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.

 

 

Purina One SmartBlend¬ģ True Instinct Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food, Turkey and Venison #Review #ONEdifference

 

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When it comes to dog food, my dog is usually great about consuming the dry kind but will sometimes wait us out in case I add any extra protein to enhance her meal. I try to always add a little extra chicken and have switched her foods to grain free formulas that seem to be more easily digested. She eats less and remains a healthy weight at the age of 13. Like humans, she gets bored eating the same flavors day after day and I notice she loses interest, so we developed “mix-ins”, pretty much something from fish (she loves Tilapia) to meats and even sometimes a spoonful of sweet potatoes. Keeps the dog interested in her food and I feel less guilty for serving her “dry cereal”, which is what we call her dog food.

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In comes Purina One, with a new grain-free formula added to their line called SmartBlend, which they added the title “True Instinct” to the blend. What is True Instinct? It’s what I call adding marshmallows to the dry cereal and these bits are what the dogs go crazy over. The jerky style bits have a different texture and not only enhance the meal, but deliver more real meat to the grain-free base. You also have other positive differences like using Turkey as the first meat ingredient, versus chicken like other blends of this kind. A Glucosamine supplement has been added to the food and I look for this, especially with a dog that some have referred to as a Senior or the golden word one Vet Tech called her, Geriatric. Don’t tell our dog this because she is as active as she has always been from spending days getting in out of the pool, jumping, wrestling, to out running anyone who tries to race her (always has to be first through the door). Purina One’s Smartblend also has added Omega-6 Fatty Acids to keep our pet’s fur shiny and healthy, along with an Antioxidant Blend, which includes Vitamin A and Vitamin E. It’s finally a dog food that you feel good about feeding your pet.

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Verdict:
So, why did I call the bits of jerky-style meats marshmallows before? It’s not for health reasons, but my dog turns out to be the dog that eats all the “marshmallows” out of the dog food first, leaving her “cereal” to eat last. That is how much she loves the new SmartBlend True Instinct formula from Purina One. The minute we pour the food, she starts nosing the food and you can hear her hunt for the chewy bits until she claims every last one of them. We purchased the Turkey and Venison blend and I even checked labels in the store. There is actual Venison and our dog loves this meat. From Duck to odd varieties like Swordfish, this dog is always eager for the wilder kind of meats. Our dog had surgery a little over a month ago and I thought I would have to worry about getting her to want to eat her normal dog food, but once I started mixing the Smartblend grain-free formula, that worry vaporized as did the food. She ate, gained back the 8 pounds she lost prior to having the surgery and it’s muscle mass she was able to regain. I was worried prior to surgery, as she lost muscle mass around the legs and neck area, to even going down a notch size on her collar. She was able to get that all back, plus we noticed she is full of energy to the point we are having a hard time keeping up with her. Our dog has us on a schedule now that she eats her dinner and then wants play, play, and more play. We actually get tired of playing tug-a-war with her and I now can’t even tug the plush away and run off like a bandit. I have to actually cheat and say, “let go or drop”, and then run with the plush but she always catches me! What you feed your pets really makes the difference and like reading labels for the food we eat ourselves, pick-up a bag of SmartBlend from Purina One and compare the True Instinct grain-free to the other brands. Fillers is not something this feed is full of and we saw the difference it made in our pet when she needed a good blend that not only she enjoyed eating, but aided in her recovery. Grab a bag and take the 28-Day Challenge today!

Connect and find the Purina One’s Smartblend True Instinct Grain-Free Formula that suits your pet at:

 

Turkey and Venison Dog Food

Turkey and Venison Dog Food

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

HouseParty: Bertolli¬ģ Imported Cask Aged Balsamic Vinegar Paired with Caramelized Onion #Review #BertolliSauceParty

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I usually make our sauces from scratch and especially when the heirloom tomatoes start hitting the markets, with the quality and season being at it’s peak. I enjoy incorporating everything from a bell pepper medley to a combination of different onions. I make several jars worth and then have the freedom to create different meals and additions like ground lamb to pork. Then time gets in the way and especially during the “bottom months” where holidays start coming and I’m trying to make every comfort food we have been waiting to enjoy and sometimes you get that simple request of spaghetti and meatballs. I open the fridge and then memory strikes…..I used our last jar I made last time and now have none! So, I always purchase emergency back-ups and this means a jar or two of previously made sauces. I already feel bad when I let time get the best of me, but I don’t want to add by feeling bad about what I am serving at dinner time. So, I pick wisely and have found a few brands that I can depend on.

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Bertolli makes everything from sauces, olive oils, vinegars to frozen meals. They are a company that has been around family tables for over 150 years. Their sauces range from organic, white bases to their newer variety called Riserva. The Riserva brand is a rename of the Imported line “Gold Label”, you previously saw with the colored “old-style” font. Even the flavors are identical, so thankfully Bertolli did not discontinue the “Gold Label” line. I was able to pick-up a glass jar of the bottles, with the older version label, at my local Von’s.

