Nature’s Eats: Butterscotch and Almond Cheesecake Bars #NaturesEats #Tryazon

 

 

Lets Begin………….

Butterscotch and Almond Cheesecake Bars

  • Dry Ingredients:
    1 cup of Oats (Instant/Quick cooked)
    1 cup of White Whole Wheat Flour
    1 cup of Blanched Almond Flour by Nature’s Eats
    1/2 cup of All Purpose Flour
    1/4 tsp of Salt
    1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
    1/2 tsp of Baking Powder

 

  • Wet Ingredients:
    7 ounces melted Unsalted Butter (melted)
    1 1/4 cup of Butterscotch Chips
    3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
    1 Large Egg

 

  • Filling:
    16 ounces of Cream Cheese (softened)
    1/8 tsp of Almond Extract
    1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
    1/4 cup of White Sugar
    1/8 cup of All Purpose Flour
    1 Large Egg

Drizzle (optional): 1/4 cup of Extra Dark Chocolate melted. Takes about 15 seconds and I use the stove top and I add heat, take the pan off to stir, add pan back and then again stir until just melted. It is my way to avoid burning the chocolate.

You begin by using 3 bowls to mix the above ingredients. You start with the first bowl and incorporate all the flours, baking powder and soda, plus the salt. Set aside. The second bowl, you mix the melted butter, butterscotch chips and the brown sugar. You have the option to melt everything together over a stove top or you can easily microwave the ingredients by using 20 second intervals and mixing in between. The chips may not completely melt (1/4 left intact) and that is perfectly fine. Wait for the wet ingredients to cool off a bit before incorporating the egg. Set aside. The third bowl is for the filling. You incorporate the softened cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients and make sure to whisk until smooth.

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  • Assembly-

Start the oven and I baked the bars at 350 degrees in convection mode. I sprayed a glass pan with nonstick spray and I used a rectangular dish that measures 11 x 7 inches and you can easily use a larger dish for less thicker bars.

You add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is well incorporated. 3/4 of the mixed bar batter goes on the bottom to create an even layer. I use a spatula to smooth it out and press it down a touch. Next comes the filling. You simply spread out the filling to create an even layer. The top layer is the 1/4 amount of the bar batter that remains. I crumble that on top because I do not want to smash or disrupt the middle cream cheese layer. By now the oven usually has reached temperature and in go the bars until baked. This takes between 28 to 35 minutes. Worried the top is over browning? Just add foil on top until the bars are fully baked and I use a toothpick to make sure the bar batter would not stick. You may get a smear of cream cheese but realize you don’t want to over bake the bars. Allow the bars to cool and then you can put them in the fridge. I gave them 4 hours to fully cool and you can even leave them in overnight. Drizzle time!! I cut the bars and find they cut flawlessly when cooled all the way. I tend to cut the bars in different sizes so guests can pick the size they desire. I then melt chocolate and I melted about 1/4 of a cup of Extra Dark Chocolate (Bittersweet). I like the more stronger notes against the sweeter ones the butterscotch tends to give. You can drizzle whatever you want from caramel, white chocolate or semi-sweet. Drizzling on cold cut bars allows the chocolate to harden quick too. I returned the bars to the fridge (uncovered) and within 20 minutes it was set. I then covered the bars in plastic and put them back in the fridge until serving.

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Options: You can add to the filling anything from nuts to dry cranberries, apricots, blueberries to fit any season/occasion. A fruit medley can even be added to give it that full autumn feel. Even though pumpkin everything is hitting the store shelves, we are set for a heat wave in Southern California. This was a pre-Fall treat that is not fully embracing the season because the weather has not gotten the memo! Let’s say I am easing into Autumn and hopefully the weather will too.

Enjoy!

Connect with Nature’s Eats at:

 

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nature’s Eats and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.
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Cal Water H2O Classroom Challenge

Living in Southern California has it’s perks. Great weather, beautiful scenery and an abundance of recreational activities. You can enjoy everything from coastal living, take a mountain hike to even enjoying the desert lifestyle…..all within just a few hours from each other. We are not limited but these drastic weather changes that come with land changes, has taken it’s toll on the state. We have farmlands that are depleted and the water table is no longer able to support what was a bountiful land. There is a reason why our crops suffer and no longer yield the harvest they use to.  You add the enormous amount of fires are state suffers from, which have left “fire scars” on our lands.  You have lack of vegetation that creates a danger to the surviving homes.  So, even getting rain becomes a hazard from mudslides and flooding.

