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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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for NutriNibbles/Organic

TIP OF THE DAY: A Pre-Holiday Diet Of Low-Calorie Comfort Food

Why do we only get pitches for slimmer versions of food in spring, before “bathing suit weather?”

After an especially tasty month visiting restaurants, for everything from fried skate sandwiches to duck confit mac and cheese, we noticed that clothes were getting snug.

As if on cue, we got this list of tips from Warren Honeycutt’s new book, Comfort Food without the Calories: Seven Delicious, Healthy Substitutes for Cold-Weather Favorites. The author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss shared these tips with us.

Given the upcoming calorie fests of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we can’t think of bathing suit weather, but we can think of fitting into something for New Year’s Eve.

Our tip today is: Plan ahead for all the great holiday fare ahead. Here’s advice from Honeycutt, who starts off by reminding us that “flavorful” and “nutritious” aren’t always mutually exclusive. Here are seven guilt-free substitutes for some classic comfort foods:



To save calories, make your own hot chocolate recipe instead of a mix. Photo courtesy


Cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Substituting cauliflower for potatoes is a healthy alternative that’s gaining more and more popularity—and for good reason. When prepared correctly, cauliflower mimics the texture and taste of mashed ‘taters, with fewer calories and carbs. Boil or steam the cauliflower until tender, pour off the water and beat the cauliflower with a mixer to the consistency you like. Top it with fat-free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, fat-free cheese, Butter Buds, and/or Molly McButter. Reheat each serving in the microwave for two minutes until piping hot. Add chives, bacon bits, salt, and pepper as desired.

Spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti noodles. Spaghetti squash isn’t nearly as carb-heavy as noodles, and it contains nutrients like vitamins A, B-6, and C, as well as omega-3 essential fatty acids. When baked or microwaved, this veggie can be shredded into spaghetti-like strands with a fork and enjoyed with any tasty sauce of your choosing. Top with lean chicken breast or seafood for a healthy and delicious boost. Alternative #2: zucchini noodles. Alternative #3: a half-and-half mix of spaghetti and zucchini noodles.

Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are filling and delicious, rich in vitamin A, and contain more vitamin C and fiber than white potatoes—with fewer carbs and calories. But that’s not a license to eat sweet potato fries. Enjoy them baked.



Here’s our recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes. Also look at our cauliflower mac & cheese. Photo courtesy FAGE Greek yogurt.


Tea instead of hot chocolate. Tea is full of antioxidants and may, according to several studies, help lower the risk of diseases ranging from Parkinson’s to many different kinds of cancer. It’s also great for weight loss, especially when sweetened naturally with stevia or xylitol (we admit to using Splenda). What, you say: How is tea a substitute for hot chocolate? We agree with you, not with Mr. Honeycutt. If you just have to have a cup of hot chocolate, make your own a healthy recipe (unsweetened cocoa powder, nonfat milk, noncaloric sweetener, peppermint extract) without the sugar and corn syrup of commercial hot chocolate mixes.

Thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant for pasta-free lasagna. Layer all that delicious low-fat ricotta cheese and tomato sauce between zucchini or eggplant slices to cut down on the carbs in this classic comfort food. Both zucchini and eggplant are low in calories and full of nutrients and antioxidants, making them healthy replacements for pasta.

Baked vegetables instead of potato chips or French fries. Delicious, nutritious chips and fries can be made by slicing squash, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes, zucchini, apples, or any other fruit or vegetable, then seasoning the slices and baking them in the oven for a delicious, crispy treat. If you’re craving fries, cut carrots, zucchini, asparagus and/or eggplant into sticks. Brush them with olive oil if you like, then season them with Parmesan cheese, flaxseed, ground nuts, oats, or sea salt before baking.

A NIBBLE favorite is a microwave chip maker. These chips go fast, so buy several (they stack in the microwave).

Health-conscious homemade soups instead of salty store-bought brands. There’s nothing that says comfort like a warm bowl of soup, but the condensed canned soups you buy at the supermarket are often loaded with cream and sodium. When making soup at home, use low-sodium stock, plenty of herbs and spices for flavor, and cauliflower puréee in place of cream. Add nutritious, low-calorie veggies like spinach, kale and carrots, as well as beans and chunks of lean meat for protein. You may never buy a can of soup again!



