Bokksu, the Japanese Art of Omiyage: A Foodie’s Guide to Japanese Snacks

Usually, when you want to indulge in the wonderful snack offerings from another country, you’d have to either travel to that country or know someone traveling from that country. We remember enjoying a plethora of delicious snacks when we were in Tokyo and we thought we’d have to do travel back to enjoy them again. That is until we were introduced to Bokksu Japanese snack box, the ultimate foodie’s guide to Japanese snacks. Bokksu celebrates the ancient and enduring Japanese custom of Omiyage, souvenirs brought back to family and friends…….. in delicious snack form.

Bokksu is a premium subscription-based snack box and à la carte menu of gourmet Japanese snacks. It is the only gourmet snack box sourced and curated directly from local snack makers in Japan, has grown rapidly since its founding in May 2016. The company, Founded by Danny Taing, has quadrupled subscribers in the first 4 months of 2018, finding enthusiasm for their curated mixes of artisanal and hard to find Japanese snacks with subscribers from the United States and the UK to Singapore, Brasil, Kyrgyzstan and even Japan.

Their July gourmet snack box (pictured), themed as Citrus Refresh, is packed with some of Japan’s most refreshing citrus snacks. What’s inside this box? It not only features in the usual orange and lemon flavors, it also boasts Yuzu, Hyuganatsu, and Shiquasa flavors as well. Here’s what the July Japanese snack box has to offer: Orange Stick Cake, Rich Orange Biscuits, Handmade Yuzu Candy, Lemon Rusk, Low Carb Lemon Cake, Hyuganatsu Jelly, Kabukiage Rice Cracker Shiquasa Salt, Ofu Smoked Crackers & Peanuts – Lemon Salt Flavor, Olive Oil Senbei Yuzu Pepper, and Satsumarche Yuzu Ryoku Tea.


Previous boxes have featured the following rare and sought-after Japanese snacks: limited edition Kit Kats such as Mandarin Orange,  exclusive collaborations like the heavenly Caramelized Apple Cobbler from world-renowned Japanese pastry shop ChikaLicious, white chocolate and raspberry cookies selected by Michelin-starred chef Chikara Sono, and matcha azuki beans that have been popular in Japan since the late 1800’s.

The upcoming August “Summer Festival” snack box, which sips on July 15th, will feature favorite festival-themed Japanese snacks like Goldfish Apple Yokan, Handmade Apple Candy, Chocolate Banana Langue de Chat, Tai Strawberry, Honey Castella cake and so much more. Bokksu Japanese snack box comes in two subscriptions boxes. The Tasting Bokksu ($19.00/month) consists of 8-10 Japanese snacks & a tea pairing; and the Classic Bokksu ($39.00/month) which boasts 20-25 Japanese snacks & a tea pairing. Both subscription boxes of these Japanese snacks can be purchased on www.bokksu.com.

Are you ready to try Bokksu, the ultimate foodie’s guide to Japanese snacks?

avocado mayo recipes

Celebrate Avocado Month with Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo

When it comes to describing mayonnaise, the words exciting, innovative, or even flavorful have never been used…..until now. Say hello to a new, exciting and flavorful new mayonnaise, Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo. It’s everything you love about the taste of avocado for a creamier, more flavorful mayo spread. June is Avocado Month, and what better time than now to celebrate enjoying better sandwiches, potato salads, and the freshest, tastiest sauces and dressings thanks to this superfood.

Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo is available in three flavor varieties, the original Avocado Oil Mayo, Avocado Oil Mayo With Chipotle and Lime, and Avocado Oil Mayo With Lime. All three varieties are Non-GMO, Keto friendly, gluten-free, and Soy and Canola free. We are happy to share some great recipes to show how these Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo varieties can make your favorite meals even more flavorful.

Avocado Mayo Dill Dip

½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup BBF Avocado Mayo
1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon celery salt
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Refrigerate dip for at least one hour. Serve and enjoy with your favorite vegetables.

Elote – Mexican Street Corn


4 ears of corn
8 Tablespoons BBF Avocado Mayo Lime
⅓ cup cotija cheese (feta or fine grate parmesan work as well)
2 limes
Chili powder
Grill or boil your ears of corn. Once corn is cooked, spread a bit of mayo all over each ear of corn, about 2 tablespoons each. Scoop the cotija cheese generously on the corn, making sure it covers all sides. Sprinkle with a little bit of the chili powder and lime juice. Serve.