Education is crucial at any age, however sharing knowledge and the importance of conserving doesn’t require an age number. There is no age limit to learning not to waste! Water is abundant when you look at our very blue hued plant, but clean water is a another story. Water that can be safely used is not so easy to access. The world has been impacted by this ongoing crisis but simple changes can aid the situation greatly. The North American Association for Environmental Education has partnered up with the California Water Service, creating an educational program advocating projects in a classroom that impact global to local changes, I was all for supporting such cause.

Teachers and students will be able to brainstorm and contribute a final plan. The plan can be addressing global issues or local community changes that can make a positive impact. Conservation is a key, but being able to educate can also yield the opportunity in addressing a community resource waste (i.e. overrunning of sprinklers by municipalities). Teachers and students will then submit a portfolio that will be judged by a panel of experts, which will provide the opportunity in winning the Cal Water H20 Classroom Water Challenge!

California Water Service     NAAEE Logo

Winners of the Cal Water H2O Classroom Challenge will receive:

  • Grand Prize-
    Class Celebration: Classroom tent-camping
    trip to the Santa Monica Mountains with
    NatureBridge
    Class Funding: $3,500 grant
    Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
  • Second Place Prize-
    Class Celebration: A Pizza Party
    Class Funding: $2,500 grant
    Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
  • Third Place Prize-
    Class Funding: $2,000 grant
    Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
  • Fourth Place Prize-
    Class Funding: $1,000 grant
    Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
    All Participant Prizes
    Student Recognition: An official certificate of
    participation for every student
    Teacher Recognition: A teacher certificate
    Teacher Gift: An AMEX gift card

Our local city has made changes by adding water drip systems and getting rid of water hungry plants like grass that use to suffer the heat waves.  Big decisions needed to be made and some became a local sore subject because old trees that suffered the impact of such temperature increases, needed to be removed.  Thinking green is not always easy and that means sometimes removing hazards like aging trees.  The root systems could no longer support ailing trees that were planted when water was abundant or when conservation was a choice.  We did the same when it came to reducing how much grass we have and have current plans to remove more, which will mean less sprinklers being needed.  Fountains have been turned into planters, more drought tolerant plants have been planted and we got rid of most our Italian Cypress trees (more than 23 of them) that are a fire hazard.  Our local Fire Department likes to refer to them trees as roman candles because this is how they light up, due to all the dead material they hold inside.  Hard decisions but we need to think not only about ourselves, but also the safety of our neighbors.  It’s no longer just about reducing the number of water gallons we use in California per household, but also making sure we have nothing that can feed a fire if one should arise.

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​​This is a sponsored post. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

The ALL NEW Farm Fresh To You: A Fruit and Vegetable Subscription Box Service #FarmFreshToYou #Review and #Recipe

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh To You, is not my usual subscription box that is filled with beauty related products but in some ways this one is too. Think of this Organic box as a Veggie and Fruit delight filled with food that will definitely aid in not only wellness, health, but beautifying you from the inside out. Let’s not even overlook that I absolutely love vegetables and fruit. I get excited and I’m one of those people that says, “look at that ___________, it’s gorgeous and I then start filling a produce bag like it’s going to sell out that second.  I try to purchase Organic when possible, as long as the produce looks good, is not overly priced and easy accessible. I hunt everywhere and most times lose track of how big the fridge is when I’m stuffing Lacinato Kale bundles in the dairy case. I’m not a juicer and truly just love how vegetables and fruit taste like. I will purchase the unknown produce item, google it in the car, and then have plans for what I’m going to make by the time I get home. I’m a believer of not, “knocking it until you try it”, and this is when I was so fortunate in being able to try Organic produce delivered to my home by Farm Fresh To You.

This is how the Service Works:

You have boxes that fit your cooking, eating to family size to choose from. Don’t like a vegetable or fruit offering? You simply can exchange the product for another by using the allotment (amount you are spending on the box of your choice) to replace that selection. Simple! Some items are harvested in limited numbers, so I did find a few items I could not add more of but sharing is something I do well and I like that customization is available and user friendly when ordering.

