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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 Snacks

TIP OF THE DAY: Better For You Snacks

A few years ago, one of our Top Picks Of The Week was a product line called Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food.

It was developed by an M.D. who treated people with illnesses caused by bad nutrition, and it engendered The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook: More Than 100 Healthy Recipes for Everyday Snacking.

Dr. Laura Trice showed how easy it is to make snacks and sweets that are satisfying yet nutritious (you can find the cookies online).

If you’re looking for better-for-you snacks that don’t deprive you of a cookie fix, head to natural food stores or make your own.

These tasty sweets in the recipe below look like truffles, but they’re protein-packed treats made from peanut butter and whey extract, plus whole grain rolled oats. Even the sweetener, maple syrup, is better for you.

The resemblance to candy is purely intentional. The recipe is courtesy of Crofter’s, maker of organic jams and fruit spreads.

   

protein-bites-croftersorganic-230

Make a batch—they’re good for you! Photo courtesy Crofter’s.

 

RECIPE: SWEET TREAT PROTEIN BITES

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whey protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional toppings: shredded coconut, sesame seeds, vanilla protein powder
  •  

    wholesome-junk-food-cookbook-230

    Want better snacks all the time? Get this
    cookbook! Photo courtesy Running Press.

     

    Preparation

    1. MELT peanut butter, maple syrup, butter, vanilla and fruit spread in a pan over medium heat; stir to combine thoroughly.

    2. REMOVE from heat and add oats, cocoa powder, protein powder, salt and chocolate chips. Stir until chips have melted and ingredients are thoroughly combined.

    3. Form into balls and roll in topping(s) of choice. Chill in the fridge to firm before serving.
     
    It’s that easy!
     
     
    MORE HEALTHY SWEET TREATS

    For more treats like these, get a copy of The Wholeseome Junk Food Cookbook by Laura Trice, M.D. You’d be surprised at how many delicious treats are good for you!

    We also like the book as a gift for teens and tweens who want to learn to cook. Start them off making treats for themselves and their friends. You may inspire a future “Dr. Laura” in the process.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Smartfood Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

    Smartfood, a Frito-Lay brand, has made popcorn in Kettle Corn, Sea Salt and White Cheddar. And now, there’s Movie Theatre Butter.

    Recently, Smartfood send us samples of their Movie Theater Butter flavor. As the name promises, it is very buttery (the ingredients include real butter). You get buttery flavor without buttery fingers.

    The popcorn is well salted, too.

    We personally like less salt—and also know excess salt isn’t good for you. But no doubt this recipe tested well with consumers. While devoured the whole bag, and if another bag were set in front of us, we would eat it as well.

    Archaeologists estimate that popcorn dates back to around 3600 B.C.E. They deduce that popcorn was first made by throwing corn kernels on sizzling hot stones tended over a campfire, or onto heated sand.

    It was not eaten as a snack food: The corn was sifted and then pounded into a fine, powdery meal and mixed with water. This same cooking technique was used by the early Colonists, who mixed ground popcorn with milk and ate it for breakfast as a kind of cereal.

    Popcorn is the better-for-you salty snack. A cup of plain popcorn contains about 31 calories, compared to about 139 calories for a cup of plain potato chips.

     

    smartfood-movie-theater-butter-230

    Buttery, salty and whole grain. Photo courtesy Frito-Lay.

  • It’s the only snack that’s 100% whole grain: high in dietary fiber.
  • The hull (the part that gets stuck in your teeth) contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants.
  •  

    Smartfood popcorn is air popped is all natural, free of artificial flavors or preservatives. It’s available in 7.5-ounce bags at grocery stores nationwide.

    Discover more at Smartfood.com.

      

    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

    PRODUCT: Tribe To Go, Hummus & Pita Chips Single Serve

    Hummus is the second-fastest growing category in the grocery aisles with the on-the-go segment experiencing the most growth. Sales of hummus “snack sets” have seen major increases, up more than 70% since last year.

    So it’s no surprise that Tribe Hummus, a leading brand, has entered the category with Tribe Humus & Pita Chips, a single-serve package that is launching now.

    Tribe sent us samples, and we’re here to report the good news…and the less good news.

     
    The Scoop: Good

  • Each pack contains two ounces of hummus—your choice of the two leading Tribe flavors, Classic or Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus—plus seven ounces of pita chips. It’s just enough to take the edge off.
  • Hummus is a better-for-you snack. Tribe calls it “a nutritionally responsible snack, adhering to the dietitian-approved optimal snack equation of approximately 200 calories per serving.”*
  •  
    *Tribe To Go Sweet Roasted Red Pepper totals 200 calories and Tribe To Go Classic has 230 calories.

