All posts by Jeff Fidler

gluten-free sauces from mayacamas

Mayacamas Gluten-Free Sauces and Seasonings.

Mayacamas: The Best Gluten-Free Sauces and Seasonings

Just because you’re celiac, or simply wish to remove gluten from your diet, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the rich sauces that elevate meals to a whole new level. The most effective diets don’t require you to eat dry food with a cracker-like quality. It’s about finding the right ingredients to make your dietary requirements easy to adhere to.

Mayacamas is a gourmet food company that produces gluten-free products in scenic Sonoma Valley. They’ve brought to market a line of sauce mixes and a taco seasoning mix that are perfect for those suffering from the auto-immune disorder, celiac, or for those looking to reduce their gluten intake to lose weight.

By reading this post you will be introduced to a delicious line of sauces that will make it easier to prepare some of your favourite meals. The beauty of Mayacamas is that their products help you stick to a gluten-free diet with more ease.

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Let’s look at what makes these sauce and seasoning mixes so sought after, and some amazing recipes you can treat yourself and your loved ones to.

Mayacamas Fine Foods

For over four decades, Mayacamas has been a family business producing pasta sauces, gravies and seasoning mixes that are delicious, savoury and contain substantial health properties. With no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, Mayacamas makes vegetarian sauces that taste gourmet.

These sauce mixes include:

  • Pasta sauces
  • Gourmet sauces
  • Seasoning blends
  • Gravies

Family of Sauces

Mayacamas Alfredo Sauce Mix is the perfect accompaniment for your creamy fettuccine. It can punch up more than your pasta, though. It freshens up classic fish, poultry and even red meat recipes.

If you enjoy upscale sauces but are intimidated by the time and finesse it takes to make them, then try this béarnaise. This silky sauce made of clarified butter emulsified with vinegar and egg yolks is a staple of French cuisine. It tastes of shallots, chervil, peppercorns and tarragon, and is wonderful on vegetables or a perfectly cooked steak.

For people who enjoy herb-based sauces on their pasta and chicken, we recommend Mayacamas Creamy Pesto Sauce Mix. With an intense and salty basil flavour, this sauce mix will reinvigorate boring old pasta night.

Demi-glace is one of the richest and heartiest sauces in culinary history. This thick brown sauce is a popular base or glaze. Usually, to create a demi-glace you need shallots, red wine, beef stock, thyme, parsley, butter, flour, peppercorns and a bay leaf. Now, all you need is one sauce mix and no one will be able to tell the difference. This sauce should be invited to every holiday meal and is perfect for any cut of meat from striploin to pricier filet mignons.

Hollandaise is the mother of all mother sauces. It’s elegant and buttery and makes ordinary mains and sides so much better. Place a dollop on top of a poached egg that’s begging to break open and run and you will have the best brunch of your life. Or spoon some over asparagus or green beans to elevate traditional sides that most consider to be boring.

Mushroom Sauce is another brown sauce that uses earthy mushrooms as its base and main ingredient. It’s delicious on meat, poultry or simply on a bed of noodles. With a hint of black pepper, onion and garlic, Mayacamas Mushroom Sauce Mix even pairs well with certain fishes or on a bed of noodles.

Few sauces can do for food what gravy has done for centuries. Mayacamas has a vegetarian gravy mix that is tasty and can replace all the other basic gravy recipes you’ve tried over the years. It’s easy to make and will please traditionalists. We also carry vegetarian gravy mix for chicken, turkey and savoury herb.

Mayacamas makes a succulent white cheddar sauce mix. Add this sauce to macaroni, rigatoni or penne to enjoy a cheesy lunch or dinner with a creamy texture. A truly handy sauce to have around when your kids are starving.

If you can believe it, Mayacamas also has a popular taco seasoning that is made from chili pepper, oregano, cumin and red pepper for an authentic taste. It’s been called the best taco seasoning on the market and it’s gluten-free!

Mayacamas sauce mixes contains 12 ounces of sauce for you to savour. They are versatile and will impress every guest while making every meal memorable. And to think all you need is one packet, five minutes and a little milk and butter.

Recipes Featuring Mayacamas Sauces

A recipe is included on every Mayacamas sauce package. The idea is to help you create memorable and delicious meals for lunch and dinner using these wonderful gluten-free sauce mixes.

