Product Review: Don Sabrosa Salsa

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A big thank you to Donny over at Don Sabrosa Salsa for sending free samples of his All-Natural, Gluten-Free and Low-Sodium salsas!

Donny offers three delicious flavors that are incredibly tasty, chunky and fresh.  Each flavor comes in Hot and Mild so you can pick your hotness based on your taste bud’s preference.

Blueberries, Peaches & Honey

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Black Bean & Corn

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Roasted Garlic

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My favorite flavor was the Black Bean & Corn;  I enjoyed the chunky bits of corn and beans in my tasty fajitas and fish tacos.  This salsa was also the perfect accompaniment atop my lunchtime garden salads with roasted veggies and salmon.

I was shocked by the unique flavoring of the Blueberry, Peaches and Honey Salsa as I was expecting it to be incredibly sweet, however, the taste was just right and it had the perfect hint of sweetness on my tongue.  This salsa would be perfect for a summertime BBQ atop grilled fish for a fruit-inspired, warm-weather platter.  I paired this fruity salsa with my Greek yogurt and gluten-free granola for a tasty parfait dessert.  Yum–it definitely hit the spot.

As for the Roasted Garlic flavor, I topped my Eggplant Parmesan with a few dollops…I’m a sucker for garlic and I’ve been known to eat a few cloves raw each day (it’s a natural antibiotic but it sure does kill my breathe, I must say).  Donny’s Roasted Garlic Salsa was the perfect touch of garlic and tomatoes; I’m excited to try this garlic salsa with my homemade sweet potato fries and bean burgers–it makes a tasty topping and adds a rich garlic taste to a hearty meal.

Thank you again, Donny for sending me free samples of your tasty salsas..it’s ashame these tasty salsas aren’t sold right here in Manhattan, however you can easily order directly from the Don Sabrosa website.

Big S Farms Give-A-Way

I am proud to announce a Big S Farms Salsa and Hot Sauce Give-A-Way. Four lucky winners will be chosen next Monday, July the 6th.  I will be choosing 3 runner up winners who will be able to choose between a Big S Farms Salsa or a Big S Farms Hot Sauce and one very lucky Grand Prize Winner who will receive all 6 Big S Farms products!

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Big S Farms is one of the oldest family-owned farming enterprises in the US and the largest habanero grower in Tennessee!  They offer an amazing line of Gourmet Habanero Sauces and Salsas made from all natural ingredients with No preservatives, No Sugar, No MSG, No Food Stabilizers, No Food Coloring, Low Sodium and Non-Iodized Salt!  Yum!!!

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Big S Farms ingredients such as hot peppers and Chile peppers are well known for their powerful health punch and healing powers!

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Be sure to take a look at the Big S Farms website for a peak at their delicious salsa and hot sauce products.

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For your chance to win, send me a comment telling me which Big S Farms product you would like to try and why you should be chosen!  Good luck!

Product Review: Food Should Taste Good

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A big thank you to the kind people over at Food Should Taste Good for sending me a huge  box of chips! My clients love them; here is what a few of them had to say about these tasty chips:

  • “I enjoyed trying several varieties of Food Should Taste Good chips. My favorite was the Olive & also the Multigrain-very addicting. When tasting the Jalapeno, the spicy flavor hits your taste buds about 15 seconds after tasting the chip-WOW! For snackers who enjoy spices this is the one to try. I will continue to buy this brand & hope your other clients are as pleased with these healthy chips.”
  • “My favorite was the Cinnamon! It’s a healthy and crunchy dessert in itself.”
  • “These are my ‘guilt-less’ snack that I have everyday with my lunch- the Olive flavor is out of this world.”
  • “These individual sized bags are perfect for portion control and the chips are crisp and fresh–never greasy.  I can’t wait to share them with my children and husband. Thank you for introducing us to a new chip!”
  • “These are the best tasting chips I have ever had.  I am going to be purchasing these for all of our summer BBQ’s as well as snacks for my kids.”
  • “The Multigrain are unbelievable–I’ll never go back to my old chips again.”
  • “Just in time for summer-thank you for introducing us to these tasty treats…I love the chocolate and cinnamon chips–they will be perfect for an after dinner craving!”
  • “How satisfying—WOW! I’m in love with The Works! flavor…they are so tasty alone or dipped into salsa, guacamole or hummus. Thank you.”
  • “I can’t wait to bring these home to my kids–I’ve been trying to get them away from processed chemical foods and now I will be sure to pack these cute little individualized bags of healthy, all natural chips in their brown bag lunches.”
  • “Yea, a healthy chip! I’ve been searching everywhere for these. I can’t wait to try the other flavors.”

