Ozeri’s GreenEarth Fresh Spin 4.24qt. Salad Spinner

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Around here we consume a lot of greens. Well, I should say that I consume a lot of greens. Hubby somtimes acts as if they might cause him some harm. But I eat more than my share, probably more than anyone I know. Kale, lettuces of all shapes and sizes, broccoli, squash…you name it, I eat it. And one thing they all have in common is a need to be washed, prepped, and stored dry. I’ve tried other brands of spinners, all of which fell far short of my beloved OXO spinner. And then Ozeri went and offered me their Swiss-designed GreenEarth Fresh Spin Salad Spinner. I may just swoon.

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With a fast-spinning ergonomic pump handle, non-slip base and table-ready BPA-Free clear bowl, this spinner has displaced my OXO and become my go-to for big heaps of lettuce. It’s size is deceptive from the pictures…It’s huge, at 4.2 quarts. Before what took me several rounds of “rinse-spin-pour-repeat” now is all done at once. The spin action also doesn’t cause the entire bowl to become unbalanced and threaten to wobble off the counter and scatter my greens to the four winds. It’s quite and only takes 2-3 pumps to achieve maximum velocity. And the brake button brings everything to an immediate halt with no issues, squeaks, squeals or noise. What I love best, and had become a major gripe with my OXO, was the spinner shaft that comes down and takes up valuable real estate inside the bowl. That’s a thing of the past with Ozeri’s GreenEarth Fresh Spin Salad Spinner. All that space in there is free to use, and use it I did.

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I never thought anything would take the place of my OXO. And yet here I am, with my OXO in a closet and My Ozeri GreenEarth Salad Spinner under my counter and waiting my next batch of green goodness. With Ozeri’s 2-year warranty and stellar record of outstanding customer service, this GreenEarth Fresh Spin Salad Spinner is going to see a lot of miles in the coming years.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ozeri.  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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Kuuk Salad Spinner Review

It’s no secret that many heads of lettuce have met their demise here in our home. In fact, a great many type of produce have, and the one thing they all had in common was being washed and spun dry. I’ve put many a miles on my old OXO salad and herb spinner. So many that the brake no longer worked, and the top started falling apart. Shortly after replacing it, I got an offer to try a version from Kuuk, and boy was I jazzed. Two is always better than one and imagine how much produce could be run through our little cleaning assembly line with 2 spinners going at once!

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Sadly, it was not meant to be. While this Kuuk spinner really tries to look like many of the leading brands available in stores, it falls way, way short in design, quality and function. For starters, it’s made quite cheaply. It’s priced competitively, at only $19.95, but it just isn’t made with materials that will last a long time. The major pluses for this are it’s price point and large size. It goes quickly downhill from there.

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The design, though, is really where things fell apart for us. From the “latching” lid, to the spinning crank, to the entire unit being unbalanced, it’s just awkward and difficult to use effectively. While most of us have, at one time or another, pressed down the plunger on a spinner, the Kuuk spinner uses a crank lever to spin the mesh strainer inside. And heaven help you if you don’t hold the container firmly on the counter, because it’ll wobble like an unbalanced washing machine and fly right off the counter. And the latch on the side that is supposed to keep the lid on is difficult to line up if only because the plastic the lid is made from has so much flex in it.

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In the end, I was disappointed in this product. I wanted to like it, and wanted to really be able to use it more often, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t meant to be. Also, my experience with the company with another of their products left much to be desired, and I’d be lying if I told you that that didn’t factor in more than a bit when it came to how I felt about this product. Nobody wants to buy products from a company that won’t stand behind them.

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

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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.

Veri Soda: Organic Soda drinks in Orange, Cola, Lemon-Lime, and Ginger Ale

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We rarely drink sodas and it’s not just because of the unwanted ingredients alone, but most of the times it’s so sugary that it drowns out whatever you are eating. I usually drink cranberry juice mixed with water, lemonades or just plain water. I miss sodas sometimes and especially when we are have a nostalgic meal like pizza or burgers, but what I miss is the “old sodas”. When ingredients were less scientific, less harming and having a soda did not make me feel like a Humming Bird that just found a bucket of nectar to call their own!

