Bolthouse Farms Review: 100% Carrot Juice made into a Hearty Soup #MeatlessMonday #GlutenFree

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I first tried Bolthouse many years ago and then became reintroduced to the brand when I visited my local Costco. The “samplings” got me and of course I then had to usher my husband over and he became a fan too. Recently the wonderful company sent me 4 bottles to try and I am in love with the one I had the least expectations on. I love carrots but it’s usually the vegetable that acts as a filler in every vegetable medley I purchase, that I started to take it for granted. I tasted the juice and learned that not all carrots are created equal. My carrots from the baby to the large are missing the Bolthouse touch! The sweetness is unbelievable but not derived from sugar or some unholy syrup…..just the carrot. I know the bottle in the front stated clearly 100% Carrot Juice but I still flipped the thing around looking for further contents and then saw the ingredient list: Carrot!

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I stopped drinking bottled vegetable juices because most taste like they took the oldest and not so prime vegetables to create the juice, and like a bad grape makes a bad wine, bad veggies make horrific juices! I should not have to pinch my nose to drink something that is suppose to be healthy and good for me, to then have it repeat on me after…..sort of like, “surprise, you pinched your nose, but here I come, back so you can taste my awfulness!”. Bolthouse juices have none of that. They are good from the blends to just the plain ones like this 100% Carrot juice.

Being that today was #MeatlessMonday, I looked at my left-overs and got creative. I have diced plum tomatoes, wild rice, and some Thyme left over from the crackers I baked. It’s the last real cold day we will have in California this week, so I want to make the most of it!

Let’s Begin….

Soup Base (great portion for Lunch Time):
1/4 a cup of Bolthouse’s 100%Carrot Juice
1/4 a cup of canned Diced Tomatoes. I used Plum Tomatoes that have been canned with Basil (unsalted)
Fresh Thyme
Smoked Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional- Dash of Oregano before serving

I put the above all together in a pot and just bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Once it’s done, I paired it with the Herby Cheese Crackers I baked.  You can find my Herby Cheese crackers recipe here: http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Dh

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Now, for dinner, I wanted something a little more hearty. I used the above soup base but went up to 1/2 a cup of the 100% Carrot Juice from Bolthouse and 1/2 a cup of the Tomatoes. I added 1/2 a pat of unsalted butter, smoked salt and pepper medley to taste, and a dash of oregano. Let that come to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

I had some left-over wild rice I made over the weekend and added 1/4 cup to the soup base, along with 4 ounces of diced fresh zucchini. I brought that back up to a simmer and cooked it until the zucchini was the texture I desired. To serve, I added some parmesan cheese and a few of the crackers I baked earlier. Done! You can get creative by using wheat pasta, fresh kale to any vegetables that need attention from fresh to even frozen ones. A Meatless Monday meal that takes 10 to 12 minutes to make and is not only filling but delicious! Enjoy!

Visit Bolthouse and their Countless Juice Selections, Juices from Blends to the Plain; to Cafe drinks and even Protein ones:

Next time, I will be reviewing the juices from 100% Pomegrante juice to Multi-V Goodness Smoothie.

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I received the above product free of charge from Bolthouse Farms. 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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Bob’s Red Mill: Crake! a Fusion Dessert made of a Cinnamon Roll and caKE all-in-one

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With all the fusion of desserts going on today, I thought I would enter into that playground and have a go at it.  I present to you what I call a Crake!  It’s actually pastry dough that I made using a blend of flours and a cake that engulfs each roll.  Being that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, we all need a hug and this moist buttermilk-based cake does just that to each roll.  So let’s get started creating and let me add, this has a sticky bun topping so I made sure to splurge!

We start by getting our starter going:

Starter-
3 ounces of Warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon of White Sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Yeast
1 ounce of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

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I have a proofing option with my oven that I set at 110 degrees.  No need to have one, so you can also place the starter to bloom in a dark warm corner in your kitchen.  I gently mix everything in a small bowl, but one with enough room for the rise. Then cover with plastic and give it about 15 minutes.

