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FAVs Fruit Pouches: Low-Calorie Snacks From Tree Top

Recently we tasted a pouch of FAVs, fruit purees designed for children, packed with vitamins and fun designs on squeeze pouches. Our impression was: These are delicious, and great snacks for adults seeking low calories (just 45 calories per pack), great taste, and oh yes, nutrition.

The fruit pouches are packed with vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, zinc, and beta-glucan, a soluble fiber. The combination helps to support the immune system.

The fruits are picked at the peak of freshness, and the purées are sweet with no sugar added (isn’t that just peachy!).

We enjoy them so much, that FAVs are our Top Pick Of The Week.

FAVs are available in four flavors:

  • Feelin’ Peachy
  • Go Bananas
  • Orange You Happy
  • Strawberry Strong
    The calories are so low that you can have two pouches for just 90 calories.

    The line is:

  • All natural (no artificial flavors or colors)
  • Non-GMO
  • BPA-free
  • Gluten, dairy, and nut free
  • No high fructose corn syrup or other added sugars
  • Kosher certified by OU

    We first purchased cartons of each of the flavors as grab-and-go snacks. We love the fruit fix, straight from the pouch. Then, we played around with them:

  • On oatmeal
  • On ice cream and sorbet
  • In smoothies
  • On toast and French toast, instead of jam and jelly
  • As a fruit puree plate garnish with cake and other desserts
  • With poached pears and baked apples
    You’ll discover your own favorite uses.

    Here’s a store locator.

    You can also purchase FAVs on Amazon.


    FAVs Strawberry Fruit Pouch
    [1] Sweet, nutritious, 45-calorie fruit pouches. Here, Strawberry Strong (all photos © Tree Top).

    FAVs Feelin' Peach Fruit Pounch
    [2] Fresh peaches have a limited season, but we get a peach flavor to fix from Feelin’ Peachy..

    FAVs Fruit Pouches Go Bananas
    [3] Go bananas!


    The Tree Top cooperative was formed in 1960, in the heart of Washington’s apple country. Way before “sustainability” entered the public consciousness, growers came together to find a way to save ugly and excess fruit—perfectly good food—from going to the landfill.

    Today, Tree Top is still saving ugly and excess fruit: more than 800 million pounds of fruit each year! Here’s more about Tree Top.



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    Savory Pancake Recipes For National Pancake Day

    BLT Pancakes Recipe
    [1] BLT pancakes. Can you have extra bacon on the side? Sure! Here’s the recipe (photo © Wisconsin Cheese).

    Savory Grilled Cheese Pancakes Recipe
    [2] Grilled cheese pancake stack. Here’s the recipe (photo © Wyke Farms).


    Today* is Shrove Tuesday, also called Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the beginning of 40 days of fasting in the Christian liturgical calendar.

    Pancakes are associated with Shrove Tuesday because they are a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of Lent. British Christians began the pancake custom in the 16th century. The day’s feasting also includes sweets and other foods that are given up for Lent.

    Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in English-speaking countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In France, the U.S., and other countries, it is called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

    Now onto the pancake celebrations. International Pancake Day is held on Shrove Tuesday. February 21st is National Pancake Day (so today, per the calendar, is both International Pancake Day, a floating date, and National Pancake Day, a fixed date). February is National Pancake

    This year we’re showcasing our savory pancake recipes (below). They’re a treat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy!
    > The history of pancakes.

    > The different types of pancakes. How many have you had?

  • Apple & Ham Pancake Strata
  • Bacon, Corn & Cheese Pancakes
  • Bacon Potato Pancakes With Corn Salsa
  • BLT Pancakes
  • Cheddar Pancakes
  • Mix & Match Pancakes
  • Monte Cristo Pancakes With Ham & Cheese
  • Mushroom & Egg Pancake Stack
  • Potato Chips & Beer Pancakes
  • Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
  • Scallion Pancakes
    *The date varies each year, occurring six and a half weeks before Easter. The date of Easter is the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox (if the full moon falls on a Sunday then Easter is the following Sunday).

    †What does “Shrove” mean? The first records of the term “Shrove Tuesday” appear in the 1490s. Shrove is the past tense of the verb shrive, which means “to confess one’s sins, such as to a priest” (it can also mean “to hear confession”). Shrovetide was a time that many Christians devoted to confessing their sins before the beginning of Lent [source]. Today Roman Catholics still confess their sins in order to receive the Blessed Sacrament and thus qualify themselves for a more religious observance of the holy season of Lent [source].