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What I look for when purchasing a jarred sauce is simple ingredients like I would use when making it from scratch and also variety. I want something away from the norm, so I look for blends with wines or vegetables that we don’t commonly consume. I want also a sauce that does not need to be “fixed” to be enjoyed. I’m not going to dedicate 20 minutes to get a sauce to taste right when I could allot the same time to one made from scratch. So, the first thing I do is take a label apart when it comes to ingredients and thankfully the sauces by Bertolli contain what the label in the front states. The Balsamic vinegar is there as is the caramelized onions. Tomatoes in all forms from puree, diced and even in juice form are listed. To intensify the tangy notes, grape must was added and mostly you have real ingredients in this sauce. My only pause was to caramel coloring even though I know manufactures add it to enhance the look of the sauce since it may not look too pleasing in the jar without it, but I could have done with out it. I hope when Bertolli changed the label, they dropped the coloring off the list too.

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Verdict:
The Balsamic Vinegar and Caramelized onions by Bertolli advertises a nice balance in flavor where the sweetness from the caramelized onions goes very well with the tang you get from the vinegar. No bitter notes or after taste, and the sauce has a rich texture and taste. Very enjoyable and not a jar that needs additions to correct it, but you can always add a protein from chicken and beef to enhance it. Upon opening the jar, I expected to smell a wine like scent ¬†from the vinegar, as I do when I add Balsamic to my marinara sauces. I unfortunately did not. I taste the sauce and it’s ultra sweet, like way too much sugar. It’s not the sugars I’m use to even when I have used sweet onion varieties like Cipollini onions. Even Shallots when caramelized never give off this much sugar and then I notice actual sugar noted in the list of ingredients BEFORE garlic and spice. Okay, so I start thinking what can I make with this and it hit’s me……a dip. This way the sauce stays unaltered and I make Mozzarella sticks from scratch. Everyone can then enjoy the sauce as it is and I can curb the sweet factor by the spices I add to the breaded cheese. Simple to make and also quick, plus batches can be kept warm in the oven while I make more. ¬†This is unfortunately not a sauce I would buy again. ¬†I will try this version again under the Riserva label if the ingredients differ. ¬†So, far the only change I can tell is that the new label does not state “Imported” on it. ¬†Unfortunately, Bertolli does not list the ingredients of their sauces on the site, just the nutritional facts, so I wan unable to compare beforehand. ¬†My Mozz sticks are always a hit but I did ask for feedback on the sauce and thankfully received some honest remarks. ¬†It’s sweet was the chief complaint and maybe this was a batch where the sugar over-spilled, but I was left with dip and this is uncommon at my house where I witness guests usually use even bread to clean a plate. ¬†I feel that without the overpowering sweetness, this sauce could actually be good and enjoyed. ¬†The warming of the sauce intensifies the sugar and when tasted cold, the sugars mellow out a bit. ¬†Maybe adding a little to a pasta salad would help.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  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.

Tryazon: Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls, Microwave and ready in 60 Seconds #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

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Oh, what a title can say in just a few words can illicit a person to salivate instantly. That is exactly what occurred when I received first notice that this event was up for grabs. When I was accepted, it was a mix of drooling and happiness at the same time.

Rhodes is known for their Bake-n-Serve breads. This company is one of the first brands that made me feel comfortable with an oven. Fresh baked breads are always a crowd pleaser but sometime the pleaser is short on time and/or energy. It does not mean I love my family any less and this is why sometimes I need an “emergency stash”. Yes, we have emergency situations when an unplanned event or even the clock got the best of me and I have no after dinner treat. When you are the baker in the family and you have to share you did not bake anything for that day……oh, those eyes you get can just break your heart. My Husband has yet mastered the oven but is an expert at grilling and smoking meats. He also mastered the art of using a microwave and failed in patience class, so 60 seconds of wait time was made for him.

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Cinnamon rolls is something I make at home but it takes time, so I probably do not bake them as often as would liked. Also, there are days where someone is in a cinnamon-y mood while another person has a fruit craving. I make fruit based rolls too but I’m not making 2 batches to satisfy every craving, and don’t even get me started on who eats what type of a nut and the other person doesn’t. I need an out! A form of salvation for the sweet little monsters in my life!

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Rhodes created the answer and a 60 second promise for a product that is often seen in stores cold, laying in a silver colored tray, and usually dry. Rhodes took everything everyone wants in a cinnamon roll, a warm gooey roll all your own and when you want it. Magic!

