The simple pleasures of enjoying a bowl of cereal with milk has returned to my life recently, thanks to a line of shelf-stable, plant-based milks from Koita, a natural foods company based in Italy (check out my review of Koita’sOrganic Coconut Milk at This Link). This week I am reviewing Koita Oat Milk, made from Italian oats and water, and fortified with vitamins and calcium. I’ve reviewed oat milk-based beverages on the blog before and found them to be quite delicious, and ideal as a milk-substitute in smoothies and shakes, thanks to its creamy texture that’s very similar to dairy milk.
When Covid dictated a shift from working at an office to working from home, my daily routine changed in many ways. One small but significant shift involved what I regularly enjoyed eating for breakfast each morning while sitting at my desk. The office pantry always stocked fresh milk in the fridge for our coffee or cereal, so it was super convenient (and saved me a few bucks) to keep a box of my favorite cereal — Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins, available at Trader Joe’s — at work. At home, I rarely purchase dairy milk because it basically starts to go bad as soon as it’s packaged, and it’s easy to forget to use it up before the expiration date hits. Needless to say (but you can see I am about to) when I started working from home — one year ago — I stopped eating packaged breakfast cereal entirely. That changed recently, when I found out about Koita, a line of shelf-stable, plant-based milks from Italy! Today I’m going to review Koita Organic Coconut Milk, which has brought the joy of breakfast cereal back into my life.
Do you like yogurt? I sure do. As food trends adapt to changing diets, I’ve sampled and reviewed a variety of delicious non-dairy yogurts. While these yogurts are ideal for fans who are lactose intolerant, and also those who follow a vegan diet, the bottom line is that it has to taste great. With nut-derived milks becoming increasingly popular, it makes sense that an almond milk-based yogurt would hit the market. If you’re curious about non-dairy yogurt alternatives, let me introduce you to AYO, a delicious and healthy yogurt made with organic almond milk.
AYO was created by the Billings family, who have been growing almonds on their farm, based in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, for four generations. The Billings‘ are forward-thinking farmers who are passionate about introducing better-for-you foods with clear traceability, vertical integration and sustainable practices. Their commitment to innovation, and a farm-to-spoon philosophy, created AYO yogurt. From their almond orchards where everything starts, to picking, then churning, blending with organic fruits or organic vanilla, and culturing the yogurt — the result is luscious, probiotic-rich yogurts that taste fantastic.
Since I’ve been working from home, yogurt has been one of my go-to snacks, so I was thrilled to receive samples of all four flavors (Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, and Vanilla) of AYO yogurt to enjoy. Each variety has only 150 or 160 calories per 5.3 ounce cup, so you can stay on your diet as well!
When I opened my first cup, what I noticed right away about this yogurt is its very smooth, almost drinkable consistency. No stirring is needed because the fruit is thoroughly blended with the yogurt, to guarantee that the first spoonful tastes as sweet and tangy as the last.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so I enjoyed this flavor every much. You can see little bits of peach on my spoon. Yummy.
The Vanilla AYO is just sweet enough, but also has the distinctive tangy flavor that tells you that you are eating real yogurt.
You can snack and work at the same time!
When you peel back the lid of the Blueberry AYO Almond Milk Yogurt, guess what you smell? Blueberries.
AYO would be perfect as an ingredient in variety of recipes for healthy shakes and desserts, but today I’m going share with you the most delicious Granola Yogurt Breakfast Popsicle recipe, which they call Gro-Yo Pops. The whole family will love these, as they are great for the summer months and make an easy, nutritious breakfast!
Gro-Yo Pops (Dairy-free, Plant-based, Farm to Freezer Popsicles)
Stir yogurt, berries, 2 teaspoons coconut oil and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Divide among six 3-ounce popsicle molds. Stir coconut flakes, and ground almonds and the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut oil together in a small bowl. Top each popsicle with 1 tablespoon of the coconut almond mixture. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.
Visit This Link to learn more, to find a store near you that sells AYO, and to get money saving coupons to use towards your purchase!
The summer heat has arrived, and that means cooling off with refreshing summer beverages! When I was a kid growing up in southern California, my Mom didn’t keep soda the house. Instead, she made sure that there was always a fresh pitcher of iced tea (with plenty of lemon and sugar) chilling in our refrigerator. This enduring childhood memory is likely a good reason why iced tea remains my go-to summertime beverage when I really need to quench my thirst. The great news for iced tea lovers is that there are so many grab-and-go ways to enjoy iced teas that not only taste great, but are also good for you. Recently, I learned about the health benefits of something called Purple Tea, available in a brand called Kabaki. Representatives sent me a case of Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea to review for the blog, and now I’d like to share my finding with you.
