#MomsMeet: LightLife Plant-Based Burgers #Review #Sponsored

​​I received these product(s) free of charge from LightLife 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.

 

As many of us have seen an uptick on plant based meats, many companies have hit the market with their version of the burger.  Some have failed miserably in the past, rather others just keep adding more and more selections to their meatless options to broaden your weekly menu.  I am okay with a veggie burger as long as it tries not to pretend it is meat, so to me it is a veggie patty per say.  Now, when a company claims a burger substitute that is as good as the moo-ing thing, I definitely change my expectations.

In comes LightLife, with their new plant-based burger.  They start with 20 grams of protein per serving.  No fillers and it is 100% plant based.  This means no soy, gluten free, no GMOs, zero artificial flavors, and is even qualified to be a Kosher product.  You also get zero cholesterol and the saturated fat is just 2.5 grams in a 1/4 pound patty.  Lots of zeros where we want them but does that also go for taste?

LightLife was founded in 1979, so they have been part of the plant based foods before it became the “trending” thing to do.  I felt that was a good start and worth the leap to try and see for myself if LightLife burgers can actually deliver a good tasting burger that is not just okay for pretending.  We opted to treat the burgers like we would our predecessors, so we grilled it.  Let us give it the chance from the get go and I am not going to give this patty any special treatment.  The patty grilled and held up with zero issues.  Again, another zero that lands in the right category.   No sticking, did not fall apart and did not overly shrink up either.  I went with just a simple salt and pepper seasoning because I wanted to taste the patty as close to how it is.  LightLife burgers are seasoned and the pea protein gets mixed with coconut oil, sea salt, beet and garlic powder.  I went light on the salt but because I like a nice crust on my burger, I did give it a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.  Went it came to dressing up my burger, I went with a smoked cheddar, which is thinly sliced and just a smidgen of mayonnaise and some pickles.  I even had my salad on the side, so no lettuce to drown my burger flavor.

Verdict:
Smells good and “burgery”.  Nice grill marks and it looks appetizing.  When making my burger, the patty was not flimsy or like cardboard, just like a regular beef patty.  It even has a meaty smell to it that quickly makes your mind think, “grilled beef…..mmmmmmm.”  First bite has a nice chew and I do not taste peas or anything vegetable like at all.  This patty does not taste 100% beef if we are using that as the marker (makes sense right), but it tastes like a patty that is mixed with beef and pork.  I kind of like that because I add pork to meatloaf and other applications, even when beef is the majority in the mix.  I actually see myself buying LightLife and making it part of my weekly meals.  Yeah, I liked it that much.  It may not taste 100% cow but that is what drew me in the most.  They definitely hit the mark in the meat notes and if you want a plant based patty (hard to believe with how good it tastes) that does not taste or have an odd and off texture, I seriously recommend you give LightLife a try.  My only complaint is that finding the burger patty is a bit hard as it sells out and I tried two Sprout’s and a Albertsons, but call ahead and ask and most stores are kind enough to hold how many containers you want.  I did try the “ground beef” and made that into a taco salad because hey, I enjoy LightLife and wanted to see how the texture was if I was cooking it like I do ground beef.  Again, it succeeded but I recommend a nonstick surface, as it allows the plant based mince to get a crust and brown like you expect beef to do so.  I did use a stainless steel pan the first time but found I needed more oils/fats to get the desired texture.  A ceramic coated cast iron or a nonstick pan gave me the results in the same amount of time (about 6 to 8 minutes) to get the browning I was looking for.

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Sari Foods Company: Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Vitamin C from Acerola Cherries and Spirulina Powder #Review

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It’s not just because I told myself in 2014 that in 2015 I want to eat better, a la New Year’s resolution, but I have been looking for ways to add nutrition to my diet via super foods. The only way to know if the “buzz” is real, is to get out there and try it.

Super Foods and what makes them super duper is really in the eye of the beholder, however the general rule is a product that is naturally fortified with an enormous amount of vitamins, minerals, omegas, and/or antioxidants, and so forth. As I ventured down the super foods rabbit hole, I literally realized that I needed to go beyond the Goji and Acai berries I was so comfortable with already eating and drinking. I needed to go old school and give Spirulina powder a try, to the ultimate cherries called Acerolas. Yeast flakes is new to me and when the package stated it tastes like cheese, I know I love cheeses but unsure if a yeast flake had the “moo flavor” I was looking for. Time to get out of my comfort zone!

