Friday, March 25, 2011

Espresso Yourself

I love my morning cup of coffee. I love the taste, smell, warmth, and boost of energy it supplies. But no matter how much advertisers try to convince me that coffee consumption is an all-day affair, I’m a morning drinker.

In a previous blog, “
Resolve”, I talked about my goal of better health in 2011, which includes finding foods that are reasonable and satisfying. I think I’ve found my new favorite afternoon snack that satisfies my need for chocolate and crunchy, and as a bonus, it provides another boost of energy to maintain productivity.

Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my.

Van Otis’ chocolate-coated espresso beans are a coffee lover’s dream. Espresso beans covered in Van Otis’ delicious, handmade chocolate is the perfect combination of sweet milk chocolate and the dark, roasted flavor of coffee. You can even get them with a cinnamon coating, which is my top pick.

Grand Petite

The signs of spring in New England surround us. Sights like robins flying in a snow squall make it an exciting, albeit confusing, time of year.

Van Otis seems to be following the trend of things that make you go hmmmm. In anticipation of Easter, Van Otis is offering Petite Eggs, which are deceivingly named as a small chocolate packing HUGE flavor.

These eggs come in a variety of flavors including nutty peanut butter, peanut butter meltaway, caramel marshmallow, vanilla cream, coconut cream, and vanilla butter cream. Most are available in milk or dark chocolate, and all live up to Van Otis’ handmade confection perfection.

My favorites - yes, that’s plural - are the peanut butter-filled Petite Eggs. Both varieties contain Van Otis’ creamy peanut butter center. The nutty peanut butter egg has a crunchy exterior with a combination of crushed almonds and milk chocolate, which blend with the peanut butter center. Encased by either a milk or dark chocolate shell, the peanut butter meltaway is aptly labeled and showcases the creamy center.

As with any seasonal Van Otis product, these are available for a limited time. So stop into
Van Otis’ retail store at 341 Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire and stock up!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Treat for Two

As new pet owners, we had very little knowledge about life with a dog. We knew the basics: feed, groom, excrete, and talk to her every once in a while. Little did we know how much she would change our lives.

After a week with our rescue-adopted, 2-year-old toy poodle, we acknowledged a communication barrier. Our dog is actually quite intelligent, but we were inexperienced on picking up her nonverbal cues. This prompted the purchase of a “how to” book, which made our long list of what we didn’t know about dogs even longer. For example, I thought one of the perks of dog ownership was never having to bend over to pick up dropped food again. I secretly hoped that my days of vacuuming were over. But when we read the chapter on nutrition, the list of food toxins was startling.
• Chocolate is toxic and dangerous for dogs.

• Raisins and grapes are poisonous to dogs.

• Onions have the ability to cause anemia so all onion products should be avoided to be safe.
• Macadamia nuts and walnuts contain toxins.
• Potatoes themselves are fine but the green parts are toxic and dangerous.

• Salt in large amounts may cause kidney issues.

We’ve come a long way in a year of dog ownership and are more thoughtful about our pet’s health and nutrition. We have also discovered that, like most pets, our dog is motivated and rewarded with special treats.

Van Otis offers Kanine Kookies in a variety of flavors. These bone-shaped, decoratively dipped cookies contain healthy ingredients such as oats, flax, and oat bran. The next time you stop into Van Otis’ Elm Street retail store, remember that you’re not the only one who could benefit from a treat.