Category Archives: Food & Drink

And Mighty Tasty Too

Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks  BERRY PATCH flavor 

Fruit_ORGBunnyFruitSnackBoxBerryPAtch_CR___

 

See it at Amazon 

(5/5)

Pros: tasty, not sticky in hand or packet, non GMO, gluten free, organic ingredients, no artificial colors or flavors

Cons: none noted

Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks BERRY PATCH flavor  generated using real fruit juice and no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors are a mouthwatering, fun to devour, treat that are more nourishing than some of the more sugary nibble treats available for adults and children alike.

Even the package on the shelf is attention-grabbing. Bernie, Annie’s beloved pet bunny, emerging from a lemony yellow circle is found at the top of the front panel. Words Homegrown and Organic appear above and below the name of the product.   Flavor type is found midway on the panel above the signature cutout bunny located at the bottom of the pane.

Researching the Annie’s website I find Organic Berry Patch Bunny Fruit Snacks are a delicious mix of strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavored bunnies.

For those who are vegan; Annie’s Bunnies do not contain gelatin; are certified organic.

While I have no problem with gluten; I like having these snack items available to share with sis who must avoid gluten.

I do prefer food that are non GMO, do not rely on artificial colors, preservatives and flavors; these tasty little morsels made with real fruit juice provide 100% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C

Major Ingredients Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic White Grape Juice Concentrate, Pectin.  Color includes Black Carrot Juice, Flavors are natural.

Note: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and Allergen Statements can change. Always refer to the actual package for the most complete and accurate information.

I first was introduced to Annie’s tasty, healthy products while teaching First Grade. Each month the snack calendar was sent home, with each child’s name written in one of the boxes and Mrs. M’s name in the first two.

Parents often sent nice healthy, tasty snack items including Annie’s bunnies both gummies and crackers.

This attention-grabbing, purple card stock paper package filled with assorted peach, rose and magenta toned bunny fruit snacks features the traditional cutaway bunny revealing a ration of the tasty fruit flavored treats to tempt shoppers as they travel the aisles of the local big box stone.

I like the consistency of the gummies, soft; not hard, mushy or sticky in the box or the hand. Flavor is berry not strawberry, blackberry or raspberry; but berry nonetheless. The grape juice adds a little piquant tang that I find tasty and pleasant, rather than too sweet

Happy to recommend Annie’s™ Organic, Bunny Fruit Snacks BERRY PATCH flavor. 

Available on Amazon $12.75  4 cartons 5 pouches each

 

Perusal of the Annie’s website I find :    It all started with Annie

In 1989, Annie Withey co-founded Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. with Andrew Martin with the goal of making a healthy and delicious macaroni and cheese for families.

She wanted to show by example that a successful business could also be socially responsible.

Annie chose Bernie, her pet rabbit, to be the brand’s “Rabbit of Approval,” and she put her own address and phone number on each box to encourage customers to connect with her.

 

Annie’s Homegrown

1610 Fifth St

Berkeley Ca 94710

Natrol Papaya Enzyme for Easier Digestion

Natrol Papaya Enzyme

Papaya Enzymes

See it at Amazon 

(5/5)

Pros: good flavor, works well, fair price, no artificial ingredients

Cons: not readily available in stores, I must order online

I have a hard time with my digestive system being kind to me, so I’m always on the look-out for natural products to help me   I’ve been using Natrol brand Papaya Enzyme for  years now, and love them.

What first drew me to the Natrol brand was the ingredients.  When I take supplements, I prefer them to be devoid of artificial ingredients.  This fit the bill.  Sweetened with natural sugars and colored/flavored with  real, found-in-nature stuff, there’s nothing to dislike here.

These are round, chewable tablets.  They are sweet but not sickening sweet.  They have a nice, tropical fruity flavor.  The texture is smooth, not gritty or chalky at all.  They disappear quickly when you chew them up and leave no residue or film in your mouth.

I take them after dinner every night, and sometimes after lunch.  They aren’t medicine, they’re a dietary aid which helps the body naturally digest foods, especially protein.  I used to experience indigestion after eating a meal with red meat, no matter how slowly I ate.  That happens no more when I take my Papaya Enzymes.  I rarely have indigestion at all now, even on Burrito Fridays!

