MomsMeet: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups #Review #BobsRedMill

 

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As the days grow colder, like everyone, I tend to seek out warmer meals and this includes at breakfast time. I consume oatmeal through out the year and my way to change my selection, is by adding seasonal fruit to the cup. This way my cups change and I get to enjoy what the seasons have to offer. What can I say? Oatmeal can get boring as much as my granola does and let’s be honest, this is why I view granola as cold oatmeal! Adding dried fruits, nuts, seeds to even a dollop of yogurt can brighten up a cup on any day.

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I have been a fan of Bob’s Red Mill for years. They just never fail me. I started first by buying their flour decades ago and then as they released more and including meals (i.e. nut flours), I was happy to see them reach the west coast. It’s kind of nice not having to order online all the time and when places like Target started supported the brand….heck, I am thrilled.

 

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I was recently part of the Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups campaign from MomsMeet. They were kind and generous to send out samples to try and share and like the signature that runs so true to Bob’s Red Mill, they included additional products to share. Love them! Such a giving company and please take a moment to read about the company on their website, you will fall in love with how they treat their employees. There is true pride and respect for the products they make for us. The other part that I have enjoyed being a Bob’s Red Mill fanatic, is they eat like I do. This adding chia seeds to flax seeds to enhance not only your taste buds but your nutrition is something I learned from them. Yes, they taught me to care more about what I eat and always made it easy for me from offering flax seed both whole and in milled form. No excuses in being able to eat better!

 

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The Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups kit included:

 

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Verdict:
The Oatmeal cups are phenomenal. You can use the microwave direction or the add hot water to the cup one. I have been using a mix of nut milks and water to enhance the flavor and not that the cups lack taste, but I sometimes seek a richer background on those colder mornings. All the ingredients are real and clean, no fillers and even making sure to use gluten free oats. The Nutritional Boosters that you can also add are the protein powders to create a morning power meal. You can even go with the unflavored blend they offer online or why not start your morning with some chocolate. It’s is like having a hot cocoa and oatmeal in one cup and it is actually good for you. I make the “Choco-Monkey” blend with the classic oatmeal cup, a spoonful of Chocolate Protein powder, almond milk with water as the fluid, then after heating I add chopped bananas and walnuts with a spoonful of peanut butter in the center. It’s almost like a molten lava cake with that gooey peanut butter center and I feel sinful eating it because oatmeal never tasted this good. My guilt vanishes¬†when I start adding up the protein and it turns out to be a cup filled with healthy nutrition. Eating well goes beyond opening a mealy tasting bar and going out the door in the mornings. The Bob’s Red Mill cups come with tops, so if you have time to pick up a latte, you have time (3 minutes) to give yourself a few microwave seconds to eat the cups as they come or enhance them to your liking. You are worth it and your family will join in because things that taste good don’t get questioned. They just make smiles ūüôā

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Connect with the wonderful crew at Bob’s Red Mill at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill and MomsMeet. 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.

 

 

HouseParty: Bertolli¬ģ Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party with Creamy Basil Alfredo #BertolliAlFrescoTasteOfTuscany

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As Summer approaches, I tend to get as busy as I do when it’s holiday time (November and December). It’s that six month mark I call, when changes start taking place, projects get started and making dinner needs simplification. The barbecues start getting prepped early in Spring here in Southern California because we have pleasant weather most time of the year. This means I so welcome kitchen help. I still want a meal that is healthy and leaves my family and friends full and happy.

In comes Bertolli, changing things up by adding more to their sauce line. Forget about the red and think about white base sauces that come with new flavors to welcome the new season. A white sauce is not something we enjoy (at least here) as I we usually make red based sauces. I am always looking for a way to use my overabundance of tomatoes, so that means I am always making tomato-y sauces! They are great but it can easily create a rut. I have come up with Greek style, South American to Italian “red sauces” that I think my family is on to me! When Bertolli came up with the Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party¬†and I saw Basil…..well, say no more.

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Retail Price Point: $1.99 for a 15 ounce jar at Target. They are currently on sale at Target from the regular $2.25 price point. You can also find Bertolli and other selections at Von’s, Stater Bros., Albertson’s and other major stores.

