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 🙂 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nutraplex: Megaberry Bar #Review #Nutraplex

 

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

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

  • Megaberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Pomegranate Cherry
  • Mango Strawberry

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

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

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

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

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

 

Connect with Nutraplex at:

 

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

 

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door

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Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!

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One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….

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  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.

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  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).

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  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.

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  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.

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  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.

 

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  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.

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  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.

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The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.

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  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.

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  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. 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.

Cocomama Foods: The Easiest and Tastiest way to start your morning with Quinoa Cereal #Review

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Cocomama Foods was kind enough to send me a sampler pack, which featured their 4 different varieties of Quinoa cereal. I indulge in the morning and usually want to start with a nice energy filled meal. Getting anything at the store that comes from a box may energize a hummingbird with the amounts of sugar added, however I can’t flap that fast. I’m seeking energy that lasts so I can keep going at a normal pace and Cocomama Quinoa based cereals fit that perfectly.

Got milk? No worries, their pouch form servings are perfect and ready to eat. No need for a stove or even watts from a microwave. You can enjoy the cereal heated or at room temperature. I love the ease of customization because sometimes I want to add fruit and especially when I buy more strawberries than a family of 2 can eat. What can I say, the sales get to me and I have plans at the store that do not always come to fruition at home. I also love the no excuses approach to starting your day in a more healthier way. You seriously can grab a spoon and eat from the pouch on the go, or be a little more civilized if you did not hit the snooze button twice that morning and enjoy it in a bowl, warmed up with a drizzle of honey and fresh fruit.

Cocomama has a Quinoa Cereal to satisfy any craving and avoid breakfast boredom:

  • Honey Almond
  • Banana Cinnamon
  • Wild Bluberry
  • Orange Cranberry

 

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Each flavor has real fruit and the shortest ingredient list I have seen in a pre-packaged cereal. You have water and coconut cream that creates the perfect base, followed by organic quinoa, a touch of sea salt and then whatever the variety is. For example, the Banana Cinnamon flavor has the aforementioned and then maple syrup, banana puree, natural flavors and cinnamon…….told you Cocomama is real food with no codes and abbreviations for stuff you hope you are guessing right when it comes to ingredients. I tried finding a simple cereal like this and could not at my local market. I would have to make it from scratch!  All cereals are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, all natural, vegetarian friendly, great source of protein and fiber and let’s not overlook the 9 essential amino acids you get in every serving.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Wild Blueberry– This is the happiest blue colored bowl that puts a smile on your face. Made with wild blueberry powder, there is no hunting for blueberries to taste them! You get a blueberry burst of flavor and the smell immiting from the bowl is intense as well. If you want to pretend you are in a blueberry patch minus the thorns from picking them, this is the bowl for you. I enjoyed a nice “patriotic bowl” by adding fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries, plus some yogurt chips. One filling pouch is just 220 calories, which deliver 4 grams of protein, 8% of your daily value of Vitamin C and Iron, plus 4% of Calcium.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Honey Almond I always craved the maple and brown sugar oatmeal that was pictured on the box but my oatmeal never looked like the picture or even satisfied my taste buds. If you seek that flavor, this is the variety for you! You have sweet delicious honey and a small hint of Almond. Want more almond? Add them and I have but this base is better than any oatmeal you can make and that is even if you opted for milk versus water. This version also has kaniwa, a ancient super grain/super food that is less bitter and resembles almost red quinoa. Think of a naked quinoa grain because kaniwa is missing the saponins, the outter coating you find on quinoa. It has a more mild flavor but still that great texture. That is another thing you will enjoy, like pasta, grains must be rinsed and cooked properly to achieve the best texture we all seek and Cocomama does just that. A Honey Almond bowl is only 240 calories and you get 5 grams of protein per serving, 8% of your daily value of Iron and 2% of Calcium.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Banana Cinnamon– I love bananas and especially bread but only myself and the dog eats them, so I rarely make banana anything. Now I can have my “nanner” fix and be happy. Want a super banana taste? Use a fork and mash a small banana and then nicely fold in this Cocomama cereal and heat for 25 seconds in a microwave…….the smell alone is insanely good but wait for it to cool before taking a bite. My taste-buds took control of my brain one morning and they got the best of me or to be more exact, my tongue. The wait will be worth it and you will be in what I call “nanner heaven”. I also seek a more mild cinnamon spice flavor, so this made the bowl perfection for me……think of a deconstructed banana bread slice.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Orange Cranberry– I wish this combination of flavors was more popular than just during the holidays. I can find even cranberry sauce and muffins during December but then the party is over, the year flips and I see no Cran-Orange anything. Now I can party all year because whoever said this is just a Winter treat knows nothing! You have moist cranberries floating in sea of orange juice plumped quinoa. Again, every bite delivers the flavor and the scent is just citrus-y and happy. I was so excited when I saw this combo in the sampler pack because it’s what I seek to not get into that breakfast rut. I was naughty and added just a teaspoon of mini dark chocolate chips…….it’s like having an oatmeal cookie without those disappointing raisins. Oatmeal cookies should be made like this and trust me they would sell……..makes me wonder if adding a little rice flour and honey would probably make this pouch into one pretty yummy cookie (hint, hint).
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Bowl filled with Cocomama’s Banana Cinnamon Quinoa Cereal

