When it comes to finding awesome new treats, I tend to look for a few things right off the bat. First of all, obviously it has to be delicious, because life is too short to eat food I don’t enjoy. It also needs to contain some recognizable ingredients. Sure, I try to opt for non-processed options a fair amount of the time, but let’s face it — I am not the girl who’s going to start baking her own crackers from scratch. And I really like crackers and other crunchy, snacky things. So, I just try to look for options that contain stuff I can pronounce.
And, I like easy. (See the above refusal to bake my own crackers.) There’s a time for whipping up something homemade and gourmet, and then there’s a time for opening a box of something a little out-of-the-ordinary and treating your guests to something you didn’t slave over. For me, much of the holiday season falls squarely in that second bit.
I’ve had a few companies contact me recently about trying out some snacks, and I was very quick to say yes, please, send ’em on over! And the guests we’ve had visiting have been pretty happy about that decision, because it means delicious treats for everyone. Here’s what we’ve been noshing on in my house (in moderation, of course!).
I love it when products come with a story, and this story? It’s a good one. Pasta Chips came about when Jerry Bello, the founder, was visiting Tuscany and was served fresh pasta dough drizzled with olive oil and a few salt crystals, all gently baked. He fell in love and immediately wanted to share this simple but delicious delicacy with the world.
Both Pasta Chips and their newest product, Pasta Bow Ties (which recently debuted at the Critics’ Choice Awards — snazzy!), are made from — you guessed it — pasta! Semolina, to be exact. The Bow Ties come in four flavors: Creamy Ranch, Smooth Cheddar, Meatball Parm and Honey Butter. Being veg, I didn’t try the Meatball Parm myself, but it got solid reviews from the folks I shared them with. Both the Creamy Ranch and Smooth Cheddar were really flavorful and kind of amazing, and while we didn’t love the Honey Butter quite as much as the others, it was still totally tasty.
These are light, airy, crisp and packed with flavor, all while being 120 calories, 4g protein, 18 mg carbs, 4.5g fat and no sugar per serving (and there are five servings per bag, so that’s a legit serving size). I really dig that these pack enough punch on their own to be eaten alone — no dips or toppings necessary.
Crackers are often little more than a way to get cheese to our faces, but the new Almond Flour Crackers from Simple Mills (which also has a fun story — the company started in founder Kaitlin Smith’s North Carolina living room!) have proven that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Certified gluten-free in all four flavors (Farmhouse Cheddar, Rosemary & Sea Salt, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Fine Ground Sea Salt), these crackers offer 3g of protein per serving but pack anywhere from 20 to 50 percent less carbs than many other crackers on the market. And, aside from the Cheddar flavor, they’re even Paleo-friendly.
But, of course, it all comes down to whether I like them, and I’m happy to say that I really do. The Sea Salt was great for cheese transportation, but I found that I really enjoyed snacking on a handful of the other flavors just all by themselves — the Rosemary & Sea Salt was a particular fave.
Got a crunchy snack you like to bring out when you want to serve up something tasty without getting into a recipe? Seriously, share — you know I want to hear all about it! —Kristen