While that starter get’s….well started, I begin with the Sweet Dough Mix for the Rolls:

Dough-
3 ounces of Yogurt (or you can use 3 ounces of cream cheese, plus 1 tablespoon of milk)
2 ounces of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 egg at room temperature
1 3/4 ounces of White Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
6 1/2 ounces of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
4 Ounces Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

Between a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of All Purpose Flour (separate from above measurements) will be needed while the dough kneads.

I cream the sugar and butter together with a mixer (stand or hand will do, use your whisk attachment).  I then add the Yogurt but in this case I went with the 3 ounces of cream cheese (with 1 tablespoon of milk).  Add the egg and vanilla.  I then add the starter and incorporate everything, being careful not to over mix.   In another bowl, I mix the salt and both flours with a whisk.  I add the mix to the wet ingredients, still with the whisk attachment on.  Things will look a little shaggy at this point; that’s okay. I then change over to the dough hook.  I find using a little butter on my dough hook makes it easier in preventing the dough from sticking to it.  I begin to knead and add All Purpose Flour as needed.  Sometimes I need a 1/4 cup and other times I need up to a 1/2 a cup, it all depends on the elasticity it builds.  I knead for about 10 minutes using the mixer.

After the dough is a nice texture, I place it in a buttered bowl and cover it with plastic. In it goes to the proofer for a hour to an hour and 20 minutes. You want the dough to grow almost double in size.

I then begin on the “sticky bun” topping that I call “The Glaze”:

Glaze-
4 tablespoons of Butter (salted)
3 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1/2 a cup of Brown Sugar

I melt the above items down and I find my little “gravy” pan works great as it has a notch for pouring.  Stir frequently and don’t hurry it up by turning up the heat.  Use low heat until things melt and just begin to bubble.  You want no sugar crystals (grains), just a smooth glaze.

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While the glaze melts, I get 1/2 a cup of pecans and throw them on some parchment paper to toast.  This intensifies the flavor profile and also adds a nice texture to the glaze.  The glaze will actually almost create a butter nut toffee texture over the pecans, so it is really delicious and beautiful looking at the same time.  I use my toaster oven because my dough is proofing in my oven.  Just place them at 350 degrees and then watch them so they do not burn.  It may take 5 minutes or 10 to be done, so the time is never exact but keep an eye on them until the color changes (darkens slightly).

Nuts-
1/2 cup of toasted Pecans (or any nut of your choice)

I then get a glass pan that I will use to bake this entire concoction in.  I use a “lasagna” pan that is the size of 9 x 13 inches (3 quart).  This allows enough room for the rolls to rise and for the cake batter to fit.  I use cooking spray on the glass and then place parchment.  The spray allows my parchment paper to stick and stay put better so I don’t have to fuss with it.  I also find that it’s easier to first cut and shape the paper to your liking BEFORE spraying so you don’t then end up with baking spray on your hands too.  Yes, it has happened where I forget and then end up with slippery hands!

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Pour the glaze onto the paper and make sure to help it spread evenly.  Once it spreads out, add the Pecans.

