Wild Planet Foods: Albacore Wild Tuna, Chicken and Wild Sardines #Review #Sponsored by #MomsMeet

 

​​I received the above product(s) free of charge from Wild Planet Foods 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.

 

Finding Tuna anymore that is edible and from a company that practices safe standards, well it is not that easy. I find many canned versions pretty much a “surprise-in-a-can” because you can’t see the product, so you have take that leap of faith that it will look good and not just be minced fish that should have been discarded. I have bought many brands that allege to hold high standards, to just be disappointed or worse, the only difference is the label and price tag, but the questionable source remains the same. I just stopped eating tuna! Not the best answer when I crave a salad or tuna sandwich, but it was my way to not even deal with it. I then heard many people stopped too because like with many industries, we found out how things are made. The pink goop that made nuggets, well call tuna the grey-ish soup that looked or tasted nothing like the fish. I don’t want to hide the fish with condiments, so why bother was my attitude.

Then came Wild Planet. Okay, I was skeptical because I saw the glossy pamphlets, the pretty pictures and read the materials. It sounds really good:

The company is all about sustainable resources and practices. The main part was traceable responsibility when it comes to the foods they distribute. Not only does Wild Planet have high standards when it comes to fishing, but also on the product they deliver to your family’s table. So, pretty much I don’t have to dress up my tuna to hide getting a not so good can. Wild Planet is a control freak! I like that because that is how I shop and how I would want someone picking my food for me. They are involved with all the fish they purchase to ensure quality, flavor and that texture remains as premium as it can be. No over handling, no hiding yucky questionable “flakes” of fish meat in a can, and making sure that if your can states Albacore Tuna, you get what is labeled.

 

Wild Planet also offer many varieties that come in canned, jarred or pouch versions.  You also can pick products that are packed in oil to no salt varieties.  Every selection is just the fish and no water added:

 

You can see the only thing that comes from a farm, is the chicken and that is even held to organic standards. The rest is all wild caught with strict guidelines like no long lines, no nets, no FAD (fish aggregating device) and turtle safe. Founded in 2004, Wild Planet respects the consumer by first showing the same regard to the seafood they catch. We hear about cage free eggs and how that misnomer is used, but there is no funny stuff when it comes to Wild Planet. They are open about the practices they keep and it has become the mantra the company proudly lives by. Wild Planet is based in my home state of California and all their products are part of the Non GMO project. Like I mentioned, there is really finally a company you can trust when it comes to seafood (and chicken).

 

 

Taste Matters: 

Okay, I missed the heck out of Tuna! The fish is fresh and the flakes are large in size.  Think of a fish steak that was kindly packaged in a can with little to no over handling.  You see how the natural fish is shaped and the “breaking of the flake”, that fish meat is up to you.  You want larger pieces for salad, you got that! Want to fork it and make smaller pieces for a sandwich or to enjoy with crackers, again you are in control of that.  I should have tried Wild Planet longtime ago but I did not want to take that leap……take the jump with both feet in and pick up a can, pouch and/or jar.  This is a can packed with fish and not water, oil, fillers or anything.  Just purely good seafood!

 

You can Connect with Wild Planet Foods at:

#WildPlanetFoods #MomsMeet

 

House Autry Mills Seafood Breader, 8 oz. Box

Here in this house, though we’ve never lived anywhere but the West Coast, we’re somewhat southern at heart, especially in the kitchen. Catfish? Check. Spicy Fried Chicken? Check. Po’ Boy Sandwiches? Check. Gumbo? Check. Etouffee? Check. The list goes on and on. And when I got the opportunity to give House Autry Mills’ Seafood Breader, I was ecstatic. I’m always on the lookout for a good, light batter for fried fish and shrimp, especially since that’s about the only way Hubby eats fish. I’m glad I got to try it, too.