You can order from the Boxes below and this is with delivery included pricing:

  • Mixed Fruit & Veggie Boxes– that range from $26 for the Small (1-2 people) to the Monster Box (6+ people) for $58.00
  • Traditional CSA Boxes– is for produce that only comes from their own farm and neighboring partner farms. You can pick a Regular Box (2-4 people) for $33 or the More Box (4-6 people) for $46.00
  • No Cooking Boxes– Options that fit the busy person and have items that are easily made or quick to grab and eat while on the go. A Small Box (1-2 people) is $26 and you have Regular Box (2-4 people) for $33 and the More Box for (4-6 people) for $46.00
  • Fruit Only– 100% fruit and you have a Small for $26, Regular for $33 and More for $46.00
  • Veggie Only Boxes– If you are Pro-Veggies 100%, you can opt for this selection. This one has two choices, the Regular Box (2-4 people) and the More (4-6 people) for $46.00
  • Organic Snack Pack– Like I said, no excuses and this service gives you the option for healthier and better tasting packs that range from $35 for the Mini and serves 5 office people, to the Large for $110 and serves 30 people.

Each area has a delivery day, so it depends which zone you fall in on what day of the week they deliver. Mine was Friday but the best part, they deliver between the hours of 8PM on Thursday and 8AM on Friday. Yup, you wake up to surprises and what a great way to end a week. You can even prep meals on the weekend to eat better and tastier next week. You can also add other items like fresh eggs, local honeys to nuts and other treats.

What did I Order:
Okay, I have to start by saying that it’s just my Husband and I (and a dog) and we eat fresh as much as possible. I rarely open a can in this house and it’s usually to do a shortcut meal when using beans or roasted tomatoes. I love to cook and I love to change my weekly meals, so eating fresh fits us nicely and it’s just hard to get off it once you eat everything with texture and flavors intact. With that said, I went for the Monster Box from the Mixed and Veggie selection. I then again have one of those moments where the pictures get the best of me and I added more to my box. I ended up with a total of $59.35 and the box retails for $58, but I got what I wanted. I did change my selection like lowering the count of Gala apples from 10 to zero and adding Honeycrisp, plus changing items so I could add Purple Bell Peppers and so on.

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When it Arrived:
I am not ashamed but I pretended I was catching up on my DVR when I was really just stalking my door. Farm Fresh To You delivered at 1:16 AM and not even a dog barked. The delivery person kindly placed two brown colored boxes by our gate and they were cold to the touch. The employees wear a bright colored vest and even the white truck’s engine was in “shhhhh mode”. If it was not for my “ninja at midnight” ways, I would have heard zilch.

My box was outside for 3 minutes. Hey, I had to first announce, “it’s here….it’s here, I’m not waiting for you (to my half asleep Husband) and I’m getting them”. It took energy and one minute longer to find my sandals because I was not stepping outside in my slipper socks 🙂

  • Box #1- Bartlett Pears, Ruby Crescent Potatoes, Honeycrisp Apples, Nantes Carrots, Broccoli, Assorted Lettuce, Red Pomegranate, Gypsy Peppers, Black Grapes, and Hass Avocado

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  • Box #2- Valencia Oranges, D’ Anjou Pears, Baby Bok Choy,  Celery, Lacinato Kale, Asian Pear, Mixed Medley of Cherry Tomatoes, Purple Bell Peppers, and Zucchini

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The four items I was eager to use from the boxes were the Medley of Cherry  tomatoes, the Purple Bell Peppers, the Gypsy Peppers and those adorable Ruby Crescent potatoes.

  • Rustic Sausage, Potatoes and Vegetables

Rustic cooking for us is cooking with what we have at hand and what comes to mind.  Simplicity at its best and you measure ingredients by your mood and cravings, no rules and let the flavors shine! It’s about enjoying each ingredient and not drowning it out.

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I decided to make a nice rustic dish of peppers, onions, tomatoes and sausages.  I used an Organic Chicken based sausage that was made with Sweet Basil and Roasted Garlic.  The sausage is pre-cooked but frozen.  I cut the larger potatoes in half and left the smaller ones as-is.  Added roughly chopped Green and Red Bell peppers, white onion, Italian Cubanelle Pepper and few garlic cloves.  I tossed everything with Olive Oil, salted, added dry tarragon, blacked cracked pepper, and dry lavender.  I cooked covered on the roasting setting (425 degrees) for 20 minutes.  This is to allow the potatoes to get a head start cooking and my frozen sausage to defrost.