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I get started in making the filling for the Rolls:
Roll Filling-
You can use the standard cinnamon roll filling of 1/2 tablespoons of melted Butter, 1 cup of Brown Sugar, 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of ground Cinnamon, with a dash of Nutmeg.
Roll Filling Variations-
With Strawberries being in season and I am going for a Valentine’s Day dessert, I picked Strawberries.  You can go with any berry you wish like Blackberries or even a mix.  I used 6 ounces of fresh Strawberries that I sliced up and because they were already sweet, I used less than a teaspoon of White Sugar and just tossed them.  Take note the glaze is sweet and you don’t want an overly sweet filing too but do sugar the fruit by taste.
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By now the dough has “poofed” to my liking and close enough to being double the size so I get it out of the proofer and just flip it on to a floured surface.  Have a 1/2 cup of flour ready if needed when it comes to rolling the dough out.  I roll the dough out to about 14 inches (length wise).  I then spread the filling and in this case the fruit, and then I begin to roll like I would any cinnamon roll.
You want 8 rolls in total and this is my method:
Cut the ends off and then cut the roll in half.
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You now have 2 small rolls and you will cut each on in half again.
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You now have 4 pieces and you then simply cut each piece in half and you end up with 8 (close enough) equally sized rolls.
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Place the rolls in the pan that has the glaze and in it goes back in the oven to proof for about 30 to 45 minutes.  You want expansion but not so much that you won’t have room for cake batter.
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While the rolls proof, off we go to make the cake batter.  Start making the batter when you are about 10 minutes away from the rolls finish proofing:
Buttermilk Cake Batter-
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup of White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1/3 cup of Unsalted Butter
1 Egg (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon of Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup of Buttermilk
Cream the sugar and butter together.  While that incorporates nicely, get the 3/4 cup of buttermilk and add the egg, vanilla, maple syrup to it until well blended.  Then in a separate bowl blend the dry ingredients, the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Once the butter and sugar are nice and creamy, add 1/2 of the “wet” buttermilk mixture and 1/2 of the “dry” flour mixture to the mixing bowl.  Make sure to not over mix as this results in a tough textured cake.  Scrape the sides and bottom, then add the rest of the wet and dry ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
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Take the rolls out of the proofer and then add the cake batter to the areas around each roll.  Make sure to not get cake batter on the top of the rolls since you do not want a soggy roll.  A couple of drips is okay but do not spread the cake batter on top of the rolls.  I used all my cake batter because the point here is for the cake to rise to the height of the rolls.  You do not want when you flip these over to collapse.
By now my bossy oven has beeped at me that it is ready for the Crake to go in.  I then bake it between 30 to 40 minutes.  If you see it start to over brown, just place foil on top and make sure to not over bake.  Take it out when the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine was ready at 37 minutes.
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I allow the pan to cool for 8 to 10 minutes and carefully place a dish that accommodates the size of the pan you used over the Crake.  I use a glass cutting board so that I just dirty one thing and I can just slice when needed.  Use oven mitts to keep a nice grip and also in case it’s too hot.  Flip and this is where you will thank the parchment paper….just carefully peel and I use a small spatula in case a pecan here or there tries to escape.
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Viola, you made a Crake!
I then heated up dinner and allowed the Crake to cool.  It won’t get soggy on the bottom as the glaze stays on top.  After dinner I cut into it and served it with a whipped topping made of Heavy Cream, Mascarpone Cheese, and Powdered Sugar.  You just whip until you get nice stiff peaks but don’t over-whip as you will make butter.  To let my guest know the pastry had a Strawberry filling, I added a cut Fresh Strawberry on top and also a whole one to a dollop of whipped cream I placed on the plate.  This allows anyone to get more topping in case I went light on it.  Enjoy!
You can do this any way you desire.  What I mean is this is a dessert that is really two-in-one.  Want to just make the glaze and the cake, you can.  Stop at the glaze and the rolls….go for it.  I write my recipes as I go on a note pad and the above was created on my first try, so if I can do it, so can you…..so make it any way you want 🙂
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I received some of the above products free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill, an employee-owned company.  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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Giveaway: You can win a California Delicious Gift Card worth $50.00

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(Picture is example of products carried by California Delicious and not of actual prize)

Get ready this Valentine’s Day to get some help with this wonderful giveaway, courtesy of California Delicious!

Giveaway of a $50.00 gift card to California Delicious (http://www.californiadelicious.com/). This prize can be open to everyone internationally but the gifts must be mailed to a U.S physical address, no PO Boxes please.  Giveaway ends on February 5th so get started now and it’s easy to enter below.  Please note terms on site regarding alcohol sales and delivery limitations, as per state laws.

