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.

Tryazon: Sterno S’mores Maker for Indoors and Outdoors Use #SmoresMaker

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I’m all for DIY cooking ways and what not better way to bring some fun, by being able to create S’mores at home. The weather is bad? No problem, as this Sterno S’mores Maker has no limitations. You can make S’mores it indoors, outdoors and at any hour. Yup, party any time and this is not just limited to giving kids smiles, you can even make “Gourmet S’mores” that are easy and even make it less messy. No longer do you have to try to hold the candy bar piece, you can literally make a chocolate bark topping that stays……yes, stays put on top of your graham piece.

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The S’mores Maker is brought to you by Sterno Products, the company that has been bringing heat to campers and the like for decades. They have created a nice line of products and kits, which make not only Summer funner, but you are not limited by the seasons when entertaining.

The kit includes:

  • 2 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Roasting Safety Screen for even roasting and protection from flame
  • 2 integrated S’mores Making Stations for an easy and clean way to make s’mores
  • Includes 1 can of Sterno S’mores Heat™ (also available for purchase separately)

I decided to make chocolate barks and all you do is make a ganache and/or melt chocolate and add toppings. Ganaches, use Heavy Cream and produce a more velvety texture and by using a 75% ratio of chocolate to 25% cream, the product firms up enough to not fall off the graham or cookie of your choice. You can also melt chocolate on low heat and then simply smear the chocolate on one part of the cookie, add your toppings and you are now pre-making S’mores!  When guests arrive, half the work is completed. I also find this controls messes. Nuts, coconut shavings and so forth can get sloppy when you are building the Ultimate S’mores sandwich. This way of building S’mores makes sure the tables and floors do not suffer from runaway toppings!

The toppings are endless and you can satisfy any picky eater by using these easy tricks:

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Now, this is how the set up looks and it took me an hour to pre-make all the cookies.  I had guests coming as I made them and my chocolate chip mini cookies were eaten up, but you can use more than just graham.  Even Shortbread minis!

 

The Sterno S’mores Maker heats evenly no matter the size of marshmallow.  Hey, I was worried the Giant ones (found at Aldi’s) would not heat up and melt in the center, they did and with ease.  The normal size ones that look like miniatures compared to the gigantic ones, those I purchased at Trader Joe’s.

 

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Verdict:

I was super excited and started purchasing ingredients before the maker even arrived.  Then it arrived!! It was beautiful and easy to assemble, meaning none was needed.  The red portion (holder) is dishwasher safe and because you can by the cans again and again, this means having a S’mores party is endless.  We will be trying more creations in the future and I can’t wait.  This is a must buy and at $35.16 currently at Amazon, it’s perfect for 4th of July or really anytime.  Make your own fun and creations.  The refill fuel cans retail for $6.99 and that is for two cans!  Each can lasts for about 45 minutes.  It’s a cinch to clean up and everyone had a blast.

 

Connect with Sterno and checkout the S’mores Maker at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sterno and Tryazon. 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.

 

Moms Meet: So Delicious Dairy Free Creamers #Review #SoDelicious

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Who doesn’t love coffee? I’m one of those where coffee not only tastes good but I have found it helps me with other health issues, by increasing my circulation and giving me a boost of much needed energy. Plus, the warmth of a cup helps when my joints ache. What I don’t like are creamers. I mean I love how they taste sometimes, but not when it comes to the chemicals and thickeners, which take the joy of having a cup of coffee that is now more a loaded cup of sugar. I have been hunting for an alternative and when Moms Meet featured So Delicious, this is the brand I have seen in stores but sort of walked by (shame on me).

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The campaign was mostly focused on the creamers So Delicious makes. You have two non-dairy bases to choose from, Coconut and Almond milk, with the former being the more extensive items to choose from:

  • Coconut Milk in Original
  • Coconut Milk Barista Style in Original and in French Vanilla
  • Coconut Milk in French Vanilla
  • Coconut Milk in Hazelnut

You can obtain the above in pints and quart sizes

  • Almond Milk in Original
  • Almond Milk in French Vanilla

You can obtain the above in only pint sizes

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Retail Price Point: Usually under $3 for the pint and if you get a coupon, this creamer can be easily obtained for $1.50 with a sale/coupon combination. I purchased the creamers at Von’s, Sprout’s Farmers Market and at Target.

