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Archive for the ‘Food and beverage’ Category

If your kids are always saying “nothing sounds good” when it comes to food, add a little fun to their snacking experience with these treats, that might even be good for them.

Super veggie pizza

Do your kids claim they are allergic to vegetables?  Good luck getting them to each that spinach ice cream; but you can sneak in some vitamin-rich cauliflower without even an argument when its served up in their favorite kid food – pizza!  CAULIPOWER is a gluten-free, delicious and nutritious ready-to-cook cauliflower crust pizza that will have them asking for more cauliflower please. Available in four tasty varieties – three-cheese pizza, veggie pizza, margherita pizza and plain crust. Available at Whole Foods or on Amazon.


Care for some chocolate, honey?

Kids love chocolate.  Kids love honey.  But who would have thought these two flavors would taste incredible together? MANUKA did. The New Zealand company known for its potent and pure honey combined these two delicious flavors by wrapping rich dark 99-percent-cocoa chocolate around honey and adding a touch of mint or ginger.  The result is a scrumptious gluten-free, no-preservative, no-artificial-colors treat that will definitely help the medicine go down – in fact, with its anti-bacterial properties that boost the immune system, you might not need any medicine.  Available at https://www.shoppri.com/


Squeeze in breakfast

No time for breakfast? Grab some morning time nutrition on the go with Munk Pack ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes, full of whole grains and real fruit bites, and certified gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. In a spouted pouch, these palm-size pouches are ideal for a quick healthy breakfast, or as an on-the-go snack for outdoor activities or travel. Each serving has only 90-100 calories and 3-4g of fiber and nothing artificial. Available in Maple Pear Quinoa, Peach Chai Vanilla, Raspberry Coconut, Blueberry Acai Flax, Apple Quinoa Cinnamon.  Buy at Wegmans, Raley’s, Publix, Whole Food sand select grocers nationwide.


Have a ball, er…drink

Sugary juices are the culprit in many an unpleasant trip to the dentist, so give kids a healthier, flavorful option that is not full of sugar. AquaBall, the flavored water in a ball-shaped bottle designed to fit perfectly in kids’ hands and car cup holders, is the only zero calories, sugar-free and preservative-free children’s beverage on the market. Packaging includes Disney and Marvel characters that make drinking up cool for kids.  Available in Berry Frost, Fruit Punch, Grape, Strawberry Lemonade.  Available at grocery stores nationwide.


Mother Nature’s Candy

Candy happens.  Stop trying to fight it by offering carrot sticks.  If they are going to eat candy, at least let it be lower sugar, organic candy, like YumEarth, makers of vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO treats with no high fructose corn syrup and free of the top 8 allergens.  Varieties include candy drops, lollipops, gummies, sour beans and chewy fruit snacks. Available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans and other select grocery stores or online at www.yummyearth.com

yum earth candy

For a family brunch, romantic dinner or drinks with friends, L’Ami aims to please

2017-03-10 (1)Before I appraise the food at L’Ami in Santa Monica, I would be remiss not to mention another recommendation of this charming restaurant, the atmosphere.  This Mediterranean oasis, in the middle of Los Angeles, adjacent to the popular Brentwood Country Mart, is a heavenly retreat on a summery day, where patrons can sit on the patio surrounded by olive trees and imagine they are basking in the sun in St. Tropez.  Or, on one of those chilly LA days, when the temps dip way down, to the low 60s, guests can cozy up on shearling covered bar chairs next to the blazing fire inside the dining room, where the radiant heat of the stone hearth exudes a comfort equaled to the warm hospitality of the staff.

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For those lucky enough to encounter the owner Marc-Antoine Ramaud, whose childhood culinary experiences inspired the menu, you will understand from where the spirit of friendliness emanates. Ramaud aims to please his guests in every way, beginning with creating a romantic and inviting setting, and then complementing the experience with offerings of fresh, organic and seasonal dishes that capture the Mediterranean culture and cuisine.

The menu represents the varied flavor combinations along the Mediterranean shores, such as the exquisite appetizer of carpaccio of hand dived scallops with truffle vinaigrette with Jerusalem artichokes, chives, mache leaves and shaved black truffle; or a homemade foie gras au torchon on brioche toast with fig chutney and frisée salad.  And if you love French onion soup, this is the place to have it, served with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese gratiné and croutons – scrumptious next to the fire on a cold day.


For dinner, some of the standout excellent dishes include Baby Lamb Shank, oven roasted and served with mashed potatoes, spinach and candied carrot; Couscous Royale, in a lamb stew with chicken, merguez sausage and harissa; and you can’t go wrong with the White Sea Bass, served with seasonal vegetables and a medley of quinoa and harissa emulsion.



On weekends, it is time to indulge at L’Ami with decadent and delicious entrees such as Grilled Filet Mignon Benedict on brioche toast with beef tenderloin medallions and hollandaise; or Farro and Goad Cheese Risotto Benedict with green lentils, kale and hollandaise.

