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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 Kosher Nibbles

TIP OF THE DAY: Get Better Crackers

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The Nibble’s reigning favorite cracker. Photo
by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

We’ve eaten more than our share of supermarket crackers—Carr’s Water Biscuits, Keebler Club Crackers, Nabisco Saltines, Ritz Crackers and the like. They’re good, but sometimes we want amazing.

Special occasions deserve special crackers—to accompany cheese, dips, salads, soups, spreads, whatever. They may be pricier than the supermarket varieties, but if your palate craves excitement and your eyes want visual allure, it’s money well spent.

Otherwise stated, Cracker Barrel makes perfectly tasty Cheddar cheese. But if we want a great Cheddar experience, we’ll spring for Fiscalini Farmstead, a great artisan wheel from California.

It can be a challenge to find great crackers, even when you know what you’re looking for. Recently we raced through three specialty food stores in search of Raincoast Crisps, our current favorite cracker. We finally found them at Dean & Deluca retail and etail, and also online at iGourmet.com.

They’re $6.79 for a six-ounce box at iGourmet, and a whopping $10 at DDL. The amazing flavors and textures and small batch production make it worth the special-occasion splurge. They’re exquisite absolutely plain or however you wish to serve them.

 
Three more-affordable brands of special crackers we favor, all natural and artisan (small batch, better ingredients):

Dr. Kracker

Rolled by hand, these artisan flatbreads are long on flavor and unique in their appearance. Each cracker is topped a generous number of attractive—and healthy—seeds, sesame, sunflower, and/or pumpkin.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  

    Mary’s Gone Crackers

    Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten-free and vegan, yet packed with so much flavor you start to wonder what is in them that makes them taste so vibrant and delicious (the answer: whole grain brown rice, whole quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds). They’re also organic, whole grain and OU kosher.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    La Panzanella Croccantini

    Unlike the previous recommendations, which are whole grain and laden with seeds, nuts or fruits, La Panzanella Croccantini provide classic Italian flare. Made from white flour, even the plain version is wonderful, but cracked pepper, garlic and rosemary versions add extra flavor. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    You can also browse the shelves at specialty food stores and try whatever looks good.

     

    raincoast-crisps-blue-cheese-230

    Raincoast Crisps with cheese. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    As with government, people get the crackers they deserve. If no one wants to pay more for better products, the shelves get stacked with more varieties of Ritz and saltines.
     
    HOW TO RE-CRISP SOGGY CRACKERS

    As crisp as they begin, crackers will attract moisture over time and get soggy. But you can easily re-crisp them:

    1. Put the crackers in the microwave on a paper towel. Don’t overlap.

    2. Microwave them for 40 seconds on medium/high.

    3. Allow the crackers to cool for 3-5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool down.

    Crunch away!

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Nonni’s Biscotti Bites

    biscotti-bites-3-bags-230

    We want many bites! Photo by Elvira Kalviste
    | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The history of Nonni’s Biscotti begins in the little town of Lucca, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany. There, among meandering cobblestone lanes and venerable piazzas, one particular Nonni (an endearing term for Grandma) made biscotti for her family and friends.

    When Nonni moved to America almost a century ago, she continued baking the family biscotti to acclaim. One day, her children decided to take the recipe to the bank, creating the Nonni’s brand—now the number one brand of biscotti in the U.S.

    In the modern manifestation of the American Dream, the company was sold to a private equity investment firm several years ago.

    Since then, the original classic biscotti have been joined by two line extensions:

  • Nonni’s ThinAddictives, a melba toast-thin alternative to dense biscotti, introduced last year.
  • Biscotti Bites, smaller size biscotti.
  •  
    In Tuscany these biscotti are called cantucci di Prato—cantucci (con-TOO-chee) for short. They were originally baked with almonds from the plentiful almond groves of Prato, a town in Tuscany.

     
    A cantuccio (plural: cantucci) is a hard almond biscuit. The name cantucci means “little stones,” the stones referring to the almonds.

    We are very keen on the Biscotti Bites, and appreciate that the smaller size gives us a great biscotti experience with fewer carbs. Each is a two-bite treat; the suggested serving size, five pieces, is 120 calories. But two or three pieces is more than enough, and one can suffice.

