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Product Spotlight: PreBaked and PreCooked

Back to Product Review Main 

06.15.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Auntie Anne's Smart Bites
Any chance you're a sucker for soft, hot, hand-rolled pretzels? I always have been... in fact, those of you who know me well, know my kryptonite has always been donuts and soft pretzels.

Because of that, I have to pretty much avoid all proximity of such eateries that specialize in them. So it's been quite some time since I've been to an
Auntie Anne's Pretzel store. But then I was told about their newest creation — low carb pretzel bites.

Well, I figured right away that they were either very bad, or they'd not be very low carb at all. I approached the idea with a fair amount of skepticism. But now I find myself writing their review in our Product Spotlight. I was delightfully surprised to discover they are both quite low carb for a hot pretzel, and exceedingly tasty.

Made with a very high gluten flour, no sugar (they use a spritz of Splenda), and no HFCS, they come in at 1 net carb per pretzel-bite. And while they call a "serving" a heaping cup of 15 "bites", most of us were very satisfied with 5 or 6 bites of these soft buttery delights. While not for induction, if you're careful, these make a terrific treat for all other phases of low carbing. If you're on maintenance, a full 15-bite cup will likely fit you fine, and if decadent little treats like hot from the oven pretzels are a dream for you, here's the answer!

Auntie Anne's Smart Bites The Auntie Anne's folks were good enough to actually cater our little testing event for the LCL review team and brought two big pans worth of them.

They explained that they're never as good heated back up as they are straight from their ovens at the store, but they did their best. And indeed, by the time the group had assembled and they'd reheated in our oven, over an hour had passed. But even with this handicap, we found the bites to be exceptional. Very tasty and they certainly didn't taste low carb. If I hadn't seen and known the ingredients, I'd have doubted it.

They were a huge hit, and went well with all the "dips" they brought by — Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, even a jalapeno cheese. They were equally terrific with mustard. One brave reviewer even tried them with softened peanut butter (her old standby with pretzels) and she loved 'em.

Auntie Anne's Smart Bites A few nights later, Neil and I made a trip to the Dayton Mall to see how they're made, speak with the owner, take a quick tour, and most importantly, try these bites as they were meant to be — right from their ovens. If there's a pretzel heaven, this is it. Really. If you have an Auntie Anne's location in driving distance, you just have to try these.

The kitchen was spotless, the ingredients an open book, and the team that worked there was pleasant and knowledgeable. All in all, these get an A+. You can visit Auntie Anne's on the web and find a location near you. These low carb pretzel bites debut nationwide on July 11th. Maybe you should get in line right now...

05.12.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Home Bistro
A year and a half ago, Low Carb Luxury did a review of the wonderful frozen low carb meals from Home Bistro. (Here's a link to that review.) Since that time, their meals have never gotten anything but better, and now that they've added new low carb options and even induction meals, we felt it was time for an update.

Home Bistro Low Carb Szechuan Beef The new meals we tried were
Low Carb Roasted Turkey Breast with Cranberry Stuffing (turkey breast in a delicious pan gravy, served with low-carb cranberry stuffing and slivered French green beans with almonds), Grilled Chicken Breast in Caper Parmesan Sauce (Grilled boneless chicken breast in a rich cream sauce made with white wine, capers, smoked bacon, and Parmesan cheese, served with broccoli and red peppers), Szechuan Beef (strips of beef seasoned with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, garlic and ginger in a Szechuan sauce accented with toasted sesame seeds and crushed red pepper, served with broccoli and red peppers), Buffalo Shrimp Appetizer (Jumbo shrimp topped with a spicy-hot “Buffalo-style” sauce made with aged cayenne red pepper and garlic), and their two new low carb desserts: Dark Chocolate Mousse, and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.

Home Bistro Low Carb Roasted Turkey Breast with Cranberry Stuffing The delight of the bunch was the low-carb cranberry stuffing that comes with the Roasted Turkey Breast dinner. It's simply delightful, very different, and doesn't taste low carb at all. We'd love to see them sell this one as a stand-alone side dish. It would be great to have on-hand for any poultry or pork dinner side dish.

The Caper Parmesan Cream Sauce that envelops the Grilled Chicken Breast dinner was also heaven. The smoked bacon and Parmesan cheese bring this one to rich life!

Home Bistro Low Carb Buffalo Shrimp Appetizer All of their new meals were big hits. And the Buffalo Shrimp were remarkably easy to make for such an elegant appetizer. Still boil-in-bag, these meals are all pretty easy and fast to make and the result is definitely restaurant quality. With a little creative plating, your guests might think their meal was chef-catered.

Net carb counts on these items are 13g for the Turkey Dinner, 6g for the Szechuan Beef, 4 g for the Chicken Breast in Caper Parmesan Sauce, and 0g for the Induction Level Buffalo Shrimp Appetizer. Pretty impressive numbers for the food you get!

Home Bistro Low Carb Dark Chocolate Mousse And then... dessert! How smart are these portion controlled little mousses and cheesecakes? Very... and delicious too. Packed 6 to a box, they're very easy to serve and oh-so-elegant.

