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Product Round-Up

Product Round-Up

Products We Love: November Edition

November 29, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a holiday party, oyster roast, or just because!

Toadfish Oyster Shucker

You know you want to be the coolest kid at the oyster roast

I guess you’re not a true Charlestonian unless you show up to an oyster roast with your own oyster shucker, and I have to say I felt kind of bad ass when I rolled up with my bright teal Toadfish oyster shucker at the last roast I attended. The knife itself is nice and hefty, and I felt way more in control when opening the oysters. Plus, they’re a local Charleston company, and for every product you buy, they plant 10 sqft of new oyster beds!

Where to buy: ToadfishOutfitters.com

Ancient Harvest Microwavable Quinoa

In an effort to eat somewhat more healthily while also being lazy AF as a person, I was really excited to try this microwavable quinoa from Ancient Harvest. There are a few different flavor combos (I like the one with chickpeas the best) and are great as a side for dinner, or as a breakfast bowl (picture above). The quinoa is made with coconut oil and is ready to eat in just 90 seconds (which is about as long as my patience lasts, generally).

Where to buy: Amazon, AncientHarvest.com

Mina Moroccan Tagine Sauce

So I’ve been obsessed with Moroccan food for a while now, but unfortunately, Charleston is severely lacking in Moroccan cuisine (which is a total shame). Luckily, this amazing sauce blend from Mina lets you be a Moroccan chef right in your own home! I own a tagine, so I cooked up a bunch of veggies and chicken and couscous with their chicken simmer sauce, and had an amazing meal that was super easy to make and packed full of flavor. They also make harissa, shakshuka simmer sauce, and sauces for fish and beef & lamb, and they’re all delicious.

Where to buy: Amazon, CasablancaFoods.com

Sipp Sparkling Organics

Although I’m 100% fine to drink champagne straight-no-chaser (sometimes even straight-out-the-bottle), it’s always nice to class it up a bit and add a little mixie. Enter Sipp Organics! These yummy sodas are non-alcoholic and can be enjoyed alone or mixed with your favorite liquor for a fun and unique cocktail. My favorite way to drink them, however, is as a mixer for my champagne. They use natural ingredients and sweeten with agave, so I don’t feel as guilty as using super processed and sugary mixers from the grocery store. They have lots of delicious flavors, but Mojo Berry (blackberry, lime, and mint) is my favorite so far!

Where to buy: HaveASipp.com, Amazon

Guides Product Round-Up

Charleston’s Best Cookbooks: A Foodie Gift Guide

November 22, 2017

Because cookbooks are a girl’s best friend.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching and that means everyone has holiday shopping on the brain. I started to think about the gifts I’ve received that I treasure most, and of course my Charleston Receipts and Sean Brock cookbooks were the first things to come to mind. Also, my friends The Cocktail Bandits’ book, Holy Spirits, is available for pre-order as well.

Congrats, bandits! Photo by Basil & Bubbly

In that vein, I put together this list of cookbooks from Charleston locals (or chefs who will be in attendance at Charleston Wine + Food next year) that is sure to delight any foodie in your life!

People & Personalities

Sean Brock – Chef at Husk, McCrady’s, and Minero


From the book jacket: “The recipes include all the comfort food (think food to eat at home) and high-end restaurant food (fancier dishes when there’s more time to cook) for which he has become so well-known. Brock’s interpretation of Southern favorites like Pickled Shrimp, Hoppin’ John, and Chocolate Alabama Stack Cake sit alongside recipes for Crispy Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps, Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Tomato Gravy, and Baked Sea Island Red Peas.”

The Lee Brothers – Local Writers / Business Owners


From the book jacket: “Let James Beard Award–winning authors and hometown heroes Matt Lee and Ted Lee be your culinary ambassadors to Charleston, South Carolina, one of America’s most storied and buzzed-about food destinations.”

Carrie Morey – Chef at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit


From the book jacket: “Carrie Morey shares her modern approach to traditional Southern cooking in more than one hundred recipes that pair classic Lowcountry fare with surprising twists, for incredible results. Carrie guides you through the foundational techniques of Southern cooking to reveal how she developed her new takes on favorite heritage dishes and how to take the fuss and huge time investment out of traditional preparations.”

