Social Nature: Kim’s Simple Meals, Organic Macaroni Casserole #Review #TryNatural

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Next on the list, is Kim’s Simple Meals and this is their Organic Macaroni Casserole. The product again is easy to make and assemble. You simply boil the pasta, which is gluten free and made from organic brown rice. You then mix the contents with water, blend and add it to the cooked elbow shaped noodles. Mix and in the oven the casserole goes. The Mac is soy free and made with GMO free ingredients. Vegan friendly and Kosher too.

Ingredients: Gluten free brown rice elbow macaroni*, oat flour*, sea salt, sugar*, dehydrated vegetables* (onion*, garlic* & tomato*), yeast powder*, natural smoke Torula yeast, annatto powder* (annatto extract*, maltodextrin*), citric acid, lemon peel powder* and natural hickory smoke powder [potato maltodextrin, natural hickory smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)]. *Organic

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Verdict:

The instructions were simple and because I tend to like more bite in my pastas, I did not boil the noodles as long as they suggested. When I blended the “cheese sauce”, it was very watery in texture and had an odd smell that was smoky. Kim suggests you can add your own meatless based meats, like a veggie based bacon. This time I decided to just go as it comes but I can see even adding vegetables. Once the pasta was partially cooked, I added the sauce and it did not thicken. It was more like the texture of a thin juice, versus any bechamel sauce I have made to make a typical Macaroni and Cheese dish. There is no real cheese here but I did notice this box is not labeled dairy free like the burger version. Why not add milk? I have no idea and it was not listed as a suggestion. Not even a nut milk that is unsweetened was not suggested, or even soy milk if you have no issues with it. The burger box had soy…..but I went forward and was thankful walnuts were not suggested like the video shared for the home-style burgers, and no oats! The house smells like something is cooking but it’s not like any Macaroni and Cheese I have had before. Maybe a pasta kind of dish but not Mac and Cheese. It comes out of the oven and it’s like one solid mass. I noticed this in the video also, when the serving was cut. The liquid was absorbed and you still smell something smoky-ish but I could not put my finger on it. Maybe fake bacon bits and along that area. I taste it and it’s not cheese and I have eaten many cheeses in my lifetime. This pretender is more like a rice dish, where the rice is shaped like elbow pasta and a yellow sauce. The sauce creates a pasta cake but no cheese and gooey texture you associate with the original. It was not awful but definitely not super delicious. The only thing that came to mind, is it tasted like that mystery dish where the label fell off the platter, which sat in a buffet/cafeteria line. Surprise-a-Dish! If you like surprises, this may be for you and adding vegetables or other items might spruce it up and make it less surprise-ish casserole.

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Connect with Kim’s Simple Meals at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kim’s Simple Meals and Social Nature. 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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Social Nature: Kim’s Simple Meals, Organic and Gluten-Free Homestyle Burger #Review

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I celebrate Meatless Mondays, so I am always seeking out meat alternatives being that I do enjoy meat on other days. My goal is always to get 3 days out of the week where my protein source comes from anything else but an animal. This means I have had many hits and sadly many misses. My Husband is a carnivore and there is no bringing him to the lighter side of meatless meals, so I need something that is easy to prepare while I am making two different dinners in one evening. I am all for working and cooking, if the product delivers in texture and taste,

I had seen Kim’s Simple Meals at my local Sprout’s Farmers Market, but it seems the stock never moved. The boxes even began to gather dust, so when I received the invite to try the first of two, of the Kim’s Simple Meals…..I must admit my feelings were mixed. I looked at reviews and Amazon had a 50/50 ratio when it came to positive versus negative reviews. It took a while to get the coupon for the free product, and in that time Amazon dropped all the products and just carried the Breakfast Sausage from Kim’s Simple Meals. Sprout’s continued to support the brand and when the coupon arrived, finding it was a cinch.

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Kim’s Simple Meals differs from other products like it. So many use soy protein heavily and artificial boosters to gather a protein number worthy of advertising. Kim’s Simple Meals are Gluten-Free and Vegan Friendly, so no animal anything in this. Ingredients are also Organic, Kosher and Non-GMO friendly. Then there is other factors like these burgers being Dairy-Free. Lot’s of “free from” products and I worried if this meant free from flavor or even texture. The box states burger, so I expect a burger-like product.

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Ingredients: Oats*, garbanzo bean flour*, flax seed*, yeast flakes* (yeast autolysate* with rice flour* and sea salt), sea salt, tamari powder* [(soybeans*, salt), maltodextrin*, and salt], garlic powder*, spices*, onion powder*, dutched cocoa powder*, tomato powder*, natural smoked torula yeast, natural hickory smoke flavor [potato maltodextrin, natural hickory smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent). *Organic  .  Soy ingredients is listed and I noticed it comes from the Tamari Powder.