Dress them up with a drizzle of low carb syrup, top with whipped cream or sprinkle with chopped nuts. Even dress them up with berries if you like. But even totally plain they are the stars of their plates. At 6g net carbs for the Dark Chocolate Mousse and 5g net carbs for the Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, you won't have to worry about dessert sabotaging your efforts.
Home Bistro Low Carb Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
Each meal is sealed and flash-frozeng at precisely the right moment to seal in flavor and juices. All Home Bistro™ orders are shipped in insulated coolers with enough dry ice to guarantee freshness upon delivery and that it will keep until you get home. Kudos to the talented chefs at Home Bistro for their latest efforts. We loved 'em!

They're available from Home Bistro's website and are delivered still frozen right to your door. Prices are reasonable, and service is great.

08-02-03 - Product Recommendation & Review: Southern Delite Low Carb Almond Brownie Cookies
Looking for a quick and yummy little brownie cookie? You've found it with the new
Southern Delite Low Carb Almond Brownie Cookies. Sweet, chewy and moist, these taste almost homemade... at least like those from your corner bakery. And they're great dunked too.. in coffee, in your hot tea, or in a bit of half-and-half.

They come wrapped as single cookies, so they make it easy to take one with you wherever you're headed, or to pack in a lunch for a portion controlled dessert. Very chocolately, these cookies contain NO hydrogenated oils, and of course, no sugar. They're made from an almond flour, whey protein base and are sweetened with maltitol, lactitol, and sucralose. No wheat flour, of course.

Total carbs are 16 grams, minus 4 grams of fiber, and of the 11 grams of sugar alcohols, feel free to deduct 8, for a net carb count of 4 grams per large, chewy cookie. (Only 1 gram of net carbs if you deduct all sugar alcohols... we don't.) Delicious. Just totally yummy!

(There are other flavors -- Lemon Almond, and Chocolate Chip, but we were unable to get and evaluate these flavors.)

These great Almond Browine Cookies are available online from The Low Carb Nexus.

04-02-03 - Product Recommendation & Review: Nature's Own Reduced Carb Bread
Everytime a new low carbohydrate bread hits the shelves, I have cause to celebrate. It means that more and more bakers and food makers are accepting low carb as a viable market with staying power. It also means we keep getting lots of sandwich making choices! Our latest to try was
Nature's Own Reduced Carb Bread, and we think you'll find it to be soft, delicious, and "normal" tasting. It makes a great grilled cheese (one of our telling tests) and has a realistic "crumb."

I know that right about now, you're wondering whether it contains soy, and if so, does it taste like it? Okay, yes, it does contain some soy flour, though it's a pretty small amount. Here's the basics of this bread's make up: Whole Wheat Flour, Wheat Protein, Wheat Gluten, Soy Flour, Corn Starch, and some Wheat Bran. It tastes completely delicious. And that's understandable since its first ingredient is wheat flour, but it's true whole wheat flour, so it's not inherently unhealthy like high carb white breads. This best of both worlds comes at a cost of 5 effective grams of carbohydrate per slice. Not the lowest you'll find, but if you can afford the tiny bit of extra carbs, you'll find it's pretty worth it. It freezes well, holds up to spreads, toasts AND grills well. And did I mention it's delicious?

If you can't find it in your area's groceries, it's available online from The Low Carb Nexus.

12-03-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
I can't help but feel that this particular review should start with a drumroll.. you know, the way all really big announcements do. You see, judging by the email we receive, more than anything else, low carbers want convenience. They want the proverbial "TV Dinner". They want frozen pre-cooked meals that can fill their freezer and be ready in 15 minutes or less. Well, what if you could have a frozen meal that beat the pants off those high carb cardboard-y things in your grocer's freezer that was low carb and gourmet quality? Do I have your attention?
Home Bistro
Last week, our group spent an evening eating some of the best dinners we'd had in some time. And they were frozen less than 15 minutes before we were ready to dine! A rather splendid company called Home Bistro have put their talented chefs Dennis Chauvin and Scott Stillman to work on creating complete low carb meals that would rival most fine restaurants. They've been manufacturing USDA quality meals since 1999 selling under the Home Bistro label, so you can be sure this wasn't an overnight idea.

Home Bistro Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Was I skeptical at first? Sure. Have you ever seen a frozen meal that ended up looking anything like the photo on the cover? I never had. But what a pleasant surprise to discover that these really do look like the company's photos when cooked and plated. And they taste...well... delicious. Each order is shipped in an insulated cooler with enough dry ice to guarantee its freshness upon delivery and that it will keep until you get home.

All dinners are separated with each part of the meal in a sealed pouch. Drop your pouches in 3 or 4 quarts of boiling water and simmer for around 10 minutes (each dinner varies a bit, so check individual instructions.) Then remove the pouches (use tongs), and follow directions for serving. Super easy.

They currently offer 15 low carb meal choices including 2 breakfasts. From Filet Mignon with Béarnaise to Shrimp Scampi, to Roast Pork Loin in a Thai Red Curry Sauce, these meals are exceptional. Our kudos to the chefs.

