Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things I Love Part 1, Or: Excellent Edibles

I've been thinking a lot lately about things I've recently found and have fallen in love with. I'm tired of my old, boring ways where I stuck with things that were familiar to me. So I've branched out and found some new loves. I thought I might share a few of them with you!

Today, I'll write about a few edible items that really rock my world.

The first is chocolate. In my house, the first is ALWAYS chocolate. *grin* More specifically, the Lindt Intense Orange Dark Chocolate candy bar. Dustin put one of these in my Christmas stocking and I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted it. LOVE!

Now here is something you should know about me and oranges. I love oranges and love tangerines even more. Orange juice is cool by me, and orange Jell-o is my absolute favorite flavor. Other than those things though, I'm not a huge fan of orange stuff. I am especially not really fond of orange flavored candy. It all tastes so fake (which makes my love of orange Jell-o that much more strange...). This stuff, however, is something to write home about. Or at least blog about. It has real bits of orange in it! They're candied or something. It also has slivered almonds, and almonds always belong with chocolate. I'm sorry, they just DO. When it comes to plain dark chocolate, my favorite will always be Ghirardelli Twilight Delight (SO not a huge fan of Hershey anymore. Sorry, Hershey. I eat you because you're cheap and I can't always buy a Ghirardelli when I need a chocolate fix... but you just ain't all that.) but when I want a little kick in my chocolate pants, the Lindt Intense Orange is definitely my favorite new buy. I just polished off a bar yesterday. *happy sigh*

Next, I'd like to mention another snack, only this one is savory rather than sweet. Move over Triscuit, there's a new kid in town. Blue Diamond Nut Thins are my new favorite cracker!

Now, you might be wondering why on earth I would try a cracker made from nuts and rice. Well, I'm a little nutty for one. *Insert corny joke drum roll here* Also, I suspect that I have some food allergies going on. My mom has several, and I inherited her seasonal allergies for sure, so it really would not surprise me to learn that I also inherited some of her food allergies. I do think that my husband and I both suffer from some food sensitivities, but neither one of us relishes the idea of an elimination diet. I know I feel a little cruddy when I eat a lot of wheat, plus I believe that the standard wheat and corn heavy American diet is unhealthy. It's not good, in my opinion, to rely so heavily on TWO grains when God made a huge variety of wonderful grains from which to choose! (I mean, most people ignore millet even though it is high in iron, and I'm willing to bet you've probably not heard of quinoa which is considered an "ancient grain" even though it's really a seed. It cooks up like a grain though, and has an incredible health profile. Check it out!) Throw in the fact that almost all the corn in our food supply is genetically modified and more people than ever are intolerant to wheat these days
(which, I believe, is probably OUR fault but I'll spare you the rest of my rant on that for now *giggle*), though a vast number of them aren't even aware of it and I think I have a good case for wanting to explore other options.

Enter Nut Thins. I've been a fan of Blue Diamond's Almond Milk for a while, so when I saw their crackers on the shelf of my health food store, I had to try them. They are hands down the best crackers ever. They are light and crunchy and have a very unique flavor. My two favorites are the Pecan and the Almond Cheddar. They're not cheap and each box only has four servings (though I could easily eat a box in two days, no problem!) so I don't get to buy them often. But when they go on sale, we stock up, baby.

Lasty, there is
bison. Yes, bison. Or buffalo. Call it either one, but it's my new favorite meat to cook. Yes, yes, I am still a vegetarian, but my husband unfortunately is not nor will he ever be. Being the wonderful, loving wife that I am (Dustin, *STOP. LAUGHING.*), I do still buy meat and cook it for him very often. I have heard of some vegetarian or vegan wives that do not do this for the meat eaters in their family, preferring the meat eaters stop at the likes of Wendy's or Burger King on the way home "if they want meat". There is just no way I could do that. I care so much more about the health of my man than I do about anything vegetarian or any animal out there (and btw, I'm not vegetarian because of "animal rights" though I do wish our country was much more humane than it is and I do find some common slaughtering practices absolutely abhorrent). So as such, it would be hypocritical of me to take such an action and I choose to instead buy the healthiest meat I can find and afford. Grass fed bison (preferably from an organic farm in northern Texas) fits that bill, and the man likes it too, so that is a definite plus. *grin* My freezer is full of the stuff right now (as well as a variety of organic, grass-fed beef). In case you were wondering why I go for the organic, grass-fed stuff... well, grass is the normal diet of these animals so it only stands to reason that the animals would be healthier eating what they were made to eat. The organic is a no-brainer (no hormones, no routine antibiotics, etc) but truly grass fed beef contains omega-3 fatty acid which we all know is heart (and brain) healthy. Bison is leaner than beef (leaner, even, than chicken some say) and cooks up more quickly too.

So those are my new favorite food finds at the moment. Also worth mentioning are:

*Y.S. Organic Raw Honey If you've never tried creamy, raw, unfiltered honey you are surely missing out. This stuff is so good, it should be a sin.

*Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Ok, so I said that I'm not a huge fan of Hershey, but their special dark baking cocoa is the exception. On Valentine's, my mom and I made our favorite Oatmeal Fudge Drop Cookies and used the dark cocoa instead of regular, and they were.so.good. I also used it to make my mom's birthday cake this year. (If you love a good homemade chocolate cake, you must try that recipe, by the way. Mom's been baking it for years and it is our favorite.) So rich. So chocolately. So DARK. Seriously, the cookies and cake were black. Goooood stuff.

What are your recent edible favorites? I'm always looking for something new, so please do tell!


Heidi @ GGIP said...

I have the Special Dark cocoa. it is good, but it can be overpowering in somethings.

I would love that chocolate. Chocolate and orange just go so well together.

Not heard of any of the other things. I would try bison probably. Actually, I think I had bison jerky once when I was a kid. Can't remember why...

Bethany said...

Where do you buy your organic meat? I worry about the hormones in meat a lot, especially if we have children to feed someday.

Shannon said...

I don't like the orange Lindt chocolate. I got one in my stocking too, but orange and chocolate just don't go together IMO. I prefer my chocolate dark and alone :)

I love bison, but it's expensive. I really want to find a source for affordable, organic meat, but so far I haven't had much luck. With groceries going up, I've had to give up a few of my ideals lately :( Meat from Whole Foods is really expensive!

Stacy said...

I've heard of quinoa but don't know how to cook it.
I've never liked the orange/chocolate combination. Now raspberries/chocolate or strawberries/chocolate is a totally different story.
We grind our own wheat into flour here for most things- its SO much better for you. Keeps all of the good nutrients and such.
That is a pretty good price for honey. I have a friend who has a connection for local honey. I need to call her- I'm hoping using it would help with Chris's allergy issues.

Jessica Morris said...

Thanks a lot.
Now I'm hungry.
For stuff we don't have in our kitchen.

Trish D said...

Ooh, that all sounds so yummy. My current faves are pretty simple - toasted almonds, fresh raspberries. Plus you can combine those two any virtually any baked good is then super yummy :)