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Product Spotlight                                 

Here we spotlight products our review panel members have reviewed and found to be exceptional and worthy of our visitors' attention. These opinions are NOT PAID FOR and are unbiased. Only the best make it into our spotlight.

click here to see how to submit a product for review.                         

  Bread & Baking Products
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Candy & Confections
Hot & Cold Cereals
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Cookbook Reviews
  Sweeteners
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Fresh or Frozen Treats

List of All Reviews
  Protein & Meal Bars
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Pre-Baked/Pre-Cooked
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The Review Process




[ CLICK HERE FOR A MASTER LIST OF ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED AT THE SITE ]

12.03.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Pams-Hams It was fun getting the group together for a pre-Thanksgiving review party this year. Our centerpiece was an elegant spiral sliced glazed ham from Michigan based Pams-Hams. If you thought being low-carb meant you couldn't have the glazed type hams, you haven't tried Pams. Instead of the 7 to 9 grams of carbs per serving that the leading specialty (honey-glazed type) hams rack up, Pams-hams come in at only 1 gram of carbohydrate per (3-oz) serving. And no, it's not sugar free, nothing artificial, and no sugar alcohols. They've simply learned to get the most bang-for-their-buck from the sugar, honey, and brown sugar that the glaze contains. Unless you're extremely sensitive to sugar, this should not be a problem for 99% of low-carb dieters. And what a treat it is... let's talk about how the ham tastes...

Most of our group agreed that it was the best glazed ham they'd ever had. Yes, even better than that fancy store that makes crusty sugar glazed ones. It makes a beautiful presentation, a perfect holiday ham; nice looking and very flavorful! It was a succulent, fully cooked ham that made itself the star of the show. We had turkey on-hand as well, but no one wanted to touch the turkey after tasting this ham. Everyone had seconds; in fact, for days to follow, Neil and I couldn't help but keep eating what was left by itself. It simply melts in your mouth.

Pams-Hams These hams come frozen (thaw it in the fridge for approximately 3 – 4 days before your event), and are served at room temperature (remove from fridge an hour before serving.) Resist the urge to pop it in the oven to heat it... it only robs hams like this of their moist juicyness and isn't necessary. Not a single person missed it being hot. Especially when it's served with plenty of hot side dishes.

Don't wait... purchase one of these awesome hams right away to ensure you have it for your Christmas dinner! Or serve it buffet-style for an elegant holiday party, or a New Years Eve event. Then wait for the compliments to roll in. I assure you, they will.

Order from Pams-hams.com. Then drop me a line and let me know what you thought of this exceptional ham. :)


08.15.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Expert Foods Cake-ability The people at Expert Foods are (pardon the pun) experts at innovative ideas for cooking and baking. And with their unique "Cake-ability", they've hit a real winner. This amazing mix allows you to mix 1/2 cup of their product with your favorite nut flour, eggs, sweetener, and liquid (water, soda, DaVinci, etc), and voila — you have a cake with a texture that very closely resembles commercial cake-mix textures for an exceptionally low carb cake! And if the liquid you use is DaVinci Sugarfree Syrup, you may not need to add the carbs from granulated sweeteners.

The package back label contains recipes for a standard (any flavor) cake, a basic chocolate cake, a chocolate torte, banana bread, or muffins. Plus hints and tips for make other flavors and varieties. And guess what? They're all easy and they all work!

Cakes We tried making the cakes with three different nut flours — almond (we used a very fine ground blanched almond flour), which gives the most traditional texture and taste; pecan flour, which gives a rich praline flavor to cakes and is super with spices like cinnamon, cloves, etc.; and with macadamia nut flour, which gave us the most moist results, and a sweet nutty taste. You can always mix your nut flours, too.

The possibilities are nearly endless, and they can be made in loaf pans, round pans, cupcakes, etc. Top with flavored whipped cream, cream cheese frostings, etc. Or just cut in squares and eat as a snack cake.

A 6-oz pouch makes three 1.5 pound cakes (48 servings!)  I can't imagine not using it in my nut-flour cakes anymore! You can order online from Netrition.


07.15.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Flax-Z-Snax Pancake & Waffle Mix When I was a kid, we always knew we'd been very good when Mom made us waffles. It was more effort than simply pouring pancakes, and while griddle cakes are great, there's something so "Home Sweet Home" about waffles. Soft and hot on the inside, and hints of crispness at the edges of those golden little squares. They hold melting rich butter in their rows of small pockets and stand up to syrups, whipped creams, and fruits.

