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

DSC_1191

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)

DSC_1273

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.

DSC_1275

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.

DSC_1276

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).

DSC_1284

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!

DSC_1285

DSC_1286

 

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Tryazon: GEFU and Wheat Belly, Healthy-n-Lean 2015 Party Review #GEFU

IMAG2196

We are still in January and while many of us started at the beginning of the month with positive changes and planning for the “new you in 2015”, many of us are probably running dry when it comes to ideas, making time to eat well, and falling back into 2014 habits.

I’m all for making what I do today (i.e. eat veggies) so much better and even different. Why not? I grill, bake, saute, even eat veggies raw to just mix-it-up a bit. In comes GEFU, with a heck of a line of products that make eating healthy and well easier but in some ways better. I say better because it encourages us to eat as we should be eating, not feel like a perma-diet! I love pasta and I can reach a moment where I think making pasta primavera means at least it has veggies……so it’s sort of healthy. I even try 75% veggies with 25% pasta and my results are, I’m still craving pasta! GEFU not only will make my veggies a texture and let’s just say it, a shape that is more desirable. Their line of kitchen tools will make any dish from any cuisine a little new again. It goes beyond just pasta for Italian meals but think Asian dishes with vegetables that match rice noodles or just the vegetables themselves become the noodle!

I received these 4 GEFU kitchen tools to experience:

GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter in action on YouTube; Spirelli product details via GEFU

GEFU Julienne peeler, Striscia

GEFU Lemon Juicer

• GEFU Julienne Peeler ASIA (new to the US)

Plus, a cookbook:

Wheat Belly 30-minute (or Less!) Cookbook

 

IMAG2197-1

The Spirelli Sprial cutter (Item #13460) is the go-to and easy cleaning tool to achieve that “spiral cut” you desire.  Love that you can easily use it and it’s dishwasher friendly, due to the way the product is made.  You have stainless steel combined with high quality plastic that will provide many days filled with spiral julienne strips.  You can use any vegetable, which is firm in texture.  This includes carrots, jicama, potatoes, zucchini, radishes, cucumbers and the list goes on.  Create salads using raw ingredients or you can par-cook, to fully cook vegetable so the possibilities are really endless.  I was able to add a new twist to an Italian salad by having a more desirable texture and shape.  The olives I left whole, so it would mimic little “meatless meatballs”.  I sometimes had to thin out a vegetable that was too big for the hole, however I now know to purchase medium sized ones when using this product.  I give this product a 4.5 out of 5 rating do to how much you can do with it.

Retail Price Point: $29.99 on-line and available on Amazon, to Bed, Bath & Beyond

 

IMAG2198-1

Presco Lemon Juicer (Item #124585)is of course more of a citrus juicer and not limited to lemons.  I have a juicer but the type you slice and then press, so let’s call it a citrus presser.  Mine tended to dirty more by needed a knife and a cutting board, to then the press itself.  Get the towel ready because it was also a sprayer.  Thankfully, with GEFU’s Presco juicer, I just dirty one item to complete the task.  The stainless steel pierces any rind and I get every last drop where it belongs.  The skin is left intact, so I can even use a zester to get more use out of my citrus.  I give this product a 5 out of 5 because it’s one of those that changes a common task into a new way and let’s face it, less messy!  Also, dishwasher safe.

Retail Price Point: $9.99 on-line and I found the product on Amazon, Sur La Table to Bed, Bath & Beyond

 

IMAG2199-1 (1)

The Striscia julienne peeler (Item #13660) has changed how I make Asian dishes to even what I spent a good amount of time doing, “stick fries”.  You simply take a vegetable and just like a regular peeler, you peel and get perfect julienne cuts every time.  Cuts prep-work time and I now go from doing the prep-work the night before, to doing it that same day.  The handle is ergonomic and easy to hold and control, something you want when some potatoes can be extra starchy and wet to carrots causing things to slide.  The cutting/peeling portion is made of quality steel and produces cuts every time.  I was able to use cucumber to make an awesome yogurt base salads, that went great with the flat bread and beef kebabs.  It’s a meal we already make but this just created a better and more uniform cut than I can produce with a knife……also no hand cramping!

Retail Price Point: $19.95 on-line and via Amazon, plus this one seems very popular and available at many authorized retailers

 

IMAG2200-1

This product is new to the U.S. and called the Julienne Peeler ASIA (Item #50410).  Shaped like a mandolin cutter, this product produces julienne cuts on one side and the reverse side, has a grater.  Like with many GEFU products, they used Japanese steel for the blades and the tool has a nice handle for control.  The grater portion has two types of surfaces, one for puree grating (i.e. horseradish, ginger, and the like), and the other has a spice grater for harder ingredients like allspice and nutmeg.  As you can see, the Asia portion in the name does not limit it’s uses.  I gave this one away via raffle because if I did not have all the components (separately unfortunately), I could see saving space and time with one tool.  I give this product a 4 out of 5 for making julienne cuts easy (I was told by my guest that won and tried it) and being really 3 tools in one.

