Written By Pam Durkin Edibles / Good For You / Health / Victoria Feb 21, 2017 Grocery Finds Giveaway – Tahini, Bean Flakes, Beet Bars & Turkish Apricots SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestHello my friends. Here we are knee deep in February with the anticipation of an approaching Spring bringing its annual soothing consolation. I hope you managed to show yourself some serious self love by indulging in some sinfully delicious eats on Valentine’s Day. After all, the chocaholic’s dream day is the best darn thing about this “is winter ever going to end” month! As usual I’ve been filling my pantry and my refrigerator with more good-for-you edibles and I can’t wait to share my “finds” with you. But first let me offer my congratulations to Tanya Adams, the winner of last month’s “good-for-you grocery finds giveaway. And remember dear reader—you too could win some health-enhancing victuals—just enter our giveaway. (See contest details below.) Now, with no further ado—here’s this month’s grocery finds—get your shopping carts ready! Nut’s to You Sesame TahiniI’ve loved the flavor of sesame seeds since childhood. In fact, when I was a youngster I think I single- handedly raised the stock price of the company that makes sesame snaps—those oh so sweet squares of sesame brittle imported from Poland. Now that I’m a grown up I get my sesame fix from tahini—the delicious paste made from ground sesame seeds. (Just think of it like peanut butter—only made from sesame seeds.) My absolute favorite tahini is the Nuts to You Nut Butter brand I purchase at Lifestyle Markets. Their tahini is made from organic fair trade sesame seeds that are lightly roasted to perfection then ground to make a smooth creamy paste that is just divine. Aside from being scrumptious, tahini is one of the most versatile nut or seed butters you can buy. It’s wonderful in salad dressings, dips, sauces, atop cooked oatmeal, in bean spreads like hummus or just slathered on bread. My fave way to indulge in tahini is to spread it thickly on banana slices or slather it on toasted raisin bread with a drizzle of raw honey. The added bonus—I know when I eat tahini I’m enhancing my health. Sesame seeds may be tiny, but they have some serious nutritional might. Not only are they teeming with vitamins and minerals, they also contain some unique lignans that have been shown to prevent cancer and heart disease. If you haven’t been bitten by the tahini bug yet, I highly recommend you try Nut’s to You’s wonderful variety—it is made right here in Canada by a small company with a lot of integrity and care. (Available at Lifestyle Markets, Mother Nature’s Market, Market on Yates and Millstream, Save-On-Foods and Thrifty’s) Taste Adventure Instant Pinto Bean FlakesOk, I know what you’re thinking—bean flakes??! Can bean flakes really be tasty, and worthy of mentioning in a “grocery finds” blog? Unequivocally, yes they can. While beans may not be the most glamorous protein source at the supermarket, they ARE heralded as a superfood by nutrition experts wordwide—for good reason. They not only pack a nutritional whallop in terms of providing key nutrients, they’re also chock-full of bioactive plant compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. And yes folks, believe it or not, these Taste Adventure bean flakes are also mouth wateringly yummy! They have a smoky robust flavour that is positively addictive. And can we talk about their versatility? All you have to do to prepare them is add water—and within minutes they’re rehydrated. The ensuing mix is super as is on top of rice and other grains—but it’s also a superb “base” for soups, stews, bean burgers, bean dips and more. (Note* They’re also a super convenient foodstuff to take with you on camping trips!) And if pinto beans aren’t your favorite legume, fear not— that always reliable purveyor of all thing nutritious, Lifestyle Markets, also carries equally delicious black bean flakes in their bulk section.(Available at all Lifestyle Markets locations) Beet-It BarsAllow me to introduce you to the current love of my life—Beet it Bars. Yes dear readers I am seriously smitten with these gloriously “good-for-you” energy bars I recently discovered at Johnson Street’s innovative emporium of groovy groceries—the Ageless Living Market. If you could marry an energy bar I’d wed these “beetiful” snacks in a heartbeat. Of course, as a nutritionist I’ve long been aware that beets are a very health-enhancing veggie. Beets are not only an excellent source of key vitamins and minerals, they’re also a powerhouse source of naturally occurring compounds called nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Why is the latter important you ask? Nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body—including the brain, heart and muscles. Nitric Oxide also helps lower blood pressure. Not surprisingly, studies have shown beet juice can indeed help lower blood pressure, increase stamina and help the body respond better to exercise. So when I picked up these beet-it bars and perused their ingredient list—whole oats, beet juice, sunflower oil, cane sugar and rice syrup—I knew they’d be nutritious, but I did ponder how tasty they’d be. And then I tried them. Bite after delicious bite, I became rapturous—I do not joke—they ARE that good. If you’re not convinced I urge you to head over to Ageless Living Market to try one yourself. Ok, so you may not experience the same ecstasy I did, but I guarantee, at the very least, you’ll be optimizing your body’s health and boosting your stamina! (Available at Ageless Living Market) Mother Nature’s Market Dried Turkish ApricotsYou may find this peculiar, but there are some fruits I just prefer dried—apricots being chief among them. While I do like the sweet, slightly tangy flavor of fresh apricots, I simply adore the rich, almost musky flavor the drying process brings to the fruit. Now let me be clear—I am NOT talking about those horrid conventional bright orange dried apricots that are omnipresent in most grocery stores. Those poor fruits have been treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their color and extend their shelf life and the harsh chemical treatment they receive is all too apparent in their (icky) taste and tough texture for my liking. No my fellow foodies, the ones I love are the organic, naturally sun-dried variety and my go-to brand are these lovely, soft, velvety apricots from Mother Nature’s Market. The ony drawback to these apricots is they are so damned delicious I have to stop myself from eating the entire bag out of hand at one sitting! And while I do enjoy them as a snack eaten as is, they have so many other applications. They lend an intriguing Middle Eastern flavor to soups, stews and tagines and make a marvelous addition to curries and stir frys. Plus, they can really enhance the “good-for-you: factor of baked goods, like muffins and cookies, as their nutritional profile is nothing short of stellar. Not only are apricots full of well-known antioxidants like Vitamins A &C, they also play host to a variety of flavanoids like quercetin and catechins that have been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, cancer and inflammatory disorders. Hmm….perhaps this DOES allow me to eat an entire bag with impunity!!! Why don’t you head over to Mother Nature’s Market and purchase a bag and see if you can stop at just one? (If you can’t, you can honestly assure yourself you’re engaging in preventitive health measures…nudge, nudge, wink, wink) Available at Mother Nature’s Market. GROCERY FINDS GIVEAWAYThanks to the generosity of Lifestyle Markets, Ageless Living Market and Mother Nature’s Market we are giving one lucky reader a chance to win each of the items listed above. To enter to win simply…Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line Tahini and share it on Facebook and you will be entered in the draw. Be sure to include your name and email address. Good luck. Contest closes Midnight, March 8, 2017Terms: (prizes must be picked up within one week of contest end date or will be donated to charity. Open to Greater Victoria residents only. SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Pam Durkin ... 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