Tag Archive | Vegan

Product Review: Summer Snacking and BBQ Favorites From Traina Home Grown

Traina Brand Images
All Photos By Gail

It’s hard to believe, but we are now half-way through summer. If you aren’t already deeply-immersed in the weekend picnic and backyard BBQ scene, it’s time to step up your game! Traina Foods has just introduced Home Grown;  a new line of healthy dried fruit snacks and gourmet condiments that makes it easy to bring the taste of summer to your table right now!

Snack Size Frutons

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh summer fruits that you can find everywhere — from the grocery store to your local farmer’s market. But, as silly as this may sound to some, there are those who miss out on fresh summer fruits because the time and effort it takes to wash, peel and cut up the fruit is just too daunting. With a plant-forward approach to eating in mind, Traina Home Grown introduces Fruitons, a delicious, convenient way to help you meet your overall healthy diet needs with perfectly portioned snack bags of their naturally sweet California sun-dried fruit. Sun-dried fruit is nutritionally equivalent to fresh fruit, being high in fiber, healthy nutrients, and antioxidants. Good to know!

Traina Dried Apricots
Traina Home Grown Dried Apricots

Not only are Fruitons a tasty, grab-and-go snack, but they can also be a versatile ingredient in creative meal preparation. I’ve been taking Fruitons to the office and adding them to the morning oatmeal I buy in the cafeteria.

Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
Oatmeal With Apricot and Cherry Fruitons Mixed In!

The hot cereal plumps the dried fruit, adding a chewy sweetness, and making a healthy breakfast even more delicious!

Frutons Large Bags

Fruitons also come in larger, resealable 6-once bags, so you can add the taste and nutritional benefits of dried fruit to all of your summer recipes.

Frutons Assorted Mix

Fruitons All American Blend contains a pleasing assortment of dried peaches, cranberries, grapes, apples and blueberries. This selection is ideal for making your own trail mix, sprinkling into salads, mixing into yogurt, and for perking-up the aforementioned hot cereals. Fruitons would also be an excellent substitute for raisins or other dried fruits that are called for in a variety of baking recipes! The creative possibilities are endless.

Frutons Sun Dried Tomatoes

Do you like sun-dried tomatoes? Who doesn’t? You probably already have a few favorite pasta recipes that call for this premium ingredient. Now you can have sweet and savory sun-dried tomatoes on hand all the time!

Traina Sauces
Traina Ketchups

If you’re planning a BBQ any time soon, be sure to pick up a couple of bottles of Traina Home Grown’s new Gourmet Ketchups and BBQ Sauces for all of your grilling needs! These sauces taste great on a variety of meats — burgers, chicken, steaks —  as well as on vegetables, and used in dips. There are four pounds of tomatoes in every bottle of Home Grown Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup, and these ketchups are also gluten free, kosher, vegan and contain no corn syrup.  There is an organic variety of Ketchup as well as two additional specialty favors.  Gourmet Sicilian Ketchup, with its Italian herb blend, is great on fish and chicken, and to add a kick to your meal,  try the spicy Gourmet Sriracha Ketchup! All are made with same care and quality ingredients.

Traina BBQ Sauces

You’re probably not going to find BBQ sauces like these anywhere else, because Traina Home Grown BBQ Sauces are made with real dried fruit, for an extra special taste! Both the Sun Dried Apricot and Sun Dried Plum BBQ Sauces are sweet and spicy, and would taste so amazing on ribs! The Sun Dried Plum variety reminds me very much of Hoisin Sauce. I served it as a dipping condiment with Trader Joe’s Masala Burgers, and it was off the hook!

Find out more about the Traina family of fine products, shop online, get recipes or find out where to shop in your neighborhood for the products in this post, at This Link!

Frutons Assorted Packaging

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Product Review: Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt

Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt
All Photos By Gail

More and more it seems, food allergies or intolerances to commonly used ingredients such as nuts, wheat, soy and dairy no longer have to keep you from indulging in your favorite foods. For example, Yogurt lovers who have been missing out on this creamy treat due to a lactose intolerance can now enjoy healthy and great tasting Good Karma dairy-free yogurt, which I recently had the chance to taste test at home, after first meeting product representatives last summer at a food show.

Good Karma Label View

Vegan-friendly and free of major allergens, Good Karma is versatile, creamy, fresh and delicious.  This dairy free yogurt is made with flax milk (derived from cold-pressed flaxseed oil) which is a rich source of Omega-3 healthy fats. Each serving of Good Karma contains 5-6 grams of plant-based protein, plus 7 live and active cultures to aid digestion. Even better: each 6 ounce serving has only 90 calories!

Good Karma Blueberry CupGood Karma Blueberry

As you can see by the photo above of the Blueberry variety spooned into a serving dish, Good Karma is very creamy in texture and not at all gelatinous, as is Greek-style yogurt. The fruit is already blended in, rather than being at the bottom of the cup, so you get a very consistent fruit flavor in every bite.

Good Karma Raspberry
Good Karma Raspberry

Using plant-based milks, the company’s goal is always to create a delicious yogurt that gets as close as possible to a traditional dairy yogurt, while also being free of all major allergens, with added protein and a tangy, fruity taste that makes you smile!

Good Karma Strawberry Cup

Besides these three luscious fruit flavors, Good Karma dairy free yogurt also comes in comes in Plain and Vanilla varieties.

Parfait Recipe

I tasted the Vanilla Good Karma at the aforementioned food show, where I was served a tasty fun yogurt  parfait recipe that knocked my socks off! Find out more about Good Karma dairy-free products (made with Flax Milk, which, as you can see below, they also offer), plus get recipes like the one you see above, and download money-saving coupons good towards your first purchase of Good Karma, at this link!

Good Karma Flax Milk
Good Karma Non-Dairy Yogurt and Flax Milk Products!

New Plant-Based Pastas from Explore Cuisine!

Explore Cuisine Packages Display
All Photos By Gail

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!

Edamame Spaghetti Package

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 Package

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!

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

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.

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

Then I covered it with cheese, which is how I like my pasta!

Chickpea Fusillii Package

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

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!

Chickpea Fusilli Serving Suggestion

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 Package

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!

Red Penne Pasta Serving Suggestion

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 Packages Display

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!

Product Review: Cucina & Amore Ready-to-Eat Farro Meals!

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal
All Photos By Gail

Farro is an ancient whole wheat grain that, along with grains like Quinoa, is enjoying a rise in popularity (although it’s been around for thousands of years). Not only does Farro taste great — it’s also very good for your health; being an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Before it’s cooked, Farro looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley. It’s a small, light-brown grain with a noticeable outer layer of bran. Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and unique, chewy texture.

Grilled Vegetables and Herbs

At Cucina & AmoreKitchen of Love, they are giving this an old world cuisine a modern twist. Cucina & Amore’s new ready-to-eat Farro Meals leave even the busiest person with no excuse to skip lunch, because each healthy and tasty meal is fully cooked and ready to eat! The meals taste great served chilled or at room temperature, but they are packaged in microwave-safe containers if you wish to heat yours up in the office microwave. They even come with their own spoon! Preservative and GMO-free, these farro meals are packed with nutrients to keep you energized during your long day.

Farro Meals include both farro and red and white quinoa, and they available in three different flavors: Artichoke, Lemon & Roasted Garlic, Grilled Vegetables & Herbs (with a medley of eggplant, zucchini, & artichoke), and Roasted Peppers & Artichoke.

Box Top

Recently, I made the Artichoke, Lemon & Roasted Garlic farro meal for a quick lunch while I was home blogging. Here’s what the farro meal looks like during easy preparation.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Preparation

While the cup holding the grains is deep and roomy enough to hold the vegetables, I used a separate bowl to mix and eat from to give you a better view of the ingredients.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Preparation

Here’s everything in one bowl before mixing. You can see the nice-sized pieces of artichoke and red pepper, which is marinated in a garlic, oil and lemon juice, and seasoned with salt, peeper and parsley for a fresh, light taste.

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Ready to Eat

Co-workers will think you’re eating a delicious Mediterranean dish that you cooked and brought from home. Farro Meal  are shelf stable to they are perfect to take on-the-go, and so quick to prepare if you only have a short lunch break. Delicious, healthy and super easy!  Kitchen of Love’s new Farro Meals and other fine products are available at grocery stores nationwide. To find a store in your neighborhood visit This Link!

Cucina and Amore Farrow Meal Packaging

Product Review: Explore Cuisine Pasta

Explore Cuisine Pasta Boxes
All Photos By Gail

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!

Red Lentil Penne Pasta Box

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.

Red Lentil Penne Drained

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.

Red Lentil Penne with Sauce

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.

Red Lentil Penne with Sauce

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!

Yes, It Exists: Bitchin’ Sauce

Chipotle Bitchen Sauce
All Photos By Sue Simone

Would you eat something called Bitchin’ Sauce? I sure would. Recently, my pal Sue spotted the Bitchin’ Sauce at a farmer’s market in San Diego and here is what I found out about it from their Website:

Bitchin’ Sauce is a vegan, gluten-free, almond-based, savory sauce that is rich in nutrients and packed with flavor. Its smooth and creamy consistency makes it perfect for dipping vegetables and chips, spreading on sandwiches or wraps, or smothering over your favorite savory foods. Bitchin’ and saucy.”

And their tagline is: “Get it in ya!”, which is quite catchy!

Bitchen Sauce
Comes in a Variety of Flavors. Goes Good With Chips!

HPY THX GVG

T Day Dinner
Bring It On

Last night, in celebration of me being grateful for the end of a hellish three-day work week, Geoffrey and I paid a visit to our current favorite Mexican restaurant, Tequila Chitos on West 23rd Street (recommendation: go there!) to drink a pitcher of sangria and engorge ourselves with a pre-Thanksgiving feast of enchiladas and chips. Mexican Food! Close to the end of our meal, G pointed to a Holiday banner posted on Tequila Chitos‘ wall that festively declared “Hpy Thanksgiving. This was one of those pre-made, comes-in-a-plastic-envelope type holiday banners that you can buy at any Hallmark or similar card and gift store, so we certainly were perplexed as to where the missing “a” and “p” in “Happy” might have slipped off to. I mean, would a store actually sell a Happy Thanksgiving banner where “Happy” is spelled “Hpy”? I guess stranger things have happened, but if you are going to abbreviate, you really should throw caution to the wind and just go all out with a “Hpy Thx Gvg” banner. Because there’s something to be said for consistency. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!