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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: Japanese Cone Crepes

Pick your crepes. Photo courtesy Eight Turn
Crepe.

 

If you get excited by the thought of crepes, take a look at Eight Turn Crepe and get out your crepe pan.

The take-out restaurant concept, which originated in Tokyo, has just opened in New York City. The gluten-free, rice flour crepes are packed with fresh ingredients and rolled into a cone shape.

The varieties, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, are all so exciting that we want to have every one.

Read the full review.

If you’re in New York City, head to 55 Spring Street in Soho. Here’s the company website.

Be sure to have yuzulade—yuzu lemonade. (The recipe is in the review.)

Then, hope that an Eight Turn Crepe opens near you.

 

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Substitute Tofu For Cream & Try This Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Soft tofu can be turned into a substitute for
heavy cream. Photo courtesy House Foods.

 

We learned from Japanese and Asian-influenced restaurants that you can have lush, creamy tofu-based desserts and not even notice there’s no cream. Substituting tofu for heavy cream helps to save calories and avoid cholesterol. It produces recipes that support kosher, lactose-free and vegan diets. It’s also less expensive than cream, and is available in organic and conventional varieties.

Erin Dow of Guiding Stars shared how to make a heavy cream substitute from soft (silken) tofu.

“Abstaining from heavy cream, regardless of the reason, can pose a serious challenge in the kitchen,” Erin notes. “Its thickening power, its silky rich mouth feel, and the flavor-balancing power of its fat content, are tough to replicate with plant-based alternatives. But for certain applications, a substitute made with silken tofu can help. The recipe is simple.”

 

RECIPE: SOFT/SILKEN TOFU “HEAVY CREAM”

  • Combine one part silken tofu with one part liquid of your choice (see last two bullets) in a blender and process until smooth.
  • If desired, strain through a fine mesh strainer before using.
  • For sweet recipes, use coconut milk or unsweetened vanilla soy milk for the liquid. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla for every cup of cream you make.
  • For savory recipes, use almond or oat milk. They will help balance out the flavor without risking a curdled mess.
  •  
    Soft/silken tofu heavy cream is a great substitute for pastry creams and other desserts, quiches and chocolate truffles and for thinning out frostings and dips. Use it to add body to sauces, gravies and smoothies. Extra firm or firm tofu is used for scrambles, kabobs, stirfries and other mains.

     

    And pudding—chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, etc.: Tofu substitutes easily for cream. The following recipe is dairy free and cholesterol free. It’s a companion to the tofu chocolate mousse recipe we published last year for National Chocolate Mousse Day.

    It was created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, hosts of Cooking Channel’s show “Extra Virgin.” Budino is the Italian word for pudding.

    RECIPE: TOFU CHOCOLATE BUDINO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 package (14 ounces) soft/silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •  

    No cholesterol, no lactose. Photo courtesy Cooking Channel.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE sugar, water, and cocoa water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly.

    2. MELT chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water.

    3. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
     
    ABOUT TOFU

    Tofu was first created from soybeans more than 2,000 years ago in China. While lots of tofu and soy sauce are consumed, approximately 85% of the world’s soybean crop is processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil.

    In Japan, edamame (immature soybeans), miso (soybean paste), natto (fermented soybeans) and kinako (roasted soybean flour) are popular foods. Soy milk, tempeh and textured vegetable protein are increasing in popularity in the U.S.