RECIPE: Moroccan Quinoa & Roasted Carrots

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, the annual kickoff to Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, are kind to animals and help to preserve the Earth (meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas and deforestation).

According to, some prominent vegetarians include/have included: Lord Byron, Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Ellen DeGeneres, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Dick Gregory, Steve Jobs, Carl Lewis, Franz Kafka, Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Pythagoras, Voltaire and Leo Tolstoy.

But you don’t need to have particular beliefs to enjoy this delicious vegetarian (actually vegan) side or main course. The quinoa supplies excellent nutrition, and the Moroccan spices are irresistible.

The recipe is from Good Eggs, a San Francisco purveyor of artisan foods.


The addition of allspice, cinnamon and raisins impart a wonderful North African flavor profile and fragrance to this simple dish.
Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 2 bunches carrots, tops cut off, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 handful* parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • Squeeze of lemon†
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: plain or seasoned yogurt‡

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/roasted carrots quinoa goodeggs 230

    Delicious, nutritious and good-looking: quinoa and carrot salad with Moroccan seasonings. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.


    *What is a “handful” of parsley? It’s an indefinite amount; please don’t write recipes like this! The size of “a bunch” varies widely by retailer. Try this: For “a bunch,” use one cup loosely packed herbs and 1/2 cup for “a handful.”

    †What’s a “squeeze” of lemon? Is it a squeezed half lemon or a wedge of lemon? A medium lemon has 2-3 tablespoons of juice, a large lemon can have 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup). For a “squeeze,” try 1-2 teaspoons. Take notes and adjust both parsley and lemon measurements next time, as needed.

    ‡Give plain yogurt some savory flavor by stirring in one or more of the following: roasted garlic, chopped fresh parsley, minced chives or thin-sliced green onions (scallions). You can also use the zest from the lemon.


    Raw White Quinoa

    Uncooked white quinoa. Photo | Wikimedia.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Soak the quinoa in water for 15 minutes.

    2. PLACE the carrots on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

    3. STRAIN the quinoa and add it to a pot with the water. Turn the flame to high and bring to a boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover the pot.

    4. CHECK after 15-20 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed and the grains are still slightly opaque in the center, turn off the heat and let the quinoa steam with the cover on for 5 minutes.

    5. PLACE the quinoa in a bowl with the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, the raisins and lemon juice. Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Adjust the salt and spices to taste and add pepper to taste.

    6. REMOVE the carrots when they begin to caramelize and crisp up. Toss them gently with a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. To serve, spoon the quinoa onto a serving plate or individual plates and top with the carrots. Pass the optional yogurt as a condiment.



    RECIPE: Carrot Pasta

    While we’re enjoying the warmth of Indian Summer, Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog suggests these raw, vegetable-based noodles made from carrots.

    Inspired by classic cold sesame noodles, delicate strands of carrots and cucumbers mingle together in crisp tangles of “pasta,” as vibrant as they are flavorful.

    Instead of peanut sauce based on peanut butter, Hannah substitutes cashew butter for a different take on the nutty, lightly spiced sauce.

    “Deceptively simple in composition,” says Hannah, “it doesn’t sound like anything particularly special on paper, but one taste and you’ll be hooked on the creamy cashew elixir. Lavish it over everything from salads to grilled tofu and beyond. Although you may end up with more than you need for this particular dish, trust me: It won’t be a struggle to polish off the excess in short order.”

    Note that this recipe comes together very quickly but needs to be eaten as soon as it’s made. The recipe makes 2-3 main dish servings or 4-5 side servings.


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    Cut the carbs and add the protein: carrot “pasta” in cashew sauce. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky.



    Ingredients For The Cashew Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons smooth cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sriracha (or other hot sauce)
    For The Carrot Pasta

  • 5 Large carrots, peeled and shredded with a julienne peeler or spiral grater
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and shredded with a julienne peeler or spiral grater
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup toasted cashews, roughly chopped

    spiral grater

    A spiral grater, also called a spiralizer. Photo
    courtesy Microplane.



    1. PREPARE the sauce. This can be done up to 2 weeks in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Place the cashew butter in a medium bowl and slowly add the vegetable broth, stirring constantly to loosen and smooth out the thick paste. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk thoroughly until homogeneous and set aside.