Home Bistro Fettuccine and Chicken with Peanut Sauce While it's hard to pick favorites since each meal was a delight, we did find a few that stood out as superb. It won't suprise you that the
Filet Mignon with Béarnaise (an extremely tender filet that comes out "medium" when cooked for 10 minutes, but can be cooked longer if desired) was a top pick with our group. But also rating very high was the Grilled Chicken Satay (each of those comes with a generous serving of puréed cauliflower with Parmesan that's to die for), the Fettuccine and Chicken with Peanut Sauce, and their Bistro Hot Cereal with Blueberries (a maple-cinnamon cereal that's creamy and rich.)

Home Bistro Hot Cereal with Blueberries Carb counts vary depending on the meal choice, with some as low as 8 or 9 carbs, and others in the 13 to 15 carb range. So choose what's appropriate for your plan and level, but for such generous portions and considering these counts are for entire meals, we think they've done a terrific job of understanding and catering to the low carb diner.

One last thing... we have to make a special note about the incredible sauces these meals come with. They don't have any "processed" taste, and are unique and rich with flavor.

They can be ordered online at Home Bistro's LowCarbMeals site, where you'll find the full catalog with photos, instructions, nutrition info, and more. These are, of course, more expensive than grocery store dinners. You'd expect them to be... they are superior quality meals made with the best ingredients, rather than mass-produced "stamped-out" meals made with cheap starches. I have to say... totally worth it. During these hectic Holiday times, wouldn't it be great to come in from a long day of Christmas shopping and have these waiting in your freezer to save you from cooking?

11-20-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:Pleasantville Cookies Brownies

Ah, the joy that is the American brownie. I loved this dark sweet treat before I became a low carber. I'd have plain ones with cream cheese frosting, or use them as a base for ice cream. But mostly I just loved chewy walnut laden squares of them.

This week, a new brownie made its way to us to try and wow... I am so impressed that they can be this good and be GRAIN and SUGAR free. No wheat, no soy, no sugar, no trans fats, and NO SUGAR ALCOHOLS. Really!
Pleasantville Cookie Company has debuted their new Brownies! Pleasantville Brownies come in a 6 ounce tray you can re-heat in the oven or microwave if you're one of those people that prefer their brownies warm. Pleasantville Cookies Brownies

One of the best parts is that they're only about 4 carbs per brownie! You can get them plain or with (lots of) walnuts! And like their high carb counterparts, you can certainly top them with ice cream (low carb, of course,) or make a cream cheese/Splenda frosting for them. Click on the photo at left to see a closeup of these brownies. Notice they're moist and "glossy" looking. That means that even without sugar or flour, they've made a very bakery-style brownie!

We love 'em. Hope you will too. They're available from Pleasantville Cookie Company. Want a great deal? How about a coupon code? Here it is: "111402" (don't use the quotes) and is good for $1.00 off each brownie package ordered!

09-30-02 - Product Recommendation & Review: Louis Rich Dinner Starters: Chicken Alfredo
Don't you just love convenience foods?! They're so... well... convenient! Most of the time, things that fall easily into that category are high carb, unhealthy fare. So when we find something delicious, super-easy, AND low carb, we HAVE to share it with you all. If you haven't yet tried the new Chicken Alfredo Dinner Starters from Louis Rich, you're missing something special.

The chicken is all white meat, Italian style breast cuts (tender and cooked just right) and the included sauce packet is real
DiGiorno brand Alfredo Sauce. It's buttery, rich, and tasty. And surprisingly low in carbs. Depending on your personal serving preferences, you're likely to get no more 5 grams of carbohydrate. Start to finish -- perhaps 5 to 8 minutes. Have more people to serve? Buy 2 packages. They recommend it served over pasta (of course), but feel free to serve it over steamed brocolli (my personal favorite!), over sautéed mushrooms (also delish!), or over your favorite brand of low carb pasta. I'm sure you'll have other ideas too. And you can always use a spoon and bowl and skip serving it OVER anything.

Add lots of black pepper, and sprinkle on Parmesan too if you like. Louis Rich has a real winner with this one. We've found it with lunch meats in some stores, and in the meat department at others. It will always be in the refrigerated sections. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Low Carb Enchantment Cookies 09-10-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Hey! More low carb cookies on the market! And they're buttery good. We're talking about the new Low Carb Enchantment Cookies , and you'll think they're from the corner bakery. Each cello-package contains 8 large sized cookies, most with frosted tops. Low Carb Enchantment Cookies

They come in Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Coconut, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. (Click on the photo at left to see a closeup of these cookies.)

Everyone liked all the flavors, but half liked the Chocolate Peanut Butter best and the other half preferred the Snickerdoodle.

They come in at between 1 and 3 carbs per cookie, and are likely to be a real favorite. These cookies stay fresh for weeks, and one will satisfy your cravings.They're available from Greenbeanz.

07-23-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Creations Cookies We always say -- we love our cookies. New low-carb cookies, therefore, are always one of the first things we can't wait to try. And if you were a fan of the big, flat, soft Archway® style cookies, you'll love the new Low Carb Creations Cookies!   In fact, many of us liked them better (than the Archways.)

Sweetened with a combination of maltitol and Splenda (sucralose), these are lightly sweet and bakery-quality. They're based on a combination of nut flours, oat flour, and wheat protein (gluten). Carb count? They come in at 5 to 8 carbs per cookie after fiber if you count your polyols (sugar alcohol: maltitol), and 2 effective carbs per cookie if you count nothing for the maltitol. (If you're like me, you split the difference and count them at 3-6 carbs per cookie.) Either way, they are more than worth finding a way to work them into your daily count.

Low Carb Creations Cookies These cookies are available in several flavors: Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Lemon, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Now, at the risk of sounding like an info-mercial, I have to say... "But wait! There's more!"

Low Carb Creations Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich One of the BEST things about these little gems is that they make great "tops" and "bottoms" for sandwich cookies and ice cream sandwiches! We took the Lemon cookies and spread them with a lemon creme filling (cream cheese, Splenda, and lemon oil), and wow. People were fighting over 'em. You could serve these anywhere.

And the Chocolate Chip (or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip) are to die for when sandwiched with your favorite low carb vanilla or chocolate ice cream. (Package them in individual Ziploc bags, then keep in the freezer. Allow 5 minutes to soften before eating later.) These two methods alone make them worth the purchase, but enjoy them any way you like. Dunk 'em in your coffee, pack them in your lunches. Just enjoy these gems.

Available in plastic-paks of four huge cookies each, you can order them from The Low Carb Connoisseur or from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

07-22-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Joe Bread For those of you who have not yet tried the new Joe Bread Lo Carb Bread, you just might be missing out on a real treat. A high fiber bread that's a cross between a sprouted grain type bread (though it's not) and a good whole wheat bread (which it sort of is), this hybrid bread is both unique in taste and in versatility.

Joe Maher (aka JoeBread) has been making bread for over thirty years, and has learned a few tricks of the trade. You see, if you decide to order it online (most of us can't find it locally), you won't incur those large shipping bills that usually accompany bakery products, because it can make the trip fresh as a daisy without being kept cool.
Joe Bread
You might assume this means it's full of preservatives, but you'd be wrong. It's all in the preparation and bagging.

Expanding on a technique discovered in Europe, JoeBread uses a polypropylene bag in conjunction with a post-baking heating and chilling process that kills spoilage-causing organisms thereby extending the shelf life of their bread. This unique method retains the flavor and out-of-the-oven freshness of JoeBread, even after ground transportation. (Of course you want to refrigerate it after opening!)

Joe Bread The other great news is how low in carbs it is! This rusticly good pre-sliced bread comes in at only 2.5 effective carbs (after fiber) per slice. The recipe is a blend of Splenda (sucralose), soy, gluten, wheat bran, oat flour and flax seed meal.

But how does it taste? Very good indeed. It toasts well, but is great fresh also. While it contains soy, we detected no "soy taste" to it. And it holds up to mayo or butter nicely. Joe Bread Foods guarantees it to last 30 days without being refrigerated. You can order it online from The Low Carb Connoisseur, Greenbeanz or from The Low Carb Nexus™.

06-28-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:

As you know, we're real fans of
Low Carb Cookies from Pleasantville Cookie Company! And now that they've come up with some great new flavors, and an even more delicious formula, we wanted to call it to your attention.

Chocolate Crème de Menthe Cookies Our favorite of the new flavors is without a doubt their
Chocolate Crème de Menthe Cookies! The mint is cool and, well... minty. And the chocolate is deep and rich. Bet you'll love 'em too.

Other new flavors we're enjoying are
Vermont Maple Pecan, and All American Peanut Butter (that now contain a hint of cinnamon ... delish!)   And more new flavors are right around the corner. Join their Cookie of the Month Club and you'll be in line to get flavors like Wild Cherry, German Chocolate, Pumpkin, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Red Velvet.

And notice (in the photo above) the cute little foil-paks their new "Snack Packs" now come in, making them super-fresh whenever you want a few cookies! Keep them in the car, your desk at work, or pack them in lunches! We're nuts about these cute little paks.

You can read more about them or place an order from Pleasantville Cookie Company. A small portion of the revenue from sales of these cookies will help to support our site. We think you'll truly love 'em. We do!

06-22-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy Diet Cake Roll Synergy Diet's "Better Bakers" have introduced ready made Chocolate Cake Rolls filled with gooey cream cheese! We had a chance to try the 1/2-pound Double Chocolate variety, and want to recommend them as a great little dessert item to keep on hand. Not overly sweet, and very moist, these lend themselves exceptionally well to being the base for a scoop of low carb vanilla ice cream, and a dollop of whipped cream (maybe some syrup too!) to make a rich ice cream fudge cake, like many restaurants serve.