    If you’re ingredient-conscious, look for organic tofu, made from sustainably grown, non-GMO soybeans. Commonly used tofu processing aids such as defoamers, bleaches and preservatives are not used in organic tofu.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Fruit Salad Cocktail or Mocktail

    We love this idea of a “seltzer-fruit cocktail” from Polar Seltzer: refreshing and low in calories. The Worcester, Massachusetts-based bottler makes seltzer in numerous yummy, calorie-free flavors:

  • Year-Round Flavors: Black Cherry, Blueberry, Cherry Pomegranate, Cranberry Lime, Georgia Peach, Granny Smith Apple, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Pomegranate, Raspberry Lime, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Strawberry, Triple Berry, Orange Vanilla, Vanilla.
  • Limited Edition Summer Flavors: Limited editions change yearly, but summer flavors have included Ginger Lemonade, Mint Mojito, Orange Mango, Piña Colada and Pineapple Passionfruit.
  • Limited Edition Holiday Flavors: What a great idea for calorie-free drinks! No wonder past flavors such as Boston Cream Pie, Butter Rum, Candy Cane, Cinnamon, Eggnog, Mint Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Pear have sold out.
  •  

    The mixologists at Polar Beverages always provide cocktail and mocktail ideas for the different flavors. You can find them on the company’s website and Facebook page.

     

    Cocktail or mocktail with “fruit salad.” Photo courtesy Polar Seletzer.

     

    FRUIT SALAD COCKTAIL-MOCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 different fruits
  • Flavored seltzer to match
  • Optional: a shot of your favorite spirit or liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE fruits: wash, pat dry, slice as needed.

    2. FILL glass with ice cubes, seltzer and optional spirit.

    3. ARRANGE fruits at the top of the glass. The ice cubes serve as a base to anchor the fruit.

    4. SERVE with a straw and a cocktail pick or cocktail fork for the fruit.

     

    “Creamsicle” seltzer: Orange Vanilla seltzer
    with an orange wedge. Photo courtesy Polar
    Seltzer.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUB SODA &
    SELTZER

    A Glossary Of Sparkling Waters

    Any effervescent water belongs to the category of carbonated water, also called soda water: water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, causing the water to become effervescent. The carbon dioxide can be natural, as in some spring waters and mineral waters, or can be added in the bottling process. (In fact, even some naturally carbonated waters are enhanced with more carbonation at the bottling plant.)

    Carbonated Water: In the U.S., carbonated water was known as soda water until after World War II, due to the sodium salts it contained. While today we think of “soda” as a carbonated beverage, the word originally refers to a chemical salts, also called carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium monoxide). The salts were added as flavoring and acidity regulator, to mimic the taste of a natural mineral water.

     
    After the war, terms such as sparkling water and seltzer water gained favor. Except for sparkling mineral water, all carbonated water/soda water is made from municipal water supplies (tap water). Carbonated water was invented in Leeds, England in 1767 by British chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide by suspending a bowl of water above a beer vat at a local brewery. Carbonated water changed the way people drank liquor, which had been neat, providing a “mixer” to dilute the alcohol.

    Club Soda: Like the original carbonated water, club soda is enhanced with some sodium salts.

    Fizzy Water: Another term for carbonated water.

    Seltzer or Seltzer Water: Seltzer is carbonated water with no sodium salts added. The term derives from the town of Selters in central Germany, which is renowned for its mineral springs. The naturally carbonated spring water—which contains naturally dissolved salts—has been commercially bottled and shipped around the world since at least the 18th century. When seltzer is made by carbonating tap water, some salts are added for the slightest hint of flavor. And that’s the difference between seltzer and club soda: Club soda is salt-free.

    Sparkling Water: Another term for carbonated water/soda water. It can also refer to sparkling mineral water, which is pumped from underground aquifers. Note that not all sparkling mineral waters are naturally effervescent. Many are actually carbonated from still mineral water. Some are lightly carbonated by nature, but have extra carbonation added at bottling to meet consumer preferences.

    Two Cents Plain: Another word for soda water, coined during the Great Depression, when plain soda water was the cheapest drink at the soda fountain.

    MORE TYPES OF WATER

    Check out our Water Glossary for the different types of water, including the difference between mineral water and spring water.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pillsbury Gluten-Free Dough

    Happy ever after in the marketplace: a really
    good gluten-free pie dough, plus cookie and
    pizza options. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     

    Many of us who are gluten-sensitive have said goodbye to baking, goodbye to homemade pies, pizza…and goodbye to the comfort of an impulsive batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes you just don’t want to do the research or make multiple trips to the grocery store to get all of the ingredients to make exactly what you crave.