    The varieties include:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites, an almond biscotti with the bottom edge dipped in dark chocolate. Classic deliciousness!
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites, our favorite, a chocolate biscotto with a chocolate dip; bits of salted caramel are mixed into the dough.
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites combines dried cranberries and almonds; it is dipped in a vanilla yogurt coating.
  •  

    Rich in flavor, crunchy in texture, Biscotti Bites are the perfect coffee break snack. We relish them:

  • With coffee or tea.
  • With ice cream.
  • As a chocolate fondue dipper: Dip into a shallow pot or bowl of chocolate fondue (you can’t easily spear the biscotti on a long fondue fork).
  • As dessert bruschetta, spreading the tops of the biscotti with mascarpone.
  •  
    The Italian dessert tradition of dipping biscotti and a glass of vin santo—a sweet late-harvest wine—doesn’t really work here. Plain biscotti are typically dipped into the wine, which softens the biscotto and adds the sweetness of the wine.

    Biscotti Bites are too short to dip, and the chocolate or yogurt coating kind of interferes with the honey notes of the wine. But the work-around is: Don’t try to dip; sip and bite, alternatively.

    The shiny, perky bags are just waiting for you to make someone happy. Bring to a friend’s house, to teachers, to hairdressers and anyone who deserves some tasty crunch.

     

    tea-cup-biscotti-bag-230

    Our new favorite snack with tea or coffee. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by United States K.

    There’s a store locator on the website, or you can buy them online:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites
  •   

    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.

       

    cranberry-almond-230

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

     

     

    granola_cookies-230

    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

    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: Petite Crème From Stonyfield

    petite-creme-beauty-spoon-230

    New Petite Crème, a creamy yogurt
    alternative without the tang of yogurt. Photo
    courtesy Stonyfield.

     

    The category of Greek yogurt has exploded in the U.S. Is there anyone who isn’t eating it? The Greek category accounts for 47% of all U.S. yogurt sales.

    Yes! A large enough number of people don’t care for the tang, such that Stonyfield, a subsidiary of French dairy giant Danone (of Dannon yogurt fame) that specializes in organic yogurt, has introduced a product to capture their business:

    Called Petite Crème (PEH-tee CREHM), it’s a French dairy product called fromage frais (fresh cheese), known in Germany and elsewhere as quark.

    Fromage frais is high-moisture-content, unaged cheese: drained, coagulated milk (simple lactic set curd) intended to be eaten within days of its production. It is most popularly eaten for breakfast or with fruit for dessert. In the U.S., it is waiting to step right in where the yogurt-averse fear to tread.

    Fromage frais has a creamy, soft texture and fresh, sweet flavor, although the fromage frais cheeses of the U.S. are less flavorful than those made in other countries from unpasteurized milk (U.S. law requires all cheeses aged fewer than 60 days to be made of pasteurized milk to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria; pasteurization kills off friendly, tasty bacteria in the process).

     

    Petite Crème has the consistency of yogurt without the tang and debuts in seven flavors:

  • Belle Blueberry
  • La Vie en Strawberry
  • Mon Cherry Amour
  • Ooh La La Peach
  • Plain & Simple
  • Strawberry-Banana Ménage
  • Vive la Vanilla!
  •  
    The Stonyfield line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    The all-organic ingredients include cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, sugar, cream, cornstarch, vanilla or other flavors and guar gum. What’s missing? Live and active cultures, like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

    In yogurt, the cultures ferment the milk, causing the thickening. With Petite Creme, cornstarch and guar gum (a bean-based powder) the job.

    The nutritional content is similar to Greek yogurt: 10g protein per 5.3 ounce cup.

  • For the plain variety, calories per 5.3 ounce serving are 100, 30 from fat, with 5g sugar that is the lactose in the milk.
  • A fruit flavor, such as Strawberry, has 30 calories, 25 from fat, and 15 g sugar.
  •  
    We recently had the opportunity to taste all the flavors and have two personal favorites: Mon Cherry Amour, with intense black cherry flavor, and Plain & Simple, the original fromage frais.

