Pure Natural Miracles’ 100% Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

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

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

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

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

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

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Feel Good Foods: Gluten Free Pork Dumplings #Review #FeelGoodFoods

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At my house, we no longer eat out or order in when it comes to Asian cuisine. We were never happy in the end with the amount of protein the dishes delivered, the amount of sodium and the feeling after we ate such meals. Vegetables were usually overcooked from sitting under a heat lamp and I noticed my Husband was always picking out what he liked and disliked, to the point he always had a mountain of mushy vegetables along the side of his plate from things that did not pass the cut (to be eaten). So, I started cooking it myself. I do though appreciate help and even though I am picky about what I purchase from the freezer aisle, I can say that Feel Good Foods was a welcoming sight and taste.

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I was sent several coupons and visited my local Sprout’s Farmers Market. I went with an idea from what Feel Good Foods carried by visiting their website, but it was amazing in the amount of dishes, meals and sides they make. The company has a plethora of items that I had a list longer than the amount of coupons I had. I get to the store and I tell myself just get one item. Try them out and see what happens.

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I pick the Pork dumplings and even though no one thankfully suffers from celiac disease, there are times I just want a gluten free meal like other times I pick no meat to no corn days. Our bodies (well at least mine) needs a break when it comes to what I eat. I don’t want corn in any form in my system on a daily basis and there are days I want a gluten free meal. It changes what I put in my body and it’s welcoming to my taste buds. Labor Day was approaching and we always barbecued outside but this year I wanted something low key and different, so I opted to make it an Asian night. I made everything from Orange chicken, Korean-style BBQ ribs, Shrimp Japanese-style fried rice, Vegetable Lo-Mein to Ponzu Lime Fish. I always love the dumplings and sides but I honestly don’t always have the time to make them homemade but that should be no reason on why I should skip on flavor or real ingredients. Feel Good Foods uses simple ingredients and made from real stuff. No funny fillers and ingredients that come from a lab.

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Cooking- I have 4 burners going at the same time on a 5-burner stove. One was a grill for the short ribs, so that meant my 5th burner was not accessible. I never like to try products from the get-go in the microwave, so I went with the method I came up for times like this, when I have more pots going than burners available. I take the dumplings out and they are a nice size and a decent weight. That surprised me because I am use to the type that really are more wrap than filling. Feel Good Foods does not play that game and they are beautifully sealed too. I placed them on parchment paper and while I prepped the other food, they defrosted for 10 minutes. I use a baster brush and give the dumplings a thin coating of oil (a mix of peanut and toasted sesame oil). I literally use my hand and gather a few droplets of water from the sink’s faucet and let them drop onto the pan, cover with foil and cooked them at 400 degrees. I cooked them for 15 minutes, with the last 5 to 7 minutes uncovered. I get the best of both worlds, the softness and moistness on the inside from a steamed dumpling and the crisp on the outside from a pan fried one. You don’t even have to over brown them because they will be crisp without looking brown. Easy and problem free cooking, for those days I have more going on than usual.

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Verdict-
I serve our meals and noticed I went crazy with the sides but I tell myself this is what we would get at a buffet, share, and always end up eating a little bit of everything. I even made a Jasmine vegetable rice to add to the mix at the last minute, just in case no one felt like hijiki seaweed and wanted a less crispy rice texture. I serve the dumplings and the sauce and everything smells great. We dig in and of course I always tell my Husband to go easy with the Sriracha but noticed I’m too late because not only has his Lo-Mein noodles picked up a red hue, but he has a spoonful on top of the Sriracha garlic paste (too late!). We all continue eating and he asks me about the new sauce. This is the sauce that came with the dumplings. It’s good and not salty, simple but better than plain soy sauce. It’s a welcoming flavor that takes nothing away from the dumplings. Now, the Pork dumplings are plain awesome! Full of pork and the wrap is thin, so you taste the filling and not just the dough. You first taste ginger and this is the real stuff…..none of that powder and they are the best frozen I have bought. I love(d) the Trader Joe’s ones but I have to honest, I would buy the pork and the chicken bags and could never tell, which was which. The flavors just blended and sometimes the wrap was so thick, that the crimped top of the dumpling would not cook right. The Feel Good Foods dumplings were filling and I ate just 2 of them and was very satisfied. I actually wish I served myself 1 more! I cooked the dumplings along side of the Pork Shu Mai dumplings and the Feel Good Foods dumplings had more meat and the filling was not mush. You could see the strands of what made the filling and even though they come frozen, that did not effect the texture of the dumpling. Easy to make and they taste wonderful and I have purchased pretty much every dumpling out there from the Costco Roadshows (featured) brands to the common ones found at the local market. Nothing comes close to Feel Good Foods and the nice part, we just felt satisfied with our meal and no bad after effects from things like MSG or too much sodium. The way meals should be!

I can’t wait to go shopping next week and I will be picking up a new item from Feel Good Foods every 3 weeks and sharing my experience. The company was generous with their coupons, plus they have so much to offer!  You just have to check-out all they have because it’s overwhelming but in a good way 🙂 This is a company that cares about using non-GMO ingredients and where they source their foods from, plus they believe in all natural products and best of all, they see no reason why frozen should not look and taste good.  I never knew gluten-free could taste this good!

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

 

Ozeri INSTAVAC Green Earth Storage Container Set

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We all eat. And food isn’t cheap. Especially fresh food. Nothing’s worse than buying some beautiful produce or fresh fruits only to see it toast a few days later. Ozeri seems to have a sixth sense about what to send me to review, because they asked me to review their Storage Container set, called the INSTAVAC Green Earth storage set. 8 pieces (lids and containers) that at first glace might seem rather ordinary. But look closer, these containers have a fantastic feature that sets them head and shoulders above your everyday storage container.

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See that little green doo-dad in the center of the lid? That’s their patented pressure valve that with a small press on the lid, evacuates excess air to keep your fruits and veggies as fresh as the day you bought them. Air is the enemy of fresh food, as it causes food to oxidize and go bad. Short of expensive electronic gadgets, there was really no way before to push the air out of your containers. We own a vacuum sealer and while it’s great for meats, or even some cheeses, it’ll squash just about anything else, and the bags aren’t cheap by any stretch. So we’d been resorting to zip-top baggies and the usual plastic containers that leaked, let air in and out, and were generally a pain in my rear to store.

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Ozeri has solved all of the above. No bulky, awkward, expensive gadgets, no stinky, flimsy, pretty much disposable containers. Now you have the option of a unique, BPA-free, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe containers that come in 4 sizes (the four sizes are: 21 cups (5.0 liters), 12.7 cups (3.0 liters), 6.3 cups (1.5 liters, and 3 cups (0.7 liters), and that fit your fridge and your life. They’re stain-resistant, shatter-proof, and transparent as glass. They have a raised wave pattern to keep food ever-so-slightly elevated and away from liquids or juices. And, as if there weren’t enough features to make you tell Ozeri “Shut up and take my money!!”, there’s a little adjustable dial on there to mark what day you’ve stashed your container, so no more smudged marker, no little strips of making tape, no writing on bags. I think I have a new best friend in my fridge. Ozeri has another winner on their hands here, and I may have to buy a few more sets. And as with everything they sell, they stand behind it 100%. If for any reason you’re not satisfied or your product fails, Ozeri will replace it or refund you, no questions asked. All this for just $24.97? Are you kidding me?

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Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s some tupperware in my kitchen drawers that I suddenly feel the need to chuck in the trash.

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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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