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    A Delicious Muffin In A Jar Recipe For National Muffin Day

    For National Muffin Day, February 20th, how cute is this muffin-in-a-jar? Even more, it’s tempting and with the first spoonful, you’ll be happy to have discovered this recipe.

    In addition to dessert, we love these for a tea party.

    After you try the recipe, you can subsequently vary the flavors of the muffins, jam, and whipped cream for future versions.

    This recipe, developed in the U.K., refers to the recipe as “tea cakes” instead of muffins. Nevertheless, they are muffin, made in a muffin/cupcake pan.

    Food 101:

  • In most of England, a tea cake (or teacake) is a light, sweet, yeast-based bun containing dried fruits, most usually currants, sultanas, or peel. The cake is typically split, toasted, buttered, and served with tea.
  • Its relative, the crumpet, is the father of the English muffin: savory, typically flat and round, made from batter and yeast, and containing many small holes. It is served toasted, usually with butter. Unlike the American-invented† English muffin, it is not split in half.
    For this recipe, you’ll need a cupcake/muffin pan and eight 8-ounce/220ml mason jars or other lidded jars.

    Thanks to Hero for the recipe.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, and cook time is 20 minutes.
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Black Tea Syrup

  • 100 g/3.5 ounces sugar
  • 100 g/3.5 ounces water
  • 2 black tea bags or equivalent loose tea leaves (substitute herbal tea of choice)
    For The Muffins

  • 170 g/6 ounces flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 170 g/6 ounces superfine* sugar
  • 170 g/6 ounces butter
  • 120 g/4.2 ounces orange juice
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 15 g/.5 ounce poppy seeds
    For The Raspberry Whipped Cream

  • 400 g/14 ounces ultra-pasteurized cream (UHT cream), cold
  • 100 g/3.5 ounces Hero raspberry jam (or flavor of choice)
    For Layering

  • 240 g/8.5 ounces Hero raspberry jam (or flavor of choice)

    1. MAKE the black tea syrup: In a saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea, cover with a lid, and infuse for 5 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.

    2. MAKE the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350°F.180°C. Sift the flour and baking powder together.

    3. COMBINE the egg yolks and 5 ounces/140g sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until creamy and fluffy. Add the butter, orange juice, orange zest, flour mixture, and poppy seeds. Mix well.

    4. BEAT the egg whites over high speed in another mixing bowl. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar (30g) . Beat to the hard peak stage.

    5. ADD half the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture and mix until well combined. Fold in the remaining half with a spatula.

    6. ADD to a piping bag for easier handling. Fill the cupcake/muffin molds 3 inches high. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

    7. MAKE the raspberry cream: In an electric mixing bowl, combine the cream and raspberry jam. Mix with the whisk attachment on high speed to the hard peak stage. Transfer to a piping bag.

    8. ASSEMBLE. Cut each muffin into 3 equal parts and trim them to fit into the jar. With a brush, moisten the top of each muffin slice with black tea syrup.

    9. PLACE the first muffin slice into the jars. Pipe in a layer of raspberry cream, and top with a layer of jam. Repeat the layering until the jar is full.

    10. COVER and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

    *You can pulse regular table sugar in a food processor to create superfine sugar.

    †It was invented by Samuel Bath Thomas, a Brit who had emigrated to New York City. The history of the English muffin.


    Orange-Poppy Muffin In A Jar Recipe
    [1] This recipe turns muffins into a yummy dessert (photo © Hero Foodservice).

    Earl Grey Loose Tea Leaves
    [2] Black tea leaves. You can use tea bags instead (photo © Fava Tea).

    Glass Bowl Of Superfine Sugar
    [3] Superfine sugar (photo © King Arthur Baking).

    Jar Of Hero Brand Raspberry Jam
    [4] Hero raspberry jam (photo © Indiamart).

    Orange Zest
    [5] Zesting an orange (photo © Eva Elijas | Pexels).

    Glass Dish Of Poppyseeds
    [6] Poppy seeds, also spelled poppyseeds (photo © Castorly Stock | Pexels).





