It’s a Moringa Miracle!

Organic India Moringa Tea

Pomegranate, acai, chia… the list of trendy superfoods goes on and on. I’m a fan of anything that tastes good and is exceptionally good for you, but sometimes it can get a little old.

But I’d like to think I’m on the cutting edge of the next superfood/miracle ingredient, and I would like to introduce it to you before the big brands get ahold of it and you’re sick of hearing about it. I’m talking about Moringa.

I first discovered the existence of Moringa at my favorite juice/smoothie place, Juiceland, in the beginning of the year. (Um, also, Juiceland just opened a Brooklyn outpost, so all my NY readers/friends, go check them out! SO good.)

Anyway, a quick google search shows they debuted Morniga on their menu last fall. This is the sign that caught my eye. 17 times the calcium of milk, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 9 times the calcium of yogurt, 25 times the iron of spinach… what the F is this stuff?!

Well, according to the only news source most Americans (including myself) know how to use, Morniga is actually a tree native to Africa and Asia. Most of it is edible for humans, including its leaves. That’s where we’re getting all these nutrients from for the Moringa supplements.

Obviously I wanted to reap the benefits of Moringa and see if I immediately felt like a superhuman, so once I read about it, I got some in my smoothie. And have continued to throughout the year. I don’t know if I’m infinitely more healthy, but hey. Can’t hurt, right?

Not into smoothies or straight-up supplements? You can find Morniga in tea form now. Organic India recently sent me some Moringa tea to test out. I really like them! The tea is very calming. Maybe it’s kind of a mental thing, like I know I’m drinking something really good for me, so I feel peaceful and virtuous. I’m not sure, but I know that I like it.

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Carbonated Cold Brew Coffee is Here, and it’s Delicious

Coffer Carbonated Coffee Austin

Calling all caffeine addicts. Everyone knows that iced coffee and cold-brewed coffee are clutch in these hot summer months, and now there’s a new cold brew in town (literally, it was created in my town of Austin). I’m talking about Coffer, the first ever cold brew that is also naturally carbonated. I scored an invite to their preview party at Houndstooth here in downtown Austin and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect – this was either going to be really good, or really bizarre. Since I love both (a) coffee and (b) bubbly/carbonated beverages, I had high hopes.

Worst case scenario, it could taste like weird coffee-flavored soda, but to my relief it was a best-case scenario… it reminded me of a super-delicious stout. A bit bubbly, a bit sweet, and obviously very coffee-tasting, without being overpowering or bitter at all. I can definitely see myself sipping this as an afternoon pick-me-up. And in case anyone was wondering, yes it may look like a beer, being housed in a brown glass bottle and all, but Coffer is non-alcoholic.

Although, as the Coffer folks were happy to demonstrate, it tastes GREAT with bourbon. They had a set-up with Makers Mark to prove their point. I obviously took full advantage of that opportunity. Yum. If you want to try Coffer for yourself, check out up-to-date info on where to purchase here. Right now they’re only available in Texas, but they’re hoping to be available nationwide ASAP.

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Food Porn of the Day: The Porkiest Belly

Odd Duck Pork Banh Mi Buns

Pork belly is definitely a thing these days. So much of a thing that I’m almost… dare I say… over it. (Gasp!) Every menu in Austin, and probably in the country, is full of the stuff. It takes a veeeery special pork belly to catch my eye these days. All that being said, the pork belly at Odd Duck in Austin does it. “It” being “catches my eye and makes me care about pig again.”

The above is Odd Duck’s pork belly banh mi buns, which I devoured at lunch a week-ish ago. The meat is perfectly prepared and intensely flavorful. Chewy, yet somehow also melts in your mouth. By the way, next time you’re in Austin? Go to Odd Duck. You won’t regret it.

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The Juice is Loose… Cold-Pressed Juice, That is

Daily Greens Cold-Pressed Juice

We’ve all seen the hype around juicing, juice cleanses, juice fasts, etc. I feel like there’s an abundance of high-end cold-pressed juices at Whole Foods and whatnot… $7+ for a juice? Is it worth it? What makes some juices better than others? Is this really better for me than just eating some fruits and vegetables? What IS cold-pressed? So many questions, so few answers.

Serendipitously, Austin-based Daily Greens reached out to me at the beginning of the summer and offered me a sample box of their juices and I couldn’t say no. It was time to see what all the fuss was about. It was time to taste the rainbow.

So, what makes a cold-pressed juice superior to its classic counterparts? I’ll take it straight from the mouth of the Daily Greens website:

High Pressure Processing (“HPP”), otherwise known as pascalization, uses high pressure instead of heat to inhibit microflora growth in fresh food and therefore naturally extend its shelf life. Unlike pasteurization, pascalization is an external process; the raw product itself is never touched. Our pressurizing method uses evenly distributed pressure of cool water to destroy any harmful bacteria, such as Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, lactic acid bacteria, yeast and mold, thereby making it safe for public consumption.

Because of the chilled temperature at which the juice is treated, alongside the minimal impact that pressure has on the structure of the components responsible for nutrition and flavor, the juice remains raw and the nutrients and taste remain the same.

My takeaway from all this: more nutrients! Closer to the structure of the original produce! Tons of greens and fruit! I can get behind that.

