Campbell’s® : New Campbell’s Organic Soups #Review

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As simple as soups are, they probably are one the hardest things for me to purchase off the shelf. It comes down to ingredients used and while some want the consumer to focus on caloric intake, many are just vessels loaded with sodium but no flavor and far from being healthy. I like broth but when a soup says chicken noodles, I sort of expect chicken and pasta in the container. Silly me! My Husband will usually join me and we tend to always split a can/container between us and even though I will always give him more of the noodles and poultry pieces, he will always ask me if I got enough “soup stuff” while he dips and empties his spoon, trying to ladle out the desired chunks. I just finally got tired of cans that did not deliver and started making my own. This means that a simple meal like soup…….was not so simple anymore!

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When I was offered the Organic Soups campaign from Campbell’s, I admit I could not think of the last time I actually purchased a can from the company. I never cared for the condensed version as a child, and much less as an adult. The red and white cans were everything I disliked about soup with soggy noodles, wannabe chicken bits and I never wanted to slurp the salty liquid like the kids did in the commercials. If you added the extra can of water to the soup, it was tasteless but still salty. There was no balance, so I usually went for the brand in the blue can. Now, Campbell’s is advertising Organic soups and get this, no longer in a can but a carton. No broth that tastes like metal, so I give the ever loving brand a second look. Before I received the campaign materials, I visited the website. The soups are advertised as good soups for adults and kids, with the kid versions just having shaped character pasta, but still wholesome and now made with organic derived ingredients. The carton is white and green in color and the only red is the Campbell’s brand that I’ll be honest, I would look at this carton and never imagined it was a Campbell’s product. The soups just look different and the flavors I would actually desire. I look at the list and the new Campbell’s Organic soups come in:

Chicken Noodle
Lentil
Tomato & Basil
Chicken Tortilla
Butternut Squash
Garden Vegetable

The Kid’s (and adults if they so desire) get:
Mega Noodle
Chicken Stars
and Frozen theme Chicken noodle soup with Frozen shaped character pasta

 

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The campaign materials arrive and I begin my hunt for the soups. None of my Target stores carried the soups and when I would locate them, Von’s had them priced at $3.99 a carton (when the coupon covered up to $3) and Stater Bros. had them $1.00 cheaper but also was limited in selection. I visited 2 Von’s and 3 Stater Bros. and I could never locate the Chicken Tortilla and for kids, I never found the Mega Noodle. I still was able to find my second and third choices, plus I had enough coupons to share with my group. I always like giving a sample of a product and a coupon, and thankfully Campbell’s was generous enough to let me share this way.

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Verdict:
I make the first soup, the Tomato and Basil Bisque. The soup has a vibrant red color and the texture out of the carton is perfect, not too loose or thick like a paste. The smell is pleasant and inviting. You can even pick up the sweet notes from the tomatoes and this is before warming anything up. I heat the soup and the smell is just like other Organic varieties I purchase at Trader Joe’s and Sprout’s, which is really one of the few places I can purchase “real soups” with no funny stuff, other than the times I pick up the blue colored cans at Target on sale. I taste the Organic Tomato soup and I am waiting for that off taste, the saltiness to hit me so I can make a face………but it never comes. This soup tastes, do I dare say it, like a normal good soup. I actually had to add a hint of smoked salt to the soup! I quickly add a cupful of frozen organic veggies because this new Campbell’s Organic soup is worthy of it! Yup, I never ruin good veggies beforehand because the worst is bathing vegetables in a base that is just not fixable. A little bit of cracked pepper and some cheese crumbs on top and dinner is done. Oh my goodness, I was able to make soup for dinner like a normal person! No need to make a base by cooking or braising meats, just open the carton and in 10 minutes time (with add-ons) I can eat at a good time after doing grocery shopping. I’m ecstatic and I even take the empty carton to the table and start reading it, trying to find that negative thing like high sodium, maybe sugars, okay it’s the fat, nope it has to be the calories but I find nothing. I can’t believe this is Campbell’s (sorry, Campbell’s but you have burned me in the past)! I actually like the new Campbell’s and I actually will hunt for the Chicken Tortilla version now because the Lentil was awesome and the Chicken noodle……get this, had actual chicken pieces and N-O-O-D-L-E-S!

 

Take a new look at the Organic Soups from Campbell’s at:

 

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

 

Chefsperience 56-Blade Meat Tenderizer

 

Every now and again, despite my best efforts, I end up with a cut of meat that’s tough. Chewy. No so “choice”, even if the label says otherwise. And when that happens, I used to wish I had a meat tenderizer. I know, I know…how could I not, right? Thankfully, the folks at Chefsperience went and remedied that for me by offering up their 56-Blade Tenderizer. And I’m super glad they did.

