Sauce And Effect Excuse me: There are vegetables in my ketchup!


We don’t need to be tricked into eating our vegetables (more likely you’ll find us shouting about broccoli spigarello from a rooftop). And there’s no way the government is convincing us that ketchup is a vegetable.

However, two new companies and their inventive products are making us change our tune. See you at the backyard barbecue (with plenty of vegetables and better-for-you ketchup in hand).

True Made Foods pack a whole lot of real vegetables into their ketchup.


The folks at this NYC-based Food-X accelerator business go beyond not including anything artificial in their products: they want you to rethink the kind of calories you are taking in. Why eat regular ketchup (even if it has an organic label slapped on) when you can eat one that is just as delicious and packed with spinach, carrots and butternut squash ($6 for 19 oz.)? Some of our tasters even thought the smoky BBQ sauce ($7 for 19 oz.) tasted like McDonald’s (in a good way). High praise for something packed with three times more Vitamin A than any other ketchup on the market, as well as fiber, protein, iron, and vitamins B6 and C. For those who crave a spicy kick, True Made offers Veracha (vegetables plus Sriracha; $7 for 19 oz.).

Carmit Levin and Jacob Seidenberg Korn want you to know that they make katchup, not ketchup. They infuse their fresh-tasting variety with fire-roasted smoky-sweet green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico, along with ripe tomatoes, grey sea salt and tangy raw apple cider vinegar. It’s also vegan, and contains no gluten, corn syrup or GMO ingredients ($7.50 for 10 oz.). We’re trying out the four varieties (mild, medium, hot and extra hot) on the usual roundup of burgers, eggs and hotdogs, but it also amps up a Sunday morning Bloody Mary mix.

Screw Everything This gadget will change the way you cook

Spiralized butternut squash, chickpeas and kale

We’re not usually ones for one-use kitchen gadgets: Fun for a minute, then they turn into dust-gathering space-hoggers that eventually get tossed into the giveaway pile.

But then came Ali Maffucci and her gadget, The Inspiralizer.

It’s true this funny-looking lump of BPA-free plastic does look like something you’d order on late-night television after one too many brownies. However, after giving it several spins, we’re giving it our full approval.

Spiralized vegetables are having their moment. There’s Hungryroot, which will ship organic, fresh-cut vegetable noodles to your door. The UK-based Hemsley + Hemsley gals sell their spiralizer exclusively through Gwyneth Paltrow’s site.

You can spiralize pretty much any vegetable

Maffucci quit her day job to spread the spiralizer love on her blog Inspiralized, then wrote a cookbook, Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals ($12.63). Her spiralizer has plenty of smart design nods—like four blades (to make ribbons, fettuccine, linguine, and spaghetti), counter clamps and easy disassembly—as befits someone who has been spiralizing nonstop for the past three years.

While not as small (or affordable) as some of the hand-held versions, The Inspiralizer is worth its size and price ($50 with free two-day shipping). This thing plows through anything you throw at it and out the other side comes endlessly entertaining curly apple ribbons, tender zucchini linguine, beet ribbons and sweet potato spaghetti (see a full list of what can be spiralized here). If you are trying to “eat the rainbow,” as Maffucci encourages, this thing is going to be your new best friend. We’re going wild for recipes like crab zucchini pasta with spicy avocado sauce and roasted beet noodles with goat cheese and pecans.

This is one gizmo we’re making a permanent kitchen resident.

Take stock Turn your pantry into a DIY powerhouse

Vegan Pantry

Miyoko Schinner tells it like it is in her new book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples ($23 hardcover; $11 Kindle). “Unless you were raised by macrobiotic hippies, you’ve had it. I’ve had it. And there’s no shame in saying it—we’ve all had macaroni and cheese 
out of the box.”

True that.

Schinner’s book will teach you how to create a rock-solid foundation of staples for your kitchen to yield better flavor and health—not to mention save you money and time. For example: Consider that half-gallon of soy milk that runs around $4 at the store. To make the same amount of soy milk at home it only takes a handful of soybeans (maybe fifty cents worth) and some water. Bonus: by making it at home, you’re eliminating the environmental impact of packaging, shipping and storage.

A homemade vegan upgrade of mac and cheese out of the box. Photo credit: Eva Kolenko

Even if you and everyone you know is a carnivore, the book has plenty of fodder to improve your pantry. There’s homemade vanilla extract that makes use of that leftover vodka from your last party.

Schinner is all about enticing people to a plant-based diet not through ideology, but through their taste buds. When it comes to boxed mac and cheese, she shares a genius recipe that’s as simple as blitzing a few ingredients together in the food processor. Stick the gloriously cheesy-tasting powder in your pantry and you’re set to combat five weeknight dinner panics in convenient succession.

Well-Crafted Macaroni
and Cheese Mix

Makes 1 2/3 cups, or enough to coat the equivalent of 5 store-bought boxes of instant macaroni and cheese.

1 cup cashews

¾ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup oat flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon organic sugar
2 teaspoons powdered mustard
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons onion powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until a fine powder is formed. There should not be any discernible chunks or large granules of cashews, so this may take 3 to 4 minutes of processing.

Store this in a jar or portion out into 1/3-cup increments and store in ziplock bags in the pantry for up to two months or refrigerate for up to 6 months.

How to use the cheese mix:

Cook 1 cup of dry macaroni according to package instructions and drain. Combine 1/3 cup mix with 1 cup water or unsweetened nondairy milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil while whisking. Simmer for 1 minute, then toss with hot cooked macaroni noodles.

*Clean Plates note: Try a stone-ground brown rice pasta like Tinkyada. It has the taste and has the texture of regular pasta, is wheat- and gluten-free and is also widely available.

Copyright © 2015 by Miyoko Schinner.