    Pillsbury’s new line of refrigerated Gluten Free Doughs aims to give back the freedom to bake, to those with gluten or wheat sensitivities. It includes:

  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie and Pastry Dough
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  •  
    The products are available at major retailers nationwide. Look in the refrigerator case; then, indulge your baking whims as often as you like, wherever you like.

     

    The standout is the Pie and Pastry Dough. It is extremely convenient, as well as versatile. Not only can you make a pie for dessert in a pinch, but I sampled a delicious savory samosa made with dough right out of the bin.

    The dough might be a tad sweet for some savory options, but it has a great crispiness and a satisfyingly rich texture—almost like a shortbread—that makes me excited to sample it in an apple hand pie or in a peach cobbler. Pillsbury suggests multiple other uses for the dough, including mini-quiches, pot pies, tarts and tartlets.

     

    I was also pleased to notice that there was no bean-y or bitter aftertaste to the crust, an affliction that hobbles other gluten free flours that shall go un-named.

    The dough is completely pre-prepared and comes in a 15.8-ounce tub, which makes two 9” pie crusts. The suggested retail price, $4.99, is comparable to other gluten free pie crusts and mixes.

    While the product is gluten free, it is not calorie free: The dough contains 250 calories per serving. Ingredients include soybean oil, rice flour, whole sorghum flour and fructose. Additional corn and potato starches make the dough easy to handle and shape, with the help of a little wax paper.

    Ultra-convenient and easily available, we love that it has restored our freedom to bake on impulse.

    —Georgi Page

     

    Dying for a slice of apple pie? You can make it gluten-free with Pillsbury’s new and delicious dough. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Thai Iced Tea

    WHAT IS THAI ICED TEA?

    Thai iced tea, known as cha-yen (cha is the word for tea), is served in Thailand, Vietnam, elsewhere around the Pacific Rim and in Thai restaurants in the West and elsewhere around the world. It is made from strong-brewed black tea and sweetened condensed milk, which adds body and creamy mouthfeel.

    The brewed tea can be enhanced with spices, such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, star anise and tamarind. If you like chai tea with milk and sweetener, you’ll equally like Thai iced tea.

    For visual appeal, the deep amber tea and white condensed milk are swirled together or layered. The drink can be topped off evaporated milk, coconut milk, half and half or whole milk.

    The countries where it’s most popular are known for hot.steamy summers. Thai iced tea is a welcome refreshment—and a complement to spicy food. If your neck of the woods is as hot and steamy as ours is, it’s time to try the recipe.

     

    The milky swirl of Thai iced tea is a visual treat. Photo courtesy ArborTeas.com.

     

    THAI ICED TEA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black tea leaves (approximately 3 ounces)
  • Optional spices: cardamom, ground tamarind, nutmeg, star anise or others (cinnamon works for us), to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk to top (you can substitute coconut milk, half and half or whole milk)
  • Ice
  •  

    Thai iced tea. Photo by Jeff Kramer |
    Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. STEEP the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves. Using an infuser (tea ball) makes this step easier.

    2. STIR in sugar while the tea is still hot, until dissolved; then stir in condensed milk.

    3. COOL to room temperature or ideally, chill in the fridge.

    4. ADD ice to tall iced tea glasses and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full. Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk.
     
    VARIATIONS

    If you find yourself in the Pacific Rim, you can have what Americans think of as iced tea.

  • Dark Thai iced tea (cha dam yen) is simple iced tea without the milk, sweetened with sugar.
  •  

  • Lime Thai tea (cha manao) is dark Thai iced tea flavored with lime. Mint may also be added.
  •  
    If you’re looking for unsweetened iced tea in the Pacific Rim, you may be out of luck. It‘s the birthplace of sugar.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUGAR

    Sugar is native to Southeast Asia, with three species seeming to have originated in two locations: Saccharum barberi in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea.

