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

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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.

Cappello’s

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.

Sfoglini

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.