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Verdict:
I was unsure what to expect and with about 25 calories per tablespoon with the Coconut variety and 15 calories with the Almond kind (i.e. comparing French Vanilla), you control what you want to put in your coffee. Not filled with sugars or artificial ingredients, plus soy free. Now, the taste matters. I love them. They taste better than the original creamers I used both in liquid and powder form. I’m getting a shot of flavor and creamer, all in one. I liked them so much, that I kept buying So Delicious. I am not branching out to other products. My friend that tried the creamer with us, has now raved about the ice cream……so look at So Delicious and change your routine. There is no getting bored here when it comes to flavors and all the wonderful products So Delicious makes!  Go on-line and connect with So Delicious because they over sweeten the deals (not your coffee) with the coupons they always offer.

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Connect with So Delicious at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Moms Meet and So Delicious. 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.

Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

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Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

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I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

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First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

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Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

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SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

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Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

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Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  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.

 

BetterBody Foods: PB Fit, Peanut Butter Powder and PB Chocolate Powder #Review Panettone Pound Cake #Tryazon

I have looked at powdered peanut butter but never actually purchased it. I sort of walked around it and wondered how it was when it reconstituted, how it baked when used in recipes, to even how it was when sprinkled over my morning breakfasts.  I even imagined mixing the powder with peanut butter, creating a grilled PB Nutty &J sandwich that would make everyone stand in lines to get their fix.  The BetterBody Foods PB fit is a brand that I saw was preferred mostly and touted as being the “must try” when it came to venturing into Peanut Butter powders.

Powdered Peanut Butter is not just one of those products that is made just so you can see if you can be done! It has it’s applications because I myself sometimes wish I could up the “peanut flavor” without having to add more nuts or even the butter itself. Formulations have doomed me when I cooked recipes or was experimenting and added too much peanut butter that created an unpleasant texture. From too much oil to even producing bake goods that baked up more like a crunchy paste than a bread or a cookie dough. Thankfully, our dog saves us when my PB creations have failed.

The BetterBody Foods PB fit is also a different product all together than what comes out of a jar and no butter knife required. You can easily add flavor and not sacrifice texture. You also have health benefits that come in to play that I had overlooked. The BetterBody Foods company powder offers:

  • A Gluten Free Peanut Butter Powder
  • Lower in Fats, which depending on the variety you buy that can be from 75% to 85% lower
  • 1/3 less calories per serving compared to standard peanut butter
  • Good source of protein and also fiber
  • The Peanut Butter powder is also natural with no artificial ingredients, dyes, or preservatives.
  • Simply Peanuts, Salt and Sugar made from non-GMO ingredients

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Okay, this Peanut Butter is a different nut all together in my book. It’s a cleaner and a more intense tasting peanut, so I opted to make a recipe and using the PB Fit powder because of the lower fat content but not lowered peanut tasting! With the holidays approaching, almond cakes and pound cakes are some of my favorite baked goods. They just go with anything from the seasonal fruits and berries, to just plain with a dollop of whipped cream or a warm sauce. I figured since I was being adventurous, why not make an Panettone Pound Cake and use a combination of products that are nut based.

Let’s Begin….

  • 7 ounces of Almond Paste (grated)
  • 2 sticks of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups of White Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 drop of Lemon
  • 2 drops of Almond Extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 4 tablespoons of PB Fit Powder (you can use plain or even the chocolate variety.  You can also divide the batch to make a marble cake by using both varieties)
  • 1 cup of Cake Flour
  • 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup of Hazelnut Flour (ground hazelnuts)
  • Zest of one Orange (any variety you desire)
  • 1/2 cup of Milk (room temperature)
  • Optional 1/2 a cup to a cup of nuts like Pistachios to even mini chocolate chips.  You can even add candied fruits, dry fruits (imagine figs) and crystallized ginger in lower amounts.  You can also add slivered almonds on top when 1/4 baked through, and then make sure to cover (with foil) to avoid burning when they have toasted.

Set oven to warm at 325 degrees

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I start by grating 7 ounces of Almond Paste and added it to the butter and white sugar. Blend until creamy.  Add eggs to the butter mixture and blend again until smooth and combined.

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In a separate bowl, add zest of the orange to your dry ingredients (flours, Salt, PB Fit Powder, and Baking Soda) whisk, and set aside.

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Add extracts.  You then grab your dry ingredients bowl and in shifts add some of the dry ingredients and then some of the milk until all ingredients are combined.  Do not over mix, as this produces a dry cake.  You can then fold in the optional ingredients if desired.

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I use a large pound cake pan, but you can even use a cake pan and make two layers with the cake batter.  No rules here because I can imagine making a custard/pudding that would be divine with this cake.  You bake the cake for 60 minutes and if it starts to brown too much on top, cover with foil.  At the 1 hour mark, raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until done.  Cool for 5 minutes and then flip the cake on to a wire rack to cool an additional 1 to 2 hours before slicing.

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This cake is like a Panettone in flavor but with a heavier texture to resemble a pound cake, which has a crumb that can withstand more than the airiness you get from a Panettone batter.  You bake it slow to allow the flavors to build, the butter to brown, and to yield a moist pound cake.  Enjoy!

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Verdict:

So, it’s a product with the name PB fit and I made cake (I know)!  Well, I’m a girl that thinks even fit focused products can create magic with what is seen as naughty.  They talk about clean eating, well I think that applies to baking too.  Alienating a product because it carries the word “fit” would just be silly and the BetterBody food company is about making products better for the consumer, and I always say when you use top quality ingredients, you can never go wrong and this cake proves it!  It’s a little of naughty and nice to go with the holiday season.  The holidays are about experiencing flavors from pumpkin to dark chocolates, and peanut butter is no longer seen as just the “poor man’s nut”.  Many companies make exceptional peanut butters that are even considered gourmet creations.  BetterBody Foods, allows the consumer to take a known product that is just not like any peanut butter I ever tasted.  There is that cleaner taste that is more intense and closer to the nut’s true flavor because of the simple process they use that equates to just less processing in the first place!  I can make the powder into a butter by adding water, so don’t think your sandwiches are in jeopardy.  I can’t wait to make a peanut butter cookie because this is the product I have been waiting for!  On Halloween, I added the PB Fit Chocolate powder to crispy rice (cereal) treats and they were different and gone before the evening was over.  It was one of those moments where I was about to add peanut butter and thought I already add mini chocolate chips to the top of the treats when they are cooling, so why not add the powder to the marshmallow and butter mix.  It took just 4 tablespoons to create a flavor that made my treats vanish, and any cook and baker loves that!

Connect with BetterBody Foods and get your PB Fit fix at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from PB Fit and Tryazon.  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.

Swaggable: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Chocolate Protein Powder Review #FuelledByHemp

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I have been a fan of the Manitoba Harvest brand and on a few occasions tasted their hemp based products, just to always find a new food to enjoy and this one is no different. They then added chocolate to the mix, so they definitely were making sure we would love it just even more.

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The previous Hemp products were in their whole form, where the Hemp Pro 70 line is finely ground, so you can have more options when incorporating it with other super-foods or just enjoying it as it comes. The Hemp Pro 70 powder is plant based protein, which breaks down like this:

  • A 4 tablespoon serving is only 130 calories
  • 3.5 grams of total fat and only 0.5 is from Saturated and zero Trans fat.
  • Sodium is a modest 25 milligrams
  • The Carbohydrates breakdown to 11 grams per serving, two come from dietary fiber and 7 grams of sugar.
  • Iron breaks down to 21% of your daily value, which is usually based on a 2,000 caloric intake. If you are dieting and consuming less calories, then this would satisfy more of what you should have on a daily basis.
  • You get a nice boost of 14 grams of total protein in each serving, so imagine if you pair it with Greek or Swedish yogurt, which a good brand gives you more of the good stuff and less of the sweet stuff (i.e. sugars).

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You also can’t overlook the omega factors and that is not something you get in plain yogurt, so this is why I feel it pairs up so well with it.

  • Omega-3 you get 667 milligrams
  • Omega-6 you have a generous 2119 milligrams
  • Omega-9 gives you 412 milligrams

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The product’s ingredients are simple as it gets and the shortest list I have seen on any protein powder list: Hemp Protein concentrate, Organic Coconut sugar, Organic Fair Trade Cocoa powder and natural plant extracts.

