Category Archives: Product Reviews

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet – Product Review

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet

Almond flour, also known as almond meal is made from whole blanched almonds without the skins. It’s gluten-free, has no trans fats and is a good source of fibre, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E. Just ¼ cup of almond flour = 3 grams of fibre, 6 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar!

I get a lot of inquiries regarding what brand of almond flour I use. When I first started my macaron craze, I tried a brand that was easily found in supermarkets. It was a bit coarse and I always had a good amount of leftover almond flour, even after a whirl in my food processor and sifting several times.

I even tried making my own almond flour, which is possible, but so much work! What a mess my kitchen was in. To make your own almond flour, you must combine blanched almonds with icing sugar in your food processor; otherwise you’ll end up with almond butter. You can also use unsalted almonds with skins, and I find it adds a nice speckle to macarons.

Pressed for time, I started searching for superfine almond flour and found one by Grain-Free JK Gourmet at my local health food store. It really is the finest ground almond flour I’ve used. Forget about your food processor, it isn’t necessary. If you were to pass it through a sieve, the residual amount is minimal.

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet

Keep in mind, almond flour is not just for making macarons, it’s very common in a lot of baked goods, especially French pastries and cakes. You can substitute a portion of regular flour with almond flour for extra nutrition and for really moist results, but be careful. I would not recommend a 1:1 ratio as almond flour has a completely different moisture content as well as added fat. I normally use ¼ cup as a swap, so for 1 cup of flour, I would use ¾ cup flour + ¼ cup almond flour.

Almond flour can also be frozen to ensure freshness. Just be sure to leave it out at room temperature the day before, to allow any moisture to evaporate before using for macarons.

You can purchase this super fine almond flour directly from Grain-Free JK Gourmet’s website, or find a store near you here.

Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Grain-Free JK Gourmet. This is not a paid advertisement.

Coconut Palm Sugar – Product Review

Coconut Palm Sugar
I heard about coconut palm sugar a while back but it wasn’t until I saw the product on Dr. Oz that I took an interest.

Being a dessert lover, of course I’m concerned about the amount of sugar my family consumes, so I was really excited to try coconut palm sugar. This sugar is also known as coconut sugar and is produced from the sap of flower buds from a coconut palm. It’s been around for thousands of years but we seem to be hearing about it more often, perhaps as we take a vested interest in our health and the foods we consume.

Coconut palm sugar is more commonly available as a granule, much like turbinado sugar, only darker in color.   Here are some benefits of coconut palm sugar:

  • Is considered safe for diabetics (please see disclaimer below)
  • Can help stabilize glucose levels
  • Rates low on the glycemic index
  • Very high in mineral content

The taste is similar to brown sugar with caramel overtones.  It can be used in place of regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio, and in my testing, it did very well except when caramelizing crème brulee, where white sugar would already be the best choice.

Coconut Palm Sugar

There are a lot of brands on the market so the choices can be overwhelming. What I like about this one from Xylitol Canada is that it is certified organic and available at a great price, even better when purchased in bulk.

It was not a difficult transition for us and we barely tasted any difference in our morning tea and coffee.  We used the exact same amount that we normally did with regular sugar or turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw).  The only problem we encountered was when we ran out and went back to regular white sugar.  It tasted soooo sweet!!!  We immediately purchased more coconut palm sugar; this time in bulk!

Coconut Palm Sugar from Xylitol Canada

Purchase Coconut Palm Sugar online or find store listings

You can also purchase products from their location (call ahead of time):

Xylitol Canada
160 Davenport Road
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1J2
Telephone: 416-288-1019

Note:
Keep in mind that coconut palm sugar is still a sugar, and should be used sparingly.

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Xylitol Gum and Mints – Aspartame Free – Product Review

Xylitol Peppermint Gum

XYLITOL GUM

Just like I’m addicted to desserts, the same goes for gum. I have packets of them everywhere, and buy them in bulk!

I started to worry about the amount of aspartame my family consumes and my naturopathic doctor, who I rely on for all our health matters suggested a gum made with xylitol.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s formulated into a white crystalline granule that is low-calorie, low-carb, and safe for diabetics. It also has fewer calories than other sweeteners.

After reading up on xylitol, we tried several brands of gum. Our favorite one is from Xylitol Canada; it’s made with 100% xylitol from North American grown hardwood trees, is non-GMO and contains no artificial sweeteners.

While I feel much better about cutting aspartame out of our diet, I’d like to point out that all gums made with xylitol will not be as super sweet or juicy as regular gum. It took a while for us to get used to this, especially H, but the health benefits far outweigh the consumption of aspartame.

The gums are available in cinnamon, fruit punch, spearmint and peppermint. Our favorite flavour is peppermint!

XYLITOL MINTS

Xylitol Mints These cute mints come in environmentally friendly and reusable metal tins.

They are made from the same quality xylitol and one little mint will last a long time. They are available in a lot of unique flavors such as cocoa mint, fruit punch, lemon lime, licorice, peppermint and wintermint!

Xylitol Mints

For more information on these products, visit Xylitol Canada.  Here is a store listing.