     

    tribe-single-serve-230ps

    “Snackers” are a fast-growing category of hummus. Photo courtesy Tribe Hummus.

     
    The Scoop: Less Good

  • The package must be refrigerated. You couldn’t keep it in the glove compartment, or tote it all day in a backpack. (There are shelf-stable hummus brands that let you do this.)
  • The chips are OK, but they could be better. They’re a bit greasy to the touch, and evoke Chinese noodles as much as pita. Plus, if you care to create a truly nutritious snack, why not make them from whole wheat rather than refined white flour?
  • There’s a lot of packaging headed for the landfill. If you’re not focused on sustainability, you wouldn’t think twice about this. But those who do will think about the heavy cardboard tube fitted with a metal bottom and a plastic top. Inside, there’s a plastic tub of hummus and a small bag of chips. The metal bottom is not easily pried off for dividing the garbage into paper and metal; we had to use a can opener.
  •  
    A Welcome Addition To Snack Choices

    Tribe’s To Go pack has a suggested retail price of $1.99-$2.99. It currently can be found at retailers and grocery stores such as Stop and Shop, Albertsons and Jewel, with plans of to expand to movie theaters, gas stations, airports and convenience stores by year-end.

    And that’s what we think is the best news: We’d love to find it at these latter venues, where it would most certainly be our snack of choice among the empty calories and tasteless fresh fruit.

    Can we also recommend newsstands, refrigerated vending machines and the snack concessions in office buildings? We’ll be there with cash in hand.

    Learn more about Tribe at TribeHummus.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Smucker’s Fruit-Fulls

    fruitfulls-beauty-2-230

    Nothing but fruit: Remove cap, insert nozzle
    into mouth, enjoy. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     

    We haven’t liked every fruit squeeze pouch brand we’ve tried. Some of them, even though they’re all natural, don’t taste that way.

    But Smucker’s new Fruit-Fulls taste just like the orchard. For 80 calories, they’re a delicious, sweet grab-and-go treat.

    Made from Washington State apples, Fruit-Fulls are simple: just pure, sweet blended fruit, essentially applesauce, with no sugar added. The flavors include:

  • Apple
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Apple Mixed Berry
  • Apple Strawberry
  •  
    All are delicious, although we’re partial to the more complex flavors of Apple Mixed Berry and Apple Strawberry—more fruit flavor.

    Fruit-Fulls are available at stores nationwide, packaged in boxes of eight four-ounce pouches. Learn more at Smuckers.com.

     
    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

    Fruit pouches were meant to be enjoyed “from the pouch,” but we used the convenient nozzle to:

  • Add to plain yogurt
  • Top sorbet
  • Make a parfait
  • Make “fruit sandwiches,” filling sliced bananas and peaches
  •  
    TIP: Hide these from the kids or there won’t be any left for you.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pistachio Chewy Bites

    pistachio-tea-3-230

    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

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yummy Breads From Ozery Bakery

    morning-rounds-230

    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.

     

    one-bun-wheat-230

    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

    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.

     

    2-bars-unwrapped-box-2-230

    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.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th FOOD: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues

    Yes, there’s a perfect potato chip for July 4th Weekend: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues.

    These delectable chips are a blend of striped beets (chiogga beets), sweet potatoes (with some beet juice concentrate for color) and blue potatoes, which create the patriotic red, white and blue mix. They’re seasoned with a pinch of sea salt.

    If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them online. A carton of 12 bags will go quickly, we promise.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    And given the choice between a bottle of wine and a few bags of Terra’s Stripes & Blues, we’re guessing that a majority of people will go for the chips.

    JULY 4TH BEER FOR THE CHIPS

    Next task: Find an artisan beer to match. Here are some ideas for starters:

  • Brew Free or Die IPA, 21st Amendment Brewing
  • Enjoy by 07.04.14, Stone Brewing Company
  • Liberty Ale, Anchor Brewing
  • Revolution XPA, Eagle Rock Brewery
  • Union Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  •  

    Read the full article.

     

    terra-stripes-and-blues-chips-terraFB-230

    The most patriotic potato chips. Photo courtesy Terra Chips.

     

      

    Comments

    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?

       

    pacific-organic-hummus-trio-230r

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

     

    pacific-hummus-bowl-230

    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.

     

      

    Comments

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