Swaggable: Kala Beautiful Beans Snacks #Review #KalaBeans

 

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The new year also brings a fresh start and many of us seem to always start same, with the desire to better our¬†well being via losing weight, eating better and overall taking better care of ourselves. From what reports and the news states, we all also tend to fail and abandon the idea by the time February rolls around. I blame Santa for the Christmas chocolates he leaves behind to Valentine’s Day with all the treats to add back again that you just finished eating in January ūüôā Whatever the cause, failing is not my kind of thing and with every passing year being able to maintain a healthy weight, plus lose a little here and there, I plan to remain on the healthy eating path. My problem is boredom and always has been. I dislike eating the same thing every single day as a snack. It just makes my days blend and kills my palette! I love apples but an apple even in different varieties is just different degrees of sweetness and crunch, but still remains being an apple. I sometimes crave savory and salty snacks and yes, I could dip an apple in something like a salted caramel but then I might as well just eat a piece of cheesecake! So, my ever endless hunt for brands that keep me on track has again yielded another option for us.

 

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Kala Beautiful Beans is a new company and part of the Bush Brothers Company. Their treats come in one serving single bags or a large bag that yields about 5 servings each. At first I thought it was just foo-foo trail mixes and my hippy side admits that when I see any new trail mix or granola mix hit the market, my heart does flutter but nothing is as welcoming as seeing a new member added to the line up. Kala Beautiful Beans uses Fava Beans as their main ingredient. They are roasted and seasoned and paired up with other ingredients like Garbanzo (chickpeas) beans and dried fruits, along with spices and seasonings. Currently Kala Beans features 4 different flavors:

Pineapple Kick Medley– Roasted fava beans and orange-glazed chickpeas with pineapple, blueberries and paprika.
Cherry Trail Medley– Roasted fava beans and vanilla-glazed chickpeas with cherries, toasted coconut and dark chocolate chunks.
Simply Peppered Beans– Roasted fava beans with Himalayan salt and black pepper.
Tropical Curry Beans– Roasted fava beans with curry spice and lime juice.

You can purchase all varieties at your local Sprout’s Farmers Markets.

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Verdict:
I was unsure what to expect and the beans have a roasted peanut color and thier shape resembles a small hazelnut, but they are airy in the center. Think of a really puff corn nut but without that grainy corn feeling you get when chewing¬†one. They break down cleanly while eating¬†and taste ……..well, delicious. I don’t taste bean. Even the chickpeas, which I have had before taste……well, bean-y when eating after a while but the roasting method used by Kala Beans produces a more airy product. They then use other ingredients that are of high quality, so it enhances the snacking experience. Everything melds perfectly and best of all, the taste and flavors pop in my mouth so I am enjoying a healthy snack a lot more than I expected I would. My favorite was the Cherry Trail Medley, the coconut shavings are toasted but not powdery in the bag. You actually get nice sized shavings! ¬†Then the cherries are so good because I am first to admit that sometimes when I get dried cherries and dried cranberries in a mix, I can’t always tell the difference between them because they are dried to the point that they just taste like seedy, red fruit skin. The cherries from Kala Beans are dried but in a kindly manner where they remain plump, retain their sweetness but still hit you with a tart flavor towards the end. Kala Beans then added a vanilla glaze to the product that is sweet but non-sticky on the surface. You just get that small hint and scent of the vanilla that adds a nice warmth and compliments the fruit, beans (and I want to say nuts but there are none in it), and chocolate nicely. The dark chocolate chunks are just so good and melt nicely when eating. ¬†No waxy taste or bitterness. ¬†I actually like the Kala Beans mixes and oddly more than some of my current trail and nut based mixes. I think it comes down to the clean taste and finish, that is both satisfying and tasty. Kills the craving and I will be buying them to add to my yogurt in the morning because a girl can only granola it for so long! ¬†Plus, you have benefits like fiber from the beans and one bag is just 180 calories for the Cherry Trail Medley Mix and Pineapple one, but the other two only bump up to 200 calories for a 1.5 ounce serving. ¬†That is pretty fair and not loaded with sugars and sodium, just real food with real flavors!

Connect with Kala Beans at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Swaggable and Kala Beautiful Beans. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiva Health Food: Hot Smoked Paprika and Sweet Smoked Paprika #Review #SmokedPaprika

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When I first began to cook, I started with blended spices and herbs. Such blends are easy to use and take the guess work out of finding a balanced flavor, however you usually are charged for fillers like with most products of this kind. If the flavor notes are savory, you get salt and if you get sweet, you get a plethora of sugars to choose from and making up 50% of the product you just purchased. After a year of trial and error, I finally learned to purchase individual ingredients and let me be the one in control of flavor!

Kiva offers you with pure products and what you see, is what you get. Sounds so simple but in a world where sodium and sugars are not the only fillers, you get products that are made with higher standards from Kiva:

  • All Kiva products are non-GMO certified.
  • Kiva uses a third-party testing facility to ensure purity and safety.
  • Eco-friendly methods are used by Kiva from Sustainable Farming to cultivating in smaller batches.
  • Kiva also minimally processes everything from their Superfoods to their spices.

The food word has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and we now know more about food processing to ingredients that sound healthy-ish but are not. There is no excuse when it comes to not knowing where to buy from because there are still good companies that take pride in what they make like Kiva. My first products to try from Kiva, is their paprika and they sent me two kinds to review.

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  • Kiva Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika-

With my father originating from Spain, paprika was highly used at our home. We made on a weekly basis a Paprika chicken dish, which was braised chicken thighs and are paired it a simple vegetable (whatever was in season) saffron rice. I am very familiar with this pepper spice that is usually made by air drying the chili peppers, however smoked versions use a fire to add flavor, and the woods will enhance and even add to the taste. Kiva’s sweet version is made in the La Vera region of Spain. Their peppers are hand harvested and are dried by using Holm oak. The oak toasts the peppers nicely and adds a nice true smoked flavor. No fake liquid smoke used here! You don’t get a sugary sweetness but a mild pepper flavor, which differs from the hot version. The sweet version also usually has the seeds removed to decrease any bitterness, which you usually find in the “bittersweet” Agridulce version. This sweet version plays well with seafood, rices to even spreads. I also used the Kiva sweet version over avocados that I added to a simple salad and the flavor complemented the simple vinaigrette I made very well. You will use less dressing when using Kiva’s sweet smoked paprika because flavor is there and it did not need sugars to notice it!

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Sweet Paprika & Chives Shrimps. The shrimps were grilled on skewers!

 

 

  • Kiva Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika-

Like it’s counterpart, the Hot version of Kiva’s paprika is smoked for 14 days to increase intensity and richness. You get chili peppers that have been ground to produce a light powder that delivers those smoky notes, which derive from the Holm oak. Holm oak trees is the only wood used if you are making true Pimenton from the La Vera region of Spain, so think of it like Champagne, you can only call it that if comes from the grapes that came from that region of France. The Holm oak also produces acorns, which is a food source for Iberico pigs of this region. I like to pair the smoked hot version with pork tenderloins to create a nice rub and it gives roasted potatoes a beautiful hue and peppery taste, that you can only find in paprika from this region. Kiva’s paprika is milled perfectly and no bitterness or fillers are ever detected. You get true spice from the peppers without the high price tag! ¬†I also halved potatoes and we grilled them over charcoal, added sour cream and a touch of butter with a nice sprinkle from the hot smoky paprika. ¬†It’s a tater you cut to eat and enjoy every bite!

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Retail Price Point: The duo costs $10.99 via Amazon or $11.80 from Kiva’s website

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Connect with Kiva and their other Superfoods at:

 

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

 

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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