5 Foods We’ve Been Enjoying During the Polar Vortex

While we were stuck at home trying not to experience cabin fever thanks to the Polar Vortex which has everyone asking “how cold it it?”. It seems the only question we were asking was, what do we have to eat while watching hours of continuous movies on Netflix and cable. During weather events such as these, you can get stuck with nothing to do but continuously eat, but hopefully you didn’t only enjoy unhealthy treats. We actually indulged in an eclectic variety of both healthy snacks and some more decadent. Although we didn’t eat our weight in food (we came pretty close while indulging in these delights), we’re also giving ourselves pats on the back for not forcing deliverymen to bring us takeout….we almost lost that battle). Here are the five foods we’ve been enjoying while stuck indoors from Noosa Yoghurt, Dole, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Quaker Oats, and Jonty Jacobs.

Noosa Passion Fruit Yoghurt

Noosa Passion Fruit Yoghurt

Not too many people know of the deliciousness of passion fruit but the sure Aussies do. Noosa‘s delicious yoghurt comes in a variety of flavors including this summery, sweet and tart, tropical flavor. In this delicious concoction, Noosa blends ripe, whole passion fruit purée with their rich velvety yoghurt. We’re hoping eating this summery treat will have mother nature get into a warmer mood.

Dole Chopped Bacon & Bleu Salad Kit

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One word – BACON!! But seriously this amazing salad will have you thinking you’re over-indulging but you’re so not – unless you add more bacon…and chicken or steak – but even then you’re still doing your body good. Featuring bold flavors of Applewood smoked bacon, green and red cabbage, romaine lettuce, kale, sweet carrots and green onions that are brought together with Dole’s Bleu Cheese Dressing, you create a truly memorable and delicious chopped salad experience with this Chopped Bacon and Blue Salad Kit.

Graeter’s Original Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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Not at all ashamed to say more than one pint of the decadent Graeter’s Ice Cream was enjoyed (yes even with what’s happening outside), my heat was set to tropical, so naturally out comes the ice cream. Using the finest ingredients (fresh cream and milk from Ohio farms that pledge not to use any artificial growth hormones; 100% cane sugar; egg custard) and a small-batch freezing process that are are then hand-swirled by artisans in 2-gallon French Pots, these decadent and very irresistible ice cream will have you continuous reaching for the pint. We know what you’re thinking – ice cream when its so cold outside? Our answer to that is sometimes you just need ice cream.

Quaker Warm & Crunchy Granola Honey Almond

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With frigid weather comes the chills (even if you are over-indulging on ice cream). Sometimes the chills just gets right down to your bones and you have to warm yourself from the inside out. That’s where the fulfilling Quaker Warm & Crunchy Granola Honey Almond comes in. A delicious hot cereal of whole grain Quaker Oats baked them into tasty clusters of multi-grain granola that stay crunchy, even after you heat them with milk.

Jonty Jacobs Fine Beef Products

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Using traditional South African curing methods, Jonty Jacobs features gourmet meat two ways – Biltong (dried meat slices) & Droewors (dried sausage). made from fine cuts of beef, these products are rubbed with vinegar and spices before being hung to naturally dry, maintaining the meat’s natural, tender flavor. This is not your typical beef jerky, the Biltong is available in two cuts – traditional (which includes a fine layer of fat to maintain the meat’s tender, natural flavor) and a lean cut (for the more health conscience). With its incredible taste, you won’t be worrying about which cut is leaner – they are incredibly delicious and gave us the protein we needed.

We’ve shared the foods we’ve been enjoying, what about you? What treats were you indulging on while the Polar Vortex kept you inside?

What Sweet Treats are you Snacking on this Christmas Day?

There’s always tons of celebrating, entertaining and eating being done before Christmas Day, but on that wonderful day, it’s all about spending time with your loved ones. Whether you’re enjoying opening presents together or curling up on the couch to enjoy some holiday movies on Christmas Day, one thing is for sure – there should be some delicious sweet treats and snacks to enjoy.

CIAO BELLA

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Don’t let the cold weather outside keep you from enjoying some delicious frozen treats. Ciao Bella offers delicious Sorbetto and Gelato, in fruity flavors like Blood Orange and sweet treats like Dulce De Leche. Create a gelato bar for your family with some delicious and healthy toppings and your favorite Ciao Bella flavors to wow your guests with something more than cookies and pie.