     

    Petite-Creme-plain-230

    Be sure to try the plain version as well as the fruit flavors. Photo courtesy Stonyfield.

     

    ABOUT CHEESE RECIPES

    Fromage frais, quark, yogurt: What’s the difference? Cheese and yogurt* are made from a common ingredient—milk. But depending on how that milk is handled, thousands of different recipes result.

    Cheese is produced from milk due to the activity of special dairy bacteria and the action of rennet. These act on the proteins in milk, causing them to coalesce into a gel-like curd which is the beginning of cheese.

  • Milk type and butterfat level
  • Amount and type of cultures (bacteria)
  • Amount of rennet
  • Added moisture (water)
  • Time and temperature at which the milk is heated
  • Brining time and additives (beer or wine, for example)
  • Size of the cut curds
  • Length of time stirred
  • How the whey is removed
  • How the rind is treated
  • Ripening time
  •  
    Minor changes in any of these areas can have a dramatic affect on the final product.
     
    *Yogurt is not a fresh cheese. The definition of cheese requires rennet. Even though yogurt has a texture very similar to fromage frais and quark, there is no rennet in yogurt. Rennet coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). Curds and whey exist separately even in fresh cheeses like fromais frais, where they are not visible to the naked eye.
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pistachio Chewy Bites

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    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

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Lollipops For National Lollipop Day

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    Your homemade lollipops can be free form with inclusions, like the bits of flower petals
    above. Photo courtesy Sacred Sweets.

     

    Looking for a fun activity? How about making lollipops?

    Today is National Lollipop Day July 20th, and Exploratorium has a recipe that lets you be a lollipop chef.

    You can make favorite flavors that aren’t often found in commercial products. We’ve got anise, banana, hazelnut, mint and rum extracts that are just waiting to flavor lollys.

    The other ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, water, cream of tartar and liquid food coloring.

    You can mix up standard or unusual colors with food coloring; but the idea that really appeals to us comes from Sacred Sweets in Greenport, New York.

    They turn lollipops into edible art with:

  • Clear or barely tinted candy that shows off the inclusions inside.
  • Inclusions (mix ins) like edible flowers and glitter (you can use sprinkles and other decorations)
  • Free-form shapes
  •  
    LOLLIPOP HISTORY

    Lollipop sophistication has come a long way since prehistoric man licked honey off the stick he used to scrape it from the beehive.

    The ancient Arabs, Chinese and Egyptians made fruit and nut confections candied in honey, which may also have been eaten from sticks, owing to the stickiness of the confection.

    But what we think of as a lollipop may date to Europe in the Middle Ages, when sugar was boiled and formed onto sticks as treats for the wealthy—the only people who could afford sugar.

     
    By the 17th century, sugar was plentiful and affordable. In England, boiled sugar (hard candy) treats were popular. The word “lollipop” (originally spelled lollypop) first appears in print in 1784, roughly coinciding with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

    Beginning in the later part of the 18th century, industry, including confectionery, became mechanized. Horehound drops, lemon drops, peppermints and wintergreen lozenges became everyday candies.

     

    While we don’t know the inventor of the modern lollipop, the first automated lollipop machine was invented in Racine, Wisconsin in 1908. The Racine Confectionery Machine Company’s machine put hard candy discs on the end of a sticks, producing 2400 lollipops per hour, 57,000 per day. Today’s machines can produce 3 million lollipops daily.

    Far beyond the specialty Blow Pops, Tootsie Pops, Sugar Daddys of childhood, today’s lollipops come in all shapes and sizes, from hand-crafted works of sugar art to caffeinated Java Pops and bacon lollipops.

    And handcrafted lollipops still exist, made by companies like Hammond’s Candies, where artisans coil ropes of boiled hard candy into colorful jumbo lollipops.

    SEE’S LOLLYPOPS: SOMETHING DIFFERENT

    See’s Candies chooses the original spelling for its “lollypops,” but perhaps that’s to differentiate the creamy candy-on-a-stick from conventional lollys.

     

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    See’s creamy “lollypops,” made with butter and cream. Photo courtesy See’s Candies.