    2. MAKE the carrot and cucumber “noodles.” Toss them together with half of the sauce; for easier mixing, use your hands. Add more sauce as needed, toss in the scallions and move to a serving plate.

    3. TOP with chopped cashews and serve.




    TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Way To Eat Whole Grains

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/guac sandwich yvonne triedandtasty 230

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/powerseed 230

    Top: Doesn’t this look so much better
    than white bread? Photo courtesy
    Tried And Tasty via Dave’s Killer Bread.
    Bottom: Photo courtesy Dave’s Killer Bread.


    September is Whole Grains Month. Why whole grains? You need the fiber no matter your age, what shape you’re in (here’s why you need whole grains).

    When you tell people they need to add more fiber to their diet via whole grains, you get push back. We understand: We, too prefer the taste of white-flour pancakes, pasta and pizza crust to whole grain versions.

    But bread? Did you ever meet a piece of bread you didn’t like? That’s why you should make a small switch to whole grain bread.

    Sandwiches and toast are just as delicious with whole wheat bread. And if you use Dave’s Killer Bread, they are resplendent!

    So today’s tip is: Stop buying white bread for sandwiches and toast, and try all the whole grain versions available to you.

    Our favorite is Dave’s Killer Bread, available in 14 different loaf varieties plus hamburger and hot dog buns. There’s also a better-for-you cinnamon roll. It’s one of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week.


    It is, indeed, killer. In addition to marvelous flavor and texture, the breads are organic, all natural, whole grain and packed with protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grain bread has never tasted better. We’ll support Dave’s claim that this is “the best bread in the universe.”

    In addition, the breads are vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified kosher (parve) by Oregon Kosher.

    Our only lament is that our local store carries only one variety.

    Once only available in greater Portland, Oregon, Dave’s Killer Bread has quietly become the country’s largest baker of organic bread—the #1 organic bread brand!

    The first four Dave’s Killer Bread varieties (Blues, Good Seed, Nuts & Grains and Rockin’ Rye) launching at the Portland Farmers Market in 2005. Ten years later, it’s traversed the U.S. Waste no time in finding it, even if your local store has only one of the 14 loaves.

    Here’s a store locator. Discover more at

    We had Dave’s Killer Bread for breakfast this morning, toasted. It’s so flavorful that it needs no spread. And since, as far as bread is concerned, Dave’s is as guilt-free as it gets, we’re deciding on what to put on our DKB sandwich for lunch:

  • BLT?
  • Chicken salad?
  • Egg?
  • Grilled cheese?
  • Grilled vegetables?
  • Ham and Emmental (the real Swiss cheese) or pimento cheese?
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Turkey and guacamole?
    All are in THE NIBBLE coffers; we just can’t decide. But we hope we’ve sold you.



    While you can rest assured that Dave’s Killer Bread is whole grain, there’s a lot on the store shelves that appear to be—but aren’t. Package labels are deceptive.

  • Multigrain is not whole grain.
  • Cracked grain and rye breads are not whole grain.
  • Pumpernickel, other dark breads are not whole grain.
  • Only “whole wheat” and “whole grain” are whole grain.
  • Corn bread can be whole grain if it’s made with whole-grain cornmeal and, if there’s wheat flour in the recipe, whole-wheat flour.
  • Here’s more on what is and isn’t whole grain bread.

    NOTE: If you eat gluten-free, millet is a GF whole grain bread.



    Put your burgers and hot dogs on whole grain buns, too. Photo courtesy The Bojon Gourmet via Dave’s Killer Bread.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Rich, Creamy Almond Milk

    Some people never touch a glass of milk, but we love it. We can drink two eight-ounce glasses a day. That’s in addition to cereal milk, yogurt and other milk-based products.

    Our brother is the same. So we were surprised recently when he asked if we’d like a few quarts of almond milk; he had purchased too much.

    Why? A physician had suggested that he cut back on cholesterol. He found that he preferred the rich, creamy taste of almond milk to fat-free cow’s milk (plant-based foods are cholesterol free). He also likened the flavored varieties—Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla—to milkshakes without the calories.

