Renola.

    The reinvention substitutes nuts for the traditional oats in granola. As a result, Renola is grain free, gluten free, soy-free and dairy-free. It is certified kosher by OU.

    It’s also crunchy and complex, with 6g protein per serving.

    A blend of non-GMO fruits, nuts, seeds and spices, Renola debuts in three flavors:

  • Berry Renola: almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, molasses, blueberries, dried apple, raspberry powder, lemon juice, cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla.
  • Cinnamon Nut: almonds, sunflower seeds, molasses, pumpkin seeds, pecans, raisins, cashews, tapioca syrup, cinnamon, vanilla.
  • Cocoa Coconut: almonds, pecans, cashews, cocoa nibs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut, coconut oil, cocoa powder.
  •  
    They are purchased in 1.25-ounce single serve packets. We received samples from the manufacturer and are pleased to report: the Berry and Cinnamon Nut flavors are superb.

    And Cocoa Coconut? The sample we received was a disappointment, with marginal cocoa flavor and a bit of coconut too dessicated to be enjoyable.

    But that doesn’t diminish the excitement of the other two flavors. They are wonderful, and thus, our Top Pick Of The Week.
     
    WAYS TO ENJOY RENOLA

  • On yogurt or cottage cheese
  • On oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • As a snack from the pack
  • In baking (add to cookie dough, for example)
  • As a dessert or salad garnish
  •  

    berry-renola-230

    Berry Renola, a nut-based replacement for conventional granola. Photo courtesy General Mills.

     

    Renola is currently available at select Target stores nationwide, as well as a variety of grocery chains including Kroger, Meijer, Ahold, Safeway and Shaws, with others to come. The suggested retail price is $1.79 per package.

    For more information about Lärabar and Renola, visit Larabar.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pistachio Chewy Bites

    pistachio-tea-3-230

    A favorite snack: chewy pistachio bites.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    While several of us tried to determine the name of the company, we all agreed: These Pistachio Chewy Bites are good stuff.

    Simple and nutritious, they’re a blend of roasted pistachios and dried cranberries, bound in a honey-like mix of two low-glycemic* sweeteners, agave and brown rice syrup.

    The bites are small—2″ x 1-1/2″—but nutrient dense and filling. One is enough, really, although the serving size is two.

    We’ve been enjoying them as an on-the-go snack, for breakfast and at tea time. We have afternoon tea at THE NIBBLE, and these snacks can hold their own with biscotti, cookies and other sweets we sample each day.

    If you need a quick dessert garnish, you can dice the bars as a topping for cupcakes, ice cream or sorbet.

    The only confusion is the name of the company, only visible on the bag in the logo. There’s no URL, no company name in the marketing copy on the bag.

    We don’t have room for a photo here, but look at it.

     

    Is it Seffon Farms? Selton Farms? Setton Farms.

    It’s the latter. We had to Google it.

    The line is certified gluten free and certified kosher by OK.

    Learn more about Setton Farms, a California pistachio grower,

    Buy the bites on Amazon.
     
    *The glycemic index of table sugar is 60-65. The glycemic index of agave is 32, and brown rice syrup is 20. Honey is 58 and pure maple syrup is 54. Agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and honey, so you don’t need to use as much.
     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pamela’s Figgies & Jammies

    It you like Fig Newtons—or wish you liked them more—there’s a better “Newton” in town.

    It’s called Figgies & Jammies and the cookies are from Pamela’s Products, maker of delicious gluten-free cookies, bars and mixes. The flavors include:

  • Mission Fig
  • Blueberry & Fig
  • Raspberry & Fig
  • Strawberry & Fig
  •  
    Filled with real Mission figs and complementary fruits, this gluten-free version of the traditional fig cookie is so delicious, even people who don’t prefer gluten-free foods will prefer them.

    The pie-like cookie portion is more tender, the fruit flavors are brighter. The size is a bit larger than Fig Newtons.

    The cookies are not just gluten free, but egg free, low in sodium and all natural. There are no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no cholesterol, no corn syrup.

    The line is certified gluten-free by GFCO and certified kosher (dairy) by OU (the hechsher is hidden under the fold of the seam).

       

    fig-newtons-pamelasfiggiesjammies-kalviste-230

    Yes, they’re better than Fig Newtons. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    You can find a store locator on the company website, or buy them online from Pamela’s.