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Verdict:
As you can see, this is not a soy filled product that can sometimes cause bloat and discomfort. Yes, you fill full but also uncomfortable. You have oats and a bean as a source of protein listed first. Next, comes other ingredients to even cocoa powder! Everything is familiar and real when it comes to the ingredients I recognize. The idea is just to hydrate the product and then make your burgers. Pretty simple. I notice water was listed and you can add ingredients to both add flavor and texture to the product. The biggest complaints I saw when it came to other reviews, was the lack of flavor and to the product being high in oats. Upon opening the box, I do agree the oats visible is higher than I desire. The video on Kim’s Simple Meals website, shows burgers being made with mushrooms, plus onions and other ingredients. You can even add walnuts it states. Barbecue sauce was another addition I saw too. So, I began to look at Kim’s Simple Meals as “starter meals”. I am not new to this method and think of quick bread boxes to even “starter sauces” you pick-up at the store. Same idea. I added red and green bell peppers, red and yellow onion, plus a medley of mushrooms. I even grated some carrots, added Edamame and I went more with an Asian style base versus an American style Burger. For me, the mix was already very far away from a Veggie Burger you get at the store or are familiar with, so why push the product into something it does not even resemble? I added a soy sauce and miso mix to create a hydrating base (water) that would not only plump the ingredients, but also add flavor. Everything was sauteed first and I then lastly added the Home-style Burger base from Kim’s Simple Meals. Okay, it smelled pleasant. I opted for small meatballs in the oven that I basted with Soy Vay, a marinade/stir fry sauce mixed with sesame oil. The house quickly filled with these smell of these Asian style meatballs and it smelled good. I basted a total of 3 times and this made the meatball move around, so it created a nice round shape versus a one-sided flat meatball. The oil allowed for a crisp exterior to build up when it was baking, and using the convection mode and baking on parchment paper, made the cooking process an easy clean up. The taste test? Well, they tasted very good and have a meaty/oatsy texture. I could not imagine using the box’s contents as-is. Like no way! It’s workable but I have to be frank, this was a boxed meal that I fixed up and these are ingredients I always have in hand, so it’s a great way to use up perishables but I am unsure if I would seek Kim’s Simple Meals burger box again. I found myself not craving it and I consider that a test when it comes liking a product. Yes, I made it work but should a product be worked up so much that it no longer resembles it’s beginning….because in the first place you read it never would? Probably not. It’s a start like I said and it’s a meal from a box that is better ingredient wise than others, but not exactly a yummy Home-style burger like it says on the box.

Connect with Kim’s Simple Meals at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kim’s Simple Meals and Social Nature. 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.

 

Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

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Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

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I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

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First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

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Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

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SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

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Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

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Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  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.

 

NeoStrata GIVEAWAY: Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum (a $78 value!) to 25 Lucky Winners

 

NeoStrata Company, Inc.

 

Serums are one of the greatest invention when it comes to skincare products. It’s a thin solution, which gets absorbed quickly with the user being able to layer other products over the serum to enhance the results.

I have featured NeoStrata products on my blog and you could be one of the 25 (U.S. Only, sorry) winners of their serum called Skin Active Defense. This is a $78 product you could win for free!

The serum you use makes a world of difference because this is the first layer you apply and the product your skin will absorb the most from. I always look for anti-aging properties and extra benefits, other than just moisturizing agents. I want to combat everything from free radicals because prevention is key! Some serums give instant “lifting” results, while others work with long term continual use but many now a days that come from a good brand like NeoStrata, well they can do both jobs with great success.

NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum (as posted by the manufacturer)-

NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum protects skin from future signs of aging and is formulated with 8 powerful multi-action antioxidants designed to combat oxidative damage. The potent combination of Citric Acid and Lilac, Green Tea and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts works together to neutralize five different types of free radicals and helps preserve healthy DNA, lipids and cellular membranes. In addition, this super potent source of EGCG Green Tea Extract protects against inflammatory mediators in the skin.

Giveaway form: http://bit.ly/1GvoLNf

It’s easy to win by just completing the form and following NeoStrata and interacting via Twitter (@neostrataskin)

Good Luck!

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Kozy Shack: Indulgent Recipe Puddings #Review #KozyShack

Who doesn’t love puddings? I happen to be a huge fan and even make pudding based pies, cakes and treats because puddings go beyond the cup!