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Too often, when something is sold as a breading, it’s just that, with bread crumbs or panko breading, and that’s so very different from a batter. It’s not light, airy, or truly crispy, just kinda crunchy and that’s just not the same thing. This House Autry Mills breading was just what I was looking for, and tasted like a million bucks. Lightly seasoned and crispy, it was dynamite on tilapia, pollock, shrimp, and made absolutely to-die-for onion rings. It’s just as economical for us as mixing our own batter here at home from scratch, and because it’s just the Hubby and I, one box went a loooong way. Want to mix it up? Add some buttermilk for extra southern tang, or mix in a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (Or both!!) to spice it proper! Dip some potato wedges. Any way we used it, we loved this batter. Right out of the box the instructions are simple, and easy, and your right down to business in about 5 minutes. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

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My markets sadly don’t carry this brand, but thankfully, you can find it on Amazon shipped to your door for a very reasonable price. The ingredients are simple, with 95% of the ingredients being things you probably have in your kitchen or pantry already. I so love when ingredient labels don’t read like some mad scientist’s experiment. And House Autry Mills has been around since 1812, so they probably know a thing or two about making a good product. I’m hoping to trying their entire line and seeing what other gems House Autry Mills has in store for me!

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Connect with House Autry Mills:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Creative Energy Group and House Autry Mills.  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 Bake-N-Serv™ Cinnamon Rolls #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

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I have always been a fan of frozen foods, like vegetables and fruit that go out of season but are readily available all year round. Sometimes even perfectly frozen blueberries will cost less that fresh ones and be in better shape, so the freezer aisle to me is not something I completely avoid. Even companies offer organic meals nowadays from the freezer aisle. I have picked up many “artisan style” breads that come frozen from a local bakery because you just pop them in the oven, bake and have fresh baked bread in 20 minute’s time! Simple ingredients I am fan of and being a cook and baker makes you become familiar as to what goes in what you are making/eating. The freezer aisle is only bad if you purchase ready made meals to baked goods that are more chemicals than real ingredients! This is where we get lost and it’s disappointing because convenience comes at a price and sometimes it’s not even that convenient in the first place.

I tried the microwaved cinnamon rolls before from Rhodes and reviewed them here. Not bad for a microwaved baked good. On the same trip I picked up a bag of the bread loaves, and a bag of the cinnamon (individual) rolls. Two items I bake at home from scratch, so I was looking forward in using them on a busy week. This week, was a very busy week!

 

Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls (Bake-N-Serv™) with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Preparation-

I open up the bag and notice that the individual cinnamon rolls are really partnered in twos and threes. I had a hard time at the store feeling the bags and was hoping I picked well enough because I noticed some were more blobs than others. I travel with two coolers (one for frozen goods and one for fresh), so things defrosting in the truck just does not happen. I can buy ice cream and still shop for 2 to 3 hours without it even it defrosting on the top! I try my best to seperate the rolls, but they seem very attached to their companion, so I do my best.

The directions were simple and opted to go by the one that resembled closest to the time it takes to bake them from scratch. My cinnamon rolls take 1 hour for the dough to rise, you make the roll and cut, then another 30 to 40 minutes for them to rise again, plus bake for 20 minutes! Simple and easy. I put the frozen cinnamon rolls from Rhodes in the oven, which was pre-warmed to 170 degrees. The directions stated it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the rolls to proof and double in size. I’m 2 hours in and watching these frozen rolls more than I do those made from scratch and they are oozing larger in size but not rising. My oven is less than a year old and I check the temperature. Holding at 95 degrees and no change when it comes to rising…..just oozing bigger. I take them out and they are technically double in size (flat wise), so I warm the oven to bake the rolls.

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Baking-

In they go and use convection mode and set the oven to 325 degrees. Directions are clear about not over baking and leaving them in for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are light brown in color.