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Taste Factor:
All because something has chocolate it does not mean it will be pleasant in taste but thankfully Manitoba Harvest hit it perfectly. No fake malt flavors or granule texture left behind when I made my “jungle mix” this morning. My jungle mix bowl was one banana, a mix of nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and almonds. I then have dried cranberries, Goji berries, a few tablespoons of ground Flax seed and a dash of sunflower seeds. I add a dollop of vanilla flavored Swedish yogurt and a drizzle of almond butter. Two tablespoons of the Hemp Pro 70 protein powder and I lightly toss it to incorporate it. It’s the type of breakfast that if it’s even Monday, I’m ready! You can adjust your serving by your needs so even if 4 tablespoons gives me the aforementioned nutrition, I added other ingredients, so that means I can stretch out my protein powder but also have other sources that make up for it. I get to start my morning with a good chocolate taste that is not just good in flavor for being in a protein mix, but it’s so good in taste that I don’t crave a latte or a candy/sweet thing later. Not even Mondays can beat you when you start your day like this!

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Connect with Manitoba Harvest and get your Hemp fix at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Swaggable and Manitoba Harvest.  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.

Crazy for Luna Bars!

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We started on a little journey here with Clif Bar & Company. And as we already established, Clif Bars rock. But what about another line from Clif Bar & Company? Like their Luna Bar and Luna Protein lines? Do those rock too? I’m here to say a big and enthusiastic “Yup!”. These rock almost as hard, if not harder. Because chocolate. This is a choco house, as any regular reader knows. And adding chocolate turns almost everything up to 11. So let’s turn it up to 11 right now.

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Luna bars are the take anywhere for any meal plan bars that I have eaten and munched on for years. There are sooooooo many flavors to choose from, I challenge you to say you can’t find one you like. It just can’t be done. I’ll just blindly reach over into the heaping pile of yum Clif Bar sent me, and grab a random flavor as an example.

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Peanut Honey Pretzel. 9g of protein, 3g of fiber, vitamins A, B(1,2,3,6 and 12), C, D, and E, 70% organic, Core 4 essential nutrients (Calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D), it’s a perfect snack, quick meal on the go, of addition to any meal at any time of day. Oh, a day did I mention, these taste good too? Big chunks of fruit, whole nuts, whole grains, just a touch of IMAG1688-1sweet and sometimes chocolate. There’s nothing in these I don’t love. Even Hubby has snuck a few from time to time (Stop it, girly man. These are for US!). Usually he snakes the ones with peanut butter or some variation of that theme. Luna bars are also filled with ingredients that Clif has gone out of their way to source from non-GMO suppliers. Thanks for that, because I’m tired of Franken-food. Even this time year. (boo!)
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The fun didn’t stop there, though. Because there’s an offshoot of the Luna line. The Luna Protein bar. Packed with the same Core 4 nutrients, non-GMO sourced ingredients, and normal looking foods, there’s now 12g of protein in a smaller snack-sized bar. Grabbing again at the plethora of delicious Clif was so kind to send me yields me a Chocolate Cherry Almond bar. IMAG1689-1Coated in luscious chocolate, filled with dried cherries, whole almonds, whey protein, macadamia nut butter and organic vanilla extract, this bar is decadent. This 1.6 oz. bar only has 180 calories. But for those of us in a rush (and we established in my last post that we allIMAG1690-1 are, for better or worse), these bars are heaven sent. Fills you up without making you sluggish and has enough good stuff to keep you powering through to the next meal. Heap big win.

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Flavors? Psssh. There’s one for everyone. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Chocolate Peanut Butter. Lemon Vanilla. Chocolate Coconut Almond. Trust me, Luna’s got you covered.

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The long and the short of this is, skipping meals rarely does you any good. In our go, go, GO world, we need the fuel to keep our “get up and go” from having “got up and went”. A bag of chips won’t do it. An “energy drink” is just a seizure in a can. Candy bar? Do you really hate your body that much? Luna bars are an affordable and smart option. Throw it in your purse, pocket or bag. It fits. Not just it’s size. It fits your life.

 

 

Connect with Luna Bars!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clif Bar & Company And Luna Bars. 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.

Clif Bars are Good, to Go!

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Every one is in a rush. I am. Hubby is. You are. It’s like we lost hours in the day somewhere. So when Clif Bar & Company offered to send me some products to test, I said “Yes, Please!”. As much as I love to cook and bake, when it’s this hot, a runnin’ oven is no bueno. Imagine my surprise when a box came loaded with treats from their Clif, Luna, AND Luna Protein bar lines! I did a little mental backflip of joy, because a physical one in this weather might just have killed me.