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Spirulina Powder– Sari Food’s provides you with a 100% purely organic powder, so that is a positive beginning. Spirulina is not new to the world of super foods that even the Aztecs consumed such a gem. The plant grows and thrives in water beds/lakes and is magical on it’s own, where it even creates it’s own feed so it can thrive. I was already intrigued by the idea of something creating nutrients for itself and to me that was like have an endless supply of energy bars in your purse! The protein level is insane when you look at the amount of product that delivers such a high content. Sarii Food’s Spirulina has 6.5 grams of protein for every 10 grams of servings, that equates to one heaping tablespoon, and it does not stop there:

You have Iron and 6.0 mg, which is 33% of your D.V.
Vitamin A 27 mg, so you get 1800% of your D.V. and we are still on 1 tablespoon’s worth.
Vitamin B12 15mcg., giving you 250% of your D.V.
Vitamin B2 comes at 450 mcg., and 28% of your D.V.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is 350 mcg., and provides 25% of your D.V.
Niacin, known as Vitamin B3 is 3 mg and 15% of your D.V,
Magnesium is 48 mg, and 12% of your D.V.
Vitamin K is 40 mg and a generous 50% of your D.V,
Folic Acid is an astonishing 450 mcg, and comes to 113% of your D.V.
Plus, Total Carotenoids at 30 mg
Chlorophyll at 60 mg
Phycocyanin at 800 mg
Gamma-Linolenic Acid
DHA at 70 mg (Docosahexaenoic acid) which helps with brain function and is an Omega-3 fatty acid, comes at 70 mg

Retail Price Point: $23.95 via Amazon for a 16 ounce package, which provides 45 servings .

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That is a lot in just 1 heaping tablespoon. I tried the product by adding it to smoothies and to my morning power breakfast, which is mixed with fruit, yogurt and granola. The taste did not affect my breakfast in a negative way and by week one, I did notice I felt better but I did not stop taking my daily supplements, so Sari Foods’s Spirulina really filled the void that was missing and/or needed in my daily nutrition intake. The protein is plant based and is even rated better than what you get from legumes and without the bloating effects or feeling too full from eating beans. Studies wise I found very little when it came to having a negative impact from Spirulina and because I can’t beat the boost of energy I have been experiencing, I am addicted to feeling better so will continue it’s use.

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Vitamin C powder from Acerola Cherries– Sari Food’s again provides us with a 100% USDA certified, Organic product. The package states that just 1 Acerola Cherry gives you the vitamin C of 65 oranges. Okay, you got my attention! The Acerola cherry tree is found in many regions like Brazil, where so many super foods derive from to California, Florida, Texas and certain regions in South America. The fruit tends to deteriorate quickly once ripe, so cultivation and process is key in making sure you get the most out of every red little gem the tree produces. When I stated quickly deteriorating, think of when you cut into an apple or potato and the Acerola cherry comes near that. Within 4 hours from just harvesting, a negative impact in appearance and in texture is already visible. That is one delicate little cherry but not when it comes to nutrition:

I mentioned the orange versus acerola statement above but to put it into perspective, this cherry juice gives you 13 times more Vitamin C than one glass of O.J.  Sari Food’s has made the impact even better by just 1 teaspoon giving you 500 mg, that is 833% of your D.V. The only other ingredient in their powder is organic and non-gmo Maltodextrin, so nothing gets between you and your Vitamin C!

Retail Price Point: $29.95 via Amazon for a 6 ounce package, which provides you with 58 servings.

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I found many benefits on-line upon reading and we already know what Vitamin C does for the body and protecting our immune system.  Some studies suggested aid with asthma, allergies, regulating blood sugar, shortening colds, helping with the aging impact of free radicals, to reducing cholesterol and heart disease.  The claims were broad and some with clinical back-up and some just anecdotal.  I gave the powder a try for 3.5  weeks and the one thing I was able to attribute to it’s intake, was better skin.  The month of February was the best looking clear skin I have had.  The powder is tart to sour like you would expect from a Vitamin C powder but the package suggested just a touch of coconut sugar would help if that was an issue.  I went with nectarines and once chopped, I added the powder and it actually improved the taste of my fruit versus needing to fix anything with the powder.  I will be taking this when stress is coming my way, which in my world is on a weekly basis!

