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Product Spotlight: Miscellaneous

Back to Product Review Main 

Product Discontinued
11-03-03 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Ketato Varieties
We first reviewed Keto Ketatoes back in November of 1999. (Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?) And we've been creatively using them ever since... as time's gone by, they've changed the label (a few times) and changed the formula. They just keep improving. And in September of 2000, they introduced the first new flavor variety of Ketatoes — Bacon and Chive.

Now, they've improved them once again and added three new flavors! Keto now brings us potato mixes in
Sour Cream and Cheddar, Garlic Parmesan, and Sweet Ketato. The label instructions now offer water and butter mixing instructions, but include a way to make them even creamier.

They make very nice side dishes on their own, but when you get a little creative, they really shine. First off, we still like the idea of mixing the Garlic Parmesan variety with well-whipped cooked cauliflower. Then add additional parmesan or even a little shredded Swiss cheese to melt down through.

For the Sour Cream and Cheddar, don't be afraid to add extra cheese... and it doesn't have to be cheddar. Adding Monterey Jack and some diced scallions made these a real winner. And make them with 4 Tablespoons of cream cheese per each 2-serving batch. They'll be super creamy and scrumptious.

Keto Ketatoes But the real shining star here is the Sweet Ketato flavor. They are very close to real whipped sweet potatoes (not yams) and will benefit from a spritz of extra sweetener and perhaps a little ginger or nutmeg. Melt plenty of extra butter on these as well. You can also mix prepared Sweet Ketatoes 1-to-1 with pureed pumpkin for a Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Pie that's terrific. Add lots of pumpkin pie spice, plenty of rich cream, a beaten egg, and enough sweetener (some can be sugar free maple syrup!) to taste. It's a great Autumn dessert to serve before and during Thanksgiving!

And don't forget the original flavors — Plain and Bacon & Chive. If you haven't tried Ketatoes lately, you haven't tried Ketatoes!  They're available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

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08-19-03 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Alpine Aire Foods Low Carb Instant Soups
Looking for something quick, easy, portable, and well... instant? That's not always an easy find when you're low carb. We recently tried the new low carb instant soups from
Alpine Aire.

They keep their promise... they're low carb (between 4 and 6 effective carbs per serving) and are really quite good. Very flavorful, and very easy to make. And they don't even contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavorings! No hydrogenated oils either... No sugar, no flour. Just really healthy ingredients, from veggies to sweet cream.

They come in four great varieties:
Bay Shrimp Bisque (6 carbs), Beefy Vegetable Soup (4 carbs), Broccoli Cheddar (5 carbs), and Mushroom Chicken (4 carbs.)

If you have access to hot water, you're good to go! A great hot lunch item that you can keep in your desk at the ready! And they're only 70 calories apiece also!

Alpine Aire Foods Low Carb Instant Soups are available online from The Low Carb Nexus.

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08-03-03 -
Product Recommendation & Review: LeCarb YoCarb Cultured Dairy Blend
The folks at Southwest Dairy who brought you LeCarb Frozen Desserts and LeCarb Dairy Drink have debuted a new product that we believe you're going to want to try! It's called
LeCarb YoCarb Cultured Dairy Blend, and we think it's a yogurt you can fall in love with.

Coming in at 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving, this Splenda sweetened yogurt is creamy and delicious.

It's the lowest carb yogurt available anywhere and comes in seven flavor varieties:
Blueberry, Strawberry, Plain, Peaches & Strawberries Key Lime Pie, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Peach Mango.

Each comes in 1/2 cup (4 oz) single serving plastic containers, and carry calorie counts of 45 to 50 each.

They contain active yogurt cultures and NO Sugar alcohols. Without a doubt, everyone's favorite flavors were Blueberry and Strawberry-Banana. But each is good in its own right. And if you like to keep a little plain yogurt onhand for cooking, or for flavoring and sweetening yourself with DaVinci syrups, the YoCarb Plain is just the ticket.

YoCarb contains half the calories of regular low-fat yogurt, and has the lowest combination of carbs, fat and calories of any yogurt-like cultured dairy blend. The complete line of LeCarb products is available in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi in Brookshire's, Super 1 Foods and Ole Foods Stores. We'll update as new outlets for LeCarb products are announced.

05-07-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Macadamia Nut Oil In the search for the perfect oil to use in our healthy low carb kitchens, we've settled on Macadamia Nut Oil for taste, versatility, and healthfulness. And our recommendation is the fine pure oil from Oils Of Aloha.

For cooking, baking, frying, and in salads, macadamia nut oil boasts the most favorable ratio (1:1) of Omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids of all the Culinary oils including olive and canola. Great news in the continuing quest to avoid heart disease and high blood pressure. Countering the difficult to avoid Omega 6 fats by adding or replacing them with healthy amounts of Omega 3 fats, it's beneficial to our HDL/LDL ratio ("good" vs. "bad" cholesterol).

Macadamia Nut Oil Also, in a recent dietary study, preliminary indicators suggest the palmitoleic acid content of macadamia nuts may actually aid in fat metabolism, possibly reducing stored body fat. And indeed, since adding it to our testers' daily diets, each has noticed more rapid weight loss.

And macadamia nut oil has a lofty smoke point of
389 F! This high smoke point provides an extra margin of safety and stability for the full range of cooking temperatures and doesn't turn to dangerous trans fats as it heats.

It has a pale golden color and a rich flavor that doesn't overpower your cooking. Plus the superior coating properties of macadamia nut oil means a little goes a long way. Once opened, many other polyunsaturated cooking and salad oils need to be protected with refrigeration. Healthy macadamia nut oil is stable and safe for months after opening, even at room temperature. If refrigerated, macadamia nut oil lasts for years. Of course, it is so tasty you'll use it well before then!

Oils Of Aloha Macadamia Nut Oil is available at netrition.

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04-25-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:

Crystal Breath It's a fact that low carb dieters who maintain ketosis usually have to deal with less than perfect breath. If keto-breath is a problem for you and you don't want to keep popping mints at a carb or two each, your answer may be Crystal Breath pills. These little green gel caps come 90 pills to a pack and work from within.

When we first heard about these, we assumed that since they're marketed to fight garlic, onion, coffee, tobacco, and morning breath, they might be pretty ineffective with keto-breath. Yet they do seem to work quite well. The majority of our group found them to be effective when they were in ketosis. Their directions suggest you take 2 to 4 gelcaps in the morning, but we found you do need to take 4 gelcaps to get good results. And if you have an event, guests, or a special evening planned, it couldn't hurt to take a couple more late afternoon. But they did work well enough that we felt they deserved a recommendation here. And they can make a world of difference in your confidence levels!

They contain very safe ingredients — Parsley seed oil, chinese spearmint oil, sunflower oil, coloring and gelatin. Crystal Breath is available to order online from The Low Carb Zone.

12-20-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Expert Foods' Wise Choice Cook it Up Pudding Mix You love the creamy goodness of cooked pudding — a favorite American comfort-food. But you've found that even sugar free commercial puddings are filled with food starches and other fillers... and can be too high carb for many plans. The answer is Expert Foods  Wise CHOice Cook it Up Pudding Mix.

At its simplest, simply follow the directions on the package to make a chocolate pudding with cocoa, water, cream, and sweetener. Or jazz it up by adding other flavors, colors, DaVinci sugarfree syrups, chopped nuts, or coconut. It's an amazing base mix that is nearly carb free after fiber, so you just count the carbs YOU add. If you add a little cream or coconut milk, and sweeten with liquid sweeteners or DaVinci, you'll have a dessert with the barest of carbs. Make it softer and keep it warm and you have a sweet custard-y sauce to pour over low-carb almond poundcake or another favorite dessert. Served this way, it's great to add sweet butter and egg yolks, plus plenty of vanilla (ground vanilla beans are great here!) Don't miss this one.

It comes in resealable 5-oz packages that make 38 servings. Expert Foods Wise CHOice Cook-it-Up Pudding Mix is available at The Low Carb Dieter's Page, CarbSmart, and The Low Carb Connoisseur.

03-06-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Blue Bunny Lite 85 Yogurt If you thought being on a low-carb diet meant you really couldn't have yogurt any more, think again! Recently, Blue Bunny introduced their line of Lite 85 Yogurt — a delicious little treat that comes in 19 Flavors and is now sweetened exclusively with Splenda !  Before you look at the label that shows a carb count of 14 per serving, check out our article on The Yogurt Exception that explains that while they legally have to list the carbs that way, the truth is these little paks come in at about 4 carb grams per serving. If you doubt it (and I am a doubter so I had to check it myself), I and two other group members put ourselves into a very deep ketosis (no other carbs for the day) and ate three yogurts. We all remained in the same level of ketosis over the next 12 hours. Having succeeded in our experiment, we now feel confident recommending these yogurts because they are just fab!

I know it seems like 19 flavors is a little much to list here, but I just have to as they totally bowled us over! Here are your choices:  
 Pina Colada, Raspberry, Strawberry Banana, Tropical, Bananas Foster, Blueberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Lemon Chiffon, Mixed Berry, Vanilla Creme, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Peach, Key Lime Pie, Black Forest, Coconut Creme Pie, Cherry Vanilla, Orange Creme, and Pineapple Orange Banana.

Blue Bunny Yogurt Obviously everyone had their favorites, but a few stood out as exceptional. The best are Black Cherry (a fruity pink mix with bing cherry quarters mixed throughout), Peach (lightly sweet with lots of diced fresh peaches), Pina Colada (coconut bits swirled in a mix of pineapple cream), and Black Forest (a creamy pudding-like chocolate with pieces of sweet cherries.) We love 'em, love'em, love 'em!

We've found them in all the Wal*Mart supercenters we've tried, so we suspect they have nation-wide distribution there, but we know they are in a lot of other groceries too. You can visit the Blue Bunny website to learn more or to call (1-800-331-0830) for a grocer in your area that carries them. They were very helpful when we first called. And if you have to drive a bit out of your way to get them, it's worth the trip — stock up!

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02-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Royal Gold Ribbon Soups We were recently sent an assortment of single serving instant soup packets that are very low carb (approximately 3 grams each.) To put it bluntly, I didn't expect much, because I wasn't even a fan of instant soups before low carbing. But I have changed my mind about these little mixes. Made by Royal Gold Ribbon, they offer some very nice cooking options. We did find them to be very basic and somewhat austere as plain "just add water" soups. But as recipe ingredients, they have great potential!

The little packets come in the following varieties:
Chicken, Hearty Beef, Vegetable, Chicken Noodle, and French Onion.   We found the chicken to be the best "plain", but it was quite good when we added a pat of butter, a sprinkle of onion powder, and a few seasonings. The others were all good as bases for soups -- just add your favorite leftover low-carb veggies and meats for a fast lunch. Or get more creative like we did...

We found that the chicken and the hearty beef made good add-ins when making our Mock Mashed Potatoes or Family Style Mashed "Potatoes". Both the beef and the french onion gave extra zing to our Midwest Chili & Beans. And the french onion also makes a very tasty dip - (mix with half softened cream cheese and half sour cream, then allow to sit covered and refrigerated for at least 3 hours.) But don't stop there. Add them into sauces, low-carb gravies, chowders, even add them into your ground beef before making burgers (the veggie and the french onion are best for this.) Use the chicken to mix with a bit of butter over most hot veggies as well. In short, they're little packets of concentrated flavor! Use them as such. They contain no transfats and no sugar.

Royal Gold Ribbon Soup mixes are available online at Low Carb Nexus.

Product Discontinued
01-29-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Pudding Mixes
Here's a review that's long over-due. We first tried these versatile Keto Brand
Pudding Mixes a couple of months ago, but as you all know by now, the reviews are based on the entire panel's opinions - especially after putting products through their paces. This past weekend we finally had a chance to have a little fun cooking up some great pudding dishes!

They come in
Banana, Chocolate, and Vanilla (but the vanilla can be made into nearly ANY flavor with extracts and food colorings!)

First, we made a banana creme pie with the Keto 
Banana Pudding Mix. We made the pudding according to package directions and added in 1/4 cup chopped (not too ripe) banana (7 grams), and an extra 1/4 cup Splenda (to sweeten the bananas.) We put this into a pie shell (we used the one from this recipe), and topped with whipped cream. After chilling for 2 hours, we all really loved this pie. At 8 servings, this works out to approx 5.5 grams per serving.

And the
Chocolate Pudding? One of our reviewers had a great idea. We made the Chocolate Cake recipe from the site (made from the Keto Chocolate Cookie Mix (reviewed earlier) without the icing. We made and heated the Keto 
Brand Chocolate Pudding and topped the cake with it to create a superb chocolate pudding cake.

Of course we also tried all three flavors just as pudding. The taste is almost the same as traditional Jell-O sugar-free pudding mix, but at half the carbs and no aspartame! We should note, it makes a glossier, thicker pudding than traditional, so if you like a lighter pudding, add a bit more water or half-n-half. We also found some of us liked them better with a smidge of extra sweetener (we used liquid to avoid adding to the carb count.) We call this a winner!

You can order online at The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, or Life Services.

