Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Healthy Eating and Treats for Your Body

It’s a rare month where I am not reviewing a selection of wine and liquor, but I didn’t run out of other things to try. Here is the best of it.

How about some tahini for a change?
I’ve always liked tahini, but I’m never really sure what to do with it. Fortunately for us, Mighty Sesame Co. has figured it out.

The one thing I’ve had with tahini that I love the most is halvah. It is hard to get and very high in calories and sugar. (I was thrilled when I was in Israel and it was a staple on the breakfast buffet.) The Mighty Sesame Tahini Bars don’t have either of those problems. They taste like halvah,  but it’s all organic, only 100 calories, and just six grams of sugar. I had the Vanilla. It also comes in Pistachio and Cocoa Nibs, which have the same low-calorie count.

Another product I got from Mighty Sesame was the Organic Tahini Squeeze Bottle. This can be used on sandwiches, salads, or hummus. I liked it just on an English muffin, instead of Peanut Butter. At eight grams of protein, it’s worthy of an exchange. I do suggest putting it in the refrigerator as it can get a little watery if it’s sitting out.

The lone liqueur…
Sometimes I need to enlist my friends more than other times. That was the case with RumChata Limon. Unfortunately, I have a mild citrus allergy. One sniff from the bottle told me there was too much lemon in there for me to safely drink. My friend Jayne was happy to take charge of the bottle. She shared it with some family, and it was a hit.

Everyone loved this lemon-filled cordial, some more than the original RumChata. To make it even better: put the bottle in the freezer for a bit before you drink it. You can also make this Lemon Sorbet with it.

Another tasty lemon…
Ironically, I received another product that was a bit too lemony for me and was able to get the same group to finish their liquor with some Wissotzky Nana Mint Herbal Lemon Tea.  

It too was a hit and I’m going to need to try one of the teas without lemon since I’m a big mint tea fan.

More Vitabrid…
I had another sheet mask from Vitabrid to try and I think this one was even better than the last. The Deep Hydration & Moisture Dual Mask really brightened and moistened my face. I also loved that it didn’t need to be washed off, so I could rub in whatever was left. It kept my skin looking good all day.

Another from Plant Junkie…
This month I tried the Plant Junkie Chia Ranch Dressing and it was a great taste. I also love that it has virtually no sugar in it – and doesn’t need it. Stay tuned for a few more products from this company.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

So Much to Try, So Little Time

I know that headline sounds a bit silly for someone who hasn’t traveled anywhere in over six months, but it’s true. I do have a lot here and I’m trying to give it all a fair try. Here’s what I have gotten to in May.

Just what I was looking for…
I haven’t stepped foot in a store for many months because of the coronavirus. Last week, I was looking through my stash of boxed cards and was thinking about how boring they were. I had forgotten all about what was in my “to be reviewed” cabinet.

Girl w/Knife was created by Elicia Castaldi. The designer mixes beautiful creations with interesting messages for all occasions. They all have an obvious feminine touch, so they are perfect to or from women.

The beautiful cards are very reasonably priced at $5 each. Girl w/Knife also sells journals, wrapping paper, and notepads. Everything is available in stores around the world and you can also purchase them online on their website.  

An ethnic variety in this cookbook…
With part of my heritage in Jewish-style cooking, I was intrigued by Deep Flavors: A celebration of recipes for foodies in a Kosher style. The book, by Kenneth M. Horwitz, is filled with ethnic recipes with what he calls, “essential, high quality and fresh ingredients” not “dumbed-down recipes.”

This is where the quandary comes in. You are not going to fight quick and easy recipes in this book. You are going to find ingredients you need to shop for, and multiple steps to get things on your plate. You’ll also find these are not the healthiest, especially with chicken schmaltz (basically cooked chicken fat) as an often-used ingredient.

 Given my cooking background, I can’t disagree with the way Horwitz presents these recipes. It is the way to make these things to their ultimate taste.  The book is thorough in its details of food safety, selecting ingredients, making sauces, ad everything from soups to desserts.

If you are looking for authentic Jewish cooking, such as Noodle Kugel, Meat Kreplach, and Matzoh Balls, this is the way to get the right instructions. You’ll also find recipes for other ethnic foods, like Moroccan Stew, Baklava, and one of my favorites, Baba Ghanoush.

Healthy options…
I’m just getting started with the box full I received from Plant Junkie. My first sampling was of their Avocado Oil Spread & Dressing. I am quite impressed. In fact, I have been reaching for it everyday (it was perfect in my chicken salad).

This mayonnaise substitute is completely plant based, is low in sodium and saturated fat (only 1 g) and has no sugar. Avocado oil is the number one ingredient. You can purchase it right on Amazon.

I have a bunch of dressings from Plant Junkie I’ll be sampling in the next month.


Cheers to this vodka…
I receive a lot of vodka. I don’t write about the ones I don’t like and, quite frankly, I’ve been refusing to sample some because there’s just so much out there. Headwind Vodka had some unique characteristics that caught my interest.

This vodka is created in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon. It recently won the Gold Medal in the World Spirits Competition. It’s uniquely crafted, with a gluten-free grain (corn), distilled six times and filtered twice with pure, local water.

This vodka is made even more fascinating by the fact that they don’t strive to make each bottle the same. The goal is to make each bottle unique. My bottle is from Batch No. 1 and is No. 7615, bottled 6/24/19, according to the label, which is made with birchwood.

Headwind is light and slightly sweet from the corn, with a smooth finish that has a touch of vanilla. It’s easy to drink, even straight. At $21.99, it’s a good buy.

A great start…
I’m not usually a fan of sheet masks. Obviously, we all have different shaped faces, so they aren’t going to ever fit right. I did have to change my tune after using VitaBrid Dual Mask.

My daughter actually gave me a few items to check out from them. I picked up the mask one day last week when my face seemed especially dull. Right away I was impressed with how creamy it felt. The other thing I loved about it is that you don’t wash it off, you rub it in (after 20 min with the sheet on). That way I was able to cover any areas the mask didn’t originally touch.

My skin was definitely softer, brighter, and a little firmer. I’m looking forward to trying the other VitaBrid products. You can purchase the mask here.