UpNature: 100% Natural Raw Almonds in a 2.5 lbs. Bag #Review #UpNatureRawAlmonds

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I usually admit that I buy many different types of nuts in whole form but always in bulk. Buying in bulk is great as you get a lower price per ounce/pound because you are buying more product at one time. The factor that can sometimes backfire on me comes to quality. Many producers yield great batches but as the year progresses, you start seeing some add less premium nuts to their batches but here you are paying the same price point or even higher if the weather was an issue. The bargain is lost when you buy less quality nuts in bulk. You are then sort of stuck trying to consume a product you may not be too fond of.

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Retail Price Point: $25.99 for a 2.5 pound bag via Amazon

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Verdict:
When UpNature had already surprised me in a favorable manner with their raw honey, I though why not when it came to trying their almonds. Again like their honey, this is another product that is left as natural as can be. Raw almonds that are not smoked and actually steamed pasteurized. I love roasted and/or smoked nuts but over time data has stated that the benefits are not the same and actually the oils in the nuts can be harmful, as oxidation and other changes are caused by the high heat they come in contact with. UpNature grows their almonds in California with minimal processing and each nut was flawless when I received it. They also bag their almonds in a brown bag versus a plastic bag, which can inhibit moisture and mold growth. The almonds are kosher certified and have never come in contact with pesticides, irradiation, or any chemicals. Just plain almonds with premium quality but wholesale pricing.  I found the nuts to be pleasant in texture, not mealy and fresh.  The taste I describe as a mild sweetness as the flavors are natural in their raw form.  No salts or anything to get in the way, so it really leaves it up to you and your imagination to enhance the almond, or like I enjoy them…….just as they are.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from UpNature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

SunRype: The NEW Fruit & Chia Bars and just released Energy Bars #Review

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SunRype, makes bars for consumers that want other options than the soy loaded and artificial sweetener filled bars, you see in so many products of this kind today. I want real food and this goes for when I need a pick-me up snack to even a replacement meal. My Husband has soy sensitivity and I want a bar we can both share and eat. We usually even split an energy bar when we are running errands and the last thing I want to do, is say you can’t have this one. The bars are gluten free and even though we do not have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, we like to not always eat the same ingredients with every meal. When SunRype approached me about reviewing their 4 most recent bars, I looked into the company and liked how they stated things like “100% Fruit Snacks”, “Simple Ingredients”, to words in the ingredients list that you can pronounce…….so a bar I can actually trust!

I was sent the following varieties from two of SunRype’s newest collections:

Fruit & Chia in Mango Twist
Fruit & Chia in Apple Cinnamon
Energy in Chocolate Coconut
Energy in Raspberry Chocolate

Verdict:

Taste matters because I love fruits and vegetables, and never understood why others did not until I tasted some bars on the market. Any real fruit was annihilated and I probably would feel the same if my introduction to certain fruit bars began that way. SunRype, respects the fruit! The Fruit and Chia bars are like the breakfast scatters I already eat. Every Sunday, I fill a mason jar with dried fruits, seeds and nuts to eat throughout the week. It’s mixed with several flax seeds from ground to whole, dried fruits from coconut to acai berries to other ingredients like cocoa nibs and even mini dark chocolate chips because everything in moderation does not hurt, plus actually makes eating your meal an enjoyment. Ironically, I skip what I call the common filler nuts like peanuts and it’s nothing against the nut but I prefer almonds, pistachios, to walnuts and if I crave peanuts, I’ll just eat peanuts. When I read the packages on the SunRype Fruit & Chia bars, they make what I eat. Versus it being a scatter that I usually eat with yogurt or Kefir, they put it in a package I can travel with. Great for mornings I am in a hurry or dinner will be at a later time that busy day. The bars start with 100% fruit pieces and use sweeteners from the fruit itself to molasses and even brown rice syrup. You know…..real foods! It’s a whole grain bar and they use gluten free oats and brown rice flour. Each of the Fruit & Chia bars contain 800 mg of ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids and both the Mango Twist and Apple Cinnamon bar is just 200 calories per bar. Sodium is just 50 mg and you get a nice 4 grams of protein. I avoid cinnamon anything. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the spice but most times anything with it is loaded and overpowering. Not with SunRype! The spice is a compliment and the bar resembles an apple bread I bake from scratch. The Mango is a nice break from the common flavors and has a tropical puree taste from the dried mango but because the bar contains coconut, it has a beautiful balance.