Synergy Diet Cake Roll While we do wish they'd make a variety with full-fat cream cheese (these use the fat free kind) to offer low carbers a richer taste and even less carbs, they're still a smart choice. Made from Fran Gare's Decadent Dessert Mix (see our earlier review of the mixes), the cake rolls are sweetened with xylitol, and sucralose.

Packaged in little bakery-style boxes, they're available from Synergy Diet.

04-11-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy Diet Better Brownies
Still looking for a brownie that's delicious, low-carb, and won't guarantee you an evening in your bathroom? [grin]

Our team recently tried Synergy's line of
Better Brownies... a rich cake-like brownie (very much like a devils food cake) that comes in three varieties -- Plain Chocolate, Chocolate with Walnuts, and Chocolate with Chocolate Chips.

Like their muffins, Better Brownies were produced in conjunction with Dr. Fran Gare who co-authored several diet books with the low carb guru Dr. Atkins.

Our favorite way to eat them? Frozen with a scoop of low carb vanilla ice cream on top (and whipped cream of course) making a brownie sundae! They're made with xylitol (a safer polyol than what's used in the other leading low carb brownies), and sucralose. A 2-inch square (not one of the whole bars) is a serving, so note that when you count your carbs.   Visit Synergy's Low Carb Bakery to order!

04-08-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Cookies In all the baking and cooking I do (and if you hadn't noticed, I do a lot), the thing I make most often is cookies. It's what everyone always wants. They're both a sweet treat and a "finger food". They're a self-contained portion that requires no serving knife, and if you grab one at a time, no plate. In an average grocery store, the cookie aisle runs a distance only outpaced by packaged cereals. In short, they are an American obsession.

We've been looking for pre-made cookies that we could both keep on hand here when I didn't get anything baked, and that we could recommend to you. And indeed, we have found others that we've spotlighted here. But our goal was always to find cookies that contained no sugar alcohols, no trans fats, and hopefully no wheat, OR soy flour. They had to be Splenda sweetened, they had to be low carb, and they had to be delicious!

Low Carb Cookies About a week ago, we found such a cookie. And our group gobbled them all up in less than twenty minutes. I think it's fair to say that they were loved by all.
Low Carb Cookies made by Pleasantville Cookie Company are little gems that come in at around 3 carbs per generous size cookie. And if you're wondering why they look like little scoops of ice cream, well, it's because they're handmade and formed with a mini ice cream scoop! It's inspired because it results in a cookie that's slightly crisp on the outside, but very moist on the inside. Made with a base of almond flour, eggs, and Splenda, they are available in four flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Maple, and Peanut Butter.

My personal favorite? I'm torn between the Chocolate (that I think tastes like a brownie), and the Almond, which is a classic favorite for me. But most of the group was torn between the Maple and the Almond... You can decide for yourself. By the way, these are so good sliced in half and spread with cream cheese, or spiced butter.

You can read more about them or place an order from Pleasantville Cookie Company. A small portion of the revenue from sales of these cookies will help to support our site. We think you'll truly love 'em. We do!

04-08-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy's Better Breads Some new low carb breads made their way to our review panel this month... the line of Better Bakery Breads from Synergy Diet. They offer a huge assortment of bread varieties -- all pre-sliced and plastic wrapped just like you'd get from your corner bakery.

You can choose from
Rye, Wheat, Marble (a Wheat/Pumpernickel mix), MultiGrain, French, Pumpernickel, and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl.

Synergy's Better Breads They're what I call "cross-over" breads -- not super low carb (most around 6 carbs per slice), but because they're made with a mix of almond and other low carb flours along with traditional wheat flours, you get a much lower carb bread that still feels like standard bakery bread.

They're made without the dangerous high fructose corn syrups in many breads (even in a few low carb breads that we won't recommend!) and without trans fats. So while we don't recommend eating lots of Better Bakery Breads, a slice or two a day might just hit the spot. It toasts great and is moist and yummy.

Our two favorites were the Cinnamon Raisin (also the highest carb, of course) and the MultiGrain (amazingly good with deli ham, spicy mustard, and aged swiss cheese.)  Visit Synergy's Low Carb Bakery to order!

04-04-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy Muffins There's no doubt that the search for a great low carb muffin is always in consideration. Somewhere between a cupcake and a roll, a muffin just seems to "hit the spot" in a way little else can. Not quite a dessert, but a treat, just the same.

We recently got to evaluate the new
Better Bakery Muffins from Synergy Diet and were pretty pleased with the results. These are large, cake-consistency muffins that don't scream low-carb. In fact, they seem very corner-bakery-like. Made without soy, their muffins have a more mellow flavor that allows the individual tastes to come through. Perhaps the best news is that they chose xylitol as the polyol in these. I know, it would be great to have NO sugar alcohols in them, but xylitol (along with erythritol) are the least impacting polyols.

They come in a myriad of varieties:
Big Banana, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Lemon Poppy Seed, Zuchinni Nut, Big Carrot, Chocolate, Streusel Apple Cinnamon, and Streusel Blueberry.