Razing Cane A new documentary exposes the not-so-sweet truth about sugar


You’ve seen this trick before: Man eats unhealthy food, gets sick and makes a movie about it.

The 2004 Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me pioneered the format, but Damon Gameau’s brand-new That Sugar Film is here with a whole new sugar-fueled flourish.

At the start of the film, Gameau hasn’t eaten refined sugar for three years. Under the guidance of doctors, he embarks on a diet consisting of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day (a common daily average) for 60 days while maintaining his exercise routine.

The truly bitter twist is that he does it easily without drinking any soda or eating candy, cookies or ice cream. He only eats foods that are perceived and marketed as “healthy” like low-fat yogurt, muesli bars, juices and cereal. For instance, a post-flight treat of Jamba Juice clocks in at 139 grams (34 teaspoons) of sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar a day.

Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

The results are just what Gameau expected—and his worst nightmare: fatty liver disease, early type 2 diabetes and extra girth around his body.

With sugar-frenetic energy, music from Depeche Mode and cameos from the likes of Hugh Jackman, the movie is an easy watch. It’s in the changing of the diet, after you watch the film, that’s so hard.

Gameau shared with us his favorite foods that will banish sugar cravings:

  • A spoonful of coconut oil
  • A handful of pecans, macadamias, walnuts or almonds
  • A scoop of avocado
  • A sip of apple cider vinegar (foul, but does the job)
  • A warm sweet potato
  • A piece of cheese
  • A glass of L-Glutamine powder (this helps the neurotransmitters in the brain to alleviate cravings.)

For more good choices, download a free e-book of Gameau’s post-experiment recipes here. Every single one is sugar and refined carbohydrate free.

The P Word Is Peganism for you?

Marry the two diets of Paleo and Veganism and you get “Peganism”.

At first glance, the tenets of the Paleo and vegan movements seem to be diametrically opposed. We’ve got the fervent bacon-celebrators in one camp and those who won’t touch animal flesh with a 10-foot pole in the other.

But marry the two diets and you get “Peganism”, a way of eating that makes a whole lot of sense (even if the name sounds ridiculous) and draws the best of both worlds from each group.

You can thank functional medicine practitioner Dr. Hyman for the new term. He himself follows the diet, cutting out gluten, dairy and processed foods while loading up on vegetables and fruits and focusing on high-quality fats, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and protein. Unlike in a strict Paleo diet, gluten-free whole grains (think millet, oats and quinoa) and beans are recommended in the “eat sparingly” category.

A step-by-step program that eliminates soy, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days.

Crucially, Hyman acknowledges that foods affect different people in different ways. Some people may be able to tolerate a bowl of quinoa or goat feta sprinkled on a salad, while others should steer clear.

We think a revaluation of healthy-seeming diets like Paleo or vegan is especially necessary when many people use diet labels as an excuse to binge on Paleo-ified or vegan-versions of junk food. (We’re thinking trigger foods like Paleo “Oreos” and deep-fried vegan donuts.)

If this way of eating interests you, check out The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom ($30), a step-by-step program that eliminates soy, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days and then has you reintroduce them, one by one, to see how they affect you.

We think Dr. Hyman said it best when he said, “If you eat crap, you feel like crap.”


Kick the can


With all the coconut oil being slathered on everything and coconut water being tossed back, it’s like we all forgot about the superfood’s main act—the coconut meat itself.

But not Meredith Baird: She’s the author of the new reference for all things coconut, Coconut Kitchen: Nature’s Most Beautifying Superfood ($20).

In it, she sings coconut’s praises. “Literally every part of the coconut has a use, whether in a culinary application, as a resource, or as a material for a variety of products,” she writes, and details the research showing off coconut’s long list of superpowers, including potent antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

The book’s recipes cover the entire day, from a strawberry and coconut cream breakfast quinoa with rose water, a coconut matcha smoothie, a CBLT (coconut bacon, avocado, romaine and tomato) wrap with coconut mayonnaise to treats like a coconut-hibiscus panna cotta. There’s even a chapter on coconut ferments, including DIY coconut sour cream. The majority of the recipes are raw, vegan and gluten-free as well.

Meredith Baird making her own coconut milk.

The final chapter details all the ways you can use coconut products to beautify from head to toe, including recipes that are good enough to eat (literally) like one for a coconut and honey body scrub.

We were blown away by Baird’s technique for making your own coconut milk; it’s one of the book’s simplest and most versatile recipes. Learn this easy skill and keep shredded coconut tucked in your pantry, and you’ll never need to run out for a can to complete your curry recipe again. It’s also a wonderful way to make sure you are avoiding BPA-lined cans and unnecessary stabilizers.

Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream

Makes 4 cups
2 cups shredded coconut (dried or fresh)
or 1 cup young coconut meat
4 cups water (more or less*)
Pinch of sea salt

Scrapings from ½ vanilla bean
or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut nectar or coconut honey
or 2 dates
1 tablespoon lecithin (to prevent separation)

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2. Run through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids.

Fresh coconut milk lasts up to five days in the refrigerator and can last up to a week if sweetened with honey.

*When making this recipe, adjust the ratio of water to coconut according to desired consistency. The less water you use, the thicker and more cream-like the milk will be.

Moo moo time Better-for-your-belly A2 milk is coming to a store near you


At this point, you’ve got your milk descriptors (organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, pastured, raw, local and so on) down pat. Now it’s time to learn another: A2.

It turns out that cows can be genetically sorted into two groups: Those that produce milk with both the A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins, and those that only make it with A2.

Many people who don’t tolerate milk well (but who haven’t been medically diagnosed as lactose intolerant) find that they feel better when they switch to A2 milk. It’s a bit of a back-to-the-future situation: Originally, all cows produced only the A2 protein (the A1 protein emerged later through modern farming practices). Interestingly, other mammals, including humans (think breast milk) produce milk containing only the A2 protein.