POPCORN, INDIANA

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Don’t fall into the trap of greasy snacks like potato chips and enjoy some delicious and healthy Popcorn, Indiana instead. Popcorn, Indiana’s FIT has 40 calories or less for you to munch while enjoying your favorite movie, guilt-free. If you’re feeling extra festive, go for Popcorn, Indiana’s Drizzlecorn, a decadent treat just right for your sweet and salty cravings. Dark Fudge Peppermint starts with an all-natural, fresh, and crunchy Kettlecorn drizzled with rich, dark, chocolaty fudge that’s been sprinkled with the perfect amount of natural, cool, refreshing, peppermint.

HAPPY FAMILY YOGURT

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Happy Family offers great shelf-stable, healthy snacks for every member of the family. These pouches are a perfect treat to enjoy just about any time. Try Happy Baby Greek Yogurt, Happy Tot Greek Yogurt and Happy Squeeze Greek Yogurt to offer a sweet and healthy treat to snack on while opening gifts, watching TV or just enjoying each other’s company.

What snacks are you planning on enjoying on Christmas Day?

Sous-Vide Cooking with Cuisine Solutions

Because of great cooking shows like Top Chef, I’ve picked up some of the lingo, a recipe idea or two and cooking techniques. One of the techniques (and terms) I’ve been really curious about is Sous-Vide, it’s French for “under-vacuum”, an innovative cooking technique in which food is vacuum sealed and slow-cooked in water at constant low temperatures until it’s perfectly cooked through. Thanks to Cuisine Solutions, I got the chance to experience this amazing cooking method that not only maintains the natural integrity of foods but also produces excellent food textures and flavors. Cuisine Solutions offers quite a variety of culinary delights in Beef, Lamb, Veal, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Rice and Pasta, Vegetarian, and Sauces.
cuisine solutions chicken marsala

The Chicken Marsala is one of the classic chicken dishes, done sous-vide-cuisine style. In a sauce based on a reduction of sweet Marsala wine, chicken that’s been seared settles in for slow cooking with mushrooms and herbs.

cuisine solutions lamb shanks

The bone-in, premium Lamb Shanks are complemented by an aromatic sauce bright with rosemary and mint. Thanks to the slow-cooked precision of sous-vide, lamb products like these provide a gourmet experience every time.

Cuisine Solutions caters to businesses across multiple industries such as cruise lines, the military, airlines, national restaurant chains, hotels, etc and they now bring these chef inspired dishes to your home. I got to indulge in the Chicken Marsala and Lamb Shanks. The wonderful thing about these Cuisine Solutions dishes, besides the incredible taste, is that they come fully cooked and all you have to do is you can pop them in the microwave, convection oven or combi oven (combines several cooking functions in one piece of kitchen equipment).

Each package contains two pouches per box, some dishes come in six or eight boxes per case, and some cases come with sixteen to twenty-four pouches per case; quantity is noted when you click on your desired culinary purchase.

“Fall” in Love With These Delicious Snacks

We love the fall season for so many reasons but our favorite are the yummy fall-themed flavors like sweet potato, pumpkin, savory spicy flavors and a few surprises.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries are not new, I’ve been enjoying this savory treat for decades but Boulder Canyon brings a new experience with its Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, Potassium and Beta-Carotene, a vital antioxidant that promotes overall health. This completely natural snack mirrors the shape, taste and texture of the popular side dish and is made from natural ingredients, with no trans fats, zero cholesterol and only one gram of saturated fat. They are gluten free, Kosher certified and contain no genetically modified organisms (Non-GMO). Grab a 7.5-ounce bag for $2.99-3.29.