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BzzAgent sent me two coupons to try the new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe Pudding cups that come in three flavors:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chocolate Truffle
  • Salted Caramel
  • Vanilla Bean

 

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The new Kozy Shack Indulgent Recipe cups is making an already liked food more likable! Made with real ingredients and the recipe is very simple when it comes to easily grabbing an already made and ready to serve dessert or treat, straight from the fridge. I went out to hunt for Dark Chocolate because being a caramel lover, that flavor was already on my “must-get” list. After visiting a few stores and not finding the dark chocolate, I went with trying the Chocolate Truffle variety instead.

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  • Verdict on Chocolate Truffle:
    My family and I enjoy pudding and maybe because I make the dessert from scratch, we have been spoiled. I was left craving chocolate after trying this version. The chocolate flavor is not intense and the product is smooth, but not velvety in texture. Almost kind of like to much gelatin and/or thickener was added. I turn the package around and not only was a color an indication that there was not enough chocolate, the ingredient list reflected such (i.e. Tapioca starch before chocolate and sugar before chocolate too). I felt it was too sweet to even take a second spoonful, as did my husband, so we passed but felt the product could be saved.

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Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Cream, Modified Tapioca Starch, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavors, Salt, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

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Retail Price Point: From $2.76 to $3.75 at most stores. Each cup is about 200 calories per serving and each container comes with 4 individual cups.

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  • Verdict on Salted Caramel:
    This is my go to flavor from coffees, treats, baked goods, to just enjoying Fleur de Sel Caramel. We open the cup and take a taste, it’s more butterscotch than caramel and the salted versus sweetness that makes salted caramel be that buttery goodness is not present. This one again is sweeter but think of it like a vanilla butterscotch variety and then your taste buds get the idea. It may be missing the salted caramel notes, but we found it better than a pudding that says chocolate and is then lacking the key component.

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Ingredients:
Reduced Fat Milk, Cream, Brown Sugar, Modified Tapioca Starch, Contains Less than 2% of Caramel Color, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin.

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Final Verdict:

I don’t like to just dispose of food and especially when I see potential.  Each of these cups have about 23 grams of sugar alone and are thick in texture…….so my brain thought why not make a mug cake.  Calories wise a mug cake would be 2 servings to share and the sugar problem would not be an issue. I used 1 teaspoon of Cake flour (I use an unbleached variety) and a pinch of Baking Soda.  Combine product and start by microwaving the cup for 1 minute and then 30 second intervals until the batter begins to bubble and rise.  I kept checking because I did not want it bubbling over and it took three 30 second intervals to achieve the desired texture I wanted, something molten lava cake-ish! 🙂 Allow the cake to completely cool before enjoying and it’s not only because it’s nuclear hot but so the cake can set.  I used a stoneware based mug because it retains heat best and is microwave safe.

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The final product was not as sweet and we could enjoy the pudding cakes!  I feel the product has potential but if I want pudding as-is, I would not be indulging in this variety mainly because of it being too sugary to enjoy.  There are many Belgium chocolate based puddings that are silky and most importantly, so much chocolate that it drowns every loving taste bud! That is what I want in a pudding 🙂

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kozy Shack and BzzAgent.  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.

 

 

Smiley360: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Cream, Eye cream, and Night Serum #Review

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I have been a Philosophy brand fan for some time now. I have sensitive skin sometimes when it comes to fragrances but for some reason the scents used in their body products play nice with me. I had seen the New Multi-Rejuvenating line but had never tried it, so when Smiley360 offered, you bet I said yes!

So, you look at the line and see SPF and think this is just another sunscreen laced product with some moisturizers. Hey, I thought the same until the products arrived and again, let’s not judge a jar by it’s cover. The Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker is an entire new way to see sun defense. Philosophy, has been able to capture protection from UVA, UVB, Infrared and visible light. It’s like a ninja in a bottle that protects you from one of the number causes of aging, sun exposure! It’s better than wearing the actual ninja outfit outdoors because that may just draw more attention than we would desire. Philosophy, then went another step further by adding bi-retinol and active plant cells, plus you will notice ingredients like coffee arabica (caffeine) for skin tightening and pongamia pinnata seed extract, another anti-inflammatory agent. You will not only be addressing the issues caused by aging and with continuous use, you will see better results (i.e. improvment), but the tighteners start working the moment you apply them.  Think of the tighteners as a booster for the moment while the rest of your skin starts catching up and looking it’s best. Okay, so Philosophy has again changed the anti-aging game plan and I like this new plan of attack because you bet I am attacking my wrinkles with everything I got and it was time to change the way I battle!

