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Review: Neuva Cocina Latin Cuisine with Recipes

I recently received a smattering of products to try from Nueva Cocina Latin Cuisine and had fun making different recipes with them. Considering how little processed food we are using it was almost too easy to make them (Ack! Darn you easy to use food!) I padded out each product with lots of fresh vegetables and protein to make them full meals.

Rice Mix for Seafood:

I made a version of the recipe on the back:

  • 1 box Paella de Mariscos
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 can tuna, packed in oil
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Directions:

Add the rice mix and seasoning, water and first oil. Bring to a boil, turn to low and cover, let simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the second oil, add the bell peppers and onion, saute over medium-high until crisp-tender. Add in the garlic and cook for a minute, then the tuna, with oil. Turn to low, add in the rice and toss with the peas.

Serves 3.

Corn Soup with Green Chiles:

  • 1 package Sopa de Maiz
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can minced clams, undrained
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Chopped chives

Directions:

Scrub the potatoes, chop up and place in a alrge saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, drain and set aside.

Prepare the soup according to package directions with the water and milk. Add teh corn, heat through and then the clams with clam juice and potatoes.

Garnish with chives and serve.

Serves 3.

Of all the mixes we received, this was my favorite. It gave so much flavor to a block of tofu and was quick to make. If I was going to have “cheater meals” on hand for lazy days, this would be it:

Picadillo Seasoning Mix:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 16 ounce block extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into cubes
  • 1 package Picadillo Seasoning Mix
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • non-fat plain yogurt or sour cream for topping

Rice –

  • 2½ cups boiling water
  • 1½ cups basmati brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped, fresh or freeze-dried
  • ¼ tsp each salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°. Add the rice ingredients into an 8×8″ glass baking dish, stir and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour, fluff up.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil, onion and pepper. Saute until crisp tender, add in the tofu and cook, stirring gently, until browning on all side.

Sprinkle the seasoning mix on, cook for a minute. Add the tomato sauce and water, stir gently. Cover and let simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.

Serve with the rice, drizzling yogurt over if desired.

Serves 3 to 4.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer – we received product for potential review.

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Food Find – Beanfields Nacho Chips

Last year I had the chance to sample and review the line of Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips when they came out. I liked them, they were very different from the usual chip. So when offered their newest flavor, Nacho, which was just released yesterday, I was excited!

The chips are thick, crisp and crunchy – yet are corn and gluten free (you won’t miss it once you start crunching!). They are a blend of black and navy beans with long grain rice – “junk food” with fiber and protein if you will. I got my craving (Kirk loved them as well) and didn’t feel overly guilty about having a snack. I love the 1.5 ounce snack size bags, the perfect portion controlled snack.

Add in that they are vegan-friendly, US grown and made and non-GMO, well they taste even better. It was like getting to eat a healthier version of a certain “D” brand of chips just without as much fat and without the heavy blast of artificial coloring/flavoring.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples.

Sneak Peek – So Delicious’s New Almond Milk Line

In March Turtle Mountain, the company behind the So Delicious brand, is bringing out a new line of products all made with almond milk. The line will have 3 flavors of almond milk, frozen almond milk ice cream and frozen novelties – all of which are soy free and vegan friendly.

We recently had the awesome job of trying out the new products (it was a hard job I tell you!) and have plenty to say in positive feedback. To put it simply? The products are winners. So Delicious has done well.

So Delicious Almond Milk:

The new milk comes in Unsweetened, Original and Vanilla. We drink almond milk daily in our home, having turned to it from soy milk about 2 years ago. We go through a lot of it, Ford especially loves it (he doesn’t drink dairy milk). So Delicious’s has added protein to their milk, something lacking on other brands and as well they have less sugar and sodium. (How do they do it? It is a fortified milk made with pea and rice protein.) How does it taste? Great! None of us can tell the difference between it and the other 2 brands we normally buy. More so, Ford mentioned many times how much he enjoyed the Vanilla and didn’t notice the drop in sugar. Mission accomplished if teens don’t notice! And at 70 calories a cup it is 20 calories and 7 grams sugar lighter than the competition.

