September 16, 2019

Cece’s Veggie Co. Noodled

I was tempted to buy a spiralizer, a gizmo that cuts vegetables into long noodles akin to spaghetti but my accident rate with anything sharp dissuaded me.

Cece’s Veggie Company to the rescue. I purchased Organic Butternut Squash in the refrigerated section of my local Mariano’s grocery store, but I have also seen the product at Whole Foods.

You can eat the noodle-like veggies raw or sauté them for 4 to 6 minutes in a fry pan. For one version, I used my favorite spaghetti sauce on the sautéed noodles and hardly missed the usual pasta taste. A salad of meat and veggies with the raw noodles also made a very satisfying meal.

The Noodled section of the company features spiralized beets, sweet potatoes, yellow squash and zucchini as well as the butternut squash. Cece’s also sells riced veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and a medley of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and green onions. Grillerz look like cottage fries and come in three varieties, carrots with white sweet potatoes, mixed sweet potatoes and summer squash with a garlic herb butter sauce included.

Business concerns continue to find surprising ways to feature vegetables and Cece’s Veggie Company is a big contender for top banana (okay, it’s a fruit). The company uses the tagline, “Simple but twisted.” But in a really good way.

Date Balls by Sonia’s Organics at Mariano’s

As someone who is always on the look-out for sugar-free snacks and desserts, I wanted to let you know about a product I just found at my local Mariano’s grocery store: Date Balls by Sonia’s Organics.

In a small 12 ounce plastic container found in the produce department, you will find 20 round balls made with organic Medjool dates, organic walnuts and rolled in organic shredded coconut. There is no dairy, gluten or added sugar so this food item is good for people with dietary restrictions.

The date balls are 100 calories per item so this is not a diet food however. In fact, the package proudly states “energy boost” because of the healthy fat and protein. Just one or two satisfies my sweet tooth craving and hunger.

Other versions include cocoa powder, seeds, organic raw honey or organic raw almonds. The products are distributed by Golden Foods of Bensenville, so locavores have an additional reason to be happy with Date Balls.

Gone Bananas for the Yonanas

When my friend, Dale first told me about his new food machine, the Yonanas, How had I never heard anything about this ingenious gizmo that makes soft serve out of frozen fruit?

After thawing your chosen fruit for 7 to 10 minutes, you place them in a spout that funnels them past a spinning wheel with tiny teeth. Out comes a frozen treat that can be made without dairy, soy, egg, gluten or sugar. I have also frozen coconut milk in an ice cube tray to blend into the fruit mixtures. I tried putting cacao powder in the machine, but found that the chocolate did not mix well. Adding the powder after the soft serve is made is a far better option for a chocolate version.

The recipes vary from banana-centric to sorbets with mango, citrus, berries, peaches, cherries, pineapple or any fruit you can freeze. The machine comes with a handy recipe booklet and the variations appear endless.. This will be a godsend dessert option for those with dietary restrictions.

Topping choices are endless from chopped nuts to liqueurs to shredded and toasted coconut flakes. Trader Joe’s sells desiccated raspberries which make a delicious tangy and crunchy mix-in.

The Classic machine is easily disassembled and cleaned and does not take up much shelf space. A larger model called the Yonanas Elite is also available. I found my product for $39.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Pardon me while I turn on my Yonanas yet again.

yonanas.com

PUR PFM4505 Stainless Steel Style Horizontal FM with Mineral Clear Filter

For years, I have had water delivered to our residence. The big jugs of purified H2O were a challenge to lift onto our dispenser, but I loved the taste of the water and the convenience of ready chilled clean-tasting liquid.

A PUR attachment on someone’s kitchen faucet got me thinking. How much money could I save if I switched to using the water from my own city tap?

Finding a poor selection of faucet models in brick and mortar shops, I turned to Amazon for purchase of the PUR PFM4505 Stainless Steel Style Horizontal FM with Mineral Clear Filter. My husband, who is decidedly not a plumber, was easily able to attach the device to our kitchen faucet.

Happily, the resulting PUR filtered water did not have the odd taste of regular city tap water.

The faucet attachment and 3 replacement filters were under $100 so we are well on our way to saving money on our monthly water delivery service.

Please read the companion article on Voss water bottles. Perhaps, like me, you may want to examine your water consumption and ways to make your behavior more green.

Lily’s Chocolate Bars, sugar-free

Here is a reprint and update of an article I wrote about this delicious and healthy treat.

I have a major jones for chocolate but the sweeteners contained in bars and chips send my blood sugar to the moon. Finally, I found a commercial chocolate that doesn’t cause that familiar sugar spike and ensuing dip. Lily’s Chocolate Bars and Lily’s Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips and Bark fill the bill.

Sweetness is provided by stevia and erythritol, supposedly safer sweeteners than aspartame or saccharin. Lily’s has come up with a recipe that balances healthy fats with sweetness, with all products being gluten-free and several dark chocolate flavors vegan as well.

Cynthia Nice started Lily’s Sweets in 2010 as a result of starting a sugar-free lifestyle. Diabetics and other health-conscious people have been enjoying these products ever since. Ingredients are non-GMO and harvested using Fair Trade practices to boot.

Now, the chocolate still has fat and caffeine, so this is not something you can eat like popcorn, but 60 little mini chips are 55 calories with 4 grams of fat and 5 carb grams.
Not bad for the occasional splurge.

Some the 70% Dark flavors include Blood Orange, Salted Almond and Sea Salt. There’s even an Extremely Dark with 85% Dark Chocolate. Over the holidays, someone served me a Lily’s Gingerbread Chocolate Bar, and let me tell you, I plan on keeping an eye out for that seasonal version next December.

Check out some of the delicious sounding sweet recipes at their site.

https://lilyssweets.com/

Home-made sweet potato chips

I am crazy for sweet potato chips but most of the commercial brands are saturated with fat and drenched with salt. Enter raw, sliced sweet potato chips from food purveyors like Mariano’s or Trader Joe’s. You can make your own healthy versions of this snack.

Spread the chips on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Add a little olive oil for interest. One drop on each chip or spritz the chips with a spray bottle. Sea salt and other seasonings such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika or pepper are optional.

One recipe recommends 2 hours at 250 degrees, but I just did a batch at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Turn the chips halfway through the baking time.

Some of the recipes talk about using a mandoline or a very long sharp knife to slice the sweet potato chips at home. My fingers will continue to feel safer with the store bought raw slices, thank you very much. Pass the salsa!