My Philosophy arsenal kit included:

Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating “Day” Cream with Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Ultimate Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Eye Cream with Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Ultimate Miracle Worker Nighttime Multi-Rejuvenating Serum-in-Cream

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): avobenzone (2.7%), octinoxate (6.99%), octocrylene (2%) Inactive ingredients- water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, methyl gluceth-20, gluconolactone, polyacrylamide, hydrogenated lecithin, cyclohexasiloxane, cetyl alcohol, bifida ferment lysate, phenoxyethanol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, c13-14 isoparaffin, polysorbate 80, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, laureth-7, glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance, iris pallida root extract, ruby powder, disodium edta, gluconic acid, alcohol, mica, lecithin, adenosine, cellulose gum, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, bht, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, calcium gluconate, tocopherol, behentrimonium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, ascorbyl palmitate, beta-glucan, potassium phosphate, caprylyl glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, benzoic acid, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide (ci 77891).

Verdict:

I am not adverse to using creams because I can control the barrier I want to create. This means lighter application for a thinner film and because this Day cream applies smoothly, application was a cinch. My skin absorbed the product and for an SPF 30 rating, the product feels lighter than my SPF 30 sunscreen alone. I used the product for 2 weeks but noticed a moisturizing difference by day 3. First, when I washed my face it remained moisturized and extra smooth. I exfoliate every 3 days and by day 3, when I need to again, my skin’s texture has changed a little. That glide I get when I apply foundations is not as smooth but with the Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating Cream, my skin felt as soft as day 1 after exfoliation. That I really liked. I stopped any retinol use from my daily regimen and depended solely on Philosophy to keep it up. It did! Now, we have been getting 100 degrees weather in Southern California and that means it is really testing out every beauty product out there. With weather this hot, cosmetics stay on or melt……there is no in-between here. I can say because my primer contained SPF and I stopped using it, this Multi-tasker again played “foundation primer” almost like it was meant to be one. No creasing or sliding off and my make-up remained in place, plus my pores were only being suffocated by the weather, not the product. Okay, I get why you call this a Miracle Worker and for once the name fits how the product performs. My fine lines did not get deeper and because my skin remained smoother longer, it tended to give me a nice healthy even look to the surface of my skin, which means I look better and that thing I aiming for…..a little not my age!

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): avobenzone (2.7%), homosalate (2%), octinoxate (5%), octocrylene (2.16%) Inactive ingredients- water, glycerin, dicaprylyl carbonate, isononyl isononanoate, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, tribehenin peg-20 esters, cetyl alcohol, isostearyl isostearate, trisiloxane, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, cetyl stearate, stearic acid, bifida ferment lysate, potassium cetyl phosphate, phenoxyethanol, dimethicone crosspolymer, caffeine, chlorphenesin, propylene glycol, carbomer, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, glycine soja (soybean) oil, sodium hydroxide, squalane, hippophae rhamnoides oil, iris pallida root extract, ruby powder, disodium edta, alcohol, algae extract, mica, lecithin, ascorbyl glucoside, adenosine, cellulose gum, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, polysorbate 60, calcium sodium phosphosilicate, bht, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, tocopherol, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) seed extract, glucose, lactic acid, behentrimonium chloride, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, sodium benzoate, ascorbyl palmitate, potassium phosphate, potassium sorbate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, citric acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) rhizome/root extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, caprylyl glycol, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide (ci 77891).

I looked at all my eye creams, so that means this beauty hoarder….I mean fan started checking all her eye creams and not one had SPF in it. How odd when the skin there is so delicate and I already add SPF to that area but you would think most would have had some. Nope! Things you notice when a company starts doing what others don’t.

Verdict:

I saw the price point and thought this better work. It started working and I fell in love with this eye cream, that I tried convincing myself it’s not that great. Yes, I tried lying to myself because it worked so well. I then added all the eye creams I have that have disappointed both my checking account and my face, and 3 bottles in…….I had already exceeded the retail price. I have to honest and I dislike the price point but this eye cream delivered in every way anything from a jar will ever be able to. I suffer from severe seasonal allergies and that means as long as mother nature has seasons, I shall sneeze, have watery eyes, puffy eyes, look sad when I am not and so forth. This eye cream changed that! I look healthy and alive. Like I sleep like I should and most importantly, happy. The first thing I noticed in the 2 weeks of trying this product was the firmness. My skin’s texture is now smooth under the eye and firm. Not a sag from allergies and zero puff. I also noticed I would get a little tint of yellow when the skin around my eyes was being kept constantly wet by my eyes watering, but this eye cream created a moisture barrier that kept my skin protected, plus improved it. I was aiming for just simple protection and being able achieve that and looking better. Well, I will have a pout when I check out to purchase the eye cream but I just can’t see skipping on it.