As if Cocomama Foods needed to add more to their breakfast or late night meal arsenal, they have come out with a brand-new product…..Crunched Out! I can’t wait to try it and from the pictures below, you can see something like Fudgy Chocolate and I see a Vanilla Nut flavor and yes, I would even put it on my coconut sorbet….eating good sometimes makes me feel guilty because for some, eating good is seen as a punishment. Well, you are not doing it right then! Eating good is full of flavor and I eat everything but it’s just real and natural, with a mix of organic even. Real food delivers the entire fruit, grain……what gives your body energy and fuel to run on. Start your morning with Cocomama and your body will be running on happy!

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Check out Crunched Out:

  • Support Cocomama on Kickstarter- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cocomamafoods/get-crunched-out

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Stay tuned for the Crunched Out reviews and I will be releasing the crunch monster in me, it’s sort of like the kraken but I’m friendlier 🙂

Get you Cocomama fix at:

  • On-line- https://www.cocomamafoods.com/
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CocomamaFoods
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/cocomamafoods
  • Linkedin- http://www.linkedin.com/company/cocomama-foods?trk=fc_badge
  • Blog- https://www.cocomamafoods.com/blog/

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I received the above product free of charge from Cocomama.  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.

 

 

 

Arbonne Essentials Protein Shake in Chocolate and Vanilla Review

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I recently had a chance to try a few different products from the Arbonne Essentials. I thought I’d share my experiences with you.

The first product I tried was the Arbonne Protein Shake Mix. I will say that, thanks to Hubby, I have been able to try a wealth of different protein powder shakes from almost every major brand out there. So he was my “taste buddy” on this little trial run as well.

A few things about Arbonne Essentials before we go any further. They strive to “keep it simple”, keep it healthy, and to make “good for you” products that are free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, cholesterol, trans fats, and 100% animal product free. These are vegan products, and they take that seriously. They have a very comprehensive line of products to address a multitude of needs.

So, back to the shake. I got to try chocolate (Our favorite flavor for EVERYTHING!) and vanilla. We tried to read on the package what the ingredients were, what the nutritional breakdown was, stuff like that. Nothing to really be found. Okay. Let’s look at the pamphlet that came with it. That tells me that it’s “pea protein” blend, 20 grams of it. It’s gluten free. It has coenzyme Q10, alfalfa, ginseng, and flax seed. Unless that doubles as an ingredient list, I have no idea what else is in there. That’s a little…frustrating. I tear into it and I’m immediately hit with a smell that I most closely identify with….latex paint?!? That can’t be right. We dip our respective fingers in and give the dry power a little taste. “Not chocolate” says Hubby. There’s a very strong vegetable flavor that immediately overpowers any hint of chocolate that might be there. Okay, well, it’s dry. You’re not supposed to taste it dry, so let’s add the requisite water and let the flavors bloom. I notice right away there’s A LOT of powder. Hubby’s go-to protein powder has been Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey powder, and for comparison purposes, it’s a much smaller scoop. He has a few different shaker bottles, so we select his best big one and give it the old “30-second shake up”. There’s chunks of goo everywhere. So Hubby shakes some more, and with great vigor this time. No luck. It’s a chunky mess. Well, sometimes it helps to sit in the fridge a bit and let the particles super-saturate and help the process. So sit it shall.