When we received the parcel from Veri Soda, I had a nervous moment because it was a 4-pack of each flavor and for people who maybe drink 1 soda every few months, that’s a year’s worth and most times I throw out sodas because they expire (yes, it can happen) and we really just keep them around for guests. I was happy to see many things that separated Veri from the common brands and that was the shortest list of ingredients I saw on any type of cola drink…..ever! Then I noticed the USDA Organic seal, non-GMO, Caffeine free and 60 calories for one can and no playing games with the servings, one can in total is broken down and remains a simple 60 calories. That is like less calories than my 1/2 juice and 1/2 water drinks I have with dinner. Next, came the flavor test and I popped two open to go with our burger night and two other flavors to go with pizza night.

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  • Veri’s Cola Soda Flavor:

In my home cokes were for special occasions or a weekend get together, while my Husband when I met him drank cola and more cola. Water was just for washing things! It drove me nuts and especially when it was Summer and I was so thirsty but everything had sugar and more sugar. I quickly learned just bring a big water bottle when you visit. I was an RC cola drinker when I had any of the caramel colored drinks but it was hard to find. Being that I did enjoy the cola here and there, I then moved to Coke Zero thinking at least when I have it, the penalty will be less but I was never satisfied with how quickly it changed in flavor.

Veri’s cola is perfect and you get super bubbly water that is flavored like sodas we use to drink but even better. I like having things that surpass my memories and this one sip let me know I can have a soda and it won’t overwhelm my taste buds or waistline. The cola flavor has a perfect balance of sweetness and you are not just trying to poorly substitute a “coke”, the flavor profile is seriously better than any of the other brands out there. I loved it and I’m not a cola lover. My Husband was blown away and very few things that I get to test do this but he even checked out the price and what other flavors they carry at our local Sprout’s market because like he said it, “this I can do and actually like”.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic caramel, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Lemon-Lime Soda Flavor:

I have abandoned my lemonade mix at times for the Lemon-Lime kick. I then discovered that if I have lemon juice or lime juice, I can make one citrus kick drink by adding this version of Veri’s soda to 1/4 cup of either fruit drink. It’s light and crisp like you would want from a clear drink of this kind. The sweetness and tartness is well balanced and Veri just made another version better of what I had before. I don’t miss the past drinks of this kind and I can’t wait for the warmer weather to hit and just enjoy a sandwich with this flavor!

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Orange Soda Flavor:

I use to enjoy as a child a soda that “Crush”ed others because they had fruit flavors.  I always navigate towards fruit drinks and of course it started early.  I just disliked how my phlegm would thicken with flavors like orange and don’t even get me started on grape, because it seems my grape world tasted different from every purple dyed drink out there. A orange soda by the pool was something I just like having and especially ultra cold.  I figured it was a forgotten beverage until Veri came and let me tell you, their orange soda is smacking good.  Your taste buds will be drowned (but in a good way) with real orange flavors that are sweet but the lemon extract not only intensified the citrus notes, but mellows the sweetness.  You get tang and that nice orange twist taste but again nothing bad to ruin the party.  Your tongue may not turn orange in color but it will be happier when it comes to what you just tasted.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic orange juice from concentrate, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic carrot juice from concentrate, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Ginger Ale Soda Flavor:

I was sick last year and could not find a Ginger Ale that had actual ginger in it. I know, so odd. I would think it can’t be called Ginger anything if it does not contain it but they found the artificial flavor highway to get around that. My Husband drove to 4 stores until he located a soda that had the root and was simple in ingredients, but sadly it was a little too sweet for my taste, so thankfully he just bought the 1/2 sized cans. I love Ginger Ale no matter if I am well or ill, so when I saw this flavor of soda in the box Veri sent, I got happy! The soda contains the perfect amount of ginger extract to give it that snap but not overwhelming. Love the sparkling water base that all their sodas are made from because that base really has a nice clean taste and like always, you taste the flavors and not just the sugar.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic ginger extract, organic flavor, organic caramel color, and organic stevia leaf extract.