Retail Price Point: $24.95 on-line and I did not see wide distribution yet, as this is a new product

 

 

IMAG2196

Not everything via diet books is always a fad and some diet books to hit areas about our overall eating.  With products being filled with corn, wheat, and really just fillers, no wonder we sometimes don’t feel at our optimum.  The Wheat Belly 30-minutes or less cook book allows the reader with ease to produce quick meals (no excuses!) that are healthy, delicious and gluten-free.  The way we should not eat sugar with every meal, well we probably should think about eating wheat with every meal too!  The book was easy to follow and even if you don’t want to make this your only way of eating, it’s an addition for those times you want to eat different.  Some of the guests felt the products needed and especially when cleaning out the pantry, was costly and restrictive but we all agreed that incorporating some of this diet is a must.  It’s cleaner and not to be taken at 100% (at least for us) but it showed us what more we can do with products we already buy (i.e. rice flour, bean flours, nut flours, ect.).  I don’t think it’s a book you can dismiss fully and it’s good to start 2015 with real changes!

Retail Price Point: $13.50 on Kindle and $16.37 Hard-cover

 

I was very happy with all the products provided and holding an event that focuses on vegetables is really cost efficient and easy to hold.  Most of us like eating the final products in their raw state or blanched and cooled quickly to preserve that crunchy texture.  We are all unfamiliar with GEFU products and not only were this great, but they have a huge array to choose from.  Now, I have my eye on that pasta roller! 🙂

 

 

Connect with GEFU products at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon, GEFU and Rodale Publications.  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.

Sano: Vitamin C Serum+ Daily Skin Revitalizer and Vitamin C Eye Gel+ with Silk Peptides #Review #SanoSerum

IMAG1743

I have been wanting to incorporate Vitamin C into my skin care regimen after doing some research.  In the following weeks, I will be reviewing products that will focus around brands that deliver to your skin the maximum Vitamin C and hoping to see positive results. You can read my post on my research at- Topical Vitamin C use in Beauty Products Research and Information

My first to test and review is by a brand named Sano Naturals.  I liked from the get-go that they back-up their beauty products.  If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase and skin care experience, they will refund your entire purchase price, no questions asked.  They also include a bonus item with purchase and that is always a positive!

 

Sano Vitamin C Serum+:

On the bottle it states the product is of high potency and a Daily Skin Revitalizer. The bottle is a beautiful cobalt blue in color and the dark hue aids with preserving the product, which is rated at 20% concentration. I next looked at the ingredient list and you have an Organic Herbal Infusion, Aloe, and then Vitamin C. So far I am happy that water is not the delivery agent and other good quality binding ingredients were used along with the vitamin. The list goes on but everything is recognizable and friendly, not something I am use to in the “beauty world”. You get Hyaluronic Acid, which helps with inflammation (puffiness) and dry skin. It’s an ingredient you see for treating Eczema. Sano also uses kosher Vegetable Glycerin to Organic Jojoba oil. Jojoba has many good properties from being used as a fungicide and preventing mildew growth, to being able to deliver moisture without leaving an oily residue.

Results-

Even though most studies for Vitamin C ranged from a month to 12 weeks, I used the product for a period of 2 weeks. I eat a pretty balanced diet that is rich in greens, vegetables and fruit but I have those days that I wish I could say I ate bad, but it’s mostly that time gets in between meals and I eat late. Inconsistency happens! I noticed when I apply the Sano Vitamin C Serum+, my skin quickly absorbs it. It was so quick that my skin felt soft but with no product residue. I even tested one side of my face by applying just simple H2o and even water does not get absorbed at this rate. It usually would roll off but not this serum. So far I was happy with my first application and in not getting an oily appearance and/or feeling. I continued use and by day 4 saw what appeared as smoothness. Let me add no blemishes, pimples, blackheads or any skin occlusions. This serum is friendly when it comes to any acne suffers and even though people say mine is in the mild range, I myself is the one that deals with it so I rate it moderate at times to those moments that you get the monster bump that never comes up. My pores appear smaller just because my skin looks smoother and plumped up but in a good way! I continued use and noticed less was needed as I continued to use the product. My skin was hydrated enough that where I used 2 to 3 drops in one area, then changed to only needing one drop. The one drop then glided better when applied because my skin did experience positive changes. I don’t feel I have lost “years” when it comes to aging but I definitely look better. I look like I slept well, drank all my 8 glasses of water, and even ate well……even though that is not always the case. I was definitely happy with the results!

Retail Price Point: $18.95

IMAG1737

Sano Vitamin C Eye Gel+:

This is a bonus item with purchase.  You again have a cobalt blue colored jar and I love that the product comes with a safety seal that you peel, so no air or anything that can damage or eat up the Vitamin C benefits while in storage. Easy to store and even pack in an overnight bag.

Results-

I never thought a gel could deliver moisture I was happy with but this one did the trick. Being that it’s a gel, the product goes on cold and instantly starts working on my morning’s puffy eyes. The Aloe in the product is very gentle to the skin in that area and I love how my make-up glides on after. Some eye creams would roll up sometimes due to the residue left behind and I had to then try to collect these little eye cream left-overs while at the same time not messing up my make-up. Not with the Sano’s Vitamin C Eye gel+. The product is rich in Peptides to Hyaluronic Acid. Do not be fooled, this gel does moisturize but the area is left with a supple and replenished look. I had zero eye irritations and found the gel friendly to my allergy suffering eyes. A little goes a long way, I used what I could as lightly dab out of the container, maybe the size of two rice grains per eye. The instant results alone of reducing puffiness is hard to beat and I used it with the Sano Vitamin C Serum +, just to get that extra help in my problem areas. My only small con is the product coming in jar form. I prefer bottles with pumps or that have an applicator like a dropper. I’m just not a fan of dabbing into a jar due to bacteria/germs, but due to the performance of the product, it would not deter me from buying it.

IMAG1742

Check-out the products provided by Sano Naturals at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sano Naurals.  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.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

Topical Vitamin C use in #Beauty Products Research and Information

IMAG1832

I have been researching and doing my homework on the effects of Vitamin C at the dermis level because even though I have tried products that contain trace amounts, I have never tried a beauty item that it’s main focus was delivering Vitamin C.

How does Vitamin C benefit our Skin:
Upon reading and even finding “home-remedies” for DIY serums to putty like creams, I decided to leave my Vitamin C manufacturing to the professionals.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a collagen builder. Collagen is a protein that helps in the growth of blood vessels, to cells (and yes, the skin kind too). Your body needs collagen to be able to rebuild and to even creating scar tissue, as this is a form of “rebuilding”. Collagen is what also gives our skin firmness and that supple look we all want due to it’s smooth looking effects. We all want to look vibrant and younger, so this where the antioxidants also play a part, something that Vitamin C contains. Antioxidants aid with everything from inflammation to neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals is what causes damage to our DNA and it’s results is aging, so may see early signs like fine lines, wrinkles, just plain old cell damage that comes from products, to the environment (oxidative damage) and sun exposure/burns. The vitamin is used for dry skin, healing wounds, helping with reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to elasticity.

The research is still limited to the total effects and benefits from Vitamin C via topical application, however I did read that the pH of our skin does effect how much we can absorb, thus benefit from the vitamin. Topical application of ascorbic acid will cross the epidermis into the underlying dermal layers, but you want the higher percentage (concentrate) to be able achieve maximum benefits.

What to look for in Vitamin C beauty products:
Like with most vitamins and my experience with Vitamin A (retinol), oxidation is a factor in deterioration of a skin product that contains Vitamin C. Just exposure to sun, air, light will start the degrading process, so look for products that come in dark colored bottles to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Many of the better products will add other antioxidant rich ingredients to boost and also slow the rate of deterioration and conserve the ascorbic acid properties.

What can you expect by using Vitamin C:
I read studies both in humans and animals. Mostly noted was a high potency of Vitamin C levels being used and in combination with other binding ingredients but the main impact came from the 5 to 10% concentrations used in those studies. This may be why a high potency level will give best results. People reported elasticity changes to reduction of fine lines/wrinkles to a supple and smoother appearance. The impact is greater in people who may not consume diets rich in Vitamin C but even those that did have such a rich diet, noticed positive changes just not as apparent as those that did not. Topical Vitamin C may also have skin lightening effects in a mild form, which are caused by reductions in melanin production and melanin oxidation.

I hope the above helps when making decisions to include Vitamin C as part of your beauty routine!

Bolthouse Farms: ALMOST Too Much Good Stuff

BHF Orange Simplified Logo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Almost. But as it stands, this one is just right. I love it. Hubby loves it. You’ll love it too! For those following along at home, this is the last in the Bolthouse Farms Juice reviews. We previously covered their 100% Carrot Juice, 100% Pomegranate Juice, Daily Greens, and now, without further adieu, I happily present Bolthouse Farm’s MultiV Goodness!

DSCN4161

The last treat in my batch of Bolthouse yum is a newer product for them, the Multi-V Goodness Smoothie. Packed with the juice of pomegranate, cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches, blackberries, cranberries and bananas, but not packed with calories (only 140 per serving) there is nothing not to love about this drink.

DSCN4162Did I mention the 8 grams of fiber? That’s nearly a third of the recommended daily intake already. You’re set! High in vitamins A, B, C, and D, and none of the yuck that comes in most highly processed smoothies, this one is good for breakfast, lunch or even dessert! I liked how the flavors all blended in harmony, making for a great experience. Hubby loved it too, and he’s not big on peaches or bananas. There’s no seeds or pulps like a home Smoothie would have. I love it. Hubby loves it. If we hadn’t been so quick to enjoy it, I’m sure the pooch would have loved it too. This one also comes in 2 sizes, 15.2 oz and 32, which makes it big enough to share, if you’re so inclined.

DSCN4158

Visit Bolthouse and their Countless Juice SelectionsJuices from Blends to the Plain; to Cafe drinks and even Protein ones:

  • Say hello to the MultiV Goodness online!
  • Veggies and Fruits on Twitter
  • Visit Fun Bolthouse Crew on Facebook
  • Catch the pics on Instagram
  • Save $1.50 off any bottle here!

I received the above product free of charge from Bolthouse Farms. 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.

%d bloggers like this: