In Akua Kelp Jerky Cooking Entertaining Food and Drink Health Summer Eats Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

That Jerky Fix: Akua Kelp Jerky

How do you chase that itching, very evident, antsy 3pm 'still in the office' on a Summer Friday feeling away?  It's usually by snacking.  That late afternoon chocolate fix, the post-lunch coffee upper or even an 'almost quitting-time' beautifully-conflicted and wonderfully-balanced sweet & salty marriage can all conspire to make the afternoon fly by like a breeze.  Yet instead of reaching for the sugary, over-salted and the über-caffeinated fix, some of you may want to have your impromptu snacking be health-conscious and well-executed.  Well to those who may want a little bit of it all, like something salty and possibly even sweet to go with that afternoon espresso, here comes a welcomed option with Akua Kelp Jerky.

Don't be dismayed into thinking that jerky can only be derived from something that once went moo, oink or gobble-gobble.  Jerky essentially means dry and salted which is exactly what Akua has done with the ocean's garden.  Their line of kelp jerkies are made from ocean seagreens and shittake mushrooms are 100% sustainable and vegan.  They are a perfect salting snack that also, depending on the flavor, like Rosemary & Maple BBQ, can also be a sweet snack too.  The flavor is definitely briny with a vivid note of full bodied leafy greens and earthy mushrooms.  I find the bold flavor can be enjoyed on its own, but also creates a wonderful story when paired with vegan cheeses, grainy crackers, crudités or sliced & sprinkled on top of salads.  

Spicy, salty, sweet, earthy and herbal are all accounted for with the awesome flavor pairings of Akua's Kelp Jerkies, like Spicy Thai & Spirulina, Sesame & Nori Sea Salt in addition to the Rosemary & Maple BBQ.  What also sweetens the pot is that these oceanic snacks also have 10g of protein and fiber per pack.  So now you can snack and kill two birds with one stone and still feel good about your impulses afterwards.  Akua Kelp Jerkies are available now on the company's website here.

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In Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks Mens Issues Mens lifestyle National Martini Day Recreation

Chew To Your Life's Content: Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks

If you live in a major city, have a challenging job or career or are dealing with the waiting game until life gets sweeter & easier then chances are you probably constantly seek out ways to relax.  A vacation may not always be doable and sometimes even a staycation at home can even be a bundle of nerves especially if you're headaches rear their ugly heads at home too.  So what's a worn-out guy to do?

Ponder the answer to that question today as conveniently, it's Nation Martini Day.  Now we all have some form of wise adage about how a stiff drink can calm the savage beasts of stress and annoyance. It's the elements that collaborate to sooth and make one a little less tense.  This is precisely why I was intrigued to shed some focus on literally every element of my martini this June 19.  The lively gin, the fragrant vermouth and my briny kalamatas do a lovely dance together at the party but an interesting little skewer I discovered drives the dancing home.  In my efforts to relax, I decided to jazz up my martini with Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks.

Each toothpick delivers a soothing dose of CBD isolate extracted from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant.  This is whole plant hemp oil and each pick contains 25mg of CBD.  That nice microdose  is enough to have a mild total-body calming effect, flavorful enough to deliver a satisfyingly sweet bite and discreet enough to skewer your olives, none the wiser.  The way you enjoy the infused-chew is similar to a chew-stick or teeth cleaning twig.  Most commonly used in the West Indies and continental Africa, the chew stick is a naturally herbal stick, that when chewed, the friction and inner-herbal juices of the stick are used to clean the teeth and freshen the breath.  The CBD Infused Toothpicks from Ignite perform a similar function in that you tenderly chew on one end of the toothpick to release half the dosage of CBD and then flip it to the other end of the pick and chew for a full dose when the flavor runs dry.  A great thing is that they come flavored so that a sweet taste will cajole you to chew to your heart and mind's content.  Find Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks and other great products available now through their website here, enjoy the martini recipe below and the new fact that the full cocktail experience doesn't necessarily have to end when all the liquor is gone.

