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.

 

 

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

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

 

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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.

Klout Perk: VitaFrute Cocktails by VeeV #abetterwaytodrink Acai Spirit #Review #Klout

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Another great perk from Klout and this one was one I have never heard of, Acai based spirits. The company VeeV has this great line of drinks that they call VitaFrute. The superfruit cocktails come in:

  • Margarita
  • Lemonade
  • Cosmopolitan
  • and with Coconut Colada joining the trio soon

The cocktails are organic and made with the finest ingredients. One serving is just 125 calories and these all natural drinks are considered to be made by the World’s first Acai Spirit Company, VeeV.

What is Acai?

I have been drinking Acai based juices and blends for some time now but not with an alcohol base. The Acai berry or fruit is derived from the Acai Palm tree. These dark colored berries are full of juice, which is considered part of the super foods and super fruits we are encouraged to be consuming. The fruit is usually cultivated from the Amazon and located where lots of water is available (i.e. swamps). The fruit is filled with antioxidants and many consume it for the claims attached to them. I do because I enjoy how it tastes and was rally curious about alcohol derived from it.

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I purchased the 2 bottles using the coupon from Klout and because they were on sale at my local Von’s, I was able to score them for free! I looked and hunted for the Coconut Colada variety since it would have been my first choice but I could not locate it but I did find the Lemonade and Cosmopolitan varieties.

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  • Lemonade– The flavor is perfect on a hot Summer day (or night) and I enjoyed the nice counter balance of alcohol and lemon. The combo was perfect and no mixing required. On my second glass, I added a little tart Cherry Juice and it was like a Pink Lemonade that was icy cool and delicious.

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  • Cosmopolitan– I have not enjoyed one of these in years and it’s almost the forgotten cocktail for me. I know I like them but never get around to ordering. I pour the Cosmo over ice and you can instantly pick-up the citrus and fruity notes. Delivers the same as it smells to your palette and definitely was my favorite of the two.

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VitFrute by VeeV contains 15% ALC/VOL (30 proof) and the bottle must be refrigerated once it’s opened. The taste is nice and clean, plus Agave is the only sweetener you will find in this drink. Fillers it has not! I enjoyed it so much that I will be making a Lemon Tart with the Lemonade version!  I shall get my hands on the Coconut Colada one day and when I do, I will post.  I have plans for that one!  The site has great recipe ideas to even a store locator so can enjoy a glass of cold VitaFrute too.

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Connect with VitaFrute by VeeV on:

  • On-line– http://veevlife.com/vitafrute/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/VEEV
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/VeeV
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/veev
  • #abetterwaytodrink
  • #kloutperk

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I received the above product free of charge from VeeV and Klout.  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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