Archive for the 'Snack' Category

Fall: Nature’s Perfect Culinary Muse

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

The leaves are slowly beginning to turn, the dog days of summer are in the rearview and somewhere ahead awaits winter’s wrath. But in the meantime we are on the precipice of what is arguably one of the most beautiful and enjoyable times of the year, at least here in our little corner of the world where we get to delight in the splendor of all four seasons.

The hum of the air conditioner is replaced with the street noise flowing in through the open windows. The weekends are filled with Farmer’s market harvests and football games. Scarecrows and pumpkins make their way onto lawns and porches while in the October air dangles the unmistakable smell of fall – and with it, promises of frosty mornings and cozy nights.

We get to wrap our chilly necks in scarves and hold a cup of hot chocolate for warmth.  We can carve jack-o-lanterns and give candy to adorably costumed neighborhood kids.  There’s less mowing the lawn and more playing in piles of crunchy leaves.  What could possibly make this time of year any better?  Only one thing, well, make that two: fabulous fall food and lavish libations!

For many, this time of year is synonymous with traditional autumn comfort foods and seasonal drinks.  From hearty chili and freshly baked apple pie to warm cider and orchard sangria, the list of this season’s beloved eats and treats is as lengthy as it is titillating. For those of you who love your traditional autumnal dishes, we’ve decided to take a look at some classic fall favorites with a fresh spin – whether it be through flavor or application. For the more daring palates out there, there are some new products to inspire and refresh your fall feasts.

Take a look at these new domestic product launches that caught our eye.  Hopefully you can snag these seasonal steals at a store near you or use them as inspiration for home-made deliciousness.

Barefoot Contessa Pumpkin Cupcake and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Mix


What: Barefoot Contessa Pumpkin Cupcake & Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Mix


Why: Because bathing suit season is over and cupcakes can be our friends again.




Kashi Autumn Wheat Breakfast Cereal


What: Kashi Autumn Wheat Breakfast Cereal

Where: Supermarkets and superstores [Walmart]

Why: Because there’s no reason breakfast shouldn’t be festive!



Baker’s Pantry Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix


What: The Baker’s Pantry Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

Where: Select supermarkets and superstores [Cost Plus World Market]

Why: Because a fall weekend morning is perfect for an indulgent at-home brunch.




Toigo Orchards Pear Butter


What: Toigo Orchards Pear Butter

Where: Natural/Health Food Stores [Whole Foods Market]

Why: Because lightly seasoned tree ripened Bartlett pears are what fall is all about!




Trader Joe’s Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder


What: Trader Joe’s Sugar, Chocolate & Coffee Bean Grinder

Where: Supermarket [Trader Joe’s]

Why: Because there are very few things in life that cannot be improved by adding sugar and chocolate.




Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tortilla Chip Rounds


What: Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tortilla Chip Rounds

Where: Supermarket [Trader Joe’s]

Why: Because even football tailgates can be spiced up with fall flair.




These next picks may be a bit harder to get your hands on, unless you’ll be doing some traveling this season, but there’s no reason these global muses can’t inspire your fall cooking.


AP Gourmet Blueberry Pecan Brie CheeseTopper


What: AP Gourmet Blueberry Pecan Brie Topper

Where: Canada

Why: Because traditional appetizers can get boring. Also consider maple walnut or cranberry almond variations.




Knorr Secrets De Grand-Mère Potiron Pumpkin, Carrot and Rosemary Soup

What: Knorr Secrets De Grand-Mère Potiron Pumpkin, Carrot and Rosemary Soup 

Where: France

Why: Because your crock pot has felt neglected all summer.




Vegetarian Goats' Cheese & Butternut Squash LasagneWhat: Asda Chosen by You Vegetarian Goats’ Cheese & Butternut Squash Lasagne 

Where: UK

Why: Because butternut squash was made for more than just soup.



 Casino Délices Cranberry, Pecan & Pistachio Bars made in France

What: Casino Délices Cranberry, Pecan & Pistachio Bars 

Where: France

Why: Because this will spice up your fall dessert tray while adding a healthier option.




Sampford Courtenay Elderflower Cider made in the UK



What: Sampford Courtenay Sparkling Elderflower Cider 

Where: UK

Why: Because edible flowers are making a huge comeback in food and beverage and because cider is to fall what iced tea is to summer.




Fireball Cinnamon Whisky made in Finland



What: Fireball Cinnamon Whisky 

Where: Finland

Why: Because a cinnamon-infused nightcap will bring sweeter dreams.



Hopefully these picks get your fall flavor wheels turning. We’d love to hear about your favorite autumnal treats or any new products that have caught your eye, so don’t be shy, comment away!

A Trip to the Times Square Pop Tarts World Café

Friday, September 10th, 2010

This past weekend, I took my niece to New York for her 13th birthday. It was a day of firsts for her – first time in New York, first Broadway show, first cab ride, and first Pop-Tarts Café. OK, well that last one was a first for me too.

