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Archive for Organic

PRODUCT: Petite Crème From Stonyfield

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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!
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    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.
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    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.

     

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    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.
      

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    PRODUCT: Cascadian Farm Organic Protein Bars

    For breakfast on the go and better snacking, we’ve been enjoying Cascadian Farm’s new chewy granola bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Honey Roasted Nut.

    Most varieties of Cascadian Farm granola bars (and other granola bar brands) contain 2-4 grams of protein. The new protein bars use organic pea protein to amp up the level to 9 grams. (You can’t taste the pea protein, a hot new ingredient used in better brands.)

    The texture is great—not dry, like some protein bars.

    And they’re very filling, standing in for a light meal on a busy day.

    Both flavors are delicious, although we admit a preference for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

    By the way, there’s no granola in the bars. Ingredients include:

  • Honey Roasted Nut: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, tapioca syrup, pea protein, almonds, rice flour, sunflower oil, sea salt
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, pea protein, tapioca syrup, rice flour, chocolate chips, sunflower oil and sea salt
  •  
    The bars are available at natural food stores and other retailers nationwide.

     

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    Chewy Honey Roasted Nut protein bars from Cascadian Farm. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Find more of Cascadian Farm’s excellent organic products at CascadianFarm.com.

    ABOUT CASCADIAN FARM

    One of the country’s leading brands of organic foods with some 75 different products, Cascadian Farm is a real place: a working farm founded 40 years ago on a stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. It became a pioneer in converting conventional farms to organic.

    From cereals and granola bars to spreads and relishes to frozen fruits, vegetables and juices, it’s a wonderful line, delivering delicious, better-for-you foods in a sustainable manner.

      

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    PRODUCT: Veri Soda, Organic & Low Calorie

    When “natural” isn’t good enough for you, go all the way. That’s what the makers of Veri Organic Soda did, creating a line of USDA certified organic and low-calorie soda (the first organic and low calorie line), sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic stevia.

    It’s very flavorful soda with modest calories, no artificial ingredients and no added chemicals.

    What you do get are bright and refreshing flavors, the four most popular: Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime and Orange. At 60 calories per 12-ounce serving, they’re half the calories of conventional sodas.

    The brand uses a blend of organic cane sugar and organic stevia to deliver just the right amount of sweetness.

     

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    Three of the four Veri flavors, just 60 calories a can. Photo courtesy Veri Soda Company.

     

    If you’re ready to swap out your standard soda or cocktail mixer for a healthier version, try Veri Soda. We enjoyed every flavor.

    The Veri Soda Company company is a Climate Neutral organization (net zero carbon footprint—more information) and committed to Non GMO ingredients.

    You can use the form on the company website to find a retailer near you.

    In the interim, head to Amazon.com for:

  • Veri Cola
  • Veri Lemon Lime
  • Veri Ginger Ale
  • Veri Orange
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    PRODUCT: Shelf Stable Pacific Organic Hummus

    Way back in 2006, we received samples of shelf-stable hummus in jars. From a brother and sister-led company called Salt & Vinegar, we felt the manufacturers had nailed a need in the rapidly growing hummus market: hummus that didn’t require refrigeration.

    The fledgling company didn’t make it; and since then, the hummus category has exploded even more. You can find hummus in dozens of flavors, mixed with other Middle Eastern specialties like babaganoush, tabouleh and yogurt.

    The only thing missing: shelf-stable hummus. Hummus that you can keep in your locker or desk drawer, in your glove compartment, in your gym bag, for a protein-packed, better-for-you snack or light lunch.

    Pacific Foods has risen to meet the need, with three flavorful varieties of shelf stable—Classic, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper. They are made from the highest quality organic ingredients, including chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, a touch of garlic and a pinch of sea salt.

    How does shelf stable hummus compare to refrigerated or freshly made hummus?

       

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    Two of the three flavors of shelf-stable hummus (no refrigeration required). Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     

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    No refrigerator required. Photo courtesy
    Pacific Foods.

     

    In our own office test, our favorite refrigerated varieties (including Tribe) won out, but Pacific was deemed more than worthy, with bonus points for convenience.

    And according to the manufacturer, Pacific’s Classic Hummus has “one-third fewer calories and 40% less fat than the refrigerated hummus category leader.”

    Look for them where you’d find the shelf stable salsas, in the chip aisle. They’re rolling out at Whole Foods Markets, and at other stores that carry the Pacific brand of organic products.

    Priced at $3.39 to $4.29 (based on the individual retailer)per 12.75-ounce container, these convenient little boxes are begging to accompany you wherever you go.

    Don’t forget a plastic spoon plus optional chips and veggies.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Little Miracles Organic Energy Bottled Tea

    When we first received sample bottles of Little Miracles Organic Energy, we thought they were organic energy drinks.

    Not exactly.

    They’re delicious tea and fruit juice blends, sweetened with agave, a better alternative to refined sugar.

    They lack some of the conventional energy drink kickers, like guarana, a berry that is more caffeine-intense than coffee beans; and the amino acids L-carnitine and taurine.

    They do, however, contain ginseng, a medicinal herb that is believed to increase energy and is often used in energy drinks; and all rely on the natural caffeine of tea.

    We’re can’t aver that they give us a special energy boost over other iced teas, but they sure are tasty!

    The London-based manufacturer is originally from Denmark; the line is distributed throughout Europe and has just launched in Southern California. Hopefully, Little Miracles will get to a store near you soon.

    The flavors include:

     

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    Two of the four flavors of Little Miracles fruit iced teas. Photo courtesy Little Miracles.

     

  • Black Tea & Peach, bursting with fresh peach flavor (our personal favorite).
  • Green Tea & Pomegranate, with clean green tea flavor.
  • Lemongrass Tea, Orange Juice & Ginger, pleasant but we’d like more lemongrass and ginger highlights.
  • White Tea & Cherry, redolent of fresh cherries.
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    Discover more at DrinkLittleMiracles.com.

      

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