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    The Best Canned Foods For National Canned Foods Month

    Can Of Artichoke Hearts
    [1] Artichoke hearts: low in calories, great in salads (photo © Roland Foods).

    Bush's Black Beans Canned
    [2] Black beans, garbanzos (chickpeas), kidney beans, and other varieties save time (photo © Bush’s Beans).

    Libby's Canned Beets
    [3] You can find canned beets both sliced and whole (photo © Libby’s Vegetables).

    Libby's Canned Corn
    [4] Fresh corn is at its peak for just 2-3 months a year. Canned corn kernels stand in well in recipes (photo © Libby’s Vegetables).

    Libby Canned Pumpkin Puree
    [ ] Canned pumpkin has both sweet and savory uses (photo © Libby’s Vegetables).

    San Marzano Canned Tomatoes
    [] San Marzano canned tomatoes: the best tomatoes in a can (photo © San Merican).

    Bela Olhao Sardines Open Can
    [ ] Our favorite canned sardines: Bela Olhao (photo © Bela Brand Seafood).


    It’s National Canned Foods Month. Can you name the canned foods in your pantry? Ours contains nutritious and shelf-stable* canned foods which, by definition, also have a longer shelf life* than frozen versions.

    In alphabetical order, the list of our personal favorite canned foods follows.

    > The history of canned food. Would you believe it started with Napoleon Bonaparte?
    Artichoke Hearts. We pop these into salads and spinach-artichoke dip, casseroles, omelets, pasta, pizza, and scores of other recipes.
    Asian Foods. Bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, coconut milk, water chestnuts, and others easily come together for a quick Asian dinner.
    Beans. Who hasn’t used canned beans? Black beans, garbanzos (chickpeas), kidney beans, pinto beans, and the rest are versatile and packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients—and the cheapest source of protein. We use them in dips (including hummus), salads, sides, soups, stews, and vegan and vegetarian dishes. White cannellini beans are one of our favorites to add to soups and stews. Check out the different types of beans.
    Beets. We love beets, and sometimes we have the energy to peel and cook fresh beets. Otherwise, canned beets work wonders. Buying canned beets allows you to enjoy their flavor and nutrition in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the price. They are also a colorful addition to salads, cheese sandwiches, and vegetable sandwiches. A borscht hack: Blend them with plain yogurt, fresh dill, and salt and pepper.
    Broth. Beef, chicken, and vegetable broths are good for everything from sipping to cooking grains, poaching foods, as a base for soups and stews, pan sauces and to lighten cream sauces, in stuffing, noodle bowls, for starters.
    Chiles. You can find mild to hot chile peppers in cans. We add them to burgers and sandwiches, burritos and other Tex Mex, dips, grain bowls, rice and other grain sides, rice dishes (jambalaya, risotto), salads, soups, and stews.
    Chili. When we want a quick lunch or dinner, a can of chili with grated Cheddar, chopped onions or scallions, and a garnish of sour cream or yogurt is one of our go-to’s. But there’s more! Use chili in baked potatoes with sour cream and scallions, for chili burgers and dogs, chili cheese fries, Tex-Mex (burritos, nachos, tacos), chili cheese fries, layered Mexican dip, polenta—even as a pasta and pizza topping.
    Corn. When local corn is out of season, we used canned corn. It delivers the same sweet taste and crunchy kernels for corn fritters, corn muffins, cream corned, mixed with grains, into salads and soups, and as a side dish. Check out esquites, elote-like salad made with corn kernels.
    Fish. What would America’s lunches be without canned tuna? Anchovies, clams, mackerel, mussels, oysters, trout, salmon, and sardines keep those cans of tuna company. For nostalgia (and omega 3-6-9 fatty acids), we like to make our mother’s salmon croquettes (salmon cakes) recipe for an occasional dinner. And when we receive a windfall, we buy the most luxurious canned fish: a tin of caviar.
    Hearts Of Palm. They’re one of our luxury foods, price-wise. But they taste so good in salads, and the calories are so low. Check out our luxury salad recipe.
    Mushrooms. When we’ve forgotten to buy fresh mushrooms, we reach for canned mushrooms. (Another option, though beyond the can: dried mushrooms, reconstituted.)
    Nuts. We keep a can of mixed nuts for unexpected drop-ins for beer, cocktails, and wine. You can also toss them into salads and grain dishes that need a bit of interest.
    Olives. Of course.
    Pineapple. When we’re out of fresh fruit but need something for our cottage cheese or yogurt, canned pineapple chunks do the trick. And, as with so many canned foods, you can pop them into salads, and even atop a pizza with bacon, American ham, or prosciutto.
    Pumpkin. Whether it’s pumpkin purée or pumpkin pie filling†, these are standards in our kitchen. You can also serve the purée as a side, in a pasta sauce, pancakes, or soup, in pumpkin dip (sweetened with sugar and cinnamon for a cookie dip), baking, PSLs, or smoothies. Have some left over? Add it to chili, curry, hummus, or oatmeal.
    Soup. For years we steered away from canned soups. Lentil, tomato, and split pea soups were our favorites. Although a great convenience food, we checked the label and found it to be packed with salt and corn syrup. More recently, we’ve discovered healthier brands that are just tomatos and water. We add seasonings as we like, from a bit of salt and pepper to fresh herbs.
    Tomatoes. Crushed, diced, or whole, canned tomatoes are a boon—not only when fresh tomatoes are out of season, but as a money saver. We use them in pasta sauce, of course, but also in egg dishes (omelet sauce, shakshuka), dips, pasta and pizza sauce, poaching and braising liquid, simmer sauce, and soup base.

