peanut butter

Review: Nature’s Pride’s Hearty Wheat Bread w/flax

Recently, through my association with FoodBuzz I was given the chance (and a free loaf) to test drive Nature’s Pride’s New Hearty Wheat Bread with Flax.  I guess I was chosen because of my post last summer about Sara Lee’s (Not-so) Heart Healthy Bread.  According to Nature’s Pride their new bread is, “baked with pure olive oil, this wholesome and healthy bread is a good source of fiber and offers 22 grams of whole grain per slice.  The addition of flax makes it a good source of Omega 3-ALA and, like all our breads, it is 100% natural and delicious.”

nature's pride hearty wheat with flaxNature’s Pride is a bread brand that I am comfortable with.  They, like Arnold’s and Nature’s Own, tend to make bread that is actually healthy as opposed to playing the shell game of other big brand’s like Sara Lee.  In short, I trust Nature’s Pride bread.

That’s why I looked forward to this opportunity.  For all the muckraking of bread right now it is important to point out that without the development of bread baking humans likely never emerge from the stone age.  Bread has been a solid cure to famine and starvation since man first learned to start a fire.  Of course moderation is also important.  Therefore, I am always in pursuit of bread that provides not only the hunger satisfying effects I like but also tastes good without killing me.  It’s a tougher quest than you might imagine.

Some notes on flax: Flax seed has been cultivated by mankind for both food and clothing since at least 30,000 BC (that is when dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in Dzudzuana, Republic of Georgia have been dated to).  Flax seed (or linseed as it is also known) was the dominate material in textile manufacturing prior to the cotton boom of early America.  Flax seed is to linen what cotton is to flannel.

As food, flax has proven to be a vital component in the fight against certain types of breast and prostate cancers as it contains elevated levels of dietary fiber, an abundance of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids.  Flax is also believed to help the pancreas better manage blood sugar levels making it a key addition to the diet of diabetics.  For more on flax you can check out this article at About.com.

I have learned to like whole wheat bread, an event most likely attributed to the natural evolution of a person’s palate over time.  I prefer wheat bread for subs and sandwiches of all kinds.  However, there are two sandwiches that simply do not lend themselves to the bitter bite of whole wheat – grilled cheese and PB&J.  Nature’s Pride appears to have solved that problem.

My first venture with their new Hearty Wheat Bread with Flax was to make a grilled cheese.  I used a three cheese combination of aged Swiss and Colby/Jack.  For the exterior of the sandwich I used a 50/50 blend of butter and mayonnaise (Don’t judge me!  It’s better for you than most margarine).  The result was, quite frankly, a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  Great crunch and tenderness with no bitter finish.  Test #1 was a success.

Grilled Cheese on Nature's Pride Wheat

Test #2: For my PB&J I used an all natural peanut butter sweetened with real honey and one of those all-fruit spreads, grape of course (the official fruit of PB&J).  Again a winner.  No bitterness to diminish the whole PB&J experience.  The flax seeds offered a pleasing crunch not unlike using crunchy peanut butter.

PB&J on Nature's Pride Wheat with Flax

Skippy Peanut Butter Recall

Monsanto does it again.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 4, 2011 – Unilever United States, Inc. Skippy Peanut Butter Recalltoday announced a limited recall of Skippy® Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy® Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread, because it may be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No other Skippy® products are affected by this recall.

The product was distributed to retail outlets in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The affected product, which is packaged in 16.3 oz plastic jars, is as follows:

  • UPCs: 048001006812 and 048001006782 (located on the side of the jar’s label below the bar code.)
  • Best-If-Used-By Dates: MAY1612LR1, MAY1712LR1, MAY1812LR1, MAY1912LR1, MAY2012LR1 and MAY2112LR1(Stamped on the lid of the jar.)

 

To date, no illnesses related to this issue have been reported.

The recall was initiated as the result of a routine sampling program by the company, which revealed that these finished products may contain the bacteria.

Consumers who have purchased Skippy® Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Spread with the above UPCs and Best-If-Used-By-Dates are urged to discard the product immediately and call the company for a replacement coupon. Consumers can contact the company at1-800-453-3432, which is operational 24 hours a day, for information on the recall. In addition, a consumer services representative is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM EST.

 

The Great Cookie Debate – Chunks vs Chips

In the pantheon of cookies one stands above all the rest.  Yes Oatmeal Raisin has it’s place as does Peanut Butter.  And Christmas isn’t Christmas without Snickerdoodles.  White Chocolate Macadamia Nut?  Well, that’s kind of it’s own category – it’s like the Ferrari in a garage full of Mustangs.  It’s the same thing but at the same time it’s not the same thing.

Chocolate Chip CookieNo, the king of the cookie hill is of course the Chocolate Chip.  If you don’t believe me ask any third grader.  But in the past several years a challenger has been emerging to rival the exalted Chocolate Chip and it’s cut from the same cloth.  I speak of course of the Chocolate Chunk.

The “Chunk” is very similar to the “Chip.”  You might think it’s a chip off the old block but it is very much its own cookie.  “Chunk” is like your girlfriend’s younger sister.  She looks exactly like your girlfriend only hotter.  “Chip” is reliably consistent.  There is a set chocolate to cookie ratio that’s dependable.

Chocolate Chunk Cookie“Chunk” is willy nillly.  Most of the time you’ll get a choc-to-cook ratio similar to “Chip.”  However, the shape of “Chunk” gives it a different texture and a larger surface area.  But what makes “Chunk” so appealing is that there is usually one bite in every cookie with a chunk the size of a marble in it.  That’s the money bite.

The money bite has such a chocolate burst that it’s dizzying.  It’s your first shot of whiskey.  It’s the first time you saw blue lights in your rear view.  It’s that first awkward slow dance at the 8th grade formal.  But you best be careful when you eat the money bite for if you get to it too quickly the rest of the cookie will be anticlimactic.

So that’s the great cookie debate – chunks vs chips.  Where do you stand?

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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