     

    See’s are made with butter and heavy cream, in a square shape (see photo at right).

    Available in butterscotch, café latté, chocolate, chocolate orange, root beer and vanilla (plus holiday flavors), they have the consistency of butterscotch, and are certified kosher by KSA.

    And they’re addictive! Treat yourself to some at Sees.com.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yummy Breads From Ozery Bakery

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    Morning Rounds: the deliciously better
    alternative to breakfast pastries. We’re
    addicted to them. Photo courtesy Ozery
    Bakery.

     

    Ozery Bakery is a family owned business that bakes better-for-you breads and crackers, holesome and delicious.

  • The grains are organic whole grains: Kamut/Khorasan wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and whole wheat.
  • The breads use only natural ingredients—no preservatives or additives.
  • Each variety is heart healthy, low in fat and sodium and protein rich.
  • The line is allergy-friendly: soy free, dairy free, peanut and nut free (made in a nut-free facility) and vegan.
  • Everything is baked in small batches. The line is certified kosher (pareve) by KSA, certified organic and certified non-GMO.
  •  
    And you can buy them online by the case—which is no problem, since the preservative-free, perishable breads should all go into the freezer anyway.

    It’s as close as you’ll get to guilt-free bread.

     
    Fifteen years ago, the Toronto-based sandwich shop owners grew weary of commercial bread. They decided to bake a loaf from a family recipe.

    From that first bite of fragrant, chewy bread, they began baking their own flavorful bread for their sandwiches, and began selling the bread in the sandwich shop. Then, the bread started outselling the sandwiches, with many customers ordering bread in bulk and spreading the word.

    Gourmet and health food companies began knocking on the door. A breakfast bread was created: Morning Rounds, a fusion of the family’s homemade pita baking techniques and Canadian tastes for muesli and fruit.

    And now, the four-product line is available in the U.S., at natural food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods Markets.

     

    OZERY BAKERY BREADS

    Morning Rounds are a fruit and grain bun, evocative of fruited English muffins. The sweetness of the fruit makes them an easy replacement for doughnuts, muffins and breakfast pastries.

    You can enjoy them from the bag or toasted, plain or spread with butter or jam. The flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Orange and Muesli; we find the Cranberry Orange to be addictively delicious.

    Each contains 5g of protein, 170 calories, and is a source of fiber, iron, calcium, Vitamin B, antioxidants and folic acid. The company also bakes mini Snacking Rounds in the same flavors.

    OneBun thin, whole grain buns were invented as a healthy alternative to classic burger buns.

    They’re soft, flavorful and pre-sliced rounds, named OneBun because this one bun can be use for sandwiches, burgers, homemade pizzas, dips, even taco fillings.

    Choose from OneBun Multigrain*, OneBun Organic (plain), OneBun Sprouted and OneBun Whole Wheat. Another benefit: The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories—just 100 calories for both halves.

     

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    OneBun is one bun that works for everything. Photo courtesy Ozery Bakery.

     
    The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories: just 100 calories for both halves.

    Freeze, Don’t Refrigerate

    Since the breads contain no preservatives, the best way to keep them fresh is to freeze them right away. Freezing quickly locks in the moisture.

    It’s easy to restore fresh-baked flavor and texture: Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, microwave for 10 seconds or pop into the toaster oven to toast or warm at 400°F for a minute.

    Never refrigerate bread. Refrigerators work on the principle of drawing out heat, which removes the moisture along with it.
     
    OZERY BAKERY CRACKERS

    Crispy Pita Snacks are very flavorful and crunchy in Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Organic Spelt With Flax, Organic Wheat and Rosemary Garlic. Use them as dippers, with soup, or snack from the bag.

    Skinny Dippers are lavash strips in Flax and Honey, Multi Grain and Honey, Organic Spelt and Organic Whole Wheat. Pair them with cheeses, soups or spreads.
     
    *More than a simple combination of grains, the blend includes with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, barley, millet, triticale, cracked wheat, and rye.

    We really enjoyed this simple snack idea, a mock bruschetta (the bread for bruschetta is grilled, not toasted), which tops a OneBun with goat cheese, ribbons of fresh zucchini, lemon juice and olive oil.