    While other canned foods, like carrots and peas, are O.K., we prefer frozen to canned. And to us, green beans take on an iffy flavor.

    Coming up: March is National Frozen Food Month.

    Here’s what to avoid in canned foods:

  • Additives. The fewer ingredients, the better. Look up articles on food additives: There’s a lot to know.
  • Fat: No more than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.
  • Salt: No more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Canned beans, soups, and vegetables tend to have a lot.
  • Sugar: Hidden sugar, whether it’s agave, apple sauce, brown or white granulated sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, (the different types of sweeteners. For a daily allotment, women should consume only 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) and men o more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories).

    *Shelf-stable foods are packaged foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or “on the shelf.” They have been pasteurized or are otherwise non-perishable (e.g. jerky). They include cans, jars, bottles, and other packaging. Shelf life is the length of time that a food may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale (i.e., before it goes bad or loses its flavor).

    †Pumpkin pie filling is pur*Shelf-stable foods are packaged foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or “on the shelf.” They have been pasteurized or are otherwise non-perishable (e.g. jerky). They include cans, jars, bottles, and other packaging. Shelf life is the length of time that a food may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale (i.e., before it goes bad or loses its flavor).e that has been sweetened and seasoned with spices, so it’s ready for the pie shell.



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    Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe For National Almond Day

    Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
    [1] Almond chocolate chip cookies (photo © Baked | NYC).

    Sliced Almonds
    [2] sliced (slivered) almonds (photo © Pear’s Snacks).

    Chocolate Chips
    [3] Dark chocolate chips (photo © Bella Baker [now closed]).

    Almond Cake Recipe
    [4] Olive oil cake with almonds and oranges. Here’s the recipe (photo © Discover California Wine).


    February 16th is National Almond Day. If you’ve been laying off the nuts because you think they’re not healthy, you need some facts:

  • Nuts are a good protein food. Yes, they have fats, but they’re largely unsaturated, heart-healthy fats.
  • In 2003, the FDA approved the following claim for seven different types of nuts—almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts:
    “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

    Here’s more on the health benefits of nuts and the seven healthiest nuts.

    Now, we’ll step away from health food to present a recipe for Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies.

    > The history of almonds.

    > The history of chocolate chip cookies.

    > How about a glass of Amaretto, Italy’s famous almond liqueur?

    Thanks to Taste Of Home for the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

    1. CREAM the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

    2. COMBINE the flour, salt, and baking soda in another bowl. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.

    3. ROLL into 1-inch balls. Place them 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

  • Almond Biscotti From Mario Batali
  • Almond Butter Cookies
  • Almond Hummus
  • Cherry Almond Rugelach
  • Chinese Almond Cookies
  • Chocolate Almond Beet Torte
  • Chocolate Covered Nuts & Nut Clusters
  • Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds
  • Horchata
  • Mulled Wine With Almonds
  • No-Bake Raspberry-White Chocolate Cheesecake With Almond Flour Crust (Gluten Free)
  • Toasted Almond & Orange Olive Oil Cake
  • Trail Mix



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