IMG_2744

Olive Oil Taste Testing

If you’re looking for a new way to season your vegetables, spice up your fish, marinate your meats, or just create a great dip, then olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings might be for you.

IMG_2780

Olive oil is a staple in most Mediterranean diets and has become popular in Western cooking in the recent decades. Many may not know this, but there are over 20 different types of olive oils, infused with various herbs and spices. When paired with infused balsamic vinegars, the flavor combination possibilities are endless.

Generally when it comes to taste testings wine might come to mind, maybe even cheese or coffee, but never oil. The best way to taste test the quality of olive oil is to place a small amount in a glass, and take a sniff. It should smell fresh. If it smells slightly musty or like cardboard the oil is not pure or has gone bad. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie to all of this, the expert doing the tasting will guide you. And if guzzling a little oil by itself sounds unappetizing, you can always pair the oil with a balsamic vinegar or dip in some bread.

IMG_2776 Continue reading

DSCN7219

Summertime Sadness: Coconut Bliss New Flavors

DSCN7219

Fast.

It’s the word that comes to mind when I think of how this summer has gone by. Starbucks is already releasing their Fall Pumpkin Spiced Latte–contain yourself. I’ve been gone for the month of July and a good part of August from Little Bliss Book I remorsefully admit. I needed to unplug from this part of the virtual world, and with having hit my 1-year of blogging, and nearly 100 posts later I needed the sense that I was shifting gears before I could get my feet wet again in Year 2 of LBB. Speaking of wet, it rained here in Florida nearly every other day — not quite the best lighting scenario for ample food photography. My kitchen saw less of me this summer as I was off skirting the town for new eateries (posts and pictures to come). And I found my summer love — with ice cream. Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream to be exact—specifically Salted Caramel & Chocolate. Mmph. So good. I. can’t. even.

I have a small…ok maybe a big obsession with Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Somehow the lovely people at Coconut Bliss could tell I had this obsession as well from the ice cream filled Oat Flour Crepes Recipe I posted and they asked me if I would like to try out a few of their flavors. I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review, and also I didn’t want to be rude, so naturally I said yes. That’s one thing in life a girl never denies when offered: good ice cream, good chocolate, good wine, and Ryan Gosling memes.

Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice creams are made with Coconut Milk, natural ingredients, and agave syrup. It’s a good alternative for anyone lactose-intolerant, vegan, Celiac, Soy intolerant, Gluten intolerant, or Diabetic.

DSCN7183 DSCN7191 spoons1

Mint Galactica: I was hesitant to find out what coconut and mint tasted like together, but actually it’s pretty good. You don’t taste the coconut, and the mint is mild so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating toothpaste. t like it, but don’t LOVE it. But then again I’m not a Mint Ice Cream person, but my old roommate from college would love this.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate: MY FAVORITE! I was never big on salty and sweet together, but this is addicting. There’s chocolate shavings mixed right in, and need I say more about caramel.

Vanilla: Coconut and Vanilla are a classic. If I’m out of Salted Caramel & Chocolate — which I usually am — I reach for this flavor next.

Dark Chocolate: Coconut and Dark Chocolate is probably right up there in best classic flavor combination with Vanilla. They’re both a tie for me. I usually top with raspberries and coconut flakes.

To check out their full line up of flavors check out Coconut Bliss. Most of their ice creams can be found in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Earth Origins, among other specialty grocery stores.

For the remainder of the summer I’ll be off to Washington D.C. and New York, stay tuned for posts!

DSCN7213

 

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Fail & Success

Gluten-free baking from scratch is a beast of it’s own, one that I’ve been avoiding for the longest time. Many attempt, but few succeed. I finally took up the challenge this weekend to make a gluten-free carrot cake, and just for fun I thought it’d be a good idea to try making it vegan as well. It was a terrible idea and I failed miserably. Two days, wasted batter, and a disappointing spirit later I cut my losses. So all my efforts weren’t all for nothing (and because I still wanted carrot cake) I reached for a box of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Cake Mix.

Why I Love It

  • No hassle
  • No preservatives or artificial flavors
  • Tastes like regular cake, you can’t tell the difference
  • Made with Rice Flour

The only down side is it’s made with sugar instead of stevia, which is an ingredient I generally use to sweeten my food with. When I get the courage to try my hand at gluten-free baking again I’ll be sure to sub in the stevia. Stay tuned :)

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

Coconut flakes, almonds, and raisins

 

 

20140421-142554.jpg

A real lady matches her nails to her cupcake

20140416-032224.jpg

Snack Find: Coconut Milk Almond Chocolate Ice Cream

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been on an ice cream craving binge lately from the last picture I posted.

20140416-031316.jpg

Even looking at it right now make me want to hop out of bed as I write this, go downstairs to the freezer and take one out of the wrapper. No! Self-control Rakhi. You’ve already had a bowl of Coconut Bliss Madagascar Vanilla. Mmm Vanilla..

Soo why I love So Delicious Coconut Milk Almond Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

  • Creamy, smooth, perfectly sweet, but not overly rich or sugary
  • Quality ingredients (organic)
  • Soy free
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free (I’m not allergic to dairy, but for anyone who is, this is the perfect alternative)
  • Tastes just like a CRUNCH Ice Cream bar
  • I feel guilt-free

20140416-031331.jpg

 So Delicious right now has a printable coupon offer on their site, $0.55 off  http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/get-coupons

As for my self-control…I’m going in for another bite.

 

20140416-032224.jpg

20131106-073138.jpg

Gluten-Free Crackers Product Review

I love this stuff!! It’s the first thing I grab when I go to the store. Unlike other gluten-free crackers out there that try to imitate regular gluten crackers and can taste quite stale, these don’t try to imitate it at all. They have a crispy light crunch to them and go perfectly with other toppings or you can eat it by itself. Most people who are non-gluten cringe at the idea of eating something gluten-free, but I gave some to a few coworkers to try and they loved that so much that they went out and bought a few boxes for themselves. There’s a variety of different flavors in this line as well, but I just go for the original.

Ingredients:
Rice flour, potato starch, salt, almonds, safflower oil, natural butter

20131106-073138.jpg

artwork

Gluten Free Brownies Product Review

artwork

Sometimes I don’t have the time to make everything from scratch and when I do, I reserve my kitchen experiments for the weekends,. So what’s a girl to do when she has little time on her hands and is craving some fudge-y brownies that don’t taste like cement? As some of you may know, gluten-free packaged products can sometimes be a hit or miss but luckily Hodgson’s Mill Brownie Mix which is made with Brown Rice Flour, Sorghum Flour, and Tapioca Starch is a hit. Although just to be on the safe side, I did add a little organic chocolate syrup to spruce it up ;) Continue reading

Snack Find: Cranberry Almond Snack Bars

Time for a new snack find update! I’ve been harboring this snack find to myself for a little while now, but for good reason…they’re just too good and I secretly want them all to myself. But since that doesn’t sound like a fair enough reason to keep it a secret, I’ve decided to share the wealth of knowledge.

They’re Gluten-Free Cranberry Almond Oat Snack Bars by Van’s Natural Foods.  Now say that 5 times fast. And go!

Made from Whole Oats, Brown Rice, Cranberries, Almonds, Almond Butter, Flax seeds, and Fig paste, this soft chewy snack contains 4 grams of fiber in every bar.

Not only is this bar great, but so is the rest of their line of snacks, cereals, and breakfast goods. *Some contain soy.

Where to find them:

I purchase mine from the baking goods, gluten-free section of Wal-Mart, but Van’s can be found at a variety of locations by using their store locator.

Van’s products are Gluten-Free, Kosher, All Natural, Dairy Free, Corn Free, Low in sodium, and Free of artificial colors or flavors