Here are some of our favourite recipes that utilize and are elevated by a Mayacamas sauce mix. Whatever recipe you choose to make be sure to keep your carb intake in mind.

Beef Tenderloin with Demi-Glace

Purchase a beef tenderloin from your grocery store or butcher. Make sure it is dry and rub it with rosemary, salt and pepper—don’t be shy. Cook on your stove top to desired doneness, basting with butter. You can sear on each side for one minute either before or after cooking. Drizzle the cooked Mayacamas demi-glace over the top and place the rest in a bowl to make sure you don’t run out before you finish eating.

If you have a slow cooker, try this low carb beef tenderloin recipe.

Asparagus with Hollandaise

We love this asparagus recipe. Take a pound of asparagus and trim the ends off. Spread on a roasting pan (make sure they are evenly spread, not clumped together). Pour one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can add some fresh lemon if you want as it pairs well with hollandaise. Roast the asparagus for 10 minutes, shaking the pan at the five-minute mark. Transfer to a plate and spoon Mayacamas’ Hollandaise generously over the top. Your perfectly cooked asparagus will taste a lot better covered in a thick, buttery sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese

Traditional macaroni and cheese recipes call for a cheese sauce built on a base of a roux (flour and fat cooked together). With Mayacamas, you can remove the most labour-intensive step and retain the classical cheesy flavour of this household favourite. By using gluten-free pasta and the Mayacamas White Cheddar Sauce Mix, anyone can enjoy the best mac and cheese around.  

Fill your Pantry with Mayacamas Sauces

We love carrying products that are not only delicious and low carb but are also easy to make. The idea is to simplify dinner time and not have people resorting to high carb dinners because it’s more convenient. Our customers love Mayacamas line of sauce mixes.

Be sure to include Mayacamas in all your brunch, lunch and dinner meal planning. This line ensures that your sauce needs will be met so all you must do is focus on the protein and side. Remember, a sauce is a component that can make or break your meal. Keep a variety of these sauce mixes on hand, and you’ll be ready to go no matter if it’s steak night, fish night or macaroni and cheese night.

If you’re staying in to eat, Mayacamas can help make your meal a rousing success!

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low carb lunch ideas

Great Low Carb Lunch Ideas!

Hearty and Healthy Low Carb Lunches that will Satisfy your Hunger

Lunch is the hardest meal to get right. It’s easy to skip or to simply grab the quickest meal available even if it’s unhealthy or unappetizing. Let’s be honest, our days are jam packed with commuting, kids, deadlines, meetings, errands, social gatherings and appointments so before you realize it’s 2 p.m. and you’re already thinking about dinner.

Lunch is an important meal and you should commit to a hearty and healthy lunch every day. A solid lunch can help you feel better and be more productive in the afternoon. It can be a significant part of your low carb diet and help you enjoy a more manageable and healthy dinner. Lunch is also a time to clear out your fridge, try new recipes, eat seasonal produce and make your office jealous with some truly creative and decadent meals.

Making a hearty and healthy lunch takes foresight and planning. Luckily, we’re here to help offer some inspired lunch ideas to make sure that you never experience a hungry afternoon again. Of course, these lunches are low carb but they also take advantage of seasonal ingredients, leftovers and inexpensive components that when combined make a truly satisfying and delicious lunch.

Here are some lunch ideas that we think you will love!

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The Ideal Lunch

The goal of this article is to help you enjoy lunch for its nutritional benefits but also as a moment in a busy day where you can unwind and recharge. These lunch ideas are designed to help you take advantage of the lunch hour so you can attack the rest of the day with vigor, or have the energy to leave work for an evening of fun.

The ideal lunch hour includes taking a real break from work. Leave your work space, eat with friends or if you want to eat alone try not to stare at your phone. This way you can disconnect from work emails or group chats.

Most importantly, make sure you eat a proper lunch! We can help with this last part by introducing you to some truly hearty and healthy lunch ideas.

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl

Spaghetti squash flies under the radar but it is fun, delicious, super easy to cook and soaks up sauce well. It gets its name from the fact that its flesh is stringy and it takes on the texture of spaghetti when cooked. By not using actual spaghetti or a pasta of similar shape, you reduce the carbs considerably.