Final Thoughts:

I really just thought Veri was just going to be a company that uses better ingredients but that the final product would be lacking in flavor or just really not resemble a soda.  Sort of like I can’t find a non-gluten bread to date that tastes….well, like real bread.  I underestimated and need to apologize to Veri for clumping them with companies that spit out versions of something that does not even resemble the real thing.  Veri is a real soda company that has their “game on” when it comes to crafting a good quality beverage that you will enjoy.  The rest is just a bonus when it comes to ingredients because I never thought a soda could still be called a soda unless it had something that was only created in a lab environment.  You know those proprietary blends of who-knows-what and lets us not forget the coloring and dyes because for some reason we need markers in our food supply!  Veri really said it best, “they said it could not be done”…….but they did and they did it good!  I just want more flavors like a Root Beer or a Cream Soda, or even a Pineapple soda….hey, Veri you started this and now that I know it can be done, do it! (pretty please) 🙂

Connect with Veri and let your taste buds wake up to what real sodas should taste like at:

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

 

 

Grab Bags of Goodness from Gourmet Nut #Review

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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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.

Siggi’s: Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry #Review

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I’ve been fortunate enough to get to try a whole host of yogurts, Greek style, European style, Australian style…the list goes on and on. Some have been great. Some, not so much. A few are now in my regular rotation. Siggi’s falls into that last category. You might not have heard of Siggi’s, but you really should make a point of finding yourself some.

Siggi’s is truly a different kind of yogurt. In fact, it called Icelandic Skyr, a protein-dense low sugar form of yogurt. Truthfully, they

My local Target carries the Siggi's Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Raspberry

My local Target carries the Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Strawberry

had me at “low sugar”. In the U.S.A., almost everything you can buy in the markets is salty or sweet. Overly so at that. Don’t believe me? Take a look at almost everything in the middle of the market. Sometimes I think the FDA has revamped the 4 major food groups as salt, sugar, corn and soy. So when Siggi’s skyr says it’s not too sweet, I jumped in with both feet. It’s got all the probiotics and active cultures of the best Greek-style yogurts, but the yogurt here is the star, not some syrup on the bottom or some packets of stuff in a sidecar either.

Here’s another bone to pick: the tubed yogurt marketed mostly to kids is loaded with sugar. It’s practically syrup itself . Yuck.

But not Siggi’s. The yogurt you get in the cups is almost identical to the yogurt in the tube! Nice. And while it’s not as thick as the cups, I’d assume to promote viscosity and ease of eating, it’s not some runny mess either. Finally, something you and the kids can share, and not have them hopped up on a sugar rush later! I’m in love with a tubed yogurt? I am, and I have no shame admitting it. It’s so good hubby made a tube or two a part of his morning breakfast routine.

I have tried only the blueberry tubes from Siggi’s so far, but I’m a big enough fan that I have plans to immediately go and get the other flavor as well.  You can also freeze them and have a healthy frozen yogurt treat!

This is a product unlike any on the market today in the U.S., and if you’re like me a day you’re fed up with all the sugar in everything, get some Siggi’s today. You’ll wonder how you ever ate yogurt any other way before.

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

Siggi’s: filmjölk Swedish-style drinkable yogurt Blueberry Quick Bread #Recipe

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This is a bread that uses very little sugar and delivers a wonderful texture derived from the combination of flours and the moisture from Siggi’s Filmjolk yogurt. At 0% fat with Siggi’s drinkable yogurt and the little amount of sweetener used, this is a great bread you can enjoy with less guilt!  I am able to enjoy it as a breakfast bread or even a dessert bread. Goes great with seasonal fruit and you can adjust this recipe easily by using any of Siggi’s yogurts. Very versatile and best of all…..very tasty!

Let’s get started……

Ingredients:

1 cup of Whole White Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Almond Flour/Meal
1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups of Siggi’s Blueberry Filmjolk or any flavor you desire

You have your choice when it comes to sweeteners in this recipe and the goal is just to use 1/2 cup to get there and I used:

1/4 cup of Dark Molasses
1/4 cup of Maple Syrup & Orange Blossom Honey

1/4 Unsweetened Dried Blueberries and make sure to plump them before adding by using hot water and waiting 20 minutes for them to re-hydrate. You can get creative and warm a fruit drink (i.e. blueberry juice) to hydrate them and I have used the microwave method where I add the blueberries to a bowl, add water and then microwave to warm.

