Every year Kosher Fest is usually part of my food news. Kosherfest highlights kosher product companies with emphasis on new product lines. It’s held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ and is on schedule for tomorrow. Manischewitz has a few new products for this year’s Kosherfest, that can help you get through the jewish celebrations and holydays as well as any regular day. I wasn’t sure what I would get when I agreed to do to the review. Without further ado – here’s my review of some of Manischewitz new product line of 2012.
- Mediterranean Matzos – flavored with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onion, Garlic and Herbs – This was one of my favorites. The underlying herb, and olive oil flavor comes through as almost an after note. It’s mild, but still there and leaves a good impression. This would be fantastic with tomato soup.
- Chocolate Gluten Free Cake – As far as cake mixes go, this is good, especially gluten free. I’ve found some of the gluten free cake mixes to have a different texture than I’m used to but this feels like a regular cake. The flavor is good and the icing spreads nicely. My only issue is that it is overly sweet, I could use a little less sugar. The box contains the cake mix, icing and a separate pan – to help keep the pan gluten free if you don’t normally bake gluten free. That is a nice idea.
- Jason Cornflake Crumbs – These were great for my chicken. I mixed the cornflake crumbs with paprika, italian herbs, salt and pepper and dredged my chicken through it. No milk but no skin also and the chicken came out moist with a crunchy crumb crust. Not the same as using milk, but it worked out nicely – and my husband went back for thirds. There wasn’t much left when he was done.
- Turkey Broth – the turkey broth had a nice turkey broth flavor and would be great for Thanksgiving. The only issue is the sodium level is pretty high, 580 mg per cup. If you were making soup with it, avoid adding salt to the recipe.
- Roasted Turkey Gravy – it’s low fat and has no MSG. The roasted turkey flavor is really good, and would be great for Thanksgiving if you aren’t into messing with your own. The sodium is still a little high, but not bad at 140 mg per serving (1/4 cup).
Overall, the things I would buy again – Jason Cornflakes Crumbs, Roasted Turkey Gravy and the Mediterranean Matzos. The turkey broth is fine but the sodium is too high to make it on the short list. The chocolate cake would probably not be a regular purchase, however, if I had a gluten free person coming to visit, I might pick it up.
This was not a sponsored or paid review. I received the products to do the review and the opinions are my own.
Daylight Savings is ending this weekend. Usually we are told to check our batteries in our smoke detectors. I have a suggestion though. I have been trying out a new smoke detector, one that can be used near your kitchen. The Iophic Smoke and Fire Alarm with Universal Sensing Technology won’t go off when you open the oven even when the food is a little charred. So when you change your battery this weekend, think about changing that smoke detector with all of the nuisance alarms, the one that’s affected by the kitchen the most.
I was skeptical when I accepted the offer to review the smoke detector. I have them throughout the house, but the biggest problem is that the detector down the hall from the kitchen goes off every time we open the oven door. When the smoke detector arrived I was determined to do a good test of the smoke detector because if I was endorsing it, it had better work.
So, this is what we did. We took the new smoke detector and we placed it on a wall very close to the old smoke detector. It was easy for my husband to install on the wall, a few screws and it was secure. I wanted to see that every time the old detector went off, that the new one wasn’t also going off. The old one wasn’t awful in that it does have a button to push to shut it off when the alarm is blasting. Of course, in another three minutes, it would go off again or the next time you opened the oven door. The dogs and cats would scurry the off in a panic in all different directions to hide from the blast. The kids and my husband would hit the button and wave towels to clear up the heat and smoke if there was any. This was a nuisance alarm at it’s worst and I was not always quick enough when it came to closing the oven door.
Well, after we placed the new Iophic Smoke Detector on the wall we left it in place for at least a month. In that time, the old smoke detector went off 4 different times: once with a pan on the stove and 3 times with an open oven door. The new detector didn’t go off any of those times. My husband is thrilled, my son is thrilled and if the animals knew what we were asking about, they would also be thrilled because they hate smoke detector noise.
I recommend the Iophic Smoke Detector with Universal Sensing Technology (battery operated) because I tested it and it worked. However, whether you invest in this smoke detector or not, remember it’s time to change your batteries and press those test buttons to make sure the detector will alert you when you really need it.
