Ricki’s Raves: Holiday Edition (2016)

I’ve decided to start a little series called Ricki’s Raves, in which I share some of my favorite items (both food and non-food alike) that I truly love and use all the time. Today, I rave about the products I’ve discovered that work well during the holiday season. But of course you can use them all year-round!

Ricki's Raves

 

We’re deep into the holiday vibe, and you’re likely thinking about what to get that special someone (or perhaps that special someone is. . . you?). In today’s edition of Ricki’s Raves, I want to share some of the amazing products I’ve discovered in the past few months and why I love them. And the bonus is that everything here is totally gift-worthy!

Klusters Kale Trail Mix

Candida diet kale trail snack mix

[Klusters Holiday Mix–sugar-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and created just for RH readers!]

What it is

We’re all familiar with kale chips, but how about a sweet-and-spicy trail mix starring bits of kale, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and refined sugar-free sweeteners? Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But that’s just what Klusters Kale Trail are! In four amazing flavors.

Why you’d eat it

Unlike most “healthy” snacks, Klusters is 100% made from fresh, organic ingredients, mixed and dehydrated by hand. These are truly artisanal snacks made with love. Phytonutrient-rich kale, cashew butter, organic pears or strawberries, organic hemp or sunflower seeds, coconut nectar, chia seeds–they’re just some of the incredibly good-for-you ingredients in different Klusters flavors.

And just for RH readers, Michelle has created a Klusters combo with strawberries, apples, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweetened with stevia and just a touch of coconut sugar. It’s the perfect ACD-friendly snack!

These delectable flavor combinations are pleasing to every palate, kids included. And they won’t know they’re eating something “healthy.” Klusters would make not only a great holiday gift, but a perfect treat to serve at your holiday gatherings or buffet tables, too–especially the new custom flavor with its festive red and green combo!

sugarfree, glutenfree, vegan pancakes with Klusters trail mix

[Adding a sprinkle of Klusters to my morning pancakes!]

What I love about it

Of course, I love the fact that each bag of Klusters is handmade in small batches and contains only the finest ingredients. But what I love most is the flavor! Crispy bits of kale chip are paired with the the perfect coating that’s not too sweet and provides a superb chewy texture that also helps form those eponymous clusters. With the combination of tart dried fruit and crunchy seeds, this snack is decidedly addictive–in the best way possible!

Cost

Retail price for a bag of Klusters is $8 CDN (about $6 USD); but just for RH readers during this holiday season, you can get yours for a special price of 3 bags/$20 CDN (about $15 USD)!

To take advantage of this special price, simply state on the order form comment box that you learned about Klusters from me and would like the special price (this is where you’d ask for the special Holiday Mix if you’re looking for that one as well). Michelle tells me she will deliver to the US as long as the customer covers shipping costs.

How I use it. . .

Eat ’em straight out of the bag. Klusters are the perfect snack, nutritionally balanced so that they won’t cause cravings. The high protein and fiber content also make them a great way to keep blood sugar balanced.

candida diet, sugarfree, grainfree kale trail mix

[I sprinkled some Holiday Klusters over my homemade Cranberry Ice Cream–heavenly!]

Add to cereal, yogurt, desserts, atop salads, or wherever else you like! The possibilities are limited only by the food you eat!

They also make a perfect traveling snack. Since Klusters are shelf stable for a good long time, they’re an ideal non-perishable travel food.

Go-Lo Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

 

vegan, sugarfree GoLo spread on rickiheller.com

What It Is

Hard to believe, but Go-Lo is a chocolate-hazelnut spread that is actually candida diet-friendly! Sweetened with erythritol and chicory, it also contains hazelnuts, sustainable palm oil, cocoa,  sunflower lecithin and vanilla.

Why You’d Use It

Obviously, this is the perfect spread when you’re experiencing a chocolate craving. Or a sweets craving. Or a nut-butter craving. Or a Nutella craving. Or. . . okay, so it’s the perfect spread basically any time.

Like anyone concerned with eating a whole-foods, healthy diet, I prefer to make my own nut butters, even my own chocolate-hazelnut spread. That said, sometimes I just don’t have the time, the inclination, or the the ingredients. In those cases, it’s lovely to be able to grab a jar at my favorite health food store and indulge once I get home, without having to toast nuts, let them cool, dirty my new blender, etc.

What I Love About It

I’ll be honest: it’s been over a dozen years since I ate “real” Nutella, so I can’t say whether this spread effectively approximates the taste/texture of the original or not (though I suspect it doesn’t). The texture of Go-Lo, to my palate, seems a bit more candy-like than what I remember of the original hazelnut-chocolate spread.

That said, there’s something truly addictive about Go-Lo. It’s perfectly smooth, silky, and while it does taste very sweet, it’s also got the subtle nuttiness of toasted hazelnuts and the eternal allure of cacao. What’s not to love?

Cost

Here’s where the shock factor may set in: one small (312 g or  oz) jar of Go-Lo cost me $9.29 CDN (a discounted price at my favorite health-food grocery store). I couldn’t find the US price (if you’ve bought it or find it for sale online, please let me know and I’ll update!), but I imagine it’s comparable (ie, about $7.05 USD).

How I Use It. . .

I’m happy savoring some of the spread straight up on a rice cake (see photo above), but I also use it as a topping for ice cream (beware: when cold, it does become quite hard) and, my favorite, over pancakes:

sugarfree GoLo review

I think that Go-Lo also offers one of the ultimate flavor combinations for the holidays. Personally, I’d scoop teaspoonfuls onto a plate, freeze, then coat in chocolate for almost-instant truffles to serve my guests. They’ll swoon, I promise you!

Native Forest Coconut Milk Powder

sugarfree, grainfree Native Forest coconut milk

What It Is

You may already know that I adore Native Forest canned coconut milk, both for the incredible quality of the milk and the fact that their cans are BPA-free. I find that Native Forest also delivers the creamiest full-fat coconut milk, with a hefty proportion rising to the top as cream–great for whipped cream and all those rich holiday desserts!

But now I’ve discovered this powdered milk, too, and I’m besotted! The powder is dehydrated coconut milk with a small amount of dehydrated tapioca syrup and sugar esters (sugar alcohols) added to prevent clumping (personally, I think they could have left it out–still clumped in my bag anyway!).

Why You’d Use It

This dried milk is ideal to keep on hand for when you run out of cans or cartons. It takes precious little space in the cupboard, and it’s there as an alternative that provides all the nutrition of the liquid milk. Just use warm water when you first mix it up to prevent clumps and melt all the natural coconut oils in the milk. Mix, and–voilà–coconut milk!

What I Love About It

The flavor of the powdered, reconstituted coconut milk preserves all the richness and depth of the liquid. Once I’d blended it together and refrigerated it, I almost couldn’t tell the difference.

Cost

In Canada, a bag of Native Forest Powdered Coconut Milk costs just $5.29 CDN. It makes almost 4 cans’ worth of milk (and one can costs $3.29 CDN). In the US, you can grab a bag for just $3.65 USD!

How I Use It. . .

candida diet, vegan, grainfree porridge on rickiheller.com

My first use was for this grain-free porridge. Adding coconut milk made the porridge rich and thick, and it was perfect!

I’m going to try replacing the coconut milk in this recipe or this one, and use it as an extra-creamy milk for lattes, smoothies, or my morning matcha.

Breville’s Hot Wok Pro

 

Breville Hot Wok Pro on rickiheller.com

What It Is

If you make stir-fries or sauté often, the Breville Hot Wok Pro is an ideal appliance to have on hand. It’s got a 7 liter (8 quart) base with 1800 watts of power to heat evenly. With 15 different settings (that heat up to 425F / 218 C), you’ll be able to recreate all of your favorite wok dishes perfectly.

Why You’d Use It

No matter how large your stir-fry, this wok is ready! Plus, with those 15 heat settings, the Breville Hot Wok Pro is suitable for virtually any recipe you’ve got, small or family-size, and it will preserve the freshness of the ingredients. We made my favorite Almond-Curry Stir-Fry (can’t believe I haven’t shared the recipe yet–coming up soon!) and it was perfection.

Plus, cleanup for this wok is the easiest I’ve ever experienced. The bowl can be disconnected from the base, which makes washing so much more convenient. And I do love the tempered glass cover!

What I Love About It

Apart from the generous size, the wok makes stir-fries virtually error-free. And of course I love the tempered glass cover, so you can keep an eye on your ingredients and ensure that nothing gets overcooked (and both the cover and bowl are dishwasher-safe). Note that it does have a nonstick coating, made from titanium. If you’re absolutely averse to non-stick, this wok isn’t for you.

