THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: Chocolate Poppers, Coconut Sparkling Water, Ice Cream Mochi

This week’s favorites, in alphabetical order:
 
BUBBIES: MOCHI ICE CREAM IN HOLIDAY FLAVORS

We love mochi, a Japanese sweet treat consisting of a round pouch of rice dough, traditionally filled with red beans or other paste. In the U.S., ice cream often replaces the red beans.

If you’re not familiar with mochi (MOE-chee), here’s the scoop.

This year, Bubbie’s, which makes ice cream mochi in 19 flavors, offers mochi fun in limited-edition holiday flavors:

  • Eggnog
  • Gingerbread
  • Peppermint Candy
  • Pumpkin (photo #1)
  •  
    When you just want a bite of sweetness, a piece of mochi hits the spot.

    DISCOVER MORE AT BUBBIESICECREAM.COM.
     
     
    JIF POPPERS

    Years back, we had a Combos habit: a pack a day of the pretzel nuggets with a cheddar cheese filling (and since then, seven additional fillings).

    At some point, we gave them up, but now we have a new habit: Jif Poppers (photo #2).

    This new stack combines mini pretzels with large nuggets of crunchy popcorn coated with peanut butter. We can’t resist them.

    There are three flavors:

  • Chocolate Poppers, with chocolate-covered pretzels
  • Peanut Butter Poppers, with plain pretzels
  • Strawberry Poppers, with dried strawberries instead of pretzels
  •  
    For us, the clear winner Chocolate Poppers. We’re not sure why the same snack was made without the chocolate pretzel coating; are there really that many people who don’t want chocolate? But, they’re delicious nevertheless.

    Strawberry Poppers are not for us. To our palate, the dried strawberries don’t have synergy with the PB-coated popcorn. Long live Chocolate Poppers!

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

    FIND A STORE NEAR YOU AR JIF.COM.
     
     
    3. WATERLOO: COCONUT SPARKLING WATER

    Waterloo makes sparkling waters in seven flavors (plus Original). Based on how natural they taste, we like some better than others.

    For us, the star of the collection is Coconut Sparkling Water (photo #3). We say this as someone who likes coconut, but isn’t attracted to conventional coconut waters.

    Natural coconut flavors and zero calories: We just bought a carton of 12 cans.

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

    FIND A STORE LOCATOR AT DRINKWATERLOO.COM.

     

    Bubbie's Pumpkin Mochi
    [1] Bubbie’s holiday mochi in Gingerbread.

    Jif Chocolate Poppers
    [2] Jif Chocolate Poppers from Jif.

    Waterloo Coconut Sparkling Water
    [3] Waterloo coconut sparkling water.

     

     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Clean Out Your Refrigerator!

    Colored Refrigerators
    [1] When you open your fridge, what do you see? Read on for how you can see a beautiful, clean inside (photo courtesy Big Chill).

    Full Refrigerator
    [2] Where will you fit Thanksgiving dinner? (photo courtesy Thetford).

     

    National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, celebrated on November 15th, should be celebrated every month!

    Unless you’re one of the handful of people (hello, Mom!) who scrub down the insides of the fridge weekly (and the outside every day!), you may be keeping more food than you want.

    National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day was created by the home economists at Whirlpool Home Appliances in 1999, purportedly to encourage people to clean out their refrigerator in advance of the need for more space for foods for holiday dinners.

    The biggest culprit is food, from leftover food and wine to condiments to whatever, that takes up space and needs to be tossed.

    After all, if you wanted it that much, you’d have eaten it already. And you may be quite surprised at what has been lingering at the back of your shelves.

    If you have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce or mint jelly that’s been there for years, just get rid of it. Even though some condiments may look and smell just fine, you’re hoarding food you don’t need. If you find yourself wanting some in the future, a fresh bottle will do much better.

    Some people have smart refrigerators, but they’re not yet smart enough to tell you to toss that open can of anchovies, or the olives that have been there for three years.
     
