CLARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 27: Clark resident Jen Valencia shops for a customer as she supplements her income working for Instacart at Acme Market on April 27, 2020 in Clark, New Jersey. Instacart has experienced a massive surge in customer demand and employment recently due to lockdowns and other restrictions caused by COVID-19. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Have you ever wondered what exactly people buy the most of when they go grocery shopping? What about when they don’t actually go grocery shopping, but do it virtually through Instacart? Instacart has released a list of the items most sold on Instacart, and the results, as reported by Eat This, are a bit surprising.

The top five sold items include:

  • raspberries
  • Hass Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Honey Crisp
  • Gala Apples

But, that list doesn’t include the number one item bought by shoppers on Instacart…and that is Bananas!

More than 100-billion bananas are eaten worldwide every year, and they are the most popular item purchased through Instacart. Instacart’s Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk told Eat This that most online orders containing bananas also contain items that would possibly be served or complement a banana.

And, to be very fair, bananas are not only delicious to eat by themselves, but Eat This points out that they are versatile in so many other food options. Like smoothies, banana bread, and ooh some good old banana pudding with the Nilla wafers….annnnd now I want banana bread and pudding LOL!

What is your most purchased item when you go to the grocery store? Do you think most people eat bananas just by themselves, or in something else like a smoothie?

Source: Eat This

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Not a Fan of Chocolate? Here Are Some Free-From Alternatives

  • Cocoa

    Some people may think if you’re intolerant to chocolate, you must be intolerant to cocoa powder but that isn’t always the case. If it’s Dairy Intolerance keeping you and chocolate apart, then cocoa powder might be just the trick to rekindle the relationship. If used right, cocoa powder can be a tasty and versatile alternative to chocolate. Plain, unsweetened cocoa powder has four times the amount of antioxidants as milk chocolate and of course, is a great addition to a hot or cold drink.

    Some snack ideas using cocoa powder include:

    • Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate – Needing to warm up? Try mixing a few teaspoons of cocoa powder with hot almond or coconut milk with a small amount of honey to taste.
    • Dairy-free Chocolate Milk – Again, nice and simple, simply add a few teaspoons of cocoa powder to your favorite plant or nut-based milk of choice and enjoy a guilt-free treat!
    • Quick and simple snacks: Simply dust a fruit and nut mix of your choice (we like almonds, walnuts, pecans, and dried cherries) in cocoa powder. Not only is this a great way to stave off chocolate cravings, but it’s also healthy, cheap, and quick to rustle up.

  • Carob

    There are a lot of chocolate alternatives but Carob might be one of the most natural alternatives out there. Carob is the name commonly given to the pods of the carob tree, a Middle Eastern native that is now grown worldwide. Carob is a great way to get a natural chocolatey treat without the bad stuff. It contains no caffeine or tyramine, two substances that have been linked to headaches. Caffeine can also cause digestive trouble that some people experience after eating chocolate whereas, in some parts of the world, carob has traditionally been used to battle digestive problems. The pods are rich in natural sugar, calcium, and minerals. When roasted, these pods can be used pretty much like cocoa powder.

    Some snack ideas using carob include:

    • Carob bars
    • Carob Hot Chocolate
    • Cookies
    • Brownies
    • Ice cream

    Its powdered form has half the fat of cocoa, and is naturally sweeter, meaning that less sugar is added to carob products. You can purchase carob as a powder, and use it exactly how you would cocoa. It can also be bought in bars – many of them dairy-free – meaning that a traditional “chocolate” fix is still an option.

  • Raw Cocoa

    I know we’re all used to picking out our favorite easter eggs this time of year but raw cocoa provides us with that healthier option without compromising on tastiness. Cocoa powder is made when cocoa beans are roasted and then ground, which removes some of the natural nutritional content of the beans.

    However, these beans can instead be cold-pressed rather than heated, which results in cacao, the raw form of cocoa. This process removes the fat from the beans and keeps natural goodness locked in, forming two products; raw cacao, and cacao butter. Raw cacao is the healthiest way to get a natural chocolate fix, being minimally processed and full of antioxidants.