I am lactose intolerant (and severely so), and avoid dairy.  I will say that these Papaya Enzymes provide no help when I slip up and consume dairy.

A serving size is 2 chewable wafers.  I eat one when my meal is lighter, and two when it’s heavier or contains a lot of meat or spice.  If you forget to eat one right after your meal, don’t worry, it’ll still help you out even an hour later.  Trust me, I’ve done that a number of times!  On occasion, I’ll forget them or will eat out at a restaurant and not have any with me.  I’ll feel kind of heavy in my belly, slightly unsettled and then I realize I need my enzymes.  I take them at some point later and they will still help.  Longer than about two hours and it’s not going to help as much, though, as digestion is well under way.

If you’re wondering what exactly these enzymes are, they are papain, papaya, bromelain, and alpha amylase.  To me, this is a great combination to help with digestion of any kind of food.  I have tried several other brands over the years and none have given me the results the Natrol brand has.

Sadly for the gluten intolerant, these do contain wheat (found in the alpha amylase, according to the label).  However, they are free of dairy and egg.  In the future they may be gluten free, formulas can change, so it’s something worth keeping an eye on.

Right now I haven’t found these in any stores in my town.  I order online (from Vitacost.com) and they’re around $5.00 for the bottle containing 100 tablets.  Very fair price for this quality product.

If you suffer from even occasional indigestion, or “unwell” feeling after eating, try these, they’re awesome.  They really do make a difference in how I feel after eating a meal.

  • made in the USA

 

Fleischmann’s Yeast: It’s Pizza Night !!!

Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast – 1-lb. Package

See it at Amazon 

(4.5/5)

Pros: Gets a rise out of any flour.  Available everywhere.  Forget the expensive, pricey packets – go for the pound!

Cons: If you don’t bake your own bread, a pound will last a very long time.

In my former location, Friday was pizza night.  I’d bake the pies, while the regulars each had their mission – homemade antipasto and a variety of beverages would arrive like clockwork.  It’s amazing how many different combinations of toppings one can imagine – we tried them all – though I believe pineapple and the dreaded anchovy were abandoned early on.

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Before…

We loved our veggies.  Onions, peppers and mushrooms were a must with most meat toppings, while broccoli and black olive were a hit with the Teriyaki marinated chicken.  We even went wild with capers, pickled artichoke hearts and the leek.  A member of the onion family, leeks are mild and flavorful – the perfect pizza prospect.

...and after.

…and after.

Can You Say Pissaladiere?

After trying a variety of crusts, the gang preferred the classic Pissaladiere with its thin crunch, caramelized onions and tangy Greek olives.  I’ve Americanized this French Provencal standard with an assortment of toppings – but that divine crust has become the house favorite.

Pissaladiere Splendide [Image:  Emily Heston, Foodista.com]

Pissaladiere Splendide  [Image:  Emily Heston Foodista.com]

The Yeast You Can Do

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes place entirely within your standard food processor.  Simply place 1-1/2 cups of bread flour in the bowl, along with 1 teaspoon of sugar, a half-teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast.  My diversions from this classic formula include the addition of 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, a half-teaspoon garlic powder and a sprinkle of celery salt.  Those with a yen for flame can add a dash of Cayenne pepper.  These amounts will produce sufficient dough to assemble a 14-inch diameter pie.

A Food Processor makes this recipe as easy-as-pie!

A Food Processor makes this recipe as easy as pie!

Run your food processor for a few seconds to mix-it-up and add a tablespoon of olive oil through the feed tube.  ¾ cup of tepid milk (100 degree Fahrenheit), poured slowly into the mix will cause the dough to form a ball.  At this point, the dough is ready to rise – the machine has done all the work!

Our dough on the way to a first rise.

Our dough on its way to a first rise.

Long Live Yeast!

My pound package of Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast was purchased a year ago.  The manufacturer recommends that once the product is opened, it should be used within six months – but by keeping it sealed within a plastic storage container and refrigerated, my year-old yeast is still capable of achieving an excellent rise.  The printed expiration date works-out to fifteen-months from the date of purchase.  For convenience, an Industrial Use Conversion Table is printed on the side of the package.

