My Favorite Things: May 2018
May's items are a list of some foods and drinks I've been crushing on lately.
1) Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider
This drink is a combination of Rosé wine and hard cider. It is refreshing and perfect for summertime. I LOVE hard cider. I'm gluten-free and can't drink beer, but I do love a cold alcoholic beverage to unwind during those hot evenings. The Angry Orchard website describes this drink as "made with rare, red flesh apples from France. Each apple is crisp, juicy and red to the core, adding an irresistible rosy blush and apple-forward taste with a refreshing dry finish." My second favorite variety is the Easy Apple. This is less sweet than the regular hard cider which can sometimes be too sweet for my taste buds.
2) Kale Chips
I love Brad's brand of healthy snacks. Even more, I love that they are a Pennsylvania company! Brad's crunchy kale chips and Brad's veggie chips are a yummy, non-guilty treat. The nacho-flavored crunchy kale chips (pictured above) are my favorite. They are made primarily of kale with some spices, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. They are actually non-dairy, which I love, and get the "cheesy" flavor from the combination of spices. The crunchy kale chips also come in original, naked, ranch, and vampire killer flavors. These products are non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan.
Brad's veggie chips (not pictured) also contain none of those harmful, unwanted ingredients. If you're not a huge fan of kale, these chips will likely better suit you. Depending on the flavor you choose, they contain a combination of vegetables (like carrots and red peppers) and spices, as well as flax and buckwheat groats that give them a more "chip-like" consistency (versus the kale chips which melt in your mouth). They come in cheddar, kale, red bell pepper, and sweet potato (my favorite) flavors. You can buy both product lines at Whole Foods, but I've also seen the kale chips at my local Giant Eagle.
Homemade Kale Chip Recipe:
Recently, I've also made some pretty decent kale chips at home, too. It's super easy to do! I just buy a bag of pre-cut, roughly chopped kale. I pour the bag into a large bowl, drizzle olive oil or avocado oil over it, sprinkle Spike seasoning (or you could just do salt and garlic powder), and toss it together. Then spread it evenly onto a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.
3) Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks
I love carbonated beverages, especially in the summer. I've been known to drink a case of La Croix in a week. Kevita drinks, albeit a little pricier than cans of seltzer, have the added bonus of being probiotic-rich. They are made with a water-based kefir that contains billions of live active cultures. My favorite is the Mojita lime mint coconut flavor. Other flavors include mango coconut, lemon cayenne, blueberry cherry, strawberry acai coconut, and lemon ginger to name a few. Kevita also makes various flavors of kombucha and apple cider vinegar drinks. And the best part is that this is a drink you can feel good about. Kevita comes in a glass bottle (so no BPA), and it is non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-dairy, and most importantly, low in sugar. (And if you add a little tequila or vodka to it, you have yourself a summery cocktail! Cheers!)
4) Plaintain Strips
If you're searching for a delicious chip without the guilt, look no further than plantain chips. Plantain chips and strips typically contain no allergenic or irritating substances. They are usually gluten-free and dairy-free and are even Paleo and Whole 30 compliant. This makes them an acceptable and safe snack for just about everyone.
My favorite brand is Artisan Tropic plantain strips (pictured above). Available flavors are sea salt, naturally sweet, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. I love the sea salt strips and eat them whenever I have a craving for salty foods. However, I also really like the cinnamon flavor. They're just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, but they contain no added sugars ... just the innate sugar from the plantain fruit. This brand has simple ingredients ... plantains, non-hydrogenated palm oil, and sea salt or spices. I get these at my local Giant Eagle grocery store. You can buy them on Amazon, too, but they're pretty expensive to purchase that way.
I also recently discovered another brand at Whole Foods. Barnana makes a Brazilian barbecue flavor that is seriously addictive! They also make lime, pink salt, and sea salt & vinegar flavors. Although made from plantains, these chips definitely have a more banana-like taste.
5) Nutritional Yeast
So, nutritional yeast is more of an ingredient than an outright food, but it has a multitude of uses. Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. It’s harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill, or deactivate the yeast so it stops growing. It does not have leavening abilities like baking yeast. After it’s treated with heat, it’s crumbled or flaked, and packaged for use. It is "nutritional" because it is a good source of vitamin B12 and may be fortified with other vitamins. And despite having the name "yeast," it's also gluten-free.
Nutritional yeast has a cheesy-like flavor similar to parmesan, although it contains no dairy. This makes it popular among the vegan population. It is often used in place of cheese in mashed potatoes, rice dishes, or as a topping for popcorn.
I like to sprinkle it over scrambled eggs. I also have made a vegan pesto (recipe here) using nutritional yeast. I just think this is such a useful, handy ingredient when you're trying to avoid dairy, and it adds so much flavor to otherwise bland dishes.
Thanks for reading May's list of "My Favorite Things." Let me know what you think if you try any of these products. Or if you've discovered a food/drink item you love, I'd love to hear about it, too!
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