This Breville Hot Wok Pro would make an ideal holiday gift for someone who loves to stir-fry, or someone with a love of Asian cuisine. 

Cost

In Canada, the wok costs $249.99 CDN; in the US, it’s $149.00 USD (for the 6-quart)

How I Use It. . .

veggies and rice recipe on rickiheller.com

Why, to make stir-fries, of course! Up above is the Cheezy Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash recipe we’ve been making almost weekly. But this stir-fry would be perfect, too.

Hot Logic Mini Personal Oven

Hot Logic mini on rickiheller.com

[The Hot Logic Mini–smaller than a laptop computer.]

What is is

As its name suggests, the Hot Logic Mini is a personal portable oven for you to cook or heat your meal. It uses a patented low-slow conductive heating system to warm foods to the perfect temperature for consumption, without overcooking. With a food container (you can purchase a Pyrex one with the oven or use one of your own) inside, the thermal walls work to heat the food slowly over time, so that it attains the perfect temperature for a hot meal without overcooking. You simply plug it in and go about your business while it heats your food, whether pre-cooked, uncooked, or frozen.

Why You’d Use It

The most obvious use, of course, is to employ the Hot Logic at the office to reheat your lunch without subjecting the food to microwaves (because, despite what the HH, Mr. Logical “there’s-no-evidence-to-the-contrary,” says, I tend to believe that microwaves are not healthy).

What I love about it

I love that I can have a piping hot meal any time and pretty much anywhere I like, without worrying about microwaves, cross-contamination of allergens or any other of the usual considerations. It’s lightweight and the container cleans up easily in the dishwasher. So easy!

Cost 

In the US, a Hot Logic Mini goes for $49.95 USD (with Pyrex dish included) , while in Canada, one will set you back a whopping $84.42 (might be worth ordering from the US site, Canadians!).

How I use it

Hot Logic Mini oven review

[The HH’s lunch ready to go to the office (psst, don’t tell him that’s cauliflower rice beside that chicken).]

Apart from sending the HH to work with his lunch in a Hot Logic Mini, I’ve been using it to reheat foods right here at home. If I know I’ll be having some leftover chili for lunch, say, but not sure exactly when I’ll be ready to eat, I simply plug it in in the morning before I head to my home office, and then my lunch is ready and waiting, piping hot, at the exact moment I wish to eat. No waiting!

I’ve even used it to reheat my porridge on mornings when I’ve got lots to do before heading down to the kitchen.

Hot Logic Mini on rickiheller.com

[Hot breakfast ready to go.]

For anyone on a restricted diet, the Hot Logic could also work as a perfect travel companion. Small enough to pack in your overnight suitcase, it’s a great way to enjoy freshly cooked “safe” foods on the road. With the car adpater, you could travel and still bring your own food with you to eat at the pit stop. Or, take it along to your hotel room and never worry again about whether you’ll find foods you can eat at the restaurant.

Ricki’s Books

Looking for more gifts for those you love? Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend one of my cookbooks!

Living Candida Free and Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free

[Canadian Cover of Living Candida-Free on the left; Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free in the center; and American cover of Living Candida-Free on the right.]

If you love delicious food but don’t want to consume refined sugar, gluten, eggs or dairy–you’ll love the recipes in these books. From cakes to cupcakes to truffles and more, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free contains all the baked goods and sweets recipes you’ll ever need. And you can still enjoy sweets–along with recipes for entrees, soups, salads, appetizers, snacks and more–on an anti-candida diet with Living Candida-Free.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of holiday and gift-worthy items! Here’s wishing you a stress-free, easy and delectable holiday season.

Want to know what else I love? Find the entire collection of Ricki’s Raves posts here.



Disclosure: Some or all of the products in this post have been sponsored by the companies listed, but opinions are always my own. Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Subscribe for recipes and more about living well without sugar, gluten, eggs or dairy! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll receive emails sharing recipes and videos as soon as they’re posted, plus weekly updates and news about upcoming events. A healthy lifestyle CAN be sweet!

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Comments

  1. There are so many wonderful things on this list! I might have to add a few of them to my Christmas wish list!

  2. This is such a great list, but my jaw literally dropped when I saw that kale trail mix. That is my kind of purse snack! I need to order some of that, ASAP.

  3. So many good ideas, Ricki! It seems there’s always something new and exciting for the kitchen coming on the scene.

  4. I love that little snowman mug! And I’m so intrigued by the idea of a kale trail mix! Yum! So many great gift ides here!

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