    Almond milk can be used in just about any recipe calling for cow’s milk: in baking, hot and cold beverages, sauces and soups. The only significant limitation is in recipes that require cow’s milk starches to thicken, such as custard, pudding and yogurt. You need to add other thickening agents.

    Another benefit: You need never run out of milk. Brands like Almond Breeze have shelf stable versions. Just store extra cartons in the pantry. Like Parmalat brand cow’s milk, no refrigeration is required until the container is opened.



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    Almond milk is our favorite of the nondairy milk alternatives. Photo courtesy Juice Queen.

    For decades, cow’s milk consumption per capita has been on the decline, as newer generations—even pre-teens—drink coffee and soft drinks instead of a glass of milk. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumption across all age groups dropped 25% in the 37 years between 1975 and 2012.

    Since 1999, according to market research firm Euromonitor, plant-based alternatives, called non-dairy milks, have grown in annual sales by an average of 10.9%. They are now a $1 billion-plus category in domestic retail sales.

    The trend is based on personal factors, largely allergies, kosher and vegan diets, lactose intolerance and sustainable lifestyles*.
    *Cow manure and flatulence produces huge amounts of methane, a major greenhouse gas. Here’s more information.

    Twenty years ago, the option for non-dairy milk at supermarkets was soy milk. Then rice milk arrived. Today, the list is threefold larger:

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
    Which one you choose should depend on two factors: taste preference and nutritional components. For example, if you want the milk to supplement your protein intake, look at the nutrition label. Some have more protein and other nutrients, some add nutrients equal to fortified cow’s milk (cow’s milk usually has added vitamin D; reduced fat varieties have added vitamin A). Some may contain additives you don’t want, from lecithin to sugar.

    As the disclaimer goes, speak with your healthcare professional before making any changes.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Califia Chocolate and Vanilla 2301

    The problem with flavored almond milk: It tastes so much like a shake, you can drink buckets of it. The good news: These 10.5- ounce portions have only 30 calories and 6 grams of protein. Photo courtesy Califia Farms.


    Almond milk doesn’t have the protein of cow’s milk, but it is lower in calories and some brands add calcium and vitamins during processing. The key benefit for us is the mild taste. You probably wouldn’t even notice if someone replaced almond milk for cow’s milk in your coffee. A close second to soy in terms of sales, almond milk is the non-dairy milk with the largest annual sales increases.

    Coconut milk (the drinkable milk in a carton, not to be confused with the canned coconut milk for cooking and cocktails) has a noticeable amount of coconut flavor. If coconut is one of your favorite flavors and you want to taste it every time you use milk, then this is your milk alternative. While coconut milk is low in calcium and protein, on the good side it is also low in calories.

    Hemp milk is a product that people either love or hate. Personally, we don’t like the earthy flavor in a milk product. Like rice milk, it is an option for people who have nut and soy allergies.

    Rice milk can be gritty and watery. It is also higher in calories, carbs and sugar, lower in calcium and a poor source of protein. It is best for people who have nut and soy allergies.

    Soy milk is tasty when flavored, but in its plain form, we don’t like the beany aftertaste. Perhaps that’s why Starbucks eschews plain soy milk in flavor of sweetened vanilla soy milk as its only non-dairy alternative. Soy milk has the most protein of the non-dairy milks; but on the down side, processed soy isoflavones can affect hormones, raising the risk for breast cancer; they can also depress thyroid function. Unless it’s organic, soy milk is likely made with GMO soybeans. Soy is the highest milk alternative in sales, but that’s because it’s been around for so long and anyone who has drunk it for years has no incentive to change. But almond milk is closing in!

    Other non-dairy milks are on the shelves, and no doubt more will follow.

    Cashew milk is beloved by our vegan expert Hannah Kaminsky, who drinks and cooks only with non-dairy milks. We should have tried it by now, but are too enthralled by almond milk.

    We tried oat milk once, and didn’t care for it. Ditto with flax milk. Be your own judge.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Burger Salad & Salad Burger

    For years we have been enjoying the Burger Salad at Five Napkin Burger in New York City. It’s evolved over time, but initially consisted of a big bowl of beautifully arranged baby greens and colorful veggie complements, in a perfect vinaigrette. Atop was a plump burger: beef, salmon, turkey, veggie or a solid piece of grilled tuna.