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above products. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads – Product Review

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads

I’m so excited to share our absolute favorite spreads with you! Crofter’s Organic Spreads are not your average jellies, jams or preserves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a product called “jelly” to contain at least 65% water-soluble solids (sugar), and must be made with concentrates or fruit juices. “Preserves” and “jams” must contain at least 55% sugar and 45% fruit. Crofter’s Fruit Spreads have only 44% sugar, so they are named spreads!

For the past eight years, we’ve been enjoying Crofter’s Organic Spreads and refused to buy any other brand. It took us a while to adjust our taste buds; after all, we were used to consuming sugary jams and jellies that didn’t have any true fruit flavor. Even the less sweet or “all fruit” jams can’t compare to Crofter’s!

Crofter’s Spreads are Non-GMO Project Certified, and certified organic.  We’re extremely concerned with pesticides! Their products are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and the pectin is made from apples (not chemically modified). Crofter’s packaging is glass with BPA-free metal caps! Amazing!!!

The “Premium Spreads” are made with fair-trade cane sugar and have 30% less sugar than regular jams. The taste is truly delicious! We’re so hooked on the products that we’re very disappointed when we dine out and see other “jams” served. Once you try Crofter’s Organic Spreads, you’ll see what I mean, and you will “love” the pure, clean, fresh fruit flavor with a lot less sugar!

We crave them so much that we often give them as hostess gifts or part of gift bags for the holidays!

The Premium Spreads come in apricot, blackberry, blood orange, concord grape, four fruit (strawberries, raspberries, red currants and morello cherries), mango, morello cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, wild blueberry and biodynamic blueberry. That’s a lot of flavors!!! My favorites are blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and wild blueberry. H loves strawberry!

Are you craving Crofter’s Organic Spreads???  You can read more about Crofter’s Organic products here.


Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of Crofter’s Organic. This is not a paid advertisement.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans – Product Review

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Vanilla Food Company

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Vanilla Food Company

I have been baking with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for quite some time, so I’m really excited to review and share an excellent source for purchasing this product.

Vanilla beans are pods or fruits from the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia)). They are pricey, yet so fragrant and a staple among home bakers and professional chefs. Vanilla bean pods are very labor-intensive to produce and are thus the second most expensive spice, the first being Saffron.

While there are many varieties of vanilla beans, Tahitian and Madagascar Bourbon are quite common. The vanilla orchids come from many countries, including Tahiti, Mexico, India and Comoro; however, the majority of them originate from the island of Madagascar.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans range from grade A to C, are long (up to 15 cm or more) and have a very rich aroma. They should be pliable, with a slightly oily surface, and not dry. Tahitian Vanilla beans are shorter and contain more water and oil. They also have fewer seeds, and the flavor can be fruity. I find they taste more floral. You can try both types and see which one you prefer.

Vanilla beans from the Vanilla Food Company are of the highest quality and a real pleasure to bake with! Try them in recipes where the flavor will really shine through, and can be seen, like this delicious recipe for Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée!

To order and find other great products, visit Vanilla Food Company.

Disclosure:
Product courtesy of Vanilla Food Company.  This is not a paid advertisement.

NutraSea – Product Review

NutraSea omega-3 supplements

Are you taking your omega-3’s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good” fats that can be found in foods such as fish, nuts, canola and sunflower oil. Our bodies are not able to produce omega-3, and you’d have to consume an enormous amount of these foods to obtain the optimal dosage.

Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) supplements can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Their benefits are numerous and include reducing inflammation, improving mental health and boosting your immune system. Omega-3 is also great for your hair, skin and vision!

It’s important to do your research when searching for omega-3 supplements. There are 3 forms of omega-3: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Supplements will have different ratios according to what your needs are.

Omega-3 supplements should be mercury-free without the fishy taste, or the burping up of fish oil. Purity is extremely important to us. We tried some samples of omega-3 capsules from different companies, and even though we took them with food, we couldn’t get over the burping! This was clearly a sign of an inferior product! Never again!

Which brings me to NutraSea products by Ascenta … I’m excited to share our favorite omega-3 supplement, which was highly recommended by our Naturopathic Doctor, and we’ve been taking it every single day for over eight years.

We take regular NutraSea, which comes in lemon and mango flavors. Both flavors are great, and the oil has a clean and slightly flavored taste. We usually buy the lemon flavor as it comes in a 500 ml bottle which is more economical. One teaspoon contains a total of 1500 mg of total omega-3 fatty acids. 1250 mg is guaranteed to absorb into our bodies. NutraSea | Ascenta has different omega-3 products.

Visit NutraSea to read more and find one that is right for you and your family. I am sure you will love and trust their products as much as we do!  More importantly, Ascenta products are third-party tested and certified for quality and purity.   You can even enter the lot number of your NutraSea product on Ascenta’s website to obtain a quality test result!

Notes:

Some people may think of omegas as omega 3-6-9.  The important omegas are omega-3 and omega-6 (6 in moderation).

Omega-6 – for a list of dietary sources
Omega-9 – to learn more about omega-9

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product/s. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products as they may conflict with your medications, and/or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of NutraSea | Ascenta Health Ltd. This is not a paid advertisement.

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