Swaggable: Kala Beautiful Beans Snacks #Review #KalaBeans

 

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The new year also brings a fresh start and many of us seem to always start same, with the desire to better our well being via losing weight, eating better and overall taking better care of ourselves. From what reports and the news states, we all also tend to fail and abandon the idea by the time February rolls around. I blame Santa for the Christmas chocolates he leaves behind to Valentine’s Day with all the treats to add back again that you just finished eating in January 🙂 Whatever the cause, failing is not my kind of thing and with every passing year being able to maintain a healthy weight, plus lose a little here and there, I plan to remain on the healthy eating path. My problem is boredom and always has been. I dislike eating the same thing every single day as a snack. It just makes my days blend and kills my palette! I love apples but an apple even in different varieties is just different degrees of sweetness and crunch, but still remains being an apple. I sometimes crave savory and salty snacks and yes, I could dip an apple in something like a salted caramel but then I might as well just eat a piece of cheesecake! So, my ever endless hunt for brands that keep me on track has again yielded another option for us.

 

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Kala Beautiful Beans is a new company and part of the Bush Brothers Company. Their treats come in one serving single bags or a large bag that yields about 5 servings each. At first I thought it was just foo-foo trail mixes and my hippy side admits that when I see any new trail mix or granola mix hit the market, my heart does flutter but nothing is as welcoming as seeing a new member added to the line up. Kala Beautiful Beans uses Fava Beans as their main ingredient. They are roasted and seasoned and paired up with other ingredients like Garbanzo (chickpeas) beans and dried fruits, along with spices and seasonings. Currently Kala Beans features 4 different flavors:

Pineapple Kick Medley– Roasted fava beans and orange-glazed chickpeas with pineapple, blueberries and paprika.
Cherry Trail Medley– Roasted fava beans and vanilla-glazed chickpeas with cherries, toasted coconut and dark chocolate chunks.
Simply Peppered Beans– Roasted fava beans with Himalayan salt and black pepper.
Tropical Curry Beans– Roasted fava beans with curry spice and lime juice.

You can purchase all varieties at your local Sprout’s Farmers Markets.

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Verdict:
I was unsure what to expect and the beans have a roasted peanut color and thier shape resembles a small hazelnut, but they are airy in the center. Think of a really puff corn nut but without that grainy corn feeling you get when chewing one. They break down cleanly while eating and taste ……..well, delicious. I don’t taste bean. Even the chickpeas, which I have had before taste……well, bean-y when eating after a while but the roasting method used by Kala Beans produces a more airy product. They then use other ingredients that are of high quality, so it enhances the snacking experience. Everything melds perfectly and best of all, the taste and flavors pop in my mouth so I am enjoying a healthy snack a lot more than I expected I would. My favorite was the Cherry Trail Medley, the coconut shavings are toasted but not powdery in the bag. You actually get nice sized shavings!  Then the cherries are so good because I am first to admit that sometimes when I get dried cherries and dried cranberries in a mix, I can’t always tell the difference between them because they are dried to the point that they just taste like seedy, red fruit skin. The cherries from Kala Beans are dried but in a kindly manner where they remain plump, retain their sweetness but still hit you with a tart flavor towards the end. Kala Beans then added a vanilla glaze to the product that is sweet but non-sticky on the surface. You just get that small hint and scent of the vanilla that adds a nice warmth and compliments the fruit, beans (and I want to say nuts but there are none in it), and chocolate nicely. The dark chocolate chunks are just so good and melt nicely when eating.  No waxy taste or bitterness.  I actually like the Kala Beans mixes and oddly more than some of my current trail and nut based mixes. I think it comes down to the clean taste and finish, that is both satisfying and tasty. Kills the craving and I will be buying them to add to my yogurt in the morning because a girl can only granola it for so long!  Plus, you have benefits like fiber from the beans and one bag is just 180 calories for the Cherry Trail Medley Mix and Pineapple one, but the other two only bump up to 200 calories for a 1.5 ounce serving.  That is pretty fair and not loaded with sugars and sodium, just real food with real flavors!

