Wednesday, October 7, 2015


THERE'S A NEW VEGGIE in town. It's not kale. And it's not Brussels sprouts. They're called Kalettes, and  they're ruffly, colorful and delicious. The new little greens are way too pretty to roast, but perfect when braised, steamed, or sauteed in garlic and onions. More details that make them a win are that they are way less dense and pungent than Brussels sprouts, and they are not nearly as leafy and chewy as fresh, uncooked kale.
One more thing to LOVE: These Kalettes are triple-washed! Dump into a pan, cook and serve. Find them at most grocers. They come in 8-ounce packages. I ate them several ways, but my favorite? Saute half a purple onion cut in moons in a tablespoon of olive oil (or ghee if you like to live on the edge), add a big clove of garlic sliced thin. Cook for a bit, then add the Kalettes. Cook until tender and serve over pasta or new potatoes -- dusted with pecorino. Yum. Find them at better grocery stores.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


EGGS ARE A perfect food. They pack protein, fat, flavor and they're fast. But on a busy morning when I am late for work, they're not quite fast enough. Enter the Crackin' Eggs cup, a great new egg solution for those who need to clock-in.
Grab an egg, tuck it into the cup for safe travel, then crack it into the cup with a little water and salt and cook for 60 to 90 seconds. It's a 75-calorie breakfast in the hand. The cups lock closed and are compact. Use the cup to scramble, soft-poach or even to make a tiny little omelette. The cups are BPA-free. Find the cups at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


MY MONDAY GOT a much-needed dose of fun and sugar this week when I opened this treasure box filled with the funniest sweets ever.

Inside the box was a great big mirror (eek!) and this...
Too funny! I have to admit that more than a few of the bars might have my name on them. As the mother of a soon-to-be bride, I opted to down the Drama Mama. I think it worked. Is Snickers the best chocolate ever? The best candy ever? No, but it's definitely the candy with the best sense of humor ever. Love the commercials featuring Marsha and others... and love the new wrappers.

Monday, September 28, 2015


ONE OF THE THINGS I love about fall is the release of new vintages -- wines that have been carefully crafted and aged until the balance of flavors is exactly right. Here are details on four great wines worth picking up for your next dinner party.
Italian wines seem to be all over the board. Some are light and so crisp that they are almost sour. Others are fruity, fun, and packed with tannins. But the 2012 Roccafiore Prova d'Autore ($25) literally combines everything great about Italian wines into a single bottle. Roccafiore, located in Umbria, is an organic winery that grows a range of grapes, including the Montepulciano, Sagrantino and Sangiovese used to make the Prova D'Autore. Combining the varietals results in a rich, dense wine with supple tannins and a long finish. This is a great wine for a special occasion -- especially for friends who appreciate great wines from all over the world. You can buy the wine online at or at K & L Wine Merchant stores in the Bay Area.  As a side note, if you go to Italy, you should plan to visit, as it's a top-notch resort, complete with a cantina where locals eat, a spa, hotel and more.
Pretty inventive for a selfie, right?
Those who know and understand the climate and terrain of Oakville in Napa Valley and its rich history for winemaking will not be surprised to know that Miner Family Winery has just released yet another stellar lineup of wines, including a rich, blackberry laced 2012 Napa Valley Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot ($40) and a super-refined, artfully crafted, light, funky and floral 2012 Santa Lucia Highland's Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60.) Think strawberries and cherries, rose petals and just a touch of oak. The winery, founded just 17 years ago, makes a handful of whites, but their reds are just stellar. Other wines to seek out (caution: not cheap) include The Oracle, an elegant Bordeaux-style blend, and the classic Miner Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pinpointing a good wine is helpful, but what if you can't actually find the wine at your local market? Frustrating. Thankfully, a nice, drinkable red that recently got a thumbs-up from me has found it's way to my local Safeway. It's the newly released Lodi Zinfandel by Josh Cellars ($15.99)  The wine delivers a nice hit of blueberries wrapped with vanilla bean, licorice and smoke. Those who haven't yet experienced Josh Cellars should know that the company specializes in sourcing small batches of grapes from various regions -- then turning them into bold, affordable wines.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