     

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    Four figalicious flavors. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    WHY A “NEWTON¿”

    The Fig Newton was named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts. It was the custom of the original manufacturer, Kennedy Biscuit Works of Cambridgeport (now Cambridge, Massachusetts), to name cookies after towns in the Boston area.

    Kennedy Biscuit Works was affiliated with the New York Biscuit Company, which became part of the company now known as Nabisco. According to Nabisco, the cookie was invented in 1891 by a Philadelphian, James Henry Mitchell, who created the duplex dough-sheeting machines and funnels that made the jam-filled cookies possible. He thought of the soft dough with fruit filling as cookie “pies.”

    The machine was patented in 1892, and Mitchell approached the Kennedy Biscuit Company to try it out. They were impressed—all that was needed was a name. Newton, Massachusetts got the honor. Just think: We could have Fig Lexingtons or Fig Concords instead.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Protein Bakery, Delicious Bites With Extra Protein

    “Fitness is my business, baking is my passion,” says Stephen Charles Lincoln, a fitness instructor who enjoys a good brownie and cookie.

    Way back in 1999, he created the Protein Bakery to bake goodies amped up with whey protein, undetectable to the palate.

    We only heard about it recently, but we’re thrilled with the result: delicious cookies, brownies and blondies that deliver six grams of protein per serving. With classic good cookie and brownie flavor, you’d never know you’re getting a nutritional boost.

    The products are baked without wheat flour and include better-for-you ingredients like rolled oats, light brown sugar, peanut butter, cranberries, toasted walnuts and unsweetened coconut. Baked daily in small batches, the sweet treats are all natural, trans-fat free and preservative free.

    The recipes are gluten free, but the brownies and cookies are baked in a facility that uses gluten in other products. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    There is sugar, of course; and the calorie count is the same as most products from artisan bakeries. The differentiation is that instead of empty calories, you get a nice hit of protein with each bite.

    Everything is available shrink-wrapped for home purchase and in tins for gifting. There’s an assortment for everybody.

    And there’s no need to tell kids that the extra protein is good for them.

       

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    Chocolate chocolate chip cookies, packed with protein. Photo courtesy Protein Bakery.

     

     

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    The Peanut Butter Lover’s Gift Set combines
    PB blondies, brownies (shown) and cookies.
    Photo courtesy Protein Bakery.

     

    Blondies: Mini & Full Size

  • Black & White Blondie
  • Coconut Walnut Dark Chocolate Chip Blondie
  • Lemon White Chocolate Chip Blondie
  • Peanut Butter Blondie
  •  
    Brownies: Mini & Full Size

  • Black & White Brownie
  • Chocolate Chip Brownie
  • Peanut Butter Brownie
  •  
    Brownies: Mini & Full Size

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Chocolate Chocolate White Chip Cookie
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie
  • Peanut Butter Cookie
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  •  

    Order yours at ProteinBakery.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Vegan Pesto From Sauces ‘n Love

    Sauces-n-Love_Vegan-Pesto-230

    Vegan, lactose free and cholesterol free
    pesto. Photo courtesy Sauces ‘n Love.

     

    Keeping a good jar of pre-made pesto at hand can make any dish extraordinary in only a matter of minutes.

    Pesto sauce, traditionally consists of basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses and salt for seasoning. Add a dollop to dinner and suddenly you’re a fancy cook who understands how to dazzle with delicate herbs. Pesto is vegetarian, low in carbs and packed with fresh ingredients: a bright, healthy addition to your meals.

    Pesto originated in the Italian province of Liguria, 220 miles of crescent-shaped Mediterranean coastline that is sometimes called the Italian Riviera. Liguria, the capital of which is Genoa, is home to superb produce, most notably the sweetest, mildest basil. Its people enjoy one of the freshest, healthiest cuisines in all of Italy.

    Just as pesto can be made with different nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts) and greens (arugula, spinach)—or even non-greens, like red pepper pesto—it can be made vegan instead of vegetarian. One way to do this is to substitute vegan Parmesan.

     

    But Sauces ‘n Love has creating a pesto condiment, dip and sauce that eliminates the cheese or cheese substitute. Using only extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and black pepper still creates a delicious pesto.

     

    Why vegan pesto? Aside from accommodating the growing number of vegans, it’s a boon for non-vegans who are lactose intolerant, those cutting back on cholesterol, and kosher consumers who want to serve pesto with meat-based meals.

