Innovative Nut Butters Hit the Scene - CPG Find

Every now and then a innovative product hits the market and raises the bar for all of the existing products in that category.  Eliot's Adult Nut Butters is such a product line with innovative flavors made in small batches using minimal ingredients with no added oils, preservatives or stabilizers.  Michael Kanter founded the butters in 2013 in the Eliot neighborhood of Portland, Oregon which include four peanut butters and three nut and seed butters in flavors I've listed below.  With recipes on the jars, these nut butters are great with a spoon or to make simple, flavor-packed recipes like Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles or Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter Rice Krispy treats.  Personally, I've been making smoothies with them and my family members just spread them on bread or crackers.  Everyone is enjoying them immensely and we are very excited we will be able to find them in Central Market soon.  We aren't the only ones who think they are great, so does the Specialty Food Association who awarded them Silver & Bronze sofi™ Awards for two of their flavors.  

Spicy Thai Peanut Butter
Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter
Espresso Nib Peanut Butter
Garam Masala Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chili Almond Butter
Sriracha Sunflower Butter
Harissa Cashew Butter

More information can be found at eliotsadultnutbutters.com and be sure to look for them at Central Market & Whole Foods. 

Sweetener Substitutes - CPG Find

I've been experimenting in baking with alternative "flours" using alternative "sweeteners" lately have have been very pleased with the results.  Both date sugar and coconut sugar can be used spoonful-to-spoonful in baking just as you would with white granulated sugar.  Baking cookies, cakes, muffins, crepes and just about any baked good works well with both these sweeteners.  Date sugar does not dissolve in liquid because it contains the fiber found in dates.  It can be sprinkled on top of foods you are accustomed to sweetening as well.   Coconut sugar is low-glycemic and I use it not only in baking but sweetening Thai food and for sweetening sauces. 

Each of these items can be found in many of your local specialty grocery stores or online here:

https://ilovedatelady.com/collections/all/products/date-sugar
https://www.betterbodyfoods.com/product/organic-coconut-sugar

Food Product Review - Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps - CPG Find

I love quick snacks to carry me over in between meals.  I prefer them to be healthy of course and energizing rather than draining resulting in a nap.  This week I discovered Enlightened (the brand that brings healthier ice cream pops to the marketplace -- the salted caramel is amazing -- Roasted Broad Bean Crisps, Sriracha flavored.  They are very tasty, crunchy and contain 5g of fiber and 7g of protein making it for me, a terrific snack to keep in my purse or in the car for emergency snack attacks.  Their packaging suggests tossing them in a salad to add crunch or sprinkling on a soup for added flavor and protein.  Both good ideas.  They are gluten free and vegan with straight forward ingredients.  I found them at a small market in South Austin (Live Oak Market) but they can be ordered on Amazon or at GNC stores.  I have a feeling you'll find them in large grocery store chains soon.

Frozen Rice Crusted Fish Fillets - CPG Find

There are few frozen food items I like out there in the grocery store world but these fish fillets are one of the CPG frozen packages I pretty much keep around the house all of the time.  I especially enjoy them over a salad.  When I don't feel like cooking a complete meal I can whip up a couple of sides and serve them with these delicious fish fillets.  Dr. Praeger's fish is a certified sustainable seafood product and these in particular are wild caught Alaskan pollock.  They never taste fishy and they are very crispy if you cook them right.  I sear them in olive oil on each side until the crust is lightly browned and crispy and then pop them in a 400 degree oven for a bit.  They make a great meal for kids and each serving has 11 grams of protein.  Dr. Praeger's carries other fish products but I think these are the best.  Want to know where to find them in your area?  Go here:  http://drpraegers.com/where-to-buy/

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Ever Bar Hemp Powered Energy Bar - CPG Find

Finding an honest, healthy energy bar is challenging.  The whole energy bar craze has somewhat slowed down because the market is just saturated with highly processed and sugary energy bars. Local Austin company Epic Bar changed the scene with their wonderful buffalo, beef & chicken power bars but that doesn't accommodate vegans and sometimes an animal protein bar is not what one is looking for as a meal replacement or an afternoon snack.  When I'm traveling, I like to spend time perusing local grocery store shelves for new and innovative CPG products and recently I found one I really, really liked in the Washington D.C. Ivy City area at Mom's Organic Market.  It's called Ever Bar, a really quality and delicious bar handcrafted in Maryland.  The bar was very tasty and is made with both hemp protein powder and the whole hemp seeds.  It also contains toasted sesame seeds which really add flavor and texture.  The ingredients include a little honey and a little tapioca syrup to sweeten it just a bit bringing the sugars to 9g.  I usually like a bar that is under 8g of sugar but that's just my personal preference.  These bars pack so many amino acids and fatty acids and really filled me up so I think the nutritional benefits outweigh that extra gram of sugar I usually avoid, especially since it contains 7 grams of fiber.  I'll have to scour my local grocery shelves to see if I can find this but if not, their product can be ordered thru Amazon or on their website at http://www.livityfoods.com.   