First off what the heck is Purple Tea? What I learned is that Purple Tea grows high in the valleys and mountain tops of Kenya, and is sourced from the same single plant, Camellia Sinensis, that produces green and black teas. The intense African sun, coupled with cool mountain air, allows ultraviolet rays to deeply penetrate the tea leaves, which have a purple color because they contain super-antioxidants called anthocyanins. This is the same antioxidant found in ‘superfoods’ like Acai berries, Pomegranates and Blueberries.
Naturally sweet dried fruit paired with crunchy nuts is a popular, healthy snack combination that really cannot be improved on; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t innovative ways to change-up the presentation! Fruit Bliss Fruit & Nut Bites combine sweet, fiber-rich fruit and toasted nut pieces into bite-size squares that taste far more indulgent than you’d expect from a snack with zero artificial ingredients.
Don’t These Look Like Tiny, Nut-Studded, Chewy Brownies? Wait Until You Taste Them
Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites start out with only the the best organic fruits, sourced from global regions such as the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, or the Agen area of France — locales known for their high quality produce.
In the simplest way possible, Fruit Bliss has reinvented dried fruit snacking. While most dried fruit can be tough and hard to chew, Fruit Bliss snacks have a soft bite thanks to a steaming and rehydration process that adds water back into the fruit. The only three ingredients you’ll find in these Fruit Bites are fruit, nuts and water — no added sugars are needed because the fruit is naturally sweet from the sun-drying process!
Because they are dried by the sun, Fruit Bliss snacks are naturally darker in color than your typical dried fruit snack. Fruit Bliss skips the preservatives and chemicals that restore dried fruit to a bright color, and leave you with what matters most – pure and simple organic fruit.
Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites come in three varieties, Apricot with Dates and Hazelnuts, Fig with Dates and Hazelnuts (think: elevated Fig Newton), and Tart Cherry with Dates, Hazelnuts, and Cacao Nibs. The tiny bits of toasted hazelnuts also add a fresh crunch to the soft, chewy texture of the fruit, for a pleasing mouth feel.
The Tart Cherry and Cacao Nibs combination is my favorite, as it tastes like little tart cherry-infused chocolate brownies! Amazing! Chocolate lovers take note! All Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites snacks are packaged in environmentally sustainable, resealable pouches, so you can toss them in your purse or backpack for delicious, healthy snacking on-the-go!
Get more information about the full line of Fruit Bliss dried fruit products, and order online, at Fruit Bliss Dot Com!
7-Eleven Debuted an Expanded Line of Store-Branded Snacks at the 2015 Snack Attack! (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
Snacking: Everybody Does It. And when a Snack Attack hits, it’s reassuring to know that your choice of possible snacks is almost endless, and snacking healthier — even on traditional snack foods — is more fun than ever. There was so many new and delicious products to taste when we attended the 2015Editor Showcase Snack Attack event last month. Let’s take a look!
Bringing a brand name familiarity to the convenience of the local neighborhood bodega, 7-Eleven Stores have expanded their own line of snacks, 7-Select! Whether you crave the sweet or salty snack, 7-Select has got you covered with their two new, premium lines; GO!Yum and GO!Smart.
Go Yum!includes indulgent snacks such as premium crafted chocolates in stand up bags, and premium ice creams made with the highest quality ingredients. GO!Smart features snacks like Yogurt Drizzled Bars, made with whole grain brown rice and delicious berries and nuts. You’ll also find grab-and-go favorites like Sprouted Corn Tortilla Chips, and air-popped Popcorn in tempting flavors like Bacon Ranch, and Jalapeno Cheddar. All of these snacks are non-GMO and Gluten Free.
We were just in 7-Eleven last week and saw these products already on shelves and selling like crazy!
Be sure to grab a few of these healthier, amazingly tasty snacks next time you pop in to a 7-Eleven store near you!
Snack Cakes were a popular item at the show, including one of our favorite brands, Entenmann’s. We had the chance to taste a few of their new products including Rich Frosted Patriotic Donuts (which we hear makes a killer ice cream sandwich), flaunting Red, White and Blue Sprinkles! Also new to this family of quality baked goods are Soft’ees French Toast Donuts, which have already inspired the recipe for a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich that sounds insanely delicious.