This inspired recipe uses spaghetti squash as a base for kale, nuts, toasted sesame seeds and broccoli. This dish is finished with a lime peanut sauce that includes Thai ingredients like ginger, garlic, sriracha, lime, rice vinegar and coconut oil. Fans of Thai food will love this noodle dish which pops with freshness and intense flavours.

Salmon & Chickpea

This spicy lunch is perfect for the fall and winter. This is a veggie forward lunch that uses salmon as a protein. You can use whatever vegetables you like or have in your kitchen but the recipe calls for a fresh and crunchy mélange of chickpeas, celery, shallots, bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.

If you don’t like salmon or chickpeas you can substitute for chicken and beans.

Leftover Roast Beef Salad with Shitake Mushrooms

One of lunch’s main goals should be to use leftovers. It’s cost efficient and helps reduce food waste. Plus, sometimes what’s in your fridge is better than the combo at the burger joint. Roast beef is one of those dinner meals that always produces leftovers. Instead of making a roast beef sandwich, make a hearty salad that’s low carb and is so good you can eat for an entire week.    

Rare roast beef goes perfectly with the texture and earthiness of shitake mushrooms but there is one change we would make to this lunch recipe. We recommend replacing the mixed greens with arugula as its pepper flavour pairs wonderfully with rare beef.

With only 5-7 ingredients and no cooking, you can have the most amazing low carb lunch in only a few minutes.

Melanzane all Parmigiana di Nuovo

You will probably look at this recipe and think “no way could I make this for lunch” but hear us out for a second. This eggplant dish is an interesting take on the Greek class, moussaka, and is packed with savoury flavours. It’s simple to make and is low carb and vegetarian. The twist is that you top it with a salsa to give it a different texture when contrasted with the eggplant’s crispy edges and other ingredients like almonds and capers.

On Sunday night, make a batch and then enjoy this unique and healthy lunch that will have your co-workers salivating with envy.

BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

The cobb salad is a lunch staple and rightfully so. It’s filled with rich ingredients that satisfy every aspect of taste. It’s salty, sweet and acidic. It’s also incredibly filling so if you find yourself famished then this BBQ chicken cobb salad is one lunch you need to try immediately.

The traditional cobb salad is a chopped salad on steroids. The classic recipe calls for green salad, tomatoes, chicken, hard-boiled eggs and well-done bacon. It is usually served with a blue cheese or buttermilk dressing. This recipe adds the element of smoky barbecue by marinating the cooked chicken in a BBQ sauce. You can use a sauce like this one from Walden Farms or, if you’re feeling adventurous, make your own by following these instructions.

We recommend making the buttermilk dressing from scratch by following the directions in the recipe. It’s easy to do and the taste is unbelievable. This method also allows you to control the nutrition level.

Turkey and Cucumber Lettuce Wraps

The lettuce wrap was a boon to low carb diets all over the world. By using lettuce—a healthy and naturally low in carb ingredient—as a vessel instead of bread, taco shells, buns or tortillas you immediately lower the carbs without sacrificing the taste. Lettuce is a great way to wrap your lunch meat. It’s crunchy, light and since it’s flavourless, it takes on the flavours of the wrap.

For this lunch, all you need is some turkey, ice berg lettuce, hummus and cucumber. You can sprinkle some garlic powder or chili powder for additional seasoning. There’s no cooking so all you must do is assemble and use a toothpick to keep it together until it’s lunch time. If you don’t like hummus, you can use baba ghanoush or a whole grain or deli mustard.

Get Psyched for Lunch!

Eating a healthy lunch isn’t just important for a low carb diet. It’s vital to your overall health. These recipes were designed to satisfy your hunger and ensure that you are not feeling tired and bloated all afternoon.

Carbs will only slow you down so give these recipes a try. You’re sure to find at least a couple that you’ll want to eat repeatedly for lunch. Remember, the idea is to take the foods you love and add a low carb twist that actually makes them more enjoyable. In fact, some of these recipes let you indulge in proteins and fats.

Once you decide what recipes are for you, be sure to peruse our inventory to find the ingredients you need.

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different secret santa christmas ideas

Great Secret Santa Christmas Gift Ideas!

Superstar Secret Santa Gift Ideas for this Year’s Christmas Party

It’s that time of year when holiday parties start coming at you from all angles and you get asked to participate in Secret Santa gift exchanges that make your anxiety levels rise because you can never find a really good gift for the event. Well, get ready to be the greatest Secret Santa ever, because we’ve put together an awesome list of great ideas that you can draw from this year.