    RECIPE: ZUCCHINI & GOAT CHEESE BRUSCHETTA

    Ingredients

  • Fresh zucchini
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Multigrain OneBun
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE the zucchini with a potato peeler. Place in a bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Mix well.

    2. PLACE the goat cheese in a bowl and mash it with a fork.

    3. TOAST the OneBun, spread with goat cheese and then top with zucchini ribbons.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCTS: Fruit & Vegetable Ice Pops

    Now trending in an ice cream case near you: fruit and vegetable ice pops—all natural, dairy free, gluten free, fat free and packed with vitamins A and C. They’re a better for you option for a sit-down snack or on-the-go refreshment on a hot summer day.

    From major producers like Outshine (from Dreyer’s) to mom & pops like Ruby Rockets, recipe developers are combining vegetables and fruits into frozen snacks that support attempts to get kids and others to eat more veggies.

    Are you really getting your daily allotment of vegetables through ice pops?

    Not really. Neither company claims that you can substitute an ice pop for a half serving of vegetables. But there’s an important idea here: If you look for ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you’ll find them, and they’ll add up (Outshine offers tips below).

    The government recommends 10 one cup servings a day of fruits and veggies (double the portion if it’s leafy greens, halve the portion if it’s dried fruit). Don’t do it for them; do it for you. Here’s the full story from the Harvard School Of Public Health.

       

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    Targeted to moms who want healthier options for their families, Ruby Rocket’s pops are low calorie, better-for-you options for everyone. Photo courtesy Ruby Rocket’s.

     

    RUBY ROCKETS

    At Ruby Rocket’s, 70% of the veggies and fruits are organic, all are GMO free and there’s no added sugar, leading to a claim of the lowest amount of sugar in any frozen pop (4g in a 1.75-ounce pop). They add an extra boost of probiotics, too. The new line debuts in three flavors:

  • Galaxy Green gets its green on with kiwi, avocado, spinach and lemon, for 35 calories per pop.
  • Orbit Orange combines organic oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, lemons and strawberries, for 30 calories.
  • Rock-it Red is a blend of beet, carrot, lemon, strawberry and sweet potato, just 25 calories.
  •  
    Just slightly sweet—all from the natural sugar in the fruits and vegetables—and with so few calories per pop, they are truly guilt free. Those accustomed to normal sweetness levels will notice the missing sugar. But, like cutting back on the sugar you add to a cup of coffee, you may find that you’re just as content without it.

    Learn more at RubyRockets.com.

     

    Dreyers-Outshine-Fruit-and-Veggie-Bars-230

    Outshine’s Blueberry Medley includes beet,
    pear, apple and sweet potato. Photo courtesy
    Dreyer’s.

     

    OUTSHINE FRUIT & VEGGIE BARS

    Following Outshine’s successful launch of frozen fruit bars, the new Outshine Fruit & Veggie Bars line blends fruits and vegetables.

    Not surprisingly, this mainstream product is sweetened with added sugar, to the level most customers expect. This raises the calorie count to 60 (14g sugar in a 2.45-ounce bar). The five flavors include:

  • Apples & Greens blends apple, pumpkin, mango, pineapple, kale, spinach and “more”
  • Blueberry Medley has blueberries, beet, pear, apple, sweet potato and “more”
  • Peach Mango Medley mixes peach, mango, pear, sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash
  • Strawberry Rhubarb has strawberry, rhubarb, pear, apple, pumpkin, carrot and “more”
  • Tangerine Carrot unites apple, carrot, pear, tangerine, pumpkin and “more”
  •  

    With the majority of flavors, the vegetable components are not highlighted on the box (perhaps so vegetable-avoiders won’t turn away?).

    The bars contain at least 25% vegetables. The line is certified kosher by OU. Learn more at OutshineSnacks.com.