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After 20 minutes have lapsed, simply add the softer and more delicate peppers, like the Gypsy and Purple ones, plus the tomatoes and toss with melted butter and parsley.  Remove the defrosted sausages.  The butter and veggie mix gets added and mixed to the previous semi-cooked contents.  You toss and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.  Then add the sausages back.  I left the 2 chicken based ones whole and then sliced a (pre-cooked) pork Italian one to give the dish that added flavor.  Cook another 25 to 30 minutes uncovered, or until potatoes are tender. Two minutes before taking the dish out, I tossed the fresh Rosemary t0 give the dish a slight hint of flavor and aroma from the herb.

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I then served the dish with a little cheese on top and a nice crusty loaf of bread.

This code gives you $15 off your first box!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Farm Fresh To You.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

MomsMeet: Organic Nutiva Hazelnut Spreads and Buttery Coconut Oil #Review #Nutiva

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Hazelnut spreads are my weakness and when I saw that Nutiva actually makes both a classic chocolate blend and a dark chocolate……I knew what I would be baking up storm with this season (and the next). Nutiva, took the (my) hazelnut spread addiction a step further, by providing us with an organic option. This is a game changer as finding just natural products is difficult with these spreads and most contain artificial ingredients to even nasty ones that take the enjoyment of indulging away. This is why I stopped eating what I enjoyed so much as a kid. Hazelnuts are my favorite and you combine chocolate with them, well it’s a perfect marriage. I always wished they made a dark chocolate variety but in the end, I just kept wishing they added less sugar and sweet syrups to the spreads! My hazelnut spread was slowly lost as time went by and when the company was sold to another food company, I lost any hazelnut or even chocolate flavors that remained. I started just calling it the brown spread. Sort of sounded gross but it summed up how I felt about what I had lost.

 

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Nutiva comes in and saves the day…..heck, my childhood memories. My mind is running with ideas from truffles to cakes made with their spread. I was worried that I was building up the idea and would open up the jar to just find sadness. Nutiva was very generous with the kit they sent and I received:

 

Verdict:

 

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When it comes time to purchase coconut oils, I always resort to Nutiva as my go-to brand. The brand has never failed me when it comes to quality ingredients and they are constantly innovating the brand with the new products they added. Everything is always a must buy after I have tried it once. You can’t say that about many brands out there. Nutiva’s selection may not be as grand as others but knowing that what you are buying is not only made with premium and clean ingredients, you also know that it will taste good. I am all about eating well and organic when possible, but the taste and texture has to be there for me. I don’t like the idea of “eating good” but not being happy about what I am eating in the first place. Nutiva has made me a fan of coconut oil to now being able to add their Organic Buttery one to the mix. I was already at times mixing unsalted butter with my coconut oil in the first place but now I won’t have to. The best part, you taste butter but it’s not there. Nutiva managed to use sunflower to create this genius concoction. I assumed the butter was there when I cooked and ate a pasta dish I made but while eating, I started reading the bottle and noticed this is a “butter alternative”, not actual dairy. It’s even Vegan friendly! Pure genius and I will definitely be purchasing this mix again.

 

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Next comes the Hazelnut spreads. Um, they are back and can I even admit to being better than before? I taste hazelnut again. That was gone after my third jar of trying and I bought the third bottle from another brand by telling myself maybe the other 2 jars were bad batches. You know, made on a Friday at the factory and everyone wanted to leave early kind of batch. Cocoa is the second ingredient followed by Palm and then the nut! No skimping here and I feel the spread is smoother not only in taste but texture. No grainy or oily feel when consumed. The quality of the chocolate is present and no rancid weird taste of what I call “fillers” when not only hazelnuts are used. There is a reason the hazelnut and chocolate combination has been a hit for generations. It works and Nutiva did not mess with that. I finally can have my spread and they listened to me even though I never said anything directly to them, but like some magic Nutiva lowered the sugar. Yup, by 40% less than the leading brand. This is why the power of the chocolate and hazelnut is what you get at every bite……finally, less freaking sugar. I am not anti-sugar but like salt, just a touch so you can still taste the actual ingredients you want. There is also many advantages buying Nutiva’s spread where you get Omega-3 (450 mg), Fair Trade Palm oil, to Organic and a Gluten Free product. Anyone can eat this because the goal was to make the best hazelnut spread with the best ingredients and this is why (and others) agree that so far Nutiva has beat the competition by a huge margin!

