• The Cultured Kitchen Raw Pumpkin Seed Spread
$5.99 for 8 ounce container; Natural Foods Co-Op; www.theculturedkitchen.net
With Halloween creeping up fast, pumpkins are starting to show up at supermarkets all over town. But for our money, the best use of their innards is in this hummus-like raw foods spread, made from sprouted seeds, olive oil, apple cider and spices. Hearty, with a rich flavor, it will be your new go-to bagel topper for fall snacking.
• Easy Living Foods Spicy Wrapper
$5.99; Natural Foods Co-Op; www.easylivingfoods.com
There is almost no nutritional trend that these living-foods wraps don’t cover – they’re raw, gluten-free, spouted, vegan and non-GMO. Made in Marin by Ease Oldham, a woman who credits her stage IV cancer recovery in part to diet, they are also a tasty alternative to carb-laden tortillas, replacing grains with zucchini, flax, chia, celery and a dash of jalapeño for spice.
• Samosas with chole at Pooja Indian Grill
$6.49; 1223 Merkley Ave, West Sacramento; (916) 375-8906; www.poojaindiangrill.com
From Blair Anthony Robertson’s recent review: “Eaten as appetizers, samosas are usually a cone-shaped, deep-fried-pastry turnovers filled with ground lamb or potatoes and peas with cumin, ginger, coriander, red chilies and more. Lack of attention at some Indian restaurants will lead to a samosa with a thick and tough pastry shell. But both versions (meat and vegetarian) of the samosa at Pooja were superb – crisp but with thin-walled dough holding superbly seasoned fillings. To make the samosas even more exciting, get the chole option – with spicy chickpeas smothering the samosas. Delicious and hearty.”
• Applegate Half Time lunch kits
$4.99 each; Target, Safeway and other markets; www.applegate.com
It’s lunchbox season and busy parents know that packing a winning meal each morning is no easy task. Applegate teamed with two other favorite natural-foods brands – Stonyfield and Annie’s – to launch these handy pre-made packs that feature nitrite-free meats (ham, turkey or bologna) with organic sides including cheese, yogurt, crackers and fruit snacks. Just pop one in a bag and you’re done.
• Rufus Teague BBQ sauce
$6 to $7 for a 16-ounce bottle; available at Corti Bros. and other markets; www.rufusteague.com
We discovered the “born in Kansas City” Rufus Teague line of sauces the last time we stopped by BBQ Pro in Fair Oaks, which stocks just about everything for the backyard pitmaster. The four flavors are Whiskey Maple, Honey Sweet, Touch O’ Heat and Blazin’ Hot. The sauces, which come in a bottle that resembles a pint-size whiskey flask, are outstanding – dark, thick and in-your-face bold. The long list of ingredients include brown mustard, brown sugar, honey, molasses, vinegar, raisin paste, anchovy paste, tamarind, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic and “spices you can’t know about.” But alas, no whiskey.