The Iophic Smoke and Fire Alarm was provided to me for review. It worked in my home, my opinions are my own.
This week in our market bag we received sea beans or salicornia. I’ve never heard of them before, but once I saw them, I knew that I’ve come upon them before in the wild. They’re a succulent type plant that grows in salt mashes, beaches and mangroves. As expected straight from the sea, they’re very salty tasting but with a quick blanch and rinse, the saltiness recedes a little and it tastes like a grassy asparagus with a little extra salt.
I had to look up sea beans – actually salicornia by it’s genus to figure out what they were and how to use them. That’s one of the great things about a market bag or csa – you come upon some specialty ingredients you might not buy normally, but if they come in your bag, you’ll figure it out. Our marketbag comes with a newsletter that tells us what we are getting and has suggestions on it’s use. My suggestion is that however you use it, go light on the salt, because the sea bean will add it’s own saltiness in your dish.
I made a Spaghetti Squash, Sugar Snap Pea Pod and Sea Bean Salad with the salicornia. It gave it a nice crunch and little bit of grassy asparagus flavor. It was delicious. If you have the chance, give it a try.Diana
Have you all been waiting with bated breath for Ben and Jerry’s announcement? Over the weekend the bloggers (there were 5 of us) were able to taste the new Greek Frozen Yogurts though when I asked if we would get a taste at the beginning of the trip, the response was pretty much we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of certain flavors. This is their way of not lying to anyone while keeping secrets as long as humanly possible as shelves are filling up with product. I will do a recap of my weekend later, but I thought I would address the big news for today – Ben and Jerry’s now has Greek Frozen Yogurts – Banana Peanutbutter, Vanilla (scoop shops), Raspberry Fudge Chunk, Blueberry Vanilla Graham, and Strawberry Shortcake.
While we were visiting, we were given a short lesson in scooping the Ben and Jerry’s way at their very own ScoopU. So while we were perfecting our 3 ounce scoops, we were able to snatch spoonfuls of the flavors on hand – 4 of them were the Greek Yogurts and you can bet we tried them all.
My absolute favorite was Banana Peanutbutter. It reminded me of eating peanutbutter and bananas one of my favorite snacks. I didn’t expect it to be my favorite – I thought the Raspberry Fudge Chunk would be my favorite, but the Banana was really tasty.
The Raspberry Fudge Chunk was the flavor I thought I’d love best, but while delicious, and I thought I’d like it best, it didn’t compare to the others.
The Vanilla is a good Vanilla, but when you add the blueberry and graham swirl to the vanilla as in the Blueberry Vanilla Graham, it brings it up a notch. This was my second favorite of the group, not a bad one in the bunch, but I did have my favorites. We didn’t get to taste the Strawberry Shortcake, so I can’t vouch for that one. I’ll find time to try it though when it finally arrives in Ohio.
I told my mom about the Peanutbutter Banana- I’m going to make sure I get some of it for her when she visits in the summer, she loves that combination too.
The Greek Frozen Yogurt isn’t low fat or sugar free, or 100% Greek Yogurt, but doesn’t make those claims. The flavor Gurus let us know that they won’t compromise quality to become something it shouldn’t be. This frozen yogurt is very creamy, scoopable and tasty.
It’s not in any of my stores yet, is it near you? Let me know if you find some. And Downtown Pittsburgh - coming to a scoop shop near you soon!
Disclosure: I was given a trip to visit Ben & Jerry’s and had a tour of their facilities, tastes of ice cream and Greek Yogurt and an all around good time. The opinions are my own, and I stand by them.Diana
Jennie-O Switch to Turkey Promotion
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Jennie-O has a new Switch To Turkey Burgers Promotion. Jennie-O sent a food truck to NY to show people how tasty turkey burgers could be and to convince them to make the switch to turkey over other burgers. For dinner, we tried out Jennie-O Turkey Burgers and let me tell you, they get an A+ from my family. No, they don’t taste like beef hamburgers, they don’t taste like vegetarian Luna Burgers, they don’t taste like bison burgers, they taste like Jennie-O Burgers, delicious in their own right.