My house smells bread-y but not that yeast dough you associate with cinnamon rolls. I look in the oven and the rolls look like they are swimming in yellow oil, so I go and look at the ingredients. I shouldn’t have! You have a chemical concoction that makes the cinnamon rolls out of tubes look like saints. You have everything from oils, corn syrups, sugars in every way they can be made down to margarine and so forth. I just don’t see the waiting time worth it when I saw what was in these rolls. I remind myself I ate onion flavored puffy ring chips yesterday, so sometimes chemicals taste good 🙂 .  I allow the cinnamon rolls to bake 25 minutes to get a light brown color and notice the dough has pockets that resemble bread, not the ribbon texture you associate with yeast dough, but I’m committed and now it’s too late to bake anything since I have to start dinner.

This is after "incorporating" the bag's contents more, as they like to separate.

This is after “incorporating” the bag’s contents more, as they like to separate.

Frosting-

I allow the cinnamon rolls to cool and get a baggy of the frosting. It’s yellow in color and not just a faint hue, it’s yellow. I turn over the bag and I recalled right, it states cream cheese but this is not like any cream cheese frosting I have ever seen. The directions state to incorporate the icing and I do the “smashy thing” but it still looks undesirable. I cut the tip off the bag and I taste it……..it’s so sweet and the texture of cupcake icing, not at all like what you put on a roll. Also, cream cheese is there in words but your taste buds just does not pick it up.

Taste Test-

I serve us each a roll and even my Husband says the icing is just so wrong. I take a bite and this is one oily roll that is dry at the same time and you see and smell cinnamon, but you really don’t taste it. I did not finish my roll. Not worth the calories and my Husband does not either. I use to buy the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section when we dated. They were fine but never like the bakery, so I began learning to bake and trying recipe after recipe. My Husband will at times even pick-up a tray from the grocery store’s bakery and they are edible and a nice treat for those days I was too tired or busy to bake. The Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls were not unfortunately, not worth the effort and I just don’t get why they are frozen to just be a disappointment.  I also don’t understand the amount of poor ingredients that I can respect chemicals to produce let’s say a Spicy chip that tastes like a taco or something.  You get your junk food fix and you will crave a bag in 3 to 6 months time again.  These cinnamon rolls did not even satisfy a craving as such!  Sad…….very sad because in this house we do think sweet goods are worth the calories and fat, but rule #1, it needs to taste good!

 

I dislike having to give a negative review but honesty comes first and when the cinnamon rolls in a tube taste better and you can find better (i.e. real butter, ect.) ingredients in brands like Trader Joe’s to even the giggling doughy guy, I just can’t say at least these were easy to bake, so you should get them.  Taste matters and I don’t expect to get nutrition out of cinnamon rolls, but my taste buds need to be happy and cinnamon rolls are the type of food you eat with a smile.  These=no smiles :(.  The Rhodes microwave variety were passable and I would have never imagined since these required more time and came from an oven.

 

Connect with Rhodes at:

 

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.

 

 

Gourmet Living: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Review #IGPInitialPromo #GourmetLivingBalsamic

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Some things are beautiful and I always admire a gorgeous looking bottle. Presentation matters and especially when purchasing a product that retails higher than it’s counterparts but that is if you look at vinegar as plainly an acid, disregarding origin, grape used in production, to aging. This can get blurred and sometimes on purpose by the manufacture. We all want what we pay for and that is something I was critical of when I had the opportunity to review Gourmet Living’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. I love Balsamic and use it almost on a daily basis in it’s “raw form” or to enhance the taste of sauces to meats. Nothing tastes like it and it may look like wine but a good tasting Balsamic will make you forget about wine all together.

When I received the parcel from Gourmet Living, the box was beautiful with gold colored foil highlights and it almost felt like suede when touched. I open it and I see a beautiful red wax seal on top, and the bottle is as noteworthy as the rest. Every detail has been thought of but in the end I seek what is inside the bottle. Does the vinegar have a pleasant taste and will it play well with the others, meaning I don’t want an acidic pungent base that overpowers all the other flavor notes and even the smallest drop makes me just taste vinegar.

