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GIFT OF THE DAY: Spicy Brownies

Sea Salt Brownie

Sea Salt Brownie

We [heart] spicy Mayan brownies (photos courtesy The Grommet).

 

Salt Of The Earth Bakery is an artisanal baked goods company that re-imagines classic treats, by adding finishing salts and exotic spices.

These extras turn the cookies and brownies into decidedly adult fare.

We love brownies—great ones—and are always on the prowl for what’s different and delicious.

Salt Of The Earth Bakery makes five brownie flavors. The one that called out to us was the Mayan, “the brownie that bites you back.”

Seasoned as the original Mayan chocolate was, with cinnamon, and cayenne, it’s topped with Halen Môn (Anglesey), crunchy sea salt flakes.

In the Mayan and later Aztec cultures, chocolate* was only available to the nobility, wealthy merchants and honored warriors.

Unleash your inner warrior and try a few.

Other flavors include:

  • The Brownie, a classic with Halen Môn sea salt
  • The Kona, with espresso and Hawaiian Kona sea salt
  • The OMGCB, with caramel and French sel gris
  • The Nutty One, with peanut butter, and French sel gris
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    ABOUT SALT OF THE EARTH PRODUCTS

    The line is all-natural and certified kosher by OK-D. The chocolate is 100% Fair Trade USA certified chocolate from Guittard.

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery is commited to the environment, from sustainable packaging, to recycling to maximizing eco-friendly power sources such as solar and hydro energy.
     
    GET YOUR BROWNIES

    Three boxes of 2 brownies each (1.6 ounces per brownie) are $15.00 at SaltOfTheEarthBakery.com.

    There are also gift packs of brownies and cookies.
     
    ________________
    *For the first few thousand years of its existence, chocolate was a beverage. Solid chocolate was first created in the 19th century, in Europe. Check out the Chocolate Timeline.

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK & GIFT OF THE DAY: SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

    Superseedz Super Spicy

    Polenta With Pumpkin Seeds

    Spaghetti With Pumpkin Seeds

    [1] SuperSeedz is made in nine flavors, from sweet to savory to hot and spicy (photo SuperSeedz). [2] In addition to snacking, SuperSeedz make delicious garnishes and mix-ins; here, mixed into a vegetable garnish for polenta. Here’s the recipe for the polenta and the spaghetti from Taste With The Eyes. [3] Add some Tomato Italiano SuperSeedz—or Curious Curry or Somewhat Spicy—to your favorite pasta.

     

    Over the past 12 years of nibbling, we’ve had lots of Top Picks Of The Week. All are wonderful foods, but some become part of our everyday lives—because they’re what we usually eat.

    SuperSeedz, gourmet shelled pumpkin seeds that we first discovered in 2007, is one of those.

    A better-for-you, nutritious, fiber-filled and very flavorful, crunchy snack, we also love it as a garnish.

    At $4.99, the five-ounce bags make really nice Thanksgiving favors and stocking stuffers, and are great for everyday grab-and-go.

    SuperSeedz are non-GMO verified, cholesterol- and trans-fat free, gluten-free, vegan and allergen friendly.

    Each one-ounce serving has 7 grams of protein and a good hit of iron and zinc.

    In nine flavors, sweet, savory and hot, there’s a choice for everything.

    SAVORY SUPERSEEDZ

  • Curious Curry: beloved even by non-curry lovers.
  • Really Naked: totally plain.
  • Tomato Italiano: tomato, basil, garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, sea salt (the company calls it “bruschetta on a pumpkin seed).
  • Sea Salt: the original.
  • Somewhat Spicy: a just-enough-spice blend of aged cayenne pepper, garlic, sea salt.
  • Super Spicy: black pepper, cayenne, garlic, habanero, red crushed pepper, sea salt (be warned, it’s hot).
  •  
    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish, Use Them On:

  • Dips, including hummus
  • Eggs
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Grains and grain bowls, polenta
  • Grilled chicken and fish
  • Indian and Tex Mex dishes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta and pizza
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Vegetables (especially green beans and winter squash)
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Breads and corn muffins
  • Dips
  • Rice and other grain dishes
  •  
    SWEET SUPERSEEDZ

  • Cinnamon & Sugar, like cinnamon toast without the toast.
  • Coco Joe, following the trend of salted chocolate.
  • Maple Sugar & Sea Salt, new and noteworthy.
  •  

    Beyond Snacking…

    As A Garnish On:

  • Cake and cupcake frosting
  • Cold and hot cereal and granola
  • Fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta)
  • Fruit salad
  • Ice cream
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Puddings and mousse
  • Yogurt
  •  
    As A Mix-In To:

  • Carrot and zucchini cakes/breads
  • Chocolate bark
  • Cookie and brownie batter
  • Ice cream
  • Muffins
  • Trail mix
  •  

    Superseedz Snack

    Superseedz Tomato Italiano

    [4] Fill up a bowl for snacking. [5] Sprinkle Tomato Italiano on pasta, pizza or polenta. Or roll a log of goat cheese in it (photos courtesy SuperSeedz).

