Monday, May 27, 2013

Coconut water trending

Navitas Naturals pouches always hold something new and interesting. By new, I mean a presentation on ancient superfoods other cultures have enjoyed for years, and we Americans are just getting wind of. “Food for the Modern Life” is written over a package of freeze-dried powder that mixes up into chocolate coconut water. Kind of sweet and tropical, it’s a light way to stock up on vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and get hydrated. Sports enthusiasts have been talking about coconut water and this is my first time to play with it. I used a blender to mix one serving, a tablespoon at 35 calories, with water. I liked the water as is, but I’m willing to play with banana and other mix-ins.

PB trick
I just learned to love spray glue, until I tried to get the residue off my hands. I remember reading that peanut butter can help get gum out of hair. I rubbed about a half a tablespoon onto my hands and they came clean.

Found the Shiritaki
House Foods has shiritaki yam noodles I found at H-E-B. What a healthy choice. A little sauce and they were ready to go in no time. This comes after my Houste Foods tofu experiments that  went so well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Capland, Quota and the bacon

Capland, Quota and the bacon
The appetizer looked a bit like chocolate bites, but upon closer inspection, it was bacon. Just as good or even better. Jane Nielson created caramelized bacon by spreading a mixture of ground pecans, maple syrup and black pepper onto short strips of thick bacon, then crisped. She was among a bunch of smiling Quota International of Southeast Texas representatives supporting the Capland Speech Therapy Center’s open house.
Doris R. Hale is the executive director of this place of good works.

H2O does seafood and meat
Turns out the fried pork at H20 Seafood Restaurant in Port Arthur is as good as the seafood. This attractive eatery is under new management and the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce helped announce this through a mingling and munching session. Cheese dip was amped up with crawfish, shrimp and crab and the pork caused a commotion of praise.
I teased hostess Courtney Nguyen for being very strict, because she urged me to pass on the red wine and choose white for a good cheese pairing. She wanted me to have my very best dining experience and wouldn’t hear of me sampling a cabernet in a glass that had just a drop of a more dry blend in it. She got me a new glass. She knows what she is talking about.

Wine selections
Here are some offerings from Holman Ranch Vineyards
Estate Grown Chardonnay: This 2010 release is labeled “A fine food wine,” so I tested it with guacamole mild enough to enjoy this wine’s honey and toast flavors. It’s “long on the palette,” and that should help you savor the experience.
Clones 146 and 152 vines make Pinos Gris a dry offering with honey and citrus tastes. Pairs with an evening on the patio.

Barbecue for diabetics
Trinity Hill Farms offers this all natural no-sugar added, low glycemic, diabetic-safe sauce that is just 10 calories a serving.  My future son-in-law says the bottle looks like bottle of Stubb’s sauce, but it doesn’t taste like it. I used this sauce in a ham and onion breakfast sandwich. If you have health reasons that make you seek a sauce like this, look them up.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Maple Bacon marshmallows, a pot of gold and more chocolate

Get toasted with Plush Puffs, invites makers of these big, square gourmet marshmallow makers. Mochaccino is my favorite limited edition flavor right out of the box, but I followed the good toasting advice. Vanilla Granola Chip and Toasty Coconut were toasted over candles or melted in the oven to top apples and cookies for desserts and breakfasts at my house. I can’t imagine why anyone would blink an eye over Maple Bacon. It’s like the last savory, creamy sweet bites of your pancake and sides at a greasy spoon diner. Who could resist? Not me. The coconut is pictured in a chocolate fountain. That would be almost too much goodness!

In the how-do-they-do-it category, consider UV Candy Bar, a chocolate-caramel flavored vodka. I’ve been considering it an amazing flavoring in banana-berry smoothies, in yogurt and over ice cream. Below is a ridiculously-easy recipe for a milky treat. But also consider that UV has other amazing flavors, such as apple. Just a tablespoon of  Candy Bar goes a long way to upscale desserts.

UV Pot of Gold
1 part UV Candy Bar
2 parts milk
1 piece butterscotch hard candy
Serve over ice

UV Irish Joe
2 parts UV Espresso
1 pint stout beer
Serve in pint glass

UV Sweet Green Gaelic
2 parts lemonade
1 part UV Sweet Green Tea
Serve over ice

Chocolate trumps
Nielsen-Massey was trying to tell me about  showcasing its Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract at  a natural products expo, but I wanted to hear more about the chocolate. They wanted readers to they are the first vanilla manufacturer to offer a certified Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. The products are certified by Fairtrade Canada, a national, nonprofit Fairtrade certification organization and member of Fairtrade International. To qualify involves fair pricing, sustainable varming and shade-grown beans. You can get  this cold-extraction with more than 300 complex flavors  in little bottles or by the 55-gallon drum.
I wanted to hear more about Pure Chocolate Extract with  water, 37 percent alcohol and cocoa extract. I’m inhaling sweet vapors from this little bottle as I write this. I enjoyed it with just-picked berries and yogurt and plan to use the rest over time, maybe in some sort of cream frosting. The planning is part of the process. Nielsen-Massey also gets pure with almond, orange, lemon, coffee and peppermint and offers orange blossom and rose water.  The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bring your own chips


My mom treated a big gang of her “girls” to fried seafood at Capt. Ron’s in Beaumont and I had no problem bringing in an extra treat. They all tried Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips in Sea Salt, kettle cooked in Colorado. Mom and I are big fans of thick, crunchy kettle chips and these filled the bill. Makers are proud they are made with coconut oil, which they call “Nature’s Most Nourishing Oil” right on the package. There’s art work of a farmer and hoe gazing up at the mountains on the bag. I have to say, coconut and sea salt are not foods I conjure when thinking of Coloroado, but I love what Jackson is doing with them.

Did you miss soy month?
If you didn’t have tofu during April, National Soy Month, House Foods America makes it easy to catch up. I  found the line in the produce department at H-E-B and tried a block of firm and extra firm. My  box featured “The Crods,” a kid’s animated movie. So that’s how you get kids to be open to healthy choices. I like tofu out but don’t think of making it at home. I froze these blocks which made them spongy for soaking up Asian sauces. I enjoyed mine a bunch, but my mother would have liked hers straight from the fridge and less spongy. That’s the beauty of the soy. You can get the soft to blend in with desserts or reduce calories as a cheese substitute in Italian food. It goes into anything. I’m still looking for more forms of House Foods products I’ve read about:  shirataki noodles, a healthy pasta alternative made from blending the root of the Konnyaku, a member of the yam family, and tofu andTofu Veggie Patties for grilling.

UPTime is billing itself as a sustaining energy boost that won’t leave you crashing and feeling worse than before. I tried a packet of pills with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, gineng, ginko and more. I got what needed doing done and felt fine. You have to be really careful with energy boosters, and here’s what makers say about this one:
 Formulated to boost energy, increase mental clarity and focus, and enhance natural functions like metabolism, hydration and muscular performance, UPTime is a supplement tablet with streamlined ingredients to help you avoid sudden energy bursts, shakes, jitters, and crashes that can be brought on by coffee, soda or energy drinks.