    We love good bread and can [alas] eat loaves of it. But burger buns—even when heavily seeded or made of brioche—rarely fall into that group. And they get soggy.

    So when Five Napkin Burger presented a menu of burger salads in addition to conventional burgers, we tried a salad and were hooked. We were never a neat burger eater, so enjoyed the bonuses: no meat juices or ketchup dripping onto us when we raised the burger to our mouth.

    While it could be a calorie- and carb-cutting alternative for some, let us hasten to say that we enjoy our burger salad along with the establishment’s excellent onion rings, sweet potato fries, and a beer.

    Today’s tip is not just a burger salad, but for those who still want their bun, a salad burger (below).


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    Our favorite way to enjoy a burger this burger salad from Five Napkin Burger. Photo courtesy Five Napkin Burger | NYC.


    To start, think of your favorite salad and assemble the ingredients. Is it spinach salad? Cobb salad? Chopped salad? Salade Niçoise? Spicy greens (arugula, radish, watercress)? Tortilla salad?

    Create your burger salad from those ingredients; and if the original salad contained chicken, turkey or other meat, consider adding small amounts of them—a mixed grill burger salad, as it were.

    You can make a bacon cheeseburger salad or a diet burger burger salad. You can add seeds for more nutrition. And there are ways to cut calories. But here’s a list of options for starters:


  • Lettuce: mixed greens (we love to add arugula and cress, but have peaked on kale)
  • Salad veggies: bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumbers, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), radishes
  • Tomatoes: cherry, grape, sliced, sundried—or substitute pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Onions: green (scallions), red, sweet

  • Cheese: crumbled, cubed, julienned, shaved ribbons or shredded
  • Extra veggies: broccoli florets, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, green beans, mushrooms—raw, pickled, roasted or steamed
  • Fruits: berries, dried fruit, mandarin or orange segments, sliced stone fruit, apples or pears
  • Luxury veggies: artichoke hearts, avocado, endive, hearts of palm, radicchio, water chestnuts
  • Seasonal veggies: for example, asparagus and green peas in spring; corn, yellow squash and zucchini in summer
  • Proteins: bacon, beans or legumes (chickpeas, lentils), ham, hard-boiled eggs, tofu/seitan, seafood (we recently created a modern surf and turf burger salad with grilled shrimp), slices or cubes of poultry, salami, sausage, etc.
  • Starch: boiled potatoes, cooked grains, small pasta shapes
  • Garnishes: anchovies, croutons, nuts, olives, peppadews, pepperoncini, pickles, seeds (chia, flax, pepita/pumpkin, sunflower, toasted sesame), sprouts

    A burger salad begs for a delicious vinaigrette. Here’s our template for making a vinaigrette recipe you’ll love.

  • Some people are calorie and fat counters. If that’s you, go for a dressing of plain balsamic vinegar (conventional or white balsamic). It makes a delicious dressing with just 14 calories per tablespoon.
  • Another direction is to use lemon, lime or yuzu juice. Yuzu is imported from Japan and pricey, but worth it.
  • Low-calorie salsa also works, plain or mixed with a bit of salad oil. For a creamy dressing, mix salsa with plain Greek yogurt.
    However, before you avoid salad oil, ask any nutritionist, the FDA or the American Heart Association: Two tablespoons daily of a heart-healthy oil are important for general health and specific conditions*. The recommended oils are monounsaturated, and include avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil.

    It’s time to stop looking old-school at “calories” and “fat”—an old school way of looking at diet—and focus your choices on health and nutrition.


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    Plan B: Top your burger with a salad.
    Photo courtesy Umami Burger | Hudson



    Instead of topping salad with a burger, you can top a burger with salad.

    Far more than a bunless burger or “diet burger”—the type served by our local diner and others, which plates a burger patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and a scoop of cottage cheese—a salad burger tops your burger with a flavorful salad.

    As you can see in the photo, it can be simple mixed greens, very lightly dressed. Since the burger is America’s favorite food, if you’ve been meaning to add more salad to your diet, here’s your chance.

