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.

Connect with Guru at:

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.

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Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery Breads Review #SilverHillsBakery

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The market is full of breads from sliced, wheat, organic,artisan to non-gluten varieties and much more. Finding the bread is easy, but finding one that has real ingredients and tastes wonderful…….well, not so easy.

In our home, we love “brown breads”. This is what we call the molasses type to wheat breads, and even those seedy ones. As much as I do love baking and I do bake our white breads, I have not hit a satisfactory taste profile when it comes to wheat breads and I also would like to just get a loaf at the store, get home and just bake something else. I do not always have the freedom to do so because I’m the type of person that if I can’t find what I am looking for, I make it!

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In comes Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery with their large selection of breads. They all fall into our “brown bread” kind of loaves, but they have everything from bagels, burger and hot dog buns. The breads may share a base color (tan or brown) but at first impression, I was worried they would all have the same base flavor and not really differ much than just what seed selection each bread has. Let us just say don’t judge a loaf by it’s cover!

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My first loaf I purchased at Sprout’s Market and it was in the refrigerated section and the store had some issues like over stuffing the open fridge, so the loaves in the back were partially frozen. I opted on a fresher date, so that meant a semi-frozen loaf. I picked “The Big 16” variety and took it home and because we carry coolers when we shop, I figure I keep the same environment going and put it in the cooler. We got home and the following day we just tried a slice out of curiosity. Even though the loaf had been stressed because I later found out at Target they just keep it out with no refrigeration, this was an entire different playing field when it came to quality. The bread retained it’s moisture but most of all, it has everything I ever wanted in a wheat style bread. The ingredients are simple and understandable, plus as a baker it would be products I would use to make my own breads at home. The wheat is flavorful without those odd bitter notes and aftertaste you experience with most “brown breads”. I find companies use sugars and sweetened syrups to cover up both the bitter off flavors, but to keep the texture satisfactory, and let’s be realistic…….to try to extend the life span of the bread. Not Silver Hills Bakery!!! They let the bread do all the talking on it’s own and I dropped my favorite all time favorite Milton bread over this loaf. This was after just one bite of a naked slice. Nothing else and I already knew I had a winner.  I also like that each slice is around 100 calories and did I mention organic and Non-GMO ingredients?  Plus, vegan and non-Dairy ingredients too.  they make a non-Gluten variety and nothing is loaded with sugars or any unwelcoming (so not necessary) ingredients. I went down the list on their website of all the breads they make and over and over I kept say, “I’d eat that”.

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I go out shopping and because the first loaf was so welcomed, I buy another variety but at Target this time. It’s called the Squirrely Bread and I see it has exactly what I look for in a bread of this type, down to the sunflower seeds. Again, we bring it home and this is when I found out that the breads from Silver Hills Bakery are all each their own. This one tasted nothing like the loaf before! It even tasted better and my Husband remarked you gotta buy this one again, plus I want to try the Little Big Bread they carry. Yup, I’m taking orders now of what loaf to pick-up because even my family knows that this is now our “go-to” brand.

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I feel bad that I never noticed Silver Hills Bakery Breads before but I now not only have made them a part of my permanent grocery list, I now get to share them with others. I am not the only one that enjoys these breads because two Targets on different days and each one was out of the Little Big Bread. The tag was there, so I know they carry it but I will catch it when it’s back in stock. I’m on a mission! I also have added the conquest to get my hands on those bagels they make and why not the hamburger and hot dog buns too! It’s nice to go into a store and pick-up bread like a normal person again 🙂 Make your taste buds sing and try something that is new, different and better…….get your hands on a loaf of Silver Hills Bakery bread and just one slice will make you a believer! You just have to promise to leave the last Little Big Bread loaf for me.

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Connect with Silver Hills Bakery Bread and find a loaf or two at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery.  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.

 

Dick Taylor Craft Handmade Chocolate and French Silk Pie Review and Recipe #DickTaylorChocolate

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Every once in a while, you run into a product that is a game changer. Someone who ups the bar so high that you don’t know who or if it can ever be topped. I really try to reserve some labels for a truly superlative product. Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate hits every metric for me to call it “The Very Best”. Nothing I’ve ever had before can even come close. It’s in a league all it’s own. I’ll go over why below, and even add a recipe that, should you have the willpower to not devour the chocolate immediately, will be dynamite.