    Sauces ‘n Love, a NIBBLE Top Pick of The Week is one of our favorite lines of Italian-style sauces, sold fresh in the refrigerator case. A sister line, Scarpetta, is shelf-stable and will stay fresh without refrigeration for nine months. Learn more at SaucesNLove.com.
     
    MORE ABOUT PESTO

  • Pesto Overview
  • The History Of Pesto
  • Pesto Serving Suggestions
  • Homemade Pesto Recipe and Pesto Prep Tips
  • More Favorite Pestos
  •  

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    Beyond pasta: Pesto can be used to enhance most savory dishes. Photo by Guyer Wood | IST.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Dannon Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt

    June 4th is National Frozen Yogurt Day. Treat yourself to a pint of Oikos Greek frozen yogurt. You can print a $1.00 coupon online.

    The brand recently launched a frozen yogurt line in:

  • Black Cherry
  • Cafe Latte
  • Chocolate
  • Key Lime
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    We received pints of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla to taste. The strawberry and vanilla didn’t do much for us. There are other brands with better strawberry and vanilla flavor.

     

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    Chocolate was our favorite in the Oikos Greek frozen yogurt line. Photo courtesy Dannon.

     

    But the chocolate was most satisfactory, especially given that it’s 150 calories per four-ounce serving—a nice break from, say, Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream at 260 calories. It may be an apples-and-oranges comparison, but we’d go for the lower calorie option.

    And the lower fat option: Frozen yogurt also has more than half the fat of regular ice cream: 2.5g versus 7g per half-cup serving, according to Dannon. Since much of that fat is saturated (cholesterol), that’s a good thing.

    Finally, if you’re lactose-sensitive, the Oikos frozen yogurt line is made from lactose-reduced nonfat milk.

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Danny Macaroons

    Passover is around the corner, and macaroons are on the menu. The soft, coconut cookies are a delight year-round, but especially appreciated by Passover observers. Made of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites—without the flour or leavening that are verboten during this holiday—they happily replace other baked sweets. (They’re gluten-free, too.)

    Dan Cohen of Danny’s Macaroons and author of The Macaroon Bible, is one of the country’s—and probably the world’s—great macaroon makers. Beyond his grandmother’s plain and chocolate dipped, he’s brought macaroons into the new flavor age.

    The cookies are made with kosher ingredients, but are not kosher for Passover. Still, those who observe the spirit of the law if not the letter of it, will enjoy every bite.

    DANNY MACAROON FLAVORS

    Just take a look at these choices:

     

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    Get the book and bake your own! Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  • Amarena Cherry, topped with an semi-candied cherry
  • Baileys McRoons
  • Bourbon
  • Black Chocolate Stout
  • Chocolate Almond
  • Chocolate Banana Nut
  • Chocolate Caramel
  • Chocolate Dipped
  • Chocolate Malted
  • Guava
  • Jamstand Surprise with spicy raspberry jalapeño jam
  • Maple Pecan Pie
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Plain Coconut
  • Red Velvet
  • Rice Pudding
  • Spiced Pumpkin
  • Stoopid, coconut macaroons are filled with potato chips, pretzels and pieces of Butterfinger, then drizzled with dark chocolate (how this relates to stupid, we can’t say)
  •  
    Get yours at DannyMacaroons.com.

     

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    How many flavors do we want? All of them!
    Photo courtesy Southport Grocery.

     

    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS

    “Macaroon” means different things to different people. To some, it’s a big ball of coconut, to others, a delicate, airy meringue. Both are delicious and neither is made with flour, making them options for gluten-free observers and for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

    The first macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s Amaretti di Saronno, with a crisp crust and a soft interior. They were made from egg whites and almond paste.

    Macaroons traveled to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II. Two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, seeking asylum in the town of Nancy during the French Revolution (1789-1799), paid for their housing by baking and selling the macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the “Macaroon Sisters” (the French word is macaron, pronounced mah-kah-RONE).

    Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it has no flour or leavening, the agent that raises and lightens a baked good, such as baking powder and baking soda (instead, macaroons are leavened by egg whites).

     

    The recipe was introduced to other European Jews and became popular for Passover as well as a year-round sweet.Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds in Jewish macaroons, and, in certain recipes, completely replaced them.

    Coconut macaroons are more prevalent in the U.S. and the U.K.—and they’re a lot easier to make and transport than the fragile almond meringues that became the norm in France.

    Here’s more macaroon history.

      

    Comments

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