Ingredients: Water, Cream, Butter (Cream, Salt), Soybean Oil, basil, Modified Corn Starch, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Enzyme Modified Egg Yolk, Sherry Wine, Salt, Whey, Natural Flavors, Yeast Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Garlic Powder.

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Verdict:
I like easy but I ask a lot from it. I also want a meal that is well liked and not filled with the bad ingredients. In other words, I don’t want my family picking up that I am using a jarred sauce. There is nothing wrong with sauces out of a jar and you can find brands that keep the sauce honest. In this home, jarred sauces are called “cheater sauces”. Okay, the family is a little spoiled but I prefer they welcome the better foods and if the sauce makes the cut, it also gets welcomed in the pantry. Bertolli’s Creamy Basil Alfredo is very simple to prepare. You just pour, reheat and serve. You can easily make it part of your meal or the meal itself by making it a main dish. For this occasion, I wanted to get maximum benefit out of the jar and the one jar needed to yield enough servings, so everyone could try it. I open the jar and the smell is pleasant and inviting. You have a nice milk and cream base that is followed up with the aroma of herbs, basil of course being the predominant one. Being that my basil plant was attacked by squirrels last year, my 5 year old plant never returned. I also welcomed the basil plant seeds that Houseparty and Bertolli included. I use to fear frost or excessive heat damaging my basil plant, never thinking a Squirrel with gourmet tastes would go nutty for an herb! With the amount of basil packed into this creamy Alfredo jar, my passion for basil and craving will definitely be satisfied. I opted for ricotta and spinach filled raviolis and made this my starter dish. I tend to now fry my raviolis in butter and olive oil. ¬†This method not only gives the pasta a firmer texture but also that golden buttery taste that everyone seems to love. I warmed the sauce and other than adding some parm and a fresh slice of a baby heirloom tomato, the Bertolli Creamy Alfredo sauce was doing all the talking here.

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And, the talking it did. I never have enjoyed a jarred cream based sauce. They always broke when heated and/or had an off taste. This one does not! The Creamy Basil Alfredo from Bertolli stayed whole when heated and did not have an odd after taste. You just taste cream, butter, some cheesy notes and the basil. That is all. The sauce does not overwhelm¬†what you are eating. The tomato gave the ravioli that fresh kick but because it’s mild in flavor, it played well with the sauce. The acidic properties played like a balsamic would, but mild enough to not just kill the entire plating. The spinach in the ricotta filling was made for a basil pairing, so Bertolli made a simple dish that much better. Some guests added a crack of pepper to top, so you can really make the Creamy Basil Alfredo sauce from Bertolli make any dish work and to your liking. No one even asked if the sauce was jarred any I was asked how I made it because so many tend to rush the process and end up with a broken sauce. I told them I would print out the recipe because it’s on-line. I shared a coupon after for my guests to use but I was not letting the cat out of the bag on this one from the start! ¬†I also love that everyone was gifted a Basil plant to grow at home, just watch out for those squirrels who think basil flavored acorns are the it dish this season!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  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.

Social Nature: Organic Guru Energy Drink #Review #GuruEnergy

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When I think of energy drinks, the last thing I associate with them is real ingredients. So many are filled with ingredients and proprietary blends, which not only stimulate a burst of energy, but you come down crashing as fast as the energy lasted. I began just avoiding them five years ago but there are days where I was dragging and even the red colored bull was an item I went after when coffee failed me. I started now looking for better drinks that increase endurance with a slash of energy, just to make Mondays a little easier to deal with when I just can’t seem to start the week off right. Some of the drinks I pick now have ingredients like teas to even chia seeds.

In comes Guru drinks, they offer an organic alternative rather than a science experiment in a can. Guru also is only 115 calories for a 12 ounce can with 30 grams of sugar. I was also able to locate the cans easily at my local Sprout’s Farmers Market but I noticed you can purchase directly from the company or even via Amazon. Guru is not only certified Organic but GMO free, gluten free and even a Vegan friendly drink. But does it deliver the energy you need and desire like it’s other rivals?

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Ingredients: sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic white grape juice, citric acid, apple acid, natural flavors, organic green tea leaf extract, organic guarana seed extract, organic echinacea flower extract, organic panax ginseng root extract.