Dirty Finish, Clean Ignite

4 ounces            Tommy Rotter Gin
2 ounces            Carpano Dry Vermouth
1/2 -1 ounce      Olive brine
1                        Ignite CBD Infused Toothpick
2                        Kalamata Olives

Place ice into a shaker.  Add gin, vermouth and olive brine.  Shake or stir, your preference, just enough to chill the contents.  Strain contents into a martini glass.  Skewer the Ignite pick through the olive and rest against the inside of the glass.  

This is a nice way to elevate your martini and end your day on an appropriately relaxing note as the salty potent cocktail gives way to the sweet woody finish for a balanced experience.

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In Alcohol Review Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Mens lifestyle Novo Fogo Chameleon Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça Summer Drinks Wines and Spirits

A Sweet Trip To Brazil, On Ice: Novo Fogo Chameleon Cachaça

I have vivid memories of lazing around on a beach in Saint Martin and drifting off into an appropriately satisfying slumber under the warm Summer sun.  Of course this siesta was due less to sheer exhaustion and due more to the copious amounts of rum that was poured into my coconut cocktail.  That sun, seaside and sugar trifecta created the perfect setting for a beauty nap and also created my first awareness that sugar cane-based spirits are saccharine in nature but delectably potent as all hell.

Then in walks this spirit named Cachaça.  It's rum with eclecticism.  Cachaça is Brazil's love spirit and no brand delivers it with more gusto than Novo Fogo.  What makes Novo Fogo so special as mentioned in my first feature on their silver cachaça here is the cultivating of the sugar cane yeast for almost 24 hours in special temperature-controlled vats then how it rests in chemically-inert stainless steel tanks for one year.  After this process, the cachaça is then aged and finished in Brazilian oak barrels that are sanded and re-toasted so that there is virtually fresh wood for each new aging process.  The result is a potent spirit with a woody depth and distinct sweetness that gives you a matured & weighted herbal burst with pleasant notes of spice and citrus.  

An exciting and unique cachaça from Novo Fogo is Chameleon.  It lives up to its namesake by giving you classic cachaça distilling techniques mixed with Northern bourbon whiskey distilling methods since it's aged for one year in repurposed American oak barrels.  So it rests long enough to get the flavor from the oak barrels without that foreign flavor overtaking the beautiful notes of the Brazilian rainforest and cane juice loveliness.  The result is a slightly different kind of woodiness with those characteristic hints of spicy vanilla and herbal potency which make it a nice sipper or mixer with its diverse and chamelonic flavor profile.  Check out the great recipe below for a nice cocktail that highlights the beauty of this remixed cachaça.

Brazilian Buck

1 1/2 ounces         Novo Fogo Chameleon Cachaça
4 ounces               Ginger Beer
2 dashes               Aromatic Bitters
Squeeze of Fresh Lime Juice

Add ice to a highball or rocks glass then add the cachaça, ginger beer and lime juice.  Stir to combine then add bitters and lightly stir.  Garnish glass with lime wheel.

This was an intense and delightful array of flavors that hit all over the palette with the spiciness of the ginger beer & the heat of the aged cachaça, the sweet notes of the cachaça & herbal notes of the bitters all made distinct by the presence of the tart lime.  A perfect spirit to give you a great seafront catnap or a pleasant after-five wind-down.  Novo Fogo Chameleon is available now at your finer wine and spirit retailers.

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In Cooking Entertaining Food and Drink Good Eats Mens lifestyle Nuttin Ordinary Plant-Based Vegan Vegan Foods

How Cheese Got It's Groove Back: Nuttin Ordinary

I'm always asked if there's anything that I miss being vegan now.  At first, I missed a good piece of fish and my eggs scrambled hard with cheese in the morning but then I discovered the breakfast and brunch options that varied from the norm (not to mention the wonderment of avocados) and after that, the non-vegans cravings subsided.  I used to levitate towards the smell of bacon, but now I salivate over the the smell of garlic-roasted veggies.  Admittedly, eating vegan is made out to be a huge laborious undertaking especially when you read product labels and realize they put something from an animal in everything, but all in all there are many delicious substitutes that make you not miss the meat or dairy at all.  However, as with anything there are bad eggs in the bunch (no pun intended) and not all vegan food is healthy food, but after awhile and through moderation you get a better sense of the kind of vegan that meshes with your will.