Connect with Kala Beans at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Swaggable and Kala Beautiful Beans. 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.

Mighty Leaf Tea : TeaTop Brew Mug and Vanilla Bean, Organic African Nectar and Green Tea Tropical #Review and #Giveaway

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I have a coffee travel mug and even a tea mug, but I have never tried a TeaTop Brew Mug until now. Like with coffee, I feel a fresh cup of tea is as desirable and even though tea holds it’s flavors and quality better than it’s counterpart, I still would like the option to brew as I go. The Mighty Leaf Tea Company not only makes this happen but the mug works perfectly with no mess or fuss. The tea bag hangs freely but you won’t lose the string, as there is a nice notch that holds it in place. When you have achieved the strength desired in your cup of tea, you simply just pull the tea bag up and the cup does the rest.  You even have a place to rest the bag away from your ready to drink tea. The insulated cup allows you to just sip and enjoy!.

Retail Price Point: $16.95 for a cup that let’s you make sure ever cup steeps perfectly every time, plus it’s snazzy looking.

When it comes to enjoyment, Mighty Leaf Tea sent a trio for me to try:

Mighty Leaf Taste of the Tropics Gift Sampler-

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  • Vanilla Bean
    A black tea base with a deep infusion of Vanilla Beans from Madagascar. This tea tastes as good as it smells and even though vanilla has warm notes, this tea’s flavor is so clean that you get a light and almost crisp notes. As much as I love Vanilla, it can overpower if not used wisely but that is something that Mighty Leaf tea was able to balance out with true perfection. Simple but left me craving for a second cup in no time!

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  • Organic African Nectar
    This variety is tropical and almost fruity in flavor. You get nice herbal notes and a kiss of sweetness that makes you believe there is honey in your cup already. This tea uses a blend of rooibos leaves, organic hibiscus and dried blossoms. I enjoyed this blend cold by brewing a cup, allowing it to cool, and then letting it rest in the fridge to get ice cold. It went well with dinner and because it’s caffeine free, I did not have to worry on those late dinner nights either.

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  • Green Tea Tropical
    You have a green tea base that is accompanied by dried fruits and flowers. The blossoms are marigold petals and cornflowers.  The fruits are also not your usual citrus mixes like with other teas. Think pineapple sweetness with even notes of guava. This variety pushed all my other green teas a notch down and became my favorite. I love adding just a touch of honey to not take anything away from it but most times I just enjoy it as-is.

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Retail Price Point: The above trio retails for $30.00 and you get a generous amount of tea bags. Each box has 15 whole leaf pouches…..that’s 45 cups of happiness!

Like what you saw?

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Well, it’s GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

One lucky winner will be able to win the above items and Mighty Leaf Tea will send them directly to your home. It’s their nice way to share and play Santa for us! All you have to do is:

  1. Sign-up to their Newsletter and you already are rewarded with a 15% off coupon towards their artisan teas
  2. Follow them on Twitter
  3. Follow “Like” them on Facebook
  4. and please leave a comment on this blog post below

Four easy steps and it could be yours. #Giveaway starts today 12/01 and ends on 12/14. I will announce the winner on the 15th and then ask for your information, which I will forward to the company. Good Luck!!!

Connect with Mighty Leaf Tea and find your favorite tea at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Mighty Leaf Tea.  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.  The Giveaway prize will be supplied by the manufacture and items/product package may change if items above are out of stock.

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.

No Kneading Required- Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread, great for fillings #Recipe

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This is a simple and super easy baked bread that uses part All-Purpose flour and part White Whole Wheat flour. It’s a blend that goes perfectly with fruit and even soft cheese with fruit based spreads. No kneading required and the bread lasts about 5 days in the fridge. I literally just pull the ounces I need and bake fresh bread when needed. It makes it look like I worked really hard in the kitchen!  This is the base recipe and you can make it go savory or sweet by what decide to fill it with.  You can also just have it as is and it goes great with ham!