Product Discontinued
01-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Ketatoes In November of 1999 (seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?), we did our initial review of Keto Brand Ketato mix. At that time, we'd introduced them and just started working with their possibilities. Back then, their label had an "add water & butter" instruction and we'd mentioned better ways to make them to get a great mashed "potato" side dish. Well, the good folks at Keto -- never ones to stand still or not to listen -- changed their labeling to accomodate more versatility. That change, however has caused a little confusion for those folks who read our initial review and then found cans with instructions that were quite different. So, after a year and a half of cooking with this unique mix, we felt it was time to renew the review with appropriate changes.

Keto Ketatoes - Old and New First, to avoid any additional confusion -- the photo at left shows the old and the new cans side by side so you'll know which is which -- especially if you still have some in your pantry.

First, let me make it clear that the differences are in the LABELS and not in the product. We had spoken with their R&D department and had related to them that when we'd mixed the Ketato mix in with our Mock Mashed Potatoes recipe, we'd really loved the results. They took the idea and ran with it, and in its next incarnation, the label now calls for making the Ketatoes exclusively with the cauliflower mix. People that didn't want to make them that way, or that didn't want to use cauliflower, started writing us here at Low Carb Luxury, asking what the deal was. Okay, so here's the skinny:

There are two really excellent ways to make them for great mashed "potatoes" (of course many of our recipes here use them for other dishes, as well, but for regular family-style mashed...):   First, you can make them with the cauliflower. Either follow the directions on the [new] can, or use the recipe here.

The other way is quicker, if a bit less elegant. But it fits the bill if you don't want to use cauliflower and prefer to use Ketatoes more like "Instant Mashed Potatoes": Add 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter and 4 ounces of cream cheese to a microwave safe casserole dish. Semi-melt in microwave for approximately 40 seconds (microwave times vary, so adjust as needed.) Remove from microwave and whisk (not stir -- you need a real whisk here) to fully mix the cream cheese and butter. Add 3 Tablespoons heavy cream and whisk again. Add seasonings at this point -- to your personal tastes (salt and pepper, onion powder, a dash of garlic, etc.) To this mixture, add 1/2 cup Ketato Mix and whisk with enough very hot water to reach your desired consistency. You can make them thick or thin this way -- your preference. Start to finish, it takes less than 5 minutes to make them this way.

My own preference? If I have the time, I make them the cauliflower way according to my recipe above. If I am rushed, I make them the "quickie" way and still enjoy them.

Either way, Ketatoes can bring potatoes back into your life without the high-carb side effects of the "real thing". Our household would never be without them!

You can order online at The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, or Life Services.

Product Discontinued
12-26-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Cottee's Gelatin
About a year ago, I started buying and using the
Cottee's Gelatins in place of America's classic sugarfree Jell-O because I was trying to reduce the amount of aspartame (NutraSweet) my family and I consume. In a short while, it became simply habit to reach for the Cottee's, and I was using it in many of the recipes calling for gelatin here at the site.

When making a gelatin based dish with the group a couple of weeks ago, one of our members remarked that they didn't think we'd reviewed the Cottee's as yet, and they certainly seemed worthy of a review. Indeed they do, and indeed we had not as yet reviewed them. So we'd like to write a few words of praise for them now.

Cottee's Gelatin Cottees is sweetened exclusively with Splenda and you'll find the flavors to be more vibrant and pronounced than the more tame Jell-O brand flavors found in our supermarkets. Each box contains 2 packets - and each of those makes 8 servings each. For molds and more creative uses, use less water, add cream, mix flavors, whatever your imagination dreams up. It's hard to mess these up.

Cottee's sugar free gelatins come in
Lime, Raspberry, Orange, Lemon, and Strawberry. Try mixing one packet of lime and one packet of lemon with sparkling water! Or layer the flavors and top with whipped cream for a very easy, yet creative looking dessert for company!

Cottee's Gelatin is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

UPDATE November 2001: As far as we have been able to determine, this product is no longer being imported. If we hear of a change of status, it will be posted here.

11-01-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Smart Balance I'm old enough that I can bring back memories of both my Mother and my Grandmother spending long hours baking in the kitchen. Next to Grandma always sat her tub of lard (and usually a generous supply of bacon grease as well.) The lard was her basic staple for creating amazing biscuits and old German pastries.

Later, Mother was more "enlightened" and used nothing but shortening. In the beginning I recall seeing her use something called "Swift'ning" (a shortening made from animal fats that was more similar to a lard.) Then the "evils of animal fats" came out and she switched to only Crisco for everything. And that's what I was brought up on and what I believed was healthy. Of course it wasn't until the last couple of years that I began to learn about trans fats and their dangers. Trans fats can raise total cholesterol, raise LDL (bad cholesterol), and actually lower HDL (good cholesterol.) The more you read about trans fat, the further you want to stay away from them! However, by the time I'd learned all this, I had an arsenal of recipes that used shortening. Many of them could be switched for butter or lard, but some just didn't come out the same.

