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Product Spotlight: Non-Foods

Back to Product Review Main 

05-23-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Sugar Free Way Test Kit One of the most frustrating things about eating out, getting take-out, or trying new items when you're a low-carber, is wondering if what you think is sugar free, really is sugar free.

We've accidentally eaten and drank a number of things over the last few years that ended up being pretty full of sugar when I thought they weren't. From the cola brought to your table to a sauce or dressing that you suspect might contain sugars...

But there's a great item available now to protect low carbers from such slips.
Low Carb Nexus brings us their Sugar Free Way™ Test Kit — a smart way to protect yourself from hidden sugars!
Sugar Free Way Test Kit
How do they work? They are plastic reagent strips much like Ketostix, except they have a single reactive tip that remains green when no sugar is present, but get deeper and deeper brown in the presence of sugar. The kit comes with little clear pipettes that allow you to grab a tiny bit of the liquid to be tested and then drop it onto the reagent strip (you would never want to put the strips into your food/drink directly!) Then just check to see what the strip reveals and you'll know if your choice is really sugarfree!

Items that are very liquidy are easy to check as-is, but if you want to check a thick sauce, dressing, or baked good, set a bit aside, mix with a few drops of water, and then proceed. I checked a bakery item by snipping off a tiny "crumb", then allowing a drop of water to soften it for a moment, then testing it with the stick. Just as I suspected, it was filled with sugar, even though it claimed not to have any sugars of any kind. (The item I made from scratch, however, stayed completely green... no sugars!)

We were very impressed and plan to keep these on hand from now on. Order two bottles — one for home and one for your car or purse. Get them at The Low Carb Nexus™.

05-02-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
VitaMinder The need to make up low-carb and protein shakes in a hurry and when on the go, on a trip, or at the office made us look for what was available in a portable "mixer" that would really do the job right — and at a reasonable price. We've tested various options over the last year and none of them have been what we were looking for. But the one we tested this time is worthy of a review here in our spotlight. During this meeting we tried the Power Mixer from VitaMinder. At under twelve bucks and with a good strong mixing action, we found this to be a suitable option. Obviously it can't take the place of a real blender, but for quick powder mix-ups, it did a splendid job and it did it quickly. It runs on four AA batteries, comes with a very sturdy break resistant cup, and it holds a generous 20 ounces! It couldn't be easier to use since you just hold the top down and push the button.

VitaMinder If you're using it at the office or in a hotel room, there will be no problem with having your can of Atkins or Keto (or whatever your favorite brand of shake mix) onhand to measure and mix. If you use this on the go, we suggest you purchase the single-pak shake mixes. However, one of our members suggested keeping little snack-size ziplocs premeasured with the right amount of single shake mix inside. Either way, it's a good, sturdy little mixer we think you'll like.

The VitaMinder Power Mixer is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

11-21-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
iSi Dessert Whip
One of the most luxurious things about our low carbohydrate nutrition regime is that we get to have real whipped cream. But it's also true that sometimes we want a fast dessert or a quick topping, and getting out the mixer and whipping the cream by hand is cumbersome. Wouldn't it be easier if we could just have a dispenser at the ready like the sugar-eating folks have with Redi-Whip?

Until now, having a ready-to-serve whipped topping meant compromising with something like Cool Whip. But those of you who read our newsletter (Issue #2), know that the chemicals, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup in it make it a poor choice.

iSi: step-by-step iSi Logo But now, the problem is solved with the
iSi Dessert Whip!   It's a ready-to-go Whipped Cream Dispenser that you add your own ingredients to! You just pour in your cream, a little Splenda (or sweetener of your choice) and perhaps a few drops of vanilla, and you're ready to go! You can now enjoy delicious fresh, fluffy whipped cream for up to two weeks, (under refrigeration) without any preservatives or stabilizers!

It works with the use of small steel silver lacquered chargers that contain pure N2O. And they come with two dispensing nozzles for a variety of decorative effects. So these are great for making elegant showings for company or holiday parties!

iSi Dessert Whip But it can make more than whipped cream. It comes with a recipe book for making Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse, Mocha Creme and more. Or use your imagination. Just substitute Splenda wherever it calls for powdered sugar. Easy to clean, very versatile, and super-sturdy. No low-carb cook should be without one!