Whether you’re working with a strict budget cap, or are struggling finding something really funky for that unusual and eclectic co-worker, we’ve got you covered. This list ranges from the extremely useful to the wildly unique, and everything in between. So, let’s get right to it!

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Less than $25

Superhero Barbecue Tool Set

These awesome superhero-themed barbecue tool sets will transform the average griller in to a legendary grill master! Choose from Batman, Wonder Woman, or Captain America, and watch the smile appear when the recipient peels back the wrapping to unveil their heroic set of grilling gear.

Salsa Grow Kit

We love salsa, and this clever kit makes it super easy to grown your own vegetables and ingredients to make a fresh batch of your own salsa. We love the fun packaging of this kit, and that it’s the perfect way to encourage some culinary experimentation with healthy, low carb ingredients.

Sushi Rolling Kit

If you’ve read our article about how to make your own sushi, you know that one of the essential tools to have on-hand is your own sushi rolling mat. This top-quality kit includes two rolling mats, a rice paddle, and a rice spreader. It’s everything you need to make great sushi right at home!

Bourbon Infused Coffee

Do we need to say anything else other than bourbon infused coffee? This has got to be one of the best ideas to ever come to the world of coffee. The wonderful flavour of bourbon accompanies the robust taste of dark-roast coffee for a coffee experience unlike any other. You may want to buy an extra bag, just in case you decide you want to keep one!

Between $25 and $50

Booze-Infused Hot Sauce Trio

Ok, so we may have been inspired to search out more infused stuff since we found that bourbon-infused coffee, but we consider that a good thing since it led us to this amazing collection of hot sauces. Each sauce consists of a unique chili pepper paired with a different alcohol, such as jalapeno/tequila and chipotle/bourbon. If there’s any hot sauce lovers in your Secret Santa pool, this gift will be a big winner.

Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker

Just in case you wanted to offer up a little more Star Wars in to someone’s life, this super-cool waffle iron makes Death Star-shaped waffles that are sure to make breakfast a little more fun and interesting. Easy clean up and quality construction make this a top-notch waffle machine. An excellent way to make low carb waffles that are definitely out of this world!

Bacon Bowl Maker

Who needs more bacon? Everyone! This incredible gadget makes awesome little bacon bowls that are perfect for all kinds of appetizers & delicious low carb recipes. It makes two bacon bowls at a time and has an easy-clean surface. When you give the gift of more bacon, we’re pretty confident that you’ll get a very sincere ‘thank you’, and maybe even a hug.

Table-Top Foosball

Challenge your Secret Santa to a game of foosball with this cool little tabletop game set. It’s got all the great features of a full-size foosball table scaled down to make it portable and easy to play anywhere. It comes with two foosballs, and includes metal rails, rubber handles, excellent detailing, and built-in scoring sliders. Game on!

Over $50

Six Month Sock Subscription

We speak from experience when we say that receiving a new pair of socks every month is way more fun than you’d think it would be. Especially when they are funky, cool, colourful and clever. Socks like these are real conversation starters, and let the wearer express some more personality in their attire. Socks used to be the most boring of all boring gifts, but now they’re one of the trendiest and coolest things you can wrap up for the holidays.

Therm-A-Rest Slacker Hammock

Even the most adventurous need to chill out from time to time, and this hammock is a great gift for the outdoorsy types in your Secret Santa pool. Available in three different colours, and amazingly comfortable, this hammock is lightweight, durable, and packs up nice and small, making it ideal for backpackers, canoers, kayakers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Row Boat Serving Bowl

Salad lovers who also dig nautical themes will adore this unique serving bowl. Made from polished aluminum and plated in silver, it comes complete with two beautifully finished wooden serving oars. This charming bowl is stylish and elegant, but also playful and fun, making it an interesting way to add some flair to a dinner table or salad bar.

Medioevo Leather Journal

History buffs and self-proclaimed scribes will fall in love with this gorgeous leather journal that looks like it was lifted straight out of an epic movie full of knights and kings. Equally ideal for stories or sketches, the style of this 5”x7” journal is wonderfully unusual, and will surely become a treasured keepsake.

Enjoy Your Holiday Celebrations

This time of year, it’s good to keep in mind why we celebrate and what’s really important in our lives. Be thankful for loving family and caring friends and do your best to pay your good luck forward this season.