Sweet Potato Salad

Salad
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes – Peeled and chopped
1 large red onion- chopped
3-4 Tablespoons of BBF Avocado oil
Salt and pepper
1 can Black beans- Drained and rinsed
1 yellow bell pepper- chopped
1 orange bell pepper- chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro- chopped

Dressing
1-2 fresh Jalapenos
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons BBF Avocado Mayo Chipotle lime flavor
⅓ cup BBF Avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped sweet potatoes and onion on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix around til evenly coated. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender. Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Pulse until combined. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix around. Serve and enjoy.

Avocado Mayo with Chipotle & Lime BLT

2 slices of bread
4 slices of bacon
2 lettuce leaves, romaine or red leaf
2 slices of tomato
1 Tbsp BBF Avocado Oil Mayo with Chipotle & Lime
Cook the bacon to your desired doneness. (I love mine crispy) place on a paper towel when done cooking to absorb the excess oil. Spread the Chipotle Lime mayo on both slices of bread. Top with tomato slices, lettuce, and bacon.

If you’re ready for more delicious meals, get a 28oz jar of any of the Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo flavors for $17.48 each on www.betterbodyfoods.com.

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream: No Bowls or Spoons Needed

On a hot and humid day like today, nothing beats snacking on some delicious cold ice cream. The problem is, hot days means ice cream melts quickly. This leaves you with melted ice cream either running down your hands and arms leaving a sticky mess, or a bowl of ice cream soup, as you try to eat it quickly. Thankfully there’s a way to enjoy delicious premium ice cream without the melting scoops, or the need for bowls and spoons – Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream.

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is rich and creamy slow-churned, bite-sized ice cream wrapped in mochi, a sweetened rice dough. This bite-sized frozen delight is the perfect, soft, chewy, creamy treat to indulge in on a hot day. The regular Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is currently available in 19 multipack flavors (including the new Triple Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream flavor – pictured below); 28 single serve flavors, including new flavors – Blood Orange and Red Velvet, and seasonal flavors – Pumpkin and Peppermint Candy. Bubbies Hawaii also recently introduced 4 new vegan ice cream flavors – Vegan Cherry, Vegan Mint, Vegan Vanilla, and Vegan Mango.

The Triple Chocolate Mochi recently won a Sofi Awards 2018 New Product Award in the ice cream, gelato, and frozen treat category. When you try the smooth, sweet, chocolate ice cream with premium chocolate chips encased in chocolate mochi dough, you’ll see why. Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, and rBST-free (cows have not been treated with the synthetic rBST hormone). Most of the Mochi Ice Cream flavors are 100 calories or less, and all are made from the highest quality ingredients. Trust us when we say, one bite of this creamiest, most decadent sweet treats and you will be hooked. Are you ready to eat ice cream with your fingers?

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is available nationwide Whole Foods Market, Albertsons, Balducci’s, Morton Williams, Brooklyn Fare, Fairway Market, or you can buy it online at www.buy.bubbiesicecream.com.

Sparkling Ice Launches Limited Edition Mystery Fruit Flavor & Contest

Sparkling Ice has just launched a NEW limited edition Mystery Fruit Flavor and contest. Do you think you can guess the mystery flavor for the chance to win over $45,000 in prizes? The limited edition, mystery fruit flavor joins a vast assortment of flavors that includes Black Raspberry, Orange Mango, Pink Grapefruit, Kiwi Strawberry, Coconut Pineapple, Pomegranate Blueberry, Peach Nectarine, Lemon Lime, Crisp Apple, Classic Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Strawberry Watermelon, Black Cherry, Grape Raspberry and a new Ginger Lime that launched earlier this year.

The Sparkling Ice Limited Edition Mystery fruit flavor will be available in retailers nationwide beginning this week through the end of July 2018. Wrapped in a distinct blue and red packaging with a question mark inside the brand’s signature three-dimensional ice cube, the new limited-edition Mystery fruit flavor offers a clear carbonated beverage balanced with just the right amount of fizz. As with all the other Sparkling Ice flavors, the limited edition Mystery fruit flavor is a zero calorie, zero sugar beverage made with antioxidants and vitamins.

The flavor will not be announced until the end of the summer season, so until then, you’ll just have to place your bets on what you think the fruit flavor by sharing your guesses on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #WhatTheFlavorSweeps. But your guess can help you win big. You can also submit your guesses on Sparkling Ice’s Facebook page. What can you win? How about an all-expense paid VIP trip to a major music festival in April 2019! A Bose Sound System, Sonos Wireless Speakers, iTunes gift cards, a year of FREE Spotify, and more. The contest opened on May 15th and will last through July 31st, 2018. Better start guessing!