big product image
Photo courtesy DAVIDsTEA website
FIRST, THERE WERE pumpkin lattes. But this fall, pumpkin is the "it" flavor, finding it's way into a mind-boggling array of foods -- for better or worse. Stroll the aisles at Sprouts Market to find yummy Pumpkin Snaps, even more delicious Pumpkin Dippers coated in white chocolate, odd but interesting Pumpkin-dusted Kale Chips, kid-friendly Pumpkin Loops, plus Pumpkin-Flax Granola, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin syrup, pumpkin pasta sauce, pumpkin ale and so much more. 
Sprouts Market is awash in pumpkin-flavored products.
In addition to the Sprouts brand products, here are a few other pumpkin-inspired food picks that fans of pumpkin may want to check out:
Noosa Pumpkin Yoghurt. This is called dessert in the hand. This Australian-inspired yogurt made in Colorado has a great balance of flavors. Find it at Target or Safeway.
Dancing Deer Pumpkin Spice Chewy Cookies, Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies and Pumpkin Dessert Bites. I haven't had a chance to try these, but everything I've tasted from this company is nothing short of ethereal -- packed with natural ingredients (butter!) Gotta love their idea for a Pumpkin Palooza Pack -- cookies, desert bites and more tucked into a wooden gift box for about $
Dancing Deer's Pumpkin Palooza

Annie B's Pumpkin Caramels. Rich, buttery and addictive, Annie B's caramels are worth seeking out. I didn't get to try them, but I don't doubt they are a memorable mouthful. The caramels are sold in 10- and 16-piece boxes. The smaller box is $4.95. 
Lifeway Foods Pumpkin Pie Kefir offers all the flavor but just a fraction of the calories of a piece of pumpkin pie. OK, it's not the same. But it is a pretty delicious, yogurty sort of gulp that has side benefits of probiotics. 
DAVIDsTEA promises to put a little spiced up pumpkin in your cup with it's new Pumpkin Chai flavor. DAVIDsTEA is known for making super flavorful teas, so this hopped up black tea chai is likely to please. Find it at gourmet stores and tea shops.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


THE CRAZY BUSY days of fall have arrived, which means it's time to stock the pantry with the right kind of snacks. Fresh veggies and fruit, and salty, sweet, crunchy snacks that pack a little extra nutrition. Here are details on some great options that are sure to please.
If you're looking for a super-tasty cracker that's gluten-free, check out the Partners Free For All Kitchen crackers. They look a little plain and boring -- but they're not. The crackers are buttery, herby and just salty enough. Made with buttermilk, whole grains and cassava, these crackers come in a range of flavors, including a super-impressive Roasted Garlic and Rosemary and a great Olive Oil and Sea Salt. Four crackers have 60 calories, 3 percent fiber.
As crunchy as a chip but a whole lot better for you are Biena Chickpea Snacks, roasted chickpeas that are dusted with various flavor powders. I prefer the simple sea salt flavor, but kids might appreciate the Barbecue, Honey Roasted or Cinnamon Crunch. All flavors are non-GMO, gluten-free and packed with fiber.
For the seed- and nut-lovers, I have two recommendations. The first is Navitas Naturals, which has has an addictive line of snacks. Pick the flavor that appeals most to you: Turmeric Tamari Almonds, Coconut Hemp Pepitas, Cacao Hemp Almonds. All are really good and so much more nutritious than a bag of chips.
The second are the brand new SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds. These are flat-out, no kidding delicious. They come in a terrific range of flavors to appeal to any snacking mood: Tomato Italiano, Cocoa, Maple Sugar and Sea Salt. They're not too sweet, too salty nor too anything else. The pumpkin seeds are super-fresh and toasted to perfection -- they're both pillowy and crunchy. A serving packs about 150 calories and 7 grams protein,The seeds come in 4-ounce bags. They're all GMO free, gluten-free and do not contain MSG. Find them at gourmet grocery stores.