Pure Natural Miracles’ 100% Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

ScreenHunter_06 Sep. 10 14.34

I’m a fan of cacao, and have been for some time. I’ve cooked and baked with it and never had a bad thing to say about it. But until recently I never got to try raw cacao nibs, straight up. And now that I have, I’m a fan, in a big way. Pure Natural Miracles sent me a bag to try and review, and I’m delighted they did and opened my world to something new and delightful. Their marketing tactics and high-pressure approach to reviewers I’m not as big a fan of, but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying the product.

DSC_0023

Cacao nibs are like a mild espresso bean, full of tangy, almost bitter notes. Like a baking chocolate, it’s bereft of sugar in any form, but crunchy like a grain, or granola. You get a full, rich chocolate flavor, but no sugar, or processing, or roasting, basically anything that strips away the flavors and health benefits, like antioxidants and trace minerals that are essential to any healthy diet, plus their high in dietary fiber. These Pure Natural Miracle nibs are made from 100% pure Organic Peruvian Criollo cacao and are raw (not fermented or roasted), organic, vegan, and naturally gluten free, so they can be easily worked into any diet or diet plan. They went great with my morning “scatter”, usually some cereal and nuts, along with chia seeds, flax meal, goji berries and Greek yogurt. And while I noticed nothing out of the ordinary as far as energy, or alertness, I also saw no ill effects from consuming them daily for weeks. It was like a morning cup of coffee with my breakfast, but no caffeine dump later. They also went great sprinkled over some vanilla bean ice cream, or just a small handful on their own.

DSC_0024

What I’m less a fan of is, as a reviewer, I make certain promises to the companies I choose to work with. And I expect them to understand that I have many, many companies I work with every day, some regularly for years. Things get reviewed as they come in, in the order received, unless we’ve made special arrangements beforehand for an accelerated or delayed time frame. And I never, ever, let a company put words in my mouth. For good or for ill, my opinions are my own and I will not use a companies “suggested” dialog for my reviews. Whether it was Larviks Investment Group as a proxy or Pure Natural Miracles, I got the hard sell almost from jump. I didn’t appreciate the way they went about this promotion with me, and while I like the product immensely, I can only hope that they’re not the same way with regular customers.

DSC_0025

So in the end it’s a great product that I recommend highly and hope that give them a try. If you like coffee, or chocolate, or chocolate coffee (*drools*), then these are right up your alley.

Connect with Pure Natural Miracles:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Pure Natural Miracles.  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.

Advertisements

Heck That’s Hot: Monthly Subscription Box #Review

IMAG2807

We always enjoy subscription boxes because they introduce us to new brands and even new foods. Like with gift baskets, I find most subscription boxes have more down time where maybe 1 to 2 items are fabulous and the others are duds. You then have companies, which add so much little filler that getting a real sized item is impossible.

Not with Heck That’s Hot!

I love spice and can tolerate heat very well. My only caveat is that the heat better bring some flavor and make the food worthy of eating. Empty calories to me, also means eating something that is not great but you are eating it to make whatever you spent on it not be wasted. I can state that Heck That’s Hot provided a box filled with items that were full sized and the individual size (i.e. one serving) products were included in multiples. Yup, you are not trying to share a one-bite chocolate piece between a family of four! Some of the products I was familiar with when it came to the manufactures like Lindt chocolates. I also liked that there was care in packaging. The parcel was double boxed and the items were safely packed. Even the chips were not a mess and that also means care is shown and you not only want that when a box is being sent to you, but it’s something I seek when I give boxes as a gift. Heck That’s Hot will not make you look poorly in that aspect either and I like that they take pride and care in how they handle products.  Hey, I got chocolate sent that was not even melted and I reside in California!