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Now, the SunRype Energy bars come with 7 grams of protein that is plant derived. SunRype, also does not hide behind proprietary blends, they list what their energy blend comes from. The main component is pea (protein), green tea extract and ginseng powder for an energy boost. I find my body not only gets a natural boost from these ingredients but I metabolize them better, so no crashing like you would have with some energy drinks. The Chocolate Coconut is 210 calories and the Raspberry Chocolate variety is just 10 calories less. Not bars that you have to punish yourself later by cutting calories from your meals. They are decent in size and more than fulfill their need by stopping hunger to even keeping you going. The Chocolate Coconut was my favorite of all 4 bars. I love coconut and SunRype did not skip on the ingredient. I not only satisfied myself with a snack but also a craving. The Raspberry Chocolate still had the tartness from the berry! Love that because it’s the whole point I go after such berries, I want what they bring from the tart to sweetness that is unique in flavor to that variety.

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All in all, this bars were a hit. They remind me of my morning scatters I enjoy, mixed with fruit leather bars I purchase at the local Framer’s Market…..SunRype just got the wonderful idea of making them both meet to make a bar that is not only nutritious, but a pleasure to have. They have a store locator for their products to even available on Amazon, so no reason to not give there treats…..I mean bars a try. 🙂

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from SunRype. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Swaggable: Kala Beautiful Beans Snacks #Review #KalaBeans

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Horizon Dairy: Super Squeeze Snacks made with Organic Milk and Fruit in Mixed Berry Burst, Strawberry Bash and Orange Blast #Review

 

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I’m always looking for snack alternatives and being that we are big on fruit and yogurt like drinks, the Super Squeeze Snack pouches were a perfect combination. Each pouch has only 100 calories and 5 grams of protein, plus 20% of your daily required calcium. A box comes with 4 pouches and each provides 99 grams (3.5 ounces) per serving. I was sent from Horizon Dairy the following flavors:

These are shelf stable snacks that have many uses from being a creamy base for fruit to even slightly freezing them. I took fresh strawberries and blueberries, mixed them with any of the Super Squeeze flavors, and slightly froze the fruit mix for 20 to 30 minutes. Just enough time for the treat to set and have a soft serve texture. Everyone loved it and with the 100 degree days we have been experiencing, this is a low calorie and protein delivering snack that will energize anyone from adults to children on a day like today! The base also makes great “mug cakes” that can be made in the microwave if you are short on time and/or energy.

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Super Squeeze in Mixed Berry Burst- Every pouch is made with real milk and fruit to create a creamy blend. Naturally flavored and this version contains Organic Skim Milk, Strawberry Puree, Organic Cane Sugar, Pectin, Organic Blueberry Puree, and Citrus Acid. Simple but delicious and the product is free from artificial colors or preservatives. You get pure ingredients and by far this was our favorite. We even skipped on milk some days and added our granola based cereal to create the perfect morning fruit parfait. Best way to start the day.

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Strawberry Bash Super Squeeze- This was our second favorite flavor. This Super Squeeze contains Organic Skim Milk, Strawberry Puree, Organic Cane Sugar, Pectin and Citric Acids. Natural flavors that create a perfect snack. There is no funny red or pink hue to this treat, just pure strawberries always ready on-the-go. The part that makes this a no-excuses snack, is that the squeeze needs zero refrigeration if left unopened. You literally grab it and it’s ready around your schedule. Cravings for adults (and even kids) can be curbed and you just can’t beat having a healthy snack that is just at hand’s reach with no spoon needed.

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Super Squeeze in Orange Blast Think of this as a “dreamscile-like” treat. We enjoyed it and would purchase this variety even though it was not our favorite because it was still delicious. I expected a fake and unpleasant orange taste but I found myself happily disappointed because we actually enjoy real orange based products in our home. This Super Squeeze starts with the same Organic Skim Milk, Orange Puree, Organic Cane Sugar, Pectin, Citric Acid and Natural Flavors. As with all Super Squeeze products, you will notice they start with milk and right after comes the real fruit and no fillers!

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In our home, we have always been fans of Horizon and Happy the cow!  Horizon makes tasty treats that can be enjoyed as much by kids and adults alike.  They just make great foods with ingredients that are real!  The crackers taste cheesy, peanut butter sandwich crackers are buttery and creamy, and the macaroni and cheese (especially the white cheddar) is the very best I have tasted from a box.  Yeah, I thought all Mac & Cheese from a box had no love ❤ when it came to flavor and ingredients but Happy the Cow always delivers!

Snoopy and our favorite cow Happy have teamed up:

The Peanuts movie has united with Horizon Dairy where you could win a trip for you and your family for a “Red Carpet Experience” The movie premiere will be in Los Angeles, CA, plus there are other prizes you may be able to win. Go to: http://HorizonDairy.com/Peanuts to enter and Good Luck!

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

Oloves Olives: Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad #Recipe

 

 

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  • Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad

You have a great salad that is packed with protein and fiber that is perfect for a “Meatless Monday”. You can also make this in the evening and it holds well for up to 3 days in the fridge. No dressing needed and you can eat it over a bed of lettuce, fill two tomato halves, or stuff an avocado. I opted for a little bed of lettuce to go with my avocado and it made two beautiful and very filling cups.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 /2 cup of Tri-Color Qunioa (cooked, drained and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup of White Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 cup of Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/4 cup of raw Carrots (diced)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Celery (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Zucchini (diced)
  • 1/8 of a cup of raw Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Lemon & Rosemary
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Basil and Garlic
  • Optional- Feta crumbled Cheese (add this before serving as a topper)

 

Begin by cooking your Tri-color Qunioa, draining and allowing it to cool.  I always cook mine with a touch of smoked salt and this is why I did not any more to the salad.  The flavor comes all from Oloves olives!

Then chop up all your veggies and add to a large bowl that is big enough to mix and toss.

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Drain and rinse both cans of beans and take 1/2 cup out from each type of bean.

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Add to veggies and toss.  Then open an avocado in half, so you are left with two equal sized halves.  I always brush mine with a little lemon or lime juice to preventing browning and add a little flavor.

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Then simply open 1 bag each of the Oloves pouches in Lemon & Rosemary and the Basil and Garlic varieties.  Add to salad and toss to combine.  Taste and if you want to add a little salt or freshly cracked pepper…….go right ahead but I found the flavors were perfectly balanced by just using what Oloves provided.

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Then simply lay out some lettuce (even Kale) so the avocados don’t feel lonely, top with the salad and you can add some Feta cheese if you desire.  You can store the remainder in a glass container for up to 3 days.  I never store with the cheese because for no reason it sounds “icky” to me, so I top just before serving.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Get your Oloves and you can make the above recipe and more at:

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

 

Oloves Olives: Perfect Olives in every pack #Review

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I really enjoyed the Oloves pack I received with a subscription box and served as my introduction to the brand. You have perfectly shaped green olives that are infused with flavors, not even a pit to get in the way of your munching. Perfect brine paired with a nice “meaty” olive, both the quality of the olives and the ingredients make for one spectacular combination. The company was kind enough to share their selections with me and every Oloves pouch leaves you with a very happy and satisfied taste!

You have several flavor variations to choose from, so the Oloves party never gets dull:

  • Basil & Garlic
  • Chili & Oregano
  • Lemon & Rosemary
  • Chili & Garlic

All products are made with simple ingredients that are Vegan, Kosher, Gluten Free, and all natural. Low in saturated fats and each pouch is a friendly 50 calories.

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Basil & 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.

 

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Chili & Oregano:

An olive with a little attitude! I love this one and the pouch made a delicious muffuleta spread that went wonderfully paired with a Rosemary Ham sandwich. The chili adds a little heat and zest but because the olives are plump and “meaty”, this olive can handle the heat! I will be making a brushetta next time and topping each bread slice with half of an olive in this variation. It changes up the flavors and the Oregano compliments the topping nicely.

 

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Chili & Garlic:

I love garlic but I shy away from it when it comes to packed goods and mostly because manufactures do not respect the clove. You want garlic in it’s full real flavor, not some powdered stuff that looks and tastes like saw dust. Oloves not only got the harissa spice right but the real garlic notes are so there. This is a black olive that slaps back when it comes to heat and flavor but I polished 2 baggies off because I was going to win this battle!

 

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Lemon & Rosemary:

I never knew lemon went so well with that nice acid and brine flavors you get with olives. It just awakens your taste buds with the freshness and the rosemary even made me add a pack (chopped up) into the daily bread I bake. It went so well with the rustic loaf that I will be repeating that concoction again. I also made a salad that has zero dressing because like I mentioned, these are not boring olives. They are the spice of the party!  I will be posting the recipe next!

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