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): aqua/water/eau, sodium citrate, isononyl isononanoate, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, alcohol denat., steareth-21, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, polyglyceryl-2 diisostearate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, bifida ferment lysate, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, steareth-2, citric acid, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, iris pallida root extract, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, alcohol, t-butyl alcohol, lecithin, parfum/fragrance, adenosine, cellulose gum, retinol, peg-8, polysorbate 20, bht, chitosan, ethylhexylglycerin, glycolic acid, sorbitan oleate, tocopherol, behentrimonium chloride, limonene, ascorbyl palmitate, potassium phosphate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, coffea arabica (coffee) seed extract, pongamia pinnata seed extract, sodium benzoate, isopropyl alcohol, acetic acid, angelica archangelica root extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel extract, maltodextrin, magnesium aluminum silicate, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, caprylyl glycol, sclerotium gum, bha, sorbic acid.
The Pearls – aqua/water/eau, glycerin, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, propanediol, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, alumina, iris pallida root extract, hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid, silica, xanthan gum, algin, synthetic fluorphlogopite, bht, sodium hydroxide, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium hyaluronate, tocopherol, beta-sitosterol, squalene, titanium dioxide (ci 77891), iron oxide (ci 77491).

First, it felt like I was making a magic potion when I opened this jar. You pour the pink colored pearls that contain the serum and incorporate it with the cream. Wait 5 minutes until it “bakes” (no oven needed), mix again and your beauty potion is complete. The pearls do not remain visible in the cream and dissolve to become one mighty anti-aging concoction.

Verdict:

I am always up for a concoction and this is why I still make my own face masks at home, so this was a welcoming site when I got to play mad scientist for 5 minutes. The jar is large and the serum-in-cream once mixed applies well. My skin felt breathable and I experienced zero problems when it came to clogged pores, blemishes or break-outs. Any small and light scars I have from a recent acne breakout are gone! Yes, that is how quick the turnover process worked for me. I first noticed lightening in week one and I attribute this to the combo work from the kit. The night cream remains on and moisturizes so well, that the next day I would wake up and a thin layer of skin on my marks would peel to reveal a less marked new layer. The darkness went away and I can only see shadows now of the break-out I got last month. My skin on my face is good at healing but it has never pressed on the gas pedal this hard to hurry up the process. I also have a nice glow after I wash my face in the morning to apply make-up. It remains on the days I don’t apply cosmetics, and corrected my T-zone from getting too oily. The pores around my nose are less visible and only depending on Philosophy to control my fine lines, well they came through and again turned back the clock a bit to make them look less visible.

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Final Verdict- Very few kits work in conjunction like this one does. I depended on 3 products solely for 2 weeks and only changed because I am reviewing another brand but will be returning back to Philosophy when I am not testing other manufactures. I don’t say this much because let’s be frank, not everything works as promised. Philosophy exceeded my expectations and I was already positive about the brand! My must buys are the eye and night cream but you have better pick-up an SPF for the day time!

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***Coupon Alert***
Use Promo Code: Welcome15 to receive a philosophy welcome gift (includes 1oz purity made simple facial cleanser, 1oz amazing grace shower gel, and 0.4oz hope in a jar moisturizer) with any $25 purchase

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Connect with Philosophy and try their New Miracle Worker Multi-Rejuvenating line at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Philosophy and Smiley360.  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.

Smiley 360: NEW Emergen-Zzzz™ Vitamin Drink Mix Nighttime Sleep Aidᶧ #Review #EmergenZzzz

 

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I have been taking Emergen-C for many years and my family and I have always been happy with how well the product performs. Emergen-C keeps things fresh by always adding new flavors and new benefits.

Nothing has changed from the Energen-C product but the company has introduced a new one, their Emergen-Zzzz Vitamin Drink Mix that has the added benefit of a nighttime sleep aid. The product helps you fall asleep, plus is a supplement. I’ve gone from Emergen-C giving me benefits in the daytime to now also the nighttime as well.

I was eager to try the new product but since it arrived mid-afternoon, I had to wait until nighttime!

I tried the product and it’s the same idea as the original when it comes to preparing. You simply open the packet, mix with water and then enjoy. Each packet is only about 25 calories, so midnight caloric intake won’t be an issue. The new Emergen-Zzzz vitamin drink with sleep aid comes in two flavors to choose from:

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  • Berry PM

Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium and Melatonin

Other Ingredients: Fructose, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin. Contains <2% of: Acacia, Fruit & Vegetable Juice Concentrates (Cherry, Raspberry, Beet) (color and flavor), Malic Acid, Natural Flavors, Silicon Dioxide, Sucrose, Tartaric Acid, Tocopherols (to preserve freshness).

 

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  • Peach PM

Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium and Melatonin.

Other Ingredients: Fructose, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Peach Juice Concentrate (color and flavor). Contains <2% of: Acacia, Beta-Carotene (color), Corn Syrup Solids, Malic Acid, Natural Flavors, Silicon Dioxide, Stevia Leaf Extract, Sucrose, Tartaric Acid, Tocopherols (to preserve freshness).

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Retail Price Point: $9.99 for a 24-count box and I have attached a coupon below to sweeten the deal.  You can also get a free sample here.

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Verdict:

The flavors are both a hit but the one thing I disliked, is that the peach has corn syrup solids.  Not something I expected or desire to intake and especially in a sleep-aid.  I do however enjoy the flavor and like with all other Emergen-C products, if the Emergen-Zzzz is too strong, you just add more water for a lighter tasting drink.  The product did help in getting me to sleep, which resulted in my own experience waking up more rested and relaxed.  I sort of forgot what it was to rest and this sleep aid did help me in that department.  I also was awake and experienced zero drowsiness when I had to start my day.  No one wants to drag in the mornings!  It worked for me and it’s mild, so I can see taking this on occasion to get to sleep.

Connect with Emergen-Zzzz at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Emergen-C/Emergen-Zzzz and Smiley 360 .  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.

 

Smiley: Nature’s Bounty / Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies #Review

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I’m always a supporter of finding ways to improve my skin’s health to my hair and nails. Smiley and Nature’s Bounty sent me a free bottle of their gummies, which contain Biotin and other supplements that feed your beauty. I was also sent samples to distribute with coupon cards to give away, a few beauty related items, like a compact and nail file, plus a couple of hair bands.

What’s in it:
This is for a serving of 2 gummies with a Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 caloric daily intake diet.

  • Biotin– 2, 500 mg (833% of your DV) > Biotin is usually found in our intestinal’s bacteria and our bodies usually produce more naturally than what our body requires (DV). Biotin is what our cells need to be able to grow, produce Fatty Acids and aid with metabolizing fats and Amino Acids. Now, there are people who may have metabolic disorders, in which enough Biotin is not produced. You will also find people that have a issues producing enough gastric acid be low on Biotin, as patients who are elderly, people who consume alcohol and/or smoke. Another cause is a Immune System disorders. Another culprit that may make a person deficient in Biotin is consumption of egg whites in their raw form and on a daily basis (functional Avidin). Avidin is destroyed by cooking. Symptoms of a deficiency is hair loss, skin disorders to even neurological disorders like depression, fatigue, lethargy to hallucinations.
  • Vitamin C– 15 mg (25% of your DV) > Ascorbic Acid, which is the source listed has been proven to help with oxidative stress. Being that it is classified as an antioxidant, people may see benefits in cardiovascular disease to even those who suffer from inflammation. Vitamin C also helps the immune system and is a natural antihistamine, so you will also find benefits when it comes to allergies.
  • Vitamin E– 15 IU (50% of your DV) > You have probably noticed Vitamin E in many beauty products and I personally use the vitamin in oil form to hydrate and protect the skin around my eyes. Vitamin E is another antioxidant and can help with protecting lipids, neurological function, to even reducing oxidative stress.

Other Ingredients listed- Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dicalcium Phosphate, Grape juice color concentrate, Gelatin, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural Strawberry flavor, Black Carrot juice color concentrate, Maltodextrin, Fractionated Coconut oil, Carnauba wax, Beeswax and Silica.

Dosage: For adults, Nature’s Bounty recommends a serving of 2 gummies once or twice on a daily basis. They suggest taking them with a meal. A full size bottle comes with 80 gummies in total, so you will run short on a 30-day supply if you go beyond the minimum requirement (once daily).

The Flavor/Taste Test:
The gummies are Strawberry flavored and sweet, with almost a corn starch after-taste. Not your usually clear looking gummy but a more cloudy and waxy consistency.

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Overall Performance/Results:
I took the product until I finished the bottle and I must admit I did not like being short on a 30-day supply if I took the product twice daily (total of 4 gummies). It’s just not convenient and not a manner I usually buy or take supplements. I like the amount of Biotin and Vitamin C and E found in the blend. I found taking 1 gummy in the morning and 1 gummy in the afternoon worked best for me because 833% of a my Biotin daily value in one dose is really just going to purge out with the amount of water I tend to drink through out the day. I prefer absorbing my supplements a little through out the day versus flooding my system with higher (mega) doses. I noticed changes mostly in my nails and the growth cycle did speed up. My hair grows quickly as it is, so I could not comment there but I did not notice any significance when it came to changes in my skin. I did not have fewer or more breakouts.