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Connect with Nutiva at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nutiva and MomsMeet. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Island’s Miracle Premium Aromatherapy Gift Kit

 

A little while ago, I told you about an awesome Essential Oil Diffuser from Island’s Miracle, and this time I’m here to share with you Island’s Miracle’s Essential Oil Aromatherapy Gift Collection. It’s the perfect companion for Island’s Miracle Diffuser. And together these are potent aromatherapy powerhouse that, with today’s streses and strains should be in everyone’s home, like, yesterday!

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There are 10 different essential oils in this fabulous gift set, Frankincense, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Tea tree (Melaleuca), Patchouli, Rosemary, and Silver Fir. These are pure, undiluted oils, not loaded with fillers, additives, or “carrier oils” (cheaper oils that dilute the essence of the scented essential oils but themselves provide no scent). And the testing Island’s Miracle uses is bananas! Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, FTIR Scan (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), Microbial Testing, and Organoleptic Testing… Holy moley! If only our food supply was tested that well in this country! All of them are therapeutic grade and ultra-premium. The gift box they come in even includes information on what effect you can expect to derive from the oil, country of origin, and scent family to expect. And lest you think you’re getting some sample-size collection here, all ten bottles are a generous 10ml size.

And all this for a very reasonable $35.95 with free Prime 2-day shipping. Coupled with their fantastic diffuser, and with the holidays right around the corner, you’ve got a gift that will keep on giving the entire year! This is a good set from a real company that puts a great deal of thought and care into their products and I’m happy to help them spread the word about their goods. I love my set and I know a few people who can expect an Island’s Miracle gift set under their tree soon!

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Connect with Island’s Miracle:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Island’s Miracle. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

MomsMeet: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups #Review #BobsRedMill

 

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As the days grow colder, like everyone, I tend to seek out warmer meals and this includes at breakfast time. I consume oatmeal through out the year and my way to change my selection, is by adding seasonal fruit to the cup. This way my cups change and I get to enjoy what the seasons have to offer. What can I say? Oatmeal can get boring as much as my granola does and let’s be honest, this is why I view granola as cold oatmeal! Adding dried fruits, nuts, seeds to even a dollop of yogurt can brighten up a cup on any day.

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I have been a fan of Bob’s Red Mill for years. They just never fail me. I started first by buying their flour decades ago and then as they released more and including meals (i.e. nut flours), I was happy to see them reach the west coast. It’s kind of nice not having to order online all the time and when places like Target started supported the brand….heck, I am thrilled.

 

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I was recently part of the Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups campaign from MomsMeet. They were kind and generous to send out samples to try and share and like the signature that runs so true to Bob’s Red Mill, they included additional products to share. Love them! Such a giving company and please take a moment to read about the company on their website, you will fall in love with how they treat their employees. There is true pride and respect for the products they make for us. The other part that I have enjoyed being a Bob’s Red Mill fanatic, is they eat like I do. This adding chia seeds to flax seeds to enhance not only your taste buds but your nutrition is something I learned from them. Yes, they taught me to care more about what I eat and always made it easy for me from offering flax seed both whole and in milled form. No excuses in being able to eat better!

 

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The Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups kit included:

 

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Verdict:
The Oatmeal cups are phenomenal. You can use the microwave direction or the add hot water to the cup one. I have been using a mix of nut milks and water to enhance the flavor and not that the cups lack taste, but I sometimes seek a richer background on those colder mornings. All the ingredients are real and clean, no fillers and even making sure to use gluten free oats. The Nutritional Boosters that you can also add are the protein powders to create a morning power meal. You can even go with the unflavored blend they offer online or why not start your morning with some chocolate. It’s is like having a hot cocoa and oatmeal in one cup and it is actually good for you. I make the “Choco-Monkey” blend with the classic oatmeal cup, a spoonful of Chocolate Protein powder, almond milk with water as the fluid, then after heating I add chopped bananas and walnuts with a spoonful of peanut butter in the center. It’s almost like a molten lava cake with that gooey peanut butter center and I feel sinful eating it because oatmeal never tasted this good. My guilt vanishes when I start adding up the protein and it turns out to be a cup filled with healthy nutrition. Eating well goes beyond opening a mealy tasting bar and going out the door in the mornings. The Bob’s Red Mill cups come with tops, so if you have time to pick up a latte, you have time (3 minutes) to give yourself a few microwave seconds to eat the cups as they come or enhance them to your liking. You are worth it and your family will join in because things that taste good don’t get questioned. They just make smiles 🙂