See, what can make meat tough is connective tissues. The stuff that hold the muscles together. Everything from age to environment to feed affects these tissues in animals. And you usually have a choice: Extended cooking times to break down these tissues, or take the shortcut and use a product like the Chefsperience 56-blade Meat Tenderizer. Since Chefsperience send it, I’ve chosen the latter option. And it’s no shortcut. I punches through even frozen meats with ease, though particularly dense meats have had the blades stick in a bit. The blades are made from stainless steel, so rusting shouldn’t ever be an issue. So far, all the times I’ve used mine and let it air dry after, not a spot of rust. And beyond making meats more tender, beyond the quicker cooking times, you can now marinade your foods and get deep penetration of flavors, instead of things having a tasty crust on the outside and being bland on the inside. The tenderizer has a locking ring on it to keep hands and fingers safe from accidental deployment of the blades, and a clear acrylic storage cap as well.

I think this is a product that should really be a staple in every kitchen. And while i think I’m still partial to the longer rectangle shape of traditional meat tenderizers, the Chefsperience 56-Blade Meat Tenderizer is round and perfect for irregularly shaped cuts of meat, so it becomes a matter of personal preference. At around $15 shipped, it’s on par price wise with other, similar products, so I think it’s worth a try!

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Connect with Chefsperience:

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

 

Bolthouse Farms Review: 100% Carrot Juice made into a Hearty Soup #MeatlessMonday #GlutenFree

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I first tried Bolthouse many years ago and then became reintroduced to the brand when I visited my local Costco. The “samplings” got me and of course I then had to usher my husband over and he became a fan too. Recently the wonderful company sent me 4 bottles to try and I am in love with the one I had the least expectations on. I love carrots but it’s usually the vegetable that acts as a filler in every vegetable medley I purchase, that I started to take it for granted. I tasted the juice and learned that not all carrots are created equal. My carrots from the baby to the large are missing the Bolthouse touch! The sweetness is unbelievable but not derived from sugar or some unholy syrup…..just the carrot. I know the bottle in the front stated clearly 100% Carrot Juice but I still flipped the thing around looking for further contents and then saw the ingredient list: Carrot!

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I stopped drinking bottled vegetable juices because most taste like they took the oldest and not so prime vegetables to create the juice, and like a bad grape makes a bad wine, bad veggies make horrific juices! I should not have to pinch my nose to drink something that is suppose to be healthy and good for me, to then have it repeat on me after…..sort of like, “surprise, you pinched your nose, but here I come, back so you can taste my awfulness!”. Bolthouse juices have none of that. They are good from the blends to just the plain ones like this 100% Carrot juice.

Being that today was #MeatlessMonday, I looked at my left-overs and got creative. I have diced plum tomatoes, wild rice, and some Thyme left over from the crackers I baked. It’s the last real cold day we will have in California this week, so I want to make the most of it!

Let’s Begin….

Soup Base (great portion for Lunch Time):
1/4 a cup of Bolthouse’s 100%Carrot Juice
1/4 a cup of canned Diced Tomatoes. I used Plum Tomatoes that have been canned with Basil (unsalted)
Fresh Thyme
Smoked Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional- Dash of Oregano before serving

I put the above all together in a pot and just bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Once it’s done, I paired it with the Herby Cheese Crackers I baked.  You can find my Herby Cheese crackers recipe here: http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Dh

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Now, for dinner, I wanted something a little more hearty. I used the above soup base but went up to 1/2 a cup of the 100% Carrot Juice from Bolthouse and 1/2 a cup of the Tomatoes. I added 1/2 a pat of unsalted butter, smoked salt and pepper medley to taste, and a dash of oregano. Let that come to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

I had some left-over wild rice I made over the weekend and added 1/4 cup to the soup base, along with 4 ounces of diced fresh zucchini. I brought that back up to a simmer and cooked it until the zucchini was the texture I desired. To serve, I added some parmesan cheese and a few of the crackers I baked earlier. Done! You can get creative by using wheat pasta, fresh kale to any vegetables that need attention from fresh to even frozen ones. A Meatless Monday meal that takes 10 to 12 minutes to make and is not only filling but delicious! Enjoy!

Visit Bolthouse and their Countless Juice Selections, Juices from Blends to the Plain; to Cafe drinks and even Protein ones:

Next time, I will be reviewing the juices from 100% Pomegrante juice to Multi-V Goodness Smoothie.

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I received the above product free of charge from Bolthouse Farms. 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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