A few things I did find negative when it came to this supplement was the corn syrup as first ingredient, then more sugar, to the clear window where you can see the gummies from. Vitamin C oxidizes and becomes useless when exposed to light and this is why you always see the supplement stored in dark/solid colored bottles. I know people like to view products when buying but not at the cost of potentially losing a benefit when you are seeking to better your health. I know I m not Biotin deficient and could not locate studies where a person who produces, or in our case naturally produce more than needed; needed a mega-dose on top of that to see results in skin, hair, or nails. I have been drinking more water so I know that helps with the aforementioned, and it comes at a lower cost per unit, plus you don’t get shortened on a 30-day supply there 🙂

Price Point: 80 gummy count bottle retails for $5.79 to $7.99. I found the lower price point at Walmart, with Amazon being $0.10 more and Walgreen’s being the most expensive at $7.99.

You can save by signing-up to their Newsletter- $1.00 off coupon http://www.naturesbounty.com/signup/

You can also try the product and if it does not provide you with satisfied results; get your money back here:

I am glad I tried the gummies because I do believe in working from within to improve our outside. With the coupon and guarantee, I personally feel that it may be something you wish to try and see if you get results. It’s a win/win in my book!

To find more information on Nature’s Bounty and the above product, please visit them here:

 

I received the above product free of charge from Smiley and Nature’s Bounty/Optimal Solutions.  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.

HouseParty: Triscuit Thin Crisps in Sour Cream & Chive, Wasabi & Soy Sauce and Cinnamon Sugar #Review #TriscuitParty

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Who does’t love a house party? This HouseParty, sponsored by Triscuit, was not only filled with goodies for the host and guest, but we were able to try the three newest flavors. The HouseParty kit also included the following:

  • Large totes for each guest
  • Free coupons that guests can redeem for free Triscuit Thin Crisps
  • Triscuit boxes for guests to take home
  • 3 boxes in the new Wasabi & Soy Sauce flavor
  • 3 boxes in the new Sour Cream & Chive flavor
  • 3 boxes in the new Cinnamon & Sugar flavor
  • A chip bowl to share Triscuit Thin Crisps with guests
  • Recipe card for the loaded baked potato dip
  • A dip bowl for guests to try different dips I made

As always, Houseparty is very generous with the kit and provides you with pretty much everything you need to hold a successful event. You just supply the guests and party on! I had each guest provide feedback on the each flavor and also if they enjoyed attending the sponsored event.

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The new Triscuit Thin Crisps are very different from the original recipe, as these are made with brown rice. The flavors are also not typical but delicious indeed.

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Triscuit Thin Crips in Sour Cream & Chive– This was a liked crisp but ranked third in likability. Some guests reported that the crisp tasted more like a sour cream & ranch chip and could not pick-up the chive notes that usually resemble onion. The texture was very well liked, as were the ingredient’s list on the box. You have a short list and everything is identifiable. 10 crackers are just 130 calories and 25 only come from fat. Definitely a savory snack that not only satisfies your taste buds but does not punish your waist line. The dip most enjoyed with this cracker was the caramelized onion dip I made because it helped bring out the desired onion notes some felt were missing.

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS MUSTARD), SALT, ONION POWDER, SOUR CREAM POWDER (CREAM, NONFAT MILK, CULTURES), NONFAT MILK, BUTTERMILK, YEAST EXTRACT, SPICES (INCLUDES CHIVE), CITRIC ACID, SUGAR

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Triscuit Thin Crisps in Cinnamon & Sugar– This is the crisp that satisfies your sweet tooth and can even be paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some even dipped it in a caramel sauce and guests reported the flavor is addicting! I liked that the crisp is not too sweet or overly covered in cinnamon. The base on this cracker is brown rice and sweet potato. You taste the sweetness the potato gives, but it pairs very well with chocolate or just munching as is. I had a few guests comment that this flavor tasted like what you find on “deep fried ice cream” but again at 130 calories for 10 crisps, minus the frying mess.

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED SWEET POTATO, SUGAR, CINNAMON, BROWN SUGAR, SEA SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, YEAST EXTRACT.

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Triscuit Thin Crisps in Wasabi & Soy Sauce– The most liked of the savory variety was this one and it has a flavor that bites back! New and not the common flavor you would expect in a snack but it does not only satisfy your salty cravings, it makes you come back for more. This one was great with a horseradish pub cheese dip I had out for the sour cream & chive flavor. We were all surprised a cheddar based dip went so well with it! Same 130 calories per serving as the other flavors!

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, SEA SALT, MALTODEXTRIN, DEHYDRATED SOY SAUCE (FERMENTED SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), YEAST EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, PARSLEY FLAKES, NATURAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS MUSTARD), DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, WASABI POWDER

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This Houseparty was easy and everyone did not dislike any of the snacks or dips that were available!  Guests enjoyed taking home gifts and of course being able to redeem a coupon towards a free box.  I did find a coupon on-line so you can also save when try these.  For more information on the new Triscuit Thin Crisps, please visit the links below.