How to Enter:

  1. Like on FaceBook- https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDelicious
  2. Follow on Twitter- https://twitter.com/caldelicious
  3. Follow on Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/calidelicious/
  4. Please comment on my Blog Review- https://samplesandfreebiesgallery.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/california-delicious-not-your-ordinary-gift-box-and-basket-company/

Bonus Entry for those that follow on Instagram-

California Delicious: Not your Ordinary Gift Box and Basket Company

A gift basket is always welcomed in our home and not only do I enjoy the variety but I love trying new items. As of late with the holidays not too far away from us, I noticed that many baskets cost a pretty good penny but the thrill of the “good stuff” is not present. It’s almost the place where snack food goes to get stale! Not great when you bite into something and wonder if you would have liked it if it were fresher.

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In comes California Delicious with not your ordinary baskets. They offer everything from baskets and gift boxes with fresh fruit, chocolates, stuffed animals, wine, beer, and you name the occasion……they have it covered. The one thing I love is that if you live within the state, shipping is a whopping $0.00. Very nice. So the price point you see is what it is with no hidden charges. If you live out of state, they offer a reasonable rate starting at $9.00 (standard ground) for most of their selections. Very fair pricing and if you sign-up for their mailing list, you get 15% off promotion. Navigate the site and a $10.00 off a $75.00 purchase coupon pops-up as so does a $5 off of $50.00! I believe in getting the most out of your dollar and right now, California Delicious has a heck of a perk! Be part of the “Give a Gift, Get a Gift” program. Just purchase a basket and each purchase gets you a $50.00 gift card* to http://www.NakedWines.com. The only small catch is you can only use one gift card yourself but you will get one with every item you buy. Great way to pass the perk forward and share with others. Make your basket purchase twice as nice!

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I ordered the Starbuck’s Coffee gourmet box. It’s item #9966 and it’s the first gift basket I have been 100% content with from top to bottom. I always have items in baskets and boxes that are just not for me or I plainly do not enjoy…..not this one! The Starbuck’s Coffee Mornings Gift box has a reasonable price point of $59.99 and it even has a stainless steel travel tumbler that can be used again and again. I always like gifting items of this kind that not only yield food for my family and friends to enjoy, but you want a reusable gift so there is something always left to enjoy again and again. Every item in the box is Starbuck’s branded…..no fillers to make this box seem more than it is. See for yourself and California Delicious discloses all contents, no need to over examine a picture to see what really comes in the basket (“Is that a candy I see back there?” kind of thing). I like that California Delicious is open and upfront because its just so tacky to inquire when you send someone a gift basket or box and hope they got everything as pictured. The last thing you want to ask is for a run-down! This is what my beautiful box came with http://www.californiadelicious.com/starbucks-coffee-mornings-gift-box.html:

  • Starbucks Pike’s Place Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Sumatra Blend Coffee
  • Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee
  • Starbucks Café Estima Coffee
  • Starbucks Hot/Cold Travel Mug
  • VIA Ready brew Coffee
  • 3 – Spiced Biscotti
  • 1 – Vanilla Biscotti

Other things I want to share is that I have never received a Biscotti cookie in “as-pictured” shape. They are usually baggies holding something what was once a cookie but is not a dry cracked baggy of dust. My chocolate swirl was even intact and every cookie was whole. I got to break it myself and enjoy it…..fresh and “biteable” with no regret or staleness! Ever item has an expiration date and just the bagged coffees alone the date was 6 to 7 months from when I received it. The VIA coffee is an entire box with 8 servings and that doesn’t expire until September. You can actually take your time enjoying your treats. The bags included have a 10 to 12 cup serving each so you get plenty of sevings for a very reasonable price. You add that you get a $50.00 gift card to NakedWines.com and it’s a perk that makes buying from California Delicious a must! Try them today and especially with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. California Delicious is not your everyday basket and gift box company, they deliver not only beautiful looking treats but it’s filled with items you will actually enjoy and love!

Connect with California Delicious and place and order just in time for Valentine’s Day:

  • On-line- http://www.californiadelicious.com/
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/caldelicious
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaDelicious
  • Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/calidelicious/
  • YouTube and Video Blogs- http://www.californiadelicious.com/california-video-blog

Hint: I will be posting a giveaway soon, so get ahead and connect with California Delicious by connecting with the above links!  