I think some people are weirded out by the idea of juicing vegetables. While I love most vegetables, there are certain things I can’t get behind. For example… I really, really, do not like celery. Does juiced celery taste any better? I mean, not by itself, no. But when combined with other, pleasurable flavors, it becomes a lot more palatable. As far as kale, spinach, and most other greens… those have a pretty mild flavor.

Screenshot_7_23_14__11_09_PM
Case in point about the taste of these cold-pressed wonders: my very favorite flavor of Daily Greens was their “Renew,” made with mint, spinach, cucumber, watermelon, dandelion (!), pineapple, celery, and lime. Yes, celery was in this one but it was still delicious and very refreshing! Of course if you put watermelon and pineapple in anything, I’m probably going to be a fan. (Other recommended flavors from yours truly? The “Elevate” and “Rejuvenate.”) Anyway, all of these green juices really did make me feel energized, fresh, and light – versus a glass of your average fruit juice, which is tasty but sugary and not at all filling. (I will always have a soft spot in my heart for POG but I know it’s really not great for me… sigh.)

Let’s get one thing straight, though: I won’t ever be one of those people who regularly goes on juice fasts. I think health juices are a great way to supplement your diet and get some extra nutrients in, and a couple times I had a Daily Greens for lunch when I was having a hectic day at work. But I think they’re best enjoyed as part of a rounded, healthy nutritional routine. And Daily Greens seems to agree – they do offer a juice cleanse program but it’s only for 3-4 days AND, most importantly, they also encourage eating as many raw fruits & vegetables during the detox so you still feel full. So I think I could manage that! They also make sure to say “We do not believe in “crash” juice cleanses in which only juice is consumed for days on end, as these types of diets can result in many negative side effects” – good for you, Daily Greens friends.

After my big taste test, I do think there IS a big benefit to cold-pressed juice. More nutrients, tons of flavor, super fresh… it might cost a bit more but I think the perks are worth it. I’m definitely going to try to add more green juices into my diet. Even some celery! When it’s mixed with watermelon, at least.

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Ramen Noodle-Based Recipes: Officially Jumping the Shark

Why would I make such a pronouncement?

Well…

Ramen Noodle Recipe Magazine

One of those cheapy publishing houses took this idea and ran with it… right over a cliff. I saw this recipe “book” or “magazine” or… “leaflet” (?) in the impulse magazine holders right by the check-out at a small town grocery store in Texas. Move aside ramen taco and ramen burger, we now have 55 recipes featuring ramen noodles. From the looks of this publication, we can now learn how to make anything, even a cheesecake crust, out of packaged ramen noodles.

Sorry guys… at this point I don’t think any creative new ramen noodle recipe is going to go viral. The trend is over. Ramen noodles are totally normcore. Onto the next food blog craze!

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Endless Beers: What Difference Does a Glass Make?

stoutglassIPA Glass

Hopefully most of our readers have finally bought in to the #drinkcraftbeer movement. Really, it’s not even a movement, but common sense. Why would anyone pay to drink something that tastes like (a) nothing, (b) pee, or (c) crap? You wouldn’t. So the next step in becoming an all-out beer snob is to drink beer from a GLASS, not the bottle or can. I originally thought the whole experience of picking glassware depending on the kind of beer was a gimmick. However, after testing various Spiegelau glasses out, I’ve changed my tune.

First of all, the main reason behind drinking your suds from a glass rather than the bottle or can is to get the aroma of the beer and to allow it to properly carbonate. The aroma will indeed change the taste of the beer – typically heightening your senses as you indulge in a cold one. Typically, I’ll just pour it into a pint glass no matter what kind of beer, and enjoy. But there are different and innovative ways to drink our beer now. Here are two taste tests (I know…my work is difficult) of the latest innovative beer glass collaborations.

The Glasses:

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Brusselkale: This is a Thing

Brussel Kale Sprouts

What are the two trendiest vegetables in the food world? Probably Brussels sprouts and kale. So I guess it was only a matter of time before the BRUSSELKALE was invented. Don’t get me wrong, I do love both of these vegetables, but is it really necessary? It kind of feels like they’re just capitalizing on the crazy popularity of these veg. Kind of like when pomegranate became the new antioxidant superfood then there was pomegranate-flavored everything.

I guess I’m not the first person to realize this is now a thing. Today did a story on Brusselkale, too. It even called it the “Brangelina of veggies” (ugh, barf, just… no, Today. No.) Here’s the gist:

Kale sprouts, aka BrusselKale, are yes, a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and Russian Red kale, and starting to pop up in U.S. grocery stores.

Developed in the U.K. using old-fashioned breeding techniques, kale sprouts (or flower sprouts, as they are known there) look like flowering buds, with green-and-purple leaves. Brussels sprouts are big in the U.K., especially around the holidays, so British seed house Tozer Seeds set out to create a more subtle-tasting sprout, Lisa Friedrich, U.S. spokesperson for Tozer, told TODAY.com.

While new hybrid veggies come out all the time—think purple haze carrots—the kale sprout “is the most distinctive one we’ve seen since broccolini launched in 1999,” Bob Whitaker, chief science officer for the Produce Marketing Association, told TODAY.com.

Are they trying to sell me something I don’t need? After all, I can cook myself Brussels sprouts and/or kale on their own. I guess I can try it on my own and decide for sure, but when I saw these in the store I didn’t really feel like paying $10/lb for them, when kale and Brussels on their own are so much cheaper. Have any of you tried this Brangelina veg? What do you think?

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