Let’s Begin…..

  • 2 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup of White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Yeast (Active-Dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)

Simply add the flours in a bowl, the salt and yeast. Whisk until blended and then add the water.

With a wooden spoon or one that has the “umph” to withstand a few strokes, mix until blended. I usually do it for 1 to 2 minutes and if the dough seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water until you get a sticky consistency.

 

Then simply cover lightly and allow the dough to proof for 2 hours.

I recommend a overnight rest in the fridge for better taste and it allows the bread flavor to mature nicely and hydrate properly. The next day just take out what you need. I pull out about 5 1/2 ounces to make a small sized loaf that is good for 2 people, plus leftovers. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then make your creations! Allow the shaped loaf to rest and proof for about 20 to 30 minutes and then comes the baking. Brush the loaf with warm water and sometimes I even add a touch of Maple Syrup to mine to even olive oil if I am making a savory loaf. Brush the loaf and then slash (2 or 3 should do). Then bake at 450 degrees until done. Mine takes about 20 minutes.  Allow the loaf to cool before cutting.  I allow 30 minutes unless a “squirrel” attacks my bread because he could not wait.  The squirrel is usually also called a husband 🙂

 

 

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Blueberry Maple Rustic Bread-

  • 9 ounces of Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Dough recipe above
  • 1/8 cup of dried Blueberries (I use no sugar ones- Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Drizzle of Maple Syrup
  • Warm Water with a touch of Maple Syrup for “wetting” the loaf before baking
  • Dusting of Turbinado Sugar

 

Simply hydrate your berries and some people use warm water,

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others like to add flavor by warming some juice and allowing the blueberries to hydrate in that. I went for water because I could not decide what juice to use and since it was late at night, my brain was starting to turn off. I bloom the berries for about 15 to 20 minutes. I then grabbed about 9 ounces of dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Slowly begin to shape, sort of flattening and pulling softly until I get the desired shape and length.

Then simply drain the blueberries and drizzle the maple syrup. I then rolled, leaving the flap side down.  You then just make sure the end (tips) are the shape you desire.  I went with a pointy look.

I got crafty and pulled some dough out to give it a scroll design on top but you don’t have to :).  Let the loaf relax (proof) for 20 minutes. Time lapses and I brush the loaf with the water and touch of maple syrup. Gave it a few slashes, sprinkled with Turbinado sugar and in it goes to be baked.  I baked the loaf for 20 minutes at 450 degrees and then allowed it to cool on the rack. I had a late night baking session but come morning, we were enjoying fresh baked blueberry maple slices and it was divine!  You control the sugar and sweeteners and get creative!  Make a patriotic themed loaf by adding cranberries and even chocolate or nuts.  Enjoy!

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

Graze.com: Healthy Snacks delivered to your door

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Here’s something new for snackers. Graze is a “snack subscription” service. I was able to try Graze at zero cost, with no commitment (And you can too!). The program allows you to pretty much “Nay” or “Yay” items, but you can’t select what snacks you want in your box, otherwise “build-your-box”. I like the surprise-me idea and because they sort of catalog your tastes before, I gave it a go!

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I was told my box would arrive the first week of February and it arrived the last week of January, so that was a pleasant surprise. My snack box was shipped via USPS and you get four treats, each individually sealed. Codes are also included to share with friends and work sort of like a referral program. Included is also a Nutrition Facts card, which lets you know the caloric count, sugars, ect.. However if you want a full list of ingredients, it states to check on-line….so very easy with even an exact unique link listed on there that coincides with the item.