    MORE WAYS TO GET FRUITS & VEGGIES INTO YOUR DIET

    Even with the endless benefits known to the public, seven out of 10 Americans are failing to meet the daily-recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. Outshine recommends these 5 easy ways to get more fruit and veggies into your diet:

  • Start your first meal off right. Ditch the morning donut for scrambled eggs mixed with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Or boost your oatmeal or yogurt by stirring berries and bananas.
  • Hold the bread. Add some crunch with a lettuce wrap. Instead of bread, make your next sandwich or burger inside a leafy green. Stack 2 or 3 large, leafy greens such as vibb lettuce, romaine, red lettuce, cabbage, or radicchio, and pile on the fixings.
  • Keep produce top-of-mind. Make fruits and vegetables the easiest and most convenient choice for your next snack. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter at home or on your desk, keep dried fruit in your car or purse for when you are on the go, and always be prepared by packing pre-cut fruit and veggies into snack-size bags for perfectly-portioned munchies.
  • Get creative with greens. Salads don’t have to be boring with just plain lettuce and dressing. Get inspired and load your salad bowl with at least five different ingredients: spinach, avocado and other fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Go savory. A plate of raw vegetables can look uninspired. Add life with good for you hummus, salsa or yogurt dip.
  •  
    To these we add: look for ways to substitute vegetables. There are many. Start with:

  • Veggie chips. Trade the potato chips, tortilla chips and pretzels for kale chips or other veggie chips. (Note that nutritionists consider potatoes a starch, not a vegetable).
  • Veggie fondue. Switch the bread for raw and/or cooked vegetable dippers.
  • Salad pizza. Our local pizzeria makes a “salad pizza” with 11 different vegetable toppers (and an optional whole wheat crust).
  • Gratins. Roast or steam veggies,than add a shredded mozzarella or cheddar gratin. Cheese makes [almost] everything taste better.
  • Carrot and zucchini muffins. Make your own, and double the amount of veggies in the batter.
  •  
    You can have your veggies and still have fun, too.
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Lavender Tea

    We wonder if the people who approved the name “Breakfast In Paris” for lavender tea have been to France.

    If they had, they’d know that lavender-accented foods do not abound in Paris. You’ll find them way south in Provence, where the lavender is grown.

    Perhaps the namers knew that, but felt that “Breakfast in Provence” wasn’t as fetching a title?

    Folks, it’s better to be accurate than slapdash.

    But that doesn’t stop us from liking Stash’s new Breakfast In Paris, subtly accented with lavender. We have often steeped dried lavender* into tea for iced tea. We love both the lavender aroma and the alluring flavor.

    Breakfast In Paris simplifies the process. There’s no need to strain out and toss dripping springs of lavender.

    Stash blends black tea with aromatic, floral lavender and a touch of citrusy bergamot oil. The result is pleasurable with or without milk, hot or iced. The ingredients are all natural; the line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Stash calls it a breakfast tea†, but you can enjoy it anytime.

     

    stash-breakfast-in-paris-230

    Breakfast in Paris: lavender-flavored black tea. Photo courtesy Stash Tea.

     
    It pays to price shop. On Amazon you can pay from 19¢ to 72¢ per foil-wrapped tea bag:

  • A single box of 18 bags, $12.97/72¢ per bag
  • A six-pack of boxes, 18 bags each/108 bags, $23.95/22¢ per bag with free shipping
  • A bulk cardboard box of 100 bags, $19.09/19¢ per bag
  •  
    Our recommendation: Buy the six-pack. It takes four bags to brew a quart of iced tea, and you can always give extra boxes as gifts.

     
    FUN FACT FROM STASH

    In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity, transported all the way form China by clipper ship. The ship’s captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use.

    This supply was his private reserve, or stash, a term that still denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.
     
    *Only cook with culinary-grade lavender, roses, etc. They’re grown without chemical pesticides.

    †Breakfast teas are strong black tea blends made to accompany a hearty, English-style morning meal and to go well with milk. Examples include Chai (flavored with Indian spices), Earl Grey (flavored with bergamot orange), English Breakfast (Keemun and other black teas), Irish Breakfast (a malty Assam blend) and Orange Pekoe (Ceylon black tea). Breakfast teas are more robust than afternoon tea blends. However, these distinctions descend from an old British tea-drinking tradition. Feel free to enjoy whatever tea you like, whatever time of the day.

      

    Comments

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