Luvo Flatbreads – Product Review

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could get food from a box that was not filled with preservatives and chemicals? Believe it or not a company called Luvo has developed a line of convenience foods that accomplishes just that. Normally, boxed frozen food leaves much to be desired, in my opinion, and I prefer to limit our intake of processed foods as much as possible. (That being said I won’t pretend there aren’t a few boxes of mac and cheese in my pantry.) So I was excited to try Luvo and see if they delivered on the promise of healthy, great-tasting, and convenient food.

ABOUT LUVO

Luvo was founded on a simple idea: people should love their food – how it tastes, how it encourages a healthier lifestyle, and how it supports a more sustainable planet. Part of their mission is to support farmers and suppliers with people-, animal- and planet-friendly practices. The company uses anti-biotic free meat and poultry, and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.

THE TASTING

Our shipment of Luvo flatbreads contained six varieties: Apple Cinnamon Ricotta, Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta, Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion & Mushroom, and Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella.

We decided to sample the breakfast flatbreads the very next day. I was looking forward to simply turning on the oven and just popping the flatbreads in. No buttering toast or cutting fruit! I envisioned a peaceful morning with time to linger over a cup of coffee before getting the kids off to school.

The Verdict is:

Although cooking these breakfast flatbreads was convenient I’m not sure if they would work in our house during the school week. Between the cooking and heating and cooling phase, it took a little over 20 minutes. A lot longer than it takes for toast. However, they would make a great option for the weekend and I did get to enjoy my coffee while they were cooking!

Apple-Cinnamon w/Apricot Ricotta

Apple-Cinnamon w/Apricot Ricotta

The Apple Cinnamon was a little too sweet and the boys thought it would be better suited as dessert instead of a breakfast choice. But everyone loved the bread and ate most of the crust edges.

Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta

Mushroom & Egg w/Spinach Ricotta

I really liked this one but I was in the minority. Too much green for breakfast was the consensus. Again, it was all about the wood-fired crust which crisped up beautifully in the oven. So far I was sold but the boys were not yet convinced…

Next up were the appetizer flatbreads:

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom

Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant

Market Vegetable w/Roasted Eggplant

Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella

Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella

These got much better reviews and some of the comments were:

“I like the pizza one”

“Too many little vegetable parts”

“Bread is best part”

“Pizza is my favorite”

“Did Derek Jeter really cook these?”

The Tomato and Mozzarella was the clear winner. I thought all flavors were delicious and I would definitely serve them as an appetizer at our next party. I plan on keeping a few in my freezer on hand for the holidays. They were so easy! Just simply cut them up and drizzle with the balsamic glaze for a great presentation.

Where can I find Luvo products?

Luvo products are sold in major supermarkets. Visit Luvo Inc. to find a store near you. Price for flatbreads range from $4.99 to $5.99 for a box of two. Besides flatbreads, the company also makes burritos, breakfast and dinner entrees.

And if your kids aren’t convinced try telling them about Luvo’s latest partnership with Derek Jeter, who joined the company as Brand Development Officer. My boys were definitely impressed and I believe it was the reason they were willing to try the Market Vegetable version!

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive complimentary products to sample.

A Day on the Lake

Ever wonder what it would be like to live on a lake? Awaking each morning to a picturesque view out your bedroom window would probably feel like being on a perpetual vacation. To celebrate the end of summer we spent the day at our friends’ lake house and it definitely felt like a mini holiday.

The first thing the boys did when they saw the canoe was run full speed ahead with their fishing gear and jump in. With Brian as captain they headed out, their little heads peaking up from oversized life jackets. From afar it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. But I knew better. I strongly suspected Brian was dodging fishing hooks, swatting mosquitoes, and screaming at them not to rock the boat.

But sitting on the deck, drink in hand, enjoying the incredible view, it was a very sweet scene. Just as the boys made a b-line to the canoe, I made a b-line to the food. What can I say? We all have our priorities. My friend’s mother had made her delicious meatballs that were ready and waiting for the boys the minute their boat was docked. Legend has it the first time Matthew tried these meatballs he ate 7 in 7 minutes.

Six fish were caught that day and Brian only got one hook in his hand!

Asian Meatballs w/Carrot Noodles (recipe inspired by Lyn’s Mom)

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger, grated

¼ cup scallions, finely chopped

2 Tbsp soy sauce, low sodium

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp salt

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 lb. ground turkey (or chicken, or beef)

Teriyaki sauce, for drizzling

Sesame seeds, optional

For the carrots:

4 large carrots, peeled

2 tsp sesame oil

Salt & pepper

1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

Method:

For the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up, or lightly brush the baking sheet with cooking oil.

In a large mixing bowl combine the first eight ingredients.

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Add in the breadcrumbs and mix well. Then add the turkey to the breadcrumb mixture and mix until just combined. Using your hands is the best method for this step. Be careful not to over mix the meat.

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Form into small meatballs, about 1” diameter. Place on baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through.

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For the carrots:

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long ribbons. Place on a baking sheet and toss with the sesame oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

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Place in oven for approximately 15 minutes until carrots lose some of their moisture. Remove from oven and toss with the teriyaki sauce.

Top the carrot noodles with meatballs. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and break out the chop sticks.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Not the same, but it’s super good”

Liam (age 5): “It’s a little medium. At least I tried a carrot”

Dylan (age 5): “Eh, the flavor doesn’t taste good but I tried a carrot too”

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For more glimpses of life on the lake read my friend Lyn’s blog, PinotbyLyn

Crudité

We’re wrapping up the week here with a great dip for those awesome chips we taste tested from Food Should Taste Good. My kids went through all the bags (except the Guacamole) so I used the opportunity to serve them vegetables instead.

I’ve made hummus a zillion times (as per my kids) but I’m trying something different this week. Traditionally hummus is made with tahini, which is a sesame paste, instead I’m using peanut butter. I wish I could say I had some sort of culinary epiphany but the reason I tried peanut butter is simply because I ran out of tahini! I loved the subtle peanut butter flavor; the boys were on the fence…

Peanut Butter Hummus

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

¼ cup smooth peanut butter, look for brand with no added sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Kosher salt

Pinch of paprika

 

Method

Drain chickpeas and reserve liquid. Place liquid in freezer to chill it.

Place chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and peanut butter in a food processor and pulse until it combines into a chunky paste. You can microwave the peanut butter for about 20-30 seconds before you add it to soften it up a bit. Scrape down sides of the food processor as needed to make sure all the ingredients are combined.

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Remove the reserved cold liquid from the freezer. Add the olive oil and about 3 tablespoons of the liquid to the chickpea paste. Process until smooth. Add a little more of the liquid until you reach desired consistency, anywhere from 3-5 tablespoons. Add salt to taste.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with sliced veggies & fruit.

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WARNING: There will be double dipping, and even triple dipping so make sure each child gets their own bowl of dip!

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Appetizers! It kind of has a weird aftertaste”

Liam (age 5): “I like the apples!”

Dylan (age 5): “Is this dinner?

Not exactly rave reviews BUT they ate all the fruit and veg, plus about half of the hummus – SUCCESS!

 

 

 

Food Trucks Of My Youth

Growing up we hung out at a place we dubbed the Loop. Basically it was just a circular driveway where we would congregate on bikes and skateboards. And also where the ice cream trucks would park when they made the rounds to our neighborhood. Once we heard the bells from the Good Humor man we would run like Pavlov’s dogs and clamor around the trucks.

Besides the ice cream trucks we also had a food truck that frequented our hangout. We called him The Chow Chow Man. Now this was before the popularity of food trucks so this guy was way ahead of his time. The Chow Chow man sold a very strange and unique American Asian fusion cuisine.

One particular item, which was, hands down, the best seller, was his egg roll. Instead of a filling of pork and shredded cabbage, they contained a hotdog wrapped in American cheese. I cringe now when I think about it but as a kid I LOVED them. It was his version of American junk food. This guy was a genius; he must have sold thousands of those egg rolls. I am sure my mother was not aware we were spending our Popsicle money on them right before dinner. I am also sure we didn’t eat our dinner on the days we bought them.

In the spirit of the Chow Chow man I am going to do an American twist on one of my favorite Dim Sum dishes – Cha sui bao, buns filled with barbeque flavored pork. Instead of the soft doughy buns I am going to wrap the filling in pizza dough, and replace the scallions with green beans. Weird I know, but I think my kids are going to love them.

Cha siu bao – American-style

Dumpling Filling (adapted from Asian Dumplings” by Andrea Nguyen)

Step 1: Make the pork

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tsp ground ginger

2 1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 lb. Country style pork ribs (boneless), cut into 1 1/2 inch strips

 

Mix the first eight ingredients in a large zip lock bag or bowl. Remove 1/3 of the marinade and set aside in refrigerator, to be used later to baste the pork. Place the pork into the marinade and coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours, turning once or twice.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet lined with foil and place a baking rack on top. Place the pork on the rack and discard the used marinade.

Roast for 30 minutes. Turn and baste with the reserved marinade every 10 minutes. The pork is done when it is glazed and slightly charred. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Dice into small cubes and set aside.

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Step 2: Make the filling

1 Tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp warm water

2 tsp canola oil

1 cup of green beans, sliced into small rounds

1 small onion, finely diced

1 lb pork ribs, diced

 

Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and water in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar and set aside. In another small bowl, mix the vinegar, cornstarch and water. Stir until cornstarch dissolved and set aside.

In a large skillet heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and green beans, cook until softened and slightly caramelized.

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And the pork and combine well. Next add the sugar mixture and cook, stirring frequently until the pork is heated through. Then add the cornstarch mixture and cook until the mixture gets nice and sticky. Remove from heat.

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Note: The first two steps can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Keep refrigerated.

Step 3: Assemble the “buns”

1 package store bought pizza dough

Olive oil for brushing

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut small rounds with a pastry round. The top of a glass will work well too.

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Place a spoonful of filling into the center of the dough round and pinch ends together. Place on baking sheet with the pinched side down. Poke small hole in top of each to allow steam to escape. Brush a small amount of olive oil over the tops. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes until dough is crispy on bottom and top is lightly browned. Filling will bubble over slightly through the hole in top.

 

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Oh, nice Chinese platter” “Lots of people will read this one!”

Liam (age 4): “I could just tell these were gonna be good!”

Dylan (age 4): “Really, really, really yummy”

House of Bedlam food truck here we come!