Synergy Muffins Our favorites? We definitely all agreed we liked the Streusel varieties best, with us split 50/50 between the Apple and the Blueberry (I liked the Apple best.) All are large and tender, some sweeter than others (we found the Zuchinni Nut to be the least sweet) and we would have liked the carrot to be sweeter and use more spices, but it still performed well.

They're terrific heated from the microwave (split them first and give them no more than 20 to 30 seconds -- less if you have a very powerful microwave.) And it goes without saying that they peak when spread with warm sweet butter. They make great on-the-go snacks or breakfasts, and serve well in a basket with a meal -- even for guests. Want to see them up-close?
Click Here to see a closeup of a Streusel Apple Cinnamon muffin top. 
Click Here to see a closeup of a Streusel Blueberry muffin top.

They're prepared by a head baker for Bristol Farms shops from a recipe by Fran Gare. At over 6 effective carbs per muffin, these are not super-low-carb, but because they are big enough to fill you up, we think they're still a carb-bargain. Visit Synergy's Low Carb Bakery to order!

01-09-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Biscotti Cookies With a surge in popularity over the last decade via their appearances in Epicurean cafes, specialty gourmet retail shops, coffeehouses, and tea-rooms, it's likely you are already familiar with Biscotti, but in case you aren't...

When one looks-up the word for "biscotti" in the Italian dictionary, one finds the definition is 'biscuit' or 'cookie'. The word biscotti means:
"bis =twice"; "cotti=well done". Traditionally, biscotti are twice-baked, in a loaf and then by the slice, to make them dry, crisp and hard enough to be dipped without getting soggy. Biscotti is similar to its European cousin "kamishbrot" or "mandelbrot" (which translates to "almond bread"). Mandelbrot is usually oil based (a concession to Jewish dietary laws). Biscotti can be butter based or oil based. Mandelbrot is usually filled with walnuts or almonds and flavored with a bit of cinnamon. Biscotti is usually crispier than mandelbrot due to a longer second baking.

Keto Biscotti Cookies All that said, coffee-house biscotti is pretty high in carbs and sugar, so if you fell in love with these crisp little gems, you might be sorely missing them now. I know I was. Once again, the folks at Keto come to the rescue with a remarkably identical low carb version of Italian Style Biscotti Cookies that come in at only 4 carb grams apiece.

Keto Biscotti are currently available in two rich flavors --
Deep Chocolate, and Vanilla Almond (with substantial pieces of toasted almonds inside.) Just plain or dunked in coffee or cocoa, we liked the Vanilla Almond best (and they're more traditionally crisp.) The chocolate (slightly crunchy on the outside, but chewy on the inside) are best with an accompaniment. Our favorite was to soften and warm cream cheese with a hint of sweetness and one of the following: Mint (fresh or extract), Orange (we used Keto orange marmalade), or raspberry (fresh or sugarless raspberry preserves.) These three flavors married effortlessly with the rich semi-sweet chocolate of the biscotti for a heavenly treat.

Chocolate Crumb Cake Been missing Oreo-Crumb crusts? Crush 4 chocolate biscotti with melted butter and a little Splenda and press into a pie plate or cake plate. Then add your favorite low-carb filling for pie or cheesecake for a chocolately treat!

The biscotti store and travel well and are great as snacks on long flights or drives or anytime you don't want to deal with purchased food. Each carton contains 8 - large 34 gram cookies (approx. 6.5 inches), individually wrapped for freshness. Keto Biscotti Cookies are available at Life Services and soon from The Low Carb Connoisseur, CarbSmart, and netrition.

07-18-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Chef Shortbread Cookies Since 1936, the two most popular Girl Scout Cookies have always been the shortbread trefoil and the thin mint. And while I can't help you with the Thin Mint right now, we just have to tell you about the new Shortbread Cookies from Low Carb Chef that rival their Girl Scout counterparts to an eerie degree of accuracy -- but without the sugar and carbs!

Soft, delicate, lightly sweet and rich with a butter flavor, no one served these would guess they were anything but "regular" cookies. If they were in the traditional trefoil shape, rather than these cute little stars, people might believe them to be the original Girl Scout variety. (And yes, we are talking about the original, soft, buttery version of the GS cookies, not the later, more commercial one.)

These remind me of the cookie-press cookies my mother and I used to make for the holidays when I was little. They come in at about 1 carb per cookie and have a subtle hint of orange and almond flavor, but most strongly boast their butter taste. They are sweetened with less than 1 gram of maltisorb per cookie (maltisorb is a brand name for maltitol.) Try dipping them in a bit of the Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup we just reviewed. MMMMMmmmm...

As always, Low Carb Chef bakery items are available online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.

05-30-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Granny Oats Cookies I just love good cookies. More often than not I have to find the time to make them myself. There are a lot of good lower carb cookies, but most are not low enough to have regularly. I'm always skeptical and we reject more products than we approve for this spotlight. I was skeptical of these too...