  • Recipe 1: (Raw Cacao) No-Bake Fridge Cake 

    This cake is vegan, and dairy/gluten/lactose-free. If you want a cocoa-free, low histamine version, just replace the cocoa powder with carob powder, and add a couple of lightly crushed pecan nuts to the mixture instead of the nibs.

    Ingredients (Makes Around 16 Squares):

    • 145g walnuts
    • 110g almonds
    • 25g pecans
    • 200g dates
    • 125g raw cocoa powder (or carob powder)
    • 35g cacao nibs (or crushed pecans)
    • 2 teaspoons instant coffee • ½ teaspoon flaked salt
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1 ½ tablespoon coconut oil, melted

    Method

    • Put the walnuts, almonds, and pecans in a food processor, and blend until fine, but not a powder.
    • Add the dates a few at a time to the food processor, and blend until the mixture starts to come together. If the dates come with syrup, you can add a little of this to loosen and sweeten the mixture
    • Add in the raw cocoa (or carob) powder, and blend in pulses until all ingredients are combined. Tip the nut and date mixture into a large mixing bowl, scraping any left on the side of the food processor.
    • Lightly melt the coconut oil, and add it to the mixture along with the cacao nibs (or pecans). Stir gently, and add all remaining ingredients.
    • Line a 7×7 inch pan with greaseproof paper, then pour in the mixture. Press this down to form an even layer over the pan.
    • Place into a fridge for about an hour to set.
    • Cut into squares when set, and serve. This should take around 16 good-sized squares, but also works well cut up into smaller bitesize cubes. If your fridge cake isn’t immediately devoured by everyone in sight – lucky you! – it should also keep well in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.

  • Recipe 2: Free From Rocky Road 

    Prep time 15-20 mins 

    Chill time: 3hrs approx 

    Total time: 3hr 20mins 

    Makes: 10 slices

    For the Rocky Road: 

    • 250 g Chocolate dark, milk, or white (Or carob bar for cocoa-free, dark chocolate for dairy-free/Sugar-free for those with sugar cane intolerance/ sensitivity)
    • 160 g Digestive biscuits (Gluten-free or dairy-free alternatives for those who are celiac, lactose intolerant, cow milk protein sensitive or intolerant or cow milk protein allergy to casein or whey)
    • 50 g butter or dairy-free alternative, vegan alternative
    • 50 g Mini Marshmallows (or gelatine free vegan option)
    • 50 g Glace Cherries chopped in half or dried cranberries for sugar-free

    For the topping:

    • 50 g chocolate (same alternatives as above)
    • Handful of mini marshmallows (same as above) or a few hazelnuts for those who can have them or want to avoid sugar cane
    • 80 g Mini chocolate eggs (or dairy-free alternative if dairy intolerant, etc )

    This recipe can be gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, or nut-free. Can be suitable for vegetarians and vegans- modify accordingly. 

    Method:

    • Take an 8-9 inch square brownie tin and spray it with oil then line the bottom with greaseproof paper for best results so that it doesn’t stick.
    • Crush the digestives with your hand or place them in a sandwich bag and smash with a rolling pin, being gluten-free these will crumble easily. Leave some pieces bigger to create chunks.
    • Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl in the microwave being careful not to burn or on a bowl over water in a pan until melted on medium heat.
    • Add the biscuit pieces, glace cherries and mini marshmallows to the melted chocolate mixture until all ingredients are coated in chocolate!
    • Place the rocky road mixture into the brownie tin and smooth the lumpy mixture down as much as possible, they don’t need to be perfect, it’s a rocky road.

    To Decorate:

    • Melt the 50g chocolate the same way and drizzle this over the rocky road
    • Press the Mini Eggs, if using into the melted drizzled chocolate, repeat with the mini marshmallows or nuts.
    • Pop into the fridge to cool for 1-3 hours
    • Remove and cut into 10 pieces approx
    • Oh and the most important part… ENJOY!