A small note, my bars were somewhat mushy and melty due to the extreme heat. This is in no way indicative of Clif’s Q.C. people. The weather is beyond everyone’s control and I’ve had enough Luna bars to know this is waaaaay outside of their norm.

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unnamedClif bars are an awesome way to fill your food hole on the run. And it seems we’re all on the run anymore in some form or fashion. The first thing to suffer, after sleep, is usually nutrition. We grab something at the market to nuke or **shudder** drive through somewhere. Yes, even I’m guilty of that. How nice is it, then, that Clif packs enough good stuff in their bars to keep you motorin’ until dinner. Plenty of carbs, fiber, and protein and just around 200-250 calories per 2-3 ounce bar. A, B, C, and E vitamins. Flax seeds, rolled oats, real fruits and nuts, almond butter, fig paste, sea salt. Hey, I can pronounce these! Nice. And organic, rainforest certified and non-gmo sourced, too. Not too shabby at around $1.50 (or less) per bar! The texture is great (and remember, these had been stuck in nasty California heat for DAYS), the flavors rock, and it fits in your pocket or purse. It fills you up without dragging you down, and that’s win-win in my book. Clif says they pride themselves on “kitchen made” bars, and you can see, feel, and taste the dedication to that in every bite.

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Speaking of flavors, holy monkey are there a lot of good ones here. Black Cherry Almond. Blueberry Crisp. White Chocolate Macadamia. Chocolate Brownie. Seasonal flavors like Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread. I could go on and on. There’s a flavor for everyone, and they all ROCK.

 

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If I had one knock, it’s that the protein is soy-based. A lot of folks, Hubby included, are sensitive, if not outright allergic, to soy proteins. I would love to see Clif bars come out with a whey protein line as well, but for the price, they are tough to beat. I’ve been known to stock up during 5 for $5 sales, and the only hard parts are getting into the stores early to get my favorites and limiting myself to 5 or 10 at a time. Plenty of energy and punch to get you through the day with these little bars! You could do a lot worse with a midday meal or snack. You probably have. I know I have. I guarantee you hubby has. Now there’s really no excuse. Grab some Clif bars. Do it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I promise not to start my Luna Bar review without you.

 

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Connect with Clif Bar & Company!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clif Bar & Company.  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.

Grab Bags of Goodness from Gourmet Nut #Review

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A while back I got the opportunity to take a few Gourmet Nut’s products for a test drive, and boy howdy were they the belle of the ball. Great flavors in their salts and sugars that brought out the best of whatever dish they were added to. But Gourmet Nut wasn’t finished by a long shot. There was also the little matter of their “Gourmet on the Go” line of snack packs. I got to try 4 different varieties, some more than others thanks to the snarfing of a certain hubby who shall remain nameless.
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I’ll start with the mix that went “poof” first, the Cajun Hot Mix. A combination of sesame sticks, peanuts, cajun corn sticks, almonds, and tasty chili bits, this one was a tasty little number that had the added benefit of just a touch of heat. Fans of this blog know that in my house, the hotter the better. And while this mix some heat, it wasn’t so hot as to discourage the chilie-challenged among us from diving in, either. It wasn’t loaded with sodium either, like so many other savory snack packs from other “bigger” brands. All while being trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, and vegan. Not too shabby! This generous 8 oz. bag was gone, baby, gone within a calendar week thanks to Mr. Snack Vacuum over here, but the little bit I got, I loved.

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Next on the hit parade was Gourmet Nut’s “Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix”. Bursting with flavor from raisins, cranberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans and walnuts, this all natural, gluten free treat went over like gangbusters here. Fruit, nuts, and chocolate? Yes, please! Also boasting 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, and just 150 calories, this 6 once bag didn’t last kissing time either. At least I got more than a token handful this time. And every little bit was fresh, full and bursting with flavor. Not a bag full of broken bits and powder, either. Just a Bag of win.

 

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Number three is one that I’m sure will do well, Gourmet Nut’s “Energize Me” Protein Mix. 8 ounces filled to brim with dried cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. All natural, vegan and gluten free, this is a satisfying mouthful for just about anyone. Hubby, usually in  staunch opposition to nuts of almost any kind, even grabbed a handful or three. The dried fruit isn’t overly sweet, and the nuts roasty, not salty. Each one ounce serving gives you a whopping 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 150 calories. A crunchy little snack like this goes well with this household, especially since we don’t eat lunch but can get “munchy” between breakfast and dinner. This plugs that hole perfectly.