029

Let’s Top The Pissaladiere

Tonight’s toppings include onions and mushrooms.  After slicing to your preference, microwave for about a minute and pour-off the water they will exude so as to avoid a swampy pie from the oven.  No need to precook the garlic.  If you like your onions caramelized, simply saute briefly in olive oil with a teaspoon of brown sugar added.  I’m using a meat sauce, so this recipe isn’t vegan, but it forgoes any additional meat.

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After an hour’s rise, knead for 2 minutes and roll-out on a floured board to about an inch beyond the diameter of your pizza stone (or favorite pan).  Sprinkle some cornmeal on top and gently roll this in – this will be the bottom of the crust and will add to the crispiness.  Arrange cornmeal-side down on the stone, roll the excess dough under and pinch to complete the edge.

A sturdy edge will contain all the toppings while it bakes.

Simply fold under and pinch.  A sturdy crust holds the toppings secure while baking.

Let’s Assemble

Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer of olive oil to protect dough from the sauce.  Spread the sauce evenly to the crust.  This is where cook’s opinions differ – to some, the next step is cheese, then the toppings.  This is good if you have a pizza oven that achieves a higher temperature.  For the longer time necessary in a conventional oven, the cheese on top will prevent the meat and veggies from drying-out.

A good-quality olive oil is vital for proper pizza assemblage.

A good quality olive oil is essential to proper pizza assemblage.

Let’s Eat!!!

Using a stone, a thin-crust pizza will take about 35 minutes @ 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) to achieve a crispy, golden crust.  When placed on a wire rack, the stone will continue to transfer oven heat to the pie as it is being served.  Adding a hearty antipasto (or tossed salad, if you prefer), some bread sticks and the beverage of choice will satisfy any appetite.

Pre-cooking the veggies enough to remove excess moisture will prevent a swampy pie.

Pre-cooking the veggies enough to remove excess moisture will avoid a swampy pie.

Meet The New Gang

Alas… my current rural location doesn’t allow the old gang to congregate weekly as it once did.  Now, Saturday Night is Pizza Night – accompanied by a comic dose of televised Sci-Fi with the new gang.  And if there are leftovers, a convenient mid-week meal is just a freezer away!

Leftover pizza can be stored in the fridge in a sealed plastic container.  For crispiest crust, reheat for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.

Leftovers can be frozen or stored in a sealed plastic container.  For the crispiest crust, reheat in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast
Distributed by ACH Food Companies, Inc.
Memphis, TN  38016

Made in Canada

www.breadworld.com/

Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Flour: Whole In One

Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour – 5 lb. – Without Additives

024See it at Amazon 

(4.5/5)

Pros: Contains nothing but Hard Red American Whole Grain Wheat – and it’s Stone Ground, to boot.  Unfortified – no added iron or folic acid.  Bakes-up into a tasty and attractive Whole Wheat Potato Bread.

Cons: Bob’s online “Where to Find” update required – two of three closest stores listed at their website didn’t actually carry Bob’s products.

It was great to finally find a truly hypoallergenic multivitamin whose ingredients I can tolerate.  Many feature an absence of iron, copper and nickel – metals whose side-effects outweigh their benefits when over-ingested.  In fact, supplemental iron is contraindicated in men as a potential kidney threat.

Natural Folates [found in green leafy vegetables] are preferable to synthetics found in fortified flours.
Natural Folates [found in green leafy vegetables] are preferable to synthetics found in fortified flours.
My new daily supplement cans these metals – and it also replaces synthetic folate (folic acid) with a patented, natural version known as Metafolin.  The problem now became a matter of overload – due to the ubiquitous presence of folic acid in a variety of carb-heavy foods – from pasta to most leading brands of flour.

Bob’s Dogma

An internet search of additive-free flour led me to the Bob’s Red Mill website.  Their 100% Whole Wheat offering “contains all the precious oil from the wheat germ, fiber from the wheat bran and protein from the inner endosperm – nothing added or removed”.  From seventy listed flours and corn meals, I sought their Unbleached White All Purpose and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

Caution - unsupervised kitchen help can often run amok.
Caution – unsupervised kitchen help can often run amok.