Being the food nerd that I am, I made sure that a stop at the new Pop Tarts World in Times Square was included on our itinerary. I’ve been reading about the shop for a few weeks now, and couldn’t wait to check it out for myself.

Pop Tarts World - Times Square - New York, NY

Inside, is a Pop-Tarts lover’s dream – tote bags and coffee mugs emblazoned with the brand logo, both new and retro. A “Varietizer” at the center of the store allowing customers to create their own variety packs – this area proved to have the longest lines.

But the area I was most focused on for this trip was the café. Having read countless “ewwws” and “ahhhs” for Pop-Tarts Sushi (minced Pop Tarts wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up) and Fluffer Butters (marshmallow spread between two fudge tarts), I couldn’t wait to try for myself.

Pop Tarts Sushi

I chose the S’mores Stick – dark chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick, dotted with small cubes of s’mores flavored Pop-Tarts. Indulgent, delicious and decidedly adult. My niece was enamored by the Pop-Tarts Sushi, but in that crucial moment of ordering, caved in to her fears of weirdness, and ordered a toasted frosted strawberry Pop Tart – that she ate cold on the train ride home.

Pop Tarts S'mores Stick and Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart

To me, the store appeared to be more for grown-ups than the kiddies. It was us, the adults, acting like kids in a candy store, while the kids were mildly impressed. It was the adults ordering the Pop-Tarts sundaes, sushi and sandwiches, while the kids stuck with the traditional tarts, and clung to the Varietizer.

What I also noticed, was that the café really focused on extending the Pop-Tarts brand, beyond the toaster. All summer, we’ve spotted the ad campaign in which a mom helps her kids set up a Pop-Tart stand where they sell various frozen treats, including Pop-Tarts ice cream sandwiches (an awesome idea, by the way). The café brings those ideas to life along with so many more – supported by a generous recipe section on the Pop-Tarts website. Like Rice Krispies before it, the Pop-Tarts brand is leaping into snacks and desserts – and the results are pretty awesome.

And lest you think that only sugar-laden treats can come of this, take a moment to enjoy Pop-Tarts Ants on a Log – celery sticks filled with peanut butter and dotted with squares of wild grape flavored Pop-Tarts!

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So much food, so little time…

I was pleasantly surprised at the 479° Popcorn booth. How exciting can flavored popcorn be? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Me too. But their flavors –Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar, Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews, and Black Truffle & White Cheddar – were both creative and delicious.

And speaking of creative, I just loved the breakfast pitas, with real fruit pieces, from Ozery Bakery. Available in apple cinnamon, cranberry orange, and breakfast muesli, they make a fabulous substitute for your usual morning bagel, toast, etc. (I’m thinking the cranberry orange wouldn’t be too shabby with a lunchtime turkey sandwich either!)

Granola Flats weren’t much more than an ultra-thin flattened granola bar (Nature Valley type), but they were darn tasty! Plus, they’re sold as a “chip” rather than a bar which means I have something to snack on now when hubby dives into the Fritos during a baseball game.

When it comes to food, I’ll try anything once. (Whether I’ll try it again is a different story.) But there is the occasional product that my brain just won’t allow past my lips. That’s been true in the past of vinegar drinks brought to me by my wonderful co-workers at David Michael Beijing. I love vinegar – so much, that I load it up on my salads to the point of mouth numbing. But the idea of drinking it, like juice – I just couldn’t get past that. So, when I spotted Hong Cho’s pomegranate vinegar drink, I decided to go for it. And you know what? It’s pretty good! The vinegar is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Since there are a number of health-benefits linked to vinegar drinks, I’m officially adding this to my radar. With the right marketing (a downplay of the word “vinegar” I’m thinking) this could be a future trend to watch.

Other fun finds at this year’s show? I was excited to spot macqui berry at Honest Tea’s booth in the new Macqui Berry Mate – keep your eyes peeled for more of this superfruit. There was lots of prickly pear and blood orange flavored goodies, mostly drinks. I found Parisian macarons at a number of booths, including the frozen macarons at Galaxy Desserts – perfect for foodservice. The Naan Pizza at Tandoor Chef was awesome – it’s about darn time we had something like this on the market. And, Chobani Greek Yogurt now offers Chobani Champions, said to be the only Greek yogurt made for kids.

And my favorite product of the show? Nothing too crazy here – my personal favorite were the falafels at Falafel Republic. Lightly fried balls of ground chick peas, falafels are typically served in a pita from your favorite street vendor. This version needs only seconds in the microwave to heat up, and the falafels are satisfyingly savory and filling. Served with tzatziki sauce, I could eat them every day, with or without the pita.

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Probably the most innovative product I spotted at this year’s Fancy Foods Show was the Brazilian import, Bacon Krisps. Distributed by Acme Import Co., Bacon Krisps are very interesting little snacks. A minute in the microwave, and voila, these little wheat nuggets puff up into perfect little red, white and tan striped bacon-flavored snacks (you know, the kind of striped coloring you wish your at-home bacon actually looked like). And bonus: they’re vegetarian! And on a side note, this was just one of many air-popped snacks for kids and adults on display.