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Nutritional Yeast FlakesSari Food’s gives you a Vegan product that is Non-GMO and Gluten Free.  Yeast flakes provide everything from Potassium, Iron and a multitude of vitamins and minerals.  You have also a great amount of fiber, so it fills you up without the guilt!  Yeast is consumed for many reasons and used to amp up a dish’s nutritional value to some people who enjoy the flavor the product provides.

Retail Price Point: $12.95 via Amazon for a 8 ounce package, which provides 14 servings.

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The yeast flake product from Sari Food’s in non-fortified, meaning you get a natural product that is nourished from natural sources.  No fake vitamins or anything created in a lab to increase what is derived naturally!  The yeast has a whopping 18 amino acids and everything from Biotin, which helps with hair and nail growth to 352.0% of your D.V. of B5 Vitamin.  You just take 2 heaping tablespoons and add it to “almost” any dish.  I will say the scent of the product really in my opinion is more geared towards savory dishes.  The only yogurt based spread I could think of that would be pleasurable in taste, was when I made Gyros and combined the yeast flakes with Feta cheese.  We liked the change and especially on potatoes.  It really does amp up the protein content to 8.32 grams, which breaks down to 16.6% of your D.V., so I kept this in mind when cooking with proteins.  I know protein and especially clean protein is good for you but I also want only so much of it.  The fiber content makes digesting easy and especially if you are attempting to lose or just maintain a healthy weight.  This product may have limited me towards the savory dishes but then again everything else is geared towards sweetness in the diet and nutrition world, that I found it welcoming to have something I could add with most dinners.  The Yeast flakes in salads was another boost of flavor I was able to enjoy and especially on avocados!

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Get acquainted with the above products and with Sari Foods Company at:

 

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

 

Summit Nutritions Instantized Whey Protein Isolate Powder (3-pack)

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While I am a fan of and can appreciate a good protein powder, Hubby is the real “house expert” here, so I will again defer to him for this coming review, Summit Nutritions Instantized Whey Protein Isolate Powder in natural dutch chocolate. Take it away, Hubby:

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I’ve tried more than a few protein powders, and mostly through much trial and error have found out what works best for me and my exercise routines. Summit Nutritions has made a very decent Isolate product that can stand on it’s own with the likes of BSN, Muscle Pharm, and Optimum Nutrition. A little bit about this product and others like it. All whey proteins are not created alike. All protein powders aren’t created alike either. Whey is created by separating the components of milk. The differences between concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. The differences between the three are the purity of protein, available protein by weight, and the purest forms can be virtually lactose free, carbohydrate free, fat free, and cholesterol free. Whey proteins are quickly absorbed, have a high amout of BCAAs, and lately, the better ones can be very expensive. Isolates especially. To find a good isolate powder, that isn’t spiked, and tastes good is a tricky endeavor. “Spiked” powder is pretty cheap and unfortunately pretty common. The practice of spiking protein powders with certain amino acids and other substances to artificially boost the protein count. Brands like Body Fortress are notorious for this, and are actually being sued in a class action because of it.

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Summit Nutritions isn’t playing that game. Just whey protein isolates, some natural flavors, sweeteners, cocoa powder, and some thickener. And for it’s minimal ingredient list, it tastes pretty dang good. A little on the sweet side, but for anyone who’s tried “unflavored” whey proteins knows that the sweetness is much better than the alternative. No sugars, no cholesterol, minimal carbs and practically no fat. It mixes well, leaves no clumps, and actually tastes IMAG2403better than my usual isolate product. It’s premeasured in 30g individual pouches, and one can easily add your BCAA powders or creatine with minimal effect on the taste and consistency of the shake. I use these powders for my post-workout shake, but I can see this being an occasional meal replacement shake too. Be it a quick liquid breakfast or a liquid lunch on the run. The sealed single serve packages lend themselves to quick and easy mixing that you can do anywhere, anytime with just a half bottle of water. If not for one glaring thing, I could see this becoming my go-to powder for regular use.