Food Should Taste Good chips are absolutely delicious and made with All Natural ingredients.   Moreover, these chips are Kosher with No MSG, low sodium, trans fat free, a good source of dietary fiber, gluten and lactose free and cholesterol free.  I especially like how these chips have no preservatives and are not genetically modified! Finally, a chip that my clients can enjoy without the added chemicals and preservatives of their chip competitors.  Although I try to steer my clients away from processed, packaged foods, Food Should Taste Good chips are a wonderful alternative to eating greasy, sodium-laden chips with trans fat! Take a look at the ingredients of you usual go-to-chips—I bet you’ll be surprised to see words you cannot pronounced, tons of sodium and preservatives.   So, steer clear of those Lay’s and hop on the healthy bandwagon to try some Food Should Taste Good chips! I promise, they will Not disappoint!  Enjoy!

These yummy for your tummy chips come in the following flavors:

  • Multigrain
  • Olive
  • Jalapeno
  • Chocolate
  • The Works!
  • Sweet Potato
  • Buffalo
  • Lime
  • Potato & Chive
  • Cinnamon
  • Yellow Corn 

Have you ever tried Food Should Taste Good Chips? If so, which are your favorite flavors?

Simply Satisfying Swaps

Here are a few tricks of the trade from my healthy kitchen to yours…read on for some great alternatives to your pantry staples.

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  • Swap your traditional mayo for plain Greek yogurt.  My favorite brands are Chobiani, Fage and Siggi’s.  These yogurts are a perfect substitution to mix into your typical tuna salad or spread onto your sandwich.  Moreover, Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium, probiotics and protein–these benefits out way the typical sodium-laden mayo.

Here are a few other ways to swap Greek yogurt into your meals and snacks.

-When making a veggie dip, substitute for sour cream by using 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with lemon/lime juice, Nu-Salt and pepper, as well as dried herbs and spices of choice.

-Toss a salmon, chicken, pasta, or tuna salad with Greek yogurt and a dollop of Dijon with a few dried cranberries.

-Use Greek yogurt when marinating your choice of protein (Seitan, Tofu, Tempeh, Chicken, Turkey, etc.) By simply combining yogurt with a dash of balsamic vinegar, herbs/spices and sesame seed oil will make your mouth water and impress your guests at your next BBQ.

  • Add fruits and vegetables to everything.  By filling up at every meal with these antioxidant packed, water-dense foods–you’ll reap nutritional benefits and a ton of filling fiber.  This will not only increase the volume of your meals but it will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.

Here are a few of my favorite tricks for adding in more fruits and veggies.

Pile veggies on that sandwich! Add any fruit or veggie such as roasted red peppers, collard greens, kale, sprouts, sliced apples and pears.

-No matter what type of  ‘salad’ your menu is calling for (chicken, tuna, pasta, potato, etc.), add in fresh red grapes with pine nuts, toss in fresh pineapple chunks with blueberries, finely chopped red bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini, or toss in red onions, shallots, cherry tomatoes and black olives.  Any of these fruits and veggies will jazz up your ‘salad’ whether tossed in alone or all together.  Have fun and experiment with different flavor combinations such as diced apples with walnuts into your tuna salad or black olives with yellow corn in your potato salad.  Don’t forget to drizzle some balsamic vinegar along with fresh lemon or lime juice over the final product-this will ensure a lasting zest to any dish!

-Add orange, lemon, lime zest to top any dish including omelets, meats, grains, salads and oatmeal!

-In the mood for a pizza? Simply swap your pepperoni for grilled veggies with extra tomato sauce! Take a peak at some of my favorite pizza recipes on my Recipe page.

-Break out your blender! You know it’s hiding behind your bowls in your pantry–so break it out and explore the endless opportunities of creating delicious smoothies.  Simply blending a few ice cubes with fresh fruits and vegetables along with a dollop of Greek yogurt will leave you satisfied whether it’s for breakfast, dessert, or just an afternoon snack to cool off from the heat. I like to combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, with a banana, spinach, lime juice and a drizzle of honey!

  • Eat what you crave.  Have fun playing Martha Stewart in your kitchen and start experimenting with healthier variations of your favorite treats!  Check out my On-the-Go Snacks Category for more snack ideas.  Just be sure your snack is a nice combo of healthy fats, carbs and protein to keep you satisfied and your tummy happy.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to indulge with healthier and more nutritious options.