I figured the best test was trying it as-is and making a simple at home Vinaigrette. I never buy dressings and just make my own because as much as I want the dressing in the bottle to last, everything a manufacture adds to make it long living also makes it poor tasting. I save money and fridge space, plus I can adjust my dressings by the meals I am serving that day. A Vinaigrette made at home will always be friendly to a waist-line too.

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Retail Price Point: $36.95 for a 8.5 fluid ounce bottle via Amazon

You will look and notice years and size of bottles fluctuate drastically when it comes to Balsamic. I thought the more the ounces combined with greater years, makes the price tag higher, but that did not remain factual. Some expensive brands had poor ratings along with the low quantity of ounces they gave. I get it that aging takes storing, time and care. This is not even what it takes to make the initial fluid in the first place. Boiling a product down reduces the quantity and intensifies the flavor but it depends on the cook and the “starter product”, if even the final product will be worthy. Balsamic may look thick and smell sometimes strong but it delivers sweet notes when done well. As it ages the flavor matures and the wood that is used for storage will also affect the vinegar. The Balsamic from Gourmet Living also has an IGP certification that has certain criteria that must be met for a bottle to pass and reach the seal. Think of it like a diamond and how certain outside agencies will only certify if certain standards are met, down to origin of the stone. The vinegar from Gourmet Living is from Modena and had the proper labeling I have seen with products of this kind, so they passed the visual test and now to how it tastes.

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Taste Test:
I made my dressing and I always taste before adding salt. The Balsamic had a pleasant sweet taste without bitter after notes. You could pick up what the wood had added a distinct flavor to the vinegar, and it just intensifies that aroma you get when using the product and tasting it. I actually found this vinegar very pleasant and for the price, it was a fair price point. I have only been able to get a better price point at Whole Foods on 2 bottles that were being cleared out and that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A bottle of Balsamic lasts because you use a small amount. Think of when you use demi glace and how a little goes a long way. The same applies here and that makes it a worthy purchase in my book!

Connect with Gourmet Living at:

 

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

CellHealth Institute: HealthyCell® Supplement with over 90 Phytonutrients, Vitamins and Minerals; Morning and Evening formulas Review

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I have never been a real believer of all-in-one products and this may be why I don’t take a multi-vitamin. All-in-ones in my opinion is like tossing everything a person may need and hoping for the best……that never ends right. Getting your nutrition via foods is optimal but I’m a realist and I know that can’t always be achieved. I go by my blood tests and thankfully I’m not lacking anywhere and when I saw my doctor, my Vitamin D was satisfactory and in the good range of the scale, but not what he considered to be “optimum” in rage. I started to investigate and really tried to get a range (number) on where a female my age should be and let’s say of course the Vitamin D council stated more than any lab found to be satisfactory in levels. Getting a “real story” depends on who you talk to and in the end I just took 1/2 a pill more to see if when my range changed I felt any positive benefits because I don’t want to take more than needed, when my results from the lab said I was fine, except for a physician that wanted me to be in an “optimal range”…..and of course the pills he sold through his website were pure-er than what is sold on the market! I changed my primary doctor by the way 🙂 .

I do believe certain nutrients can enhance how you feel to even how your skin glows. I call this “tweeking” and seeing if I feel and/or see results. I’m game in tweeking because I do it when I cook and I also apply the same thinking when I use beauty products. A little of this or that can make a difference both in energy levels to how you feel and look, BUT as long as you keep in mind what you are taking, sources and read clinical reports even as boring as they may seem, you just don’t want to waste $$$ on products that yielded little to no results against a placebo.

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HealthyCell sent me a 30-day supply (120 pills) of their Phytonutrients, Vitamins and Minerals formula. The formulation is divided between 60 morning pills and 60 evening pills. I stagger my vitamins and minerals intake through out the day already, so my body doesn’t just purge my daily dosage overage within a few hours. I sort of feed it as the day passes in small doses. The morning formula supports energy and mental focus, while the PM formula supports restful sleep. I turn the box over and I must say the pills are filled with everything you can think of and then more. Every vitamin, mineral, down to the “free radical” complexes are broken down and everything is listed down to proprietary mixes being disclosed as to what they are. For example, you have Bioperine, which is a registered trademark and CellHealth made sure to list Black-pepper fruit extract right by it and I found that oddly forthcoming when it comes to the supplement world of today! They stick a trademark and proprietary blend and how can you compare one to the competitors when the contents can be legally kept hush? Sort of makes it hard knowing who to trust enough when it comes to ingesting a pill, powder, tablet to liquid form anything.