     
    GET READY…SET…

    All you need are:

  • A bucket of hot, soapy water.
  • A sponge and/or paper towels.
  • A scrub brush for dried-on spills.
  • A multipurpose spray cleaner.
  • A trash bag for everything that gets tossed (you can toss the contents and recycle the containers at the end of your clean-up).
  • Some energetic background music (optional).
  •  
     
    GO!

    Before you start, take a look at your foods. Would it be more efficient if you purchased some plastic refrigerator/freezer bins to organize things on the shelves?

     
    We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought plastic bins and now store yogurt, condiments and other products in dedicated “bins.” It’s been an enormous improvement in fridge organization.

    1. Unplug your refrigerator

    This step can be done at your discretion, but it can help you conserve energy. Keeping the door open while you scrub will raise the interior temperature and make your fridge work harder to keep your food cold.

    2. Remove everything inside the fridge to the countertop or the sink.

    As you remove them, group them into categories (condiments, fruit, leftovers) so you can efficiently return them to the shelves, or to the trash bin.

    3. Toss or recycle.

    Get rid of anything that is old, expired, or simply not used. Make firm decisions: Do you really want to keep that Bloody Mary mix that’s been open for six months? Do you use that reconstituted lemon juice, or do you just keep a bottle “in case?” (If the latter, it’s better to quarter a fresh lemon and stick it in the freezer.)

    Place the rejects in a heavy duty shopping bag so you can return later, dump the contents and recycle the containers.

    If you have, say, a carton with just two eggs and don’t need the eggs for anything immediate, consume them posthaste and clear out space.

    4. Remove the shelves and produce drawers.

    Place them in the sink in warm, soapy water. While they’re soaking…

    5. Clean the interior.

    Use soapy water or a multipurpose spray cleaner and clean the entire inside, including the “floor” and “ceiling” of the compartment (you’d be surprised…).

    Be prepared with Plan B for sticky spots or stains that don’t come clean easily. This includes lots of hot water, soap and the scrub brush. Some spots need multiple passes.

    6. Wipe and polish.

    Use paper towels or a clean dish towel to fully remove the soap or cleaner. Use a wet towel as necessary. Be sure to wipe down the the shelf seams and the rubber door gasket. You may need a Q-tip to get into the ridges.

    7. Finish scrubbing the shelves and drawers in the sink.

    Pat them dry and return them to their places. You’re now ready to put back the food.

    8. Put back the food, focusing on organization.

    Organize everything in a way that makes sense to you. If you don’t drink soda often, for example, stick it in the back. Place the condiments together, the spreads and jams together, etc.

    But before putting anything back, use a wet paper towel to wipe down the containers. They can get quite sticky/greasy.

    9. Repeat the above with the freezer.

    Give yourself a break and take a day off in-between the top and the bottom. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.

      

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    GIFT PICK: Aero Indoor Herb Garden

    We love fresh basil. We always have a small pot of basil on our kitchen window ledge.

    We’ve always wished we could have more fresh herbs—chives, dill and parsley, particularly. But we only have one accessible window with good light.

    Recently, we acquired a system that doesn’t fit on the sill, but does look very nice as a “centerpiece” on our kitchen table (photo #1).
     
     
    1. AEROGARDEN HOME GARDENING SYSTEM

    Enter AeroGarden home gardening system (photos #1 and #3). It helps you to grow fresh herbs, flowers or vegetables (think cherry tomatoes and chiles) in any room, no matter the amount of light. It has its own light source, emitting the ideal amount to grow your herbs.

    No soil is used: The plants grow hydroponically in water. AeroGarden automatically tells you when to add more water. You can’t over- or under-water your plants.

    The box includes a gourmet herb seed kit to get you started. The unit sets up in minutes, and the herbs sprout quickly.

    Nine models range from small ($34.97) to extra-large ($599.96, taller than your sofa, designed for ferns and flowers). The larger models have Wi-Fi. A small kid-friendly unit enables young foodies to grow herbs in their rooms.

    See a selection of the line in the large photo below.

    See the whole line at AeroGarden.com.
     
     
    2. BALL HERB GROWING KIT

     

    AeroGarden Indoor Herb Garden
    [1] One of AeroGarden’s indoor herb gardens. Also check out the models at the bottom of the page (photo courtesy AeroGarden).