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Verdict:
I put the can in the fridge overnight to have it cool and ready for the next day. I start hitting that wall at around 2:00 in the afternoon and decide to give Guru a try. I open the can and the sniff test is okay and not unpleasant. I decide to give it a try and this not only where the drink failed me. It tastes like cough syrup and not really good, even though I at least enjoy that the drink is cold on a very hot day. I continue to drink Guru and it has a bad aftertaste, that lingers and also thickens your saliva. That medicinal taste just intensifies the more I drink it and I try to not even hold the drink in my mouth because it even makes my gums taste weird. Not great when it came to flavor but if it gives me energy, I tend to be one of those people that can overlook taste a bit if the product works. I wait 30 minutes, nothing. Another hour passes and the taste is at least starting to go away or maybe I am getting use to it. Oh, Guru is an energy drink……and I have none. Twelve ounces of phlegm giving drink that goes against the mindset that if the taste is like medicine, it should do the opposite of thickening it. After some coughing, clearing of throat and so forth, the energy never hit me or even knocked on the door. I would have taken even one hour of reward after drinking 12 ounces of Guru but the Guru isn’t the giving kind. At $2.50 a can and it was on sale at Sprout’s, I can’t see buying it when other drinks with less volume provide at least some energy, even if you crash after. You add the poor taste and I have felt more refreshed after drinking cold water on a hot day and that never thickens my saliva.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from . 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¬ģ Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla¬†flavor
  • SlimFast¬ģ Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast¬ģ Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast¬ģ 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. ¬†ūüė¶

 

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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.

 

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! ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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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.

 

 

Smiley 360: NEW Emergen-Zzzz‚ĄĘ Vitamin Drink Mix Nighttime Sleep AidŠ∂ß #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.

 

Daiya Foods: Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Pizzas #Review #DaiyaPizzas

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Even if we are a household without dietary restrictions, I still like to mix things up a bit. Eating the same way is just utterly boring no matter how good the food can be. To not get in a meal rut means I need to introduce new foods and start weeding out the things we want to take a break from.

Daiya Foods Pizzas, is a leap of many kinds for us. For one, we rarely eat frozen prepared meals and/or side dishes. I do freeze meats in raw form and that is as frozen as we get, along with frozen veggies and fruits. You just can’t grab something from the freezer and nuke it……yeah, that comes back and bites me, so I made some tamales and the such for those days I want to actually use the microwave beyond just softening butter in it. Secondly, I have tried gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, to meatless but never really ventured into non-dairy, unless it’s a fruit based gelato or some kind of sweet treat. This means Daiya foods is eating a way for us that is entirely new because it’s taking everything we have tried before, but all in one dish and at the same time. I’m game!

I was offered to try out the pizzas and no one had ever tried anything from Daiya Foods, except for a faux cream cheese style spread. Some of my group admitted to seeing the cheezes in the dairy alternative aisle at Sprout’s, but never actually tried it. Okay, this is now an entire new experience for us all.

Daiya Foods makes 6 Pizzas to choose from and they all sound delicious and tempting:

  • Supreme¬†Pizza, which includes a meatless sausage topping from Beyond Meat
  • Pizza Bianca¬†Pizza, featuring a white bean sauce that has mushrooms and spinach toppings
  • Cheeze Lover’s¬†Pizza, a simpler non-topping pizza, which features Daiya’s version of cheezes, like Mozzarella and Cheddar
  • Margherita Pizza, a traditional twist on a classic and comes with tomato chunks and basil
  • Fire-Roasted Vegetables Pizza, Daiya did not skimp and you have three bell pepper varieties, onions, garlic, tomatoes and even a dash of basil
  • Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza, even when it comes to mushrooms, Daiya makes sure you get something beyond the button kind. ¬†You have shiitake and crimini in a blanket of roasted garlic and all nestled on their tomato sauce

I purchased two of the selections available, the Supreme and the Fire-Roasted Vegetable to try out. ¬†This was what was available at Sprout’s and they were redoing that section when I was shopping and I grabbed the ones that looked more tempting. ¬†I grabbed to of the veggies kind and one of the supreme. ¬†First, one up to cook and see how well it is received is the Fire-Roasted Vegetable:

The pizza was easy to cook and even though the instructions stated to cook directly on the rack, I just got a new range and it’s less than a week old. ¬†A few of the cheeze shreds were dangling off the crust, which I like when eating but not when cooking, so I opted to cook the pizza on my pizza stone just like I would any pizza.