IMAG2806

Now, Let’s See what you Get:

IMAG2809

The Better Chip in Jalapeno Flavor-

This a company I have seen and heard of but never actually tasted their products.  The chips are made with real ingredients making them simple but so tasty.  You see real jalapeno pieces and these are not green little flecks.  I’m talking about diced jalapeno that is mixed into corn masa, which is used to make these delicious round shaped chips.  They deliver heat and crunch, plus they are not a salty mess.  What’s not to love?

 

IMAG2808

Van Holten’s Hot Mama Pickle-

This item made us laugh when we saw it.  It’s a large size pickle and not your everyday product, so I love that Heck That’s Hot included it.  I love firecrackers and this pickle is like the big version of them.  We refrigerated the pickle and I first took a slice to see how it tasted and it was a pleasing flavor, you get that pucker power from the brine but the spice is good tasting.  The pickle also has a good texture and crunch!  You get a heat that is zesty but not over the top.  I made a spread for burgers using the pickle (diced).  Very simple with Mayo, Chipotle powder, and the Hot Mama Pickle.  I even have 1/2 left to enjoy as-is or in another recipe.  I’m thinking this one would wake up any tater’ salad.

 

IMAG2813

Lindt Chocolate Squares in Chili Flavor-

Okay, I have had these little squares in what I thought was every flavor…..I was wrong.  The base is dark chocolate and chili extract.  I have had spiced hot chocolate drinks and even Mexican chocolates but these are nothing like that.  The chocolate used is velvety smooth and because it’s dark, it has sharp notes but the chili pepper is not in flake form or anything grainy within the square itself.  Just smoothness and the spice is almost pepper (as in peppercorn) and it just intensifies the cocoa notes.  That is all.  It’s sort of like a play of salt on chocolate and what that does to your taste buds.  I really enjoyed it and will seek this chocolate out due to the intense flavor it delivered!

 

I always look at boxes and their worth is also measured by what I can make with them and this item along with the following two, I was able to create a meal and still have left-overs.  That is what makes a subscription box worth it to me and Heck That’s Hot provided quality products that go beyond just a few dips with a chip, put jar in the fridge to just throw it out 2 weeks later.  We actually enjoyed cooking with what was provided in the box!

 

IMAG2810

Julia’s Sassy Dip Mix in Chipotle Seasoning-

It’s a dip, a mix to even a spice packet.  The seasonings provide a base that can be used in sauces, combined with meats to even making spreads.  This allows me to use the product more than once and that is more bang for your buck!  I found blue corn taco shells that just again was adding something new to the everyday rotation.  We have had blue corn chips but never taco shells, and it’s hard finding something not enhanced with dyes, so you bet I grabbed them when it was just simple blue corn.  I had fresh ground chicken and beef in the fridge, so I made Tacos using Julia’s Sassy Dip mix.  I tasted the seasoning and it was a little sweeter than I desired, so I just added more chipotle flakes and powder.  Some red Anaheim Chilies, onion and you simply brown each meat in a separate pan.  That simple.  I love how easy it was to make!

IMAG2888

 

IMAG2811

Habanero Pepper Salsa From Hell in Beyond Hot- 

I prepared myself and I love Habanero to the point I use the actual pepper to make a Habanero Rice.  Everyone thinks the orange little pepper is just an innocent sweet pepper and then it just hits you.  Habaneros have great flavor and are very versatile when cooking.  I got tired (bored really) of jalapenos that tasted so mild anymore because it’s hard to find spicy jalapenos.  We opened the jar and it smelled spicy, like it kicked my nostrils with the heat but once the jar was opened for over a minute, the intensity in smell went away.  We tasted and the base is very tomato-y like sort of the notes you get from a jar of canned plum tomatoes and paste.  Then comes the vinegar and then the slight heat.  The salsa has flavor but not intense in Habanero, so it’s workable.  I worked it into some rice and it was perfection because my Husband did feel the vinegar was more intense than the heat.  A 1/4 cup of the salsa I added to the water, after frying the rice with veggies and chilies and 22 minutes later…..Spanish rice that has some heat but pairs perfectly and does not overpower the dish.

