▪ Rabbit Automatic Push Muddler
$15; multiple retailers, www.metrokane.com
As any bartender will tell you, don’t over-crush the mint when you’re making a julep or mojito. If you do, you’ll get a bitterness not meant for those cocktails. Instead, merely muddle the herb enough to release its fresh scent. The spinning head of this tool is designed to provide the right touch. Made of stainless steel and plastic, it locks closed for storage and disassembles easily for thorough cleaning.
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▪ Amy’s Light & Lean Macaroni & Cheese
$4.29 for an 8-ounce package; Target, Raley’s and other retailers; www.amy’s.com
End the guilt of eating those last spoonfuls of your kids fat-laden mac and cheese. Instead, get your own, low-cal bowl with the light and lean version from Petaluma-based Amy’s Kitchen. Its sharp cheddar sauce is rich, satisfying and made with organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients – so good, the little ones may be asking for your leftovers for a change.
▪ Bark Thins snacking chocolate
$3.99 for a 4.7-ounce bag: Target, Costco, Whole Foods and others; www.barkthins.com
While we consider all chocolate to be of the snacking variety, Bark Thins has perfected a crunchy-thin format. Ingredients such as almonds, blueberries, quinoa and coconut somehow make it seem OK to keep pulling pieces out of the bag like chips. Dangerously indulgent but really delicious.
▪ CLVR Bars
$1.99 for a 1.41-ounce bar; available at Raley’s, Safeway, Walgreens and other retailers; www.ricklandorchards.com
Fruits, seeds, nuts and grains are the stars of these new CLVR bars (pronounced “clever”). Dairy-free, gluten-free and certified vegan, CLVR bars lack the cloying, candy-bar sweetness of some competitors and taste exactly like their ingredients. Flavors include blueberry-cranberry chia, strawberry-banana quinoa and pomegranate-mulberry amaranth.
▪ Chef’n LooseLeaf
$7.95; Sur La Table, www.chefn.com
Stripping greens from their stalks – think kale or collards – can be a time-consuming task when you’re trying to get dinner on the table. And hand-stripping herbs such as rosemary can be inefficient. This kale and herb stripper has a series of gradated holes sized to match the greens or herbs that need stripping. The stem is threaded into one of the holes, and as it is pulled through, the leaves are left loose, while the stem is ready for composting.
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