Nibbles and Drinks for a Healthy but Chic Cocktail Hour
Whether you’re hosting a gathering of adults only friends and family, or pals with their progeny, being a good host means having food and drinks on hand. It gets tiring, we know, to come up with novel ways to satisfy sweet, savory and salty cravings without a lot of salt and calories. We’ve scoured the most recent food previews and we’ve selected some nibbles and drinks that are healthy, but more chic than just carrot sticks and dip. See which ones delight you!
This Healthy and Chic Cookie Has Everything But (a Lot) of Calories:
It’s cocktail hour, or after dinner drinks, or an afternoon snack, and you want to serve something crunchy, something sweet, something chocolate, something nutty. You want to satisfy the cravings, but what you don’t want are sweets with a lot of calories.
At an editors showcase of healthy snack foods called “Snack Attack, I discoveredNonni’s Thinaddictives a thin, cracker-like cookie that gives you all the joys of sweet, crunchy and nutty, in one 70-calorie per pack (that’s two) cookies. They call these THINaddictives for a reason. They are truly addictive!
Each box has 7 sealed double packs of thin cookies. Each has at least 2 grams of antioxidants and proteins. Note that Nonni’s Thinaddictives contain wheat, eggs and nuts.
You can also serve these to your guests as an accompaniment to ice-cream or with after-dinner drinks,. Give a pack to the kids when they want a snack (no not fruit again), but you don’t want them to go nuts from sugar overload.
Other Fun Flavors:
It is hard to play favorites as they are all good, but a favorite in our test was the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond (only 70 calories per pack). These offer the sweetness of chocolate with tart chewy cherry bits plus crunchy nut slivers.
The other delicious flavors include: Double Dark Chocolate Almond and Dark Chocolate Banana Almond, Cranberry Almond, Pistachio Almond, Cinnamon Raisin Almond, Blueberry Oat Almond and Mango Coconut Almond.
The srp. per box is $3.49-$3.99. To learn more visit the Nonni’s Web Site
Healthy Terrific Terra Chips in New Flavors:
One the things I liked best about flying Jet Blue at least in the beginning days (and I think they still serve them) were Terra Blue potato chips as a snack in flight.
The now-iconic brand of veggie chips include all sorts of chips made from real vegetables and all sorts of exotic potato varieties. For example, the TERRA Sweet Potato & Exotic Vegetable Varieties. There are a wide range of Sweet Potato chips I didn’t try, but Terra Chips Fans will want to sample some of the new and more interesting veggie flavors.
New “Adult” Flavors:
New and sophisticated are Celery Root with Aged Cheese and Pickled Beets. These are “grown up” flavors that work well “as-is” or with something that won’t compete with their distinctive tastes (e.g. plain hummus). If you are having a party, just put them into big bowls for snacking and what them disappear.
For family groups, the Adirondack Reds and Terra Blues are naturally-colored potato chips that always fascinate delight young and old (and they taste delicious, too).
Good for parties and groups are also the Gardenof Eatin’s Blue Tortilla Chip Bowls and White Corn Tortilla Chip Bowls. $5.00 gets you a unique product that is heaven-sent for people who like to dip but don’t like to drip. These are tortilla chips in the shape of mini bowls that hold the goopy guacamole or salsa, or whatever you are dipping into.
The mini-sized bowls are made with organic whole corn kernels and other non-GMO ingredients; contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives; and are gluten-free and kosher-certified. They are substantial enough so they won’t crumble, although you do have to be careful not to crush the bag on the way home from the grocery store!
Novelty Nuts (Healthy Fats) to Nosh:
The Carolina Nut Company has figured out how to flavor peanuts in a variety of ways so you’ll never get bored. firstname.lastname@example.org. There are literally dozens and dozens of different kinds of novelty flavors, from spicy Sriracha to dill pickle, to peanut butter and jelly and more traditional flavors such as Honey Roasted and plain. *these are not low sodium and they are not for those with peanut allergies, of course.
The Carolina Nut Company Nuts are from Henderson North Carolina where one of my best friends live. I’ve been to the company store where you can sample every flavor. If you’re in Henderson, do visit, it’s fun!
Nuts are a Healthy Snack:
Peanuts are nut just fun to eat, they are a good source of omega fatty acids andcontain more than 80 different nutrients including Biotin, Niacin, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin B3, Folate, Antioxidants Protein amd Vitmain E amd B1.
Taste is subjective. Put out the Peanut Butter and Jelly Nuts and watch the kids go, well..nuts! . A 12 oz. size tin is $6.00 per tin plus shipping. The Carolina Nut Company nuts are sold in a lot of food retailers, but or more information and to order online, visit the Carolina Nut Company Web Site
Crowd Pleasing Cheese from California!
Cheese is always a crowd pleaser. Put it on a pretty platter with some fruit and crackers, and cocktail hour is served. But you can’t just serve any old cheese from the dairy section and make your guests feel special.