Click to watch: Love for A2 milk

The A2 Milk Company selects cows that only produce the A2 protein through a patented DNA test. Its milk is now available in 14 states (is yours one of them?), and is sold in half gallons of whole, 2%, 1% and fat-free milk ($4).

While not certified organic, the milk is free of artificial growth hormones and antibiotics, the cows’ diets consist of a minimum of 80% grass and the farms are certified for humane treatment.

While we still side with Dr. Lipman on thinking of dairy as a condiment, A2 milk is well worth seeking out to see if it makes a difference for you and your belly.

Swine time Barry Estabrook pigs out with his new book


This summer, we recommend packing a little pork into your beach tote alongside your floppy hat and towel. That is, grab a copy of Barry Estabrook’s new book, Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat ($27) for an eye-opening dive into the pork industry.

Much like Estabrook’s New York Times bestseller Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit the book is a masterwork of investigative journalism done in a breezy style that is a guaranteed conversation sparker.

Estabrook looks at how scientists taught pigs to play computer games (research shows pigs have the mental capacity of a three-year-old human) and the crisis of 2.5 million feral pigs roaming Texas, before delving into how pigs are raised commercially for producers like Smithfield and Tyson. He visits vast confinement barns where up to 150,000 pigs are raised on concrete slats and fed a constant dose of antibiotics—leading to possible antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

Barry Estabrook is all about pigs having the ability to “exercise their piggy instincts”.

It’s not just the pigs that are suffering: Neighbors and workers encounter health problems and the water supply is threatened, not to mention the quality of the final pork.

Contrast that with New York’s Flying Pigs Farm, where pigs can run, root and wallow. In other words, the pigs can be pigs, or as Estabrook says, “they exercise their piggy instincts.”

The takeaway: Pork is either the best or the worst meat you can eat: it all depends on how it’s raised. It’s a rousing reminder to know just where your bacon is coming from. Below, words to keep in mind next time you are at the market:

  • Antibiotic-free: Farmers who don’t use antibiotics on their pigs as a matter of course, have to raise their pigs under better conditions to keep them healthy.
  • Pastured: Pigs get to be pigs when raised outside instead of in confinement buildings.
  • Organic: By law, organic animals don’t get antibiotics and are also not fed slaughterhouse byproducts.

Candy crush Sun Cups makes candy minus nuts, plus flavor


For Colorado chocolatier David Lurie, a knock on the door proved life changing.

On the other side he encountered a man with a jar of sunflower seed butter in one hand and a challenge in the other: create a treat his severely peanut-allergic son could eat.

David and his team of chocolatiers got down to work, and emerged with Sun Cups ($2 for a pack of 2), a Reese’s-like confection that replaces the usual peanut butter filling with sunflower seed butter, resulting in a gluten-, peanut-, tree nut-, soy-, egg-, coconut- and corn-free product.

The lengths that David’s team has gone to in order to create a 100 percent nut- and gluten-free production and supply chain is impressive, to say the least. “The chocolate manufacturer who grinds and blends our chocolate doesn’t allow any nuts in the same building,” he says. “Our employees can’t bring peanut butter sandwiches to work, and they have “inside shoes” so nothing gets tracked into the shop. Even the sunflower seeds are grown in the upper Midwest, where it’s too cold to support peanuts, so they can’t volunteer in the fields.”

Sun Cups are filled with creamy sunflower seed butter.

David pays a fair trade premium on the Rainforest Alliance Certified pesticide-free Ecuadorian cacao beans he uses, and the chocolate cups are also Non-GMO Project verified.

In addition to the classic milk chocolate cups, there are caramel, mint and dark chocolate varieties available. Find them at major retailers nationwide including The Fresh Market, Wegman’s and Whole Foods. We’re just happy that the cups come packaged in small packs, reminding us to keep a treat a treat.

Next up for David: a dairy-free Sun Cup.

Clean habits: Bryan Dayton A Colorado restaurateur dishes on staying healthy


Bryan Dayton may be the co-owner and beverage director of Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder and Acorn in Denver, Colorado, but that doesn’t mean he’s kicking back with a big glass of biodynamic Pinot Noir all day.

Bryan is a high-altitude runner by day and a restaurateur by night. After a day of training for races like the Leadville 100 (that’s 100 miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain), he’s in his restaurants sourcing from as many local farmers, breweries, wineries and distilleries as possible. Read on for his thoughts on the quest for zero food waste and running in the snow.

What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

I eat different things every day, but I love roasted Boulder Natural chicken and basil whipped potatoes paired with a nice glass of Muga Tempranillo. Since I run a lot, I also have a few favorite post-run meals. In the winter after long runs, I love pho with steak and meatballs, and on long runs in the summer I will daydream of salt and vinegar chips. For something light and local, we always have our shaved apple and kale salad on the menu.

Grab a seat at Oak at Fourteenth for your chance to meet Bryan in person!

Can you tell us about life as a hardcore runner?

I’m a longtime runner. During the summer months I run high altitude trails (Bear Peak is a favorite) seven days a week, and during the winter I generally cut down to four to five days a week, plugging 3/8-inch hex screws into my running shoes to get through the snow. I’ve been incorporating more weights into my workout routine for strength training, too.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your life?

We try as much as possible to reduce water waste in the restaurants. Water is a constant issue—not only in California but also in Colorado—so reducing water usage is a big initiative for us. We also try to achieve zero food waste in the restaurant by utilizing as much of each ingredient as possible. For example, when we cook pumpkin to make our pumpkin spice soup, we take the juice that comes from it and use that in the sodas we make in-house. All of the purveyors we work with are sustainable. I try to ride my bike as much as possible, too.