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Want a touch of sweet to your multi-grain tortilla chip? You must try this How Sweet Potato It Is from Late July. They’re certified organic, whole grain, gluten free, non-GMO, peanut/tree nut free & delicious. I especially love pairing them with hot red beans; something about the flavor combinations are sublime. Get a 12-pack of the 5.5-Ounce bag for $37.53 at Amazon.com or grab them at Whole Foods.
farm rich ravioli

Farm Rich continues to keep you happy with their latest delicious launch. Put aside the fork and get hands-on when these delicious toasted ravioli treats are put in front of you. The Farm Rich Toasted Ravioli are lightly breaded treats that surround a small pocket of mouth-watering four-cheese ravioli. You won’t be able to stop eating them. Run, don’t walk to your local supermarket to get your hands…(mouth?) on these.

lifeway kefir frozen

Lifeway’s Frozen Kefir in Tart and Tangy Pumpkin is a creamy, delicious dessert that packs 10 live and active probiotic cultures in a delicious pumpkin flavor. This tart and tangy treat is high in protein and calcium, and it’s made from all natural ingredients. Fair warning, do not eat directly from the pint….you’ll soon find the entire thing empty. Are you ready for a low-calorie, frozen dessert on the go? Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors or colors. With only 60 calories in each bar, Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are a tart ‘n’ tangy treat you will love…..especially in the creamy Pear. I know you’re probably thinking Pear is more of a summer fruit but this light, refreshing flavor makes a perfect snack anytime.

What do you think of our new favorite snacks?

Summer Snacking | Delicious Treats to Enjoy This Season

During the hot summer days, we always find ourselves more on the go which means there is less time spent cooking or preparing a meal at home (though I try to find the time to cook at least once a week). That just leaves snacking throughout the day to keep you going, and give your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to get through the day. Here are some delicious treats to help you get through this unpredictable summer. Are you ready for some great snack options?

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Puffs

For those of you cheese puffs addicts, you’ll love this addictive healthier alternative (they’re baked not fried, gluten-free, made with real cheese). If you’re already a fan of Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish then you know how delicious they are. The newest goldfish additions are a crunchy and puffy snack with big flavor. Available in three tasty varieties – Mega Cheese, Buffalo Wing, and Cheddar Bacon – you’ll find yourself buying multiple bags. These small bites of deliciousness are currently available in major supermarkets, grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide.

DUKE’S™ Brands Smoked Meats

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One thing I realized while surviving the overwhelming heat and humidity this summer weather has bestowed upon us is that having a good amount of protein really helps but of course you don’t want to go out and wolf down a heavy burger or steak. This is when some delicious jerky comes along. One bite of the above upscale jerky will have you saying goodbye to all others. Duke’s Brands has a range of uniquely flavored smoked meats  (they are slathered in your favorite, delicious sauces) that give you down home flavor in a fulfilling, on-the-go meal (I say meal and not snack because you will only stop eating them when you’re full). While Duke’s Brands do offer classic flavors, you must try their sweet and savory Bourbon Glaze Beef Steak made with Jim Beam, their spicy Island Teriyaki and the host of other dynamic flavors available – one bite and you’ll be hooked.

BIGS Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower Seeds are a summertime staple. You can’t go near a baseball game without seeing fans snacking on sunflower seeds. While the original is always enjoyable, The BIGS Brothers have come up with a few  great-tasting flavors for this fire roasted all-time snack favorite. Get BIGS Sunflower Seeds in the most premium and unique flavors such as Vlasic® Dill Pickle, Bacon Salt® Sizzlin’ Bacon, “Catch of the Day” Old Bay Seasoning, FRANK’S® REDHOT® Buffalo Wing, etc. Want to try all these flavors? Click HERE to get yourself a sample pack of five flavor varieties for only $3.50.

SAHALE Snacks

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If you’re looking to elevate your trail mix, look no further than Sahale Snacks. Combining the perfect blend of healthy and delicious, Sahale Snacks offer a variety of gourmet fruit and nut based snack blends that include exotic ingredients like black-peppered pecans, fruit, and nuts glazed with maple or vanilla bean, toasted sesame seeds, orange blossom honey, etc. Their must-have snack blends include Crunchers Almonds with Cherries, Apple + Maple, Pomegranate Pistachios, Valdosta Pecans, Cashews with Pomegranate + Vanilla and Grab & Go: Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sesame Seeds snacks. Get your hands on these delicious snacks at WholeFoods, Amazon.com, Walmart, and Costco.

Wonderful Brands Almond Accents

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I love products that do double duty, especially when they are so tasty. Not only do these Wonderful Brands Almond Accents make a great out-of-the-bag snack (it’s amazing for blogging fuel), they add lots of taste and flair to salads (both vegetable and fruits salads). Say goodbye to boring croutons and top your greens with the sweet, tart taste of cranberries or pomegranates, or bake your salmon with a sea salt and peppery crust. Want to add a kick to your fruit salad, yogurt or cereal? Any of these Wonderful Brands Almond Accents will do. Get a COUPON and try them for yourself.

Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt

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Of course, I can’t write about summer snacking without the current number one summer snack – frozen yogurt. With the launch of their two newest flavors, Ben & Jerry’s combines the indulgence of rich and creamy frozen Greek Yogurt with the fun chunk-and-swirl combinations that they are known for. The Liz Lemon flavor features Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Blueberry Lavender Swirl (a flavor created as a special homage to Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” Liz Lemon character – you can really taste the lavender), Pineapple Passionfruit which features Pineapple Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Passionfruit Swirl and Vanilla Honey Caramel, Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Honey Caramel Swirl. Dive in and enjoy each spoonful.

What do you think of these delicious treats? Have you enjoyed any of them?

Popcorn, Indiana Debuts New FIT Popcorn Line

Sometimes it’s difficult to snack happily without a little guilt that you’re eating too much. There are lots of great, delicious healthy snacks but how do you stop yourself from eating too much and of course, how much is too much. Thankfully Popcorn, Indiana, innovators of all-natural popcorn and whole grain snacks, introduced a line of wonderfully delicious popcorn that allows you to enjoy more and snack smarter. We all know popcorn is an enjoyable snack with great health benefits –
it contains more of the antioxidant, polyphenols, than fruits and vegetables and is high in fiber. With the Popcorn, Indiana FIT Popcorn range, a new low-fat and low-calorie line of ready-to-eat popcorn, you get so much more.
popcorn,indiana FIT

Featuring amazing taste, a light crispy crunch, 40 calories or less and just 2g of fat per cup, the gluten-free, whole grain FIT range is perfect for those of you who want to snack smarter without sacrificing flavor. The new popcorn range features four savory and delicious flavors – Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Parmesan & Herb and Onion Dijon (Sea Salt and Olive Oil flavors are on-GMO Project Verified) – all of which have been approved by “The Biggest Loser” as snacks that can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

I must say, I usually stick to regular butter-flavored popcorn but these all-natural tastes amazing, my favorite was the Onion Dijon. It makes a great substitute to potato chips and other fat-heavy snacks. Popcorn, Indiana FIT popcorn will be available at leading retailers nationally. To find a store near you, visit the Popcorn, Indiana website at www.popcornindiana.com.

 

New Year, New Cuisine From Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia

There are lots of upcoming occasions that are a great time to show off your cooking skills, new recipes, etc – there’s Chinese New Year, Super Bowl Sunday parties, regular get-togethers and for a more intimate setting, Valentine’s Day. For these and other occasions, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia offer simple solutions to spice up any celebration. Chinese New Year is a great time to get time to try some new delicious Asian recipes. One of my favorite dishes, Shrimp Pad Thai, can be spiced up with some color by using Thai Kitchen’s new Rice Noodles, a first-of-its-kind that is made with all-natural, gluten-free ingredients and comes conveniently packaged in four individual servings – wow your guests with either the Purple Corn and Rice Noodles or Red Rice Noodles

Thai kitchen noodles

Another recipe hit is Zing Rolls (see the spring roll recipe below), you can also add Simply Asia’s Stir-Fry Sauces to seamlessly spice up Restaurant-Style General Tso’s Chicken and Ginger Teriyaki Lettuce Wrap recipes. Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia actually offer a complete line of Asian convenience items including sauces, curry pastes, rice noodles, noodle bowls, coconut milk and more.

Zing Rolls – Vegetable Spring Rolls with Red Rice Noodles

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Refrigerate: 30 minutes

3 single-serve packages (2 ounces each) Thai Kitchen® Red Rice Noodles
12 round rice paper wrappers (8 1/2-inch)
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 medium avocados, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Thai Kitchen® Spicy Thai Mango Dipping Sauce, for dipping

Bring large pot of water to boil. Remove from heat. Add Red Rice Noodles, stirring to separate noodles. Let stand 5 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. Drain well. Place in large bowl with cold water. Separate noodles fully. Set aside.