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Connect with the wonderful crew at Bob’s Red Mill at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill and MomsMeet. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Luv Michael: Locally Sourced Organic Granola that Gives Back #Review #LuvMichael #LuvMichaelCo

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Being a yogurt lover sort of makes me a granola junkie. I love that crunch combined with nuts and fruits that tends to take the bore out of my geek yogurt. In other words, granola is what adds happiness to any cup of plain yogurt. As granola became more and more popular, many companies sort of got off the beaten path of just oats and sweeteners. Many add other ingredients like Chia seeds to Hemp and antioxidant rich berries like Acai to Cocoa nibs, plus your typical nut blends. Even the sweeteners have changed. Honey is no longer the only thing that bonds the clusters. I have seen from agave to rice derived sugars that really anymore we really have so many choices. Like with everything, being able to siphon out the fakers as I call them is really the only thing to watch out for.

 

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In comes Luv Michael granola, which took the approach of not only making a “cleaner” product but also took the challenge of making changes happen with the products they produce. They contribute back and not just to your taste buds. Luv Michael is a company that invests in people with Autism, just like it’s founder Michael Kessaris. They produce a gluten free product with natural derived ingredients. Foods that benefit many with autistic symptoms. Luv Michael then again took a step further and when the company started with aid from his parents, they employ from the community people with same challenges. Talk about giving back in every way possible and this is why I took interest in such a company. Many companies give back but very few really take their mission to heart like Luv Michael has. The company and it’s members went full circle in every way possible to create not only a welcoming environment for autistic adults but one where they can help contribute and distribute a product for everyone.

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Verdict:

Like I stated being a a self proclaimed granola junkie means I have tasted many combinations and overly elaborate mixes. Many have been great and others just stop being granola and more like trail mixes when you really look at the combos. Finding an original one or what I call plain variety is what is really hard to find. So many even add chocolates to their mixes that a snack turns into a dessert at one point or even an ice cream topper. My hunt for a good plain granola was starting to look murky until I found the company Luv Michael. First of all, finally a resealable package! Air is great for humans but very mean to granola. Some goes stale while other gets sticky when exposed to air for any amount of time. Mostly because of all the sugars and other non-granola ingredients making a simple thing not so simple. The granola from Luv Michael has even a cute name, Originola. Each packet is 2 ounces and masterfully done by not just chefs but Granologists. They use natural and organic ingredients and the end result is a not super sweet but plenty crunchy granola. The oat clusters are decent in size and not just what I call granola dust, when a product has been over processed or worse, those tooth breaking granola boulders. Each package contains perfectly sized chunks that you can enjoy as-is or pair it up with yogurt if you so desire. There is care in how everything is made at Luv Michael and that really is seen in the appearance of the product but more importantly, in the taste! Not super sugary but enough to add some brightness to a breakfast mix or snack. I really liked the oats used because they did not taste like they had been packaged on a shelf for months. There is freshness here and care. Luv Michael has captured what was lost and that is making one awesome plain granola mix that is rare to find anymore. A throwback to what use to be easily found before and from a girl that missed the plain original……she is very glad to count on Luv Michael to fill that knitch for her.

 

Connect with Luv Michael at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Luv Michael Company. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

UpNature: 100% Natural Raw Almonds in a 2.5 lbs. Bag #Review #UpNatureRawAlmonds

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I usually admit that I buy many different types of nuts in whole form but always in bulk. Buying in bulk is great as you get a lower price per ounce/pound because you are buying more product at one time. The factor that can sometimes backfire on me comes to quality. Many producers yield great batches but as the year progresses, you start seeing some add less premium nuts to their batches but here you are paying the same price point or even higher if the weather was an issue. The bargain is lost when you buy less quality nuts in bulk. You are then sort of stuck trying to consume a product you may not be too fond of.