-Sub in dark chocolate for milk chocolate and you’ll get a nice dose of antioxidants and richer flavor with each bite!

-Alternate with non-dairy options such as rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk and coconut milk in your recipes.

-Try a non-dairy frozen treat with brands such as Toffutti , Soy Dream, and Rice Dream.

-Create a delictable dessert by starting with a whole wheat or gluten free tortilla, then spread with peanut butter and add a few dark chocolate chips along with a drizzle of honey.  Wrap up the wrap and place into the microwave for 20 seconds. Enjoy this warm, delicious treat that packs in antioxidants from the honey and dark chocolate as well as a nice dose of protein from the nut butter.

-Bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Simply dip the banana  into melted dark chocolate and coat with crushed peanuts. 

-French toast is a breakfast favorite of many of my clients, however, try dipping your bread into egg whites and serve with Greek yogurt and berries.

-Toss in berries and crushed walnuts in your favorite pancake and waffle recipe for a heart healthy does of Omega 3’s as well as antioxidants.  Drizzle with organic honey and a nice spread of nut butter for a well rounded meal.

-Enjoy Greek yogurt drizzled with agave nectar or  honey, chocolate chips and slivered almonds for a colling treat!

-Make your own frozen juice bars. Simply use pop-sickle Tupperware holders and create your very own natural fruit juice…pour into the tray and once they’re frozen you can enjoy a delicious fresh squeezed juice ice pop!

-Enjoy a bowl of organic apple sauce with a few peanuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon, all spice, numeg and Greek yogurt.

-Slice and core apples, place into a deep dish and cover with cinnamon, honey, lemon juice and water. Enjoy these freshly baked apples with granola for a decadent dessert.

-Dried fruit stuffed with nut butter.  Some of my clients enjoy dates stuffed with almond butter…I like dried apricots with cashew butter and dipped in melted dark chocolate. Give these a try-I assure you they will satisfy your sweet tooth in a pinch!  Experiment with different dried fruits and nut butters such as dried cranberries, cherries, pears, apples and bananas to name a few and simply dip into warm dark chocolate or for a protein boost dip into warm almond, cashew or peanut butter.

-Mix together a warm cup of oats with 3/4 cup of steel cut oats, cashews, unsweetened coconut and golden raisins.

-Toast up a delicious afternoon hold-me-over snack with your favorite bread.  Toast bread and top with natural nut butter, thin sliced apples and a drizzle of honey.

-Chop up quick crudities of raw veggies with a side of hummus, guacamole, and salsa dips for your afternoon ‘at-your-desk’ pick me up.

-Pair together a piece of all natural turkey breast with hummus and red bell peppers for a satisfying protein boost.

-Reach for those filling, high fiber crackers and top with 1/4 cup black beans, a dollop of Greek yogurt, salsa and melted SoyaKaas soy cheese.

-For your 3PM blood sugar drop, pack a fresh piece of fruit with a few slices of SoyaKaas soy cheese and raw almonds.

-Try topping your bran crackers with an all natural apple butter and a handful of tasty macadamia nuts.

-Reach for a bag of frozen edemame, heat up in the microwave and top with Eden Organic Pasta Sauce and a hit of melted soy cheese.

-Make a dip with mashed avocado, chili powder and Greek yogurt; pair with veggies and crackers for a pre-dinner appetizer.

-Make your own trail mix with carob chips, granola, puffed rice, almonds and dried fruit.  Pack into individual serving sized Zip-lock bags for easy go-to-snacks for the office or when out running errands between meals.

  • Switch up your cooking methods–choose a unique and tasty broth for a flavor boost.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to switch up broths when cooking.

Use tea bags while cooking.  I love using my green tea bags when making my chicken-not only is it delicious, but I enjoy all of the healthy antioxidants as well.

-Use low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock.  You can find delicious low sodium varieties in your local health food store, which are organic and quite flavorful.

  • Move over blender, reach in that pantry for your Cuisinart.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to puree foods with my handy, dandy Cuisinart.

-Hummus. Enough said.  Puree chickpeas, white, black or kidney beans with a dash of tahini and vegetables of your choice…puree well…and poof-your very own homemade hummus.  My favorite hummus recipe is black olives, chickpeas, fresh basil and roasted red peppers.  Enjoy with pita wedges for a fabulous appetizer.  Be sure to check out my Recipe Pagefor more of my homemade hummus recipes.