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Chocolate in the United States has been done a great disservice. What was once an American icon, Hershey’s, can be held partly accountable for the woeful state of chocolate confections in this country. Because if you’ve only had Hershey’s, you’ve not had chocolate. Craftsmen like Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick are looking to right a terrible wrong with their small-batch craft Dick Taylor chocolates. With a hands-on approach that takes up to a month or more, it starts with selecting only the finest fair-trade raw cacao, all the way up to the pouring of this molten magic into it’s molds. You’ve not lived until you’ve treated yourself to a piece of Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. The vintage machinery used belie the dedication and skill inherent to this labor of love, because one would think to make the best chocolate, you’d need the latest and greatest in automation and innovation. The craftspeople at Dick Taylor chocolates scoff at the notion, and impart a love and devotion to being the best that I could only strive for. Heart will take you far, it seems.

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The list of ingredients for the 72% Madagascar, Sambirano is so simple it’s almost as if they left out a step on purpose to keep anyone else from finding the secret to a truly superior chocolate. Ready?

Organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

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That’s it. No emulsifiers, no fillers, no chemicals, no artificial gunk, no waxes. The flavor envelopes your mouth immediately, with no harsh bitterness, no oily or overly creamy mouth feel, no grit. Impossibly smooth from first bite to final swallow, you almost never want the experience to end. There’s nothing else like it. It was almost transcendent. Our bars of Green & Blacks now sit in the pantry, lonely and wanting. The Guittard Dark baking chips that were my baking cabinet queens have been kicked to the curb. I’m fully and completely in love with Dick Taylor’s Craft lovelies. I mean, they even look exquisite. We were so fortunate that the weather was in our favor when the box arrived, as I’ve have been inconsolable to have had this chocolate adulterated by the heat. There’s 5 different types of “dark” chocolate with cacao percentages from 72% up to 76%, as well as 4 specialty flavors (Fleur de Sel?! You had me at “chocolate”, you devil!), drinking chocolate, and even a Father’s Day Gift Collection! Should I gift one to hubby despite not being a father? Hmm… At any rate, there’s truly something for everybody there!

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Located to our north in Eureka, CA, we have a standing invitation to tour their facility should we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood. I don’t know if I’d trust my self (or hubby) to not grab everything we could carry and run cackling like madmen out the doors at first opportunity, probably to the tune of “I’ve got a golden ticket”. There’s thankfully an authorized retailer just a short ways away, but I’m not sure if my diet thinks this is a good thing. We finished the first bar in 5 minutes after the first nibbles, and we just don’t do that in this house. Chances are, there’s someone to sell you a bar locally. And if not, they do sell direct from the website, shipped to your door.

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Not since the mythical Willy Wonka has there been something so magical available to eat. Nothing you’ve had comes close. Be forewarned, after you’ve had Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, nothing will ever come close again. You’ll be spoiled for all time, chasing a chocolate dragon until your end of days. Do it anyways. It’s sooooo worth it.

Connect with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates at:

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate French Silk Pie:

With Summer here and the weather finally warming up for us, I wanted to bring back a classic but a goodie.  A good pudding always allows you taste the honest chocolate notes.  With Dick Taylor’s Madagascar, Sambirano 72%, I found it to be like the perfect espresso without the bitterness.  A good chocolate will not add oils or large amount of sugars, so neither shall I.  My Husband has always loved this pie but disliked what time has done to it.  It went from a way to showcase a fine chocolate bar and having a cold pie on a hot day, which hits you perfectly like a car ride (of course top down) with a chocolate shake in hand.  We now get ready-made puddings out of a box and the custard pudding below is good and rich enough to eat by the spoonful!  Say goodbye to eating desserts out of the box and treat you and yours with real pudding made like other, with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  If I could only find a way to transfer the design of their bars onto this pie…….life would be perfect.  I swear they should sell stamps of their bar’s imprint and of course paired with chocolate scented ink 🙂 Enjoy!

Lets Begin……

Filling (Custard Pudding)-

  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 5 1/4 ounces of Dick Taylor’s Dark Chocolate of your choice
  • 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 of teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (reserved as you sprinkle it on the crust before adding the filling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter (salted and used KerryGold)
  • 1 Pre-baked Pie Crust (search my recipes if you need one or you can use whatever recipe you desire)

You Start by pre-baking a pie crust.  The crust has to be fully cooked and cooled before you begin making the pudding for the pie.  Below is my crust, and I use a butter and shortening recipe.  I won’t judge if you even get a ready made pie crust, just as long as you make the pudding and you can just skip the crust and serve the pudding in cups with a graham cracker to dunk with!