Frank Lee – Chef formerly of Slightly North of Broad


From the book jacket: “It is a home, a family, and a heart for thousands that, for more than twenty years, beat to the resounding drum of Chef Frank Lee.
This book does not try to speak to every dish churned out of the S.N.O.B. kitchen over the years. Instead, it presents classic recipes―those “sacred cows” that regulars would not allow off the menu―as well as long-running seasonal plates and many of the sauces, side dishes, and dressings that played foundational roles in the restaurant’s popular Lunch Express and Dailies menus.”

Holly Herrick – Local Author


From the book jacket: “From the best roadside dives to the finest upscale eateries, The Charleston Chef’s Table opens up a new window on the Holy City, which has become a world-class culinary destination in recent years.”

Nathalie Dupree – Local Author


From the book jacket: “Nathalie Dupree was ahead of the curve eight years ago with her classic book Shrimp and Grits. Now this Lowcountry comfort combo is found on restaurant menus all around the country―from top to bottom, coast to coast. All-new photography, new recipes from southern chefs, and a fresh design revamp a southern food cookbook for gift giving or one’s own kitchen library.”

Marvin Woods – Chef formerly of The Gentry Bar & Room


From the book jacket: “But The New Low-Country Cooking is much more than a great cookbook. Woods shares historical tidbits on how dishes and ingredients got their names, where they originated, and the indisputable importance of African-American cooks in Southern life.”

Restaurants & Classics

The Fat Hen – Johns Island, SC


From the book jacket: “Fat Hen is committed to honoring the culinary history of French Lowcountry food through the creation of classic French preparations with the freshest local ingredients and by creating new classics in the spirit of the Huguenots. Examples of French Lowcountry include Duck Confit with Collard Greens and Squash, Flounder Nicoise over Bacon Cheese Grits, and Seared Grouper over Succotash.”

Magnolia’s – Downtown Charleston


From the book jacket: “The soul of the South meets the spark of innovation in dishes such as the Down South Egg Roll stuffed with collard greens, chicken and Tasso ham, served with red pepper puree, spicy mustard sauce and peach chutney and Shellfish over Grits with sauteed shrimp, sea scallops, lobster, creamy white grits, lobster butter sauce and fried spinach.”

**Note: this post includes affiliate links, which means if you buy any of these products, I might make a little money. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: October Edition

October 25, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a Labor Day party, summer cookout, or just because!

Alkalife TEN Water

So I know a lot of people really love to drink Gatorade when they’re hungover, but I absolutely hate the taste of any of those sports drinks. I want to electrolytes without all that other stuff, and Alkalife delivers! Their water is really good, without any sort of after taste or anything like that, and it’s my go-to drink after a night of too much fun.

Where to buy: Alkalife.com, Publix, Amazon 

PureLYFT

As someone who’s been tired since approximately 1998, I really loved these PureLyft caffiene powder sticks. You can either peel off the sticker (although this is a little tricky) or pop off the end and pour it into a glass or bottle of water (or juice, or even a cocktail), shake it up and voilá! It has the same amount of caffeine as a tall cup of coffee, had a very light flavor (lemon-lime was my favorite), and had the added benefit of helping me drink more water and be more alert.

If you buy from PureLYFT.com, you can save 25% with coupon code getLYFTed25

Where to buy: PureLYFT.com, Amazon

Soylent Coffee

I always loved the idea of Soylent (a whole, nutritionally balanced meal on the go), but my biggest hesitation in trying Soylent was its name (I mean, I’ve never seen the movie, but I got the gist of it). They recently announced new coffee-inspired flavors, which contain 400 calories of plant-based nutrition and the same caffeine as a strong cup of coffee, so I finally decided to take the plunge. Their new flavors come in blackest coffee, café vanilla coffee, and café chai. My favorite, by far, is café chai. It’s not too much, and I love the convenience of just grabbing one when I’m on my way out the door!

Where to buy: Soylent.com, Amazon

Loacker Wafers

One of my favorite things about traveling is eating local snacks and goodies and seeing how food differs from culture to culture. Being part Italian, I was really excited when I got the opportunity to try Loacker wafer cookies, marketed to me as “a taste of the alps.” (I mean, come on!) They reminded me of the wafer cookies my grandmother always served to us when I was younger. They’re not super sweet like most American cookies/snacks, but I still really enjoyed how light and airy they were. My favorite flavor was chocolate hazelnut!

Where to buy: Loacker, Amazon

Tonnino Canned Tuna

So, I’m not usually a fan of canned meats in general, but I’ve read on numerous blogs and talked to a personal trainer who told me that canned tuna is one of the best sources of protein when you’re trying to lose weight / build muscle. Since I have a cat, the idea of opening up an actual can was a little off-putting, but this canned variety from Tonnino was a lot more aesthetically pleasing. I like that it comes in different flavors, because I like a little variety in my diet.