Handmade CoOver Caramels - A Sweet Central Texas CPG Company

In a quiet little kitchen spot up in Williamson County, barely north of Austin, a caramel enthusiast creates handmade treats for Texans and beyond to enjoy.  Ryan Coover recreated his grandmother's caramel recipe as a way to teach his kids the value of earning money while working hard but having fun.  His idea turned into a real candy business now thriving and expanding in Central Texas.  He's got some fun branding, a high-quality product and donates 10% of the proceeds to worthy causes he's passionate about.  A package of caramels includes unique ways to use them in recipes.....just in time for Halloween & Fall Carnival Season.  Who doesn't love a caramel coated apple?  I love these treats and so does my family.  They also make fun gift packages and can be shipped anywhere.   Tallulah (my Frenchie) thinks they're pretty cool too!   Here's where you find them - http://www.coovercaramels.com

 

Talullah loves it when Mommy receives a package!

Talullah loves it when Mommy receives a package!

Assortment of shapes and sizes and fun stickers and cards.

Assortment of shapes and sizes and fun stickers and cards.

Excitement From a Coffee Country-of-Origin Convert

I've never been much of a Central American coffee lover.  I prefer Sumatra, Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee beans....until I was introduced to this coffee.  I actually am more excited about getting up to make coffee each morning in my French Press than ever before.  Growing up in Louisiana, I developed a taste for rich, flavorful, strong coffee.  Over the last several years I had my "go to" coffee shops around Austin and I loved what I was drinking usually.  I would buy the beans from those stores directly or purchase them from my favorite upscale grocery stores around town.  When Machine Head Coffee opened up on S. Congress Avenue recently I was introduced to something completely different and I have to admit I have been converted to a locally-roasted coffee, from Costa Rica, called Wild Gift.  This coffee is truly unlike anything I have ever had before and I am absolutely in love with it.  In looking at their website I see that it can be purchased directly online (http://www.wildgiftcoffee.com).   I however purchased a bag at Machine Head Coffee (4917 S. Congress Ave) and had Nolan Green, the owner, grind it for me.   The one I am addicted to is the Cafe Vida.  It's such a pleasure to wake up knowing what deliciousness I have to look forward to.

Paleo Frozen Cookie Dough

A very interesting cookie dough recently hit the shelves at Wheatsville Co-op called Primal Palate's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and, I really like them.  I've cooked them in both a commercial oven and my home oven and they are nice and crunchy and full of chocolate chips.  Here's the best part though.....they are grain free,  6g of sugar per serving (from maple syrup mostly), with almond flour as the main ingredient.  They are also non-GMO.  Needless to say, I'm a fan.  While I can make my own grain free cookie dough, I don't usually bother.  I am busy and when I crave a cookie I want it without much effort.  They are a bit on the pricey side but so are the ingredients if you were to purchase them and make them yourself.    They are hail from Denver, Co.  You probably are curious about one more thing.....how do they taste raw?  FANTASTIC!

Latest CPG Find

Latest CPG Find

People often ask me, when they see me snacking on something that they've never seen before, what is that and where did you get it?  I have a knack for discovering quality products on store shelves.  I don't know how but my eye immediately notices and is drawn to certain bottles or packages or bags.  Guess that's the whole purpose of the graphic artist who is designing packaging for a food company.  Nevertheless, I've been wanting to start a blog for a very long time to showcase some of my finds.  Today is the day I begin.  And, I begin with Perfect Bar.  I discovered it a week ago and keep going back to buy more for myself and my husband.  The mini bar is the perfect size for me yet they also make a larger size.  It makes for a perfect afternoon snack...something I appreciate when I start to lose steam.  I like to enjoy it with a green apple so I'm having a bit of fiber along with it.   In addition to nut butter it's made with honey....and, that makes it a little on the sweet side.  It's non GMO, contains 5 grams of protein and comes in two flavors....Peanut Butter or Almond Butter.  I found it in the cold section at Wheatsville Coop on S. Lamar and it's made in San Diego.  Gonna keep these around for snack attacks for sure!

Entertainment

We've recently finished all 4 episodes of Cooked, by Michael Pollan.  This brilliant journalism and story telling connects us back to the wisdom of our ancestors and their relationship with Fire, Water, Air & Earth.  These episodes can be found on Netflix (http://michaelpollan.com/videos/netflix-documentary-series-cooked/) and we are sure any culinary professional and enthusiast will find these programs most inspiring.