Oops…

I settled for the Whole Wheat Flour because it was all I could find.  The local Shop & Save and Shaw’s supermarkets were listed as vendors, but Hannaford’s was the only store of the closest three that carried any of Bob’s products.  Namely, only one of Bob’s products.

Hodgson Mill also markets unbleached flour containing no bromides, iron or folic acid.
Hodgson Mill also markets unbleached flour containing no bromides, iron or folic acid.

His lonely 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour is front-panel listed as appropriate for use in a number of baked goods – including brownies, cakes and bagels.  My experience with whole wheat flour not cut to 50% in a recipe was one of leaden heaviness.  For a while now I’ve had a-hankerin’ for a loaf of traditional fluffy potato bread.  Let’s see how this trusty standard bakes-up with Bob’s.

My Old Fashioned Ways

Red potatoes are currently in stock here due to their great home-fry potential, but will also do nicely for our purpose.  Peel, boil and mash three medium-sized examples and allow to cool.  Reserve one cup of the potato water when draining.

A trio of red spuds on the bread line.
A trio of red spuds on the bread line.

In a mixer with dough hook attached, place a half-teaspoon sea salt and a tablespoon of sugar in the bowl.  Add 1-1/2 cups of Bob’s 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour and two teaspoons of active dry yeast.  Start the mixer and add the potatoes.  Add one tablespoon of olive oil and gradually add a half-cup of the reserved spud water.  As the mixture comes together, add small amounts of flour until the dough is elastic and pulls-away from the bowl cleanly.

Resting dough as it awaits a first rise.
Resting dough as it awaits a first rise.

Knead for 6-8 minutes and transfer to a buttered bowl whose size is sufficient to accommodate a first-rise.  At this point, some cooks cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  This simple method of fine-tuning the dough dates back to the days before recipes were chronicled and measurements were standardized.

On a warm day the first rise can sneak-up on the best of bakers - better let a friend or three keep an eye on things.
On a warm day, the first rise can sneak-up on the best of bakers – better let a friend or three keep an eye on things!

Kneadful Things

An hour is all it takes to complete the first rise.  Roll the dough out onto a floured board and knead for a couple of minutes – long enough to exhaust any large air pockets.  Form into a pan-appropriate ball and allow to rise an additional 30-minutes @ 85 degrees.  Eyeball the second rise to your liking and brush-on an egg wash just before tossing it in.

A simple egg-wash before baking will encourage a crunchy, golden brown crust.
A simple egg-wash applied before baking will encourage a crunchy, golden brown crust.
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After the first rise, dough should be soft. Only a short knead will be needed – as it shall rise again…

How Long A Wait?

In the Pyrex pan shown, 48-minutes @ 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) will produce an internal temperature of 200 degrees – which equals perfection in the world of bread.  The use of an instant-read thermometer is the best method – my Epica Pen-Shaped example is accurate and lists for less than $20 (US).

The smell of bread fresh from the oven will always attract a crowd.
The smell of bread fresh from the oven will always attract a crowd.

Where and How Much?

Until Bob and crew update the local vendor feature at their website, there are several online flourists who can provide and ship a reliable cross-section of Bob’s product – the first of which is Bob’s.  His format is quite user-friendly.  Amazon.com and Swanson Health Products also emerged during my initial search.

Quality flour provides a fine texture and delicate crumb not usually characteristic of whole wheat flour.
Good quality flour provides a fine texture and delicate crumb uncharacteristic of the whole wheat variety.

Research reveals that Bob’s is one of two American companies that don’t enrich their flours (the other is Hodgson Mill out of Illinois).  Pasta is a different story – the Italian import Pastificio Di Martino is a lone option, if you can find their unconventional shapes locally.

Using a 1-3/4 quart Pyrex dish makes the resulting square loaf simple to store.
Using a 1-3/4 quart Pyrex dish makes the resulting square loaf simple to store.

I paid $4.99 (US) for a 5-pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour – a price that is competitive with premium brands such as King Arthur (a company that does fortify their flours).  As of this posting, the Bob’s website features a printable coupon good for $1 off any one of their products.  I kinda like the only one I found.

Thanks to Bob, today there is Toasted Cheese on Whole Wheat as part of a tasty lunch!
Thanks to Bob, today there is Toasted Cheese on Whole Wheat as part of a tasty lunch!

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc.
13521 SE Pheasant Court
Milwaukie, Oregon

www.bobsredmill.com

Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa: Sugar At Cocoa Prices

Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Baking Cocoa – 10.5 Ounce

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See it at Amazon 

(3.5/5)

Pros: Just okay when used as a base for a hot chocolate beverage.  Makes the case for convenience vs. practicality for the non-baker.

Cons: Sugar is the first listed ingredient – a condition not clearly indicated on the product’s front panel.  Product contains Dutch Process vs. Natural cocoa.  Contains the emulsifier Soy Lecithin.

Trips to the grocery store become routine when food allergies are an issue.  Since its inception, my secret chocolate cake recipe has benefited greatly from the inclusion of Hershey’s Natural Cocoa.  With this product currently out-of-stock, I noticed the elegant gold presence of Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa adjacent to the Hershey’s empty parking spot.  Assuming the titular reference to ‘sweet’ was on-par with ‘semi-sweet’, I decided to give it a try.

Semi-Satisfied

When the time came to bake, I re-discovered the need to read labels on unfamiliar products.  My initial belief that the front panel indicated 100% ground cocoa was in error.  The ‘sweet’ was in fact a reference to the dominance of refined white sugar – with Dutch Process cocoa listed as the second ingredient.

Recipes and other useful info.  [Image:  Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
Recipes and other useful info. [Image: Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
 For those unfamiliar, Dutch Process is a method of making Natural cocoa less acidic by treating it with a chemical alkali.  This action has been shown to cause a significant reduction in the cocoa’s flavanol content – those antioxidant enablers that make natural (especially dark) chocolate the ultimate healthy, heavenly treat.  While it has yet to cause an adverse reaction, many of the Dutch Process cocoas on the market also display a mild chemical aftertaste that is not otherwise found in premium Natural Process cocoa.  Fortunately, the negative effect achieved is more aesthetic than allergic.

No-Dutch

Some Hot Chocolate Cake to complement your Beverage?  [Image:  Flickr.com]
Some Hot Chocolate Cake to complement your Beverage? [Image: Flickr.com]
In my world, the method of choice when constructing a winning cup of hot cocoa is simple – in a heat-proof bowl, take chunks of premium dark and semi-sweet chocolate immersed in milk, add a pinch of sea salt and apply heat.  Whisk thoroughly to incorporate, while adding a tablespoon of powdered natural cocoa.  Heat an additional minute and whisk once again before serving.

Sweet Surrender

The Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa reviewed here contains enough added sugar to require recipe revisions in the form of the Unsweetened Cocoa Substitution recommendation found on the back label:  “For each half cup Unsweetened Cocoa, use one cup of Sweet Ground Cocoa and decrease the amount of sugar the recipe calls for by one-half cup”.  Despite followed this confection correction when I assembled the next chocolate cake, the result was slightly sweeter than anticipated.

Behold the Informed Consumer.  [Image:  Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
Behold the Informed Consumer. [Image: Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
In my opinion, the Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa was too sweet for my baking needs, or for brewing a quality pot of hot chocolate, so I used the remainder of the 10.5 ounce package to make a glaze for the chocolate cake – where the excess sugar content could be more easily regulated by the unsweetened chocolate.  According to the Nutrition Facts located on the rear panel, one serving (3 Tablespoons) equals 27 grams of sugar.  Since a teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams, this indicates that 7 of the 9 teaspoons of product contained in a single serving constitute sugar.

You are entering another dimension...  [Image:  Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
You are entering another dimension… [Image: Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
Brownie Points

Also located on the back panel is a recipe for Ghirardelli Award Winning Brownies.  I am a big fan of their superior brownie mixes – especially the Double Chocolate variety.  Question is – with such a convenient boxed brownie bonanza at hand, why bother fussing with a recipe?  Some things simply cannot be improved upon.  Ghirardelli also excels with its line of Milk, Semi-Sweet and Dark Chocolate Chips.

To their credit, there's no mistaking what's in this package.  [Image:  Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]
To their credit, there’s no mistaking what’s in this package. [Image: Ghirardelli via Amazon.com]

I’m sure, as with any marketed product, there exists a legion of satisfied customers who enjoy Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa – as long as we all take the time to read the label and know what we’re buying.

