Summer snacking definitely favors grab-and-go convenience, but it’s also about enjoying a great-tasting treat — especially if you are one to indulge your sweet tooth. Fans of cookies, brownies and snack cakes want a fresh, homemade taste, but the field of choices narrows significantly when your are gluten intolerant. If you are on a gluten-free diet, let me introduce you to Ethel’s Baking Company Dessert Bars. Individually wrapped and ready to toss in your bag for a trip the park, the beach, or for mid-afternoon office snacking, Ethel’s Dessert Bars are baked from a family recipe with only the freshest, high quality ingredients and they are certified gluten free! I recently received samples of two varieties of Ethel’s Dessert Bars for review on the blog, and I found them to be as tasty and indulgent as a slice of fresh, homemade pie.
Above Image Source, All Other Photos By Gail
Being a single, working woman means that I am all about convenience foods. With so many options available to shoppers, I know that I can count on finding delicious meals in the grocer’s freezer section that will go from the package to my plate in about 30 minutes, but I also want to eat food that’s healthy. That said, the ideal frozen entree should fill me up, but not fill me out, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.
For all of those (and so many other) reasons, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are a terrific way for convenience-seekers to eat smart. Part of the Garden Lites line of vegetable-forward products that include muffins, waffles and entrees, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are an easy way to create a tasty, meatless meal that anyone who saw it would think you spent hours cooking.
For this review I tried three different varieties of Vegetable Bakes: Cheddar Broccoli (seen above), Zucchini, and Roasted Vegetable. Each vegetable bake comes in its own baking dish and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to bake thoroughly, which gives you time to open a bottle of wine and make a pot of rice, if you choose — which I did.
When fully cooked, Vegetable Bakes are similar in consistency and mouth-feel to a very vegetable-dense quiche or frittata, where eggs have been added only to bind the ingredients together. Therefore it’s understood that these dishes, while vegetarian-friendly, are not vegan, due to having whole eggs or egg whites as an ingredient.
Here it is, just out of the oven, and you can see that the cheese has browned nicely!
It looks amazing, doesn’t it?
Broccoli Cheddar Bake is a delicious and nutritious dish that is loaded with healthy, superfood ingredients like broccoli, onions, brown rice, and select spices, topped off with cheddar cheese. Like all of the Vegetable Bakes, it is gluten free, Non-GMO and kosher, as well as being free of peanuts, tree nuts and soy. The full portion clocks in at just 210 calories and 7 Weight Watcher Smart Points. If you wanted to serve this as a side dish, it could easily feed two people.
About a week after enjoying the Cheddar Broccoli Bake, I tried the Roasted Vegetable Bake. This dish is filled with tender carrots, broccoli, onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and potato, seasoned with assorted spices including black pepper and garlic salt. The Roasted Vegetable Bake is just 150 calories (wow!) and will set you back 5 Weight Watchers Smart Points. Check out all of those veggies!
I put some cheese on it as well!
There is no such thing as too much cheese.
Last, but not least, I tried the Zucchini Bake. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and it makes everything that it touches taste better: this Vegetable Bake being no exception to that rule. Here, everyone’s favorite summer squash is combined with cauliflower, onions and potatoes, as well as eggs, and a select seasoning mix for a farm-to-table dining experience.
Here it is served over rice with a generous grating of sharp cheddar cheese, for just 150 calories and 5 Weight Watchers Points. A satisfying, delicious and low calorie meal that’s healthy and convenient: Win Win Win!
Find a store near you that sells Garden Lites products and get a money-saving coupon to use on your next purchase at This Link!
The holidays may be a few weeks behind us but, if you’re like me, the extra pounds gained from indulging in many (many) delicious treats still remain! The only way to take off the post-holiday fluff is to bump-up the exercise regimen and cut calories, which means feeling deprived — and that is never fun. But don’t despair: let me introduce you to Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle, a line of sweet treats that are not only ridiculously low in calories (between 80 – 110 per serving!), but they’re made with decadent, premium quality ingredients and are actually good for you. Just being serious!
Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle was created by a mom and daughter duo who share a mutual love for baking and healthy eating. They had a mission to upgrade their cookies with the healthiest, most heart-friendly ingredients available. By default, their cookie became a brittle, which was so thin, crunchy, crispy and delicious that their healthy treats were an instant hit. Over the years, these ladies never lost sight of their goal to deliver the most wholesome and premium products while never sacrificing on taste or quality. All Brooklyn Bites products are still hand-made in Brooklyn with artisan quality ingredients!
Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle comes in six tempting varieties with on-trend flavor profiles to please every taste: Chocolate Lovers Delight, White Chocolate Brownie, Crunchy Creamy Pretzel, Chocolate Nutty Sea Salt, Coco Crispy Rice, and (my favorite) Cinnamon Coffee Cake.
It is no secret that I have a day job in a large office and that I sit with an enthusiastic team who never stops talking about food. When I received a huge shipment of Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle to review for the ‘Gig, I brought a couple of bags into the office to share with my coworkers, and everyone went insane for them. I am not even fan of cinnamon flavored anything, but the Cinnamon Coffee Cake variety blew by mind with its crispy texture, gingerbread-reminiscent cookie and drizzle of sweet icing that pulled everything together. Best part: a serving of four (4) cookies totals just 80 calories! Anyone can afford to indulge and not go off even the strictest diet.
For chocolate purists, the Chocolate Lovers Delight has a not-too-sweet chocolate taste that gets kicked up a notch by a drizzle of rich chocolate icing . There is no guilt when it’s only 90 calories per four-cookie serving!
In addition to being low in calories, Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle is dairy free, non-GMO, made without white flour to be gluten-free, egg-free, with no white sugar or preservative and — oh yeah — Kosher! Learn more about Brooklyn Bites and find a store in your neighborhood that carries these indulgent, yet healthy, treats at Brooklyn Bites NY Dot Com!
Do you like cheese? I sure do. Cheese is my favorite food group! For me, one of the most exciting things about making a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich, or heating up a slice of pizza, is when a bit of melting cheese oozes onto the surface of the hot pan and bakes into a little cheesy wafer of impossibly delicious goodness. Step away from the crunchy cheese, I say — it’s mine! But seriously, if the idea of eating crunchy cheese is exciting to you, but maybe the process of grating cheese into a hot pan and waiting for it to get all golden-brown and crisp seems too labor intensive, then you will be glad to learn that Just the Cheese crunchy baked cheese snacks are a thing that exists.
Just The Cheese crunchy cheese snacks are made with 100% natural Wisconsin cheese with no artificial additives or preservatives, so they are gluten free and low carb. Each packages contains two snack bars (just 75 calories each) of crunchy baked cheese that tastes just as delicious as you would imagine. Since Just the Cheese needs no refrigeration, it is the perfect grab-and-go snack for your purse, back pack or desk drawer. And if a cheese-loving friend or co-worker becomes curious when they see you snacking blissfully on your delicious crunchy cheese, well, you have bar to share wit them — that is, if you can bear to part with it.
You could even use Just The Cheese snack bars as a cracker substitute, adding a variety of your favorite toppings (more cheese, anyone?) to create fancy snacks for your next party!
Just the Cheese crunchy baked cheese snacks, made with love by Specialty Cheese Company, come in three simple flavors: Jalapeño (with real jalapeño pepper bits baked right in), Grilled Cheese, and Aged Cheddar. These snacks are currently available only in select brick-and-mortar markets, but you can buy them via online outlets such as Amazon Prime and others. Visit Just The Cheese Dot Com to order yours now!
In case you wanted to know, February 27th is National Strawberry Day! The thing is, Strawberries are in the off season, so here are a few alternative ways that you can celebrate Oklahoma’s State Fruit:
1. Pick up a pouch of delicious YumEarth Organic Gluten Free Strawberry Licorice to get the taste of real strawberries with every bite.
2. Accessorize your February fashion with these fun Strawberry Earrings by Marc Jacobs.
3. Blast “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles all day – for the true strawberry lovers, check out the actual Strawberry Fields in Central Park!
4. If you have kids, head over to your local library or bookstore and read The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear!
5. Keep your lips luscious with Strawberry Lip Balm from Burt’s Bees.
6. Do all of your writing with Strawberry Scented Pens for the day!
Have a sweet day!
There is no denying that Pasta is a popular go-to ingredient for creating quick, versatile and delicious meals to please any palate. For Pasta Lovers who may have had to eliminate this tasty staple from their diets due to a gluten intolerance, there are now many gluten-free pasta options on the market that make it possible for everyone to indulge. Explore Cuisine has a line of organic pastas made from beans and other plants that are a great place to start when you want to prepare a tasty, healthy meal for yourself or your family. Take a look at a few of the super quick and easy dinners that I’ve recently prepared for myself with Explore Cuisine Pastas and absolutely no advanced planning!