The pizza was cooked and ready in 13.5 minutes!  You have the option to use the standard bake and convection instructions were listed, so I went with that cooking option.

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Verdict:

By the seven minute mark, you could smell the vegetables and they smell as good as they look. ¬†Daiya did not skimp on toppings and that is always a plus in our book. ¬†The crust is crisp and upon slicing, you hear it cut just like a normal pizza crust would. ¬†The dough has a darker tint that can be described as almost wheat-like in color. ¬†It also tastes like a wheat crust but a good one! ¬†Daiya nailed it when it came to how the crust tasted, broke apart when eaten and this made the eating of the pizza enjoyable. ¬†The vegetables are out of this world. ¬†We all agreed the freshness and texture makes you wish Daiya sold the veggies by the bagful. ¬†They are roasted but not soft and a mushy mess from being frozen. ¬†There is still texture and they are so good, plus the tang you get from the tomato sauce provides a nice balance of flavors. ¬†The sauce is light and not super sweet, you just taste fresh tomatoes and a touch of basil. ¬†Now, the only small negative is the cheeze. ¬†The browned portions we all agreed tasted better than the whiter ones, so toasted on top is the way to cook the pizza if you desire this flavor profile. ¬†The cheese does not melt and or string apart like normal dairy versions, it’s almost a little too soft in texture and one guest felt it was like sour cream in taste. ¬†I did not feel the sour notes were present but I can see where the comparison in texture can be made. ¬†This was the only downer but because the crust and everything else was top-notch, it would not prevent me from buying it. ¬†It’s a pizza that I would say has that “rustic” taste but think of it more as a flat-bread pizza with superb toppings and cooks in 15 minutes or less!

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The other positive is that 2 pizzas and I had boneless chicken wings to pair with it, filled us! ¬†I still had dessert to serve and when it came to putting the third pizza in the oven (The Supreme), we were full. ¬†I thought that is a good thing because 8 people were fed very well and we were satisfied with what we ate, so we opted to give the third pizza to the guest that is always late. ¬†She also brought a third extra guest, so she could enjoy the pizza for dinner (versus lunch) when she got home. ¬†Okay, I’m thinking if I give free meals away, people will start showing up late now ūüôā I’m also eye-ing those cheezecakes they sell and they have a Key Lime one……oh’ yummers!

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Connect with Daiya Foods and enjoy their products at:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutraplex: Megaberry Bar #Review #Nutraplex

 

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We are always hunting for new nutrition, energy, supplement……well, you name it type of bars. I like to not only eat bars when I am busy but I actually enjoy eating them when they are done well. That latter part is where many companies seem to forget and it use to be because it was hard to jam real nutrition into bars. ¬†Nowadays, that is not that difficult with so many ingredients coming in powder to liquid form without compromising their nutrition value. You can really amp a bar up without skipping in real nutrition but so many bars out there are what I call fakers! Bars that call themselves nutritional but offer nothing new than being a multi-vitamin disguised in a sugary concoction. I expect more and especially if the company is asking for more price wise.

Nutraplex is a company, which carries a variety of bars that offer energy and nutrition. Their flavors are:

  • Megaberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Pomegranate Cherry
  • Mango Strawberry

I was sent the Megaberry one to try out. Nutraplex describes their product as a, “balanced macro-nutrient ratio, plenty of omegas and fiber”.

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Ingredients: Dates, Chia Seeds, Cranberry (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Cashews, Pea Protein, Honey, Raisins, Safflower Oil, Blueberries (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Strawberries, Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Raspberries, Acai Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Mixed Tocopherols, and Citric Acid.

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Let’s Break the above down:
The word “macronutrient” just means nutrition that the body needs in a large dose, so Nutraplex bars give you all your nutritional needs in what is really a small portion, which is a good thing. Feel full and have energy but you don’t need to amp calories and/or portions. The Megaberry has protein, which is derived from peas, so it at least breaks away from the soy enriched world so many bars have become. Once source of fiber comes from dates, which you can see from the picture is what makes up a lot of the bar and the word bar is it’s shape, but not exactly it’s consistency. Think of it more as a “soft bar shaped patty”. You have Chia seeds that are great for energy and also expand when wet, so you do feel full. You have acai in powder form, blueberries and strawberries to fill the antioxidant portion of the bar. Mixed Tocopherols and it’s really just an organic compound that helps preserve the bar and it’s oils. Many seeds and the oils they have tend to oxidize with air and light, so this is just Vitamin E used to help prevent (or at least slow down) this natural occurrence.