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My first item to try was the Herby Bread Basket. My husband and I tried the garlic crostini, a mini basil breadstick, and a oregano rice cracker. I tried the cracker first and the cluster seems to be made from brown rice going by the taste but has a very sugary flavor that tends to not bump nicely with the herb notes. I did not detect oregano and more of what you get when you use parsley flakes, but that can be from flavors combining in the packet. My Husband just stated he really does not like how those taste. The sugary notes were overwhelming and hard to look past them and maybe would fit better with an Asian mix, versus a mix that seems more Italian-like going by the flavors. The garlic crostini is just like a crouton would taste and not overly garlic. Think of the square croutons that are meant to be used for making stuffing but in a pinch you see them used on salads. Now, the mini basil breadsticks were pleasant but salty. I even rinsed my mouth thinking the sugary notes from the rice cracker were influencing my taste buds but unfortunately it was not. 1 out of 3 items in this snack were okay-ish,so I gave this one a “Nay”

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The next day we tried the HoneyComb Flapjack, made of rolled oats and drizzled with chocolate. The item is soft in texture and smells a little like a oatmeal cookie does minus the raisins. Took a bite and the first thing that came to mind, a no-bake cookie. You do not taste the chocolate and I give you that the square does not have a processed flavor at all but it was lacking in flavor period. The square smelled better than it tasted. My Husband bailed on taking a second bite because the grainy texture was just not his thing. I dumped the rest into my yogurt cup and it sort of got lost in there. This is when I noticed the grains I eat from my granola mix had more flavor than the Flapjack. We gave this a “Nay”.

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I wanted to end on a good note so I opened the Trail Mix. My mix had redskin peanuts, roasted hazelnuts, jumbo raisins, and cranberries. It’s so my kind of thing that this mix was created for me. I peel open the container and noticed it does not smell like what I am seeing. Sort of musty. I taste a peanut and my Husband takes a very non-jumbo sized raisin and walks off. My peanut was soft in texture and tasted rancid so I did not finish it. I then hear from the other room in the house, “don’t taste the raisin, I had to spit it out”. Ummmm….okay, so I taste a hazelnut and roasted it is not and suffers from that same softness and weird off taste the peanut does. I gave up and disposed of this mix. The nuts are soft like if they had been in a cooler and then sweated a bit when they were warmed (maybe while in transit). Nonetheless, they were bad! Nay again!

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The Booster Seeds I would love to say are my next choice by I am starting to grow shy here. The Booster mix has sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden flax seeds. I eat flax seeds and pumpkin seeds on a routine basis, so this is again familiar territory. I peel open the container……..these smell and taste fine!!! Yay!! the seeds have crunch and no musty smell. They are plain with no salt and sugar and play well with anything or you can enjoy them as-is. We have a winner and the quality is decent.

So, 4 snack boxes in total and 1 out 4 was a winner. These 4-box units usually cost $6.00, plus that includes shipping. I will say that $6 with shipping would make me buy at least once a month but when only 1 snack item was a hit and it was the plainer of the bunch, that would be one over priced 1.2 ounces sized snack. I really wanted to be a Graze fan because the idea of trying new snacks and with a healthy twist, plus delivered to your door is something I desire……sort of dreamy for me who likes this kind of “stuff”. The freedom to move deliveries around to fit your needs or even budget makes this a friendly company, which is rare today. The site is welcoming and easy to see what they offer. I just would not want to cringe at opening a packet and being welcomed by rancid nuts that made the dried fruit taste like something that you want to only taste once and never repeat. I worry about when Summer hits and if the quality will “boing” all over the place but have to share for my first-time try, Graze left me wanting to graze from my pantry versus from my mailbox. I may try again in the future because I would love to support a company with good intentions that maybe were caught on a bad day!

If you would like to give Graze a try, visit them at:

  • On-line– https://www.graze.com/us/products
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/grazeusa
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=grazeusa

I received the above product free of charge from Graze.com. 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.

Peeled Snacks: Organic Go Figure Snacks

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Here we go again with Peeled Organic Snacks! Not your usual fair when it comes to dried fruit mixes as we have gotten a little lost with the chocolates, candies, and clusters added to them by manufacturers. Yes, variety is wonderful and welcomed but so many dried fruit mixes have lost their healthy factor. I much prefer adding one square of good quality dark chocolate than trying to find the fruit in a field of waxy colored coated “chocolates” that can’t even be legally called chocolate by law.