Now, comes puddin’ time!  You first start by combining the dry ingredients.  This is the corn starch, sugar and salt.  I combine them in a bowl, whisk and then they go into the pot you wish to make your pudding in.  I use a non-stick for that added no stick insurance they have.  Next, combine the milk and the 2 egg yolks.  I use the same measuring cup I use for the milk and just whisk and set aside.  You then measure out your chocolate (break up bars **sniffle**), and you need 5 1/4 ounces.  If you go over, it produces a thicker product but trust me this is pudding that is as thick as it is and rich.  Add the 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder to the same bowl you have your chocolate in.  If you opted to make this a pie, add the 1/2 teaspoon and dust the bottom of your pie crust with it.

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Now comes the cooking process.  Combine the milk and egg mixture to the sugar, salt and corn starch mix.  Combine with a whisk and turn the stove’s burner on low.  Keep mixing, whisking (get those edges too!) and continue whisking.  You can set the burner to a low-medium setting if you are a heavy whisker at this point and the mixture will begin to show small air bubbles around the 3 minute mark.  You will feel some heat on you knuckles from the steam but keep at it.  After all, we’re burning calories here!  As you whisk, you will feel at the 5 minute mark (if not sooner), the mixture getting thicker and thicker and when it truly bubbles, just before it boils, off the heat it comes.  Turn off the burner and add the chocolate to your custard, along with the Vanilla.  You got pudding!

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Then add the tablespoon of butter.  Now, you have a glistening and rich pudding.  Heaven!

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Now, pour the pudding into the pie shell or if making pudding cups, you can pour into a container to cool (uncovered).  Once cooled, you can then add a cover to not have a choco-smelling fridge, but then that’s not a bad thing either.

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You allow the pie (or pudding bowl) to cool on the counter for an hour and then into the fridge it goes (uncovered).  I let it cool about 3 hours to avoid that condensation you can get if you covered it.  After the 3 hour mark, I then cover the pie (or pudding bowl).  I allow the pie to cool over night and yes, it tortures my loved ones.  I figure they can salivate while it’s cooling and you really get the pie to settle and this is why that 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa is added.  Any wetness gets absorbed and there is no sliding around from the filling when cut.  Now, topping time!

I have made several topping from whipped cream with mascarpone cheese to salted caramel.  This time I made edible fun-fetti.  It’s a sugar cookie batter but why use white sugar when you can add color!

Fun-Fetti/Confetti Cookie Crumb Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals
  • A Dash of salt
  • A Sprinkling of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals

Set Oven at 375 degrees and begin incorporating (cutting with fork or I use my hands) the butter and flour.  It’s cold and you want to create crumb with about pea sized crumbles.  Add a dash of salt (if wanted) and the 1 tablespoon of the sugar crystals.  Mix until incorporated and in it goes into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  When the 7 minute mark comes, add a sprinkle of the sugar if you want extra shimmer.  Then back it goes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.  You want the crumble set but not browned because it takes away from the appearance.

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Take out cooled Pie.

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Add whipped topping and Fun-fetti/Confetti topping and done………..well, you can do more and this is why I never decorate the entire pie!  You can also add red, white and blue sugar crystals for a 4th of July theme to the confetti crumble.

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You can opt for a Fleur de Sel Caramel topping with crushed Pistachios…….

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Or, you want it all!

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And, if you’re feeling nifty and want Fleur de Sel Topping with Maldon Salt Crystals (of course, Hubby fought me on not leaving the Fun-fetti out)……the possibilities are endless!

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Enjoy!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  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.

 

 

Veri Soda: Organic Soda drinks in Orange, Cola, Lemon-Lime, and Ginger Ale

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We rarely drink sodas and it’s not just because of the unwanted ingredients alone, but most of the times it’s so sugary that it drowns out whatever you are eating. I usually drink cranberry juice mixed with water, lemonades or just plain water. I miss sodas sometimes and especially when we are have a nostalgic meal like pizza or burgers, but what I miss is the “old sodas”. When ingredients were less scientific, less harming and having a soda did not make me feel like a Humming Bird that just found a bucket of nectar to call their own!

When we received the parcel from Veri Soda, I had a nervous moment because it was a 4-pack of each flavor and for people who maybe drink 1 soda every few months, that’s a year’s worth and most times I throw out sodas because they expire (yes, it can happen) and we really just keep them around for guests. I was happy to see many things that separated Veri from the common brands and that was the shortest list of ingredients I saw on any type of cola drink…..ever! Then I noticed the USDA Organic seal, non-GMO, Caffeine free and 60 calories for one can and no playing games with the servings, one can in total is broken down and remains a simple 60 calories. That is like less calories than my 1/2 juice and 1/2 water drinks I have with dinner. Next, came the flavor test and I popped two open to go with our burger night and two other flavors to go with pizza night.