And we are singing the praises of Entenmann’s new Party Cake Little Bites! This tiny morsel of moist yellow cake with rainbow sprinkles mixed in is one of the tastiest things you can put in your mouth! Find out more about these new Entenmann’s products at This Link!
Entenmann’s Donut Mascots! Want!
This was our first introduction to Mrs. Freshley’s, an award-winning brand with more than 50 different snack cakes and pastries.
Find out more about their varieties of delicious snack cakes, and get the recipe for something called a Candied Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich, at This Link.
TastyKake was also in the house, providing lots of samples of their fresh baked treats, including the Minis line of cupcakes in assorted flavors.
In business for more than 100 years (wow!) you can find out more about TastyKake’s baked goods at This Link!
Nomoo Cookie Company bakes a wide selection of decadent-tasting cookies that are dairy free, with no preservatives, obscure chemicals, hydrogenated trans fats, or artificial flavors and colors — plus these cookies are kosher! Each cookie is individually wrapped for freshness, and the taste and quality are outstanding. We especially loved the Chocolate Chip variety. Find out more about Nomoo at This Link.
Among Friends Hand Crafted Baking Mixes were created by two friends (who are both moms) who love baking and wanted to help people fill their kitchens with fresh–from–the–oven baked goods made from the best ingredients. The brand’s mouthwatering cookie, cake, brownie and fruit crisp mixes are made with whole grains, Non–GMO ingredients and are gluten-free. With their tagline, “Homemade, Without The Hassle,” Among Friends makes baking from scratch easy, without sacrificing taste!
One of the most talked about new products of Snack Attack was the newly introduced Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams! Teddy Grahams tiny Bear-shaped cookies are a much loved thing, and just when you thought there was no way to improve on perfection, you can now buy them with Rainbow Sprinkles baked right in! Festive! Surely both kids and adult adults alike will go crazy for these. In fact, we left the event with two full boxes of Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams, one of which we shared with our coworkers the following day, and these cookies had disappeared within an hour! This might also have had something to do with the fact that they smell like Birthday Cake, a tempting aroma that few can resist. Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams are available just in time for back-to-school, so be sure and check This Link to see when they’ve arrived at a store near you.
Pretzels are a perpetual favorite snack here in the US, but those on a gluten-free diet may need to refrain from indulging in this popular treat. Fortunately, Pretzel Perfection has created a gluten-free pretzel that is also big on taste, whether you choose to snack sweet or savory. At Editor Showcase we sampled the brand’s newest snack, sweet white chocolate-coated pretzel Twists, which come in gourmet flavors like English Toffee and Raspberry Truffle.
Also new for the Holidays are Seasonal flavors like Peppermint and Eggnog, which come in these lovely cylindrical packages, making them perfect for gift giving. Learn more about this fast-growing company at Pretzel Perfection Dot Com.
Ruby Rockets Frozen Pops are a perfect cool and refreshing summer snack that you can indulge in guilt–free. Made with an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, Ruby Rockets are the only frozen pops that contain healthy probiotics while also being full of vitamins and other nutrients, low in sugar, and both gluten and dairy free. These are especially great for kids who are on restricted diets, because they taste great! Find out more about these “Pop Stars” — and get a money-saving coupon — at Ruby Rockets Dot Com.
Moving on to a selection the more savory featured snacks at Editor Showcase Snack Attack, who among us can resist Pirate’s Booty lightly puffed baked corn snack made with real aged white cheddar? Answer: No one. No one can resist it. Also new to the brand are Pirates Booty Carrot Snacks, which for some mysterious reason we do not have a photo of. Carrot Snacks are made with a blend of carrots and corn, and are an excellent source of Vitamin A. An addition to the Crunchy Treasures line, Carrot Snacks are Non-GMO with a vibrant orange color, and have the crisp crunch kids look for in a snack. Find out more at Pirate Brands Dot Com!
The Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedges are a fantastic snack and a healthy indulgence with almost endless, creative serving possibilities. We enjoyed making a plate of tasty snacks featuring several of Laughing Cow’s eight varieties of soft cheeses.
Whether you top your snack with fresh summer berries, nuts, sliced olives or jalapenos, a Laughing Cow snack never gets boring. Get recipe ideas for your next summer party at The Laughing Cow Dot Com!