So Delicious Almond Ice Cream:

Coming in 7 flavors we were lucky to get to sample 5 of them: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha Almond Fudge, Butter Pecan and Cherry Amaretto (also Cookies N’ Cream and Mint Chip). The Cherry Amaretto is amazing, although Kirk would say the Butter Pecan was his. If served without telling anyone they would never guess it is non-dairy and that 6 of the flavors are gluten-free (all but the cookies n’ cream). It is thick, creamy and has a great mouth feel. It isn’t as sweet as the coconut So Delicious ice cream, which for me was a bonus. But what really works is the texture and flavor. No weird after tastes, it doesn’t taste like “alternative” ice cream nor like hippy fare. It tastes just as you would hope ice cream should! And on the side it isn’t high in fat (2 to 8 grams per serving) and has fiber (5 grams) and is low in sugar. A less guilty guilty-pleasure. From the toddler to Dad to even the cat, everyone enjoyed the ice cream and I loved knowing it was cholesterol free as well.

Mini Frozen Novelties:

But of everything we sampled the Mocha Almond Fudge bars were the item I hid in the freezer hoping to not have to share much. 150 calories a bar and 3 grams fiber, it tastes like a decadent treat but fits into a diet. The chocolate shell cracks when you bite into it, the ice cream is creamy inside. And while they are called Minis, they are plenty big. They are not tiny 2 bite treats but rather a hefty bar.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received products for potential review.

Nurturme Baby Food

Walker and I had the chance to try out Nurturme’s dried baby foods recently. I had seen the products at Babiesr’Us awhile back (back last summer or fall) and it had caught my eyes that it had potential. Specifically for parents who travel or have active lifestyles (it is perfect for hiking, camping, backpacking and air travel!)

Crisp Apples:

The apples in dry state:

I mixed the apples with ½ cup of Green Valley Organic Lactose Free vanilla yogurt till smooth –

It was very delicious – even Ford wandered down for taste testing and helped Walker enjoy it:

Crisp Carrots and the flexible spoon (the spoon is great!):

The carrots in dry state:

I mixed up the carrots to directions. You can use 3 to 5 Tablespoons water, breast milk or formula (or even milk) to prepare the dried food. 3 Tablespoons creates a thicker vegetable, perfect for older babies/toddlers. Stir and let it sit for a minute or two for best results:

The vegetables and fruits come back perfectly and rival any in a jar. It isn’t cheap but for convenience it is well worth it. The packets are tiny, flat and easy to pack – and in a pinch you can easily mix them up in a new snack size zip lock bag!

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

Food Find: Wacky Apple Snacks

Little one was excited when Mommy opened up a package of goodies from Wacky Apple this afternoon, a small company from Colorado that grows apples organically.

In the package was samples of their Wacky Apple Jr., a whole applesauce in three flavors (Golden Applesauce, Wild Berry Applesauce and Cinnamon Applesauce), in toddler sized tubs. The applesauce is all natural and organic and uses the apple peel even!

A happy little Walker, ready to dig into his Wacky Apple Jr. Cinnamon Applesauce (a toddler sized 2.2 ounce tub):

Yum!

It didn’t last long, Walker munched it down happily and was crabbing when it was gone. The smell/taste is of fresh applesauce – delicious!

Also included was samples of their Flat Fruit, in three flavors: Cinnamon, Wild Berry and Apple. Again, all natural and organic.

The fruit snacks are double thick, juicy and ripe tasting – soft and easy to chew on. If you love fruit leather, you will love their Flat Fruit. I tried the Wild Berry Flat Fruit and wow, this is one for my backpack for hiking! Amazon carries all three flavors: Flat Fruit.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

Nueva Cocina’s Caribbean Coconut Rice Pudding

Having received boxes of Nueva Cocina Coconut Raisin Rice (Arroz con Coco) mix to try, I pondered what to try first recipe wise. To be honest I had never come across the line of products before, but oh wow, I wish I had! The line is Latin cuisine and nearly all their products are gluten-free and vegetarian.The company sells directly on their website for easy finds.

I ended up trying out the recipe I had received from them, but did tweak it a bit to lower the cholesterol and fat (simple substitutions – milk for cream, Egg Beaters© for the egg). Just cooking up the rice mix left my house smelling wonderful! It alone is comfort food out of the pot – it was hard for me to only take a single spoon worth and not just oink out there. And I am not normally a fan of rice mixes – most are just too salty or fake tasting, this one worked well on all accounts.

Expect another recipe soon, a savory choice, as I have more to try out (I really can hear it calling for shrimp and vegetables!) but this time…..comforting rice pudding called to me! So delicious, even being made lower-fat!

Nueva Cocina’s Caribbean Coconut Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Nueva Cocina Coconut Raisin Rice (cook according to package directions)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Egg Beaters© (or 1 egg)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (called for heavy cream)

Directions:

Cook the rice according to package directions, take off the heat , fluff up and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Let cool a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a baking dish with cooking spray (I used a 1½ quart FireKing, anything in that size up to 2 quarts works).