Well I discovered Nuttin Ordinary recently and I must say that they are certainly not one of the bad eggs in the bunch.  Here I was thinking that my staple breakfast while in high school, a bagel with cream cheese, was to never be enjoyed by me again and then in comes this great product line.  Nuttin Ordinary is a line of 100% plant-based cashew cheeses that are just simply amazing.  Of all the nuts used to make vegan products I must say that I've found cashews to produce the creamiest end results. This is one of the reasons why Nuttin Ordinary is so delicious.  The creamy texture of these spreadable cheeses are so great for lathering onto a bagel, crudités-dipping and sandwich-topping.  The other reason that makes Nuttin Ordinary so flavorful is that it keeps the ingredients simple and to a minimum while having no gluten or preservatives.

That's something that sets it apart in the fast-growing vegan product world.  It's taken the simplicity of the ingredients and created something that is familiar to non-vegans and vegan alike without bizarre additives.  The results are the smooth and buttery consistency of their stellar Original flavor, the herbal loveliness of their Italian Herb flavor and the zesty fire kick of their Spicy flavor.  My post-vegan bagel has found a wonderful friend to fill the void.  

Nuttin Ordinary is now available at Fairway, Wholefoods, Wegman's and MOM's and for a list of other locations please check out the company site here

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In Fitness Health Mens Mens lifestyle Summer Fitness Ultima Replenisher Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

Motivation Akin To Hydration: Ultima Replenisher

So with the official start of Summer only a little bit more than a month away and the unofficial start of Summer being almost a week ago, let me pose some questions to you.  How have you been working to A) maintain that beach body or B) turn that holiday dad body into that DILF body?  Well without knowing what your means to your chiseled, toned, bulked-up or tightened ends will be, I hope that your motivation has been strong and unyielding.  That's a big part of it though right?  Your motivation!  Lack of it can keep you in bed when you should be up and at the gym.  Lack of it can make you fall into the comparison trap and make you not think it's happening fast enough like it is for others.  Then lack of it can make you yo-yo like a mo-fo and not see contented results.  However, there's another aspect to consider.  

Ever on the expressway and run out of gas or ever printing out a 20 page document and run out of paper or ink on the 8th page?  Well sometimes we run out of steam which can literally render our motivation dismal.  There's something to be said about equipping oneself to start off on the most beneficial foot as possible.  That means, if your motivation is high then don't let over-exhaustion creep in and kill it.  This is exactly why it's important to stay well-hydrated during your fitness regimen.  However, since we can often sweat more water than we can drink during a workout it's important to stay clean hydrated without ingesting substances that could cause post-workout crashing.  This is exactly why an awesome product like Ultima Replenisher is a fitness must.  

Admittedly I am not a huge sports drink fan and reason being is the salt taste.  Ultima Replenisher is an electrolyte-rich powder that combats the excessive salt by being a healthy alternative to many fitness-centered drinks and methods that are loaded with sugar, salt, caffeine, preservatives and artificial ingredients.  Naturally sweetened with stevia leaf, Ultima Replenisher has nothing artificial and has very low sodium since the average person's diet consists of at least 2000mg of sodium.  The formula that makes this product so great is the presence of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and low doses of sodium and chloride including support minerals that create such an electrolyte-rich product that you're able to get clean healthy hydration essential for proper muscle performance and fitness-brain function.   

The end result is a powder that dissolves easily in water, tastes natural and not medicinal/synthetic and is packaged ready for a home workout in an assortment of conveniently-sized tubs or a gym workout in on-the-go travel packets that can slip conveniently into the tiny pocket of your running shorts or your gym bag.  Five vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, paleo/keto friendly flavors in lemon, cherry pomegranate, orange, grape/raisin and raspberry are available now to suit your palate.  For more information on the amazing Ultima Replenisher check out their website here. With such a great and useful product that offers zero carbs, zero, calories and zero sugar, as long as you keep up that motivation, you now have zero excuses.

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