I am sure there are many times that someone has said “oh you have to try that!” or you have a food that you love and appreciate for one reason or another- and when you tell other people about it, they look at you like you have 6 eyes. (Hopefully, that’s not just my experience…)
So I thought I would share with you a few foods that I enjoy that surprised myself, others or is not found in your everyday store. Actually, none of the following 3 foods is found in the grocery store closest to me, so I only get them when I am cheating on my local grocery store. So keep your eyes peeled for the following on your next shopping trip:
1. Ezekiel Bread
I just learned about this delicious, organic, healthy sprouted bread within the last year. Since I have changed my eating habits, I don’t eat much bread; however, I try to keep a loaf of this in stock. The recipe is from “the bible” (hence, the name). I purchase the Food for Life brand of Ezekiel Bread when I visit Wegmans. Since this food is relatively new to me as well, I am not familiar with other brands.
Here are some pros/cons about Ezekiel Bread:
- Sprouted – From what I understand, if you are going to include wheat and grains in your diet, it is better to use products that utilize sprouted grains rather than non-sprouted. I am not an expert, so I do not want to go into too much detail, but I highly recommend any reading on this.
- Organic – This is a very straight forward pro. Organic = good.
- No added sugar – What other breads do you know of that has no added sugar?
- No preservatives – Yay!
- Gluten – Not good for those with a sensitivity or an intolerance to gluten. Although it is organic, it still contains primarily wheat (sprouted – not refined).
- Frozen – This does need to be kept in the freezer. Other than being a little clunky and taking up space, this just means you need to let it thaw first. I have only used it for sandwiches, so I toast it and it doesn’t take any more time or taste any differently than when I use other bread. I haven’t had a bad or soggy experience.
- Expensive – I usually see this around the $3.50 – $4.00 range for a loaf of bread. It is comparable to the loafs of bread that I was buying in general,, but again, the quality is great!
Remember you have to look for this in the freezer section. It is not located with the breads. Also, it is not always located with organic foods. I am not sure the rhyme or reason to where it is located in my store, but it has it’s own little section in the freezer foods.
2. Borsht (Beet Soup)
So I have mentioned in other posts, that I was raised by my grandparents in a Jewish household. Long story short, my (catholic-maternal) grandmother re-married a wonderful Jewish fella right before I was born. She converted to Judaism (Reconstructionist) and when I was about a year old, they welcomed me into their home and provided me with a loving, structured home which included observing the Sabbath on Friday nights and being introduced to other foods like matzo, borsht, latkes, locks and gefilte fish!
I personally am not a fan of the gefilte fish (I’ll eat it, but never buy or order it) *I hope you appreciate my honesty 🙂 Anyway, I do highly recommend, Borsht (beet soup)! I find this in the “kosher” section of stores and the company that makes this and many other kosher foods is Manischewitz.
- Low calories – Each jar contains 4 servings. Each serving is about 60 calories alone. Sometimes I will have 2 servings, add a couple tablespoons of Greek yogurt (30-50 calories) and it satisfies me for a light lunch. (170-200 calories) Sometimes, I will add extra beets for more substance.
- No cooking – Serve cold. I love this. It is so simple. I am not sure if people do eat it warm, I never have, but I assume that there is no harm.
- Texture – I am not a big “food critic”. I usually just decide if I like the way something tastes. But one thing that I really like is the texture of the beets and yogurt (or sour cream – your choice) in the soup. Maybe it is more nostalgic than anything, but I like the combination and find that I prefer the soup with the yogurt.
- High Sodium – Unfortunately, this does have a high sodium content. There is a low-sodium Borsht available, but I personally did not like it. I don’t eat it often and make sure I am cognizant of my calorie and intake on a regular basis.
- Stains – My countertops are white. Usually. Not when I am pouring Borsht. Or anything that has to do with beets for that matter. I am very sloppy and know I need to wear an apron/bib when preparing/pouring and will need to wipe right away to prevent staining!
- Pronunciation – Yes, this is a tongue twister if you have never heard of it before. So allow me to help you if you find yourself lost in the store looking for this:
*Beet Soup (Beet Soup- in the kosher section) – This is your best bet, the stock boy/girl probably never paid attention to it or knows what it is called either- haha
Adding beets can make smaller portions more filling. I use the pre-cooked/pre-peeled kind from the produce department. Also, I use plain Greek Yogurt in my soup, but my family used
Make Ahead – Mason Jars
You can divide one jar of Borsht into 4 make-ahead servings and add the Greek yogurt and additional beets if you desire. I did this recently and took one to work, had two for dinner at home and one time I was in a huge rush between work and the gym and I grabbed one of these “cups-of-soup”.
3. Yucca or Yuca
So as you know my grandparents were Jewish; however, my father was from South America (Colombia). He was also a professional re-certified chef. He worked as on oil tankers for months at a time (merchant marine) but whenever I was able to eat his cooking, he made sure to introduce me to many different foods and cooking methods including chicken feet for homemade broth. It is much more delicious than it sounds! But he also introduced me to yucca, which I immediately fell in love with and want to suggest you try as well!
- Origin & Location – This is the same yucca as the beautiful plant that you may see with green, palm like spikes, which blooms white flowers, every two years. Yucca is a root vegetable and can be found in the produce section, canned or frozen with the Goya products. It is similar to a potato in terms of cooking, texture and taste (just thicker and denser). Yucca can be found in a lot of Latin or Hispanic dishes. You may have had it before and never knew it! Sometimes you will see it on a menu as “cassava”.
- Appearance – If you were to look for the root in the produce section, it would have a thick, dark brown almost black outer skin. The shape is long and kind of resembles the shape of a yam (just longer and a little bigger).
- Pre – packaged – I have seen this in the frozen section as well as in cans. I personally suggest purchasing the pre-peeled and cut yucca in the frozen food section. There is an entire process to selecting the best yucca that involves actually breaking it in half and inspecting the inside to ensure it isn’t rotted. (That is what my dad would do in the store, but I did not feel as confident or comfortable doing this by myself. You will find me in the frozen food section looking for these 99% of the time…1% is if they’re out and I am desperate).
- Adds variety – Provides a slightly different taste and texture to a traditional meal.
- Can be added to crock pot meals
- Can substitute potatoes
- Can be found pre-cut and peeled.
- Difficulty – Not as easy (but not impossible) to peel and prepare compared to a potato. I have also heard that the skin can stain dark clothes (like bleach). I haven’t had this happen to me. Then again, I usually try to avoid peeling them haha.
- Uncommon – Depending on where you live, this may not be something your store carries. I live in the northeast and I have to go to specific parts of town to find yucca. There are also very few places (where I live) that have dishes which include yucca.
- Calories – 1 serving is about 1 cup = 260 calories. I do not usually eat 1 cup (but I could)! Also, keep in mind that this not a food I am suggesting as a new staple. For many people it is, but if you haven’t already tried this yummy food, I suggest you do! 🙂
I believe yucca is a must try! Even if you are not going to make this yourself the first time, you should definitely give it a shot if the opportunity presents itself! When I am traveling and see it on a menu I will order it as a side. I love eating it boiled with sautéed onions, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper.
Please let me know if you have tried these or when you do, what your thoughts or questions are. What foods do you recommend as a “must try”?
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