    Monounsaturated fats deliver many health benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk for breast cancer.
  • Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of monounsaturated fats to improve one’s blood lipid profile.
  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. The FDA recommends that .8 ounce daily—about 2 tablespoons—may “possibly prevent coronary disease.”
  • Weight loss, when switching to monounsaturated fat from polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil and soybean oil, among others) and saturated fats (largely from animal products: meat, dairy, eggs).
  • Less severe pain and less stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in reducing the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.


    TIP OF THE DAY: “Kaleidoscope” Summer Fruit Salad

    Our mom, who could supreme a citrus fruit fast enough to qualify for the Cooking Olympics, made a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad for us to snack on over summer weekends. It was a healthier alternative, but still had eye- and palate appeal for kids.

    Winter fruit salad colors were a mix of pink grapefruit, oranges and pineapple, green and red grapes. There were splashes of white from diced apples and pears.

    When summer arrived, with vividly colored fruits galore, Mom switched from the winter lineup to what she called “Kaleidoscope Fruit Salad,” after the device we played with as kids (if you’ve never seen one, here’s an online kaleidoscope).

    So today’s tip is: Make a Kaleidoscope Fruit Salad. Or if you prefer:

  • Make rainbow fruit kabobs, following the color of the rainbow, as in the photo below.
  • Serve a plate of bright-colored, sliced fruits with a bright colored dip (see the recipe for Blueberry Dip below).
    Or, turn the fruit salad into:

  • Breakfast, with yogurt or cottage cheese.

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    You can get much more colorful than this: Add blueberries and/or blackberries, for starters. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • A luncheon salad or first course, placing the fruits on a bed of greens and topping them with crumbled cheese: blue, chèvre or feta.
  • Dessert, with a scoop of sorbet, flavored yogurt or cinnamon-accented sour cream. You can also marinate the fruit salad with a tablespoon or two of orange liqueur.
    You can do the same with a multicolored vegetable salad.


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    Make “rainbow” fruit kabobs. Photo courtesy



    This recipe, from the Highbush Blueberry Council, produces the most beautiful heliotrope-colored dip (a medium purple).


  • 3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • 1/3 cup light cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves

    1. PLACE 2 cups of the blueberries, the cream cheese and the preserves in the container of a food processor or blender. Whirl until smooth.

    2. TRANSFER to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving.


  • Brown fruits: dates, figs
  • Green fruits: apples, avocado, figs, grapes, gooseberries, honeydew, kiwi, plums
  • Orange fruits: apricot, cantaloupe/crenshaw melons, gooseberries, kumquats, mango, oranges, mandarins, papaya
  • Purple fruits: blackberries, blueberries, figs, grapes
  • Red and pink fruits: apples, blood orange, cherries, currants (also called “champagne grapes”), dragonfruit, gooseberries, grapes, guava, plums, pomegranate arils,raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
  • Yellow fruits: apples, carambola/starfruit, cherries (Queen Anne, Rainier), figs, golden kiwi, golden raspberries, goosberries, jackfruit, lemon, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • White and beige fruits: apple, Asian pear, banana, cherimoya, coconut, lychee, pear, rambutan, white peaches
    Go forth and make edible kaleidoscopes and rainbows.
    *The “summer fruits” list also includes fruits that are available year-round. If a peel of a different color is left on the fruit, we’ve double-counted it in both color groups (e.g., green apples with white flesh).


    PRODUCT: Hummus Snack, No Refrigeration Required

    It’s not easy to find healthy snacks to eat on the go, much less those that are gluten free. Wild Garden Hummus, which sells shelf-stable (no refrigeration required ) hummus in jars, has a welcome new line called Snack Bo To Go!.

    It’s a tube of hummus packaged with a packet of gluten-free crackers. Neatly boxed, it’s a tasty alternative for anyone who wants to keep a better-for-you snack in a car, locker, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.

    In fact, if you’ve bought a hummus snack pack on an airline, it was probably Wild Garden.

    A small cardboard box includes your hummus flavor of choice in a 1.76-ounce single-serve Tetra-Pak (67 calories; with the crackers the snack is around 200 calories). Squeezing out the hummus is easy and mess-free. Flavors include:

  • Back Olive Hummus
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Jalapeño Hummus
  • Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • Traditional Hummus


    Small, easy-to-pack boxes with nutritious, delicious snacking inside. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.



    It’s easy to squeeze hummus from these Tetra Paks. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.