The dispensers come in white, black, or red; hold a full pint, and are made of sturdy aluminum. An illustrated instruction booklet is included as well. The N2O Chargers are sold separately and come in boxes of 10 or 16. They can be purchased at many specialty kitchen stores, and are also available online at The Gourmet Gallery.

10-05-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Butter Bell Crock
Here's a great kitchen find that a visitor wrote and told me about several months ago, and I only recently got the chance to get one and try it. I am so impressed with it, that I simply had to include it in our reviews here and recommend its use.

It's called a
Butter Bell Crock and it's a time-honored European method of storing butter at room temperature for up to 30 days without spoilage or odors. The base of the glazed ceramic crock encloses an insulated, airtight seal of water that keeps the interior cool. The little lid (the "bell" part) doubles as a serving dish when inverted and the lip of the top also provides a convenient place to rest the butter knife.

Here's how it works:

Butter Bell Crock You pack a stick (1/2 cup / 1/4 pound) of softened butter into the cone-shaped part of the top. You pour a couple of inches of water into the crock-shaped bottom. Then you up-end the butter into the water. The water keeps the butter fresh for up to a month by preventing air contact and keeps the butter cool (but not cold) in even the hottest weather. The butter will keep better and longer if you change the water every so often (every 3-6 days.) It works so well because the glazed ceramic container keeps the water cooler than the outside temperature by insulating and reflecting outside heat.

I have seen three versions of the design - a clean French White, a charming painted floral, and a rich cobalt blue. Since these gems sit out on display, you'll want to pick one to accent your decor. If you like flavored butters (sweet vanilla, lemon-thyme, rosemary-garlic, etc.) you may want to get more than one.

I found mine in a local kitchen store, but they are available online as well and retail for around $20-$25. I've seen them sold online at: Kitchen Classics, and Betty Crocker Catalog.

07-04-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
OXO Bread Knife Okay, so we usually review things you can eat. Well, here's an exception - perhaps the first of many. Because fresh baked bread is now a part of my life again, when I happened upon this bread knife in a kitchen store, it intrigued me (well, let's give proper credit here - Richard called it to my attention.) One of the problems with eating low-carb bread is that it doesn't come pre-sliced like we've been used to all these years. And getting the slices uniform and thin enough to fit the carb-budget bill we set for ourselves is very important. A confession: I am lousy at slicing bread. Or at least I was.

Our purchase of the
OXO Natural Grip Bread Knife was one of the best things I've added to my kitchen arsenal in awhile. As you can see in the photo above, it's shaped a little different. When you use it, you'll see how natural it feels and how easy it is to always position for a perfect slice of bread. Now if I want a grilled cheese sandwich on two slices of bread, I cut them thin enough to equal 2 carbs each (about 1/4" slices using the recipe linked above.)

The knife has a curved, ergonomic handle that keeps hand elevated and reduces wrist strain, plus it's stainless steel and dishwasher safe. I love this knife! If you can't find one locally, you can order online from Amazon's Kitchen Department.

9-29-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Evert-Fresh Bags A Low Carb diet becomes more palatable and varied when you can incorporate lots of nutritional and flavorful (low carb) vegetables and fruits. The problem I always had was that I like to use fresh ones - mushrooms, cauliflower, green onions, lettuce and cabbages, peppers, squash, and yummy strawberries! But as a busy lady with a work schedule that only allows me to shop at most once a week, I kept finding I was throwing away produce that kept going bad before I could use it! Costly and disappointing! But I've found the answer! The Evert-Fresh Corporation offers storage bags that use a revolutionary technology to preserve freshness and prolong the life of fruits and veggies without the use of chemicals! I purchased 2 lbs of fresh strawberries about 10 days ago and emptied them into an Evert Fresh Bag. They are just as fresh and bright red as they were the day I placed them in the bag. Under ordinary storage they would have become shrunken, dried and molded in a few days. These bags pay for themselves and I cannot recommend them highly enough! They come in packs of 10 bags (reusable) and can be gotten in three sizes that will cover every need! You can order them online if there's no store in your area that carries them. Their representative calls herself The Bag Lady, and she's very helpful! Try these!

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