1/2 cup of fresh Blueberries

Optional- Sprinkling the top with Turbinado Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by re-hydrating your dried fruit and I went with blueberries but you can use whatever fruit or combination of fruits you desire.

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Grab a bowl and mix your flour with a whisk.

Then add the Salt and Baking Soda, and whisk again.

Measure out your Siggi’s Filmjolk and set aside.

Make 1/2 cup of any sweetener mix you desire.

Add the re-hydrated fruit to your dry mix and fold until well mixed.

Then take the wet ingredients (Siggi’s Filmjolk and the liquid sweeteners) and add them to your dry ingredients.

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Fold all ingredients making sure everything is well incorporated and mixed.  You want to make sure there is no dry mix lurking and everything is mixed nicely and wet.

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Grab a loaf pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray.

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Add the mixed batter to your pan and spread evenly.

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Take the 1/2 cup of fresh berries and start studding the top of the bread.

Then, you can sprinkle with sugar to create a nice flaky crust (crisp top) and also sweeten the fresh fruit.  I went with Turbinado sugar because I love the texture and how it makes a loaf just glisten!

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.  My Blueberry loaf took 47 minutes and I did not need to cover the pan with foil at anytime but if yours starts to over brown, so ahead and cover loosely (tent) with foil.

 

The loaf is cooled for 20 minutes and I use a cake tester to loosen any stuck edges before flipping and allowing it to fully cool.

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I start slicing always after 1 hour or more of cooling to allow everything to rest and not lose any moisture.

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I served mine with more fresh Blueberries and a nice smothering of whipped topping.  The whipped topping was a cinch to make, just softened cream cheese, a little powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream.  You just then let the mixer do the work until it’s nice and fluffy.  You want an airy topping, not very stiff peaks……just a cloud for the berries to float on when served.  Enjoy!

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I highly suggest using Siggi’s Filmjolk yogurt and you can get your Siggi’s fix at:

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

 

 

Siggi’s Icelandic-style Yogurt: Blueberry filmjölk Swedish-style drinkable yogurt #Review

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In my continuous effort to try every yogurt out there, I found Siggi. What is a Siggi’s yogurt? Well, I first was drawn in by their very clean and low-key look. Then I saw their motto of, ” simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar”, on the packaging. That is how I eat, cook, well practically live. Yes, I bake and often but I don’t enjoy very sugary or very salty foods. I like to taste the flavors nature provides in their simplicity. As I always do, I went over to Sprout’s market and got lost in the yogurt aisle. I even blocked some people while I reached as far as I could to get the blueberry bottle of Siggi’s Filmjolk. I was fortunate to have the company send me coupons because I wanted to feature them on my site after my husband and I shared just one cup of Siggi’s Blueberry yogurt. Yes, one cup is all it took for me to get on the “Siggi’s……oh, dear goodness I love you”, wagon! It’s not greek and it’s a texture and recipe that’s all it’s own. It’s rich but not super milky in taste, just creamy and whatever the flavor on the package shows, that is all you get with a touch of sweetness. That is all! Simple, good and now we always with a high tone say, “Seeeee-ggy”, when we reach for it. I do wonder what people think of us! 🙂

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I did not get a coupon for the Filmjolk but you know when you have tried something from a company and it surpassed all your expectations? Well, Siggi’s did this so I just took the plunge and grabbed the last bottle of Filmjolk Sprout’s had in stock.  I get home and I can’t wait for breakfast and sort of regret I had dinner already because a “dinfast” or “Breakinner” would have been perfect but off I go to get my beauty sleep.