Go Figure has Apricots, Figs and Dates….that is all. I love apricots and figs but must admit that the dates……okay, I usually push them over with a tooth pick and won’t even try them because their texture is usually sticky with that odd softness followed by super sweet goo that just turns me off. Some are even sort of bitter. I swore I would never be fooled by trying a date again. It was up there with the things I would get offered and definitely politely decline. Okay, I think you got my Date Hate established 🙂

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Taste & Texture:
I gave Peeled Snacks dates a try because I literally grabbed one and squeezed it…..no goo and they smelled good but were not super sticky and soft. I forget that all their fruit is “gently dried”, so you don’t get some flash dried fruit that does not resemble what it was when it was “alive and well”. I bite thinking I am so going to regret this with even a napkin in hand but not only did I continue chewing, I like it. Maybe it was a lucky date but I hunt and find another one and find that I like dates. Like them enough that I even counted to see how many dates I had left so I could measure myself and not eat them all at once. I felt I was maybe in an odd mood that evening so I try another one the next day and I get why people like dates. The have a nice honey flavor to them and because Peeled Snacks does not kill it’s fruit, the texture is pleasing and I bite without fruit getting stuck in my molars. I actually crave these dates! I start thinking of adding them to my yogurt with honey and I see myself having a future with……dates.

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The apricots and figs, since I sort of over focused on the dates are just as pleasing and satisfying. No rubbery texture and even though the trio is in the same bag, each fruit tastes as it should. This was actually my favorite blend even though of it not so traditional mix. I like being able to grab a fig and these are whole pieces of fruit, not slices so they are moist and not over seedy. Great quality fruit was used and thank you Peeled Snacks for showing me dates are kind, friendly and delicious.

Please check out Peeled Snacks and their Clusters at:

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Peeled Snacks: Paradise Found Fruit

As a few of you may recall, I tried the Peeled Fruit Mango Snacks and wrote a not too favorable review. I felt bad because going by everything the company advertised, the product was below my expectations and obviously not the common experience, so my guilt made me reach out when I launched my review.

Just like I expected the Mango to taste, is just like how the people at Peeled Snacks treated me, NICE! I received a very kind response and they sent a beautiful array of snacks for me to share with you.

You will notice that Peeled Snacks keep things simple and I like that. The less you mess with my food, the better it will taste to me and I seek these types of foods for my family. These fruits are described as “gently dried”, so you don’t get that dried fruit like I recall when I was a child, drenched in a sugar bath and gummy. Peeled snacks take a step further and are USDA Organic certified, Non Genetically Modified, All Natural and Gluten Free. You can see why I was lured by Peeled Snacks because the idea of food like this just tends to draw me in!

Let’s get started…..

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Paradise Found

The Paradise Found features a mix blend of Organic Bananas, Organic Mango and Organic Pineapple. You look at the ingredient list and it matches the contents, just the fruit and NO SUGAR added. You can see by the picture below that the fruit slices and pieces have a pleasant look and resemble exactly what they are with no artificial anything. I call it Naked Fruit!

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Taste and Texture: First, you do smell a nice fruity scent that can be described as tropical so it is properly named Paradise. The banana slices are just delicious and not mushy in texture or leathery, just soft and when you chew, the taste does satisfy the craving. Great in yogurt to even cereal. I liked the bananas so much and felt they were better than the dehydrated type you usually find in markets as “cereal toppers”, so I was glad with the large amount provided in the mix.

Next comes the Pineapple and one thing that always got to me with Pineapple in this manner, was that because it is a fibrous fruit, when they would dry and sugar them, you got this horrible crystallization crunch that drowned any pineapple that was left from the over-processing. Not with Peeled Snacks! The pineapple tastes and varies just like it does in nature. One bite may be sweeter and the other may have more of the bitter notes and I like that variety in my fruit.