 

 

IMAG2812

 

Bravado Spice Co. Ghost Pepper and Blueberry Hot Sauce-

I know…..what!  I thought the same when I saw this sauce but I’m always open to tasting new foods.  I checked out the ingredients and you have Blueberry, Raspberry, Vinegar, the Ghost Pepper and then just salt and pepper.  That is all!  I start thinking how people mix pineapple with pork, and then add heat via chilies.  I make and eat that, so why not give this a chance?  First I tried the sauce on a chip and it’s hotter than the Habanero Salsa above.  I love Ghost Pepper but feel the poor pepper is misused and mostly there for name than flavor.  The Bravado Spice Co., did not leave the Ghost Pepper behind and did it justice by adding flavor.  Think of the fruit as base, there for texture and to control the bitter notes peppers to even vinegar can give.  It off-sets the heat just a bit and keeps everything in check.  This sauce would be great to marinate shrimps with, like a ceviche.  Great for a dressing in a Mexi-style salad but I think it shines best with lighter meats like poultry and fish.  I’m thinking Tilapia tacos next time and I may even crust them with blue corn by just grinding the taco shells that came broken in the box (there is always 1 or 2 that never make it whole).  Great sauce and I am open to trying that Pineapple one on a smoked pork butt sandwich.  I added some to our chicken tacos this time!

 

IMAG2814

Ass Kickin’ Habanero Popcorn-

Yee-haw!  I don’t usually eat popcorn from a microwave bag but that donkey is mocking me.  I have not popped this baby yet but will be this weekend.  It’s movie night, I got a free RedBox code, so I’m set.  It’s even raining in California, so things could not be better.  It’s Habanero and it takes the boring out of poppy corn any day.

 

Retail Price Point: They have two box sizes to choose from with the lowest $20 and then a larger $30 sized box.  Shipping is always free, so you pay on a monthly basis the price above and that is all.  You also have the freedom to cancel your subscription, so Heck That’s Hot is not your gimmicky company that has hidden charges or trying to bog you down with long term commitments.

 

Verdict:

Do I need one?  I know I always add something here to see where I land on purchasing an item but this is a must try.  Try a month, see what comes and see what you make.  That is how I think of boxes of this kind work and why some of us love them and others don’t.  I can say that there is enough in a box that makes the price point fair and then you think of weight and shipping, but wait that is included into the Heck That’s Hot price point.  That is where I see the worth because it gets delivered to your home and the items are full sized and the ones that are portion sized is enough to share.  No one gets left out, so you shouldn’t either and check-out a company that is bringing something different to the table.

Heck That’s Hot and their zesty connections at:

  • Wedsite
  • Facebook
  • Also, please make sure to check-out their FB page as they run contests for free gift cards, boxes, and so forth, all the time!!
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • #HeckThatsHot

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Heck That’s Hot.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Influenster: Products that go beyond the Winter Season #Influenster #FrostyVoxBox

 

IMG_20141222_223136

I was very excited again to get a VoxBox from Influenster. There is never a box that does not contain a new item to new brands I have never tried. This box was a beauty and food themed box, which really sums up the holiday season. The Frosty Vox Box really brought a little bit of everything from several very know brands:

 

  • Rimmel London

Was very generous and gave us two products to try out that go hand-in-hand, the Gentle Eye Make-up Remover and the ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal eyeliner.  Both products are reasonably priced and that is welcomed after the holiday splurges.  What I like about the line is that their beauty items always exceed expectations and they allow me to keep up with whatever new fashion trend and/or look is in, but still be able to keep the lights on!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

  • NYC New York Cosmetics

Even with the nude colors being in, we still need lipstick and sometimes things get too pale or plain.  NYC fixes that by adding a touch of color with their Expert Last Lip line in Sugar Plum. The Sugar Plum color is rosy but also sheer, with a hint of shine but thankfully not super glossy.  The last thing you want to do is look back at every picture you took in Winter and your lips are blinding everyone.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, this color again fits perfectly with the season……so not just a one holiday and done product.

IMAG2304

 

  • EcoTools Hair Brush

This is my first time using this line and I was happy that the brush kept my locks nice and smooth, did not create static and was gentle enough to not break or stress my hair.  The brush has a nice handle for easy hold and also is nicely balanced, which is appreciated when I do a ponytail look.  What I like is how easy it is to clean because even though I use a low amount of leave-in products, the oils I do use can cause our hair tools to create build-up.  Dirty bristles is not an issue with this brush!

IMAG2302

  • No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Sachet 

I was so happy when I saw this brand included and before the box arrived.  My happiness sort of faded when I noticed this was not even a deluxe sample, but more of a packet with maybe 2 uses if I am lucky.  Two uses does not mean I can be fair or even really know about performance.  I may be able to share my opinion about the texture, and this product does have a light feel and quickly absorbs.  Unfortunately, that is all I can share because results take work and time, plus I’m always willing to give it to a beauty product but that also means I need a little more than 2 applications. 🙂

 

IMAG2305

 

  • Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea

Just when I thought I was peppermint and pumpkin out with the holidays, this shows me that a tea can make the difference.  This tastes like true peppermint with it’s subtle and refreshing notes, that not only soothe but also calm me perfectly before bedtime.  Being decaffeinated allows me to enjoy this selection of herbal tea anytime I want and still get a good snooze in.

IMAG2307

 

  • McCormick Gourmet Thyme

I grow our own thyme but sometimes the cold snap we get decides I did not need that plant, so I always have thyme in dry form.  I also like to add dry ingredients with fresh ones because the flavor profile does change and even sometimes is preferred over the fresh (i.e. oregano) kind.  This jar arrived and I was happy to have more thyme and then looked at my thyme and even though it was not an aged bottle, my thyme was lacking that nice color, aroma and started to feel ashamed about how pretty the McCormick Gourmet one looked so I set it free and left this new bottle in it’s stead.

IMAG2303

  • Fruit Vines Bites

Not all can be winners and this was one again taught me all because it says cherry, it does not mean even 1% of a real cherry is in it.  Not the juice, I would have even been happy with cherry skin at this point but these vines are fruit lacking and sugar is all they bring.  I even chuckled when it came to vitamins and everything was 0%.  I know it’s candy and even for some a snack, but let me sin with something at least partially real.  I think the cherry needs an asterisk or maybe it should be called wanna-be cherry or sugar vines.  It has no preservatives but then again there is nothing real to preserve!

IMAG2309

 

Final Verdict-

Influenster always delivers an array of products that make me re-look at what I buy, own or even want.  I brought economical beauty brands back into the mix and just like my clothes, my fashion looks now are like my beauty products……in all price ranges!  I’m happier this way and that is really what matters.  These Vox Boxes are always a hit even when I get some so-so products because trying is really the only way to know and share with others!  Thank you again Influenster for another Vox Box experience!

 

  • #FrostyVoxBox
  • #GetAdvanced
  • #Rimmel
  • #SugarPlum
  • #CelestialTea
  • #LoveMyECOhairbrush
  • #McCormickGourmet
  • #SweetSide

 

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

 

Kiss Me Organics: Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea #Review #OrganicCeremonialGradeMatcha

images

Not too long ago I got the opportunity to review Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea. I liked it. A lot. Clean, not jittery, energy and overall a nice switch from regular coffees and teas. Kiss Me Organics decided to then send me the Ceremonial Grade Matcha. I’m more than game.

IMAG2101

Ceremonial grade Matcha must meet specific guidelines. From only the youngest, brightest, most vibrant leaves, grown in the shade, from only the very tip of the bush. Streamed, air dried, and stone-ground, this highest grade green tea is traditionally harvested from specific regions of the Japanese mountains, and is reserved for special occasions or a special treat due to the unique conditions required for growing and harvesting. It’s taste is unique as well, delicate but also full bodied with high sweet notes and a touch of butter at the finish.

