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I was recently contacted by a rep for Krave Jerky to receive some free product samples in exchange for a review on my blog. They sent samples of every flavor, both of the traditional jerky as well as a few of the jerky bars and sticks. All in all, I was quite pleased with the products and the unique flavor combinations and of course, the fact that the products are gluten free! As a celiac, I have to watch the ingredient list on jerky type products because many use wheat-containing soy sauce as flavoring. The Krave samples all indicated that the soy sauce is gluten free and made from soy instead of wheat – so that was a definite plus for me!

While I am not a big jerky person, it was convenient to be able to toss a bar or stick in my bag or purse if I knew I was going to be out and about and might need a snack. The bars and sticks have a decent amount of protein in them (7-8 grams per bar or stick) and they even have some plant proteins added in the form of quinoa, white beans or black beans (in the Spicy Red Pepper Pork with Black Beans Stick or the Rosemary Lemon Turkey with White Beans Stick or the Mango Jalapeno Pork with Fruit and Quinoa Bar). I will say that the texture of the bars and sticks was a bit different, perhaps because of the added ingredients? The texture was less chewy and meaty, and more mushy, but still tasty.

As for the more traditional jerky, I was surprised to find jerky made from more than just beef in the package. I don’t think I have ever tried pork, chicken or turkey jerky before. I will say that I think I am more of a traditionalist (beef!) when it comes to jerky as I wasn’t overly fond of the mushy texture of the turkey, chicken and pork flavors. One exception being the Lemon Garlic Turkey jerky – this one was quite chewy and my favorite of the non-beef flavors.

As I mentioned, the unique flavor combinations were fun to try but I discovered that I seem to prefer the more traditional flavors. Quite a few of the flavors seemed overly sweet to me – in particular the Wild Blueberry bar, the Grilled Sweet Teriyaki Pork Jerky, Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky and even the Sea Salt Original Beef Jerky. In looking at the labels (for all jerky, not just this brand), jerky tends to be high in added sugar and of course, sodium. So comparing labels is a smart move, especially if you are watching either of these nutrients. Most of the Krave products I sampled had anywhere from 7-11 grams of added sugar per one ounce serving. Remember that 4 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of white sugar and the recommendation is to consume no more than 6 tsp (women) or 9 tsp (men) of added sugar per day¬† And most of us don’t stick to eating only one ounce of jerky in one sitting. So the sugar adds up quickly! Be sure to read labels and make smarter choices.

As well, sodium is a concern when choosing jerky (or any other processed meat). The Krave products I received were moderate in their sodium content with anywhere from 6-17% of the recommended daily value (DV). Products under 5% of DV can be considered low sodium and products over 20% DV can be considered high in sodium content. Of course the concern here too is that most people don’t stick to just eating one ounce of jerky, so in reality they are eating 2-3 times (or more!) the amount of sodium listed for a single one-ounce serving.

The Krave website touts their products as being entirely gluten-free as well as free of added nitrites or MSG (some are naturally occurring). They also state they use lean cuts of meat, no artificial flavors, and the products contain less than 100 calories per serving.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the products I received – my favorites being the Sea Salt Original Beef Jerky, the Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky, Garlic Chili Pepper Beef Jerky and Pink Peppercorn Beef Jerky. While I preferred the traditional style (loose) jerky over the bars, I will admit that having the bars or sticks available to toss in my purse was convenient. But I will probably stick to my preferred flavors of the loose jerky and just measure out an ounce portion into a snack sized baggie. Be sure to check out their website and order your sampler pack now! (Free shipping on orders over $35.) Enjoy!

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got hit with the flu last week. So once again, I was lucky that we had some pre-cooked meals in the frig. I had made three of them on Monday, the day that I started to get sick but didn’t yet realize it. And so we managed to make-do with those for the majority of the week. And we have some of the meals from last week waiting in the wings for this week.

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Curried Red Lentil Soup – a Deborah Madison recipe, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Corn Chowder in Winter – recipe from my favorite veggie slow cooker cookbook.

Black Bean Chili with corn tortillas – a pressure cooker recipe from my favorite veggie PC cookbook.

Roasted Tofu with Brussels Sprouts and Brown Rice – I like to take advantage of having the oven on and roast both the tofu and sprouts. Roasting tofu makes for a nice chewy texture. I will probably make some sort of peanut sauce for the tofu and rice, or just use some pre-made San-J brand peanut sauce.

Tamales with Kale Salad – we’ll pull some of the tamales out of the freezer that we made over Christmas and eat up with some kale salad and maybe some Spanish rice.

Spaghetti and Salad – an “if-we-need-it” meal.

What’s on your menu this week? Need some inspiration? Check out the other meal plans over at Celiac Family.

 

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