The Mango is much better in this mix and I enjoyed how each fruit tastes like it’s own even though they share a bag, they don’t blend in flavors. The Mango is peeled pieces and tender when you bite. Sweet and completes the tropical blend perfectly and this is coming from someone who is not a Mango lover but more a liker:)

Stay tuned for my Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters in Cinnamon Crunch coming very soon, plus much more from this great company!

In the meantime please check out Peeled Snacks at:

I received the above product free of charge from Peeled Snacks.  I am not obligated in providing a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the products, which may differ from yours.

Swaggable: Peeled Snacks, Much-ado-about-Mango

I enjoy eating fruits and to avoid boredom, I try to eat them dried, dehydrated, baked…..you name it and I usually will try fruit anything…but canned!

I received the Peeled Snacks product from Swaggable last week and I consider myself a Mango “liker” versus a “lover”. I enjoy the fresh fruit but if you have strawberries or pineapple, Mango loses.

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The first thing that jumped out was that the product is Organic and the simple words, “nothing added”. Naked fruit as I call it, is best in my book so this is a great start. I noticed the package has a little clear window that allows you to see the product and I love when manufactures do this because how many times have I opened a package to find it was not close to how it was pictured. So again, great beginning.

I flip the product and notice some very positive nutritional facts starting that one bag is considered 1 serving and it’s a generous amount at 48 grams (1.40 ounces), with only 120 calories. You have Calcium and Iron at 2% each, 20% Vitamin C, and 30% Vitamin A. Gluten, dairy, wheat and cholesterol free. You wrap it up nicely with 2 grams each of Protein and Dietary Fiber.

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I open the package and take a sniff and the product smells close to apricots mixed with a slight orange scent. Good start as it’s not off in odor or like some dried fruits, they stink of chemicals or smell like they have been in a cardboard box for half a century! The fruit looks leathery but I have purchased “leather fruit” strips in the past so I am familiar and accepting of such a  texture. The peels almost look like strips of carrots (in color) that were partially dehydrated and remained bendable. I take a shaving out and notice the remaining pieces have no uniform shape to them (nice natural look). The product was a little on the chewy side so I went from biting and pulling with my front teeth, to having to put some “oompf” with the back ones but I finally won! The fruit goes from feeling leathery on your fingers and dry when biting, to instantly re-hydrating to a gummy like texture. So gummy in consistency that the molars that helped me win my battle had Mango bits embedded all around them. Very sweet and I understand the natural pectin in fruit amps up when dried but this was so sweet and intense, that Mango was the last thing I tasted. As my mouth cleared from the gumminess, I did pick-up some Mango notes but the sweetness really turned me off. I was left…..well craving a Mango. So in some ways this snack encouraged me to add Mango to the grocery list but of the fresh kind.

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Does it have it’s place?

Yes, I see maybe a tart yogurt being able to curve the sugar taste a bit but I’m unsure if it would help with the gummy factor. Maybe the wetness of a yogurt would aid or it could result in a bit of a mess. Baking with the product could be it’s only hope! I wanted to like this product because everything outside the package called to me when it came to the brand Peeled Snacks, it just was not what I desired from a Mango. I understand nothing is added to the Mango and respect that but if they could maybe find a way to take some sugar away, I maybe could accept the gummy factor better. I would still try one more time with Peeled Snacks but just a different fruit.

You can check-out the Peeled Snacks collection at: http://www.peeledsnacks.com/

I received the above product from Swaggable free of charge. I am not obligated in providing a positive/favorable review. just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product, which may differ from yours.

Love Food Review of their Monthly Subscription Box

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Love with Food is a monthly subscription program that not only packs a lot delicious samplings, but also a good bang for your buck.  I subscribed around the start of January for the February box.  It was a Spicy & Sweet theme and you get to see what I received!  You can sign up at http://www.lovewithfood.com/shop.  They even included a cute list of the 9 items they included, and 10 if you add the extra Nektar packet.  I paid a little over $2.00 to try the products because they had a promotion but even at normal price, they really deliver a box full of goodies and deliver it to your door on a monthly basis.  You can cancel at anytime and each box purchase, means a meal for the homeless!  This company not only delivers on top notch customer service but better their community!