So we were very pleased to discover a new product that solves this dilemma for me and will let me use shortening again! It's the new
Smart Balance Vegetable Shortening. And it's 100% Trans Fat Free!

We tried this shortening out to see if it would perform just like its unhealthy cousin, Crisco. We made three "shortening classics": First up -- Fried Chicken: It fries great! We dipped chicken legs into beaten egg then rolled in seasoned crushed pork rinds and fried 'em up. Fabulous! Next we made Low Carb Biscuits. Yum! They were actually flaky! And last, we made our basic Low Carb Pie Crust (filled it with sugar free chocolate pudding and topped it with whipped cream) -- another winner. So we feel good about recommending the new Smart Balance shortening for use anywhere you'd have used regular shortening before.

Look for it at your local grocery, and if you can't find it, ask them to order it for you! Or call Heart Beat Foods at 201-568-9300 and ask where you can find it in your area.

Product Discontinued
09-20-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Bacon & Cheddar Chive Keto Ketatoes It's been nearly a year since Keto Brand first introduced their versatile potato substitute, Keto Ketato Mix. Since that time, we've had an opportunity to try them out in lots of ways from mashed potatoes to potato pancakes and breads. We've learned to better use them in the food processor, and with manual whisking. But one of the things that's always proved popular time and again has been mixing them with combinations of cheeses, bacon, and chives or green onions. (A healthy dollop of sour cream never hurts, either.)

So it seemed a natural evolution for the Keto folks to develop their newest entry in the "healthier potato" category
Bacon & Cheddar Chive Keto Ketato mix.

When you first open the vacuum sealed can, take note of the aroma of the mix. I assure you, it will get your mouth watering. Years ago I used to enjoy a local brand of potato chips that were their Bacon & Chive flavor. These smell just like them. The new Ketatoes are a rich, silky mixture that blend easily with traditional "mock mashed potatoes" (whipped cauliflower) and offer a true potato taste and texture. But don't be shy about adding extras of any of the flavors you most like crisp crumbles of real bacon, shredded cheddar or jack cheese, broccoli flowerettes, or even sunflower seeds for an added crunch and taste.

Cheese Potato Bread Now, here's a really good use we found for them Potato-Cheese Bread! Using the recipe for Gabi's Cheese Bread, substitute 1/2 cup Bacon & Cheddar Chive Keto Ketato mix for the 1/2 cup soy flour and use all flaxseed meal and no wheat bran. (For a super-rich bread, make 1/2 the water (unsalted) canned chicken broth instead!) This was so delicious! And still works out to only about 3 carbs per slice.

You can order online at The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, or Life Services.

Product Discontinued
11-27-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
    * *  SEE REVISED REVIEW DONE ON JANUARY 27th, 2001.  * *  
Have you tried the new Mashed Potato clone from Keto Brand called Ketatoes? If you're tired of trying to fight with cauliflower and/or turnips to get your mock mashed potatoes to taste realistic, this might be just what you're looking for. Keto Ketatoes If you have tried them and didn't like the results, then let me give you the caveat that goes along with this product. Ignore the directions on the canister as to how to make them. With the help of their researcher and a lot of experimentation on my part, we have come up with the ideal "recipe" for them to knock your socks off. (I make a "double batch" so if you're making just one serving, cut all this in half.) Measure exactly 12 Tablespoons of heavy cream into a pyrex dish. Add to it 3 Tablespoons of butter. (Optionally, you can also add 1 tsp bacon drippings here as well — I do and it gives it a super flavor!) Heat the cream and butter (and bacon drippings if you're using them) in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Measure 6 heaping Tablespoons Ketato Mix into bowl and pour on the cream and butter mixture. Stir to moisten and then whip with hand mixer for 2 minutes on med-high speed. These will whip up like mashed potatoes! With gravy (low carb of course) you can't tell them from real potatoes. Plain, or with extra melted butter, they are — admittedly — more like instant mashed potatoes (but that ain't bad for us folks who have been denied potatoes!) I also discovered they are to-die-for when you place them in a ramekin and cover with shredded cheddar and microwave or broil to melt the cheese. Try them out! Just please remember not to use the "add water" directions on the can. They are not especially enjoyable that way.

You can order online at The Low Carb Connoisseur, The Low Carb Dieter's Page, or Life Services.

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