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The next morning, I wake-up tired and you know it went away once I knew my curiosity of what Siggi’s drinkable yogurt version was going to be like. Being that blueberries are at a reasonable price, plus I had just shopped for fruit, and I had granola in hand…….well, it was the breakfast of champions I created. Siggi makes a yogurt that leaves a zero film in your mouth or throat, but remains creamy in texture when eaten. I love it and not only did I fall in love when I took the “sniff” test, I knew right there and then to pour it over my banana, peach, blueberries, and granola breakfast……more what my husband calls my morning “scatter”.  The yogurt is not bitter or sour, just think of being left with a clean palette and whatever fruit you picked as the after-taste.  Refreshing and also fills you.

Ingredients as listed from the site:

  • Blueberries
  • Cane Sugar
  • Fruit Pectin
  • Live Active Cultures
  • Pasteurized Skim Milk

That is all!

Great health benefits too like:

Live Cultures
Bifidobacterium sp., L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. lactis subsp. cremoris, L. lactis subsp. lactis, L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis, L. rhamnosus, Leuconostoc subsp. cremoris, S. thermophilus
Probiotic Cultures Per Serving
L. casei + B. lactis 1billion
Just 120 calories for a very generous and healthy serving of 8 ounces.  You can drink, eat, use it as you would kefir to even baking with it and that is exactly what I did and of course it has a blueberry theme too.  I will be posting my Siggi’s Blueberry Bread recipe soon so stay tuned but while you wait, have a Siggi anything and I mean it……you will forget the Greeks and become an Icelandic yogurt fan too!
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My local Target carries the Siggi's Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Raspberry

My local Target carries the Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Strawberry

 

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

 

 

 

Klout Perk: VitaFrute Cocktails by VeeV #abetterwaytodrink Acai Spirit #Review #Klout

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Another great perk from Klout and this one was one I have never heard of, Acai based spirits. The company VeeV has this great line of drinks that they call VitaFrute. The superfruit cocktails come in:

  • Margarita
  • Lemonade
  • Cosmopolitan
  • and with Coconut Colada joining the trio soon

The cocktails are organic and made with the finest ingredients. One serving is just 125 calories and these all natural drinks are considered to be made by the World’s first Acai Spirit Company, VeeV.

What is Acai?

I have been drinking Acai based juices and blends for some time now but not with an alcohol base. The Acai berry or fruit is derived from the Acai Palm tree. These dark colored berries are full of juice, which is considered part of the super foods and super fruits we are encouraged to be consuming. The fruit is usually cultivated from the Amazon and located where lots of water is available (i.e. swamps). The fruit is filled with antioxidants and many consume it for the claims attached to them. I do because I enjoy how it tastes and was rally curious about alcohol derived from it.

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I purchased the 2 bottles using the coupon from Klout and because they were on sale at my local Von’s, I was able to score them for free! I looked and hunted for the Coconut Colada variety since it would have been my first choice but I could not locate it but I did find the Lemonade and Cosmopolitan varieties.

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  • Lemonade– The flavor is perfect on a hot Summer day (or night) and I enjoyed the nice counter balance of alcohol and lemon. The combo was perfect and no mixing required. On my second glass, I added a little tart Cherry Juice and it was like a Pink Lemonade that was icy cool and delicious.

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  • Cosmopolitan– I have not enjoyed one of these in years and it’s almost the forgotten cocktail for me. I know I like them but never get around to ordering. I pour the Cosmo over ice and you can instantly pick-up the citrus and fruity notes. Delivers the same as it smells to your palette and definitely was my favorite of the two.

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VitFrute by VeeV contains 15% ALC/VOL (30 proof) and the bottle must be refrigerated once it’s opened. The taste is nice and clean, plus Agave is the only sweetener you will find in this drink. Fillers it has not! I enjoyed it so much that I will be making a Lemon Tart with the Lemonade version!  I shall get my hands on the Coconut Colada one day and when I do, I will post.  I have plans for that one!  The site has great recipe ideas to even a store locator so can enjoy a glass of cold VitaFrute too.

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Connect with VitaFrute by VeeV on:

  • On-line– http://veevlife.com/vitafrute/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/VEEV
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/VeeV
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/veev
  • #abetterwaytodrink
  • #kloutperk

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I received the above product free of charge from VeeV and Klout.  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

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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!

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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….

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  • 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.

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  • 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).

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

 

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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:

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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.

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