At Snack Attack, JarlsBerg Cheese, the nationally recognized premium brand of cheese, debuted JarlsBerg Lite Cheese Minis, which offer a delicious snacking option for an entire family. Conveniently packaged for grab-and-go snacking, these tiny cheese rounds are naturally lactose-free and contain 7 grams of protein, as well as being a good source of calcium, at just 50 calories each! Best of all, it still has that nutty, sweet Jarlsberg taste you love. Jarlsberg Lite Minis are in stores now. Find out more about the Jarlsberg family of fine Swiss cheeses at This Link.
Sabra Hummus has introduced new Pizza Hummus Singles to its line of dips and spreads that already includes more than 12 hummus flavors. This classic hummus has been blended with pizza-inspired flavors, including herbs and spices like fresh basil and oregano. The single serving 2-ounce container pairs well with pita chips and vegetables, and it’s easy to slip in a lunch box or backpack for on-the-go meals and snacks. Available just in time for back-to-school season, Sabra’s Pizza Hummus Singles launch in August.
Get more information about Sabra Hummus by visiting Sabra Dot Com.
Harvest Stone Crackers are one of our favorite crackers, simply because they taste the best! These crispy, gluten-free crackers have less fat than regular potato chips and an incredible whole-grain taste that is truly crave-able.
Harvest Stone’s newest offering in the gluten-free snack arena is this tasty Crispy Mix Snack, which includes Harvest Grain Crackers, plus pretzels and other crunchy things, and comes in a Cheese flavor as well as a Bold (were guessing that means spicy) option. Visit Harvest Stone on the Web at This Link.
True story: back in high school, even being in possession of a pack of crunchy, buttery Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts was a status symbol that automatically elevated you into the ranks of the Cool Kids. Just being serious. Granted, this was over 35 years ago, so we have no idea if they still carry that kind of clout. But the fact that the brand is still going strong is surely a good sign!
Eating Macadamia nuts makes you feel like you’re in Hawaii, and everybody loves Hawaii. Enjoy a tribal, Enchanted Tiki Room-esque song about Macadamia Nuts, and learn more about Mauna Loa products, at This Link!
Do you like meat snacks? If so, Fusion Artisan Jerky may be your thing.
Made from quality meats that include Chicken, Turkey, Pork, andBeef, Fusion Jerky is a savory treat that includes gourmet flavors like Pork Jerky in Teriyaki or Garlic Jalapeño flavors; Beef Jerky flavored with Basil Citrus or Chipotle Lime; Lemon Pepper Chicken Jerky, or Chili Basil Turkey Jerky, plus other varieties. Fusion Jerky is made with all-natural ingredients and is preservative, gluten and nitrate free. Company founder KaiYen Mai was born into a family passionate about the delicate art of creating unique flavors and perfecting the soft, traditional Asian jerky textures, and her no-compromise dedication is evident in the quality and taste of her product. Find out where to purchase Fusion Jerky in your area at This Link!
Jack Links Protein Snacks were also on the snack scene to represent for the meat lovers! Light and delicious, Jack Link’s new Original Chicken Jerky joins their already popular Turkey Jerky as a wholesome and delicious snack for any occasion and an excellent source of protein, making it perfect for on-the-go lifestyles. Naturally low in fat and carbs, Chicken Jerky boasts 11 grams of protein and just 80 calories per serving, while Turkey Jerky offers 13 grams of protein and 80 calories per serving. Wit its subtly sweet and savory flavor, Jack Link’s Original Chicken Jerky starts with lean white meat chicken breast that is seasoned and marinated with cracked black pepper, along with sweet and savory spices. The tender chicken strips are then smoked to perfection, creating the subtle, smoky flavor that consumers expect in authentic jerky.
We love their clever way of emphasizing the point that these snacks are good for taking with you anywhere (because who would put a roast chicken breast in her purse?). Hilarious. Find out more about Jack Links at Their Website!
Thanks again to Editor Showcase for another great adventure in food blogging! See you next time!
An Array of Natural Flavor Ingredients in Cabo Chips (Reviewed Below). All Photos By Gail.
Making the scene at a Food Fête Health & Wellness event is always a good time, because attending one means getting more than a dozen delicious chances to discover ways in which eating smarter tastes fantastic. Check out our favorite products — from snacks to breakfast to meal mainstays — from this Springtime showcase!
