Tastebud Satisfaction: Nature’s Path Envirokidz Crispy Rice Bars

naturespath.com

There I was at my local Health Hut, all set to check out when the fatal checkout display caught me. Was it the fact that I was fresh out of healthy snack bars for work and these were attractively placed and imminently available? Or was it the limpid-eyed bebeh cheetah?  

The culprit: Nature’s Path Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice bars. Yes, “Envirokidz.” We’re all kids at heart, aren’t we? Even with the “z”?

I figured anything with this much attention to packaging was worth a shot—okay, I went shopping when I was hungry and the cheetah filled half the box—but of course I checked out the ingredients first. “Studded with freeze-dried blueberries and intense red raspberries,” these gluten free bars had a lot of the sweet stuff, but I decided the full list passed my discerning eye. Did I mention I was hungry?  

Ingredients: Organic brown rice flour, organic brown rice syrup, organic honey, organic soy oil, organic invert cane syrup, organic evaporated cane juice, organic corn starch, organic acacia gum, organic freeze-dried raspberries, organic freeze-dried blueberries, natural marshmallow flavor (gelatin-free), sea salt, organic molasses, natural blueberry flavor.

Now for the important part: The taste! I have a bar a day and I’m enjoying them very much. Small bursts of crispy, fruity, slightly tangy flavor just right for that second breakfast. The bar is soft and comes apart in your mouth, not your hand, and doesn’t leave you with Sticky McStickerson fingers. And it fills me up, which is not that easy to do.

There are other cute animals—er, flavors in the same line that I haven’t yet tried, but Lisa the Health Nut has reviewed the Peanut Choco Drizzle!

Taste Bud Satisfaction: Van’s Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Few things feel so right as waking up on a Saturday with the weekend stretching before you and the scent of something delicious wafting up from the kitchen. What’s your pleasure? Freshly-baked bread, scrambled eggs and bacon (real, vegan or otherwise), coffee or flavored tea…or a sweet scent of baking apples with a hint of cinnamon.

vansfoods.com

You might indeed be facing a freshly-baked apple pie when you head to the kitchen, but just in case you’re not, you’ll still be lucky if you’ve got Van’s Apple Cinnamon Waffles sitting on your plate.

I’ve had these several times and for a good reason: I am totally addicted to their scent as they bake in the toaster oven. The taste doesn’t let you down, either. The apple juice concentrate in the ingredients yields an eat-every-last-bit punch, the baking time leaves them wonderfully crispy yet chewy enough, and while I do add butter (real butter if I’m feeling saucy) and pure maple syrup, these would be just as good on their own. Try them with your favorite nut or apple butter or jelly!

For those keeping track at home, these waffles are also gluten free, dairy free and egg free. They are not, however, soy-free.

I think Van’s has more waffles than anything, but check out their whole product line for more tasty treats.

Taste Bud Satisfaction: Namaste Foods Say Cheez Pasta

namastefoods

Lactose intolerance gets my goat. In fact, it BITES.

It especially bites when I get a macaroni and cheese craving and have nowhere to turn. I’ve tried fake cheese brands that tasted like a lesser grade of particle board where even the “cheese” refuses to stick around. I’ve tried melting Vegan Rella “cheddar” on durum semolina noodles—once. I’ve succumbed to real, albeit organic, macaroni and cheese and regretted it.

The trouble is I really want the Kraft brand from the late 80s that was the color and taste of neon orange. I know, timewarp. It probably wasn’t good for me then, certainly isn’t now, but that’s what I think of when I get hit with the craving.

So what’s a macrobiotic jonesing for mac’n’cheese to do? Get past the “chreeze” brands and fall upon Namaste Foods like the savior it is. They don’t even call their take on it “macaroni and cheese,” being far too crafty (pun not intended); the bag states it is a “delicious non-dairy cheese pasta dish.”

namastefoods

Say Cheez” is gluten free and made in a facility free of soy, corn, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and casein. This leaves room for a whole lot of flavor from other sources. The pasta is brown rice and boils to the same tender consistency of its enriched cousins, and the non-dairy cheddar is enhanced by paprika, tumeric, garic and onion.

Now the surprising part to me is that I took to this like a duck on a bug, because it doesn’t actually taste anything like the neon Kraft mac’n’cheese. In fact it’s not “traditional” mac’n’cheese at all, and I warn you, if you don’t like your pasta speckled with bits of flavor as well as coated, you won’t appreciate this. I wasn’t sure about it until I tried it. I’m so glad I did. I can’t wait to see what else Namaste Foods has to offer.