 

That oIMAG2404ne thing is price. At $8 for 3 servings, you’re looking at almost $200 to match the leading brand’s 74 serving tubs of concentrate, or $133 to match the leading brand’s 50-serving isolate tub. That’s prohibitively expensive. I’m not sure I’d pay an additional $80 for the convenience of pre-measured powder to mix on the go. Currently, the company sells a package of 3 single serving pouches at $7.99, 2lb tubs at $36.99 and 5lb tubs for $69.99. That’s still pretty expensive, more than one would spend for similar products of equal quality on Amazon, which is currently the only place Summit Nutrtions sells their protein powder. So while 3 days of mixes do not really give you enough of a sample size to see whether you get the usual benefits of a good post-workout whey isolate shake, it is enough to tell you it tastes good, smells good, mixes good, & seems to have everything you want in a protein powder, nothing you don’t.

 

Thanks, Hubby. I appreciate you being my designated sports nutrition testing try-out fella.

 

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

Swaggable: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Chocolate Protein Powder Review #FuelledByHemp

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I have been a fan of the Manitoba Harvest brand and on a few occasions tasted their hemp based products, just to always find a new food to enjoy and this one is no different. They then added chocolate to the mix, so they definitely were making sure we would love it just even more.

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The previous Hemp products were in their whole form, where the Hemp Pro 70 line is finely ground, so you can have more options when incorporating it with other super-foods or just enjoying it as it comes. The Hemp Pro 70 powder is plant based protein, which breaks down like this:

  • A 4 tablespoon serving is only 130 calories
  • 3.5 grams of total fat and only 0.5 is from Saturated and zero Trans fat.
  • Sodium is a modest 25 milligrams
  • The Carbohydrates breakdown to 11 grams per serving, two come from dietary fiber and 7 grams of sugar.
  • Iron breaks down to 21% of your daily value, which is usually based on a 2,000 caloric intake. If you are dieting and consuming less calories, then this would satisfy more of what you should have on a daily basis.
  • You get a nice boost of 14 grams of total protein in each serving, so imagine if you pair it with Greek or Swedish yogurt, which a good brand gives you more of the good stuff and less of the sweet stuff (i.e. sugars).

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You also can’t overlook the omega factors and that is not something you get in plain yogurt, so this is why I feel it pairs up so well with it.

  • Omega-3 you get 667 milligrams
  • Omega-6 you have a generous 2119 milligrams
  • Omega-9 gives you 412 milligrams

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The product’s ingredients are simple as it gets and the shortest list I have seen on any protein powder list: Hemp Protein concentrate, Organic Coconut sugar, Organic Fair Trade Cocoa powder and natural plant extracts.

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Taste Factor:
All because something has chocolate it does not mean it will be pleasant in taste but thankfully Manitoba Harvest hit it perfectly. No fake malt flavors or granule texture left behind when I made my “jungle mix” this morning. My jungle mix bowl was one banana, a mix of nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and almonds. I then have dried cranberries, Goji berries, a few tablespoons of ground Flax seed and a dash of sunflower seeds. I add a dollop of vanilla flavored Swedish yogurt and a drizzle of almond butter. Two tablespoons of the Hemp Pro 70 protein powder and I lightly toss it to incorporate it. It’s the type of breakfast that if it’s even Monday, I’m ready! You can adjust your serving by your needs so even if 4 tablespoons gives me the aforementioned nutrition, I added other ingredients, so that means I can stretch out my protein powder but also have other sources that make up for it. I get to start my morning with a good chocolate taste that is not just good in flavor for being in a protein mix, but it’s so good in taste that I don’t crave a latte or a candy/sweet thing later. Not even Mondays can beat you when you start your day like this!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Swaggable and Manitoba Harvest.  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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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.

Grab Bags of Goodness from Gourmet Nut #Review

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A while back I got the opportunity to take a few Gourmet Nut’s products for a test drive, and boy howdy were they the belle of the ball. Great flavors in their salts and sugars that brought out the best of whatever dish they were added to. But Gourmet Nut wasn’t finished by a long shot. There was also the little matter of their “Gourmet on the Go” line of snack packs. I got to try 4 different varieties, some more than others thanks to the snarfing of a certain hubby who shall remain nameless.
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I’ll start with the mix that went “poof” first, the Cajun Hot Mix. A combination of sesame sticks, peanuts, cajun corn sticks, almonds, and tasty chili bits, this one was a tasty little number that had the added benefit of just a touch of heat. Fans of this blog know that in my house, the hotter the better. And while this mix some heat, it wasn’t so hot as to discourage the chilie-challenged among us from diving in, either. It wasn’t loaded with sodium either, like so many other savory snack packs from other “bigger” brands. All while being trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, and vegan. Not too shabby! This generous 8 oz. bag was gone, baby, gone within a calendar week thanks to Mr. Snack Vacuum over here, but the little bit I got, I loved.