 

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Last on the hit parade is Gourmet Nut’s Nature’s Mix. This one I loved, with raisins, cranberries, peanuts, pineapple, papaya, almonds, and cashews. It has everything but my name. All natural, gluten free, and vegan. This 8 ounce bag is only 120 calories per serving, and is another excellent mid day snack. It’s also cholesterol free, and trans-fat free. Hubby isn’t crazy about papaya and pineapple, so it didn’t get squirreled away and an empty bag just appear like some of the other varieties. So I got to take my time with the one and really enjoy it. And believe me, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

 

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Gourmet Nut has many more varieties in their “Gourmet on the Go” line,  like Veggie Chips, Mega Omega Mix, Almond Cranberry Crunch, and much more. With prices running as little as $3 and change per bag, up to around $4.50 or so (they’re sold in packs of 6), there’s a snack sack for every budget. Along with the salts and spice rubs I’ve reviewed for them, they also offer Health Seeds and Power Up Snack bags. And there is nothing in their line I’ve tried that isn’t quality. The salts are up there with some of my favorites, and the prices for everything are very reasonable. Too often snack mixes are loaded with salt, sugar, and fillers that leave you hungrier than before you dug in, and then filled with regret when you step on the scale. That’s just not the case here. What you see is what you get. You see pictures of fruit and nuts, and you get a   bag full of fruits and nuts. Very refreshing nowadays. Thank you, Gourmet Nut.

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I’m so tempted to throw a handful of some of these into a quickbread dough and see what happens. Power loaf, perhaps? But that’s a post for another day. Assuming I can hide these from that roaming muncher I married.

Connect with Gourmet Nut:

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

BzzAgent: Fiber One Protein Cereal in Cranberry Almond #Review

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I drink Cranberry juice on a daily bases and use the fresh fruit in baked goods even when it’s not the Winter season. Cranberry in dried fruit form is something I enjoy by itself, on salads to even mixing what I call a “snack cup”, with whole raw almonds and even sometimes a few peanut butter chips.

When I saw the second flavor in the box was Cranberry Almond….I felt this mix was made for me. That evening I took 1/2 a cup of yogurt and mixed in some cranberry preserves, so it could sit overnight and have that Cranberry punch I desire. I woke up the next morning and then just added a 1/4 cup of the Fiber One Protein cereal and it was perfect!

Fiber One’s Protein cereals are made with sweetened granola so it goes beyond just the flakes. You get 10 grams of protein in every serving and this is a value with the addition of milk. The Cranberry Almond version has dried cranberries and small almond pieces. You also get 20% of your daily fiber intake.

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Nutritional Facts:
220 calories per one cup serving and it goes up to 260 with skim milk. You have whole grain oats, crisp rice and soy protein isolate to Corn Bran and Puffed Wheat. Lower in sodium than the Maple Sugar version, at 140 mg of Sodium and 16 grams of sugar. I found several undesirable ingredients like Caramel coloring and Corn Syrup listed and below is the link for you to review.

  • Full Nutrition Index Link-

http://www.fiberone.com/products/cereal/fiber-one-protein-cranberry-almond

Cranberry Taste Test:
I did find the Cranberries are not as bountiful and when you catch one, it is very sweet but still good when it comes to moisture. I barely picked up the Almond pieces and chunks in the mix. I did find when I added more of the dried fruit and some whole raw almonds to the cereal, it was then to my satisfaction and again the additions help mellow out the sweetness. Since the cranberries were super sweet as was the cereal, I did not eat this box with milk but with plain yogurt. I even had some with frozen vanilla flavored yogurt in one of our many non-winter days we have been enjoying in California. I thought this mix would be my favorite but because it lacked in quantities of fruit and nuts listed, I tended to be left with a sweet mix that tasted more like brown sugar coated cereal. I also noticed as I reached the bottom of the box, the cereal was finer and more crushed, so the texture was not as crunchy as the Maple Brown Sugar variety……almost mealy.   I don’t think this is a bad variation but I will just stick to adding cranberries and whole almonds to the Maple Brown Sugar & Pecan version for a bowl that is more to my liking 🙂

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If you would like to visit Fiber One’s Protein Cereals, please visit:

I received the above product free of charge from BzzAgent & Fiber One. 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. #GotItFree

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