The brunch menu also features a kids menu for $12 with a beverage and kid-friendly sections like and French toast, mini waffle with eggs and bacon or a Breakfast Pita of scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage.

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While the food deserves high acclaim, the drinks cannot go without mention.  The resident mixologist serves up favorites like 1792 Old Fashion Angostora and Peychouls Bitters, with sugar cane, 1792 bitters; and surprising and exotic mixes like Seasonal Rhubarb Beluga Vodka, a blend of organic rhubarb and  lemon juice; the Moscow Mule Vodka, a cocktail with a kick made of ginger beer, and organic lime juice;  or the refreshing Marco’s Mojito Flor, blended with De Cana Rum, fresh mint, and organic lime.

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L’Ami is located at 246 26th Street, Santa Monica, California, on the Westside boarder of Santa Monica and Brentwood.  Its entry is tricky to find, hidden behind a wrought iron gate covered in ivy, but well worth the hunt.


Smoothies are easy-to-make, quick energy food — and even a quick-fix meal for kids, who think they are getting a milkshake that tastes great, and they don’t even have to know how healthy it is for them. For parents who need a pick-me-up or kids who want a delicious treat that isn’t grilled cheese or chicken nuggets try these great ingredients for keeping it fresh, delicious, healthy and energy-packed.

Bring on the protein

When you want to add in some protein to your smoothie, but you don’t want a load of sugar, cholesterol and artificial ingredients like those found in a lot of protein supplements, scoop in in heaping helping of Protein Plus Energy Powder. Made from protein in peanuts, this plant-based protein is great tasting, contains 17 grams of protein per serving, is high in fiber, low in sodium, and cholesterol free. It contains no GMOs or artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Protein Energy Power comes in four flavors including original, chocolate, honey and banana, and is available online and at select retail locations including Publix stores and at http://www.proteinplusflour.com. $28.99 for 20 ounces. (including shipping).


Feeling Juicy

High pressure processing is the best way to preserve the nutrients and flavor of fruits and vegetables when juicing, making cold pressed juices excellent bases for smoothies. Pressed Juicery makes approximately 30 varieties in the categories of greens, roots, citrus, fruits, coffee, refreshers and classics, and with their subscription service you can have fresh bottles delivered to your doorstep, so you can be stocked up anytime you want to blend up a nourishing smoothie chock full of antioxidants, phenolic compounds and loaded with health benefits. Bottles around $6.50 each.  Delivery subscriptions being as low as $160 for 12 juices a month, with free shipping.


Smoothie in a box

Keep your smoothie recipies and ingredients fresh with a subscription to Green Blender, a Southern California based home delivery service that delivers a box of just-picked fruits, veggies and other ingredients to your door along with recipies.  Each week, you’ll get five new smoothie recipes and all the pre-portioned ingredients you’ll need to make 10 smoothies.  The hand-crafted recipes are designed to provide a balanced menu, packed with flavor and nutrients; and all the produce and superfoods in the kits are sourced from organic and local farms. Subscriptions begin at $3.90 per smoothie, with free shipping.


Daily dairy

Yogurt gives smoothies their creamy consistency and bulk, but not all yogurts are created equal.  Clover Yogurt uses premium organic fruit and lots of it.  Their yogurt was the first to be American Humane Certified, and contains no synthetic growth hormone rSBT and is USDA Organic Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. Their Clover Organic Greek Yogurt gives just the right tartness to smoothies and comes in a six flavors – blueberry, strawberry, peach, black cherry, vanilla, and plain, available in a 32-ounce family size ($8.29) great to stock up with to blend up daily smoothies.  Sold in local independent grocers, Whole Foods Market,  and Safeway Inc.


A dollop of peanut butter is the gold standard ingredient for a protein-packed smoothie, but for extra deliciousness, try a cocoa or hazelnut spread instead. Escape the ordinary with Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata chocolate hazelnut spread, made with healthy and environmentally responsible cold-pressed sunflower oil. Nocciolata dairy-free, organic hazelnut and cocoa spread does not contain palm oil contained in other popular hazelnut spreads, which is potentially carcinogenic when heated above 200 degrees Celsius. This low-sugar, vegan spread is completely free of GMO’s, preservatives, artificial colors, additives, or artificial sweeteners – just hazelnut, cocoa and cocoa butter, natural vanilla extract, raw sugarcane, and skimmed milk.  Available at grocery stores nationwide, or on Amazon, $6.49 for 9.52.-ounce jar.


Sometimes you feel like a coconut

Coconut water has become the elixir du jour for health aficionados, and now ZICO brand has done coconut water one better, with the infusion of juices, perfect for mixing in smoothies. For a lighter smoothie, blend in ZICO Chilled Orange Juice Blend, Chilled Pineapple Mango Orange Juice Blend, and ZICO Natural Chilled Coconut Water Zico.  These juice blends have nearly half the calories of regular fruit drinks and all the hydration benefits of coconut water, including five naturally occurring electrolytes and is much potassium as a banana. Available in the refrigerator aisle at major grocery stores in select cities. 1.5L carton, $7.99.