NYC Inspired Turkey Burgers (more…)Diana
New 100% Natural Lipton Iced Tea is available in four flavors: long-time fan favorites, Green Tea with Citrus and Iced Tea with Lemon, as well as two new flavors: Iced Tea with Blueberry Pomegranate and Green Tea with Passionfruit Mango. New Diet Green Tea with Watermelon joins the beloved Diet Green Tea with Citrus flavor.
To celebrate the new line and National Iced Tea Day, Lipton is also treating tea drinkers to unplugged music programming. Check out “The Natural Side of Music” online videos featuring cuts and conversations with music artists.Diana
I agree with Zerrin. Tomatoes in summer, delicious, juicy, fragrant; tomatoes in winter – ugh bland, tasteless, not worth buying. I have used canned tomatoes and still will use them, but I’ve found a really good alternative in sundried tomatoes. Sundried tomatoes will add the texture and the taste without the added water or liquid. They also don’t break down in your cooking when you use them. Plus they have all that lycopene goodness, 12 times the amount in a regular tomato. Yummy goodness!
My sister in law made her own dried tomatoes using a dehydrator this summer and stores bags of them in the freezer. Our tomatoes didn’t do as well, so no dehydrating for us (we also don’t own a dehydrator – on the list). I was sent some Bella Sun Luci sundried tomatoes and I love them. There are both the reclosable zip packs and the jars with olive oil coated sundried tomatoes. In my eggs I usually use the sundried tomatoes with the tomatoes and basil, or the julienned cut. I made some delicious eggs that had peppers, onions, sundried tomatoes, and at the end I threw in some avocado. That was really scrumptious.
I recently brought meatballs in a crockpot to a gathering and along I threw in some julienned tomatoes in italian herbs (in olive oil). These tomatoes didn’t break down after simmering, so there were nice extra flavorful bursts of tomato in the sauce. These tomatoes didn’t lose any flavor or add extra water to the sauce. They had a nice chewy texture and were delicious.
When there’s only two of you, it’s nice to have those sundried tomatoes around to throw into your dish without having to open a can, or the keep flavorless (you know they are when they travel so far) bland tomatoes in your drawer that you know you don’t want to use. If I have enough tomatoes this summer, it might be worth it to invest in a dehydrator, but for this winter, Bella Sun Luci will do very well for me.
Disclosure: I was given sundried tomatoes to review. This was not a paid review. The opinion expressed is my own.Diana
Reusable bags are my wrap of choice for Christmas presents and have been for years. Chico has a neat holiday reusable bag that covers the gifts nicely.
Years ago, I tried to make my own wrapping bags. I’m not an artist with the sewing machine, though I’m not great I have repaired a seam or two. Well, I sewed a couple of big material envelopes with buttons to seal it closed. They were functional, not gorgeous or pretty, or even on the sides, but they were functional. I never saw them again, and I’m pretty sure they were never used more than that one time. Since then I’ve used paper sacks, thinking they were reusable, but knowing people probably just threw them away rather than keep them a year. Lately I’ve been buying reusable bags and giving them away (though don’t tell my sister Dawn – somehow I end up asking her for my bags back because I run out – she’s been a trooper about that). I do have special bags that I keep for my family and yes, Chico Bags are among them.
There was an uproar earlier this year because some of the grocery bags sold in the stores contained lead. Chico bags rest assured contain no lead at all. Concerns about ecoli or other bacteria can be washed down the drain, literally. Throw these bags in the washing machine after putting meat or other foods that may have leaked.
I received a Holiday Christmas Bag to try out. The Holiday Bag is much bigger than the normal sized bag, and would hold most gifts, unless they were unusually large. Chico Bags is giving us all a discount to help us out. Go to www.chicobags.com and pick out your bags for purchase. At checkout, enter the code CBM20 in the coupon section of your shopping cart. This will apply 20% off all ChicoBag brand products now through December 31, 2010.
A Chico Holiday Gift Bag was sent to me for a review. My personal opinion is that I love Chico Bags and think they are quality made and would make a great wrap for a present.Diana
Don’t you think I have the prettiest 80 year old to model the new Astrological Crypton Apron? I have had my own Crypton Apron for a year but they sent me their newest style to check out. I didn’t need a new one because my apron is still in perfect condition, even after many uses. I told my mother in law, Shirley, that if she posed for me, she could keep this apron. She had no problems modeling because she wanted the apron, and this apron was also perfect for her, since her birthday was this week and she is a Sagittarius.