 

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Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolates (http://www.hagensborg.com) (Twitter: @TrufflePigBar):
I had never heard of the company but just one chocolate embedded the piggy image forever in my head and taste buds.  The company uses a European method that just makes you go crazy.  I like peanut butter but I’m not a lover of it like my husband but we divided the piggy in half (I got the part with cute little tail) and I became a lover of PB!  The peanut butter filling was smooth but not dry and perfectly roasted.  I could taste the peanut and against the milk chocolate, it was better than any peanut butter cup I have ever had.  My only question was, “do they make it with dark chocolate?”  I looked on-line and seriously should have not because they have other flavors and I’m hooked.  I loved these piglets so much, I am hoping to pitch them in the future because Hagensborg Chocolates deserves an entire article on them!

 

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Naturally Flavored Cranberries from Funny Face (www.funnyfacecranberries.com) (Twitter: @FunnyFaceCran):
I usually purchase my dried cranberries at Trader Joe’s because Ocean Spray’s Crazins are just too soaked in sugar anymore that I have noticed they came out with a “less sugar” version.  Glad to know it was not just me.  I received the “Freckle Face Strawberry”.  I opened the package and you could just smell strawberries and it smelled like the real stuff, not just the perfume they seem to add to strawberry flavored foods that smell better than they taste.  The berries are large in size, plump but not a sticky mess.  Their color is vibrant but I noticed their cranberry had more fruit to it than the wrinkly ones I have been buying.  I noticed 50% less sugar, so I turned the package around and the ingredients are so simple.  You have Cranberries, Soluble Corn Fiber, Evaporated Cane Juice, Citric Acid, Safflower Oil, and Natural Flavors…..that is all!  You do taste the strawberries and these would make a great cookie, I’m thinking white chocolate with these cranberries or even a dark chocolate one!  You know they are good when you wish you got more of a good thing.

 

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Pico de Gallo Bean & Rice Chips from Beanfields (www.beanfieldssnacks.com) (Twitter: @BeanfieldsSnack):
I have walked by these bags at my local Sprout’s and I’m a huge fan of the brand “Food Should Taste Good” chips.  I wondered how they were and after having the PopChips nacho version, I was unsure because some were great and some flavors were not that hot!  You have long grain rice, navy and pinto beans that really create an awesome crunch.  I shy away from tomato based flavors because many are just over powdered with tomato powder that just tastes like dried condensed soup or worst, ketchup.  I opened the bag and noticed an herb like smell and picked up Bell Peppers.  Okay, this seems interesting now.  I put a triangle in my mouth and the spices with the chips were outrageous but in a good way!  Not over salty with a perfect balance of spice and again the ingredients are so simple.  You even have a natural smoke flavor that I could have sworn was a roasted pepper, but wait I see green bell pepper powder in the ingredient list.  They also have 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, plus they are corn free.  You have what goes into the actual Pico de Gallo and the black beans just add that extra “umph” that I never get from chips.  These babies are crispy and do not create mush in your mouth like many of these multigrained chips I see hit the market.  I will be buying these and not that they needed to be better, but Beanfield’s is also verified by the NON GMO project.  I wish I had found them sooner and they are a family owned company too!

 

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Original Nuts from Bobbysue’s Nuts (www.bobbysuesnuts.com)  (Twitter: @bobbysuesnuts):

The blend is dry roasted almonds, cashews and pecans that when you read their motto, “delicious nuts with a mission”, I raise my expectations.  The ingredients are the nuts I mentioned above, sugar, egg whites, water, salt and spices.  No corn syrup and they taste like someone made creme brulee nuts!  The coating is light so it preserves the natural crunch you get from nuts and sweetness was perfect and delicate.  I kept looking for honey or some form of caramel.  They had a very light cinnamon flavor that complemented the sugars well and I hope Bobbysue’s comes to a retailer near me soon but Amazon can fill that niche because I found them there.  Every nut dollar goes towards building a shelter for the homeless animals so they not only respect what they make for us humans, but they look out for the furry kind too.

