Thursday, October 8, 2015

Munch Rights Cinnamon Apple Puffs

On a scale of 1 - 10 I give this product a 15+

I've been gluten free for most of the year and am always looking for new gluten free products to try.  I frequently go to the Dollar Tree to purchase some of my shipping supplies and always scan through the whole store just to see what they might have that I didn't see the last time I was there.  When I went through the food section I spotted a bag of Cinnamon Apple Puffs.  The package says - 0g Trans Fat; No Preservatives; Gluten Free; and No MSG. Right up my taste alley.  I checked the other info and found they have 140 calories for about 47 pieces!; 1g of saturated fat; 15 mg sodium; and 3g of sugar.  And that $1.00 bag has 3 servings making them even more desirable.  So I bought a bag to try.

I couldn't wait to get them home and see if I had found a winner.  First bite I knew I had.  So far I've eaten them straight from the bag and last night I dipped them in my Cashew Butter for a taste that is  heavenly.

I loved this product so much that I went back to the store a few days later and bought 5 bags, just in case they run out and don't restock.  These aren't perfect for me but they are the perfect snack for kids.  They are soft and virtually melt in your mouth.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning

On a scale of 1 - 10 I rate this a 20!

Many of you know that I've been looking for the perfect Greek seasoning that matches that used in one of my favorite Greek owned restaurants.  Of course they won't tell me what they mix to get that delicious taste so I've been trying to create my own.  I mix this and that and have come pretty close but not quite.  It also takes a bit of time to gather all of the herbs and blend them just perfectly only to find you're running low on one meaning you have to run to the store to replenish.  It's also hard to take when you get ready to sprinkle that tasty mixture over the chicken or pork chops you're planning on baking for dinner and find that you don't have enough.

Well,  I've found the perfect solution!  I was in Walmart a couple weeks ago checking out the markdown items.  I spotted a container of Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning and decided that since it was in the markdown I might as well give it a try.  Turns out it wasn't marked down at all.  Across from the markdowns were the spices.  Someone had stuck it back in the wrong place and boy am I glad they did!

This seasoning is perfect!!!!  I don't have to mix nor fix anything.  It has the perfect blend giving me the same taste I get from the restaurant.  I have a feeling they wouldn't give me the recipe for their seasoning because they use Cavender's too.

I've put this on my chicken and pork chops whether I'm baking or grilling.  I added some to my stew meat that went into my soup.  I can't wait to use it on cube steak to give it perfect taste.  With this you don't need salt, pepper, garlic or any other seasonings.  This has it all!  I also gave some to my neighbor and she put it in her mashed potatoes and sprinkled it on her broccoli.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Duncan Hines Perfect Size Cake Mix

I rate this product a 10+

When I first spotted this cake mix on the shelf I liked the idea of a smaller cake mix that would feed 2-4 people.  When I read that it comes with its own throwaway pan that made it even better.  Then I saw it also included the icing making it the full deal... but... normally when you see icing included you can bet there isn't enough so I felt sure you would be no where near enough to ice the cake.

Even though I was a little skeptical I went ahead and bought the Red Velvet Dream mix and yes I bought an extra container of Cream Cheese Frosting to fill in for the lack of what the box included. I took my mix home and found it really very simple to make.  The cake required 1 egg, 1/4 cup of water and 2 Tablespoons of butter.  The pan that came with it is 6" and looked like it would make the perfect size cake for my family of 2.  The icing I noticed was dry and it required 1 teaspoon of water and 4 Tablespoons of soft butter.  That too was simple enough to make.

So, how did my 'little' cake come out?  I have to say great!  I couldn't believe how much icing the package made - no I didn't have to use ANY of the extra that I bought.  The size came out to be about 6" across but it was as thick and maybe even a little thicker than what a 2 layer mix makes so it wasn't a thin layer.  As for taste - I'm not a chocolate lover but I have many friends who are and the 2 that were lucky enough to have a slice of my new 'little' cake wanted more.  They both agreed that it was moist and it is a mix that they will both be buying to make for themselves.

Now that I know how good this 'little' cake mix really is I plan on trying at least 2 of the other flavors - Lemon Bliss and Strawberries and Cream.  The both have to be delicious.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Olde Cape Cod Toasted Sesame Soy & Ginger

On a scale of 1 - 10 I rate this product a 10+

Since going on a diet I've been looking for a dressing that would be tasty as well as one that wouldn't take much to flavor.  In the past I've always used Ranch on just about all of my salads but when eating at Asian restaurants I've always made the change to their delicious dressings, especially those containing ginger and sesame.  When using my Ranch I have to load my salad down to get flavor in every bite.  With Asian dressings it only takes a little.  So with the diet came the search for a truly good Asian dressing, not only for taste but also for lack of calories due to the flavor going a long way.