Eat wild A must-see movie dedicated to the salmon dilemma


By this point, you’ve heard a lot about the wild vs. farmed salmon debate. But now it’s time for wild salmon to really step into the limelight: They just got their own feature-length film focusing on their shocking rate of disappearance.

The Breach was made by filmmaker Mark Titus, who grew up fishing with his dad, worked at a salmon processing plant and later became an Alaskan fishing guide.

In the film, Titus speaks to fishermen, tribal leaders, scientists, policy makers, artists, authors and chefs, all in a quest to discover where the fish have gone (spoiler alert: it’s due to human hubris) and what might bring them (and their fragile ecosystem) back.

The breach is a must watch for any conscious minded consumer.

You can watch the movie now on multiple platforms including Amazon and iTunes ($4). After watching it, you’ll understand that by choosing to eat wild salmon, you are also choosing to save them. Don’t let us make you think it’s a downer—Titus celebrates the almost mythological nature of the fish and peppers the film with artistic animation, which makes for an engaging watch.

If buying salmon is a confusing, confounding process for you, order canned salmon through a reputable company like Vital Choice (use code BREACH10 to save 10 percent) or sign up for a community supported fishery (CSF) like Iliamna Fish Co. a family-owned fish cooperative in Bristol Bay, Alaska that ships sashimi-grade wild sockeye salmon to your front door.

Watch it now

Feed your spring fever Two great new cookbooks have you covered for meat and veg


Bring on full-blown spring: Those first evenings cooking outdoors. The profusion of new vegetables at the farmer’s market. We want to savor all this vernal goodness before the summer blast furnace arrives, and two new cookbooks are here to help you do just that with every vegetable and piece of protein that crosses our countertops. Read on to learn why you need a copy of each in your kitchen.

Vegetables: Avowed local-foods lover chef Hugh Acheson’s new book, The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits ($35) starts off with a neighbor asking: “What the hell do I do with kohlrabi?” From that query, Acheson spins recipes for kohlrabi salad with pecans, lime, paprika and marjoram and steamed kohlrabi with shallots. From there, Acheson comes up with ideas for every vegetable anyone has ever wrinkled their noses at, including yacon (you might have to Google that one; we did), sunchokes and salsify. It’s not all outliers, either: there are plenty of inventive takes for quotidian offerings like sweet potatoes and apples as well.

Joe Carroll shares his secrets to perfect grilling in ‘Feeding The Fire’.

Meat: New York restaurateur Joe Carroll (of Fette Sau and St. Anselm fame) comes right out and says it in his new book, Feeding the Fire: Recipes and Strategies for Better Barbecue and Grilling ($30), “A bad piece of meat can’t be rescued, no matter how many other ingredients or flourishes you throw at it. But a high-quality heritage breed steak or chop doesn’t need more than some salt and a lot of heat to become the best thing you’ve ever tasted.” This is lesson number one in Carroll’s book, which lays out how to choose the best proteins at the butcher, supermarket and beyond. The book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the “hows” and “whys” of live-fire cooking and left us lusting to try his recipe for caramelized long beans. The recipe is so quick that you can cook the beans in the time it takes for your hanger steaks or grilled salmon collars to rest after they come off the grill.

Charred Long Beans

Adapted from Feeding the Fire, by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald

Makes 4 servings
1 pound Chinese long beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup chopped parsley

1. Start charcoal and let burn until coals are glowing red and coated in gray ash, about 15 minutes. Spread an even layer of charcoal, about one or two coals deep, over the bottom of the grill.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch the beans for 1 minute, then transfer to the ice bath. When they are cool, drain the beans.

3. Put the beans on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss until coated, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Grill the beans, moving and turning them frequently with tongs, until crisp-tender and charred in spots, about 3 minutes.

5. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and drizzle with the warm butter. Sprinkle with the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

Meat up Snack like you mean it with Epic Bars and The New Primal


When it comes to late afternoon energy slumps, we know that it’s all about snacking on clean protein FTW.

Protein is a hunger-buster that will steady blood sugar, help you wave goodbye to your cravings and leave you feeling satiated. But it’s not like you can throw a rack of ribs in your tote (or at least we don’t recommend it).

Instead, arm yourself with these two new protein-packed snacks.

EPIC Bars: The easiest way to describe these bars: Meatloaf granola bar. Just go with us: These grass-fed animal-based (pick from flavors like bison bacon cranberry, pulled pork pineapple and lamb currant mint) protein bars ($3) are an awesome alternative to your usual oat-nut-dried fruit-bar routine and are now available nationally. They are also grain-, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free, as well as low in sugar.

If you’re feeling squicked out by the idea of a meat bar, try the jerky-like EPIC bites line ($7) or the Hunt & Harvest mixes ($5), which are combined with berries, nuts and seeds. Also, if you’ve cut chemical-laden “Bacon Bits” out of your salad routine, rejoice: Founders Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest gave us the exclusive scoop that Epic will be launching a line of “salad boosters” made from heritage breed Berkshire pork in July at Whole Foods. Consider us boosted.

The New Primal beef jerky is made with grass-fed beef from New Zealand—where GMOs are illegal. 

The New Primal: Founder Jason Burke made his way to a paleo/primal-influenced diet through CrossFit, but he couldn’t find a grass-fed beef jerky that didn’t list sugar as the second ingredient on the market for desk-time snacking. He says, “So I purchased a $40 dehydrator and Googled ‘how to make beef jerky.’ Within six months I was making jerky for everyone at work and my gym.” When his wife started complaining about smelling like BBQ all the time, Burke knew it was time to go pro.