As you head in to the festivities to conduct your Secret Santa gift exchange, have a great time and spread the cheer around.

Happy holidays, to one and all!

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atkins pantry food products

Atkins Pantry Food Products – Crackers, Cereal, Pasta & More

Explore the Atkins Pantry Line of Food Products

Years ago, low carb diets graduated from fad to mainstay to become a global phenomenon. At the forefront of this food and beverage movement continues to be the Atkins brand, and they continue to be synonymous with low carb healthy living.

Atkins is a diet that limits one’s intake of sugar and carbohydrates instead of simple calorie counting. Started by a respected cardiologist, Dr. Robert Atkins, who found that too many diets were focused on low calories, which only served to create erratic sugar levels and to increase one’s appetites. This diet has helped millions of people lose weight and keep it off without sacrificing their energy or other areas of their health. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it allows people to eat as much protein and fat as they want. The only stipulation is to avoid foods and drinks that are high in carbs.

The Atkins diet breaks down into the following phases:

  • Phase 1 (Induction)
    • Ingest less than 20 grams of carbs per day for two weeks.
  • Phase 2 (Balancing)
    • After your initial weight loss, slowly add more low carb items (nuts, vegetables and fruit) to your diet.
  • Phase 3 (Fine-tuning)
    • As you approach your desired weight, you can begin adding more carbs to your diet.
  • Phase 4 (Maintenance)
    • During the last phase, you can start to enjoy healthy carbs again. Weight gain should be minimal or non-existent.

To commit to the Atkins diet, you will want to make sure that your pantry is full of low carb treats. This way, you won’t find yourself reaching for that unhealthy bag of potato chips during those weak moments of temptation. The idea isn’t to go without or to be left wanting. It’s about finding delicious substitutes that are low carb.

Don’t worry! We’re here to help ease the transition and make sure you stay on track. The Low Carb Grocery offers an inventory of Atkins products for your pantry. Let’s look at some of these wonderful products and a few delicious recipes that you can add them to.

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Products for your Pantry

We carry a wide range of Atkins Pantry Food Products, including:

Fibre Crackers

These crackers are low carb but high in fiber and protein. For fans of simple food that tastes amazing, these crackers contain only three ingredients: wheat bran, rye flour and salt.  As part of the Atkins diet, a serving of three crackers contains under 10g of carbs, which is really great.

Enjoy with your favourite toppings but remember to not undermine the low carb. We’d recommend the Wild Garden Jalapeno Hummus Dip or Walden Farms Bacon Dip.

Crunchy Muesli with Stevia Extract

The perfect low carb breakfast that will start your day off right. This crunchy and sweet cereal offers 60% less carbs than other brands of muesli. It’s a great source of fibre and protein without most of the sugar found in similar products.

A lot of people confuse muesli and granola but there is a difference. Both are typically made of grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and some spice or seasoning (cinnamon, salt, rosemary, etc.). The difference lies in that muesli is unbaked whereas granola is baked often in an oil to make sure the ingredients mix and mingle.


Atkins Crispbread is crispy, crunchy and contains only half the carbs of most crispbreads. Enjoy with your favourite dips and spreads. These crispbreads are a great snack to put out for guests or as part of an appetizer.

Penne Pasta

Pasta has become the poster boy for the evils of carbs, which is unfortunate and unfair. Everyone should be allowed to dig into a hearty plate of delicious pasta. With Atkins, you can create penne dishes with 70% less carbs. In addition, for every 85g of dry pasta there is 20g of protein and 43g of pea protein. A perfect ingredient for vegetarians who are looking to spike their diet with more protein.

Healthy Low Carb Recipes

The best way to adhere to an Atkins diet is to replace high carb ingredients with Atkins products. Here are some of our favourite recipes where you can easily swap in an Atkins Pantry Food Products, which can be purchased from our store.

Penne Pasta in Pesto Cream Sauce

This recipe calls for a low carb pasta in a creamy pesto sauce made from basil and pine nuts. Shrimp is the typical protein but feel free to use chicken, steak or different types of seafood like mussels, clams or even lobster.

With shrimp, a serving of this dish has 2.5g of carbs. Keep in mind, though, the protein you choose could impact the dish’s nutrition and the amount of carbs.