Danielle’s Crispy Veggie Chips sells a line of exotic dehydrated fruits and veggies, including jackfruit, roasted coconut, spicy carrot and okra. What I most surprised by was how popular the durian was at the show. If you’re not familiar with this tropical fruit, the durian is a highly prized fruit of Southeast Asia – even though it is actually banned in most public places due to its pungent odor. But, durian lovers (and there are many), are more than willing to withstand the smell to get to the custard-like filling of this spiny, football-shaped pod. Apparently, Fancy Food Show goers couldn’t wait to taste it either – by the time I made it to the booth, it was all gone…

And speaking of Fancy Food hits, I was lucky enough to sample from the last pint of Vosges’ Bacon Toffee Ice Cream. I’m a HUGE fan of their bacon chocolate bars, so I was pretty excited to sample this new, not-yet-available-in-stores treat. The verdict? Smoky, caramel, and a little meaty. Not sure I could eat a whole bowl, but I imagine a scoop melting atop the right dessert would be pure heaven.

And speaking of chocolate – my main source of sustenance at the show – an unexpected favorite was the Toasted Corn chocolate bar from Philly’s own Eclat Chocolate. And I don’t even like corn-flavored things! But this was excellent – crunchy, toasty and tasty.

Next up – granola chips, maqui berry, drinkable vinegar, and my personal show favorite!

The Case of the King’s Fries

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

To say it’s been snowy around here lately would be, well, an understatement. Hit by two blizzards in five days, the Philadelphia area has been immobile.

Snowy Branches in Philadelphia

Before cabin fever sets in, most of us deal with this imprisonment with food. After all, we have to get all that shoveling energy from somewhere, right? And eat we did – hearty meals like turkey chili, turkey meatloaf, sausage & peppers, and from-scratch pancakes.

But the morsels that we were most looking forward to were two little impulse items I grabbed while stocking up for the Snowpocalypse – Burger King’s frozen fries in King Krinks™ and King Wedgez™, from ConAgra (launched Fall 2009).

Burger King King Krinks and King Wedgez

Housed in this oversized wedge-shaped cardboard container is a single serving of microwaveable French fries. The instructions are easy – Shake, Vent, Zap, Tap, Rip. First, shake the container to equally distribute the fries, then vent by opening on each side of the package where indicated.

Burger King Microwavable French Fries

Microwave for three minutes, then rip off the top. Presto – they’re ready to eat! Burger King branded fries fresh from the microwave, in a handy dandy FRYPOD®.

Burger King King Krinks Microwavable Fries

Burger King King Krinks Fries

Burger King King Krinks Closeup

The verdict? Pretty tasty! Both versions were well seasoned, if not a bit overly so (but frankly, on French fries, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!). The Wedgez were definitely the spicier of the two. Both tasted great on their own, and with ketchup. They had a nice texture – crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside, similar to an oven fry.

But, there were a few drawbacks in the process. The recommended three minute cooking time appeared to be way too long. For the Wedgez, this meant fries stuck to the interior packaging. And for both, the desirable texture quickly turned chewy and hard.

Burger King - King Wedgez

And how about the price? I found them on sale for $0.77 each, a bargain compared to the drive-thru (I believe non-sale price varies from $1.20 – $1.77, depending on the store). Maybe not comparable to the cost savings on a family-sized bag of oven fries, but worth it for the novelty, or for kids who are not allowed to use the oven.

So, would hubby and I buy them again? Certainly! (Of course, we’d reduce the cooking time a bit.) Maybe next time we’ll try the unseasoned Kolossalz™ too!

Hey, that’s not a chip, it’s my folder!

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

On a quick lunch-time shopping trip to Target today, I found the coolest thing! Terracycle has partnered with Frito-Lay to make back-to-school supplies for little tikes out of old chip bags. Determined to break a certain 12 year-old’s “cool kids don’t recycle” theory, I picked up some Wavy Lay’s folders for the nieces and nephew, and a Rold Gold pencil case for myself (why should they have all the fun).

School Supplies from Old Chip Bags - Pencil Case

My awesome pencil case!

 How To Make A Pencil Case from an Old Chip Bag

Terracycle itself has a cool story, but the products are even cooler. Beyond the composters, rain barrels and natural cleaners, they have a number of fashionista-friendly accessories made from repurposed food packaging – Capri-Sun lunch box, Oreo messenger bag – the list goes on!

One last Earth Day tid-bit…

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Sun Chips Compostable Bag

Check out Frito-Lay’s Earth Day surprise – a soon to be released compostable bag for the Sun Chips line. It seems that empty chips bags on freeway on-ramps aren’t quite in line with the brand’s image.

What an exciting package innovation! The company vows to launch the new bags, which reportedly compost in 14 weeks, on Earth Day 2010.

To learn more about the new bags, and to see a simulation video, visit Frito-Lay’s website. OR, pick up this week’s copy of People Magazine for a sample of the packaging to try out in your own compost bin!

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