THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

NEWS: Oatmeal, The New “Hot” Food?

oatmeal-right-250

A healthy, hearty bowl of Holly’s Oatmeal.

Starbucks began selling oatmeal in portable covered bowls this fall, and it has proven to be one of the most successful food products the company has introduced, according to an article in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Smoothie chain Jamba Juice has launched oatmeal in Chicago, with a rollout to all locations by January. Is the food that so many moms had to struggle to make kids eat becoming hot?

It should. Oatmeal a whole grain cereal. A diet high in whole grain foods (2.5 servings per day) is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. If you think your current cereal or bread is whole grain, read our article on whole grain cereals)—you may be surprised.

Oatmeal tips:

– Try to avoid turning your bowl of health food into a high-glycemic nightmare. If you crave sweetness, instead of topping it with brown sugar, try an artificial sweetener and fresh fruit, like half a banana or some strawberries (strawberries are pricey right now, but there are bargains to be found).

– The Quaker Oats product most of us have grown up with is rolled oats. A quick lesson: After the outer husk (the chaff) has been removed from the oat grains, the bran-covered grains that remain are known as oat groats. Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces and retain bits of the bran layer, that provides flavor, texture and nutrition. Rolled oats have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers, so they lose that texture.

– Don’t scrimp on the quality of your oatmeal. As with any other food, you get what you pay for, and the specialty brands are better than the mass marketed brands. (Try Bob’s Red Mill, which can be found at Whole Foods Markets, natural food stores and other specialty stores.) It you don’t like the “mushiness” of rolled oats, try steel cut oats. They take a while to cook (there’s no “quick-cook” version), but it’s worth it.

– Best of all, try Holly’s Oatmeal, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week and a winner of THE NIBBLE Outstanding Artisan Award. If this textured, flavorful mix of different whole grains, almonds and dried fruit doesn’t convert naysayers into oatmeal lovers, nothing will. The small gift boxes may seem pricey ($6.99 for a 16-ounce box yields 8 portions, or 81¢ a serving—of course, a fraction of what you’d spend on a muffin or croissant). But you can buy it in bulk bags for the same price as any other oatmeal. One serving of Holly’s Oatmeal has 38g of the 48g of your daily whole grain requirement and there’s a gluten-free variety, too.

Comments off

Sorry, We’re Experiencing Warped Photo Difficulties

We just upgraded to WordPress 2.7, and, as those of you who use I.E. and Safari may have already noted, it is distorting our photos. (They look normal in Firefox.) As our developer is off until the new year, we ask you to bear with us until we can get the code fixed. Ah, technology!

Comments off

CONTEST: Scharffen Berger Chocolate Recipe Contest

If you’ve got an exciting and different sweet or savory chocolate recipe, you have until January 4 to enter January 4 to enter it. This year’s requirement includes “adventure” ingredient: basil, black or pink peppercorns, black sesame seed, cacao nibs, chili pepper (fresh or whole dried), coconut milk, coriander, jicama, kaffir lime leaf, mango, matcha tea, mustard seed, palm sugar, plantain, popping candy, tamarind, tapioca pearls and wattleseed. Last year’s winners included Chocolate Wasabi Pom Poms, Dark Chocolate Caramel Calzoni and Grapefruit Madeleines With Rosemary Infused Chocolate Drizzle. So, as great as your brownies may be, unless their chili pepper wattleseed brownies, they probably won’t make it into the finals. scharffenberger-pompons

Last year’s Grand Prize winner in the Sweet category, Chocolate Wasabi Pom Poms.

– Grand Prize winners from the Sweet, Savory and Beverage categories will each receive $5,000 and a Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest medal, a gold-colored likeness of a Scharffen Berger 3-ounce bar, a special custom Scharffen Berger chocolate collection and dessert cookbooks.
– One Second Place Prize winner from each category will receive a special custom Scharffen Berger chocolate collection worth $250 and a signed copy of The Essence of Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger.

Enter at ChocolateAdventureContest.com. You can also find plenty of delicious chocolate recipes.

Comments off

PRODUCT: Last-Minute Gifts At Williams-Sonoma

williams-sonoma-250

Hot chocolate in regular or mint—go for the mint.

Dashing through the snow (and we have plenty of it in the Northeast right now), we raced into Williams-Sonoma for some last-minute holiday gifts. There are plenty of good things to eat there. We had been to the store a week earlier, and had the opportunity to nibble on chocolatier Michael Recchiuti’s Champagne truffles (Recchiuti is a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), some delicious Five Apple Cider with mulling spices and this lovely Mint Hot Chocolate, made from flakes of Guittard chocolate, one of the world’s finest (and noteworthy for making a chocolaty yet not-very-sweet beverage). You can see the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate in the photo. Hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars, cocoa from ground cocoa powder. Guess which is richer! (Note that “rich” does not mean sweet and cloying.)
There are also cupcake mixes from Beverly Hills’ famous Sprinkles cupcake bakery—much more immediately gratifying than waiting in line at Sprinkles, even if you live in L.A. The Red Velvet is one of the best red velvet cake recipes we’ve had (it includes a frosting recipe that is equally delicious). Then, it was back out into the snow. Of course, we purchased an extra package of everything as our own treat for braving the elements on behalf of making the holidays happier (and tastier) for family and friends.

Comments off

CONTEST: The 2009 Avocado Video Bowl

If you have time on your hands over the holidays, you might want to pit your skills against other avocado lovers and create a short video that demonstrates your favorite way to enjoy the luscious green fruit (yes, avocados are a stone fruit—they grow on a tree, like peaches, plums and nectarines). You can create a half-time show, demonstrate your recipe, sing an avocado song or do “Romeo and Juliette” as avocados. The deadline to enter is January 8—so you can enjoy a lot of guacamole between now and then (and many other recipes that use avocado at AvocadoFiesta.com). If you have no creative talents, you can JUDGE and potentially win a cash prize. avocado-bowl1

Will your avocado video score a touchdown…and $5,000?

– The grand prize winner takes home $5,000.
– Four finalists win $1,000.
– All eligible entrants get a contest tee shirt.
– The VOTERS who vote for the winners are entered in a daily random drawing for $100. It’s about time the voters are eligible for something!

For more information and to enter, visit AvocadoFiesta.com.

Comments off



© Copyright 2005-2018 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.