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After an hour, we take it out, noticing that it’s started to separate a bit, but after a couple of shakes it’s still kinda gloopy. Hubby gamely offers that he’s “had worse” and goes in for a taste. He immediately tells me it’s got a very chalk-like consistency and it’s kinda gritty. There’s a very strong veggie taste, even pepper-ish, and the aftertaste that remained as “horrible”. The smell is still off, but I will myself to give it a go and I regret it almost immediately. He’s right, something is off. I really can’t taste any chocolate, but it’s closer to a malted V8. Hubby gamely goes back for more, and after 3 sips, he says he can’t finish it. Just so you know, I’ve seen this man chug things that would choke a billy goat, all in the name of fitness. For him to tell me he can’t finish is shocking to me. I open up the vanilla and smell the same “latex paint” smell from before and I’m not even going to torture ourselves and go through this again. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even mix it.

I have to wonder if there was something off about the samples I received. For company to be so high on their products that they send out samples like this tells me there must be something there, and hopefully this was just an anomaly.

I also got a chance to try their Energy Fizz Sticks, but that is for another post! =D

I received the above products free of charge from a Arbonne representative.  I am not obligated in providing a positive/favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or product, which may differ from yours.

 

Chobani Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip

Flipping back to Flip Country and I bring you Chobani’s Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip. Called a Flip because you flip nutritious “goodies” from one cup to the bigger yogurt cup. You can then decide if you want it to be a topper or a mix-in, or a little of both. I like that you have that choice of texture that is kept fresh by keeping the ingredients separate.

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Let’s break down the cups-
The yogurt portion, which is the larger cup, is Vanilla low-fat yogurt. The “flip” is a joyful mix of cornflakes, honey oats and praline pecans! I told you it was a happy cup but you did not believe me! You also have Wildflower Honey minus the bees because they don’t always give up the golden nectar without a fight. No small detail went overlooked and even barley malt is present. That’s the stuff the gives corn flakes and shakes that extra oh so good flavor.

The Verdict-
This Flip remains at 150 calories and only 15 from fat. Twelve grams of Protein to get you going and 15% in Calcium.

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The Flavor-
Don’t let the Vanilla fool you in thinking this is a dull cup…….think Parfait. You have the pudding and the “crunchies” as I call them, bring that pudding alive. Who wants a bowl of corn flakes and milk, now that’s a soggy bore because I have Praline Pecans and my flakes don’t go floppy! That just changed the whole bowl for me and mine may be square but with Flips now on the block, square is in. Where have you been? Oh, you better be at the store….no the dairy aisle not where boring-o milk is nearby the eggs. You don’t want to get me started on eggs now 🙂

The Ingredients-
Nonfat Yogurt (cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei), Oats, Evaporated Cane Juice, Milled Corn, Wildflower Honey, Sugar, Canola Oil, Pecans, Salt, Barley Malt, Vanilla Extract, Locust Bean Gum, Butter.

I received the above product free of charge from Chobani. I am not obligated to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and products, which may differ from yours.

Chobani BITE Caramel with Pineapple Chunks

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Taking a Chobani Flip break and now we venture into Hawaii with Chobani’s Caramel with Pineapple Chunks. Aloha!! Sounds more like dessert but for me, I think of those days when I would melt caramel and dip fruits. This is an all-in-one so no fire required!

The bite takes a chomp at providing you with 8 grams of protein and nibbles at your waist at just 100 calories. I had to look twice because I don’t think Caramel and yummy at just 100 little calories but I get where the Bite has it’s place. Better than a cookie or an empty calorie snack.

The product is full of goodness too and not just pretending to be good. Chobani uses all natural flavors, sweeteners, and even dairy derived from cows that have not been treated with rBST. No preservatives, so the product tastes more like nature intended it to be and that is just perfect. You also get 3 types of Probiotics and live and active cultures.