 

Nakedwines.com Perk detals, as disclosed on California’s Delicious site:
No kidding…We will send you a nakedwines.com gift card valued at $50 for every gift* that you send from California Delicious. It’s our way of saying Thanks for your business! *What’s the catch? If you buy more than one gift, we will send you a card for every gift you send but you can only use one of those gift cards yourself. You can pay it forward by giving your extra cards to all of your friends and relatives…sounds too good to be true? Well it is if you live in MA,MO,VA,WV,TX,HI,NC or VT because unfortunately those states have prohibition era rules.

I received the above product free of charge from California Delicious.  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.

 

Swaggable: The Honest Kitchen FORCE Dehydrated Dog Food

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Our mutt is the type of dog that finds the cheapest toys the most fun to play with but when it comes to food, she is offended by the oddest of things. Actually gives me that face questioning if I am serious about her eating something she is particularly not fond of (at that second) and then comes the waiting game. I try to wait until she eats it and she waits until something else (better) is served. I have seen this dog eat a Flaming Hot Cheeto (extra hot edition), so she does not convince me she has some kind of “refined” palette after she ate that! I also find her liking raw carrots one day and not the next, so this is her plan to drive me crazy. I don’t appreciate how she acted like they were radiated and left me a exploded carrot by her dish as a sign of protest!

In comes Force, a dehydrated whole foods product by The Honest Kitchen. First thing that catches me eye, it states “Human Grade” on the package. Okay, I’m not even sure everything I eat is such a grade so this definitely is the dog one upping me! The flavor sounds more like a dish you order, Free-Range Chicken with Vegetables and Fruit (grain-free). Makes my all-beef hot dog I had for dinner not so special now, even though I opted for spicy brown mustard 🙂 You have other details like a Guaranteed Analysis disclosure, which let’s you know the crude protein, fat, fiber to even caloric count. The food is made in an FDA inspected facility! So, this is all good but does the Cheeto Bandit approve?

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Simple Preparation:
I added Organic Low-Sodium beef broth I had left over from making stuffing to the dehydrated food. Think instant oatmeal for dogs when preparing this dish for your pet. The food actually smells like chicken and contains potatoes, celery, sweet potato, apples, organic alfalfa to even organic flax seed and herbs like basil and rosemary. You mix the package with 1/3 of a cup of warm water (foo-foo broth in my case), wait about 5 minutes and serve. The food absorbs the liquid and you do not even need to stir, so no need to walk in with the “dog’s spoon” that must be put in the dishwasher ASAP.

Mutt Approved:
I did the above and served it. The pooch inspected and sniffed and then wagged. If she wags while eating and looks back but continues eating, that means it’s a “Yay”. If she sniffs, looks back and then comes over and looks at your hands to see if you got anything else to offer the Dog Goddess, it’s a “Nay”. The goddess approved and I did not get my paws checked for other offerings. She ate it all and cleaned her bowl better than my dishwasher cleans that last glass in the corner!

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I thought the idea of making my own wet food for my dog would be……well, icky but this is not only a Honest Kitchen product but a clean one. It’s simple and easier than making a cup of soup in the microwave, and that means no microwave is needed and no mixing required. She loved it and the ingredients are remarkable. Force loves their furry consumers more than some companies like us humans! You can also opt to serve the product alone or as a topper for their kibble, so you can skip on adding any liquid. I also like that 10 pounds of Force food makes 40 pounds of fresh food! Force products are also GMO free, Gluten free and produced in the USA by a family owned and operated business.

Connect with Force at:

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I received the above product from Swaggable and Force, free of charge. I am not obligated in providing positive/favorable feedback, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or it’s products, which may differ from yours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Does it have it’s place?

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

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

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

The Chobani tour of Greek Yogurt Bite & Flips will begin shortly………

Below is the last preview of what I received and I will be posting reviews, plus a cookie recipe soon……………

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