    Originally, people chewed on the raw sugar cane stalks to enjoy the sweetness. Refined sugar appears around 500 B.C.E., when residents of what is now India began to make sugar syrup from the cane juice. They cooled it to make crystals that were easier to store and transport. These crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

    Indian sailors carried sugar along various trade routes. In 326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his troops saw farmers on the Indian subcontinent growing sugar cane and making the crystals, which were called sharkara, pronounced as saccharum.

    The Macedonian soldiers carried “honey bearing reeds” home with them. But sugar cane remained a little known crop to most Europeans for the next thousand years, a rare and costly product that made sugar traders wealthy.

    In the 12th century, Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe from the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying the “sweet salt.” Venice began to produce sugar in Lebanon to supply Europe, where honey had been the only available sweetener. By the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe.

     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SUGAR HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Crab Cake

    Save calories and carbs with a
    “deconstructed” crab cake. Photo courtesy
    Wild Mushroom Restaurant | Texas.

     

    Crab cakes are a popular item on menus nationwide. The crab is good for you, but the fat for sautéing is less so.

    You could place the crab cake(s) on a large bed of salad for a healthy offset. Or you could make these “deconstructed” crab cakes from Chef Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse in Weatherford, Texas.

    Chef Joslin takes the components of crab cakes and works them into an uncooked crab cake:

    DECONSTRUCTED CRAB CAKES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Fresh lump crab or other crab meat
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) and/or chimichurri sauce for garnish; you can substitute chile, curry or other flavored mayonnaise
  • For The Salad

  • Baby arugula, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE aioli, if desired (recipe).recipe)

    2. PLACE crab meat in a bowl, chopping as necessary so that it can be easily mounded. Add fresh parsley to taste.

    3. MIX 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Use as needed to bind crab mixture so that it can be molded, using a metal mold, cookie cutter or table spoons.

    4. TOSS arugula with vinaigrette, just enough to lightly moisten.

    5. PLACE the crab cake on a plate, then top with He then arranges the ingredients on top of a bed of arugula that has been tossed with citrus vinaigrette.

    The result is a new take and presentation on the favorite dish. You can save calories by substituting a spicy vinaigrette for the aïoli.
     
    TYPES OF CRAB MEAT

    You don’t need to use the costliest jumbo lump crab meat: Use what you can afford. From most costly to least costly, they area;

  • Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat
  • Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat
  • White Crab Meat
  • Claw Crab Meat
  •  

    The most expensive crab meat, jumbo lump, is beautiful to look at. But if it‘s getting mashed in a recipe, save you money and buy a less expensive grade. Photo courtesy Miller’s Crab.

     
    Here’s more on the different types of crab meat.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 10 Cool & Healthy Summer Snacks

    In one week, we’ve gone from sweater weather to heat wave. While the temptation is to cool down with ice cream and frozen yogurt, we’ve put together a list of healthy summer snacks that are both good for you and hydrating. The key is to prep everything in advance so that when you come indoors, hot and parched, you have immediate succor.

    FRUITS

    1. Fruit Salad

    Cut up your favorite fruits—bananas, berries, grapefruit, melon, oranges, pineapple, whatever—and keep them in the fridge for cool snacking. Mix blueberries, blackberries, grapes, raspberries and strawberries for a salad packed with antioxidants. You can top it with a drizzle of honey, plain Greek yogurt, fruit or vanilla yogurt.

    2. Frozen Grapes & Bananas

    Just wash and dry ‘em (grapes), slice ’em (bananas), stick ‘em in the freezer and pop ‘em in your mouth. Frozen grapes and bananas take more time to eat, so the snack lasts longer. The frozen fruits are more lush and creamy than they are at room temperature.

     

    Melon and berries are high in nutrition and fiber, low in calories, and hydrating. Photo courtesy CaliVirgin.com.

     
    Did you catch our recent review of Dole Chocolate Banana Dippers?
     