Where to buy: Tonnino.com, Whole Foods, Amazon

Robbins Republic

I love supporting little independently owned businesses, and this microconfectionary out of California makes adorable (and delicious) sweet treats featuring local California liquors. My personal favorites are the whiskey caramels and the drunken brittle!

Where to buy: RobbinsRepublic.com

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: August 2017

August 23, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a Labor Day party, summer cookout, or just because!

Moore’s Marinade

Not all buffalo sauces are created equal, but Moore’s is definitely at the top of the list. I used a little bit of Moore’s to brush on some chicken right off the grill and I mixed it into this amazing dip my mother calls “crack dip” (pictured above). It’s basically cream cheese, shredded cheddar, bacon, and some Moore’s mixed together, baked, and served with your favorite chips or crackers. If you like Buffalo sauce, you’ll love Moore’s!

Where to buy: Amazon.com, Harris Teeter, Publix

Barely Bread

So I’ve been doing this thing on and off recently where I stop eating bread and try to do that whole “paleo” thing (it’s very half-assed on my part because giving up bread is hard). Luckily I discovered Barely Bread, which is paleo-friendly bread made with almond flour. They make baguettes, bagels, and regular sliced bread, and it’s actually pretty good. It doesn’t really compare to bread with actual gluten in it, but if you’re paleo or gluten-free, it’s a pretty legit substitute. I used it to make avocado toast, and I truthfully didn’t notice that it was without gluten.

Where to buy: BarelyBread.com

UFO Beer

I always worry about fruit-based beers that they’re going to be cloyingly sweet or have that super artificial medicine taste, but this Cranbeery beer from UFO is actually delicious. It has really subtle hints of fruit, so it doesn’t overwhelm your tastebuds. I took it to my friend Caty who is something of a beer snob, and she was just as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Where to buy: Total Wine, Harris Teeter, Bottles, Whole Foods

Carrington Farms Chia Seeds

I am already a huge fan of Carrington Farms’s coconut oil, so when I was sent some of their chia seeds, I was really excited to start adding them to my morning smoothie! They’re organic and full of Omega 3’s, which I’m told are good for me. They also have a ton of calcium in them, which, as a woman who rarely drinks milk, I definitely need more of.

Where to buy: Amazon, CarringtonFarms.com, Target, Publix

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: June 2017

June 28, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a 4th of July party, summer cookout, or just because!

1. Pure Growth Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits

I did not take this picture. I wish I was that talented!

I will admit that because these are marketed at kids, I assumed they would not really be my thing. I threw them in the car while I was driving to Atlanta, thinking maybe it would delay how long I was able to drive before stopping for food. To my surprise, they were absolutely delicious! And pretty filling, too. I ate 1 pouch and was good for the whole 5-hour drive to Atlanta. Kids or not, if you often eat breakfast on-the-go, I highly recommend these!

Where to buy: Amazon.com, Target

2. Lowcountry Kettle Potato Chips

Let’s just put them all together in one bowl and let what happens happen.

How am I only just discovering these amazing chips?! As someone who usually doesn’t love potato chips (they’re just too greasy, I don’t get it), these were like a reinvention of the classic potato chip. They’re super crunchy and don’t leave your fingers feeling like an oil slick afterward. My favorite flavor is the Spicy Pimento Cheese, although the State Fair Fried Pickle is a close second.

Where to buy: LowcountryKettle.com, local grocery stores around Charleston

3. Arctic Zero Lactose-Free Ice Cream

So I’ve recently been trying to cut down on my dairy intake because I think I’m starting to develop a bit of an intolerance to dairy (which I ignore most of the time). When Arctic Zero sent me a couple of their pints, I was super pumped. The peanut butter swirl was my all-time favorite. Keep note that it doesn’t taste like regular ice cream, but as a frozen dessert, it was pretty delicious.

Where to buy: Amazon, Bi-Lo, Walmart, Publix, Earth Fare

4. Fire Department Coffee

Isn’t their branding pretty?

Coffee that’s aged in liquor barrels? Why not! If you’re a fan of Irish Coffees, then you’ll love this brand. My favorite is the bourbon roast. I will say that I am not a fan of the tequila roast (tequila and coffee isn’t my jam, apparently…good to know). I also really like this company because they partner with organizations like Sons of the Flag, which benefits burn victims, so I can feel like I’m doing a good deed with each morning brew.