IMAG2301

Kiss Me Organics Ceremonial Grade Matcha is also the most sensitive to light and oxidization due to it’s delicate nature. So it comes in a vacuum sealed foil pouch inside a sealed metal tin with a twist off top that seals airtight again after. Kiss Me Organics is serious about this tea, and one taste will tell you it’s worth the effort. Ceremonial grade is the highest in nutrients, antioxidants, chlorophyll and fiber as well, with no artificial flavors or colors. I didn’t think I’d notice so much difference from one grade to the next, but I did. It’s a whisked tea that’s thicker, richer, and with more range in the flavor than the premium grade. It leave s just a little sediment at the bottom, but that’s nothing to complain about. I just love this tea.
IMAG2300
If you’re wondering if the higher grade is worth the higher price, I say it is. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and plan to save it for special occasions. It has all the same energy benefits I noted with the premium version. It also has the one big drawback too. It’s so finely ground that it’s nearly impossible to not drop a bit, and it stains almost instantly. So I’d advise preparing your tea over glass or something that is glazed and dishwasher safe. I hope my readers treat themselves to this tea and enjoy it as much as I did.

Retail Price Point: $28.00 via Amazon

Connect with Kiss Me Organics:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kiss Me Organics LLC.  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.

“MELT”ed Chocolate? Yes, Please!

MELT-LOGO-LARGE1

I’ve been able to try every single kind of Rich & Creamy Melt Organic spread they make (feel free to take a gander at my review from a while back), and I have yet to find one I dislike, even a little bit. From the Original, the Honey, and now, the Chocolate. Oh, the chocolate. How do I love thee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let’s start with, it’s chocolate.                                   Not that fake, weirdly sweet, waxy, sugary, nasty pseudo-chocolate that everyone seems to like to 3480use. No, I’m talking the real deal. To quote their website, it’s a: “velvety blend of rich organic cocoa”. Boy, howdy is it. It also adds wildflower honey to the mix, along with the Melt Organic to make a truly good and good for you spread. With just 1 gram of sugar per serving and being dairy free, vanillin free, and nut free,everyone can enjoy it. Each square of Chocolate MELT Organic is certified organic, non-GMO (Non-GMO Project Verified), kosher and made with Fair Trade Fair for Life certified virgin coconut oil and Rainforest Alliance certified palm fruit oil. Chocolate Melt is also soy free, gluten free, dairy free and trans fat free. Each serving of Chocolate Melt is a rich source of the ‘good fats‘ with an ideal balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ALA (that are optimally metabolized with virgin coconut oil), and has 425 mg of Omega-3 ALA (or 26% RDA) and Vitamin E (or 15% RDA). Now that’s a mouthful, and a darn good one, too.

The best part is, since it’s good food that’s good for you, you can truly enjoy it any time, breakfast to dessert. Want to enjoy it on some toast? Aces. Want it with some fruit? Pile it high and deep. Want to bake with it? You had to know I was going to go there, and oh…I went there. But that’s for another post. 😉 Icings, filling, just drizzled on a slice of warm panetone bread. It’s something I can’t recommend enough that you try immediately. They even have coupons to print right from the website. It’s like it’s meant to be!! You really should dip a finger into their butter 2.0, it’s something you’ll wonder how you did without.

IMAG1421-1-1

 

Connect with Melt Organic!!

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

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door

IMAG0738

Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!

IMAG0737-1

One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….

IMAG0801

  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.

IMAG0805

 

  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).

IMAG0808

 

  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.

IMAG0802

  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.

IMAG0807

  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.

 

IMAG0800

 

  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.

IMAG0809

  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.

IMAG0810

The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.

IMAG0806

  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.

IMAG0811

  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:

IMAG0738

I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. 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.

%d bloggers like this: