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

dsc_2064

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.

dsc_2065

 

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

dsc_2066

 

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.

Advertisements

UpNature: Raw and Organic 100% Natural Honey #Review #UpNatureHoney

dsc_2122

 

Honey is one of nature’s most simplest products and the applications are endless. Now buying honey was very simple before. You usually picked a jar or a bear shaped bottle and you had honey ready to go. Then the industry decided to get funny but not in a very laughable kind of sense. We had companies add fillers and sell honeys from around the world that were high in price but not quality. You were paying pretty much for sugars and not even the good kind. Some even add enhancements and flavoring, which are not even naturally occurring. So finding a brand you can trust and sells true and honest honey can be a bit of a hunt but so worth it. You will even find if you use the real stuff, like with vanilla extracts, you end up needing less because of the purity.

 

dsc_2124

 

UpNature makes Raw and Organic Honey with zero surprises or fillers. You get the real stuff with zero processing. The good stuff is kept in and no bad stuff added! Simplicity and honesty at it’s finest. UpNature is USDA Organic Certified, Free of GMOs, and even Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified. Free from being heated and literally jarred in the same form it was gathered.

Price Point: $17.99 via Amazon or $19.99 via UpNature’s Website for a 400 gram jar

 

dsc_2123

 

 

Verdict:

The first thing I noticed was that the honey in the jar was not clear like many in the stores that have been processed via heat so other fillers can be added and combined. You have a semi-opaque liquid that tends to run slower than other honeys of like kind. It’s almost the texture of a maple syrup of high grade when you move it in the jar. The color is a brilliant amber! Just beautiful and UpNature gave the bottle a beautiful beehive design on the golden colored lid, so the little details were very much appreciated. The taste test is just amazing. There is thickness to the honey but it’s a creamy texture and very smooth. I tried it on bread first to see how it tasted and I had to stop myself. I had no idea I liked honey so much until I tried UpNature’s honey. The product is from the Ukraine and the bottle states the honey is cultivated from fields that are rich in minerals, so the bees create a honey that is really made from wildflowers. I tried it with tea the second time and just a 1/4 of a teaspoon was more than satisfying and enhanced the flavor of the tea, which was orange/citrus in taste. This honey just brightened that little tea cup and changed the flavor profile completely. I love using less because this means this jar shall last! I have a recipe for blonde brownies where honey is used as a sweetener and I will be using this one because it will definitely create a better texture (moist) to the brownies.

 

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.

“MELT”ed Chocolate? Yes, Please!

MELT-LOGO-LARGE1

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

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

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

IMAG1421-1-1

 

Connect with Melt Organic!!

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

Oloves Olives: Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad #Recipe

 

 

IMAG1226

  • 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.

IMAG1219

 

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.

IMAG1218

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

IMAG1224

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.

IMAG1223

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.

IMAG1230

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!

 

 

IMG_20140528_165620

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

IMAG1123

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

IMAG1123

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.

IMAG1125

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.

 

IMAG1127

 

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.

 

IMAG1129

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!

 

IMAG1128

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!

IMAG1225

 

Get your Oloves kick at:

 

IMAG1122

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Time: Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata Box filled with goodies ENTER TO WIN

IMAG0599-1-1

Starting today and until June 1’st, you can enter to win the above package, which I received from Rigoni di Asiago.  The box came filled with goodies that you can taste and some that you can wear, to the hazelnut bag you can shop with!  Entering is super easy too:

Please, kindly just:

 

  1.  Follow Rigoni di Asiago on Facebook here- https://www.facebook.com/RigonidiAsiagoUSA
  2. And also here on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NocciolataUSA
  3. Then on  Twitter– https://twitter.com/NocciolataUSA
  4. and lastly leave me a comment on any of the reviews and/or recipes I shared.

IMAG1011

4 easy small steps and this gorgeous box could be yours……..the hazelnut shopping bag melts your heart while you munch on the Nocciolata.  Good luck!

IMAG0598-1-1

Winner will be notified via the contact connected to your account.  I will then forward the address to the company, which will then send the box to your home address, minus the squirrel of course 🙂

IMAG0938

Rigoni di Asiago: Nocciolata with Raspberries, this is a 2-in-1 #Recipe Turnovers & Cookies Part 2

IMAG1007

I wanted to create a filling that is easy to make, does not require a plethora of ingredients and is fast……but of course delicious. With Mother’s Day upon us, many of us want to give something chocolate and fruity but the same fallback of strawberries dipped in chocolate is so yesterday! Think chocolate and raspberries snoozing in a puff pastry dough.

 

Let’s Begin……

  • 35 grams of Nocciolata spread
  • 7 grams of Almond Flour/Meal
  • 20 grams of Frozen Red Raspberries
  • 2 sheets of Puff Pastry (each sheet measures 5X5) and is in square shape
  • 1 egg at room temperature (whisked and with a brush)
  • Optional- Raw Hazelnuts
  • Powder Sugar for dusting

Make your filling like in part #1 http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-SX

Cookies (yields about 12 to 14 cookies):

IMAG0931

Take Puff Pastry out and allow it to come to temperature, but just enough to be manageable.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Get two sheets and begin spreading your filling like this-

Then brush with egg wash

IMAG0965

 

Begin to roll dough over from each edge, towards the inside like this-

IMAG0967

 

Again, more egg wash and fold again and again…..you will be creating a heart ❤

I use the same parchment papers that come with the puff pastry to keep the roll sealed and then wrap in plastic wrap.  Put roll in the freezer to stiffen up (15 to 20 minutes) so you can cut without destroying the cookie.  Repeat with the other dough sheet the same process.

 

 Once the dough is stiff enough to cut without destroying the shape, you can start making cookies.

Then take the Hazelnuts (optional) and chop roughly, placing one small piece in each center.

Then wash with egg and place in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes to bake at 400 degrees.

IMAG0993

Take the cookies out and allow them to rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a rack.  This helps dehydrate and also finish off the cooking in the dough, plus give it a crisp texture.

Dust with Powder Sugar.

IMAG1002

Then you can eat them semi-warm or completely cooled.  Enjoy!

IMAG1003

Get your Nocciolate fix at:

IMAG1004

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

IMAG0938

Rigoni di Asiago: Nocciolata with Raspberries, this is a 2-in-1 #Recipe Turnovers & Cookies Part 1

 

 

IMAG0998

I wanted to create a filling that is easy to make, does not require a plethora of ingredients and is fast……but of course delicious. With Mother’s Day upon us, many of us want to give something chocolate and fruity but the same fallback of strawberries dipped in chocolate is so yesterday! Think chocolate and raspberries snoozing in a puff pastry dough. This is a 2-in-1 recipe where you can make heart shaped cookies or turnovers. You pick!

Let’s Begin……

  • 35 grams of Nocciolata spread
  • 7 grams of Almond Flour/Meal
  • 20 grams of Frozen Red Raspberries
  • 2 sheets of Puff Pastry (each sheet measures 5X5) and is in square shape
  • 1 egg at room temperature (whisked and with a brush)
  • Fork or you can crimp dough by hand
  • Powder Sugar for dusting

 

IMAG0931

Start by taking out your Puff Pastry out of the freezer.  I used 2 sheets that measure 5×5 each.  Turn your oven on to 400 degress to preheat.  While the dough defrosts just enough to be manageable, combine your fillings ingredients.

Using a small spatula or spoon, just mix.

IMAG0939

 

Set the mix aside and then begin by opening an egg and whisking.  You can set your pastry brush by it as you will need it.

Take your 2 sheets of Puff Pastry and by now they should be pliable (not overly soft) to begin working with.

 

For Turnovers (this will make 4 of them):

Cut one 5 x 5 Puff Pastry Sheet at diagonally, so you are left with 2 triangles

Take your filling and add about 1/4 of it to each triangle

IMAG0945

 

 

Then take egg wash and brush all sides lightly

IMAG0953

 

Fold dough, as to create a smaller triangle

IMAG0954

Softly press making sure each side meets with each other nicely and if any filling comes out, give it a wipe but try not to stress about it 🙂

Then crimp closed with a fork

IMAG0956

Give the top an egg wash and repeat the same process with your second turnover

Place both turnovers on parchment paper and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Allow the pastry to cool and give it a dusting with powder sugar! Serve warm alone, with cream or ice cream.

IMAG0983

 

Get your Nocciolate fix at:

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

Fior di Frutta by Rigoni di Asiago: Apricot Fruit Spread with Honey Goat Cheese Rustic Bread #Recipe

 

IMAG1011

I don’t usually start blogging about a sample sized item I receive but the people at Rigoni di Asiago were kind enough to not only send me bottles of their delicious Nocciolata spread, an apron and the cutest shopping bag that folds into a hazelnut, but among the goodies were these samples of their fruit spreads. After being so joyous about finding my Hazelnut & Cocoa spread, a few days later I opened one of the two flavors they sent. I got a few Apricot ones and one Blueberry, so I went to open the one I had most of. The spread packet states their spreads are sweetened with just apple juice. I taste it and it’s like someone just plucked an apricot in it’s prime, smashed it a little and there you go. I would think someone giving me smashed fruit would make me unhappy but not this kind. I enjoyed it so much that I had to bake with it. I had just come from the store with fresh goat cheeses (sale got me!) and the honey version just started speaking to me, so here goes a recipe because I was so impressed with the Fior di Frutta sample in Apricot!

IMAG1014

Let’s Begin…..

  • Take 5 1/2 ounces of the “Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread” (Recipe here- http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Sr)
  • 2 Tablespoons of the Fior di Frutta fruit spread in Apricot
  • 1/2 an ounce of Honey Goat Cheese (fresh and soft kind) and I went by weight, not volume.
  • Warm water mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing

Make the dough as instructed and when completed, take the dough and spread it out flat so it can be filled.

Then spread the Apricot Fruit Spread

Crumble the fresh Honey Goat Cheese

Roll and tuck the ends

Let rest for 20 minutes

While resting, put a dish with water in the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. I baked mine with the convection going. I also use a glass pie dish because I am starting the oven with the water already in, versus using the pouring when hot method.

IMAG0621

 

Mix warm water with a touch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brush loaf. I got creative and did a hash design when it came to slashing the dough. I figure try something different. I just cut an angle one-way and then the other to create a “diamond” like pattern.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done in a 450 degree oven.

IMAG0651

Allow bread to cool before slicing, since losing cheese is no fun. I had mine about 8 hours later and this goes great with a fruit and cheese tray, with wine, with a salad or just as is. Enjoy!

IMAG0655

 

Some wonderful facts about the Apricot Fruit Spread:

IMAG1013

 

Get your Fruit Spread!  The Fior di Frutta line has one or like for me, I like them all:

  • On-line– http://rigonidiasiago-usa.com/our-products/fiordifrutta/organic-fruit-spread-apricot/
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/RigonidiAsiagoUSA
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/NocciolataUSA
  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/nocciolata/
  • Instagram– http://instagram.com/nocciolatausa
  • Also available for sale on Amazon

IMAG0654

 

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

IMAG1015

Told you the bag was super adorable!

Rigoni di Asiago: Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa and Milk #Review

IMAG0598-1-1

As a child, I was a huge fan of a hazelnut and chocolate spread, which I was introduced to before I even tasted peanut butter. It was not until my later years in grade school that I actually had my first peanut butter sandwich, however I always preferred the hazelnut and cocoa spread. Years passed and I went and purchased the same but now popular brand to find it was not like I recalled. I actually thought it was a poor batch and on my next outing, I again purchase the same brand to find that the now plastic jar is not all that had unfortunately changed. It was overly sugary, so much I could barely stand eating it alone with just bread and much less combining it with anything else. The cocoa was more compared to chocolate syrup in flavor but the watery kind and hazelnut……what hazelnut? They said every jar had over 50 some so hazelnuts but they must be using the most mild tasting nuts or miscounted! I was heartbroken and literally went years without having any hazelnut and cocoa spread. Then things changed!

IMAG0938

In comes Rigoni de Asiago with their glass jar and simple ingredients. They even have an adorable squirrel on top and are Organic. You have premium ingredients like:

  • Cane Sugar
  • Hazelnut Paste
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Skim Milk Powder
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sunflower Lecithin
  • and a touch of Vanilla extract
  • That’s all that is in this jar!

Could it taste like I once recalled because at this point I was thinking I was imaging things! I get a beautiful parcel and let’s say the bottle alone with label is gorgeous. I love stuff that looks like this, you know those jars that are packed with care. This jar invokes that but I care more about what is inside. I open and smell and sugar is not the first thing I detect. I smell a delicious chocolate but that distinct nutty scent from a hazelnut is present……like the real stuff because no fake extract ever comes close to a true taste of a hazelnut. Sniff test- Passed

IMAG1010

Taste Test:
I admit it, I just get a spreader and dip in. I see no oils on top or odd separation, just a smooth and the spread swirls like a good buttercream frosting does when you go to spread it. Light in texture and folds over just like it should because it has not been stiffened with too much sugar….perfectly whipped. I taste and it just floods my mind with memories! It was like I remembered and I may even say better. I was so happy and quickly grabbed a slice of bread and munched! It was the kind of munching that makes you glad no one was home to witness it. I then put the jar away because it’s like a hole could occur at any moment and I a) don’t want to run out and b) I got to pretend I have some control. I had a week where I was making every excuse I could to dip into my Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolate jar but because a little goes a long way, I realized I can enjoy it. I eat about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time so I have convinced myself I am not addicted.

Rigoni di Asiago carries a vast array of spreadable goodies that I can’t wait to try them all. Seriously, look at the list of the products they produce and they make it all from honey to fruit spreads. I was sent samples of some of their fruit spreads and will be posting a recipe soon. I do not usually use a sample size to create anything with but when I tasted the more fruit than sugar spreads they make…..I just was hit to create.

Create with and/or just eat and enjoy one of Rigoni di Asiago’s products and you have to check them out at:

It get’s better…….I have a giveaway soon, so after I post my recipes, stay tuned because the Rigoni di Asiago Squirrel is a critter with gifts and wants to reward one of my readers with a gift box just like the one I received! You will love it!!

IMAG0599-1-1

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

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: