Product Reviews: SupermarketGuru’s Top 12 Hits for 2014

January 07, 2015

2014 Was a great year for Phil’s Food Reviews! There were a lot of hits and plenty of misses as well. Here’s a look back at Phil’s top 12 Hits from 2014.

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Bela-Olhao Sardines, Bela Sardines
Lightly Smoked Portugese Sardines in Cayenne Pepper


I really like sardines. They're healthy, and they are packed full of vitamins, omega 3s and protein. These are Portuguese sardines which are very meaty and flavorful. They are packed in extra virgin olive oil with cayenne pepper, are lightly smoked and are absolutely delicious with the right amount of burn. What I hate about sardines are the packages. Why can't somebody come up with a package that is easy to open that you don't wind up spilling? Sardines are a good source of calcium (with bones), and these are wild caught. Half a can contains 13 grams of protein.

Creamed Honey, Vintage Bee 
Pumpkin Spice


This is guaranteed to make your holidays very special. Pure raw honey with actual pumpkin, mixed with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg is fabulous. The honey is exceptional, and this flavor makes me want to use it in beverages, on bread, on everything. One tablespoon is 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar, so maybe I won't use it on everything!

Multigrain Chips, Lundberg Family Farms
Shasta Chipotle Lime


I've always loved Lundberg's rice crackers, and now I love their chips. These are made from a recipe of amaranth, brown rice, chia, corn, flax, garbanzo beans, millet and red and white quinoa. The chipotle and lime combination is flavorful and has a nice clean burn. The chips are prefect by themselves, so make sure you taste them before dipping, and choose the dip very carefully so it doesn't interfere with this great taste. One serving - 9 chips - is 130 calories and 2 grams of dietary fiber.

Organic Hummus, Pacific Foods


This hummus is one of the best I've tried. No preservatives or additives, just water, chickpeas, canola oil, tahini and spices, most of which are organic. Two tablespoons are 45 calories and just 1 gram of sugars. The texture is a bit thicker than most, which frankly I applaud; hummus isn't supposed to be smooth like whipped cream cheese.

Raw Honey, Glory Bee
Pacific Northwest Clover Blossom


If you are a honey lover, you've got to switch to this brand. This 100% pure and unfiltered honey has one of the best textures, flavors and aromas that I've ever had. Remember that honey is a sugar, so one tablespoon has 16 grams of sugars, but just 64 calories. They're also committed to help saving the bees and check it out by just scanning the QR code on the lid.

Small Batch Pepper Sauce, A&B American Style


Finally a hot sauce that doesn't contain ketchup or any sugars as ingredients. This is the pure stuff, just white vinegar, red chile and habanero peppers with carrots, onion and salt. The burn is immediate and hot and the flavor is delicious. I could see adding this as a drizzle on top of meat, fish or chicken, mixing it in soups and sauces to give them a zip and of course using it to make the perfect Bloody Mary. Every kitchen needs a bottle!

Hot and Spicy Mustard, El Diablo


I didn't want to like a mustard that contained mango, but I was dead wrong. This mustard has one of the best flavors, a nice burn and is frankly delicious. I could see switching to this for my everyday condiment. Delicious...well done! Just 5 calories a teaspoon, with no fat and only 40 mg of sodium.

Red Palm Oil, Nutiva


I bet you've never seen this before - the reddish/orange color is natural to the oil, no colors added here, and there's no ingredients besides organic red palm oil. Like all fats, one tablespoon is 14 grams of fat. Red palm oil is nutrient dense with betacarotene and vitamins A and E. The texture is like a whipped butter, and actually it tastes closer to butter than it does to oil. The best use is in sauces and medium heat sautéing, but they do have more recommendations as well. 

CocoRoons, Wonderfully Raw
Lemon Pie


Get past the name - I know it's a little too cute, but these are absolutely delicious. One Coco-Roon is 78 calories, 6 grams of fat, 26 mg of sodium and 4 grams of sugars and I guarantee even one of these will satisfy. The balance between the coconut, the almond flour and the maple syrup is perfect. These do not taste sweet, just satisfying. For those purists, the organic, unfiltered maple syrup is from Vermont. No artificial colors or preservatives.

Sweet Heat, Torani


This San Francisco-based company has been making its quality syrups for almost 90 years. Their newest one, Sweet Heat is a bit of a surprise. If you like hot, go out and buy this. Just add half to one ounce of this syrup to soda, coffee, cocktails, anything. Made with the Indian ghost pepper Bhut Jalokia with a Scoville rating of 1 million units - that's three times as hot as a habanero. I added one ounce to lemon lime soda, took a whiff - the heat of the aroma almost painful. One sip and one of the hottest drinks ever. Use carefully! Won't change the taste, just adds heat and a little sweet. One ounce - 80 calories and 19 grams of sugars.

The Real Food Trading Company Peanut Butter Powder, Pep Products, Inc
Peanut Butter Powder


Now you can make your own peanut butter. Just 2 tablespoons of peanut powder and 1 tablespoon of water and mix. I love the list of ingredients - roasted peanuts, organic cane sugar and Himalayan pink sea salt - that's all! The taste is pure peanut and isn't gummy or pasty. As compared to commercial peanut butters this has 63% less calories and 81% less fat. Two tablespoons is just 70 calories, 3 grams of sugars and 5 grams of protein. They also recommend that you can use this in smoothies, which is a great idea.

Steve Schirripa's Uncle Steve's: Pasta Sauce, Italian Speciatlites Group LLC


You probably remember Steve Schirripa from The Sopranos. Now it's time to get to know him again as the maker of one of the best arrabiata sauces I've ever tried. The spice, which comes from onions, fresh garlic, fresh basil, red and black pepper, is perfection. All the ingredients including the spices are organic, there's no water or tomato paste added, just Italian whole peeled tomatoes. Half a cup is 60 calories, 4 grams of fat, 400 mg of sodium, and it does have 3 grams of sugars that are naturally occurring - no sugars added. Make this your everyday sauce; you won't be disappointed.