Yes Brainer

Talk about adding a boost, BrainGear memory drink will not just punch up the flavor of your smoothie, but it is formulated to enhance brain performance. The pineapple Mango drink is naturally flavored and contains no GMOs, artificial colors or preservatives and contains only 2 grams of sugar. Add it into your smoothies daily to support memory, mood stability, restful sleep and brain health.  Available at select grocery stores in limited cities, or online at braingear.com, $9.99 for three 4.5 fluid ounce bottles.


There are plenty of goodies to nibble on and imbibe during the day holiday season to fill you up like a bowl full of jelly. Here are some sweet snacks and twists on traditional treats and drinks for you and your guests that taste good and will get you on the nice list.

Party poppers

Want to bring a little, little hostess gift?  Pack along a bag of The Little Kernel mini popcorn. These tiny sans-hull crunchy popped corns, in six flavors– Truffle Sea Salt, Sweet and Salty Pink Himalayan, White Cheddar, Butter and Naked, made with 100% pure olive oil and are gluten-free, dairy-free, whole-grain and non-GMO. And for a conversation starter, the snack company was founded by Chris Laurita of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and business partner Andy Epstein. $3.99, Giant, Sprouts and other select grocery stores nationwide.


Just like Grandma made

Serve up nostalgia at your holiday with a tin of Malt Shop Cookies. These retro treats made with real malted milk are beloved by baby boomers as well as Gen Xers and millennials who crave the malted milk finishing touch. The cookies come in a gift tin with a personalized message label and are available in chocolate chip, double chocolate and mocha chocolate flavors.  $24.99, $29.99 and $39.99 for a small, medium or large tin of 12, 18 or 36 cookies.


Nuts to go

Grab some snacks for the long ride to the relatives for the holidays and crunch down on Nuts About You, handcrafted small batch treats, and with five delicious flavors of Fireball Almonds, Green Tea Almonds, Coconut Almonds, Cookies N Cream Almonds, and Sweet Sriracha, there is a nut flavor for every taste, from fiery to savory to sweet. Sampler of all five flavors, 4 oz. bags, $32, www.nutsaboutyoula.com.


Snack like a Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and now anyone can eat like a Mediterranean. Mediterra, the latest in healthful, all-natural snack bars, offers savory bars including flavors such as Bell Peppers and Green Olives, Black Olives and Walnuts, and Kale and Pumpkin Seeds, all with less than 4 grams of sugar and packing in 5 grams of protein. They’re rich in vegetables, nuts, herbs and seeds and contain protein-rich pea crisps, amaranth and olive oil, and all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, certified kosher, dairy free and vegan. $1.99 each 1.23-ounce bar or three bars of each flavor in a variety pack of 12 for $23.95. Available at Safeway, Whole Foods, Wegmans and other grocers nationwide or www.MediterraNutrition.com


Got nut milk?

Don’t leave Santa a boring glass of 2% dairy milk, make him jolly with the treat of MALK.  This wonderfully delicious and healthy nut milk is made with more than one cup of sprouted and organic nuts and is cold pressed to keep it fresh. The various MALK products are made from organic pecans, almonds, and cashews, and each MALK product is less than 7 grams of sugar. The nut milk flavors are perfect to drink by themselves or to stir into egg nog, smoothies or hot cocoa. $6.99 per 28-ounce bottle.  Available nationally, including all Whole Foods and Ralph’s Grocery Stores.


Cider in the house rules

When traditional spiced cider just won’t do the trick, Sonoma Cider offers a punch, from the latest style of cider drink, hard cider. With certified organic ingredients and distinctive flavors, including The Wimble, which is a variation on gose, an old German-style beer known to be sour and briny with a lingering and addicting harmonic tartness with notes of rhubarb and apple, The Crowbar, a habanero lime cider, and The Pulley, a crisp, refreshing apple cider with overtones of black licorice and a hint of anise, the botanical heart of absinthe. Four 12-ounce cans in a pack for $10.99, or Four bottles for $9.99. Target, Whole Foods, Food Lion and other grocery and liquor stores nationwide.


Ice is nice

Make your holiday cocktails bright and cheery with a splash of color and flavor with ICE Sparkling Ice beverages. These light and refreshing sparkling waters, teas and lemonades contain real fruit flavor in unexpected fruit combinations, like Black Raspberry, Orange Mango, Pink Grapefruit, Kiwi Strawberry, and Coconut Pineapple, without all the calories. They make flavorful mixers for your party drinks, such as a yummy pomegranate wine spritzer, with Riesling, Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling ICE, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, a teaspoon of agape, and mint. Available in 12 packs for $12 at grocery stores nationwide.


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