    3. No Sugar Added Ice Pops

    Low calorie, “no sugar added” ice pops are perhaps our favorite cool-off snack. Popsicle makes them in Sugar Free Orange, Cherry and Grape (15 calories); Sugar Free Tropicals (15 calories); Creamsicle Sugar Free Pops (40 calories) and Fudgsicle No Sugar Added (80 calories).

    You can make your own lower-sugar ice pops by diluting your favorite juice with fruit tea or spice tea, unsweetened or with a noncaloric sweetener.

    4. Melon

    Don’t have time to cut up a fruit salad? Any melon, chilled in the fridge, hits the spot. Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are packed full of vitamins, fiber and water. While you can cut a quick slice whenever you need refreshment, we like to cut them up in advance and keep some in snack backs in the freezer for grab-and-go.

    VEGGIES

    5. Ants on a Log

    This kiddie favorite can be made more sophisticated for grown-ups, filled with goat cheese, seasoned cottage cheese or seasoned Greek yogurt instead of peanut butter or other nut butter.

    Cut celery in 3-inch long pieces, fill with the spread of your choice and top with a row of 3 raisins, dried cranberries or other dried berry, pistachios or peanuts.

     

    Hummus with crudités and hard-cooked
    eggs. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.

     

    6. Crudités & Hummus

    There are so many different vegetables and so many different flavors of hummus, that this one never gets old.

  • Standard crudités include bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes, green beans, green onions (scallions), mushrooms, radishes, yellow squash and zucchini.
  • Add something less expected: asparagus, endive, fennel, jicama, snap peas, sugar peas or wax beans.
  •  
    7. Cucumbers With Dill-Yogurt Dip

    The phrase “cool as a cucumber” comes from the fact that the inside of a cucumber is 20 degrees cooler than the outside. Slice them and serve with a nonfat Greek yogurt (lots of dill and garlic to taste, lemon zest, mint or basil if you have it, seasoned with salt and pepper). Look for different types of cucumbers and serve a fun assortment—you can find some real beauties in farmers markets (check out these heirloom cucumbers).

     

    You can use the same ingredients to make Greek tzatziki and Indian raita, cucumber and yogurt salads. Eat them from the spoon or as a dip with the crudités.

    8. Barley Or Quinoa Salad

    Chilled whole grain salads are great for summer snacking. Combine cooked barley or quinoa with chopped fresh or cooked vegetables (bell peppers, corn, edamame, onions/scallions, mushrooms, peas, zucchini, etc.), nuts, seeds, even berries or chopped fresh or dried fruits, including raisins. Dress with a light vinaigrette, or a citrus-olive oil dressing. Here’s a barley salad recipe; you can substitute quinoa for the barley. Eat with a spoon or in a lettuce leaf wrap or endive leaf.

    DRINKS

    9. Homemade Lemonade

    While a cold jug of Crystal Lite lemonade can slake a thirst, homemade lemonade with zingy fresh lemon juice is a real treat. When you make your own, you not only spare the environment from bottle landfill; but you can use noncaloric sweetener including stevia or agave nectar instead of sugar. More about the different sweeteners.

    For fun flavored lemonade, add grated ginger, fresh mint, lavender (here’s a lavender lemonade recipe), muddled berries or savory fresh herbs (basil, rosemary or thyme—crush gently to release the oils before adding to the drink).

    A pinch of cayenne creates chile-accented lemonade: Add it pinch by pinch to the glass until you get your desired level of heat; or start with 1/2 teaspoon in a pitcher. (We prefer the more flavorful heat of ginger.)

    Or make an Arnold Palmer: half lemonade, half iced tea. If you haven’t tried this combination, you’ll be delighted with the taste.

    10. Iced Tea & Iced Coffee

    There’s nothing like an ice-cold glass of iced tea or iced coffee to help cool down. Brew up decaffeinated versions if you like to drink lots of it but prefer to limit your caffeine intake.

