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 ūüôā

  • 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.

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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 ūüôā

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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.

SunRype: The NEW Fruit & Chia Bars and just released Energy Bars #Review

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SunRype, makes bars for consumers that want other options than the soy loaded and artificial sweetener filled bars, you see in so many products of this kind today. I want real food and this goes for when I need a pick-me up snack to even a replacement meal. My Husband has soy sensitivity and I want a bar we can both share and eat. We usually even split an energy bar when we are running errands and the last thing I want to do, is say you can’t have this one. The bars are gluten free and even though we do not have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, we like to not always eat the same ingredients with every meal. When SunRype approached me about reviewing their 4 most recent bars, I looked into the company and liked how they stated things like “100% Fruit Snacks”, “Simple Ingredients”, to words in the ingredients list that you can pronounce…….so a bar I can actually trust!

I was sent the following varieties from two of SunRype’s newest collections:

Fruit & Chia in Mango Twist
Fruit & Chia in Apple Cinnamon
Energy in Chocolate Coconut
Energy in Raspberry Chocolate

Verdict:

Taste matters because I love fruits and vegetables, and never understood why others did not until I tasted some bars on the market. Any real fruit was annihilated and I probably would feel the same if my introduction to certain fruit bars began that way. SunRype, respects the fruit! The Fruit and Chia bars are like the breakfast scatters I already eat. Every Sunday, I fill a mason jar with dried fruits, seeds and nuts to eat throughout the week. It’s mixed with several flax seeds from ground to whole, dried fruits from coconut to acai berries to other ingredients like cocoa nibs and even mini dark chocolate chips because everything in moderation does not hurt, plus actually makes eating your meal an enjoyment. Ironically, I skip what I call the common filler nuts like peanuts and it’s nothing against the nut but I prefer almonds, pistachios, to walnuts and if I crave peanuts, I’ll just eat peanuts. When I read the packages on the SunRype Fruit & Chia bars, they make what I eat. Versus it being a scatter that I usually eat with yogurt or Kefir, they put it in a package I can travel with. Great for mornings I am in a hurry or dinner will be at a later time that busy day. The bars start with 100% fruit pieces and use sweeteners from the fruit itself to molasses and even brown rice syrup. You know…..real foods! It’s a whole grain bar and they use gluten free oats and brown rice flour. Each of the Fruit & Chia bars contain 800 mg of ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids and both the Mango Twist and Apple Cinnamon bar is just 200 calories per bar. Sodium is just 50 mg and you get a nice 4 grams of protein. I avoid cinnamon anything. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the spice but most times anything with it is loaded and overpowering. Not with SunRype! The spice is a compliment and the bar resembles an apple bread I bake from scratch. The Mango is a nice break from the common flavors and has a tropical puree taste from the dried mango but because the bar contains coconut, it has a beautiful balance.

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Now, the SunRype Energy bars come with 7 grams of protein that is plant derived. SunRype, also does not hide behind proprietary blends, they list what their energy blend comes from. The main component is pea (protein), green tea extract and ginseng powder for an energy boost. I find my body not only gets a natural boost from these ingredients but I metabolize them better, so no crashing like you would have with some energy drinks. The Chocolate Coconut is 210 calories and the Raspberry Chocolate variety is just 10 calories less. Not bars that you have to punish yourself later by cutting calories from your meals. They are decent in size and more than fulfill their need by stopping hunger to even keeping you going. The Chocolate Coconut was my favorite of all 4 bars. I love coconut and SunRype did not skip on the ingredient. I not only satisfied myself with a snack but also a craving. The Raspberry Chocolate still had the tartness from the berry! Love that because it’s the whole point I go after such berries, I want what they bring from the tart to sweetness that is unique in flavor to that variety.

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All in all, this bars were a hit. They remind me of my morning scatters I enjoy, mixed with fruit leather bars I purchase at the local Framer’s Market…..SunRype just got the wonderful idea of making them both meet to make a bar that is not only nutritious, but a pleasure to have. They have a store locator for their products to even available on Amazon, so no reason to not give there treats…..I mean bars a try. ūüôā

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from SunRype. 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.