Whisk the remaining ingredients together, pour over the rice and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm, topped with more maple syrup as desired. Once chilled the pudding thickens up considerably, it is creamier warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received complimentary products for potential review.

Drink Find: Reed’s Butterscotch Beer

Do you love cream soda? Rootbeer? You might also find yourself in love with Reed’s Butterscotch Beer, a very mellow take on pop. All natural and sweetened with a blend of sugar and Stevia, it is great ice-cold or in my fantasies as a Butterscotch Float…..let us say that I received a dozen bottles and only got one for myself. Everyone else siphoned it down! I don’t often bring pop into the house due to avoiding HFCS and a multiple of dyes so it was a treat for me (and as always, Reed’s gets a bonus nod for bottling in glass!). Kirk isn’t a huge fan of Stevia as a sweetener but as noted he didn’t mind it in the Butterscotch Beer. Being a blend of it and sugar you don’t get the aftertaste. Look for it in natural food stores and upscale grocery stores, next to Reed’s delicious ginger beer!

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received the product for potential review.

Harmony Valley ‘Hamburger’ Mix (With Recipe)

Harmony Valley Foods is a company with two products (and soon a third!) that are Vegan and Kosher friendly. Unlike most meat substitutes they are shelf stable making them a great choice for the pantry, emergency food stores (yes, everyone should have a month of non-perishable food on hand!) and even for camping and backpacking. When I was first backpacking years ago I often used a Fantastic Foods mix (lets back that one up a bit – I first ate it in Shake Down Street at Dead shows in the early 90’s!) but let us say that the mixes of yonder days have been improved on. Taste and convenience have come far. Each bag is 5.7 ounces and makes the equivalent of 1 pound of meat, pulls together with cold water and in 15 minutes is ready to used in nearly any recipe as you would use ground hamburger – just minus the cholesterol and saturated fat and is high in fiber, protein and iron. And unlike the mixes of past, this hamburger mix actually looks and works like hamburger.

Harmony Valley even has a nice collection of recipes on their website to look through, of which I did and picked a recipe to try.

Harmony Valley Vegetable Hamburger Mix:

The company also makes a Harmony Valley Vegetarian Sausage Mix that I am hoping to find soon to try:

And in the near future will have an instant hummus mix for sale (I am very excited about that, dry hummus is great for taking hiking and backpacking).

So what did I decide to do with my bag of hamburger mix? Well, I decided to look at their recipes and picked the Swedish Meatballs, which I adapted a bit to make more cholesterol friendly. The meatballs were delicious – so good there was no leftovers, the guys scarfed them down. And more so….they didn’t taste like fake meat. Easy to make up the base, easy to make into a meal. I liked it so much I went onto Amazon and bought a 6 pack of both kinds. That says a lot – I really liked it and it will give me some new ideas for dinners in the future.

Swedish Meatballs
Ingredients
•    1 package Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix
•    2 slices fresh bread (used Dave’s Killer Bread)
•    ¼ cup dairy milk
•    6 tablespoons butter or margarine
•    1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
•    ½ cup Eggbeaters or similar
•    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
•    ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
•    ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
•    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
•    3 cups stock; mushroom, no-beef broth, or vegetable stock
•    ¼ cup whole milk
Directions:
Prepare Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix according to package instructions (which is add 1¼ cups water to the mix, stir up well and let sit for 15 minutes).
Preheat oven to 200°.
Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sodden milk, the prepared Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger mix, EggBeaters, ½ teaspoon black pepper, allspice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and the cooked onions. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Using a 1 tablespoon disher, scoop the mixture and shape into meat balls with your hands. (For less mess make the meatballs and place on a sheet of parchment paper)

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium heat and sauté ½ of the meatballs in the butter until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper in the warm oven.

Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter in the skillet and cook the remaining meatballs. Add to the first batch of meatballs and place back in the oven.

Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and add the flour. Whisk until lightly browned. Gradually add the broth and whisk until the sauce begins to thicken.

Add the milk, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg, and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Remove the meatballs from the oven, add to the gravy the gravy and let simmer for a couple of minutes

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a 8 to 12 ounce package of egg noodles (8 ounces for 3, 12 for 4) and cook for time on package, drain. (Use No Yolk brand for low-cholesterol!)

Divide the noodles between plates and cover with the meatballs and gravy, sprinkle with chopped parsley as desired.

Serves 3 to 4.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received samples for potential review.

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