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Grandma Hoerner’s Apple Pouches

    Grandma Hoerner’s is a company that makes Big Slice Apples, one of our favorite new snacks and toppings.

    Big Slice Apples were first cooked in Grandma Hoerner’s farm kitchen in Kansas in the late 1800s, made from apples straight from the orchard.

    Grandson, Duane McCoy, rcalling the wonderful big slices of cooked apples from his youth, could find no commercial product like it. In 1987, after experimenting to replicate her recipe, he was ready to bring them to the world.

    Big Slice Juicy Cooked Apples may be the best apple “sauce” you can buy. Thick slices of kettle-cooked apples resting in an a sauce made from reduced apple juice.

    It is the way it was originally made with big slices of fresh apples, slow cooked, with only natural ingredients added. These are chunky apples that can be eaten with a fork, although a spoon will do.

    The Big Apple Slices are all natural, non-GMO, HFCS free and slow cooked, using domestic apples—just as Grandma Hoerner made them. They are both a luxurious dessert or topping and a healthful grab-and-go snack—a great source of vitamin C and naturally gluten free.

    The product, originally (and still) sold in 19.5-ounce jars, is now available in grab-and-go pouches—lots of them—in 4.5-ounce portions, 80 to 90 calories depending on flavor, for $2.50. We found 16-packs on Amazon, but not on the Grandma Hoerner’s website.

    Three flavor lines focus on flavor profiles:

  • Pure Line, simply flavored: Apricot, Blueberry Pomegranate, Chai, Cherry Vanilla, Natural, Orange Ginger
  • Fit Line, with added nutrition: Banana, Mango & Hemp Seed; Peach, Green Tea & Aloe; Honey Berry Chia; Pineapple, Passion Fruit & Fiber, Raspberry Hibiscus & Green Coffee Extract
  • Luxe Line, with indulgent additions: Boysenberry Chocolate, Caramel, Cinnamon Candy, Cinnamon French Toast, Peach Bellini
  •  
    The only challenge is where to begin. We received samples of each flavor, and can’t decide what to re-order. We may have to proceed alphabetically!
     
    HOW TO ENJOY GRANDMA HOERNER’S BIG SLICE APPLES

    For starters, here’s how we enjoyed the different Big Slice flavors:

  • Breakfast: with cottage cheese, French toast, omelets, porridge, toast, yogurt, pancakes, waffles
  • Lunch & Dinner: as a condiment or side with fried chicken, ham, pork, turkey
  • Dessert: crêpes, ice cream/sorbet, parfait, pound or angel cake, tartlet shells
  • Snack: straight from the pouch, on a rice cake
  •    

    Grandma Hoerner's Big Slice Apples

    Pancakes With Grandma Hoerner's Apples

    Big Slice On Yogurt

    [1] A great grab-and-go snack. [2] A topping for pancakes and other breakfast foods. [3] A yogurt mix-in or topping (photos courtesy Grandma Hoerner’s).

     

    Apple Tartlets

    [4] Time for dessert or company for tea? Fill tartlet shells for dessert (photo courtesy Grandma Hoerner’s).

     

    WHERE TO FIND BIG SLICE

    The pouches are available at Costco, H -E-B, Hy-Vee. Kowalski’s, Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix, Sprouts, Whole Foods Market, and more than 7,000 food stores nationwide. Here’s a store locator.

    You can buy them online at BigSliceApples.com and in multipacks at Amazon.com.

    A portion of the purchase to the A Sparkle Life, a non-profit organization aiding women in need.

     
    FOR MORE INFORMATION, head to BigSliceApples.com.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Justin’s Peanut Butter & Banana Chips Snack Packs

    How do you enjoy bananas as a better-for-you snack?

    From the peel? With PB? On your cereal? With yogurt? As snack chips? On PB sandwich?

    Justin’s has created a new way: a better-for-you grab-and-go snack that combines Justin’s artisan peanut butter and organic bananas chips.

  • Justin’s Original Peanut Butter + Banana Chips Snack Packs
  • Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter + Banana Chips Snack Packs
  •  
    They’re the world’s first all-in-one, non-perishable fruit and nut butter pairing.

    Toss them in briefcases, cars, desk drawers, handbags, gym bags, lockers, lunch bags, pockets and tote bags.

    The new Snack Packs are:

  • All natural.
  • Convenient/shelf stable.
  • Dippable (no plate or utensils required).
  • Energy Giving.
  • Filling.
  • Fiber (3g).
  • Filling.
  • Gluten Free.
  • Kosher (OU).
  • Made to Matter* (handpicked by Target).
  • Non-GMO.
  • Portable.
  • Potassium-rich (200mg).
  • Protein (5-6g).
  •  
    Calories

  • The Original Peanut Butter is 200 calories, 140 from fat.
  • The Honey Peanut Butter is 210 calories, 150 from fat.
  •  
    See the section below on peanut butter healthfuliness†.