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Next on the hit parade was Gourmet Nut’s “Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix”. Bursting with flavor from raisins, cranberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans and walnuts, this all natural, gluten free treat went over like gangbusters here. Fruit, nuts, and chocolate? Yes, please! Also boasting 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, and just 150 calories, this 6 once bag didn’t last kissing time either. At least I got more than a token handful this time. And every little bit was fresh, full and bursting with flavor. Not a bag full of broken bits and powder, either. Just a Bag of win.

 

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Number three is one that I’m sure will do well, Gourmet Nut’s “Energize Me” Protein Mix. 8 ounces filled to brim with dried cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. All natural, vegan and gluten free, this is a satisfying mouthful for just about anyone. Hubby, usually in  staunch opposition to nuts of almost any kind, even grabbed a handful or three. The dried fruit isn’t overly sweet, and the nuts roasty, not salty. Each one ounce serving gives you a whopping 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 150 calories. A crunchy little snack like this goes well with this household, especially since we don’t eat lunch but can get “munchy” between breakfast and dinner. This plugs that hole perfectly.

 

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Last on the hit parade is Gourmet Nut’s Nature’s Mix. This one I loved, with raisins, cranberries, peanuts, pineapple, papaya, almonds, and cashews. It has everything but my name. All natural, gluten free, and vegan. This 8 ounce bag is only 120 calories per serving, and is another excellent mid day snack. It’s also cholesterol free, and trans-fat free. Hubby isn’t crazy about papaya and pineapple, so it didn’t get squirreled away and an empty bag just appear like some of the other varieties. So I got to take my time with the one and really enjoy it. And believe me, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

 

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Gourmet Nut has many more varieties in their “Gourmet on the Go” line,  like Veggie Chips, Mega Omega Mix, Almond Cranberry Crunch, and much more. With prices running as little as $3 and change per bag, up to around $4.50 or so (they’re sold in packs of 6), there’s a snack sack for every budget. Along with the salts and spice rubs I’ve reviewed for them, they also offer Health Seeds and Power Up Snack bags. And there is nothing in their line I’ve tried that isn’t quality. The salts are up there with some of my favorites, and the prices for everything are very reasonable. Too often snack mixes are loaded with salt, sugar, and fillers that leave you hungrier than before you dug in, and then filled with regret when you step on the scale. That’s just not the case here. What you see is what you get. You see pictures of fruit and nuts, and you get a   bag full of fruits and nuts. Very refreshing nowadays. Thank you, Gourmet Nut.

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I’m so tempted to throw a handful of some of these into a quickbread dough and see what happens. Power loaf, perhaps? But that’s a post for another day. Assuming I can hide these from that roaming muncher I married.

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

Siggi’s: Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry #Review

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I’ve been fortunate enough to get to try a whole host of yogurts, Greek style, European style, Australian style…the list goes on and on. Some have been great. Some, not so much. A few are now in my regular rotation. Siggi’s falls into that last category. You might not have heard of Siggi’s, but you really should make a point of finding yourself some.

Siggi’s is truly a different kind of yogurt. In fact, it called Icelandic Skyr, a protein-dense low sugar form of yogurt. Truthfully, they

My local Target carries the Siggi's Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Raspberry

My local Target carries the Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Strawberry

had me at “low sugar”. In the U.S.A., almost everything you can buy in the markets is salty or sweet. Overly so at that. Don’t believe me? Take a look at almost everything in the middle of the market. Sometimes I think the FDA has revamped the 4 major food groups as salt, sugar, corn and soy. So when Siggi’s skyr says it’s not too sweet, I jumped in with both feet. It’s got all the probiotics and active cultures of the best Greek-style yogurts, but the yogurt here is the star, not some syrup on the bottom or some packets of stuff in a sidecar either.

Here’s another bone to pick: the tubed yogurt marketed mostly to kids is loaded with sugar. It’s practically syrup itself . Yuck.