Now, I wish my microwave could deliver. I did experience some difficulties in locating the product and Rhodes does have a store locator, down to what product is offered in each store near you. The only obstacle was that the New Microwave rolls were not a product option you could select from the drop-down menu. I finally started hitting stores and located the rolls (one bag) 20 miles away and when I arrived at the Neighborhood Walmart Store, they had more items than what the product locator reflected. I called stores at the end to avoid wasting gas too and I highly suggest in doing so. Just kindly ask for the “freezer” department when calling and that you are looking for the Microwave Rhodes Cinnamon rolls. Not to be confused with the Ready to Bake Anytime cinnamon rolls. The new Rhodes Microwave Cinnamon Rolls come in a bag (not a tray) and the bag is brown-orange in color with a large 60 number on the front of the bag.

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Verdict:
I found literally the last bag they had and always check the back of the freezer. I reached until I got a frozen paw but that bag had my name on it. I always see low stock on a product as a good sign. It’s popular and probably well liked, and that tends to make me want to try them. Each bag holds a count of 6 cinnamon rolls, so even though my weekend get-together had more people, we figured we share (it’s a new diet we are trying ūüėČ ). We had only one roll in the bag that had stuck to another but all the cinnamon were in a nice shape and intact. We played it safe and microwaved one roll at a time and I put toppings out, to even a separate type of frosting (cream cheese) with soft caramel swirls in case someone wanted a different topping versus the icing it came with. You can toast pecans and add that too, to even fruit that is fresh or from a jar. Customization is really easy to do. Everyone tasted the frosting¬†and except for one person, they were the only one that opted to use the icing the rolls came with, so I was happy to have both options available. Once you microwave the product, the roll does increase in size a little bit about 25% larger, however the cinnamon roll is fair in size overall. Feedback was 50/50 when it came to how the product tasted and texture. The roll is soft and gooey, but for some it was a little to gummy while others felt the cinnamon roll begins to dry out (not harden thankfully) a little to quick for them as it cools down. The sweet factor was a little high for some and others felt the cinnamon was not strong enough, but agreed when I mentioned the idea of sprinkling a dash on top of the icing/frosting could fix that. My cream cheese based frosting was very liked and that seem to make up for what I consider to be small short comings for a roll that is ready to enjoy in 1 minute’s time. You may have to eat it a little faster if you worry about the dough drying out but I can share one thing that does have some value, everyone ate their serving! ¬†So even those that did not consider this to be their favorite cinnamon roll did not feel it was not edible, it was just not like others they have had. I myself have had worse from bakeries but for a product with no time constraints and no mess other than the plate you are eating it from, I think Rhodes did as well as you can do with microwave dishes. Nothing will be as good as from the oven but this little cinnamon roll satisfied my sweet tooth! ¬†I fought for my 1 bag of cinnamon rolls, so that meant I had 2 more coupons left when it came to trying Rhodes products and I picked out 2 different ones. ¬†So, stay tuned because I will be reviewing and sharing those with you too.

 

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

 

 

Premier Protein Bars: Yogurt Peanut Crunch #Review #PremierSelfie

Most protein bars that are geared towards females have great flavors but low protein numbers. I want energy just like everyone else and if I want less, I prefer just eating half a bar and holding the other half for later.

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Retail Price Point: $1.99 per bar with 30 grams of protein

Ingredients (as listed on their website)-
Premier Protein¬ģ Bar Protein Blend (Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Concentrate), Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Gelatin, Sugar, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Water, Peanut Butter (Dry Roasted Peanuts), Palm Kernel Oil, Inulin, Contains 2% or less of the following: Tapioca Starch, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Salt, Yogurt Powder, Soy Lecithin (an emulsifier), Nonfat Dry Milk, Peanut Extract, Caramel Color, Sucralose.

Verdict:
As I mentioned, flavor matters and the Premier Protein bars come in an array of flavors from White Fudge Raspberry to the Yogurt Peanut Crunch I was sent to try out. Each bar provides 30 grams of protein and are decent in size, so you nip that craving or hunger when it hits. The bar is gluten free and no funny stuff like fillers or trans fats, corn syrup, plus they are a great source of not just protein but fiber too. Each bar is 290 calories, so again a pretty decent exchange when it comes to the what makes the bar.

The flavor of the yogurt coating resembles white chocolate and it’s almost described like eating a peanut butter rice crisp treat that has been dipped in it. Very different and no nasty aftertaste, plus I did get enough energy to finish grocery shopping and my groceries resembled the list I went out to get. Many times my cravings tend to influence what I am buying and I then come home with more snack foods than I planned too. So, I not only save my waistline but also when it comes to my checkbook!

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Connect with Premier Protein and check-out their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Premier Protein via 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.

 

 

Daiya Foods: Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Pizzas #Review #DaiyaPizzas

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Even if we are a household without dietary restrictions, I still like to mix things up a bit. Eating the same way is just utterly boring no matter how good the food can be. To not get in a meal rut means I need to introduce new foods and start weeding out the things we want to take a break from.