For more information about Sparkling Ice products and flavors, please visit www.SparklingIce.com, www.facebook.com, www.Twitter.com, and www.instagram.com.

Explore the Tastes of the World with Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends

We always say the best way to experience a country’s culture is to dive right into their local cuisines. Sadly not all of us can afford to travel around the world indulging in international foodie fantasies. However, there is a way you can enjoy these culinary delights, especially if you’re not blessed enough to have access to international chefs and restaurants. What do we mean? Cooking with international spices and seasonings of course. Pereg Natural Foods & Spices, the people who brought you fiery Harissa from Tunisia, exotic Moroccan Ras Al Hanout, and the bold flavors of Cajun country, has launched two new international spices, Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, and Latin Adobo Blend. Let’s get to know Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.

Pereg’s ever-growing selection of international ingredients now includes 5-Spice Seasoning, an aromatic anchor of Chinese cuisine, and Adobo Blend, a zippy mainstay in kitchens from Spain and Peru to Mexico and the Philippines. These two spices join the wide range of Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.  Pereg’s Chinese 5-Spice mix, a happy marriage of sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter has the power to elevate dishes of all kinds.  With its balanced blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper, and cloves, it delivers an intriguing, pan-Asian complexity to braises, soups, stir-fries, and sauces. It pairs beautifully with lamb, chicken, and duck. You can even use it in cocktails!

Adobo, which originated in Spain and Portugal, wears many hats. Latin adobo usually refers to a sauce or marinade typically made from paprika and stewed chipotle chilies. However, some Latin and Caribbean countries think of adobo as a seasoning mix, either wet or dry, to rub on meat before cooking. And in the Philippines, where adobo is the national dish, it’s a style of cooking in which meat, fish, or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, salt, and spices, browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade. Adobo seasoning is endlessly versatile. It adds a rich dimension to chicken, turkey, burgers, and your favorite chili. Use it as a dry rub for steaks and whole fish. Mix it with quinoa, add it to fish tacos, spice up your guacamole, or sprinkle it on popcorn.

Are your ready to bring international cuisine to your life and kitchen? What are your thoughts on Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends? Will you start cooking more international dishes?

Health & Nutrition: The New Hummus Shake from The Hummus & Pita Co.

Once in a while, there’s a new item launch that completely blows us away. While we have enjoyed many a delicious beverage, nothing has caught us by surprise as much as the new Hummus Shake from The Hummus & Pita Co. In all honesty, while we love chickpeas, we’re actually not fans of Hummus (it’s a strange predilection). So when we attended a tasting of The Hummus & Pita Co.’s new Hummus Shake, which launches on National Hummus Day, we did so with some trepidation. After one sip, all our apprehension was gone. To say we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious and amazing the thick, creamy drinkable dessert is an understatement.

The Hummus & Pita Co. is known for bringing healthy, homemade Mediterranean cuisine all made-from-scratch on in-store using only the freshest ingredients. The addition of their new Hummus Shake continues that healthy practice.

The Hummus Shake is vegan, FREE of dairy and gluten, and packed with good-for-you ingredients that are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, but low in calories. This guilt-free dessert starts with just FIVE all-natural, simple ingredients (chickpeas, tahini, banana, dates, and almond milk) that are perfectly blended for a sweet treat that tastes decadent and indulgent, all the while regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and providing anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy effects.

The Hummus Shake is available in five flavors: original, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, and butter pecan. Just in time for National Hummus Day, The Hummus & Pita Co. will be offering free samples of this innovative, guilt-free drinkable dessert at all Hummus & Pita Co. locations on Sunday, May 13. To keep celebrations going all week long, The Hummus & Pita Co. will be offering a buy one Hummus Shake, get one free promotion from the May 13th launch date through Sunday, May 20.

A 12 oz cup of the innovative Hummus Shake will be available for $5.00 at all Hummus & Pita Co. locations nationwide, both currently in operation and those slated to open in the coming months. The brand has partnered with Taylor Machines to develop a batch recipe and machine dispenser to ensure the Hummus Shake is replicated perfectly each and every time.

Spice Up Your Life: Spice Islands Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings

Repeat after us – when it comes to cooking, spices, herbs, and seasonings are absolutely needed. We love food, that’s why we do restaurant reviews and eat out as much as we can. The best thing about being a foodie is enjoying the various flavors, so we need our meals to be seasoned to perfection. We need much more than just salt and pepper. If you have less than ten varieties of spices, herbs, and seasonings (not including salt and pepper) in your kitchen cupboard, you’re not properly seasoning your food. But worry not, we, and Spice Islands, are here to help you. We are here to introduce you to the vast variety of Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings boasting rich flavors and premium quality. Get ready to amp up your spice rack and cooking with an amazing array of wonderful flavors.