 

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Tomato Basil Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas (www.milliessavoryteas.com) (Twitter: @SavoryTeas)
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I was excited so much that I missed that this sipping broth has green tea in the ingredients.  I like to taste items as-is without looking what is in them so I don’t go with an idea of what I should expect.  My first bite, I want it to be going into it with almost unknown expectations and the second one I take after, I see what has what.  I will say that when I put the tea bag in the cup, the smell was not appetizing.  The product advertises itself as a savory alternative to coffee or tea.  I think it missed being a savory good tasting broth and also a good tasting tea.  The green tea and basil were overpowering and after the second sip, which was smaller than my first, I had to skip in having more because I just could not.  The idea is sound to a degree and I even had it on a cold night but the blend was just off.  It was so off putting that if someone said it was medicinal, then maybe you can force yourself in having it if it made you feel better!

 

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Nektar Honey Crystals from Nektar Naturals (www.nektarnaturals.com) :

Powdered Honey…..you got me.  I saw powdered Maple Sugar the other day and wondered how it would be and then my mind began to think of ways to use it!  I received two packets and I’m a fan.  I mixed the Nektar with powdered sugar and used it to sprinkle my Lemon Bars and, “oh my”!  These little bees at Nektar have gold in their hands.  No sticky mess and the product dissolves well that I have been using the rest for my teas.  I even made a hot tea and later added ice and this should have reached my hands sooner!  Ingredients are granulated honey (natural honey and sugar).  Simple and I am thinking of making honey biscuits when I purchase this and even a ham glaze.  Yeah, I started thinking again and lets say my imagination can really get creative at times 🙂

 

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Milk Chocolate Caramel Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolates (http://www.hagensborg.com) (Twitter: @TrufflePigBar):
This little piggy can visit me again all it wants!  The caramel filling made this one my second favorite and wonder if this piglet makes anything bad.  With all natural ingredients and having one of the best milk chocolates out there, I so hope to see this piggy in my area again soon!

 

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Chocolate Madeleine from Donsuemor (www.donsuemor.com) (Twitter: @Donsuemor):
I dislike package cookies or any baked good because they always are dry and taste like the package they came in.  The ingredient’s list makes you wonder why the cookie does not glow so I usually bake myself at home.  I love Madeleine cookies because they are the in-between cookie and cake treat that I can enjoy in small portions and always so buttery.  This one came in chocolate and I liked already that the hue was deep color, so I expected a good amount of chocolate.  The shell shape always makes me smile so that alone on how this little cake was presented, it made me smile.  I had bananas so I decided to add some sugar to them and caramelize it with a torch, to create a nice brulee top.  I pop the cake out and notice it smells like real food and then came that chocolate wave.  I also noticed the edge crumbled so it was not a dry sea foam like I expected.  The company has been around since 1976, so you know they must be doing something right!  They are!  This is probably the only “packaged” cookie I will eat.  I will always try different brands and varieties but rarely finish a package but if I had these, it would be a dangerous territory for me because they tasted so good.  I looked on their website and they have scones and biscotti……I’m in love!  If you served this Madeleine to me, I would not be the wiser it came from a package.

 

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Jer’s Squares (www.jers.com)  (Twitter: @JersChocolates):
I saw Toffee Break and this is the first item I opened from the box.  I use to eat Heath bars until they stop tasting like they use to.  Jer’s uses Valencia peanut butter as the center, mixed with buttery rich toffee bits and covered in dark chocolate.  This bar is made for me!  It has everything my husband and I like but someone crammed it together and created AWESOMENESS!  I loved the crunch from the toffee but the buttery flavor is really there so it goes great with the peanut butter.  I already buy Valencia peanut butter but I want the PB that Jer’s has.  It does not taste like what I have in the fridge.  The dark chocolate cover is not waxy and has a great taste, no bitterness like you get with some dark chocolate coatings.  I want more!
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