To assemble Spring Rolls, fill 9-inch pie plate with warm water. For each spring roll, dip 1 rice paper wrapper in water to wet completely. Place on work surface. Blot dry with paper towel. Place 1/3 cup drained rice noodles in bottom third of rice paper. Layer with 4 bell pepper strips, 8 cucumber strips, 1 tablespoon carrot, 2 avocado slices, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro and 1 teaspoon peanuts. Fold in sides, then gently roll tightly to enclose filling. Place spring roll on platter or tray. Cover with damp paper towels and plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers and filling ingredients to make 12 spring rolls.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve with Dipping Sauce. Makes 12 spring rolls.

Super Bowl Sundays fans will be truly impressed with with unique game-day favorites like their fun Satay Par-tay (see the photo below), General Tso’s Meatballs or Kung Wow wings.

Satay Par-tay

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes

1/2 cup Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Premium Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch strips
Bamboo skewers

Mix Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk, Thai Kitchen® Premium Fish Sauce and Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste in small bowl until well blended. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; toss to coat well.
Refrigerate one hour or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Thread chicken strips onto skewers.
Broil or grill over medium-high heat 3 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with Thai Kitchen® Peanut Satay Sauce or Thai Kitchen® Sweet Red Chili Sauce for dipping. Makes 8 servings

Tip: Soak bamboo skewers thoroughly in water for at least 30 minutes before threading with chicken. This prevents them from burning when on the grill.

For Valentines Day, dazzle your sweetheart with a spicy and delicious meal made with Thai Kitchen’s Red Rice Noodles. Thanks to the versatility of Thai Kitchen’s Rice noodles, you can create noodle stir-fries, rice noodle soups, and more with ease. Of course you don’t have to wait until these occasions to create and serve these delicious recipes. These easy recipes make can make every night a special night.

New Delicious Treats from Lifeway Kefir

Lifeway Kefir, makers of the creamy blend of rich flavorful, drinkable, yogurt-like beverages packed with probiotics and rich health benefits. Lifeway Kefir is great for everyone – Kids, infants, seniors, pregnant or nursing women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with digestive disorders. Last year they launched their delicious Lifeway Frozen Kefir, an extra-healthy, probiotic, 90-calories-per-serving frozen yogurt alternative that provides the amazing benefits of kefir’s 10 live and active probiotic cultures (up to three times more than yogurt with roughly half the calories) that help stimulate digestion and support the immune system but in a deliciously frozen form. This addictive, delicious frozen treat came in four fun flavors: Mango, Pomegranate, Original, and Strawberry – allowing you to give up the guilt from eating a whole pint of ice cream by substituting it with this tasty, healthy treat.

 Frozen Kefir-Dulce de Leche

Now Lifeway has introduced three new decadent flavors to their Frozen Kefir line – Pumpkin, Chocolate, and Dulce de Leche (pictured above). These three new decadent flavors make enjoying dessert deliciously guilt-free. Lifeway Frozen Kefir is always 99% lactose-free and gluten-free. These new flavors, which are available now, retails for $4.59-$4.99 for 1 pint /473 ml.
Another great new product from Lifeway Kefir and my new addiction is the Greek Style Fro-Yo – a delectably creamy, tangy and good for you pint of heaven

Greek Style Fro-Yo Blood Orange

This protein packed creamy treat can curb your hunger while satisfying your sweet tooth with its three delectable low-cal flavors – Blood Orange Swirl, Chocolate Swirl, and Honey Swirl. Blending in a velvety swirl of flavor, Greek Style Fro-Yo kefir is gluten-free, 99% lactose-free, 110 calories per serving, and packed with 10 strains of probiotics. These retail for $4.59-$4.99 for 1 pint /473 ml. I fell in love with the Blood Orange Swirl at first spoonful and it was quite a challenge not to enjoy the entire pint in one sitting.

Lifeway has joined Christy Turlington Burns and Every Mother Counts to improve the health and lives of mothers and children everywhere. Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods, Inc. CEO ran in the ING New York Marathon to increase awareness and support for the non-profit organization Every Mother Counts (EMC). Lifeway is sponsoring a private screening of Christy’s documentary, No Woman, No Cry in Chicago on April 16th. Lifeway is currently running a sweepstakes and fundraising campaign to support maternal health. The Grand Prize for the sweepstakes includes an all-expense paid trip for two to Chicago on April 16 to meet global maternal health advocate and founder of EMC, Christy Turlington Burns.