Retail Price Point: $2.99 per bar via Nutraplex’s site or $44.85 for a carton of 15 bars. I checked with Amazon and they have a price point of $39.45 for the carton.

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Final Verdict:
Yes, the bar is free of gluten and non-gmo ingredients, but I did not see a non-gmo certification listed on the site. Free of high fructose corn syrup, soy and dairy free. You have no dyes or artificial ingredients, plus it’s kosher. The price point is high for ingredients that are not of high value but I am still making the leap that Nutraplex is using higher grades here. Trust me not all Chia seeds are created equal! Even with that in mind, the taste and texture matter. Really matter! You are dealing with simple ingredients and I value that, just not $3 a bar that is not even organic certified. Like I mentioned the bar is in it’s shape and not so much in it’s texture. I opened it and it flops a bit because it’s just ingredients compacted to form a patty…..sort resembles a seed disc for birds. Very soft and chewy and you taste berry seeds but not a burst of berry fruit notes. Think of raspberry seeds, strawberry seeds, the chia seeds and so forth but packed into a date and maybe some raisin batter. I did not find it pleasing and I’m all for the “naked bars” out there. I don’t need a coating of faux chocolate or a oat/granola filling to respect the bar but if you say berry, I expect well a berry slap of flavor. This was too date-y for me and I like dates but when you mush, grind, pulverize and so forth…….the individual flavors start to get muted and I like energy and nutrition, but I still believe you should like what you are eating to some degree other than it’s just good for you. I would walk out with a berry bag of dried (unsweetened) fruit with the same ingredients in cluster form versus the mashed-up form any day. I only tasted the berry one and maybe the other flavors will be better at covering the the date and raisin base. I just think 190 calories (70 from fat) and at only 6 grams of protein, is not worth the exchange or will equate a bunch of energy. You also have 21 grams of sugars and the vitamin content is low with none from vitamin A, 4% of Vitamin C, 10% of calcium and 10% of iron. Sunflower oil is used in the product and with all the fats to choose from in today’s market, I was surprised and again when looking at the list……maybe my idea of “macro-nutrition” means something else because Nutraplex’s bar did not (in my opinion) offer enough macro in their Megaberry bar! ¬†It has nutrition but pretty low for energy and the nutritional facts say it all. ¬†I just don’t understand the price tag when so much is missing.

 

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

 

Crazy for Luna Bars!

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We started on a little journey here with Clif Bar & Company. And as we already established, Clif Bars rock. But what about another line from Clif Bar & Company? Like their Luna Bar and Luna Protein lines? Do those rock too? I’m here to say a big and enthusiastic “Yup!”. These rock almost as hard, if not harder. Because chocolate. This is a choco house, as any regular reader knows. And adding chocolate turns almost everything up to 11. So let’s turn it up to 11 right now.

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Luna bars are the take anywhere for any meal plan bars that I have eaten and munched on for years. There are sooooooo many flavors to choose from, I challenge you to say you can’t find one you like. It just can’t be done. I’ll just blindly reach over into the heaping pile of yum Clif Bar sent me, and grab a random flavor as an example.