He sources his grass-fed beef from New Zealand—where GMOs are illegal, meaning there is zero risk of GMO runoff contaminating the soil. His beef and turkey jerkys ($7.50 for 2 oz.) have the hippest packaging around and are sweetened with just a touch of pineapple juice and honey. With a wide national distribution, it’s clear Burke has solved his original problem.

Pasta on point New noodles for the gluten-adverse and flavor-lover


Those of us who don’t eat white-flour pasta have more fun.

Whether you’re looking to avoid gluten or pick up the benefits of the nutrient-rich whole-wheat varieties, try out the two brands below and you’ll be repudiating boxes of the plain stuff in no time.


Stacey Marcellus and Benjamin Frohlichstein say their pasta company was “born out of their desire to legitimize their penchant for asking strangers to taste their pasta.” Good thing they went legit, because although their almond flour pasta made with cage-free eggs is completely gluten- and grain-free, it circumvents any funky flavor associations you might have experienced with gluten-free products before. Plus, their pasta is a snap to prepare; it cooks in a minute or less. The lasagna, gnocchi and fettuccine are so rich and silky (and low on the glycemic index to boot) that your dinner guests will be hard-pressed to know their noodles are wheat free. In addition, look out for Cappello’s new gluten-free cookie doughs in double fudge, coconut sugar and ginger snap flavors to launch soon.

Sfoglini staff harvest basil at Brooklyn Grange to make their seasonal basil radiators.


Steve Gonzalez and Scott Ketchum make a strong argument for playing with your food. Their wide range of organic durum semolina, organic whole-wheat, whole-grain, rye, emmer and einkorn pastas come in a parade of colors and flavors. Fill a bowl with organic ruby-colored beet fusilli or the verdant and garlicky ramp version. There’s also a spent grain from Bronx Brewery to make their BxB Radiators comprised of five different barley malts. Just like you rotate your vegetables with the season, it’s time to start doing the same with your pasta. The duo dream up a seasonally rotating selection of varieties: Next up is the basil reginetti spiked with basil from the Brooklyn Grange and Eagle Street Farms for summer.

Jar head Cuppow takes your canning jars to the next level


We thought we’d worked out every last use for glass Mason jars. You’ll find them holding chickpeas and quinoa in our pantry, organizing spices in our drawers and full of sauerkraut in our fridge.

But the folks at Cuppow are light years ahead of us. Cuppow’s adapters take your Mason jars to the next level—turning them into travel mugs or lunchboxes.

Greg Ralich, Cuppow’s first employee after founders Aaron Panone and Joshua Resnikoff, regaled us with a story that made us feel like we weren’t the only klutzes in the world. He told us, “It all started with a spilled coffee in the car and one of those corny ‘there’s got to be a better way!’ infomercial moments. When a search for a Mason jar drinking lid came up short, we made our own.”

Cuppow products are manufactured domestically, made from recycled materials (including the packaging) and are designed to last a lifetime.

BNTO compartmentalizes your mason jar to keep dry and liquid ingredients separate until meal time.

The BPA- and BPS-free recycled polypropylene lid ($9) is suitable for use with either hot or cold drinks. We’re envisioning using ours for iced coffees and morning green smoothies on the go. Pick up the coozie ($15) made from felted, recycled PET bottles for extra comfort and insulation.

The smartly designed BNTO ($9) adapter was inspired by a Japanese bento box and keeps the components of your meal—like carrots and hummus, granola and milk or salad and dressing—separate until you are ready to dig in.

Ralich said, “We envisioned the Cuppow as the perfect replacement for the myriad disposable coffee cups polluting our world, but we love seeing it in use for everything from juices to tailgating. It pairs best with the idea that we can all be a little more mindful no matter who you are or what we’re up to.”

He also let us in on one final brilliant idea for summer; “The best use is obviously sneaking in cocktails where they don’t belong.”

Seeds of health Taste the chia rainbow with The Chia Company


We love chia seeds, really we do.

Their health benefits are myriad: They are the highest known plant-based source of omega 3s and are also packed with protein, fiber and all nine essential amino acids. When submerged in liquid, their unique gelling action (they can absorb up to 16 times their weight in liquid) helps with hydration and keeps you feeling full longer.

But those little black specks are aesthetically none-too-pleasing when we plump them up in a coconut milk chia seed pudding or scattered on top of yogurt.

That’s why we were so happy to find out about two new-to-us products: non-GMO white chia seeds ($7 for 150 grams) and chia oil ($25 for 9.5 ounces) from The Chia Co. They come with all the benefits of the black ones and none of the gummy associations, making them perfect for a milky fruit smoothie.

Check out non-GMO and sustainably grown white chia seeds and chia oil from the Chia Co.

The oil is reminiscent of olive oil, but in a creamier almost buttery way. Like olive oil, chia oil has a low smoke point, so don’t cook at high heats or fry with it. Reserve it for use in low-temperature applications like salads, smoothies and drizzled on top of already roasted vegetables. We loved drizzling a spoonful of the oil over a breakfast bowl of savory oatmeal, or upgrading a treat of goat kefir and maple syrup with a shot of it.

These new products even got us to break out of our chia rut. Try the white seeds in chicken soup for dinner or the oil drizzled on an apple, celery and walnut salad for lunch.

Bouquet, OK Do one better this year with sustainable flowers


Flowers: so pretty, so natural … so shellacked in pesticides?

Hold up: It’s time to rethink they way you buy and give flowers.

Start your eco-friendly flower journey with The Bouqs, a Venice Beach, California-based startup that ships to all 50 states.

You might not be consuming flowers in the same way you inhale a grass-fed steak, but there are lots of reasons to put some thought into how you buy your stems.

The Bouqs cuts out the middleman and cuts your bouquet to order at the farm (starting at $40, shipping included). That means bunches of flowers don’t sit for days dropping petals in enormous warehouses (other suppliers can waste up to one of every three stems) and flowers get to you within four days of being cut (versus the industry standard of up to two weeks).

How it works: Bouqs explained. (Click video to watch)

The Bouqs works exclusively with Ecuadorian farms situated on the side of an active volcano (seriously) that are independently certified by agencies such as The Rainforest Alliance for sustainability. Much like when you buy organic food, you’re doing good on both ends of the supply chain—for yourself and for those who grow and pick the product. The Bouqs’ partner farms provide services like living wages, childcare, healthcare, and adult education for their workers. For an even more local option, choose from the California Collection, which offers overnight delivery everywhere.

The site is snappy and easy-to-navigate, and the arrangements range from boho-lush to minimalist chic and are a world away from the staid versions at the usual standbys.

If you’re really feeling the love this Mother’s Day, sign your momma (or yourself) up for a multi-month subscription package.

Gimme (less) sugar This pro baker helps you to cut out the white stuff


It’s no surprise when your healthiest friend says she’s cutting back on white sugar.

But when Joanne Chang, the baker and owner behind Boston’s famed Flour Bakery says the same? Then it’s time to sit up and take notice.

Chang’s love letter to the topic, Baking with Less Sugar: Recipes for Desserts Using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar ($25), has just been published.

As life would have it, Chang’s husband is sensitive to sugar, and the giddy energy high and subsequent crash it brings. Well aware of America’s over-consumption of the sweetener and the resulting health implications, she’s searched for other ways to satisfy sweet cravings.

Chang doesn’t just cut sugar in the recipes and call it a day: as befits a former Harvard math major, she explores the science behind sugar and how removing it changes the chemical nature of baking.

She starts by presenting classic treats like blueberry bran muffins and fudgy mascarpone brownies made with at most half or even one-third the typical amount of sugar. From there she moves on to recipes using honey, grade B maple syrup, chocolate and alternative sweeteners like apple and grape juice concentrates, bananas and dates—all of which lend alluring, complex flavors and deeper, more interesting elements to desserts in ways that sugar alone can’t.

Joanne Chang and her new cookbook (Photo credit: Colin Clark)

She says, “You will discover, as I did, that when you don’t focus on sugar and sweetness, you end up with desserts that are full of amazing, compelling flavor. I’ve witnessed firsthand that once you learn to rein in your sugar intake, your palate adjusts to desserts that are not super-sweet, and you end up enjoying these treats much more.”

We’re sharing the recipe for Chang’s Honey-Almond Snack Cake. It’s a cake that you can feel really great about making for your family. It’s sweetened with honey, has a velvety tender crumb, and the frosting is just sweet enough without being over the top.

It turns out: Less sugar can equal more flavor.

Honey-Almond Snack Cake

Makes one 9-by-13-in cake
Note: For a terrific gluten-free alternative for this cake, instead of 1½ cups all-purpose flour, try substituting ½ cup sorghum flour, plus ½ cup sweet rice flour, plus ½ cup potato starch. Additionally, ½ of the white flour can be substituted with whole-wheat flour or a ¼ of the white flour can be substituted with buckwheat flour.

½ cup coconut oil
⅔ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 large eggs plus
2 egg yolks
1 cup organic crème fraîche
1½ cups organic all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Creamy Frosting
8 oz organic cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
⅓ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-in baking pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray, or butter and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, honey, vanilla, and almond extract until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Whisk in the crème fraîche. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you poke it in the center and is pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with an electric hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on medium speed for at least 4 minutes, or until perfectly smooth. (Cream cheese has a tendency to lump up easily, so don’t skip this step.) Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bowl and add the butter. Add the honey, vanilla, almond extract, and salt and beat well on medium speed until thoroughly combined. The frosting can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

5. When the cake is completely cool, using a rubber spatula or an offset spatula, frost with creamy frosting and serve. The frosted cake can be stored, well wrapped with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days; remove at least 1 hour before serving so the cake is not cold.

Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar: Recipes for Desserts Using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar (Chronicle Books, 2015)

The dude abides Dan Churchill takes the fear out of cooking


If you’ve been avoiding your kitchen for any reason, Dan Churchill wants to make sure you’re left with zero excuses. His cookbook, DudeFood: A Guy’s Guide to Cooking Kick- Ass Food ($20) comes out today.

Real talk: Dan’s a cook and personal trainer who has appeared on MasterChef Australia. With his focus on healthy eating and wellness, plus his “cheeky” personality he is often compared to Jamie Oliver—one of his idols. His new book is aimed at guys who are just starting out in the kitchen, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy his recipes if you too don’t self-identify as a “bro.”

Dan breaks down his cookbook into guy-centric situations like “The Hangover Cure,” “Sandwiching the Gym” and “Cut Your Calories.” His simple recipes and encouragement are the training wheels you need to succeed in getting into the kitchen, no matter your experience level. The easy-to-read recipes include ideas like sweet potato patties, an inside-out omelet with ginger and feta and an easy mango and lemon sorbet that gets whizzed together in the blender.

With Dudefood‘s easy-to-read recipes you have no excuse to avoid the kitchen.

His food is Paleo-focused, but he’s by no means strict; he admits to diving into bowls of homemade pasta with his buddies. He says, “The key to health is happiness, and I never feel counting anything makes anyone happy.” He suggests applying an 80 percent Paleo whole foods approach that is both sustainable and realistic.

Dan shared a recipe with us for fish in a bag. Sheets of parchment paper are folded into pockets to hold whole trout or snapper and yogurt spiked with chives, lemon and ginger. Opened at the table, it’s a dish sure to impress anyone. We’re in agreement with Dan that this is food that might just “get you a few extra hugs from loved ones.”

Fish in a Bag

Serves 4
¼ cup plain organic Greek yogurt
Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Four 7-ounce whole trout or snapper, gutted and scaled (you can always get your fishmonger to do the dirty work for you)
2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
Sea salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set a baking sheet inside.

2. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, mint, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ginger. Mix until well combined.

3. To create the bag, tear off four 8-by-12-inch sheets of parchment paper. Fold each sheet in half lengthwise, with the two long sides together, then twist the short ends tightly so that they don’t unravel, to close the sides.

4. Place one fish in each bag and carefully spoon the yogurt mixture over each. Sprinkle with the scallions and some salt and pepper. Close the bag by curling the open side and finish by twisting the two corners.

5. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place the bags on it. They should sizzle from the heat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

6. Serve the bags unopened, directly from the oven, on a plate with steamed rice or a fresh salad. The bags should be opened at the table—just be careful of the steam.

Coco loco Ascend to coconut heaven with Coconut Organics


You might love coconut, but George Metrik is obsessed with it, so much so that he launched Coconut Organics, a business based in Asheville, NC, that is 100 percent coconut-focused.

“Starting Coconut Organics was a combination of personal passion for a healthy lifestyle, being a foodie, and also realizing that somehow as humans we got lost along the way a bit,” he says. “Coconut was one of the first foods of humankind, yet over the past 40 to 60 years, we completely forgot how amazing, pure and versatile the coconut is in all of its forms.”

All that coconut lovin’ has led to products that touch on coconut’s various nutritional superpowers like hydration, minerals, electrolytes, good fat, probiotics and soluble fiber. Coconut Organics’ lineup includes raw coconut chips spiked with Tahitian vanilla or raw organic cacao, as well as what Metriks has dubbed “coconut bacon.”

Coconut chips in dark chocolate, unsweetened or bacon flavors.

Made from an all-organic blend of toasted coconut chips, coconut oil, coconut sugar, Celtic sea salt, spices and mesquite, coconut bacon has a smoky, savory and slightly sweet kick along with plenty of saturated fats to keep you satiated. Try topping hard-boiled eggs with a couple of flakes, send a flurry over a bowl of salad or just eat them straight from the bag.

At this year’s Natural Products Expo West (the Super Bowl of good food), Coconut Organics introduced eight new products, including infused raw coconut oils, low- glycemic coconut nectar sweetener and an ultra-safe coconut-derived soap, which are all headed for national and online distribution in the next two weeks.

If this is coconut craziness, we’ll take it.

Growing pains You'll never take vegetables for granted again


Have you been taking your food for granted?

Signs of a failure of appreciation could include lobbing heads of cauliflower into the dark back corners of your fridge or chomping down on an apple with nary a second thought about its provenance.

If taken to vegetable court, we’d find ourselves guilty, too.

Nicole Cotroneo Jolly, the founder of How Does it Grow?, wants to change our relationship with the produce we buy at the grocery store with free, lush videos that tell the stories of our food from field to fork.

In her short videos, she focuses on one crop at a single farm and drills down into the food’s history, nutrition statistics, what it takes to grow and how to prepare it for maximum deliciousness. Right now the episodes cover mushrooms, garlic, cauliflower, cranberries and apples.

DYK: one cup of cauliflower has more vitamin C than an orange? Click to watch the video.

We binged watched the videos and learned surprising facts in each and every one. Did you know that cauliflower turns yellow if not shielded from the sun, that it is fertilized with Peruvian penguin poop (really) and that one cup of cauliflower has more vitamin C than an orange?

Once you’ve gotten to know your produce better, you’ll want to treat it better, too. Utilize the “Where Should I Store?” widget to help you make sure you’re storing ingredients in the proper place. We love the tips on ripening (store avocados at room temperature in a paper bag if you want to make guacamole sooner) and extending the taste and longevity of foods (the longer kale sits at room temperature, the more bitter it gets).

Your kitchen is sure to be a lean, green machine in no time.

Double header Wake up and smell these two new cookbooks


Blow the horns, beat the drums: Today is a banner day for great cookbooks, with two new indispensible clean-eating guides hitting the stores.

Hold onto your cast iron skillet, coconut oil and coconut milk: things are about to get seriously delicious.

In My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season ($30), the Copenhagen-based Sarah Britton, a holistic nutritionist and the blogger behind My New Roots reveals 100 new vegetarian recipes, most of which are also vegan, many are gluten-free and some are 100% raw. We love how the book is a mix of simple weeknight meals (think Thai-style coconut soup with zucchini noodles) and food “projects” that you can tackle on a weekend, like making ghee, growing your own sprouts or DIY-ing cashew yogurt.

Two great new cookbooks to add to your shelf.

Over in California, husband-and-wife team Hugh and Sara Forte of the Sprouted Kitchen blog have a similarly resplendent style, full of seasonal produce and whole grains, and with the addition of small bits of animal protein here and there. In their new book, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share ($25), the two tap into our desire to eat everything from one vessel, whether serving guests a Caribbean bowl with jerk-seasoned whitefish or spooning up curried sweet potato soup with crispy black lentils on the couch while binging on Netflix.

Both books emphasize the importance of making simple healthy choices daily and the wonders of gathering people around a table to eat. With that in mind, we’re sharing the Forte’s recipe for a tropical “smoothie bowl” spiked with anti-inflammatory turmeric (an ingredient Britton also features on her blog). The idea takes a smoothie from something you gulp down on the run to a rainbow-hued bowl (frozen yogurt-like in its thickness) that is gorgeous enough to serve for a weekend breakfast at home with friends.

Tropical Smoothie Bowl
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share

Serves 12

2 cups frozen mango
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup coconut water
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
2 bananas
1 to 2 tablespoons bee pollen (optional)
1 cup crisped rice cereal
¾ cup toasted coconut flakes
¾ cup toasted, chopped macadamia nuts

Blend the mango, pineapple, coconut water, orange juice, coconut milk, and turmeric until very smooth. Distribute evenly among four bowls. Cut the banana into thin slices. Garnish each bowl with portions of banana slices, bee pollen, crisp rice cereal, coconut flakes, and macadamia nuts.

My sweet SugaVida is your new sugar alternative


Refined white sugar is a cruel mistress. She pulls you in with sweet claims and leaves you with toxic results.

Try making the switch to SugaVida ($14 for 8.8 ounces), a new sugar alternative that is organically certified and is now rolling out in stores across the country and online.

Even though this sweetie is showing up to the party with a new name, it’s been around for a long time. You might know SugaVida as jaggery, which is often used in Southern and East India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and several African countries. Derived from the sap of the palmyra palm tree, SugaVida is harvested sustainably (without cutting down trees) in Southeast India while supporting local producers and biodiversity in farming communities.

Test out SugaVida with the yummy gluten-free clementine almond muffin recipe below.

SugaVida has a low glycemic index, doesn’t raise blood insulin, and is a plant-based source of the hard-to-get vitamin B-12 along with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, sodium and phosphorus. The flavor brings to mind a mild caramel with a slight nutty kick. It’s a great alternative to stevia, which can leave a bitter aftertaste, and is more neutral tasting than coconut sugar. Plus SugaVida can be used in both cold and hot drinks and for baking.

New studies are even claiming that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects and can reduce blood cholesterol levels. But don’t take that as a sign to go buck wild, remember this is still a sweetener. We’re for moderation in all things (except for vegetables).

Gluten-Free Clementine
Almond Muffins

 Makes 12 small muffins
1 cup + 1 tablespoon organic butter
¾ cup of SugaVida
4 organic eggs
Zest of 2 organic clementines and juice of one organic clementine
2 cups ground organic almonds
½ cup organic gluten-free flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice

1. Heat the oven to 350F degrees.
2. In a bowl beat the SugaVida and butter together until light. Slowly add the eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add the zest and juice and gently fold in the rest of the ingredients to make a smooth batter.
3. Pour into muffin wrappers and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Note: Make this recipe grain-free by omitting the flour and adding ½ cup more of ground organic almonds.

It’s a date Deliciously Ella goes beyond the blog with a new book


For Ella Woodward, simplicity reigns.

This means a plant-based diet free from gluten, dairy, refined sugars and anything processed. The lifestyle choice for the author of the new Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes ($20) isn’t just a aesthetically driven one, but rather a commitment driven by some very real medical concerns.

When she was 19 years old, Ella was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, a rare illness that left her bed-ridden 95 percent of the time.

Ella calls herself a former “sugar monster.” Out went a diet that revolved around pints of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream and spoonfuls of Nutella. In came the motivation to start a food blog and develop new recipes like sweet potato brownies, butternut squash risotto and quinoa and turmeric fritters.

As Ella’s diet stabilized, so did her symptoms—the blackouts, heart palpitations, unbearable stomach issues, chronic pain and constant headaches were gone and she was able to go off her medication completely.

Ella Woodward, self-proclaimed former “sugar monster” turned Britain’s “new Nigella”.

Ella’s blog, which chronicled her experiments, earned her the title Britan’s “new Nigella” and quickly grew into a popular app and now this vibrant book filled with vivid recipes.

We were struck by one recipe that’s so simple it’s hardly a recipe at all—just a very, very good suggestion. Take portly Medjool dates, pry them open, stuff their bellies with almond butter and a dusting of raw cacao powder. (Attempt to) wait an hour while they chill in the fridge. As Ella says, “This may not be the most complicated recipe in the book, in fact it may well be the simplest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best! It’s sweet and satisfying and oh-so-delicious. The caramel-like dates complement the creamy almond butter so well—it’s a match made in heaven.”

Medjool Dates Stuffed with Nut Butter


Makes 12 dates

12 Medjool dates
12 teaspoons organic nut butter (Ella recommends almond butter)
Optional: a sprinkling of organic raw cacao powder

1. Peel the dates open, without totally cutting them in half, and remove the pits.
2. Place a small teaspoon of organic nut butter and a sprinkling of organic raw cacao powder where the pit was and push the 2 halves of the date together again.
3. Place the stuffed dates in the fridge to firm up for about an hour and then enjoy.

Drip drop Why you need Honeydrop by your side this winter


David Luks, the CEO and founder of Honeydrop, has upgraded everyone’s mom’s secret weapon (a spoonful of honey in your tea, that is).

His cold-pressed juice business was inspired in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. He says, “I was inspired by a nutritionist who told me to consume less processed foods such as white bread, white rice and white sugar. She told me pure raw honey is unrefined, never heated, and thus naturally contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and most importantly, does not spike your blood sugar as fast as highly refined sweeteners.”

Think of the antimicrobial manuka honey as nature’s antibiotic.

Honeydrop specifically uses New Zealand Manuka Honey, which is packed with methylglyoxal, a powerful compound that can fight infections. “We source Manuka Honey with a 12+ Unique Manuka Factor (UMF),” he says. “The UMF measure is the standard way of describing the bacteria-killing power of the product.” Think of the antimicrobial Manuka honey as nature’s antibiotic.

When you drink a refreshing Apple Ginger Lemon Daily Immunity Honeydrop ($7; find a store near you here or order online), you not are only consuming two cold- pressed Fuji apples, one lemon, an ounce of ginger and a tablespoon of Manuka Honey, you are also supporting the company’s “Buy A Bottle, Save a Bee” initiative to fight Colony Collapse Disorder. A percentage of proceeds from every bottle of Honeydrop is donated to local beekeepers to build new beehives.

Mom always had it right. Now Honeydrop does, too.

Know more about Colony Collapse Disorder