Parmesan Breaded Pork Chops 

A perfect recipe for fans of pork chops. It’s simple to make and by replacing traditional breading with Atkins Fibre Crackers, you can make it crunchier without overwhelming the savoury and salty flavour of parmesan.

This is a hearty dinner that your family and friends will love. Best of all, with one simple ingredient modification it can fit your low carb diet.

Macaroni and Cheese

A great tip is to take your favourite macaroni and cheese recipe and replace the bread crumb topping with crumbled Atkins Fibre Crackers. Some recipes even call for white bread to be used instead of breadcrumbs. If you’ve avoided those recipes because of the carbs, then you’re in luck. Fibre Crackers lowers the carbs while giving every bite of mac and cheese that patented crunch.

Muesli Topping

Atkins Muesli lets you get creative. It comes with the traditional granola ingredients and is sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener. All you must do is add a teaspoon of cinnamon to make it pop even more. A great topping for yogurt, oatmeal or other hot or cold breakfast items.

Dips for Crispbread

We want to share a few of our favourite low carb dip recipes that pair perfectly with Atkins Crispbread. Make sure you make extra for your dinner party because it’ll go fast.

Creamy Bacon Horseradish

This decadent dip expertly compliments horseradish with bacon’s natural smokiness. It’s a bit on the heavy side but it’s a tasty low carb alternative for gameday treats. It serves up to six people with only 1 net carb per serving. Careful with the amount of horseradish, though, as it can be potent.

Cauliflower Hummus

The Atkins Crispbread matches well with this cauliflower hummus, which is creamy, easy to make and perfect for any low carb diet. This Mediterranean inspired dish includes garlic, tahini, artichoke bottoms and the always versatile cauliflower to create a mouth-watering dip.

Elevate your Pantry

Upgrade your pantry with some low carb options from the Atkins family of products. These items can replace some of your pantry staples that are causing you to gain weight. We want to help you stay on the Atkins track to healthy living by making changes that won’t upend your life.

Review the Atkins products we carry and be sure to check out the user reviews to get an idea of what people think. Trust us, by using these ingredients in some of your favourite dips and pasta dishes you’ll notice a big difference.

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winter holidays from around the world

Winter Holiday Traditions from Around the Globe

Winter Holidays, Traditions & Celebrations from Around the World

All over the world, people from all walks of life are anticipating the upcoming winter season and all the festivities and celebrations that it brings. We’ve always been fascinated by the wide variety of holidays and traditions that take place in different cultures, and the stories of how they have evolved in to the celebrations that we know today.

While the customs, rituals, and traditions vary greatly from culture to culture, the underlying themes of love, family, and friendship are common. It’s no wonder why the winter season is called the most wonderful time of the year!

In this article, get ready to take a festive trip around the globe as we explore some of these many holidays and what they mean for those who celebrate them.

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Winter Solstice

Perhaps the oldest of the winter holiday traditions, the Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years in different ways all around the world. This event is centered around the day of the year where the night reaches its maximum duration and darkness, signifying for many cultures a time of rebirth and renewal.

Winter solstice traditions are extremely varied and take on many different forms. In Austria and other parts of Europe, one of the main figures in their celebrations is Krampus, which can essentially be described as the opposite of Santa Claus. Krampus is a mean, nasty demon who terrorizes children. In fact, the traditions and rituals around Krampus would be more akin to Halloween festivities in the eyes of most North Americans, but like many other traditions, are all in good fun.

The Hopi first nations tribe in Arizona celebrates the winter solstice with many rituals and celebrations to welcome protective spirits known as ‘kachinas’. Their traditions include dancing, purification rituals, and occasionally involve the giving of gifts.

Saturnalia is the winter solstice celebration that originated in Rome, and involves banquets and feasts, masquerades, the exchange of gifts, and the forgiving of grievances and grudges. Saturnalia was a time of indulgence and excess, and pretty much everything else was put on hold, including wars.

Of course, these are just a small sampling of the many different ways winter solstice is celebrated around the world. As you may have noticed, many of the historical celebrations associated with winter solstice have similarities and connections to modern festivities, such as gift giving and large feasts with family and friends. It’s not unusual for families to have borrowed or personalized other elements of these holidays and merged them in to their own family traditions that have been passed down throughout the generations.


