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On My Plate ... Yet Another Helping, Naturally

May 17, 2012 - Phyllis Sigal
More tasty treats have made their way to me in the past couple of months — some great, some OK, some just so-so.

• Probably my favorite new product was from G.H. Cretors, a company that has been making popped corn since 1885. Actually since Great Grandpa Cretor invented the popcorn machine!

It's an all-natural product, made from popcorn, sunflower oil, cane sugar, brown sugar, sea salt, cheddar cheese, cream ... just good stuff. No artificial colors or flavors. It's also naturally gluten free.

Interestingly, G.H. Cretors uses brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup in its caramel corn. According to their information, brown rice syrup has a low glycemic value, which means "it doesn't cause a sudden spike in blood pressure" or a sugar "high."

I tasted the Chicago mix, which is caramel corn and cheese corn in the same package. What a great combination of salty and sweet! Yum! The kettle corn was great, too.

And, you don't just have to snack on the products; you can use them in recipes! Who would've thought.

So, I tried a recipe that is a variation of Rice Krispie treats.

The Kettle Corn Crispies are made with 3 tablespoons butter, 4 cups miniature marshmallows, a 7-ounce bag of the GH Cretors kettle corn. You can add nuts or drizzle with melted chocolate, if you like.

I really liked the recipe, but it reminded me more of popcorn balls than Rice Krispie treats. And the Kettle Corn Crispies are best eaten right away.

I'm hoping to have more of the Chicago Mix soon. I just had a couple of bites. (The first bag disappeared shortly after I opened it. I had to hide the second bag!)

• Next on my plate were Kraft MilkBites.

A Kraft MilkBite is a milk and granola bar that has as much calcium of an 8-ounce glass of milk.

They come in strawberry, chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and mixed berry.

They are tasty — I tried the chocolate and strawberry.

However, they need to be refrigerated, which I see as a bit of a problem. When I think of snack bars, I think of a snack on the go, something to stick in my purse to have in an emergency. I suppose I could take one for breakfast in my insulated bag, and it would keep until I ate it. The website suggests placing a frozen bar in your child's lunch, and the snack will be thawed by lunchtime.

• Stonefire naan was a great choice. The naan, according to the company's press information, is baked in the "only commercial Tandoor Oven in the world — a cooking method which dates back many centuries."

It is made with ghee, clarified butter, and fresh buttermilk, and like the G.H. Cretors popped corn, made with all natural ingredients.

The naan was delicious, and prompted an Indian-inspired curry dinner made by my husband Bruce.

It comes in three varieties: original, garlic and whole grain.

Stonefire also makes Tandoori roti, which is a thin flatbread.

Stonefire breads are available at Kroger.

• I finally got around to trying my Cookies & Corks selections that have been sitting on my kitchen table for weeks, just waiting for the right occasion.

Cookies & Corks are all-natural, gourmet cookies — sweet and savory — that are crafted to pair with wines.

The package tells you which cookies go with what wines.

I tried the sparkling wine pairing box, which had zesty lemon, parmesan thyme and sea salt chocolate oatmeal.

All three were yummy, but the zesty lemon really paired the best with our sparkling wine.

I also have a red wine pairing box that I've not tried yet, but I bet the espresso chocolate peanut butter will be delicious with a nice cab. The red wine pairing box also includes white cheddar rosemary and shortbread cookies. The white wine pairing box includes ginger molasses, apricot sage and peanut butter chocolate.

The website gives even more information about how to pair the cookies with various cocktails and beers, and how to have a Cookies & Corks party.

• Natural and fresh foods are the way to go, as far as I'm concerned. I do try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. But here's a natural food, I'm still on the fence about: Navitas Blueberry Hemp Superfood Power Snack.

They're billed as "bite-sized goodness." They are gluten and dairy free, high in fiber and vitamin C and contain no refined sugar, according to the package.

Here's what else the package claims: "These delicious grab-and-go snacks are made from the most nutrient-dense plants found in nature including many functional food stars such as chia, hemp, maca, camu-camu and maqui. All ingredients are certified organic and raw."

OK. How can you argue with that?

But the taste? Well, maybe it's an acquired one. I'm chewing as we speak. Bite No. 2 was a little better. I taste dates and blueberries. It's nutty. Yeah, OK. it's growing on me. And I know it's good for me.

Check out the website for lots of organic and healthy products. (www.navitasnaturals.com)

Some things just put themselves out there as healthy snacks. And maybe they are more healthy than a bag of potato chips, but sometimes, it's just not worth it.

• Product in point: Chip'ins.

Here's what the label says: "We admit it, we're obsessed. We're obsessed with flavor, obsessed with crunch, obsessed with natural ingredients. We're even obsessed with the word 'obsessed.' So when we decided to make a chip, well, let's just say we decided to rreally go for it. Behold the chip'in, the first popcorn chip from your friends at Popcorn, Indiana."

Well, I give them points for creativity, that's for sure.

"These beauties are gluten-free, all-natural, zero trans-fat." No cholesterol. No artificial flavors and no preservatives.

OK. More points.

One serving — 18 chip'ins have 130 calories, 4 grams of fat and 1 gram of fiber and 230 mg. of sodium. Not bad.

The flavors are awesome: hot buffalo wing, sea salt, BBQ, white cheddar and jalapeno ranch.

But, they just reminded me a bit too much of cardboard. Good-flavored cardboard, but cardboard nonetheless.

RECAP:

G.H. Cretors popped corn: A+

Stonefire naan: A

Cookies & Corks: A

Blueberry Hemp Superfood Power Snack: B (maybe working its way toward a B+)

Kraft MilkBite: B-

Chip'ins: C

 
 

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