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The guessing game was sort of squashed by the CellHealth Institute with their HealthyCell product but does it work?

Ingredients (as listed on the website): VITAMINS: Vitamin A (natural beta-carotene) Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) Vitamin D (ergocalciferol) Vitamin E (natural tocopherols) Vitamin K (phylloquinone) Thiamin (thiamin pyrophosphate) Riboflavin Niacin (niacinamide) Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) Folate (folic acid) Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) Biotin Pantothenic acid – MINERALS: Calcium Iodine (potassium iodide & from kelp) Magnesium (magnesium oxide and glycinate) Zinc (zinc glycinate) Selenium (selenomethionine) Copper (copper lysinate) Manganese (manganese gluconate) Chromium Molybdenum (sodium molybdate) – TELOMERE NUTRIENTS: Purslane extract Turmeric root extract Cayenne pepper fruit Vanadium Fenugreek seed Milk thistle seed extract Borage seed oil Evening primrose oil – CALORIE RESTRICTION NUTRIENTS: Trans-resveratrol 99% Pterostilbene Fisetin Alpha-lipoic acid Coenzyme Q10 Betaine HCl Sulfur L-Carnitine tartrate Acetyl-L-carnitine HCl – ANTI-OXIDANTS: Anthocyanins Ginkgo biloba leaf extract Broccoli, kale, radish concentrate Grape skin extract Tomato lycopene extract Rosemary 4:1 extract Pine bark extract Lutein Green barley grass – DNA REPAIR: Melatonin Inositol hexaphosphate Mustard green extract Quercetin dihydrate – STEM CELL MAINTENANCE: Chlorella algae Spirulina algae Klamath blue-green algae Fucoxanthin seaweed Brown seaweed extract – CELL REGULATION: Gotu kola leaf Green tea extract DMAE bitartrate Cordyceps sinensis extract Green coffee bean extract L-Glutamine L-Theanine 5-HTP Jujube seed extract Taurine L-Arginine L-Ornithine Herbal sleep blend (passion flower, lemon balm, chamomile flower & poppy seed) Red algae extract – ABSORPTION ENHANCERS: Bacillus coagulans Black pepper fruit extract Astragalus membranaceus Panax notoginseng Triphala Artichoke leaf extract Amylase Neutral protease Cellulase Lactase Lipase

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Verdict:
I took the pills as directed and removed any minerals and vitamins that echoed what I was taking prior. I was just left with taking prescribed medications because HealthyCell covered everything from the L-Arginine I was taking to my vitamins and minerals. The first few days I felt no difference until I noticed on the 8th day, I was sleeping better and waking up at the same time; 10 minutes before the alarm rang. I sort of enjoy this rather than being awoken to an annoying ring and this allowed me to get up more alert. As the days passed, I did notice improvement in my energy level and realize I was taking 1/2 a caffeine pill prior to taking HealthyCell because I was experiencing difficulties when it came to getting going in the AM hours. Noon would hit and not much was accomplished and I was not satisfied with that. The combination of HealthyCell’s ingredients in the pills improved my performance and I had forgotten I had taken out the caffeine boost, because I just did not feel the lag. Being able to accomplish what I wanted to do and being satisfied with my performance and energy level, it resulted in being in a better mood. Just getting restful sleep can improve your mood and I thank HealthyCell for that. The only supplemental food that I have in the morning with my breakfast, is flax seed. I enjoy the digestion benefits from the fiber to the Omega-3 fatty acids. I still continued eating Flax seed both whole and ground, even though there are ingredients that fulfill the nutritional values and benefits in HealthyCell, I just enjoy the taste and texture my yogurt gets from the seeds.