Connect with Triscuit Thin Crisps:

  • On-line Coupon– http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=vdupdvh57561263&bt=vg&o=116999&c=TL&p=eRQ3gNZj
  • Triscuit On-line– http://brands.nabisco.com/Triscuit/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/triscuit
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/TheRealTriscuit
  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/TRISCUIT/

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I received the above product free of charge from HouseParty & Triscuit.  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.

 

 

 

NAZQIZ: QANCHA air-toasted Peruvian Corn snack in Original, Picante and Chimichurri #Review

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I am not a huge snacker but when I get my snack-ems on, I usually like to try something new and off the chart. In comes Qancha snacks, a corn snack that is poppable and off the chart when it comes to flavor. I was a huge muncher back in the days of another brand of corn snacks but after time, I noticed the product changed and it’s mostly now an oily and salty mess! So I moved on to buying the store brand Inca Gold nuggets in picante flavor. I need saving when it came to my corn snack-ems!

Qancha uses toasted Cancha corn, which you have probably heard as also being called Chulpe corn. This Peruvian variety is a maiz that pops when exposed to heat. You get an airy product that has a great crunch and achieves those toasted notes that we all chase after. You will notice from the images that the Cancha has a different shape that is almost elongated, sort of like a peanut but trust me that a peanut wishes it could be this airy and poppable. Nazqiz makes sure to never fry this snack and it’s loaded with better ingredients that makes sure your taste buds are left satisfied. Qancha snacks are air toasted with avocado oil and are naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, soy-free, dairy and nut free. Also, free of preservatives or any artificial ingredients! Freshness is key and the resealable packages state they have a shelf life of 3 months after delivery but it won’t last you that long! Other facts to note is that this product is high in fiber, non-GMO, no trans fat and insanely good!   This is the good stuff so let’s get started with the flavors……

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Original:

What started the party! This classic version combines the toasty Chulpe kernel with avocado oil and sea salt.  The simplicity can be appreciated and it even pairs well with mixed with the other flavors.   I tasted this one first and fell in love with the distinct flavors this maiz has. It’s not heavy and because the product is toasted perfectly, you get none of those “burny corn” notes you sometimes do with the fried stuff. The taste is clean and the salt content is perfect, you don’t even end up with crusty salty fingers, so I can munch with no evidence of my snackings left behind. I was so satisfied with the lightly salted Original that I had to keep going until I tasted the trio.

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Picante:

Comes with a Latin kick that gives you a touch of heat but with plenty of spicy flavor. Not the kind of heat that burns but just a slight smothering of spiciness. You get freshness from the lime that leaves a nice citrus and toasty aftertaste when finished. I noticed this product also contains Lime oil and this was a first for me and I can say I am a fan of the flavor and freshness you get from this ingredient. The Picante variety is not oily and every Chulpe kernel has the perfect amount of flavoring, so you get maximum flavor in every bite.

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Chimichurri:

I love the stuff as my father was raised in Argentina, so we of course dipped everything from bread to meat and even cheese in Chimichurri sauce. Every person has their own interpretation of the spice blends but I liked that Qancha kept things on the traditional level. You get a nice garlic and herby kick here, that just kept coming back for more. The garlic and onion is well balanced but you get the acidity (just a touch) from the red wine vinegar that leaves your mouth just craving more of the zest. I am always cautious with Chimichurri because some interpretations are just off balance, like I love garlic but there is more to the sauce. Qancha captured that “more” and thankfully paired it perfectly with a corn crunch. I had to force myself to stop eating this version and it’s our favorite!

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Price Point: Fairly priced for 3 packets (1 of each flavor) for $7.99 on Amazon

These corn snacks attract attention just by how they look and even how they smell. They are different but will make any guest at least give them one try by the aroma of each distinct flavor. I really never met anyone that does not like one type of corn snack and Qancha by Nazqiz (made in California) gives you three versions to fall in love with. These are great as-is or you can try them over salads, pair them up with other snack foods or spread them over a dip. They take you out of the snacking rut, so try a snack that is thankfully better for you but your taste buds won’t know better!

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For more information or you just want to get crunching, visit Nazqiz Qancha snacks at:
On-linehttp://www.nazqiz.com/
or Order on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Qancha-Air-toasted-Peruvian-Variety-Flavors/dp/B00I3JXCXM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390936131&sr=8-1&keywords=qancha
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/QanchaNazqiz

I received the above product free of charge from Nazqiz.  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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