But our entire group found the new
Granny Oats Cookies to be tasty and satisfying -- just sweet enough and with sufficient real oats to taste authentic.   And perhaps most unique -- these are soft cookies!   According to their label, they are 10 carbs per 4 cookies; 3 of those are fiber, making them 7 carbs per 4 cookies.   (There are also sugar alcohols in these -- they're sweetened with a mix of lactitol and Splenda, but we let you decide how much you want to "write off" for sugar alcohol.)   Now before you get overly excited about a 4-cookie serving, you should know that these are small cookies -- silver dollar size, but since you can have 4 of them, they make a lovely little treat at the end of a great low-carb meal.   And they contain no trans-fats (always a huge plus with us!)   Granny Oats Cookies are available online from Synergy Diet.

04-19-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Irene's Health Bread - Spicy Vegetable If you're a veggie fan, or better yet, a fan of classic ranch dressing, you're probably going to simply love the new Spicy Vegetable Irene's Health Bread -- we did.

It was super soft and fresh with cream cheese type spreads (as well as pimiento cheese topped!), but it shines brightest when toasted or grilled.

It makes a better garlic bread than their "garlic flavored bread" and it's yummy grilled in butter to make a club sandwich or grilled cheese. The veggie flavor truly is a cross between a ranch type dressing taste and Good Seasonings mix. Add to that, the bread boasts a subtle sweetness from the whey that plays tantilizingly off the hint of vinegar. We really loved this bread and if spicy veggies call your name, you probably will too. They come in at 4 carbs per slice, so don't go overboard (though you might want to.) No bleaches, conditioners or preservatives are used in Irene's Breads, and they contain no soy.

All varieties of Irene's bread are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur Bakery.

03-12-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Almond Butter Cookies Another cookie entry from The Low Carb Connoisseur are Ener-G Almond Butter Cookies !   While primarily distributed for those with wheat, gluten, or soy allergies, they also just happen to be pretty low-carb too -- the reason, of course, is that they are made primarily of almonds. If they'd been artificially sweetened as well, they'd be perfect for us, but since they do contain some natural sugars and starches (like a little potato flour), they are a "one or two cookies" treat at around 5 grams per cookie. BUT, the cookies are quite large, really filling, and totally delish. So budget a few carbs to have these as occasional treats (they freeze perfectly) and you're good to go. They contain some crunchy little almond pieces as well as their almond butter, so don't be alarmed when you notice the crunchy bits inside.

Now, just because they're a little higher carbs than lower carb cookies, doesn't mean they have to JUST be cookies. We crumbled 2 cookies (remove and eat the whole almond on top!), mixed with butter and macadamia nuts and made a really incredible cheesecake crust. You won't need any additional sweetener. Definitely worth ordering!

They're available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

03-08-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
The Low Carb Connoisseur Chocolate Chip Cookies Craving a real, honest-to-goodness chocolate chip cookie? You know, the kind you had in your high carb days? Think you can't stand to go without them forever? Guess what? The Low Carb Connoisseur has come to the rescue with their new Gourmet Café Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies ! Before we go on, let me make it clear that these little gems are treats. They come in at 5 grams per cookie (after fiber) so you can't eat a bag of them. Have one or two as a special treat for yourself and you'll find they're well worth it. They're totally scrumptious. And you can warm them slightly in the microwave to make them feel just-baked. But warm or cold, they're soft and sweet.

That being said, they're addictively good. We recommend you take ONE (or two if you can handle it) and put the bag away. Don't sit it in front of the TV with you or on the seat of your car as you drive. Yes, they're that good.

They do contain a small amount of brown sugar and maple syrup to give them texture and an authentic taste. We recommend these for those on maintenence, or on a more moderate plan like Sugar Busters, etc. Definitely NOT for induction, but if you can work in the carbs, wow. They are so worth it.

Gourmet Café Low Carb Cookies are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.

02-16-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Nexus Bread
More bread on the scene for low-carbers. We've tried several more varieties sent to us by several bakeries, and this week, one of them makes the grade nicely. The
Low Carb Nexus is now offering ready-baked loaves of bread that work out to 2.5 carbs per slice (after 1/2 gram of fiber is deducted.)

Low Carb Nexus Bread They're a healthy mix of soy protein, whole wheat, sesame seeds, and a smidge of cornmeal. Now, don't expect a soft doughy-style bread here. It's a hearty old-world style bread with a firm crumb somewhat like corn-cakes. It may be different, but it's very good. It makes better toast and better bread crumbs than many of the other choices because of its stiffer texture. It also holds up to grilling nicely for the same reasons. It's offered in both
White and Rye varieties, though the white is actually a bit closer to a wheat bread. It comes unsliced and carb count is based on 22 slices. We used our OXO bread slicer and got exactly 22 slices, though with a standard knife (harder to cut slices thin) you may end up with more like 18 - 20 slices. Definitely worth a try and great for heavy spreads!

Remember, there's no preservatives in these breads -- store in your refrigerator or freezer right away. These loaves are shipped fresh from the freezer at Low Carb Nexus.