In short, they're a classic comfort food — and not exactly low carb friendly. We think that's changed with
Flax-Z-Snax Pancake & Waffle Mix from Flax-Z-Snax (formerly Low Carb Success). Flax-Z-Snax Pancake & Waffle Mix

Made with Golden Flax (rich with Omega 3 essential fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and more), as well as wheat bran, high protein wheat gluten, non-GMO soy protein and other safe, healthy ingredients, these are waffles (and pancakes) you can feel good about eating. They come in at only 3 effective grams of carbs for 2 pancakes and each 12-oz bag gets you 10 big pancakes! They are sweetened with a mix of sucralose (Splenda), erythritol, and lo han fruit extract (a low glycemic sweetener.) Kudos to the smart folks at Flax-Z-Snax for making a great product.

Flax-Z-Snax Pancake & Waffle Mix comes in two yummy varieties, each with a wholesome, "rustic" flavor:
Blueberry, and Buttermilk. Each one is good, and we were unable to get a concensus of which is "best." No one could agree. But then, that's a good sign...

Each is made by adding oil, eggs, and either water alone, or water mixed with cream. We definitely like them better with cream, but also found they were great mixed with other creative additions. For instance, the Buttermilk benefits from a dollop of sour cream in the mix. And it's good with DaVinci's Vanilla and Cinnamon syrups. When making them as pancakes, you'll have hearty stacks — like the sort I used to get in the Pacific Northwest. But I still prefer the waffles. Makes me feel like I did something great to deserve them.

Flax-Z-Snax Pancake & Waffle Mixes are available from Netrition.


05.14.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Plugra

Ever tried Plugrá? It's a European-style butter that's remarkably smooth and satiny. Its lower melting point causes it to melt immediately in your mouth. In fact, taste it next to unsalted supermarket butter and you'll immediately notice the bigger flavor, nice finish, and increased richness. One taste of Plugrá butter and you will never go back to standard brand butters. Because it is a low-moisture, high fat butter, it's ideal for baking, frying, sautéing, etc. Plugra

Obviously, since Plugrá is real butter, it contains no trans-fats, making it a healthy choice for most low carb diet plans. Plugrá has become the favorite of chefs everywhere. The butterfat content of Plugrá is 82% versus 80% for standard American butter, and that 2% difference makes a world of difference for creaminess, richness, flavor, smoothness and plain old-fashioned deliciousness.

It's available salted or unsalted (though unsalted is more versatile and more traditional), and comes in 8 oz or 16 oz packages. At Low Carb Luxury, we've been total Plugrá converts for years now. Once you've tried it, you'll be hooked! We have a superb Béarnaise Sauce recipe at the site that uses Plugrá. Click Here to check it out! You can find it near butters in finer groceries, or in gourmet areas. But don't worry... it's not overly pricey like imported butters. Plugrá is a domestic product.


04.13.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Chef Creations Shelf Stable Sauces

Chef Creations, the leading developer of Chef Quality soups and sauces for restaurants has released a line of Shelf Stable Sauces that are delicious, easy to use, and very low carb! For this review, we tested Alfredo Sauce (2g carb per serving), Hollandaise Sauce (0g carb per serving), and Classic Brown Sauce (2g carb per serving). They were all quite tasty and really do compare to what you'd find in a nice restaurant. Our favorite was the hollandaise, and the rich buttery taste of it (and yes, it's made with real, unsalted butter and real cream). The Classic Brown Sauce was fabulous over beef roast or low carb meatloaf.

Chef Creations Shelf Stable Sauces Because they're in Microwavable Tetra Pak Wedges, they are super easy to make! Just pop in the microwave, cut open, and serve. You can make your low carb meals more elegant, more rich, more scrumptious without a lot of time or trouble! You can store them 7 to 10 days (refrigerated) after opening if you need to (or have any left), and they contain no preservatives. And you can use them as a base for other recipes (just add white wine, tarragon, minced shallots and pepper to make a great Béarnaise Sauce.

They're available from most groceries in the same aisle as other sauces. If you can't find them, ask your grocer to carry them.


03.12.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Jell-O Sugar Free Puddings

In case you haven't yet noticed, Jell-O has introduced a new line of Sugar Free ready-to-eat Puddings sweetened with Splenda (no aspartame!) and Xylitol. We were pleased to see that they're being offered in a variety of flavors — Chocolate Vanilla Swirl, Chocolate, Double Chocolate, Creamy Caramel, and Vanilla. But even better — they're delicious!

Each cup contains 60 calories, 1g fat, 6g NET carbs, and 0g sugar (click here to see nutrition info).

Xylitol is a low impact sugar alcohol that carries little risk of gastric distress. They contain no trans-fat, and while they do contain some food starch, it's little enough that these little gems make very nice on-the-go snacks and desserts when you want something sweet and indulgent.

Find them in your grocer's refrigerated case. Way to go, Kraft!


02.12.08 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

We've reviewed a lot of chocolate bars over the last six years as low carb chocolate has evolved. Until recently, it seemed that chocolate bars had to contain maltitol in order to taste and feel like the "real thing." All that has changed. Forget what you think you know about low carb chocolate.

Enter
Choco Perfection... Simple, elegant, rich chocolate in both Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate varieties. They are sweetened with a combination of ogliofructose (a natural high fiber sweetener – not the same as fructose), and erythritol. No artificial sweeteners; lots of fiber; and little risk of gastric distress.

Made by
Low Carb Specialties, these bars are a large 2 ounces and come in at 1 to 2 effective carbs per bar. Most of us found them to be so rich that we couldn't eat an entire bar in one sitting, but that didn't stop us from wishing we could. They're just that good. They're creamy with a wonderful mouthfeel.

Choco Perfection gets our highest rating for low carb chocolate bars to date. Once you try them, you might not want to ever live without them. Luckily, you won't have to. Owner, Mary Jo, wants to make sure you believe it yourself, so they offer a two-bar sampler pack if you're not ready to go for the 12-bar packs.

They're available online from Low Carb Specialties, as well as from many local retailers. Don't wait. Place that order. We're not kidding.



7.1.07 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Dreamfields Pasta

This might just be the most asked for product review in history. Since Dreamfields Pasta began showing up on grocery store shelves in February of 2004, we've been flooded with emails asking us for the "skinny" on this almost-too-good-to-be-true pasta. But this is no ordinary low carb pasta... nor do they claim it to be. So Low Carb Luxury took its time to make sure it is what it says it is before we were willing to go out on a limb and stamp it with our approval.

Today, we officially do that.

The question of "digestible carbs" (and how Dreamfields arrives at this number) is a tricky one. It's not a simple carbs minus fiber mathematical equation like most products use. There's a very specific science behind it.
Dreamfields
It's one that we had to do some investigation on our own. This meant long talks with the company, talks with R&D folks, reading studies, and of course, doing our own studies. In point of fact, I was one of the guinea pigs who ate the pasta under controlled circumstances, and then tested my blood glucose response over the course of 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours. My personal results varied somewhat, but most definitely proved this was no ordinary pasta and was not causing a noticeable spike.

This revolution in low carb nutrition means that we can truly enjoy pasta dishes again... from a cool Macaroni Salad to a rich Penne with Alfredo. And make no mistake about it — this is really good pasta. As good as any premium pasta. And we checked that out for ourselves as well. For our review testing, we tried all the varieties of Dreamfields: Spaghetti, Elbows, Penne Rigate, Linguine, and now Lasagne. But for our comparisons, we stuck with the Penne Rigate for its shape, consistency, and mouthfeel. When testing, all pastas were served with only a butter and olive oil mixture.

Dreamfields For comparison testing, we chose Barilla, Creamette, and Kroger's brand. We also tested against Atkins Low Carb Pasta... in all cases, we used the penne. While about half of our reviewers preferred the Barilla brand to Dreamfields, the other half preferred the Dreamfields. And Dreamfields beat Creamette 5 to 1. It beat the Kroger's 10 to 1 and in all cases, the Atkins pasta lost to Dreamfields. Those are pretty amazing results for a pasta that fits a low carb lifestyle!

Of course, we cooked up some great dishes with it too, since we wanted to try it with a red sauce, a white sauce, and cold in a salad. Dreamfields actually has a better mouthfeel than most pastas that can easily get "waterlogged." It allows rich sauces to blanket it, and it shines with a premium taste, hot or cold.

Dreamfields pasta comes in at 5 grams of digestible carbs (for more on how digestible carbs work, see our article in the January 2005 LCL Magazine.) You can find it in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores, or at Netrition.


09.21.07 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Kitchen Table Bakers
Many of us have been making "cheese chips" for a long time (melting cheese in the microwave until it gets crisp) as a low carb snack. So when I first heard about the "Gourmet Cheese Crackers" from Kitchen Table Bakers, I wondered what would make these different (or better) than the cheese crisps we could make at home. Then I got the chance to try them and I knew they were going to be a favorite!

Made from baked cheese, their varieties include Aged Parmesan, Sesame, Garlic, Italian Herb, Caraway, and Onion Poppyseed. They're perfect little cheese rounds, lacy and crisp and seasoned to perfection. All natural and handmade, these little gems come in at less than 1 net carb per 3-cracker serving and contain no transfats, preservatives, or other questionable ingredients.

Nutrition Panel But the most important thing is that they're delicious. We had a hard time testing them with the group because no one would wait long enough to put them through various serving ideas... people kept munching them as-is from the container. And I guess that illustrates their best attribute — quick delicious snacks.

Now I did try them with chicken salad heaped on a cracker, as well as crumbled over a salad. Both were terrific and I think you're only limited by your imagination with these crisps. My personal favorite was the sesame, but everyone quickly chose their own favorite. The Italian Herb was amazing with a cool sour cream dip, and the Caraway was very good with thin sliced deli meats (especially paper thin corned beef!)

Don't miss your opportunity to serve these to guests and watch them disappear. They come in 3-oz clear plastic clamshell containers that protect the crackers.

They're available online at Netrition




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