I think I ended up buying every Asian dressing in the grocery stores around me only to give them a try and either throw them away or give them away.  I searched through the dressing isle as well as the Oriental food section.  Then over near the marinades I found Olde Cape Cod Toasted Sesame Soy & Ginger - Fat Free.  It was about the only brand I haven't tried so I decided to add it to my list of rejects.  The store (Food Lion) had 4 bottles and the price wasn't bad.  Just over $3.00 for a 16 oz. bottle.  I took it home and gave it a try.  It was wonderful!  The perfect blend!  I love it!  I even went back to the store and bought the other 3 bottles just in case they don't restock.  Last night I decided to try something with my little taste of Asia.  I drizzled just a little over my apple slices.  Oh my what a great treat.  Tonight I had a salad with chicken, a sprinkle of cheese, almond slivers, apple chunks and my Soy & Ginger Dressing.    The salad was large and believe it or not but I only used 2 Tbsp. of dressing which is only 40 calories - and no fat!

If you like Asian dressings this is one you really don't want to miss.  I'm looking forward to giving this one a try as a marinade or maybe drizzled over a noodle dish.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Popped Potato Crinkles

I rate this product a 15!

Since I've been trying to eat gluten free I'm always on the lookout for something new to try.  Last week I spotted a product that is distributed by Medora Snacks called Popped Potato Crinkles.  They not only state that they are gluten free but they also had 60% less fat than regular potato chips.  I decided to give them a try.  They are simply delicious and will be my major choice for chips from now on.

A couple nights ago I decided I wanted a bowl of soup for dinner - nothing else.  I love soup but seldom eat it because I can't load it down with crackers - they have gluten in them.  I spotted my Popped Potato Crinkles and decided why not.  I crumbled up a few in my soup and boy was I in for a surprise.  They soften up but don't get soggy like crackers.  They add another texture to the soup and are simply delicious!!!  Now I can have my soup and a really great substitute for crackers anytime I want.

So, if you're like me and feel soup just isn't soup with crackers, give these a try.  I think you'll like them too.  They do come in different flavors but so far the only one I've tried is the Sea Salt.  I want to try the Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt next.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Midwood Smokehouse - Central Ave., Charlotte, NC

I rate this food a 100+.  No that is not a mistake with an added 0.  It is a 100+.

Most of you already know that I'm from Georgia and if you know anything about those of us that grew up in the south you know that most of us love our Collards.  When I was a child my mother grew them every fall.  For a time, as an adult, I had the benefit of my own small garden and you can bet I had Collards in the fall.  Now that I'm living smaller and without the room I can't wait to hit the markets in the fall to get my fresh collards.  The rest of the year I rely on those shipped in from wherever or as a last resort I'll buy frozen.  Yes... I love my collards.

For years I thought my collards were the best.  I've tried those others have cooked and most are overcooked giving them a mushy texture.  I like that little crunch in mine.  I've always seasoned with pork - ham bones, ham hocks, just about any pork that is seasoned with a little smoke.  Other than salt that is all I've ever added to my collards when cooking.  Then I went to Midwood Smokehouse!  I ordered BBQ the 1st time and for my side I chose slaw.  Then I spotted a man eating a bowl of collards and decided to change my order.  Glad I did.

I really wish I had taken a camera with me so I could give you a true picture of the best collards ever.  You can't take a bite without getting a piece of meat.  It has just a hint of heat and just a bite of vinegar, plus I believe there is a little onion and possibly some garlic flavoring them.  Whatever it is, I could go in there and order nothing but collards and be in hog heaven for the rest of the day.  These are THE best collards I've ever eaten!  So for those of you who are lucky to live near them, don't pass up giving this dish a taste.  They are the BEST COLLARDS I'VE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH!

Oh yeah - they serve you on a real plate!  And a pretty one too.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Van's Natural Foods - Crackers

I rate this product a 10+

With my discontinue of Gluten I'm always on the lookout for products to replace those I've given up.  Since crackers are one of those foods I started looking for a good replacement... and I found one.

I ran across Van's Natural Foods in the grocery department of Walmart and decided to give them a try.  They are made from things like oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa and amaranth... and no gluten free.  They have no artificial colors, flavors, and no hydrogenated oils.  Plus I can have 30 of these bite-size gems putting only 140 calories into my meal.  And they are delicious!