I discovered the Marin French Cheese and was intrigued by their history.
An American Company With French Chic:
This company makes goat cheese in Marin County California. The company was founded in 1865 and the press literature exclaims that the Marin French Cheese Company is the longest continually operating cheese company in America. The milk comes from local dairy farms and the styles of cheese range from classics such as Brie and Camembert, to more exotic flavored cheeses. The cheese may be made in the USA, but they have a “French” style.
Favorites in our taste test were the Triple Crème Brie with Truffles, a silky brie redolent with the sensual smell and taste of real black truffles, and the Petite Breakfast, a small round of buttery cheese perfect with grapes or other fruit. The Marin French Cheese company suggests that you pair this with a California Sauvignon Blanc, Wheat Beer or Hard Cider. For more information visit the Marin French Cheese Web Site
Sister Company Laura Chesnel’s was founded in 1979 producing European Style goat cheeses. These are genuine “chevres” made in French style. There are 11 different styles, from a Cabecou (marinated goat cheese rounds in oil and spices) to a goat brie and plenty of traditional log-styles. But these cheeses are not the simple, crumbly logs you find in grocery stores. These cheeses are silky and smooth, without any of the roughness in “cheap goats.” My personal favorite is the spicy cabeou that is a bit more sophisticated than a plain goat log. The cabecous have a shelf life of 180 days, packaged in anti-leak plastic jars with safety seal lids. For more information on all the cheeses and for a store locator, visit http://www.laurachenel.com
We have covered some snacks from sweet to savory to salty. But what do you serve for drinks?
Bellion Vodka is a Unique (and Perhaps Healthy-er) Spirit:
You can always entice young people with soda or juices, but when it’s cocktail hour, serving the adults drinks that taste good, aren’t too caloric, and aren’t too time consuming to create can be a challenge. ”
One easy mixer is Vodka, which goes with juice and soda. We’re suggesting a unique one: Bellion Vodka. Bellion has a unique taste profile, even though most vodkas are made specifically not to have any taste at all.
Bellion Vodka Made Healthy With NTX Technology
It is made with something called “NTX Technology.” Spirits made with NTX are called “Functional Spirits.” Supposedly, functional spirits reduce the negative aspects of traditional spirits. The idea is that it supposedly yields a protective effect on the human liver during alcohol consumption, lessening the adverse effect of alcohol on the liver, and NTX technology is a blend of GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredients and is a proprietary blend of Glycyrrhizin which is extract of licorice root, Mannitol and Potassium Sorbate in a formula that is patent-pending.
We can’t tell you more nor can we vouch for its health benefits (although it sounds like a nice idea) since additional health statements related to spirits made with NTX Technology communicated to consumers within the United States have been restricted by the Federal Government.
We can say that the NTX technology gives Bellion vodka a unique taste. In fact, you might notice a hint of licorice in it. The Vodka is very smooth, Served over ice as-is it’s delicious. However, the unique ingredients in Bellion give it a unique taste that is suited for specific cocktails, if you want to blend it.
The Bellion Fiorentini:
Try this recipe for a Bellion Fiorentini as an example of a drink that is easy, quick and refreshing. Or, mix Bellion with Kahlua or a strong coffee liqueur for an after dinner treat, too.
This Bellion Vodka cocktail is simply mixed with San Pellegrino sparkling grapefruit soda. If you don’t have sparkling grapefruit use the recipe below.
- 1 ounce Bellion Vodka
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice.
- Combine Bellion Vodka and grapefruit juice in a collins glass with ice. Fill with seltzer.
To learn more about this Vodka, visit the Bellion Web Site
Serve a Festive Sparkling Wine That Won’t Break Your Budget:
Sparkling wines make every occasion just a bit more special. Le Grand Courtage was discovered at and Editor’s Consumer Products event and offer great value for a French sparkler.
For just $25.00 you can offer your guests a pretty in pink Le Grand Courtage Grand Cuvee Blanc de Blanc Brut sparkling wine from France. The grapes are sourced from regions throughout France (no, it’s not champagne) but as an affordable sparkling wine, it’s darn good.
It’s a fresh fruity wine with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and some floral notes. The wine is more effervescent than bursting with sparkling energy, but it has delicate bubbles and a light crisp flavor profile that’s not too sweet and not too dry.
A User-Friendly French Sparkler:
The makers of Le Grand Courtage claim that the wine has a French cachet but it is less dry, yeasty, acidic and heavy than traditional champagne. There is a bit of minerality but it isn’t overdone.
If you are not normally a wine or champagne drinker, this one is a easy to understand sparkling that will be a palate pleaser for just about everyone. Try it with brie or goat cheese, or elevate a pizza to celebration status! There is also a Le Grand Courtage Blanc de Blamcs Brut.
For more information visit the Le Grand Courtage Web Site