Daiya Foods Pizzas, is a leap of many kinds for us. For one, we rarely eat frozen prepared meals and/or side dishes. I do freeze meats in raw form and that is as frozen as we get, along with frozen veggies and fruits. You just can’t grab something from the freezer and nuke it……yeah, that comes back and bites me, so I made some tamales and the such for those days I want to actually use the microwave beyond just softening butter in it. Secondly, I have tried gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, to meatless but never really ventured into non-dairy, unless it’s a fruit based gelato or some kind of sweet treat. This means Daiya foods is eating a way for us that is entirely new because it’s taking everything we have tried before, but all in one dish and at the same time. I’m game!

I was offered to try out the pizzas and no one had ever tried anything from Daiya Foods, except for a faux cream cheese style spread. Some of my group admitted to seeing the cheezes in the dairy alternative aisle at Sprout’s, but never actually tried it. Okay, this is now an entire new experience for us all.

Daiya Foods makes 6 Pizzas to choose from and they all sound delicious and tempting:

  • Supreme¬†Pizza, which includes a meatless sausage topping from Beyond Meat
  • Pizza Bianca¬†Pizza, featuring a white bean sauce that has mushrooms and spinach toppings
  • Cheeze Lover’s¬†Pizza, a simpler non-topping pizza, which features Daiya’s version of cheezes, like Mozzarella and Cheddar
  • Margherita Pizza, a traditional twist on a classic and comes with tomato chunks and basil
  • Fire-Roasted Vegetables Pizza, Daiya did not skimp and you have three bell pepper varieties, onions, garlic, tomatoes and even a dash of basil
  • Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza, even when it comes to mushrooms, Daiya makes sure you get something beyond the button kind. ¬†You have shiitake and crimini in a blanket of roasted garlic and all nestled on their tomato sauce

I purchased two of the selections available, the Supreme and the Fire-Roasted Vegetable to try out. ¬†This was what was available at Sprout’s and they were redoing that section when I was shopping and I grabbed the ones that looked more tempting. ¬†I grabbed to of the veggies kind and one of the supreme. ¬†First, one up to cook and see how well it is received is the Fire-Roasted Vegetable:

The pizza was easy to cook and even though the instructions stated to cook directly on the rack, I just got a new range and it’s less than a week old. ¬†A few of the cheeze shreds were dangling off the crust, which I like when eating but not when cooking, so I opted to cook the pizza on my pizza stone just like I would any pizza.

The pizza was cooked and ready in 13.5 minutes!  You have the option to use the standard bake and convection instructions were listed, so I went with that cooking option.

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Verdict:

By the seven minute mark, you could smell the vegetables and they smell as good as they look. ¬†Daiya did not skimp on toppings and that is always a plus in our book. ¬†The crust is crisp and upon slicing, you hear it cut just like a normal pizza crust would. ¬†The dough has a darker tint that can be described as almost wheat-like in color. ¬†It also tastes like a wheat crust but a good one! ¬†Daiya nailed it when it came to how the crust tasted, broke apart when eaten and this made the eating of the pizza enjoyable. ¬†The vegetables are out of this world. ¬†We all agreed the freshness and texture makes you wish Daiya sold the veggies by the bagful. ¬†They are roasted but not soft and a mushy mess from being frozen. ¬†There is still texture and they are so good, plus the tang you get from the tomato sauce provides a nice balance of flavors. ¬†The sauce is light and not super sweet, you just taste fresh tomatoes and a touch of basil. ¬†Now, the only small negative is the cheeze. ¬†The browned portions we all agreed tasted better than the whiter ones, so toasted on top is the way to cook the pizza if you desire this flavor profile. ¬†The cheese does not melt and or string apart like normal dairy versions, it’s almost a little too soft in texture and one guest felt it was like sour cream in taste. ¬†I did not feel the sour notes were present but I can see where the comparison in texture can be made. ¬†This was the only downer but because the crust and everything else was top-notch, it would not prevent me from buying it. ¬†It’s a pizza that I would say has that “rustic” taste but think of it more as a flat-bread pizza with superb toppings and cooks in 15 minutes or less!

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The other positive is that 2 pizzas and I had boneless chicken wings to pair with it, filled us! ¬†I still had dessert to serve and when it came to putting the third pizza in the oven (The Supreme), we were full. ¬†I thought that is a good thing because 8 people were fed very well and we were satisfied with what we ate, so we opted to give the third pizza to the guest that is always late. ¬†She also brought a third extra guest, so she could enjoy the pizza for dinner (versus lunch) when she got home. ¬†Okay, I’m thinking if I give free meals away, people will start showing up late now ūüôā I’m also eye-ing those cheezecakes they sell and they have a Key Lime one……oh’ yummers!

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Connect with Daiya Foods and enjoy their products at:

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