    Ball Herb Growing Kit
    [2] A ball-jar-size option, the Ball Herb Growing Kit (photo courtesy Ball)

     
    For a more introductory way to grow herbs, Ball Herb Growing Kit Single is a much simpler option.

    It uses a soil-like growing medium, which is kept perfectly hydrated with a hydro wick that goes from the soil-and-seed basket above to the container of water below (photo #2). It eliminates the need to water the plant each day.

    The kit includes everything you need to grow herbs, starting with basil seeds, for a very affordable $8.96.

    Buy it online at Walmart.

    One final item we’ve previously recommended: a combination fish bowl and herb garden!
     
     
    MORE AEROGARDEN OPTIONS

    AeroGarden Indoor Herb Garden
    [3] Some of the nine AeroGarden home gardening systems (photo courtesy AeroGarden).
     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy-To-Cook Turkey Breast From Diestel

    Diestel Turkey Breast
    [1] Simple to cook, this all white meat boneless breast is 3.75 pounds. See the full-size photo below.

    Diestel Turkey Breast
    [2] Look for this box at retail, or order it online (both photos courtesy Diestel Family Ranch).

     

    GREAT NEWS FOR WHITE MEAT LOVERS

    If you want roast turkey on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table but only care about white meat, we have a treat for you.

    Diestel Family Ranch has launched its new Holiday Cook-In-Bag Turkey Breast Roast for this holiday season.

    Serving a premium roast Diestel turkey, for a smaller group of six to eight, just got way easier.

    Pre-packaged in a BPA-free bag that locks in all of the bird’s natural juices, this turkey breast is lightly brined, perfectly seasoned, and ready to pop into the oven.

    That’s right: There’s no prep, no messy roasting pan. Just put the bagged turkey in a pan and place it in the oven at 350°F. Even the most kitchen-averse host will find it a snap to cook.

    And to carve as well: It’s boneless!

    In just one and half hours in the oven (three hours if it’s frozen), you’ll have a turkey breast so moist and flavorful, you’ll be delighted.

    The 3.75-pound turkey breast is nicely seasoned with basil, black pepper, chili peppers, garlic, onion, oregano, rosemary, sage, sea salt and smoked paprika. It is:

  • Completely free of preservatives, artificial ingredients and gluten.
  • Non-GMO Project Verified.
  • Free from hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants.
  • The turkey is 100% vegetarian-fed.
  • It is humanely raised, with individual care, plenty of fresh air, and room to roam.
  •  
    Diestel’s Holiday Cook-In-Bag Turkey Breast Roast is available at retailers nationwide and can be purchased online at from Diestel Family Ranch. The breast is sold frozen in a 3.75-pound package.

    Get yours for $43.16 at DiestelFamilyRanch.com.
     
     
    ABOUT DIESTEL FAMILY RANCH

    The California-based Diestel Family Ranch is one of the few, small, family-owned and operated ranches left in the nation.

    Run by a team of passionate and forward-thinking, fourth-generation turkey farmers, the family’s high standards have remained unchanged since the ranch’s founding in 1949. Due to careful farming practices and an emphasis on quality craftsmanship. Diestel’s products are always juicy and tender.

    The company produces both holiday turkeys and year-round products. For more information visit visit DiestelFamilyRanch.com.

    Diestel Cook In Bag Turkey Breast

      

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    GIFT PICK: Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendar & A Wine Advent Calendar

    WHAT’S AN ADVENT CALENDAR?

    Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means “coming.” It’s a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, on Christmas Day.

    A tradition begun by Lutherans in Germany, the first known Advent calendar dates to 1851. Its purpose: to count down the 24 days of December until Christmas.

    Most Advent calendars begin on December 1st, regardless of when Advent is celebrated in any particular year (it’s the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, which can range from November 27th to December 3rd).

    Early Advent calendars were handmade. Some were strictly religious in nature; others were secular. Some involved affixing colored pictures to a piece of cardboard. Children’s versions had pieces of candy affixed to cardboard. Some have been handed down as treasured family heirlooms.