-Casseroles.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Fond memories (or shall I say nightmares of mom’s weird casseroles back in the ’80’s”…no, no, no…these casseroles are even more delish…simply puree parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. with bran  crumbs, a dollop of Greek yogurt and some orange zest for a nice side dish.

  •  Spice n’ Herb it up! Condiments can do wonders–Get zesty with new flavors.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate condiments and herbs n’ spices.  Be sure to check out my Condiments of Choice Page and Product Reviews Page for more ideas.

-Cinnamon is fabulous. Enough said.  Add it to your morning oatmeal, sprinkle it into your chicken salad, dash a bit into your yogurt with some nuts and granola.

-Salsa, salsa, salsa…and I’m not talking about the dance! Add salsa to your morning omelet, afternoon crudites, pile it onto your sandwich or jazz up your salad, and don’t forget to use it with your homemade tacos and burritos.  My favorite salsa is Amy’s Organic Black Bean and Corn—it is a hearty, chunky salsa with an amazing taste and a must for any dish!

-Mustard is a great choice to spread onto any sandwich, bun or wrap–the flavors and varieties are endless…

-Wheat free low sodium tamari sauce is a wonderful way to substitute your soy sauce sans the gluten!

-As I mentioned above, lemon and lime juice add a pungent flavor to any dish and marinade.  Adding this juice to spices, mustard and Greek yogurt will make a wonderful sauce in place of a heavy cream sauce.

-Vinegars can do wonders.  I love buying organic white balsamic vinegars–experiment with purchasing different vinegars and see what your taste buds have been missing!   

-My favorite herbs are fresh cilantro and basil, not to mention dried thyme, rosemary and oregano.  Top any dish with these delicious herbs instead of processed, calorie laden sauces.  It’s a cheap and easy way to add great flavor to your meals—my father has always grown a beautiful garden in our back yard with a wonderful array of herbs that we use for cooking.  Thanks dad for getting me hooked on healthy, antioxidant packed fresh herbs!  I can’t wait to see your garden this summer.

-Whip up a quick marinade at your next BBQ using tamari, fresh garlic and grated ginger–lather on top of veggie kabobs and throw ’em on the grill for  serious BBQ flavor!

I hope you enjoyed a few of my Healthy Food ‘Swaps’ …do you have any swaps that you use in your meals and snacks?

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Sodium, Low-Sodium or No Sodium? Which shall we choose?

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Sodium.  It’s not just in your salt shaker…

Sodium helps maintain the right balance of fluids in our bodies, influences the relaxation and contraction of muscles, and helps transmit nerve impulses.  However, too much sodium can be quite harmful to our health.  Surprisingly, most people eat too much sodium each and everyday without even realizing it.  Most prepared and processed foods such as canned soups, vegetables, lunch meats, and frozen foods is where most of our unnecessary sodium comes from.

If you are a healthy adult, you should limit your daily sodium intake to between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams (try to aim at the lower end of 1,500).  However, if you have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure you should avoid adding salt to your meals. Also, for your reference, please note that 1,500 mg of sodium equals about 4 grams, or 2/3 tsp of table salt.

Be sure to pay close attention to your food labels and you may be surprised at how much sodium is in the foods you eat and feed to your family.  Many canned vegetables, boxed cereals, deli meat and low-fat soups surprisingly have a great deal of sodium.  Experiment with Low-Sodium options of your favorite foods and you may surprise yourself by actually enjoying the taste without the bloat, puffiness and other side effects of sodium.

To Reduce Sodium in Your Diet:

  • Flavor your food using herbs and spices, lemon juice and olive oil
  • Sprinkle cinnamon atop of popcorn
  • Try dry Salt-Free seasonings such as Mrs. Dash
  • Rinse canned foods such as salmon and tuna to reduce sodium
  • Purchase “No Salt Added”, “Sodium Free”, “Low Sodium” or “Very Low Sodium”
  • Be cautious of foods labeled, “Reduced Sodium” or “Light Sodium” – the sodium content in these foods has only been decreased by 25-50% compared to the regular option
  • Choose unsalted snacks such as crackers/rice cakes/pretzels, seeds and nuts
  • Make sure to review the product labels for sodium content (especially in canned, frozen foods as well as condiments)
  • Eat more fresh, un-processed, natural foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and unprocessed grains

Take a look at the sodium content of your favorite foods.  You might be surprised to see your household staples containing loads of extra, unnecessary sodium.  What foods have you noticed recently that are high in sodium?