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  • Veri’s Cola Soda Flavor:

In my home cokes were for special occasions or a weekend get together, while my Husband when I met him drank cola and more cola. Water was just for washing things! It drove me nuts and especially when it was Summer and I was so thirsty but everything had sugar and more sugar. I quickly learned just bring a big water bottle when you visit. I was an RC cola drinker when I had any of the caramel colored drinks but it was hard to find. Being that I did enjoy the cola here and there, I then moved to Coke Zero thinking at least when I have it, the penalty will be less but I was never satisfied with how quickly it changed in flavor.

Veri’s cola is perfect and you get super bubbly water that is flavored like sodas we use to drink but even better. I like having things that surpass my memories and this one sip let me know I can have a soda and it won’t overwhelm my taste buds or waistline. The cola flavor has a perfect balance of sweetness and you are not just trying to poorly substitute a “coke”, the flavor profile is seriously better than any of the other brands out there. I loved it and I’m not a cola lover. My Husband was blown away and very few things that I get to test do this but he even checked out the price and what other flavors they carry at our local Sprout’s market because like he said it, “this I can do and actually like”.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic caramel, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Lemon-Lime Soda Flavor:

I have abandoned my lemonade mix at times for the Lemon-Lime kick. I then discovered that if I have lemon juice or lime juice, I can make one citrus kick drink by adding this version of Veri’s soda to 1/4 cup of either fruit drink. It’s light and crisp like you would want from a clear drink of this kind. The sweetness and tartness is well balanced and Veri just made another version better of what I had before. I don’t miss the past drinks of this kind and I can’t wait for the warmer weather to hit and just enjoy a sandwich with this flavor!

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Orange Soda Flavor:

I use to enjoy as a child a soda that “Crush”ed others because they had fruit flavors.  I always navigate towards fruit drinks and of course it started early.  I just disliked how my phlegm would thicken with flavors like orange and don’t even get me started on grape, because it seems my grape world tasted different from every purple dyed drink out there. A orange soda by the pool was something I just like having and especially ultra cold.  I figured it was a forgotten beverage until Veri came and let me tell you, their orange soda is smacking good.  Your taste buds will be drowned (but in a good way) with real orange flavors that are sweet but the lemon extract not only intensified the citrus notes, but mellows the sweetness.  You get tang and that nice orange twist taste but again nothing bad to ruin the party.  Your tongue may not turn orange in color but it will be happier when it comes to what you just tasted.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic orange juice from concentrate, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic carrot juice from concentrate, organic flavors, and organic stevia leaf extract.

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  • Veri’s Ginger Ale Soda Flavor:

I was sick last year and could not find a Ginger Ale that had actual ginger in it. I know, so odd. I would think it can’t be called Ginger anything if it does not contain it but they found the artificial flavor highway to get around that. My Husband drove to 4 stores until he located a soda that had the root and was simple in ingredients, but sadly it was a little too sweet for my taste, so thankfully he just bought the 1/2 sized cans. I love Ginger Ale no matter if I am well or ill, so when I saw this flavor of soda in the box Veri sent, I got happy! The soda contains the perfect amount of ginger extract to give it that snap but not overwhelming. Love the sparkling water base that all their sodas are made from because that base really has a nice clean taste and like always, you taste the flavors and not just the sugar.

Ingredients- Sparkling water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic ginger extract, organic flavor, organic caramel color, and organic stevia leaf extract.

Final Thoughts:

I really just thought Veri was just going to be a company that uses better ingredients but that the final product would be lacking in flavor or just really not resemble a soda.  Sort of like I can’t find a non-gluten bread to date that tastes….well, like real bread.  I underestimated and need to apologize to Veri for clumping them with companies that spit out versions of something that does not even resemble the real thing.  Veri is a real soda company that has their “game on” when it comes to crafting a good quality beverage that you will enjoy.  The rest is just a bonus when it comes to ingredients because I never thought a soda could still be called a soda unless it had something that was only created in a lab environment.  You know those proprietary blends of who-knows-what and lets us not forget the coloring and dyes because for some reason we need markers in our food supply!  Veri really said it best, “they said it could not be done”…….but they did and they did it good!  I just want more flavors like a Root Beer or a Cream Soda, or even a Pineapple soda….hey, Veri you started this and now that I know it can be done, do it! (pretty please) 🙂

Connect with Veri and let your taste buds wake up to what real sodas should taste like at:

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