We never get bored of new ways to do a tasty Tortilla chip! Born on the beautiful beaches of Baja, Mexico, Cabo Chips 100% whole grain classic cantina style tortilla chips are inspired by the boldly vibrant atmosphere of Cabo San Lucas. A delicious fusion of the old and the new, these all natural chips are cooked the traditional way – cut from fresh tortillas that are batch cooked for a true cantina crunch! Cabo Chips use only real ingredients (see top photo) — no “flavorings” — for authenticity you can taste.
At Food Fête we had the chance to taste the four popular varieties — Original, Blue Corn, Mango Chile Lime and Churro(sweet!) — plus something new.
Watch for Cabo Chips Ancient Grains to hit stores in Summer 2015! Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Kosher and 100% Whole Grain, find out more about Cabo Chips at This Link!
A shared booth from two organically inclined exhibitors showcased Que Pasa Foods organic Tortilla Chips, and Nature’s Path Organic brand’s Qi’a Superfood Breakfast Cereal and Bars.
Qi’a Chaat (above) is a refreshing snack made with Que Pasa Tortilla Chips topped with a mixture that includes Qi’a Superfood cereal combined with Garbanzos, Sweet Potatoes, Mint Chutney and other flavorful ingredients — really delicious and easy to prepare! Get this and other creative recipes at This Link.
Need a quick energy boost? Qi’a Bars come in five unique flavor combinations, including Blueberry Cashew Pumpkin Seed. Creamy and crunchy, this “superfood” snack bar features protein-packed nuts and seeds with antioxidant blueberries for a refreshing sweet-yet-tart flavor. They look pretty good, don’t they? Visit Natures Path Dot Com for more information on their family of delicious organic foods.
Navitas Naturals (“Food For The Modern Life”) is another company promoting a line of “Superfoods” that help keep the body running strong. The mission of Navitas Naturals is to provide the finest organic superfoods that increase energy and enhance health. Their organic, non-GMO products include packaged nuts, seeds and dried fruits, Goji Berry and Acai Berry Powders and a line of unique chip snacks, such as their Coconut Chips, featured at Food Fête.
And who else is packaging a Dragon Fruit Snack? Answer: No One. Explore the many and exotic offerings of Navitas Naturals at This Link!
For on-the-go Breakfast eaters who crave something warm that’s also super convenient, Pacific Foods is introducing the first ever ready-to-eat Steel-Cut Oatmeal. Packaged ready to heat and enjoy, with no need for additional ingredients, Pacific Foods Steel-Cut Oatmeal is cooked in small batches for a homemade taste and hearty texture. Show attendees had the chance to try it for ourselves with variety of toppings, including honey, flax seed, and fresh berries. This hot cereal tastes as good as slow cooked oatmeal, and blows instant away completely! This product has a 24-month shelf life and is available in a variety of flavors to suit every taste.
Pacific Foods also offers an extensive line of non-dairy beverages, including Almond, Cashew, Rice, Soy, Hemp, and super-hydrating and versatile Coconut beverage in Original (sweetened and unsweetened) and unsweetened Vanilla flavors. Find out about Pacific Foods‘ broad range of organic, specialty food products at This Link!
Speaking of healthy, natural beverages, it doesn’t get much better for you than pure, delicious water! Gerolsteiner is a premium sparkling mineral water, which has the proud distinction of being the most popular mineral water in Germany — and you know how much we love the Germans! Here’s a bit of the fascinating backstory on Gerolsteiner, which originates from a region in Germany known as the Volcanic Eifel that possesses unique geological character.
Thanks to the special combination of carbonic acid from prehistoric volcanic activity, and dolomite rock — known for its rich mineral content — a Mineral Water of the highest quality evolves. As the water finds its way through the various layers of rock, every drop of Gerolsteiner becomes naturally carbonated. This is an important process, as the carbonic acid allows the water to absorb the precious minerals and trace elements from the dolomite rock. Fascinating! We sampled a bottle of chilled Gerolsteiner and it is indeed very heavily carbonated with a clean, refreshing taste. We think it would be ideal also for making natural sodas by adding a syrup like Ribena! Get hip to Gerolsteiner at This Link!
(Note: the Popularity of the Humble Coconut as a Booth Decoration)
It seems like we are seeing So Delicious Dairy Free at many food shows these days, showcasing innovative new additions to their already impressive roster of non-dairy foods. Lactose-free living never tasted so amazing.