     
    The snacks with banana chips join Justin’s nut butter and pretzel snacks:

  • Classic Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Honey Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Maple Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  •  
    LOOK FOR THEM AT TARGET STORES NATIONWIDE.

     

    Justin's Peanut Butter With Bananas

    Justin's Honey Peanut Butter Jar

    [1] Toss a Snack Pack anywhere. [2] A jar of Justin’s Peanut Butter, which is scooped into the Snack Packs. Photos courtesy Justin’s.

    ________________
    *Target’s Made To Matter program brings together 20 purpose-driven brands to make natural, organic and sustainable products more accessible to consumers. The products meet at least one of these five criteria: reduced waste and packaging, reduced sugar, dietary and allergen restrictions, clean label products and closed loop systems.

    †Editor’s Note: People are healthy; products are healthful.
    _______________
     
    WHY IS PEANUT BUTTER HEALTHY?

    Doesn’t it have saturated fat?

    Here’s an abridged response from Walter C. Willett, M.D., Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health

    The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu [are healthy foods that] have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.

    Let’s take a look at the peanut butter [fat] package. One serving (about 2 tablespoons) has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat.

    (Justin’s Snack Packs have a bit less than 2 tablespoons of PB. Here’s more on the different types of fats and how good they are for you.)

    Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium. That profile compares quite favorably with bologna, roast beef, and many other sandwich fixings [unsalted PB is even better].

    Over the years, numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.

    Saturated fat isn’t the deadly toxin it is sometimes made out to be. The body’s response to saturated fat in food is to increase the amounts of both harmful LDL and protective HDL in circulation. In moderation, some saturated fat is okay. Eating a lot of it, though, promotes artery-clogging atherosclerosis, the process that underlies most cardiovascular disease. In contrast, unsaturated fats, which make up the majority of the fat content in peanut butter, help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

    In other words, as with most things, enjoy it in moderation.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Savory Mashed Potato Waffles

    Mashed Potato Waffles Recipe

    Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa

    Top: Turn leftover mashed potatoes into waffles for breakfast or brunch (photo Idaho Potato Commission. Bottom: Top the waffles with salsa, syrup or this pineapple-jalapeno salsa recipe from Whole Foods Markets.

     

    What to do with leftover mashed potatoes? You can heat them up, make Shepherd’s Pie, or whip up these Mashed Potato Waffles for breakfast or brunch.

    This recipe, from the Idaho Potato Commission, was This was created as a vegan recipe. We used conventional buttermilk (homemade!), cheese and eggs. could be sweet instead of savory, but savory waffles with garlic, cheese and scallions are a nice change of pace. It can also be used with mashed sweet potatoes.

    We served them with a side of Applegate sausage and a baby arugula and spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
     
    RECIPE: MASHED POTATO WAFFLES

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan buttermilk (see Step 1) or regular buttermilk
  • 2 egg replacers* or two large eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes†
  • 3 tablespoons chopped scallions or chives (omit if your mashed potatoes already have herbs or onions)
  • ½ cup shredded vegan or regular cheddar cheese
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon garlic powder†
  • 1 cup all-purpose or gluten free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: vegan or regular breakfast meat
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • Vegan or regular sour cream
  • Chopped chives, scallions, parsley
  •  
    Optional Condiments

  • Chutney
  • Maple syrup
  • Salsa
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vegan buttermilk. Combine ¼ cup non-dairy milk with ¼ teaspoon lemon juice; allow to sit for 15 minutes.

    2. PREHEAT the waffle maker and grease it with cooking spray.

    3. WHISK together the oil, vegan buttermilk and egg replacer, in a large bowl. Stir in the mashed potatoes, scallions and cheese until well-combined. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder, if using.

    4. WHISK together in a small bowl the baking powder and baking soda. Fold the flour mixture into the potato mixture until well-combined.

    5. SCOOP 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the mixture (depending on the size of your waffle maker) into the prepared waffle maker, spreading it into an even layer. The potato mixture will not spread or expand as much as a regular waffle, so take care to spread it evenly.) Close the lid and let the waffle bake until golden brown.

    6. REPEAT with the remaining potato mixture. NOTE: If the waffle is too wet, add more flour to the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a doughy consistency.

    7. TOP the waffles with vegan sour cream, garnish and serve.

     
    _____________________
    *The Idaho Potato Commission recommends Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg. You can also use EnerG or make your own: For the equivalent of one egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground chia/flax seed mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Allow to thicken.

    †If your mashed potatoes are plain, add in 1 teaspoon powdered garlic as well as salt and pepper, to taste.
      

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