I've tried the gluten free cheese crackers but so far my favorite is the 'Lots of Everything!' which has a very fitting name.  They also have 'Fire Roasted Veggies', 'Perfect 10' and 'Multigrain.'  I can't wait to see if they are as good as the 2 I've tried.

On my gluten free diet I also had to give up my croutons.  Well, I've found something better than the croutons.  The Gluten Free Cheese Crackers are delicious added to the salad in place of the croutons.  They stay crispy too, which adds another texture to my salad.  These little crackers have become a must have in all of my salads.

So, if your Walmart doesn't carry these delicious crackers, here is the link to Van's Natural Foods so you can find a store that does.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Urbane Grain - Quinoa Miso with Edamane & Scallions

I rate this product a 10!

OK, last time I posted my review for Quinoa Roasted Garlic and Herbs.  This time I'm reviewing the Urbane Grain's product Quinoa Miso with Edamain & Scallions.  As with the other flavor, this one is Gluten Free making it perfect for my diet.  When I read the 'flavor' I really wasn't sure how it would taste nor what to cook it with so I talked to a neighbor.  She tried to explain the Miso flavor to me but that is actually quite impossible to do  I had eaten Edamaine in a salad so I knew a little about that taste and of course I love scallions and cook with them frequently.  So, on the advice of my Food Tester and Friend Carol, I decided to use a pork tenderloin as my meat to go with this dish.

I butterflied my tenderloin and sprinkled the slit with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  It cooked for about 4 hrs. in my slow cooker on med. high (this tenderloin was about 6" thick).  When it was done I removed it and strained the liquid.  1 1/2 cups of the liquid went back into the slow cooker along with the Quinoa which I cooked for about 30 minutes on med. high.  This time may vary depending on your cooker.  Now was it good?  You bet!  I could see how Carol couldn't describe the Miso flavor.  It is very unique but tasty.  And when you combine it with the edamane and scallions, you have a great dish that accompanied the pork perfectly.

Carol:  (This is what my Food Tester/Friend Carol had to say about this dish)  The slices of pork roast reasoned lightly with rosemary and garlic was a perfect marriage with the quinoa-miso flavored dish.  The smokiness and well-defined flavor of the quinoa was perfect to bring out the subtlety of the pork.  We love pork and are always looking for different recipes and this is one we will add to our regulars!

Food Tester Sharon:  All I can say is that I LOVED IT!  Please make it again.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Urbane Grain Quinoa

I rate this product a 10.

As many of you know, I've been eating gluten-free and in doing so I'm always on the look out for something new to try and that is how I ran across this Urbane Grain Quinoa Roasted Garlic & Fine Herbes.  The package stated it was all natural and of restaurant quality.  I checked the ingredients 1st and they were: Parboiled Brown Rice (which I love), Quinoa, Mullet, roasted garlic, sea salt, autolyzed yeast (new one to me), and herbs.  Since it had roasted garlic I decided it had to be good.  Well, I was right.

I had cooked a pork tenderloin and decided to use some of the strained broth for the cooking of my Quinoa blend.  I also added about 1/2 tsp. of dehydrated onions and a small can of drained mushrooms.  Boy did I have a delicious dish!  They were correct in their statement that it was restaurant quality.  My food testers loved it too so this one is a keeper and a must make again.

Now I'm looking forward to trying their other flavors as well as some of their other products.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DeBoles Gluten Free Rice Spaghetti

On a scale of 1 - 10 I give this product a 10.

After the flu and Christmas I decided to give a gluten free diet a try.  That meant giving up ALL wheat.  It also meant coming up with some dishes using gluten free products.  I've tried the coconut flour and loved it's taste and texture.  I've now tried the De Boles Gluten Free Rice Spaghetti Style Pasta.  I made my spaghetti sauce as usual but substituted my regular pasta for De Boles Rice pasta.   Would I like it?

First off, I like the fact that the ingredients are all natural, no preservatives or chemicals added.  Now for cooking.  It does cook up like a rice but keeps it shape.  You do have to rinse it in cold water which makes it separate and not stick together.  Then came the taste test.  I could not tell the difference in the taste of my regular pasta made with wheat and the rice pasta!  It is perfect and best of all Gluten Free.

Now for a comment on the Gluten free diet.  I've lost 10 lbs since Christmas, am not hungry like I thought I would be after giving up breads, etc. but just as good as the weight loss is my energy level.  I have so much energy that I've even started cleaning my attic!  And I'm sleeping good too.  This diet might not be for everyone but with products like those made by De Boles it sure has made my giving up gluten very easy.  I'm looking forward to trying more of their products.