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Retail Price Point: $25.99 for a 2.5 pound bag via Amazon

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Verdict:
When UpNature had already surprised me in a favorable manner with their raw honey, I though why not when it came to trying their almonds. Again like their honey, this is another product that is left as natural as can be. Raw almonds that are not smoked and actually steamed pasteurized. I love roasted and/or smoked nuts but over time data has stated that the benefits are not the same and actually the oils in the nuts can be harmful, as oxidation and other changes are caused by the high heat they come in contact with. UpNature grows their almonds in California with minimal processing and each nut was flawless when I received it. They also bag their almonds in a brown bag versus a plastic bag, which can inhibit moisture and mold growth. The almonds are kosher certified and have never come in contact with pesticides, irradiation, or any chemicals. Just plain almonds with premium quality but wholesale pricing.  I found the nuts to be pleasant in texture, not mealy and fresh.  The taste I describe as a mild sweetness as the flavors are natural in their raw form.  No salts or anything to get in the way, so it really leaves it up to you and your imagination to enhance the almond, or like I enjoy them…….just as they are.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from UpNature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

UpNature: Raw and Organic 100% Natural Honey #Review #UpNatureHoney

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Honey is one of nature’s most simplest products and the applications are endless. Now buying honey was very simple before. You usually picked a jar or a bear shaped bottle and you had honey ready to go. Then the industry decided to get funny but not in a very laughable kind of sense. We had companies add fillers and sell honeys from around the world that were high in price but not quality. You were paying pretty much for sugars and not even the good kind. Some even add enhancements and flavoring, which are not even naturally occurring. So finding a brand you can trust and sells true and honest honey can be a bit of a hunt but so worth it. You will even find if you use the real stuff, like with vanilla extracts, you end up needing less because of the purity.

 

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UpNature makes Raw and Organic Honey with zero surprises or fillers. You get the real stuff with zero processing. The good stuff is kept in and no bad stuff added! Simplicity and honesty at it’s finest. UpNature is USDA Organic Certified, Free of GMOs, and even Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified. Free from being heated and literally jarred in the same form it was gathered.

Price Point: $17.99 via Amazon or $19.99 via UpNature’s Website for a 400 gram jar

 

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Verdict:

The first thing I noticed was that the honey in the jar was not clear like many in the stores that have been processed via heat so other fillers can be added and combined. You have a semi-opaque liquid that tends to run slower than other honeys of like kind. It’s almost the texture of a maple syrup of high grade when you move it in the jar. The color is a brilliant amber! Just beautiful and UpNature gave the bottle a beautiful beehive design on the golden colored lid, so the little details were very much appreciated. The taste test is just amazing. There is thickness to the honey but it’s a creamy texture and very smooth. I tried it on bread first to see how it tasted and I had to stop myself. I had no idea I liked honey so much until I tried UpNature’s honey. The product is from the Ukraine and the bottle states the honey is cultivated from fields that are rich in minerals, so the bees create a honey that is really made from wildflowers. I tried it with tea the second time and just a 1/4 of a teaspoon was more than satisfying and enhanced the flavor of the tea, which was orange/citrus in taste. This honey just brightened that little tea cup and changed the flavor profile completely. I love using less because this means this jar shall last! I have a recipe for blonde brownies where honey is used as a sweetener and I will be using this one because it will definitely create a better texture (moist) to the brownies.

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from UPNature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Royal Imports: Decorative Rocks, 5 lbs Polished River Rocks #Review #RoyalImports

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I am always hunting for polished rocks for projects in the garden but because I work on small projects at a time, I don’t require a huge bag from the local hardware store. Most of those rocks as it is, are not as polished and glossy, as the ones I received from Royal Imports. I usually would purchase the smaller bags for orchids and such but they always cost a bundle and I was never happy with the colors, tones and sizes. They were too mini and the hues the rocks carried were usually one tone, like gray/black or light tans. The Royal Imports polished rocks, they come in a double mesh bag, which helps in keeping all the rocks no matter the size from falling out. Much better than dealing with a plastic bag that when it spills, you are picking rocks out of the dirt. The mesh bag has elastic so as the stock lowers with use, the bag always accommodates the amount in it and will shrink down enough so none spill.

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I used the rocks in my pots, which have succulents and then the rest along a stone path I created where my larger variety of succulents are along with my ceramic mushrooms. The colors and sizes made the area pop and added just that extra texture that my garden very much needed. For the price and quantity given, plus the ease with Amazon Prime shipping, well you just can’t beat the value. None so far have lost color, so they do not seem dyed or enhanced where you would lose luster with time. I also have a bird that loves to pick at my pots and many times uproots a succulent. These rocks keeps the bird from reaching the root system and the variety in sizes makes it harder for the bird to get a good amount of damage going. I no longer find hanging plants off of pots or worse, when the bird picked enough that the plant fell out of it’s pot.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Royal Imports. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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