    To keep your drink even tastier, make ice cubes from iced coffee or iced tea—just pour it into the ice cube tray and freeze. Then, you won’t dilute your drink while keeping it cool; and adding ice cubes to a refrigerator-cold drink makes it super cold and refreshing.

    We repurpose 64-ounce empty drink bottles to hold our brewed teas, and fill some repurposed 16-ounce drink bottles for grab-and-go.

    Keep cool!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Garden Lites Veggie Muffins

    The producers of our favorite Garden Lites Veggie Soufflés have introduced new Veggie Muffins: a fluffy carrot muffin and a deep chocolate zucchini muffin.

    The all natural Veggie Muffins line is made of 1/3 fresh vegetables. Each muffin is shrink-wrapped for easy portability. Just let the frozen muffins defrost naturally or heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds; you’ll have an extremely moist treat that’s right-sized (not super-sized) at 120 calories per muffin (3 Weight Watchers points).

    The recipe contains eggs, but is dairy free, gluten free, nut free and soy free. The line is certified kosher by Star-K.

  • Carrot Berry Veggie Muffins are made with fresh vegetables plus blueberries, cherries and cranberries.
  • Zucchini Chocolate Veggie Muffins are very chocolaty, from cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate chips—so chocolaty that no one will detect the zucchini. They’re great for chocolate cravings or to sneak extra servings of vegetables into resistant loved ones.
  •  

    This moist carrot muffin is a great 120- calorie treat. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Pair Veggie Muffins with coffee or tea for quick breakfast, tuck in with your lunch or for a healthful snack. You can keep them in the office freezer—although you’ll have to disguise them so co-workers don’t polish them off.

    While the muffins don’t have as much veggie content as the larger-portion souffles, each muffin is made from 1/3 fresh vegetables and comprises not quite one daily serving of vegetables. But hey, they’re muffins!

    The yummy muffins are available at select Costco locations and other retailers. Check the store locator for the store nearest you.

    The four-pack will retail for around $4.99, and the Costco 14-pack is a bargain at $9.99.

    Garden Lites calls itself “the delicious vegetable company.” We agree.

    For more information, visit GardenLites.com.

      

    Comments

    COCKTAILS: Save Calories With VitaFrute From VeeV

    Ready to drink, VitaFrute lower calorie
    cocktails reduce the sugar calories in
    cocktails. Photo courtesy VeeV Spirits.

     

    Typical mixed drinks can pack on the calories. The standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories, which seems reasonable. But start to add mixers:

  • Cranberry juice cocktail (8 oz.): 136 calories
  • Light orange juice (8 oz.): 50 calories
  • Orange juice (6 oz.): 84 calories
  • Soft drink (cola, 7-Up, etc., 8 oz.): 100 calories, 25g sugar
  • Piña colada mix (6 ounces): 130 calories, 25g sugar
  •  
    But there are calorie-saving solutions:

     
    LOOK FOR REDUCED CALORIE READY-MADE COCKTAILS

    One easy way to control a sweet cocktail while controlling the calories is the new line of VitaFrute cocktails from VeeV Spirits, in Margarita, Organic Lemonade and Organic Cosmopolitan. The base spirit is VeeV, the world’s first spirit made from the superfruit açaí.

     
    Sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar, cocktails are under 125 calories per serving. By comparison, a four-ounce glass of wine has 125-150 calories.

    The suggested retail price of VitaFrute is $13.99 to $14.99 per bottle. Learn more about VeeV spirit and VitaFrute cocktails at VeeVLife.com.