Where to buy: firedeptcoffee.com

5. Muuna Cottage Cheese

Muuna acai bowl FTW!

This month was apparently about me learning to like foods I had previously thought I didn’t care for. Muuna Cottage Cheese sent me a few different flavors to try, and I went in not sure how if I was going to like any of them. I can safely say that the blueberry flavor is delicious when mixed with some granola or as part of an acai bowl (which is how I’ve been using it), and the plain is really good when used in dips!

Where to buy: Ingles and Giant


Product Round-Up

Products We Love: May Edition

May 10, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or just because!

Yes, I know my numbering system makes a squiggly line. I like it that way.

1. Moscatino Sparkling Rose Wine

So I got a bottle of Moscatino just before TQuizzle’s bachelorette party, which couldn’t have been more perfect. I planned the bash, and everything I did was pink and sparkly, so a sparkling rosé was the cherry on top of everything. Moscatino advertises that the flavor has notes of “peach, jasmine, rose, grapefruit, and jam,” and that’s probably true. I am no wine expert, so I’ll just say that it was slightly sweet with very little acidity and fun little bubbles on your tongue.

Where to buy: Wine.com

2. Diestel Turkey Ranch Breakfast Sausage

This is the sort of meal that tastes awesome, but doesn’t photograph as great as I’d like it to.

I’m going to start this by saying that compared to pork breakfast sausage, there really isn’t any comparison. Pork is just better. But I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so I’ve been eating my way through a couple of different kinds of turkey sausage, and so far this one is my favorite. It has no artificial ingredients, growth stimulants, or gluten, which I know is important to a lot of people (I mostly only care if it tastes good, and it does). My only complaint is that it doesn’t crumble the same way traditional breakfast sausage crumbles. I have to chop it up separately before I add it to my favorite breakfast hash (recipe coming soon!), which can be kind of annoying some days. But as far as turkey sausage goes, Diestel gets a thumbs up!

Where to buy: Diestel’s Website, $11.95 for 1 pound.

3. Rise Buddy Rice Snacks

I’ve had 27 years, you’d have thought I’d have a better handle on my eyeliner situation by now.

So I was kind of skeptical that I would like “baked rice snacks,” but Rise Buddy really surprised me! I tried a variety of flavors, and although I didn’t love all of them, I did really love the Pizza flavor. In fact, I might be eating some as I type this (don’t judge me). Rise Buddy talks about the importance of the fact that they’re gluten free, they have 0 grams of trans fat, and feature hardly any added sugar. Since I’m trying to be a lot more mindful of what I eat, it’s nice to have a snack I can throw in my bag and eat without having to feel guilty. Plus, they’re really not anymore expensive than other junk food.

Where to buy: Amazon, $18 for a pack of 12

4. POW! Gluten-Free Pasta

Again, it tastes better than it photographs.

As you know from my many previous posts, I’m something of a mac and cheese addict, so I jumped at the chance to try POW! Mac And Cheese. Healthy Mac & Cheese?! It was right up my alley! The pastas at POW! are made from other ingredients you’re likely to find in your pantry in order to make them gluten free. Things like green lentils, black beans, red lentils, and quinoa. I tried the black bean elbows and the pre-packaged mac & cheese, which is supposed to be a healthier equivalent to Kraft’s Blue Box mac for kids. It really does taste similar, although I would recommend going with the sharp cheddar versus the mild cheddar because it’ll have a lot more flavor. The black bean pasta cooks wayyy faster than regular pasta, so I accidentally overcooked it (because I didn’t read the directions), but flavorwise, it didn’t really have an overwhelming flavor. Should be easy to swap it for your favorite pastas for a better alternative.

Where to buy: Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Amazon

5. Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze

“Munk” is short for “chipmunk,” but it still makes me uncomfortable.

Let me start by saying that Munk Pack has possibly the least appetizing sounding name. I think because it rhymes with “funk,” and I don’t want to eat anything funky. And “squeezable oatmeal” definitely qualifies as funky. It took me a minute to get used to the consistency, but the flavors are actually pretty good. I would recommend this to parents whose kids already love those squeezable fruit snacks.

Where to buy: Publix, Amazon, Whole Foods, Earth Fare

Note: This post features products that I received for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I only review products that I like. I did not receive compensation for this review. This post also features some affiliate links.
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