Many people are not aware that the holiday known as Kwanzaa is a relatively recent creation, getting its start in the 1960’s. Kwanzaa was created as a holiday celebration focused around African heritage and pride, and harkened back to traditions in Africa that took place around the first fruit harvests.

Some of the notable symbols of Kwanzaa celebrations include an arrangement of seven candles that signify the seven main tenets of the holiday, and the decoration of homes with colourful art and fresh fruits. Music, food, and drink are all shared as part of the Kwanzaa festivities with friends and family. The proper greeting associated with this holiday is, ‘Joyous Kwanzaa’.


The traditional Jewish holiday of Hanukkah has an extensive history and dates back to events that took place around 160 BC. At a time when Jerusalem was under the control of Syrian king Antiochus, a rebellion took place and the victorious Jewish people, led by the Maccabees, reclaimed the holy city. During the rededication of the Second Temple, a miracle is said to have occurred. The temple menorah was lit with only enough oil to burn for one day, and yet the lights continued to burn for eight days. Inspired by this wonder, an annual eight-day celebration was instituted to honour the events and remember the miracle.

Hanukkah is celebrated in many ways, including feasts of traditional Jewish foods such as latkes, the exchange of gifts, games and festivities with friends and family, prayer and visitations to Jewish temples. The most well-known part of Hanukkah traditions is the lighting of a menorah, signifying the memory of the miracle of the oil.


Diwali is a festival of lights that occurs in the winter months and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Newar Buddhists. Diwali is a spiritual event focused around the triumph of light, good, and knowledge over darkness, evil and ignorance. It is celebrated as a five-day festival, including feasts, artistry, decoration and adornment of homes, gift exchanges, prayer, and the honouring of family bonds and relationships.

One of the traditions associated with Diwali is the creation of artistic patterns known as Rangoli. These intricate designs are created on the floor and consist of colourful powders or sand, arranged in precise traditional patterns, with the intent of bringing good luck.

New Year

For many cultures, the arrival of the New Year is cause for great celebration. Similar to the advent of the winter solstice, the coming of the New Year is seen by many as a time of renewal and rejuvenation. Of course, the celebration of the New Year doesn’t always fall on the same date, since there have been multiple different calendars used in the world throughout history. The Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar most widely adopted in the modern world, and the traditional Chinese calendar mark the New Year at different dates. Since both calendars were developed using different methods of calculating the various increments that divide a typical year, their New Year’s do not align, and as such the time between the celebrations changes each year.

For the majority of revelers, however, the celebrations are quite similar in many ways. Parties, dancing, music, fireworks, and gathering of friends and family occur all over the world to remember the year past and usher in the arrival of the New Year.


In North America and many other places in the world, the most well-known and widely celebrated winter holiday is undoubtedly Christmas. This annual celebration takes place in honour of the birth of Jesus Christ, and has evolved over many centuries to include a diverse range of traditions and rituals connected to regional or local beliefs and cultural influences.

Popular elements of Christmas celebrations include large gatherings of friends and family, the exchange of gifts, colourful decorations including colored lights and exterior home adornments, and the trimming of the traditional Christmas tree. For many, a large part of Christmas revolves around the spirit of St Nicholas, commonly known as Santa Claus, whose origin can be traced to northern European cultures. Santa takes flight on Christmas Eve every year and brings gifts to children all over the world.

Other popular aspects of Christmas include a feast with friends and family, and many festive holiday gatherings & activities throughout the days leading up to December 25th. For great low carb recipes & helpful tips for making a healthy Christmas dinner the low carb way, check out our Guide to a Low Carb Christmas.

The Important Role of Food

A common thread that you will likely see running through all of these different holidays is the prevalence of feasting and traditional foods as a key element of the celebrations. This makes sense, of course, since we tend to have very strong emotional reactions to foods, especially when aspects such as nostalgia and religion connect them to our beliefs and values with powerful stories and past experiences.

Here at The Low Carb Grocery, food is our passion. This is why we love to learn about how food plays such an important role in the holidays and traditions that bring us together in celebration with family and friends every year.

We certainly hope that you’ve found this article interesting, and wish you all a very Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and wonderful time celebrating any of these or other holidays this season!