    The first printed Advent calendar was published in 1908, and the now-familiar versions followed, with windows that opened out of the cardboard to reveal a religious image, inspirational photo or, for children, a treat or a coin.

    Today, most Advent calendars are made for children: large and festive rectangles of printed cardboard with a different window to be opened on each of the 24 days. The more elaborate versions have a small gift behind each window: a charm, a tiny toy, a piece of candy.

    Chocolatiers create versions with a different piece of chocolate behind each window.

    You can find beer Advent calendars in Europe (actually a box of 24 beers), and there’s a wine Advent calendar right here in the U.S., with 24 compartments of wine (see below).

    The chocolate and wine Advent calendars we present here are memorable gifts. Don’t tarry: These items sell out quickly, and need to be in the hands of the recipients by December 1st.
     
     
    DANDELION CHOCOLATE: CHOCOLATE ADVENT CALENDAR

    Dandelion Chocolate, a San Francisco-based maker of artisan chocolate bars, partnered with some of their favorite Bay Area chocolatiers and treat makers to craft “the Advent calendar of our childhood dreams.”

    It’s also a labor of love for small mom-and-pop chocolate makers to craft an extra 800 or 1600 bonbons in the months before the holidays. That’s why only 800 Advent calendars are available.

    The gift contains four pounds of chocolate! Each large calendar contains 25 hand-picked, treat-filled, reusable treasure boxes playful decorated with hand-drawn birds, animals, plants or flowers that are local to the Bay Area (photos #1 and #2).

    The chocolates inside are crisp, smooth, or chewy; chocolatey, fruity, or nutty. Each beautifully crafted, the array of flavors and textures changes daily, and each treat contains some element of Dandelion’s cacao nibs or single-origin chocolate.

    Just a taste of the confection: Burnt Honeycomb, Caramel Crunch, Gingersnap Praline, Mini Blood Orange and Smokey the Bourbon Bonbons; Oolong Crisp Bar; and Speculoos Coffee Tile.

    This year’s calendar, $110, is illustrated with by local artist Maggie Enterrios, with calligraphy are from Lisa Quine. Every calendar in the collection is numbered by hand and comes tied in a shimmering forest-green bow.

    GET YOURS NOW, AT DANDELIONCHOCOLATE.COM.

    Also consider Dandelion’s assortment of single origin chocolate bars, wrapped in beautiful paper with an explanation of the origin and its flavors (photo #3). You can give one as a stocking stuffer, or a gift set.
     
     
    DIRECT WINES: WINE ADVENT CALENDAR

    This innovative wine Advent calendar (photos #4 and #5) was created for those who delight in a daily glass of wine.

    It contains 24 quarter-bottles (187ml) of top-quality wines from winemakers around the world, including:

  • A Champagne with two gold medals
  • A fine Bordeaux from the exceptional 2015 vintage
  • A 5-star estate Rioja and similar
  • A barrel-aged Chardonnay…
  • And 20 more
  •  
    Behind each of the calendar’s 24 windows, the quarter-bottle provides a generous glassful (187ml) of world-class wine from top winemakers around the globe.

    It’s a daily celebration of the season and of the grape.

     

    Dandelion Chocolate Advent Calendar
    [1] A bite-a-day of artisan chocolate.

    Dandelion Chocolate Advent Calendar
    [2] The chocolate Advent calendar from Dandelion Chocolate (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Dandelion Chocolate).

    Dandelion Chocolate Bar
    [3] A glass of wine a day for the 24 days before Christmas (photos #3 and #4 courtesy Direct Wines).

    Wine Advent Calendar
    [4] A glass of wine a day for the 24 days before Christmas (photos #3 and #4 courtesy Direct Wines).

    Wine Advent Calendar
    [5] A glass a day, through Christmas Eve.

     
    This festively-packaged Advent calendar makes a great gift for wine-loving friends. Order by November 19th for delivery by December 1st.

    The gift is $129, including shipping.

    GET YOURS AT:

  • Macy’s Wine Cellar
  • Wall Street Journal Wine
  •  
    Editor’s Note: So sorry, we have just been advised that the wine Advent calendar is sold out.

     

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