    Here are more tips to cut back on the calories in cocktails:

    HOW TO REDUCE THE CALORIES IN MIXED DRINKS

  • If you can, choose savory, not sweet, cocktails, such as the popular Bloody Mary and Martini.
  • Use calorie-free flavored club soda instead a soft drink mixer (lemon seltzer instead of 7-Up, for example).
  • Use club soda and bitters, or diet ginger ale, instead of ginger ale; and use the diet versions of other soda mixers (cola, lemon-lime, tonic water, etc.).
  • Use “light” or diet mixers: eight ounces of light cranberry juice have 40 calories, light lemonade has 5 calories, diet soda or diet tonic water has 0 calories.
  • Avoid premade cocktail mixes; there’s sugar hidden in everything, including spicy Bloody Mary mix.
  • Look at coffee- and tea-based cocktails such as a Chai Tea Martini or Espresso Martini; coffee and tea have zero calories.
  •  

  • Use low glycemic agave nectar or noncaloric sweeteners to sweeten cocktails.
  • Use sugar-free, calorie-free syrups from DaVinci or Torani to sweeten and flavor cocktails.
  • Try sugar-free mixers. We’ve tried Baja Bob’s Margarita and Sweet ‘n’ Sour mixes, but find that we prefer agave nectar and fresh lime juice for a Margarita, and fresh lemon juice and agave for a Whiskey Sour; .5 ounce of lemon or lime juice has just 10 calories.
  • Use fresh fruit and herb garnishes to add flavor and eye appeal.
  • Avoid creamy cocktails, whether dairy cream (Brandy Alexander, White Russian) or cream of coconut (Piña Colada). Substitute coconut water to add coconut flavor to a cocktail, or use coconut-infused vodka (see our next tip).
  •  

    VeeV, the açaí-based mother spirit of VitaFrute cocktails.

     

  • Try infused vodkas straight instead of a similarly-flavored mixed drink; UV Vodka has every flavor under the rainbow including chocolate, and Skyy Infusions’ 12 infused vodkas are a NIBBLE favorite (Pineapple vodka is our replacement of choice for the high-calorie Piña Colada). The infusions add no calories.
  • Dilute your cocktail with club soda or sparkling water (we’ve been enjoying wine spritzers since we were old enough to drink) to half and half, with a squeeze of lime juice.
  •  
    Finally, our favorite calorie-saving cocktail strategy:

  • Alternate cocktails with no- or low-calorie “mocktails”: noncaloric or low-calorie drinks, from club soda with bitters to a Virgin Mary.
  •  
    If you’ve got additional tips, use the Contact Us link to send them in!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Lucky Spoon Gluten Free Cookies

    A stack of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Gluten-free artisan bakeries typically pop up when a family member has gluten intolerance. In this case, its husband and co-founder of Lucky Spoon Bakery in Salt Lake City, Jim Schulte.

    Both Jim and wife Pam have MBAs and years of business experience; but Pam also had serious baking skills. So she set out to re-invent gluten-free cookies and muffins that were every bit as tasty as their fully glutenized counterparts.

    Lucky Spoon Bakery has succeeded in changing the way people think about gluten-free baked goods. The products are moist, fresh and delicious.

    “Gluten-free has always been code for ’taste-free’ or ‘you can eat it but you probably won’t like it,’” says Jim. But, as has been proved by other artisan bakers of gluten-free goods, if you spend enough time, money (on the best ingredients) and love, you can produce bread, cakes, cookies, muffins and other products that everybody loves to eat.

     

    To us, the compliment we bestow is, “No one would know it’s gluten free.”

     

    Gluten-Free Cookies

    Instead of wheat flour, the cookies are made with a blend of white rice flour, potato flour and almond meal; plus sugar, butter, eggs, quality chocolate or peanut butter, vanilla and other ingredients of good cookies.

  • Chocolaty Chip Cookies
  • Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Chocolaty Chip Cookies
  • Simply Sugar Cookies
  •  
    Gluten-Free Muffins

    ?White rice flour and potato flour instead of wheat flour. As with the cookies, sugar, eggs, butter and quality flavorings combine to make moist, tasty muffins:

  • Cinnamony Streusel Muffins
  • Lemonlicious Muffins
  • Totally Maple Pecan Muffins
  • Utterly Almond Muffins
  •  

    Lucky Spoon Bakery is a find for the gluten-free nibbler.Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    To find Lucky Spoon products, check the store locator on the company website.

      

    Comments

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