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sugar free caramel desserts

Low Carb & Sugar Free Caramel Desserts & Treats

Craving Caramel? You’ll Love These Sugar Free & Low Carb Caramel Recipes

We’ll be totally honest that the taste of rich, creamy caramel is just about as perfect a flavour as you will ever experience. For many, it even beats chocolate as their preferred sweet treat, and we totally understand why. That’s why we’ve pulled together a collection of some of the most delectable caramel desserts & sweet treats that we’ve ever seen.

In this list, you’ll find amazing low carb and sugar free recipes that all feature the great taste of caramel, and are perfectly suited for the low carb lifestyle. Whether you enjoy the purity of a rich and creamy caramel square, or prefer to have the flavour blended with others as an ingredient of cakes and pies, these recipes are sure to have what you’re looking for. Let’s get right to it!

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Low Carb Keto Caramels

First, we had to start off with the classic candy that, for many of us, brings back fond nostalgic memories of our grandmothers’ candy dish. These delicious little caramel squares are bite-sized and the perfect little indulgence to satisfy your caramel cravings. This particular recipe is for a softer caramel, with a texture very similar to fudge. The ingredient list is short, and consists of only butter, whipping cream, and some Swerve sweetener or other keto-friendly substitute, and making them is super easy. Pop one of these in your mouth once they’ve cooled, and you’ll be overcome with the rich, smooth, creamy flavour of caramel.

2-Ingredient Sugar Free Caramel Sauce

Keeping with the theme of short ingredient lists, this astonishingly simple caramel sauce needs just two. All you require is full fat coconut milk and some Sukrin fibre syrup, and you’re ready to make some caramel! Simply bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20-30 minutes, and you’ll be treated to some of the most delicious caramel sauce you’ve ever had. Perfect as a topping for ice cream, cakes, pies, and other desserts, this recipe is sure to become your go-to caramel sauce from now on.

Keto Sugar Free Caramel Squares

These caramel squares are heavenly! Low carb and keto dieters alike will love the fact that these are so easy to make. These squares start with a vanilla and almond base, and then a layer of salted sugar free caramel is added, and finally topped with a rich chocolate coating. For best results, use a golden Monkfruit sweetener from Lakanto. Alternatively, vanilla can be used to accentuate the flavour of your preferred substitute sweetener. Either way, these will be very, very tasty!

Low Carb & Sugar Free Caramel Nut Clusters

Some of the best tasting desserts combine multiple different flavours and textures, and that’s exactly what these wonderful caramel nut clusters do. They’re creamy, salty, crunchy, and sweet all at the same time, and because of this they generally don’t last very long once you make a batch! These clusters are made using macadamias & pecans, but you could also use peanuts, walnuts, almonds, or any other nuts that you prefer. Combined with sugar free caramel candies, sea salt, and rich dark chocolate, each bite-sized cluster delivers a magnificent flavour experience that will have you coming back time and time again.

Easy Low Carb Salted Caramel Pie

If you look up the word decadent in the dictionary, there will probably be a picture of this pie. It’s simply one of the most incredible dessert creations that a low carb dieter could ask for. Plus, it’s deceptively simple to make, and uses just a few common ingredients. We guarantee that this pie will disappear quickly from everyone’s plate, so be sure to guard your slice closely or it may fall victim to dessert theft!

Sugar Free Cheesecake with Caramel

Just like the caramel pie above, this caramel cheesecake is an absolutely perfect dessert. If you like cheesecake, then you will fall head over heels in love with this recipe. It all starts with a caramel sauce like the one we mentioned earlier in this article, and blends together smooth cream cheese along with erythritol sweetener and other low carb ingredients to make the smooth, delicious filling, which is sitting on top of a simple low carb crust. After your first bite of this cheesecake, you won’t be able to stop!

Other Low Carb Caramel Products

While these recipes are all pretty amazing, your caramel experience can keep going far beyond this list! We’ve got a wide selection of delicious low carb and sugar free caramel products to choose from at The Low Carb Grocery. Discover the great taste of caramel in all kinds of products like Atkins Caramel Latte protein shakes and Healthsmart Chocolate Crispy Caramel snack bites, or add caramel flavour to your morning coffee with delicious sugar free syrup from DaVinci.

Sweeten Up Your Low Carb Diet with Caramel

If you’re a long-time caramel fan, or just starting to develop a craving for the sweet taste, you can rest assured that being on a low carb diet won’t stop you from enjoying these amazing desserts and sweet treats. We bet that once you try some of these recipes, you’ll be hunting for even more caramel creations to discover.

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