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Peanut Honey Pretzel. 9g of protein, 3g of fiber, vitamins A, B(1,2,3,6 and 12), C, D, and E, 70% organic, Core 4 essential nutrients (Calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D), it’s a perfect snack, quick meal on the go, of addition to any meal at any time of day. Oh, a day did I mention, these taste good too? Big chunks of fruit, whole nuts, whole grains, just a touch of IMAG1688-1sweet and sometimes chocolate. There’s nothing in these I don’t love. Even Hubby has snuck a few from time to time (Stop it, girly man. These are for US!). Usually he snakes the ones with peanut butter or some variation of that theme. Luna bars are also filled with ingredients that Clif has gone out of their way to source from non-GMO suppliers. Thanks for that, because I’m tired of Franken-food. Even this time year. (boo!)
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The fun didn’t stop there, though. Because there’s an offshoot of the Luna line. The Luna Protein bar. Packed with the same Core 4 nutrients, non-GMO sourced ingredients, and normal looking foods, there’s now 12g of protein in a smaller snack-sized bar. Grabbing again at the plethora of delicious Clif was so kind to send me yields me a Chocolate Cherry Almond bar. IMAG1689-1Coated in luscious chocolate, filled with dried cherries, whole almonds, whey protein, macadamia nut butter and organic vanilla extract, this bar is decadent. This 1.6 oz. bar only has 180 calories. But for those of us in a rush (and we established in my last post that we allIMAG1690-1 are, for better or worse), these bars are heaven sent. Fills you up without making you sluggish and has enough good stuff to keep you powering through to the next meal. Heap big win.

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Flavors? Psssh. There’s one for everyone. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Chocolate Peanut Butter. Lemon Vanilla. Chocolate Coconut Almond. Trust me, Luna’s got you covered.

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The long and the short of this is, skipping meals rarely does you any good. In our go, go, GO world, we need the fuel to keep our “get up and go” from having “got up and went”. A bag of chips won’t do it. An “energy drink” is just a seizure in a can. Candy bar? Do you really hate your body that much? Luna bars are an affordable and smart option. Throw it in your purse, pocket or bag. It fits. Not just it’s size. It fits your¬†life.

 

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Clif Bar & Company And Luna Bars. 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.

Clif Bars are Good, to Go!

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Every one is in a rush. I am. Hubby is. You are. It’s like we lost hours in the day somewhere. So when Clif¬†Bar & Company offered to send me some products to test, I said “Yes, Please!”. As much as I love to cook and bake, when it’s this hot, a runnin’ oven is no bueno. Imagine my surprise when a box came loaded with treats from their Clif, Luna, AND Luna Protein bar lines! I did a little mental backflip of joy, because a physical one in this weather might just have killed me.

A small note, my bars were somewhat mushy and melty due to the extreme heat. This is in no way indicative of Clif’s Q.C. people. The weather is beyond everyone’s control and I’ve had enough Luna bars to know this is waaaaay outside of their norm.

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unnamedClif bars are an awesome way to fill your food hole on the run. And it seems we’re all on the run anymore in some form or fashion. The first thing to suffer, after sleep, is usually nutrition. We grab something at the market to nuke or **shudder** drive through somewhere. Yes, even I’m guilty of that. How nice is it, then, that Clif packs enough good stuff¬†in their bars to keep you motorin’ until dinner. Plenty of carbs, fiber, and protein and just around 200-250 calories per 2-3 ounce bar. A, B, C, and E vitamins. Flax seeds, rolled oats, real fruits and nuts, almond butter, fig paste, sea salt. Hey, I can pronounce these! Nice. And organic, rainforest certified and non-gmo sourced, too. Not too shabby at around $1.50 (or less) per bar! The texture is great (and remember, these had been stuck in nasty California heat for DAYS), the flavors rock, and it fits in your pocket or purse. It fills you up without dragging you down, and that’s win-win in my book. Clif says they pride themselves on “kitchen made” bars, and you can see, feel, and taste the dedication to that in every bite.

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Speaking of flavors, holy monkey are there a lot of good ones here. Black Cherry Almond. Blueberry Crisp. White Chocolate Macadamia. Chocolate Brownie. Seasonal flavors like Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread. I could go on and on. There’s a flavor for everyone, and they all ROCK.

 

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If I had one knock, it’s that the protein is soy-based. A lot of folks, Hubby included, are sensitive, if not outright allergic, to soy proteins. I would love to see Clif bars come out with a whey protein line as well, but for the price, they are tough to beat. I’ve been known to stock up during 5 for $5 sales, and the only hard parts are getting into the stores early to get my favorites and limiting myself to 5 or 10 at a time. Plenty of energy and punch to get you through the day with these little bars! You could do a lot worse with a midday meal or snack. You probably have. I know I have. I guarantee you hubby has. Now there’s really no excuse. Grab some Clif bars. Do it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I promise not to start my Luna Bar review without you.

 

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Connect with Clif Bar & Company!

 

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

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