Just Jan’s: Jams, Preserves, Curds, Marmalade……Fruit Spreads and More #Review! Plus, a Meyer Lemon Sponge Cake #Recipe

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Being a fruit lover and especially when made into purees and spreads, the one thing I find difficult in locating, is good jams and the such. The market is flooded with everything from gourmet brands, local “Farmers Market” varieties, to the common major brands and store brands. You flip a jar over and you find that there is much more going on than just the fruit. Heck, sometimes even the fruit itself is last on the list and I’m sorry but when you advertise a spread as Raspberry, but you start with apple, pear, and white grape……I may smell Raspberry in the jar but that is as close as I may be getting to one! Jars of shame is what they should be called! I no longer even venture further if the list of ingredients starts wrong, no matter the art/picture in the front, if the prominent fruit pictured is not the only fruit being used. You tell me Raspberry and the next question should be with seeds or seedless? Not, red dyes, strawberry as a filler, and flavor enhancers, plus an emulsifier here and there to hold the lab experiment together. I desire simple, real and honest ingredients.

 

When Tryazon offered me the Just Jan’s campaign, I first did some nosing around. I did not want to take a spot away if in the end by just looking at the list of what makes this stuff…..well, is not to my liking. I first spot the “About Us” page and notice that Jan started this company in 2012. Has a dog in the picture (always a plus) and I see no preservatives, 14% lower in sugar and refusing to compromise quality or flavor. Okay, Jan, you are my long lost twin! I found ya! So, I quickly sign-up and especially when the Fig fruit spread and Lemon curd were the focus of the campaign. Hard finding a good fig spread. So many are figgy jello like spreads that sort of spread in a lumpy manner even though they have few seeds and fruit. It’s like the sugar water they made, found a way to keep together wants to stay forever together. It then tastes like if someone just took fig juice and jarred it. No backbone to the product and it’s really mostly water and sugar…..oh, and some even get cute and add caramel coloring. The only thing cute is Jan’s dog and after that, she is serious about the 13 different products she offers.

Retail Price Point: $6.95 to $7.50 per jar.  Each jar measures a generous 10 ounces.  My gift pack is the “green gift pack“.  The green gift pack sells for just $15.00 and comes with 6 jars.  This pack includes, Kadota Fig, Tangerine Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Curd, Muscadine Grape, Apricot, and Seedless Raspberry.  They sell a red gift pack but it seems to be out of stock at the moment.

I started off with tasting the Lemon Curd. I buy two different brands and one being from Trader Joe’s. Jan’s has a more lemon flavor, is less yellow in color and less sweeter. The curd is lighter in texture too. This means I can have more options when using it. I decided from the get go making a marbled Meyer Lemon pound cake. As the days passed and I ate this curd. That seemed like the lazy way out. I wanted the spread to be the focus more. So, I changed it around and decided on a Meyer Lemon Sponge Cake! It’s still Spring and Summer is like right there, just a few inches away from getting into pool weather, so why not a more lighter and delicate dessert. This also allowed me to make Jan’s Meyer Lemon Curd the focal point. You also need no milk or butter because again, this about the Meyer Lemon Curd popping!

Let’s Begin……

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs at room temperature (divided)
  • 3.5 ounces of Sugar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1/2 a Zest of a Meyer Lemon, Sweet Lemon or just a normal Lemon
  • 1/4 cup of Lemon Juice from the lemon you used for zest
  • 1/2 cup of Cake Flour
  • Jan’s Meyer Lemon Curd (about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of spread per cakelette, so you will need 6 teaspoons or tablespoons because you add the amount you are comfortable with)

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This recipe is a super easy and fast to make. Set the oven to warm at 350 degrees and I used the Convection mode.

Then divide the eggs and first whip the egg whites until firm and form peaks. Not soft peaks or super firm ones, just peaks (somewhere in between). Scoop the egg whites out and set aside.

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Then add to the mixing bowl the 2 yolks, the sugar, the zest, the lemon juice and the vanilla. Whip for about a minute and stopping in between to scrape down and around, just so everything mixes well.

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Then in intervals, add 1/2 of the egg whites and 1/2 of the amount of cake flour. Whip quickly and stop the moment it combines about 75% of it coming together. Scrape down and around, and then add the remaining of the ingredients until combined.  Again making sure to not over whip. You can also try the folding technique if you do not trust yourself by folding in the egg whites and flour. This makes sure you do not break the cake batter.

Then take 6 (buttered or cooking spray) ramekins and fill them evenly with the batter. The batter should fill about 6 of the smaller ramekins leaving none to waste.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then take the almost set cakes out and add Jan’s Meyer Lemon curd to the center (amount of your choosing) and return to bake between 4 to 5 minutes.

You can eat them warm by flipping them upside down and they taste like a Molten Meyer Lemon cake that is moist and light in texture (airy).

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You can also eat them cooled by serving them in the ramekin and you can dust then lightly with powdered sugar or even serve them with ice cream. A dessert that is done in 20 minutes and gives you the option of eating both warm or at room temperature!

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Verdict:

Phenomenal cake!  You can make these cakes with pretty much any of Just Jan’s spreads.  The juice and zest are optional and you can add a little more vanilla, even orange zest with juice, extracts of different flavors, and so on.  Imagine a center dollop of Just Jan’s Raspberry in the center of a lemon flavored cake?  Replace some of the cake flour (about a 1/4 cup) with unsweetened cocoa powder and you can create chocolate sponge cakes!  The possibilities are endless and in 20 minutes, you are munching!  The Just Jan’s fruit spreads were very well received.  No one found a negative thing to say and the most common thing said, “so fruity and not sugary, I like that.”  It’s nice to know I am not the only one that found ways to avoid jams, preserves, and spreads because they just stopped being what they were suppose to be.  It’s a way to preserve a fruit so you can enjoy it at any season.  Just Jan’s did just that and in the good way!  Thank you Jan and cute dog 🙂

Connect with Just Jan’s and find your favorite fruit spread (plus they carry a few savory blends) at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Just Jan’s and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

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Crazy for Luna Bars!

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We started on a little journey here with Clif Bar & Company. And as we already established, Clif Bars rock. But what about another line from Clif Bar & Company? Like their Luna Bar and Luna Protein lines? Do those rock too? I’m here to say a big and enthusiastic “Yup!”. These rock almost as hard, if not harder. Because chocolate. This is a choco house, as any regular reader knows. And adding chocolate turns almost everything up to 11. So let’s turn it up to 11 right now.

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Luna bars are the take anywhere for any meal plan bars that I have eaten and munched on for years. There are sooooooo many flavors to choose from, I challenge you to say you can’t find one you like. It just can’t be done. I’ll just blindly reach over into the heaping pile of yum Clif Bar sent me, and grab a random flavor as an example.

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Peanut Honey Pretzel. 9g of protein, 3g of fiber, vitamins A, B(1,2,3,6 and 12), C, D, and E, 70% organic, Core 4 essential nutrients (Calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D), it’s a perfect snack, quick meal on the go, of addition to any meal at any time of day. Oh, a day did I mention, these taste good too? Big chunks of fruit, whole nuts, whole grains, just a touch of IMAG1688-1sweet and sometimes chocolate. There’s nothing in these I don’t love. Even Hubby has snuck a few from time to time (Stop it, girly man. These are for US!). Usually he snakes the ones with peanut butter or some variation of that theme. Luna bars are also filled with ingredients that Clif has gone out of their way to source from non-GMO suppliers. Thanks for that, because I’m tired of Franken-food. Even this time year. (boo!)
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The fun didn’t stop there, though. Because there’s an offshoot of the Luna line. The Luna Protein bar. Packed with the same Core 4 nutrients, non-GMO sourced ingredients, and normal looking foods, there’s now 12g of protein in a smaller snack-sized bar. Grabbing again at the plethora of delicious Clif was so kind to send me yields me a Chocolate Cherry Almond bar. IMAG1689-1Coated in luscious chocolate, filled with dried cherries, whole almonds, whey protein, macadamia nut butter and organic vanilla extract, this bar is decadent. This 1.6 oz. bar only has 180 calories. But for those of us in a rush (and we established in my last post that we allIMAG1690-1 are, for better or worse), these bars are heaven sent. Fills you up without making you sluggish and has enough good stuff to keep you powering through to the next meal. Heap big win.

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Flavors? Psssh. There’s one for everyone. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Chocolate Peanut Butter. Lemon Vanilla. Chocolate Coconut Almond. Trust me, Luna’s got you covered.

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The long and the short of this is, skipping meals rarely does you any good. In our go, go, GO world, we need the fuel to keep our “get up and go” from having “got up and went”. A bag of chips won’t do it. An “energy drink” is just a seizure in a can. Candy bar? Do you really hate your body that much? Luna bars are an affordable and smart option. Throw it in your purse, pocket or bag. It fits. Not just it’s size. It fits your life.

 

 

Connect with Luna Bars!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clif Bar & Company And Luna Bars. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Clif Bars are Good, to Go!

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Every one is in a rush. I am. Hubby is. You are. It’s like we lost hours in the day somewhere. So when Clif Bar & Company offered to send me some products to test, I said “Yes, Please!”. As much as I love to cook and bake, when it’s this hot, a runnin’ oven is no bueno. Imagine my surprise when a box came loaded with treats from their Clif, Luna, AND Luna Protein bar lines! I did a little mental backflip of joy, because a physical one in this weather might just have killed me.

A small note, my bars were somewhat mushy and melty due to the extreme heat. This is in no way indicative of Clif’s Q.C. people. The weather is beyond everyone’s control and I’ve had enough Luna bars to know this is waaaaay outside of their norm.

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unnamedClif bars are an awesome way to fill your food hole on the run. And it seems we’re all on the run anymore in some form or fashion. The first thing to suffer, after sleep, is usually nutrition. We grab something at the market to nuke or **shudder** drive through somewhere. Yes, even I’m guilty of that. How nice is it, then, that Clif packs enough good stuff in their bars to keep you motorin’ until dinner. Plenty of carbs, fiber, and protein and just around 200-250 calories per 2-3 ounce bar. A, B, C, and E vitamins. Flax seeds, rolled oats, real fruits and nuts, almond butter, fig paste, sea salt. Hey, I can pronounce these! Nice. And organic, rainforest certified and non-gmo sourced, too. Not too shabby at around $1.50 (or less) per bar! The texture is great (and remember, these had been stuck in nasty California heat for DAYS), the flavors rock, and it fits in your pocket or purse. It fills you up without dragging you down, and that’s win-win in my book. Clif says they pride themselves on “kitchen made” bars, and you can see, feel, and taste the dedication to that in every bite.

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Speaking of flavors, holy monkey are there a lot of good ones here. Black Cherry Almond. Blueberry Crisp. White Chocolate Macadamia. Chocolate Brownie. Seasonal flavors like Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread. I could go on and on. There’s a flavor for everyone, and they all ROCK.

 

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If I had one knock, it’s that the protein is soy-based. A lot of folks, Hubby included, are sensitive, if not outright allergic, to soy proteins. I would love to see Clif bars come out with a whey protein line as well, but for the price, they are tough to beat. I’ve been known to stock up during 5 for $5 sales, and the only hard parts are getting into the stores early to get my favorites and limiting myself to 5 or 10 at a time. Plenty of energy and punch to get you through the day with these little bars! You could do a lot worse with a midday meal or snack. You probably have. I know I have. I guarantee you hubby has. Now there’s really no excuse. Grab some Clif bars. Do it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I promise not to start my Luna Bar review without you.

 

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Connect with Clif Bar & Company!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clif Bar & Company.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Fior di Frutta by Rigoni di Asiago: Apricot Fruit Spread with Honey Goat Cheese Rustic Bread #Recipe

 

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I don’t usually start blogging about a sample sized item I receive but the people at Rigoni di Asiago were kind enough to not only send me bottles of their delicious Nocciolata spread, an apron and the cutest shopping bag that folds into a hazelnut, but among the goodies were these samples of their fruit spreads. After being so joyous about finding my Hazelnut & Cocoa spread, a few days later I opened one of the two flavors they sent. I got a few Apricot ones and one Blueberry, so I went to open the one I had most of. The spread packet states their spreads are sweetened with just apple juice. I taste it and it’s like someone just plucked an apricot in it’s prime, smashed it a little and there you go. I would think someone giving me smashed fruit would make me unhappy but not this kind. I enjoyed it so much that I had to bake with it. I had just come from the store with fresh goat cheeses (sale got me!) and the honey version just started speaking to me, so here goes a recipe because I was so impressed with the Fior di Frutta sample in Apricot!

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Let’s Begin…..

  • Take 5 1/2 ounces of the “Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread” (Recipe here- http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Sr)
  • 2 Tablespoons of the Fior di Frutta fruit spread in Apricot
  • 1/2 an ounce of Honey Goat Cheese (fresh and soft kind) and I went by weight, not volume.
  • Warm water mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing

Make the dough as instructed and when completed, take the dough and spread it out flat so it can be filled.

Then spread the Apricot Fruit Spread

Crumble the fresh Honey Goat Cheese

Roll and tuck the ends

Let rest for 20 minutes

While resting, put a dish with water in the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. I baked mine with the convection going. I also use a glass pie dish because I am starting the oven with the water already in, versus using the pouring when hot method.

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Mix warm water with a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brush loaf. I got creative and did a hash design when it came to slashing the dough. I figure try something different. I just cut an angle one-way and then the other to create a “diamond” like pattern.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done in a 450 degree oven.

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Allow bread to cool before slicing, since losing cheese is no fun. I had mine about 8 hours later and this goes great with a fruit and cheese tray, with wine, with a salad or just as is. Enjoy!

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Some wonderful facts about the Apricot Fruit Spread:

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Get your Fruit Spread!  The Fior di Frutta line has one or like for me, I like them all:

  • On-line– http://rigonidiasiago-usa.com/our-products/fiordifrutta/organic-fruit-spread-apricot/
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/RigonidiAsiagoUSA
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/NocciolataUSA
  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/nocciolata/
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/nocciolatausa
  • Also available for sale on Amazon

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Rigoni di Asiago.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Told you the bag was super adorable!

Peeled Snacks: Organic Go Figure Snacks

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Here we go again with Peeled Organic Snacks! Not your usual fair when it comes to dried fruit mixes as we have gotten a little lost with the chocolates, candies, and clusters added to them by manufacturers. Yes, variety is wonderful and welcomed but so many dried fruit mixes have lost their healthy factor. I much prefer adding one square of good quality dark chocolate than trying to find the fruit in a field of waxy colored coated “chocolates” that can’t even be legally called chocolate by law.

Go Figure has Apricots, Figs and Dates….that is all. I love apricots and figs but must admit that the dates……okay, I usually push them over with a tooth pick and won’t even try them because their texture is usually sticky with that odd softness followed by super sweet goo that just turns me off. Some are even sort of bitter. I swore I would never be fooled by trying a date again. It was up there with the things I would get offered and definitely politely decline. Okay, I think you got my Date Hate established 🙂

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Taste & Texture:
I gave Peeled Snacks dates a try because I literally grabbed one and squeezed it…..no goo and they smelled good but were not super sticky and soft. I forget that all their fruit is “gently dried”, so you don’t get some flash dried fruit that does not resemble what it was when it was “alive and well”. I bite thinking I am so going to regret this with even a napkin in hand but not only did I continue chewing, I like it. Maybe it was a lucky date but I hunt and find another one and find that I like dates. Like them enough that I even counted to see how many dates I had left so I could measure myself and not eat them all at once. I felt I was maybe in an odd mood that evening so I try another one the next day and I get why people like dates. The have a nice honey flavor to them and because Peeled Snacks does not kill it’s fruit, the texture is pleasing and I bite without fruit getting stuck in my molars. I actually crave these dates! I start thinking of adding them to my yogurt with honey and I see myself having a future with……dates.

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The apricots and figs, since I sort of over focused on the dates are just as pleasing and satisfying. No rubbery texture and even though the trio is in the same bag, each fruit tastes as it should. This was actually my favorite blend even though of it not so traditional mix. I like being able to grab a fig and these are whole pieces of fruit, not slices so they are moist and not over seedy. Great quality fruit was used and thank you Peeled Snacks for showing me dates are kind, friendly and delicious.

Please check out Peeled Snacks and their Clusters at:

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