    The different flavors of hummus are variously paired with a half-ounce of delicious, gluten-free crackers or chips:

  • CrunchMaster Multiseed Crackers, an everyday favorite at THE NIBBLE (127 calories)
  • The Daily Crave Vegetable Chips (147 calories)
  • Wild Garden Quinoa Chips (122 calories)
    We tried all of the varieties, and pronounce them delicious.
    The MSRP is $2.29 per box (serving). sells it for $2.50.

    If you want to buy the hummus packages only, you can get a box of 24 packets or 100 packets on
    Visit for more information.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Organic Stoneground Flakes

    We first learned of Back To The Roots, an environmentally-focused start-up founded in Oakland, California by two Berkeley grads, when they sent us a Mushroom Farm two years ago. It’s a kit to grow mushrooms indoors that utilizes recycled coffee grounds.

    The company has since created Water Garden, a device that sits over a fish tank and grows herbs; and Garden In A Can, their own version of herbs-in-a-can.

    These are specialty products. But recently, the company launched another product that has a place in every kitchen.

    It’s a delicious, whole-grain breakfast cereal, with the curiously generic name of Organic Stoneground Flakes.

    They’re not exactly flakes, but shaped like tiny bowls. That adds to their charm; but whatever the shape, we love their flavor and the wholesome nutrition.

    Organic Stoneground Flakes are our new favorite cereal!



    Our new favorite cereal. Photo courtesy Back To The Roots.


    Just three ingredients: organic wheat, a bit of sugar and a dash of salt.

    The U.S.-grown, hard red spring wheat is 100% stoneground, the ancient milling process that preserves all the protein, fiber and flavor of the whole grain.

    The cereal is non-GMO and has a whopping 40g of whole grain per serving, almost your daily requirement of 48g; along with 6g protein and 5g fiber. There’s just a pinch of salt, and a small amount of sugar that balances the flavors without tasting sweet.

    Packaged in an easily recyclable milk carton, the “flakes” are a crunchy snack from the box, a dry cereal to top with milk or yogurt, a crunchy topping for fruit salad, an ingredient for trail mix.

    An order of two 11-ounce boxes is $9.99 plus $2 shipping on the company website.

    The product’s mission is to “pour it forward”: Every photo posted to generates a donated box of Stoneground Flakes to an elementary school cafeteria.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese


    Forget the pasta: This “mac and cheese”
    substitutes better-for-you cauliflower. Photo
    courtesy Castello.


    Chef Michael Symon has a solution for mac and cheese lovers who want to cut back on the pasta: Substitute cauliflower for the pasta.

    For some time now, cauliflower “mashed potatoes” have been a favorite substitute for mashed potatoes: lower in calories, higher in nutrition.

    In this recipe, Chef Symon does a vegetable-for-starch switch with macaroni.

    His recipe has the creamy cheesiness of mac and cheese (Chef Symon uses used Castello Creamy Havarti), the crunchiness of the bread crumbs, extra cruciferous* vegetables in your diet and and delicious comfort food with reduced calories.

    Make it tonight!


    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup mascarpone (if you cannot find it, cream cheese will work in a pinch)
  • 1 cup havarti
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • ½ cup chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs


    1. BRING a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Add the florets to the water and cook until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the broiler to high. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a 2-quart Dutch oven† over medium heat. Add the cream, salt, pepper and hot sauce to the pot and bring it to simmer. (Chef Symon used 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce, but adjust the seasonings to your liking.) Reduce the cream by 1/3, about 3 minutes.

    3. WHISK in the mascarpone and havarti and stir to incorporate. When the cheese is melted and incorporated, keep the sauce at a simmer. The sauce will be slightly thickened at this point.



    Turn it into “mac and cheese.” Photo courtesy


    4. ADD the cauliflower and chives, stirring well to coat the cauliflower. Pour into an ovenproof dish; then top with the bread crumbs, sprinkling them in an even layer. Place the dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the broiler and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

    *The highly nutritious, anti-carcinogen Brassicaceae family of vegetables is also called the cruciferous family from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” Their flowers consist of four petals in the shape of a cross. The family include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips. Eat up!

    †Also called a French oven, a Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is usually made of cast iron. In France it is called a cocotte, the French word for casserole.



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