Distributed by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
San Leandro, CA  94578  U.S.A.

www.ghirardelli.com

A very bland beer that can be skipped.

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Price: N/A

(1.5/5)

Pros: Not really bad as a social drink due to light ABV%

Cons: Nothing really stands out at all

This is a brew I tried out of pure curiosity and to say it did nothing for me at all would be a huge understatement. Brewed in Denver, Colorado, Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter attempts to live up to its namesake even going so far to outright mention it’s made with real vanilla beans. Unfortunately, this porter simply comes up short and it’s nothing I would recommend to anyone outside of curiosity.

The beer pours into a dark body with an off white head that appears to be more beige. The carbonation is fairly soft, the head quickly disappears into a mild lace. While the beer looks nice it’s definitely prettier than it tastes. There’s a bit of a hoppy flavor, and even some chocolate along with roasted caramel that can be tasted; but it’s nothing truly memorable though. The sweetness is bland as hell and while there is some decent dryness in this porter, the after taste is pretty bitter and weak. Well rounded craft drinkers won’t be the least bit impressed I’m sure, and new craft drinkers would definitely wonder what the fuss is all about. The aroma really isn’t that inviting either with a faint smell of vanilla that did not rope me in at all.

I think some of the problem in this beer also lies into the near unnoticeable alcohol feel. This has nothing to do with it being at 4.7%; I think the alcohol was pretty weak in general, and simplly not as upfront as what I’m use to.  It’s no secret that stouts are my pride and joy, but even if this is compared to other low ABV drinks such as many of the Samuel Adams line of brews for example, it simply comes up way short because I don’t think it enhanced the taste enough.

In closing, this is definitely a beer I’m not bothering with again. The $11.99 price tag for this almost felt like high way robbery for me. To veteran craft drinkers I would recommend just about anything else besides this. To new craft drinkers looking for something with a taste that stands out but not too strong; Samuel Adams line of beers would be a great start: Cherry Wheat, Boston Lager, and even Irish Red. I would also recommend the hoppy, and rather strong Victory’s Hop Devil. Vanilla Porter is something that should be left alone. However, if this beer has any purpose at all; the ABV level makes it a change of pace from the Coor’s, Buds, etc. as a decent social drink.

Captain Lawrence Frost Monster – a warm Imperial for these frosty and chilly days.

Captain Lawrence Frost Monster

Price: N/A 

(4/5)

Pros: Full bodied stout with a wonderful taste

Cons: Aroma not exactly to my liking, better stouts out there

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company from NY delivers a pretty good Imperial Stout calling it Frost Monster, which indeed grabbed my attention for these terribly cold winter days. I had a feeling this dark beauty would hit the spot for the right warmness and it did exactly that.

Frost Monster pours into a very dark coffee body with a thick and tanned head. It’s very smooth and full with a soft carbonation; there is really good retention and the lace hangs around for the entire drink. The roasted aroma is probably the only real weakness for me, because it never really attracted me. It’s quite average to say the least, but the taste makes up for this in a good enough way.  There’s a pretty good hoppy bitterness: nice black grains, brown sugar, roasted malts, dark chocolate and definitely traces of licorice. The mouth feel really isn’t that special when compared to others yet I really like this stout though. Despite the 12% ABV that does deliver a nice warmness that I highly enjoy; the alcohol bite doesn’t feel strong but it balances out the drink wonderfully.

Perhaps there’s a chance that I’m under rating this beer. It’s quite complex for the most part with the heavy alcohol count being overshadowed by its full, roasted malty body; but I simply can’t ignore that I had better drinks such as Founders Breakfast Stout for example. In any case, I definitely recommend this to stout lovers, especially during these cold winter days here in NY. The beer comes in a four pack and it’s quite pricey at around 14 dollars. For the most part it’s money well spent and I would buy this again.

 

An excellent brew for those cold winter days! Founders Imperial Stout

Founders Imperial Stout

Price: N/A 

(4.5/5)

Pros: Very nice complex taste delivering an excellent mouth feel

Cons: None for me, but I can imagine a bit of sweetness bothering some people

My recent travels through the alcoholic world of Founders craft brews has led me to another stout. I decided to try out their tasty and very complex Imperial Stout which is simply making sweet love to my taste buds at this very moment. For me, this was a wise purchase.