But not Siggi’s. The yogurt you get in the cups is almost identical to the yogurt in the tube! Nice. And while it’s not as thick as the cups, I’d assume to promote viscosity and ease of eating, it’s not some runny mess either. Finally, something you and the kids can share, and not have them hopped up on a sugar rush later! I’m in love with a tubed yogurt? I am, and I have no shame admitting it. It’s so good hubby made a tube or two a part of his morning breakfast routine.

I have tried only the blueberry tubes from Siggi’s so far, but I’m a big enough fan that I have plans to immediately go and get the other flavor as well.  You can also freeze them and have a healthy frozen yogurt treat!

This is a product unlike any on the market today in the U.S., and if you’re like me a day you’re fed up with all the sugar in everything, get some Siggi’s today. You’ll wonder how you ever ate yogurt any other way before.

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Connect with Siggi’s:

 

 

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

Garlic Gold: Tri-Color Quinoa Grain Vegetable Medley Salad that can be Baked too #MeatlessMonday #recipe

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This recipe is a 2-in-1, where you can make a salad or go for a a little protein kick by adding an egg and baking. Bakes in less than 15 minutes!  A Great Spring dish and perfect for our latest California’s weather where it is hot in the day but cold at night.

Let’s begin….

1/4 cup of Tri-Color Quinoa (measure dry and pre-cook with water, with a little salt and pepper)
1/2 cup of Kale (roughly chopped)
1/3 of a cup of Broccoli
1/8 of a cup of Green Bell Pepper
1/2 a Zucchini
1 Slice of Red Onion
1 Slice of White Onion
1 tablespoon of Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil (reserved for cooking phase)

Garlic Gold Nuggets to taste and you can also add a Goat Cheese crumble

Optional (if Baking)-
1 egg
Fat of your choice (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, ect.) to oil the dish
Honey Goat Cheese crumbled on top
Garlic Gold Nuggets and an Arugula toss (raw arugula with a drizzle of the Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette)

I start by cooking the Quinoa and it takes about 10 minutes. If any water is left, drain and just set aside in a bowl.

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I then start chopping all the vegetables and this is roughly done because I am aiming for bite size.

Heat up a skillet and add the 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil or any fat of your choice (or even none). Start sauteing the onions and bell pepper until you get a nice golden color but keep in mind you want crunch left.

I add the saute onions and bell peppers to the bowl with the Quinoa. Using the same pan, I saute the zucchini for a little over 1 minute because again I aiming for a par-cooked texture and I want the vegetable to get color but preserve some firmness.

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The zucchini gets added to the bowl. I then add the broccoli and kale and again saute for under a minute.

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The cooking intensifies the flavors and takes the bore out of eating your vegetables 🙂 Once everything is in the bowl, I add the Garlic Gold Red Wine Vinaigrette.

The Garlic Gold adds flavor and this is why we used little to no seasonings beforehand. Toss and then you can enjoy as-is, add the goat cheese and/or move on to baking.

If Baking-
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

I used an oven-safe au gratin dish that fits the above contents nicely and allows the egg to have room. It’s approximately 2-cups in size. I used a Coconut Oil and a Butter blend to oil my dish and prevent the egg from sticking.

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I then add the vegetables and Quinoa mix, make sure everything is evenly spread and leveled.

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I cracked 1 egg an it’s up to you if you wish to add a little milk when whisking. Once the egg is whisked, I then simply pour it over the vegetables and add the crumbled goat cheese.

I bake the dish for 15 minutes, with the first half covered (tented with foil so it does not come in contact with the cheese) and the other half uncovered. The vegetables remain with a nice crunch and full of flavor.

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I opted to top my bake with an Arugula toss (arugula and a little dash of the Garlic Gold vinaigrette) and a dash of the Garlic Gold Nuggets. This adds flavor and you get a nice warm and cold contrast.

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This dish can be made ahead and just add the egg and bake when you are ready. You can have the salad on top of romaine lettuce with a toasted pita on the side, but it’s filling, low in calories and fat but most importantly……Garlic Gold delicious! Enjoy!’

 

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You can also make this easy dish by getting your own Garlic Gold Products at:

On-line– http://garlicgold.com/

Visit Garlic Gold on Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/GarlicGold

Twitter– https://twitter.com/garlicgold

See the pretty Garlic Gold products and the other dishes you can create on Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/garlicgold/

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I received the above product free of charge from Garlic Gold.  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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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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