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Retail Price Point: $29.90 via Amazon for a box that yields a 30-Day supply of 120 pills (60 in the AM and 60 for PM use).  User of the product takes 2 pills in the morning and 2 pills in the evening.

Connect with the CellHealth Institute and check-out HealthyCell at:

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

Kiva Health Food: Hot Smoked Paprika and Sweet Smoked Paprika #Review #SmokedPaprika

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When I first began to cook, I started with blended spices and herbs. Such blends are easy to use and take the guess work out of finding a balanced flavor, however you usually are charged for fillers like with most products of this kind. If the flavor notes are savory, you get salt and if you get sweet, you get a plethora of sugars to choose from and making up 50% of the product you just purchased. After a year of trial and error, I finally learned to purchase individual ingredients and let me be the one in control of flavor!

Kiva offers you with pure products and what you see, is what you get. Sounds so simple but in a world where sodium and sugars are not the only fillers, you get products that are made with higher standards from Kiva:

  • All Kiva products are non-GMO certified.
  • Kiva uses a third-party testing facility to ensure purity and safety.
  • Eco-friendly methods are used by Kiva from Sustainable Farming to cultivating in smaller batches.
  • Kiva also minimally processes everything from their Superfoods to their spices.

The food word has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and we now know more about food processing to ingredients that sound healthy-ish but are not. There is no excuse when it comes to not knowing where to buy from because there are still good companies that take pride in what they make like Kiva. My first products to try from Kiva, is their paprika and they sent me two kinds to review.

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  • Kiva Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika-

With my father originating from Spain, paprika was highly used at our home. We made on a weekly basis a Paprika chicken dish, which was braised chicken thighs and are paired it a simple vegetable (whatever was in season) saffron rice. I am very familiar with this pepper spice that is usually made by air drying the chili peppers, however smoked versions use a fire to add flavor, and the woods will enhance and even add to the taste. Kiva’s sweet version is made in the La Vera region of Spain. Their peppers are hand harvested and are dried by using Holm oak. The oak toasts the peppers nicely and adds a nice true smoked flavor. No fake liquid smoke used here! You don’t get a sugary sweetness but a mild pepper flavor, which differs from the hot version. The sweet version also usually has the seeds removed to decrease any bitterness, which you usually find in the “bittersweet” Agridulce version. This sweet version plays well with seafood, rices to even spreads. I also used the Kiva sweet version over avocados that I added to a simple salad and the flavor complemented the simple vinaigrette I made very well. You will use less dressing when using Kiva’s sweet smoked paprika because flavor is there and it did not need sugars to notice it!

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Sweet Paprika & Chives Shrimps. The shrimps were grilled on skewers!

 

 

  • Kiva Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika-

Like it’s counterpart, the Hot version of Kiva’s paprika is smoked for 14 days to increase intensity and richness. You get chili peppers that have been ground to produce a light powder that delivers those smoky notes, which derive from the Holm oak. Holm oak trees is the only wood used if you are making true Pimenton from the La Vera region of Spain, so think of it like Champagne, you can only call it that if comes from the grapes that came from that region of France. The Holm oak also produces acorns, which is a food source for Iberico pigs of this region. I like to pair the smoked hot version with pork tenderloins to create a nice rub and it gives roasted potatoes a beautiful hue and peppery taste, that you can only find in paprika from this region. Kiva’s paprika is milled perfectly and no bitterness or fillers are ever detected. You get true spice from the peppers without the high price tag!  I also halved potatoes and we grilled them over charcoal, added sour cream and a touch of butter with a nice sprinkle from the hot smoky paprika.  It’s a tater you cut to eat and enjoy every bite!

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Retail Price Point: The duo costs $10.99 via Amazon or $11.80 from Kiva’s website

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Connect with Kiva and their other Superfoods at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kiva Health 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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