The beer pours into a very dark body with a thick brown, khaki head that takes some time to disappear into a lace.  It has an inviting burnt coffee and caramel aroma; this beer is far and away from all show, as the taste is every bit as great as its aroma.  There’s a prominent feel of dried fruits providing a nice sweetness that doesn’t feel overdone. It feels like there’s a bit of licorice thrown in. It’s followed by plenty of dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and toffee as well. It has a wonderful creamy and silky mouth feel. The traces of licorice is definitely felt during the after taste coupled with an alcohol bite.

This is a really damn good beer that feels perfect for these cold winter months. The 10.5% alcohol provides a nice overall warmth. This is definitely a beer I will drink again, but this four pack is quite pricey sitting at slightly above $14. In any case, this is definitely something I recommend stout lovers try out.

 

Founders Breakfast Stout – A double chocolate treat that’s best enjoyed slow.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Price: N/A

(4.5/5)

Pros: Strong chocolate and coffee character with a nice bitter aftertaste

Cons: Four pack, and quite pricey

Founders Brewing company whom are located in Grand Rapids MI,  are a brewery I been hearing about for quite some time. The main reason I never had a chance to try their beers is because they’re so hard to find in my area. Thankfully there is one spot out here in the Bronx that seems to carry the stuff quite often. Although I can’t give Founder’s Breakfast Stout a perfect score; it would be crazy to deny this is a good beer. My only gripe is that I had better and more memorable stouts.

Founder’s Breakfast Stout: Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout is an Imperial Stout, that pours into a dark, creamy body with a brown head that quickly fades into a lace. There’s a pretty good roasted coffee aroma that can be very inviting to coffee lovers. It has a nice chocolate bite flanked by coffee and oats, with a small taste of alcohol. I also notice some burned sugar and maybe a dash of licorice that also works into the overall thick mouthfeel. This beer also has a pleasant bitter after taste. There’s always a feel to grab another one too.

This is a damn good beer that is best for the cold seasons, and the high ABV at 8.3% means this is something to sit back and enjoy; on top of this it comes in a rather expensive four pack at $14.00. So I can’t see myself rushing through it. It’s not the best stout out there, but it’s definitely something that should be given a try.

Beef & Dumplings — Yum

Campbell’s® Chunky™ Country Beef & Dumplings with Hearty Vegetables Soup

 

soup

See it at Amazon 

(4/5)

Pros: Husband likes it, good taste, Campbell’s supports women’s heart health program

Cons: 800mg sodium

Campbell’s® Chunky™ Country Beef & Dumplings with Hearty Vegetables Soup that eats like a meal®. When you’re hungry, you need Chunky®.   Chunky It fills you up right®

Fall into winter I buy a good bit of canned soups. Husband enjoys homemade and canned soups and he particularly likes Campbell’s canned soups.   The 18.8 oz can is about the right size for him to heat up in the microwave while I am in the classroom and away from the house during the day.

I enjoy the advertising surrounding chunky soups; both Husband and I enjoy football, the various advertising campaigns set in place using football players and their moms are always interesting, fun and entertaining. And, they trigger the notion to get a can or two when I am shopping at our local Reasors Supermarket.

The label notes that Country Beef & Dumplings with Hearty Vegetables Soup offers a full serving of vegetables and is crafted using Lean Meat.

I find Chunky soup is eaten more readily in our house than are some of the less hefty soups available. Husband takes to heart the notion that 30 selections filled with good sized pieces of vegetables and meat allow a nice variety of tasty flavors from which to choose to fill his perhaps NFL size hunger.

Now and then I do take some of the Campbells soups in the smaller containers to school to heat for lunch in our school Microwavable, I find the chunky soups while being a dandy size for Husband who stands taller than I and weighs somewhat more than do I tends to be a larger portion than I need to assuage my hunger. I like that Campbell’s works to meet the needs of all consumers rather than just those with larger appetites.