Whether you’re cooking something savory or sweet, Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings have exactly what you need. They search the world for spices and herbs of the highest quality. Then they craft and package them to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible. It’s as if you sourced these spices and herbs out of your own garden.

Spice Islands offers everything from A to V – Allspice to Vanilla, with many spices available in multiple forms (think whole, ground, and organic). They go far beyond the basics like chili powder, basil, cayenne pepper, chives, cilantro, etc and offer gourmet options like Jamaican jerk seasoning, Louisiana Cajun, Garam Masala (a hot spice blend of Northern Indian spices), a flavorful blend French countryside blend of spices, extracts, and panko mixes.

It’s a fact that cooking with the right spices can turn any recipe from okay to absolutely mouth-watering and that’s exactly what you get with Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings. Another thing we love about Spice Islands is their recipes. They offer lots of entrees, appetizer, bread, soup, salads sides, sauces, beverages and dessert recipes. They provide the level of difficulty, prep and total time, and of course the correct spices, herbs and seasonings to use for each recipe. Spice Islands is here to make cooking fun and to wow your family and friends with your cooking skills. What more can you ask for? To learn more about Spice Islands and their variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings, visit www.spiceislands.com.

It’s Easy Eating Green: Explore Cuisine St. Patrick’s Day Pasta Recipes

We know when it comes to celebrating the luckiest day of the year, it’s usually done with cocktails, but we’re here to tell you, enjoying a delicious plate of a delicious pasta is another great way to honor the greenest holiday. All Explore Cuisine products are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and jam-packed with nutrients. While they may not be Irish, these Explore Cuisine pastas, made with Green Lentil, Edamame, and Mung Bean, are actually green. Ready to try these Explore Cuisine St. Patrick’s Day pasta recipes?

Free of artificial colors, Explore Cuisine integrates beans, peas, lentils, and rice to provide you with nourishing meals which are easy, quick, colorful, and simply delicious. The following Explore Cuisine St. Patrick’s Day pasta recipes include two pesto dishes and a pasta salad.

Green Lentil Penne with Deconstructed Pesto

1 package Explore Cuisine Green Lentil Penne – cooked, drained
2 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
A handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
salt and red chili flakes to taste
3 T. pine nuts, toasted
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat oil in a small sauté pan. Add garlic and cook one minute. Toss penne with garlic oil. Gently fold in torn basil. Season with salt and chili flakes. Garnish with pine nuts. Add cheese if desired.

Explore Cuisine Super Green Pasta Salad

1 7oz Explore Cuisine Edamame Spaghetti
4 cups spinach (finely sliced & packed)
2 spring onions (finely sliced)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Green Tahini Sauce
1 cup fresh basil (packed)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup water (the pasta cooking water)
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 lemons)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup brazil nut parmesan (to top)
Cook pasta for 4 minutes, then drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Be sure to reserve 1/2 cup cooking water – it’ll make a huge difference to your sauce! While the pasta cooks, make up the Brazil nut parmesan by blitzing all ingredients in a blender until crumbly. Once your pasta is cooked, make the sauce by blending all sauce ingredients (including your reserved pasta cooking water) until smooth. Place the pasta back in the pan and turn the element onto a low heat. Add the sauce and spinach, cooking for just a minute or two until the spinach it very lightly wilted but still vibrant. Finally, mix through the tomatoes and spring onions and then remove from heat, (this maintains all the nutritional benefits of the raw vegetables while lightly heating them). Plate your pasta into bowls, adding 1 tbsp of parmesan to each plus cracked black pepper and extra sea salt to taste. **Recipe courtesy of Recipe by Buffy Ellen of begoodorganics**

Organic Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine in a Light Pesto Sauce

7 oz. Explore Cuisine Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine – cooked and drained
2 large yellow squashes, peeled into ribbons with a peeler
3.5 oz. pecans – peeled & halved
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
3 oz. pine nuts

LIGHT PESTO SAUCE
1 large bunch of fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
2 oz. olive oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Peel skin from garlic cloves, and chop into big chunks. Using a food processor, pulse basil, garlic, and nuts several times until finely chopped. Add the salt and olive oil, pulse until blended. Pesto may be thick, so add more olive oil for a looser consistency. Lightly toast the pecans, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts in a skillet. Mix the fettuccine with the sauce, gently fold in the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

What are your thoughts on these Explore Cuisine St. Patrick’s Day pasta recipes?