FreshJax: Set of 5 Gourmet Handcrafted Spices (Grilling Spices) #Review #FreshJaxSpices

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One of the delights of Summer, is the grilling weather. Being in California, this means that we grill most parts of the year and even during Winter. If it’s raining we can easily bring the grill under the tall awning from the patio, so again no limitations. Finding spices and especially blends is something I must admit I do not usually purchase. I have a large array of individual spices, dried herbs, chilies, in powdered to granulated, and even whole form. I just avoid blends because I found early on, they were just mostly blended products with 75% being salts or sugars. Not my kind of thing, so when FreshJax reached out and I looked into the company…..well, I gave them a try.

FreshJax is a family owned company and they started their company in 2011. They advertised something I use commonly, being “clean” about what you make. This is not just limited to sanitary conditions, but to using real products, no fillers and having pride in what you make. You got to love cooking to a certain degree to make things work and one thing FreshJax loves, is their spice mixes!

 

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I selected the Grilling Spices because the selection looked like one I can actually use. Like all 5 bottles sounded like great mixes and close to ingredients we use on a weekly basis, but I am always looking how people add their own twist to ingredients I use. The grilling mix comes with:

  • GRILL MASTER: Think about an all purpose blend and this mix is it. It goes well with any protein to vegetables and seafood. Serves all well with herbs like organic fennel, garlic, rosemary and smoked black peppercorns. I use smoked salts on almost a daily basis but the smoked peppercorns really made this mix unique and addicting.
  • SMOKEY SOUTHWEST: Not just spice but flavor! This one was great to add to beans and even inside a quesadilla. It made every cheesy quesadilla amazing with just one sprinkle of this blend. You have smoked salts and pepper, to cumin to give it that recognizable Tex-Mex kick.
  • CITRUS PEPPER: I have a lemon pepper blend I use and it’s also made with organic herbs and spices. FreshJax, laughed at my lemon pepper blend! This bottle is a citrus bonanza when it comes to flavor. You have a blend here of lemon, orange, lime with a zest you get from white peppercorns. They also use a pepper medley blend, which means you get the red and even the green that tend to be milder in flavor. A great combination and perfect for vegetables and I made a Citrus Pepper compound butter for salmon that was grilled on planks and oh my, just delicious!
  • FRESH BAY: There is a reason the other is called “Old” Bay. This mix revamps the old by using organic mace, cardamon, mustard seeds to your familiar celery seed and bay leaves. I found even cinnamon in this blend but I could not taste it. Like not one ingredient fought with each other, so it’s a peaceful bay ūüôā that will play well with shrimps to even chicken.
  • PEPPERED HABANERO: I was afraid this one would just mimic the Smokey Southwest but thankfully this one was totally different. You get heat and I find habanero peppers not only provide heat but more flavor than a jalapeno. I don’t find the pepper to be crazy hot. This blend is peppery and you get a zing but again FreshJax delivers taste. They also blended in Bird’s Eye Chili, which is an Asian variety. I love that this one plays well with braised beef because you don’t have to always taco everything! When I braised the beef, it was ready in 1 hour and the tortillas were on the side to help scoop up the peppery sauce this blend created!

 

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Final Verdict:

I recall now what ease it is to pick-up a bottle and go! I kind of forgot that when I am so use to getting out the items I need to grind peppercorns, seeds, and pods, to then mixing in dry herbs, spices and salts. FreshJax, made this a positive experience just from one simple bottle with no clean-up needed. Easy and I was not cheating the dishes I made either. Flavor was present and I still had to salt some a little bit because these seasonings add taste, not just pickle the meats and vegetables you add them to. The herbs and spices are fresh and you not only see them on the meats you rubbed them on, marinated with but even the vegetables I used the spices on were well received.

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Connect with FreshJax at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from FreshJax. 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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