11-13-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Since starting my low-carb way of life, I've seen several offerings of bagels purporting to be "very low carb". In every instance, it turned out they were not nearly so low carb as they claimed and I'd become somewhat wary. I had come to the conclusion that because of the dense, heavy nature of bagels, they could not achieve both a true bagel taste and a low carb count.

This past week our group got the chance to sample the new
Low Carb Connoisseur Bakery Bagels. The varieties offered are Plain, Poppy Seed, Sesame Seed, Onion, and Everything.

The carb counts are more honest and don't pretend to be next-to-nothing carb-wise. They are in fact, what I'd call "reasonably low carb if you eat them in a sensible amount." What this means is, for most of us in "Ongoing Weight Loss" (OWL) phase, eating 1/2 bagel is reasonable to add to our daily meal plan. Those on maintenence or more liberal plans might afford a couple of 1/2 bagels each day. They contain about 6 carbs per 1/2 bagel.

But, how do they taste? In a word, pretty good. They don't have that yeast-raised doughy consistency that a high carb Lender's Bagel would have, and are indeed more reminiscent of a heavy cake-doughnut, but their rich, nutty taste is appealing and offers up some versatile menu ideas. Toasted, they make a great butter-hugging base for eggs benedict topped with hollandaise. And we noticed that the bagels are big and meaty, so if you want to reduce the carbs, it's pretty easy to slice a half lengthwise to a thinner portion.

All flavors were good plain or warmed in the microwave to soften (just a little) but all were at their best toasted. And lastly, try thinly slicing the plain ones, dipping in an egg/cream/Splenda mix and frying up french-toast rounds. Fabulous! They are available online from The Low Carb Connoisseur Bakery.

07-28-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Heavenly Cheesecakes Cheesecake is a natural for us low-carbers. Those on low-fat diets either have to stay away from it entirely, or settle for some "fake-cheese" version, but for us, substituting a legal sweetener for the sugar is all it takes to make most cheesecake recipes low-carb and delicious. The catch? Well, they don't make themselves. Making a great cheesecake from scratch is time consuming. I have made a point to make them several times a year, but time doesn't allow for much more often than that. And most sugar-free ones on the market are ... well, not great. Many try to be low-fat as well and end up tasting like paste. The last Atkins cheesecake I ordered took 2 weeks to come, had a shelf-life of about 4 days, and frankly wasn't very tasty.

When our group heard about the new
Heavenly Cheesecakes, made specifically for low-carb and sweetened with Splenda, we couldn't wait to "take 'em out for a spin." They come in five varieties: French Vanilla (a classic cheesecake taste), Chocolate, Chocolate Marble, Peanut Butter, and Peanut Butter Swirl. Our overall favorites were the Vanilla and the Peanut Butter, but any way you slice it, this is a terrific (and exceptionally rich) cheesecake! With eight servings each, they cost you a mere 2 grams of carb per slice for the French Vanilla, the Chocolate and the Marble. The others are 3 grams per slice. This means that if you have a few carbs to spare, these are just begging for some "extras". On the vanilla we tried it with the Splenda sweetened syrups (cherry and butterscotch were best), and of course we added some real strawberries, plus whipped cream. We melted a low-carb chocolate bar and drizzled over the peanut butter and found it to be amazing!

These cakes come without crust of any kind to keep the carb count down, but if you want crust, do what we did. We crushed 2 low-carb cookies (we used those made with the "sugar" cookie recipe from this site), added 2 Tablespoons almond flour (any finely ground nuts would do), 1 tsp Splenda and 2 Tablespoons melted butter. We patted it down onto a plate and sat the cheesecake on top. Then we flipped it over. Voila! It had a crust (that adds about 1 gram to each slice.) You could also sprinkle this mixture over the top of an individual piece as a topping. Be creative with these cakes - they lend themselves to it!

The cakes have a 2 week refrigerated shelf life or up to 3 months if frozen. They are available exclusively online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page, and are shipped Airborne.

07-28-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Irene's Health Bread For a diet for which the media says we eat no bread, we surely do find lots of ways to prove them wrong. We've reviewed bread mixes - both quick breads and yeast raised, and we've brought you some great bread recipes to make yourself. But the convenience of having a pre-sliced loaf of bread on hand to grab for a quick sandwich is something many of us miss. Most of the supermarket breads are very high in carbs - some are as much as 12-17 carb grams per slice ! That's where Irene's Health Bakery Bread comes in. We found this bread - baked in Northern Ohio - available online (see link below) - and enjoyed trying out the three varieties Irene's Health Bread offered. It comes in White (very like a traditional "Italian" white), German Rye, and Garlic. Each comes in at 4 carbs per slice (18 slices to a loaf) and make great sandwiches! The white bread made an unsurpassed grilled cheese and a tuna melt because it's strong enough to hold the browning in a buttered skillet. We loved the German Rye made into a Reuben (corned beef, swiss and sauerkraut), and the garlic was great with melted jack cheese. We suggest you package 4-6 slice paks in Ziploc bags for the freezer and thaw a package as needed to keep your bread very fresh.

Irene's Health Bakery Breads are available online from The Low Carb Connoisseur Bakery.

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