I want you to notice the coverage. I wash dishes in my apron all of the time, and the only thing that gets wet is my feet. I’m a sloppy washer and I end up with a wet stomach and pants, but not if I wear my apron. It’s waterproof, stain proof, washable and comfortable. My daughter leaves my kitchen a disaster, but she shucks my apron off and walks away clean as a whistle. My mom, will be jealous because she wants one, she told me so. She has an apron that was given to her, but when she saw my waterproof one, she recently put in a request for one of her own, and so did my daughter. Now, if you came up with one in black, or other manly color (not light red) with a zombie or barbecue logo my husband and son might wear it too.Diana
- My husband likes to take it to work and eat handfuls all day. He also likes to top his yogurt with it.
- We grab a pack when we go hiking to munch on while walking.
- My son packed it for his track meets and band trips in high school.
- I just sent my college daughter some trail mix as a treat when I sent a package to her school. (They will love you for this one.)
- The whole family munches on it at home as a treat when we have a few hunger pangs.
Some fun trail mix trivia:
- Trail mix has been eaten by Native Americans for thousands of years, and originally included buffalo meat.
- Trail mix is featured in Jack Kerouac’s iconic 1958 novel The Dharma Bums.
- Trail mix is the favorite healthy snack of celebrities such as Jessica Biel and Blake Lively.
- Captain Robert Falcon Scott munched trail mix to maintain his energy while trekking through the snow in 1901 during his attempt to conquer the Antarctic.
- Trail mix is known as Scroggin in Australia, Studentenfutter in Denmark and Pink Buggie in Canada. Each version contains ingredients as unique as their names suggest.
When we were in scouts as kids we were always making gorp to take on our hikes. Gorp stood for Granola, Oatmeal, Raisins, Peanuts. That isn’t really how we made ours. We used M&Ms, peanuts, granola & raisins, but not oatmeal. There are so many things you can throw into your trailmix, like sunflower seeds and other seeds, any kind of nuts, craisins, and other dried fruit, chocolate chips. It can be gourmet, or on the cheap to fit your budget.
Sunridge Farms sent us some trail mix to help us celebrate Trail Mix Day and to help spread the word that they have 20 varieties available in more than 5,500 stores across the country and online.
We tried three different Sunridge Farms Trail mixes:
The Organic Cranberry Harvest Mix – My first pick. I love cranberries and it is packed with seeds and nuts with just a sprinkling of chocolate chips.
The Hit The Trail Mix is the one my husband grabbed to take to work to munch on. He said he just kept eating it all day long. Lots of big almonds and cashews, plus some big dried fruit. He loves to drop it in yogurt and eat it for a snack that way too. It is delicious, but very filling.
The third mix The Berries and Chocolate Anti-Oxidant Mix – well darn it I don’t know how it tastes. I sent one to my daughter in college as a surprise and so I could get her opinion. As a poor college student she’s been complaining about the food she can afford, and how she’s missing out on tasteful foods. I kept one to try out, but darn my husband. He snarfed it up. He ate the whole bag and I didn’t get a bit of it. I’m so disappointed because I didn’t get to even try it and it had chocolate in it. I mean really!!
My son says that you should take it as a testament to how good it really is, and while it is just that, I apologize to Sunridge Farms that I didn’t do a better job of hiding the trailmix. My husband is a trailmix fiend, he loves nuts, seed and dried fruit.
Here’s what Sunridge has to say about it:
SunRidge Farms is proud to introduce its newest natural product, Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix. This delicious non-GMO mix of sweet and savory is packed with protein, fiber and a hearty helping of the antioxidants that our bodies need to stay healthy. Encouraging families across the country to snack for a cause, 1 percent of the sales from the product will be donated to Defenders of Wildlife, an organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants.
Sunridge is a green – very green, dark green. They have a bike-to-work program, which pays employees $5 a day to bike to and from work. For some workers, this adds up to as much as $100 per month. Additionally, the Pajaro, California-based company powers its manufacturing plant on 70 percent solar energy from its solar panel roof- reducing CO2 emissions by 100-tons per year- and uses hybrid sales cars and biodiesel delivery trucks.
Sunridge Farms has also joined the Bulk Is Green generation. You can now buy their trail mix in stores by bulk.