Occasionally I do prepare noodles or rice and pour a can or two of Chunky Soup over it for a quick lunch or light supper on snowy winter days. I find The Country Beef & Dumplings with Hearty Vegetables to be a tasty topping for rice or noodles; filled with good sized pieces of carrots and celery, seasoned beef, diced tomatoes in Juice, and peas as well as tomato puree, for added flavor the soup adds just the right touch for a cold winter meal as we watch football.

For a good source of protein, potassium and vitamins A & C Husband and I enjoy flavorful soups filled with vegetables and lean pieces of meat.

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Nutrition Facts from the Campbell’s website: Amount Per Serving = serving size 1 cup

Calories 130

Fat Calories 15

Sodium 800mg

Carbohydrates 20g

Dietary Fiber 3g

Sugars 8g

Protein 8g

* from the Campbell’s Website:  The nutrition information contained in this list of Nutrition Facts is based on our current data. However, because the data may change from time to time, this information may not always be identical to the nutritional label information of products on shelf.

This is a long lived, pantry shelf type product, store at room temperature, container is metal can, fully cooked contents, heat and serve. Can has pull tab for quick opening.

Ingredients from label include: Water, Carrots, Seasoned Beef, Eggs, Enriched Wheat Durum Flour, Salt, Spices, Celery diced Tomatoes in Juice, Tomato Puree, Peas

Contains 2% or less of the following: Food Starch Modified, Onions Dehydrated, Sugar, Salt, Beef Stock, Beef Flavors, Yeast Extract, Maltodextrin , Dehydrated Garlic, Caramel Color, Flavoring, Gelatin, Onions , Spices , Lactic Acid , Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Citric Acid

Spaetzle Dumplings ingredients include: Water, Enriched Wheat Flour

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I like knowing something of the company’s from which I buy products, internet search and Campbell’s website perusal indicates:

Launched in 1869 by New Jerseyites Joseph A. Campbell and Abraham Anderson. The slogan for the company since 1978 has been “Mmm Mmm Good.”

Campbell Soup Company, frequently known as Campbell’s, is an American manufacturer of canned soups and related products.

A worldwide supplier; Campbell’s headquartered in Camden, New Jersey products are sold in 120 countries

Internet search indicates: The Campbell Soup corporation  supports the ‘go red’ campaign to bring awareness to women and others that heart disease is the number one cause of death among women.

As part of Campbell’s mission to nourish people’s lives everywhere, every day, Campbell continues to offer a growing variety of heart-healthy products. “This year marks our seventh year supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement, and we’ve never been more proud to be a part of the organization’s efforts to raise awareness of the risks of heart disease among women. Campbell is dedicated to making great-tasting products that help people eat and live better, and our pledge of $5.4 million to the Go Red for Women movement through 2015 is a critical piece of this commitment.” Ed Carolan, Vice President and General Manager, Soup and Simple Meals, Campbell Soup Company. To further this important cause, we invite you to join us in supporting the Go Red For Women movement.

Campbell Soup Company owns some of the world’s most powerful sauce, beverage, and snack brands, including Prego, Pace, V8, SpaghettiOs, Pepperidge Farm, and Godiva. Each of these brands is number one or two in its segment. Since its introduction over two decades ago, Prego pasta sauce has become a popular part of Italian meals prepared in American homes. Created more than 50 years ago, Pace Mexican sauces have built unwavering loyalty with consumers in western U.S. markets. V8 vegetable juice, introduced almost 70 years ago, remains on trend for today’s health conscious consumers.

Pepperidge Farm is consistently ranked by consumers among the top two percent of brands worldwide in brand equity. Pepperidge Farm has almost 5,000 employees and 3,000 independent distributors. Pepperidge Farm products are available nationwide and in 40 countries around the world. There are eight Pepperidge Farm production sites throughout the United States which produce indulgent cookies and treats, fresh breads, fun snacks, and meal solutions.

Pepperidge Farm has been committed to quality in all of its products for nearly 70 years.

Godiva is recognized around the world as the leader in fine chocolates. From its famous truffles to its European style biscuits, and gourmet coffees, Godiva Chocolatier has been dedicated to excellence and innovation in the Belgian tradition for nearly 80 years.

Campbell Place

Camden, New Jersey 08103-1701

United States