I bet that you had no idea that Edamame, familiar to most as the little green soybeans that everyone likes to nosh on before the meal at Japanese restaurants, can be use to make some of the most delicious pasta you will ever taste. Explore Cuisine makes a few different varieties of Edamame pasta, including everyone’s favorite; spaghetti.
Edamame Spaghetti can be used in all of your favorite recipes as a substitute for wheat-based pasta. You might find that you like it even better, and it’s good to know that Explore Cuisine’s Edamame Spaghetti contains nearly half of your daily protein and fiber requirements in just one serving!
I made an easy and scrumptious Primavera by adding frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand, and tossing the pasta in butter, salt and pepper to taste.
Then I covered it with cheese, which is how I like my pasta!
Explore Cuisine also specializes in a line of Pulse Pastas; a term that may be unfamiliar to you. Pulses are part of the legume family, and the term ‘pulse’ refers to the dried seed. Dried peas, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, antioxidants, and low in fat! This where Explore Cuisine’s Organic Chickpea Fusilli comes in.
Chickpea Fusilli is a healthy and delicious mealtime choice that contains only four organic, whole food ingredients. This pasta also contains 11g of protein and nearly 20% of your daily dietary fiber requirement per serving. With its soft and supple texture, and mild taste, Chickpea fans will be in Heaven!
Since this pasta is a bit more sturdy than the spaghetti, I topped it with Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs and jarred sauce. Delicious and satisfying!
Red Lentil Penne is also a pulse pasta. With the smooth texture of flour pasta and the benefits of lentils, the Red Lentil Penne is a fantastic choice for any penne based pasta dish. Comprised of only two ingredients, Red Lentil Penne pasta is protein rich and a good source of fiber. Organic, gluten-free and free of GMOs, it’s pasta reinvented!
Here is the penne topped with a light tomato vodka sauce and a dollop of creamy cottage cheese (you could also use Ricotta, if you had that on hand). Out of this world delish!
Explore Cuisine’s Italian style pastas were created in the Apulia region of Italy, which is famed for being the home of pasta. Explore Cuisine worked side by side with pasta masters and professional chefs to deliver the authentic taste and texture of the best Italian pasta but made with the goodness of chickpeas and lentils.
Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods, and get recipes, at This Link!
Do you like pasta? I sure do. One exciting thing about being a pasta fan is how innovative foodies and culinary experts alike are continually coming up with new recipes to make pasta a healthier, better-for-you meal choice, especially if you happen to be on a gluten free diet. At the recent Summer Fancy Food Show, I was introduced to Explore Cuisine pastas, which are made from variety of different kinds of organic beans. The folks at Explore Cuisine were kind enough to send me a couple of varieties to try at home, and happy to say that these pastas are fantastic!
Founded by Joe Spronz, Explore Cuisine products are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and kosher, ensuring your health and igniting your taste buds! These delicious bean pastas contain nearly 20-25 grams of protein per serving and are low in carbs and sodium while simultaneously containing a high fiber content. With Explore Cuisine, you’ll experience the incomparable taste of pasta with all the benefits of nutritious beans! I tried the Red Lentil Penne for dinner earlier this week, and it exceeded my expectations.
A friend of mine who is an excellent Italian chef once advised me that pasta cannot be held to strict boiling times when cooking, and experience has shown her advice to be right on. But with this pasta, the suggested cooking time (8-10 minutes) on the back of the box is a pretty accurate if you don’t want the pasta to get overdone (and I like my pasta on the tender side). Just keep an eye on the clock, is all I’m saying.
Here it is, all plated and topped with Trader Joe’s Bolognese Sauce and a grating of cheddar cheese, which I love on my pasta as a change-up from the traditional hard Italian cheeses. Explore Cuisine Red Lentil Pasta has a distinctive and very satisfying flavor of lentils. And, unlike many gluten free pastas I’ve tasted, it maintains an appealing bite and mouth feel. This pasta is an excellent quality product that anyone should be proud and excited to serve to their family.
Here is close-up of my quick and delicious meal! So yummy!
Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods (they also make rice-based pasta, and soups, among other items) and get recipes at This Link!