Let’s Analyze the Cup-
I peel the cup and notice the yogurt has a soft caramel color, not too deep in hue and when you bring a spoon up from the deepness of the Bite, you see an avalanche of small bits that are Pineapple. No skimping on what the product states it is, so I like how this is starting.

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The Flavor-
You smell Caramel and a little tartness from the yogurt and at first bite, you feel a warmth in your mouth from the caramel hitting your palette. It is distinguishable in flavor and even though it’s pre-mixed, the fruit kept it’s Pineapple bite. This yogurt is one I have found I like to freeze. I put the cup whole in the freezer and just when it gets to a “soft serve” texture (20 minutes in our freezer), I peel my cup and enjoy a nice walk in the garden. It has that caramel and the freezer changes the texture by hardening the fruit a little but also taking the warmth away from the caramel. I see it as I went to a frozen yogurt shop that is located in my freezer. I saved gas!

Ingredients-
Lowfat Yogurt (cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Cream, Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei), Evaporated Cane Juice, Pineapple, Caramelized Sugar Syrup, Pectin, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Locust Bean Gum.

 

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I received the above product free of charge from Chobani. I have no obligation in providing a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and brand, which may differ from yours.

Chobani Key Lime Crumble Flip Greek Yogurt

So, where does our Chobani passport get stamped next? Think palm trees, sand, and waves crashing against the surf……..Florida, maybe. Okay, think P-I-E like Chobani’s Key Lime Crumble Flip. Called a Flip because you flip nutritious “goodies” from one cup to the bigger yogurt cup. You can then decide if you want it to be a topper or a mix-in, or a little of both. This version has a nice surprising crunch that I love.

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Let’s break down the cups-
The yogurt portion, which is the larger cup, is Keylime low-fat yogurt. The “flip” is a crumble that is made of the cutest and littlest white chips you have ever seen and crushed graham crackers.

The Verdict-
This Flip comes in at 180 calories and it is higher by just 30 calories from the usual 150, but so worth it. Eleven grams of protein so that caloric count stands up nicely when you count all the positives that fit in that yogurt cup. It does not stop there, you have Vitamin A, Vitamin C, plus some Calcium so your bones stay nice and strong when lifting that spoon from flip to mouth.

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The Flavor-
I must start by confessing that I have bought this version of Flip so many times that I lost count. Key Limes everywhere must have wanted posters up, so from now this review is in whisper-mode (shhhh!). Think of a deconstructed Key Lime pie. The yogurt has a tang and it tastes just like Key Limes, no funny stuff of a Lime holding a key and pretending to be a Key Lime. The tang goes so well with the creamy texture of the Greek yogurt that I call it the pie filling. Then the pie…..I mean this healthy yogurt…has a crumble made of graham crackers, that is sweet from just a touch of brown sugar but has a hint of cinnamon. Made with love and it continues with the sweetest and smallest white chocolate chips that I have ever seen. They are smaller than the miniature morsels you can bake with but the cup is filled with them. I always take one out and smile but never fall for their high cuteness level, so it gets eaten. It’s the only way the white chocolate chip can’t control me, even though I now realize I am out of my Key Lime Crumble and I’m craving some yogurt pie 🙂
The Ingredients-
Lowfat Yogurt (cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Cream, Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei), Evaporated Cane Juice, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Soybean Oil, Key Lime Puree, Cocoa Butter, Whole Wheat Flour, Key Lime Juice Concentrate, Milk, Key Lime Peel, Honey, Nonfat Dry Milk, Natural Flavors, Salt, Cinnamon, Fruit Juice Concentrate (for Color), Turmeric (for Color).

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I received the above product free of charge from Chobani. I have no obligation to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and brand, which may differ from yours.

Go Beyond the Bun with MorningStar Farms

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Before you say “Where’s the meat?”,  please take a moment and give it a chance. I am a meat eater and a veggie lover, I also believe when you want a burger, you get a burger. I have tasted meatless products in the past and because they try to imitate an animal product without being one, they fail at being beefy and worse, they are not even a good tasting veggie meal. I was a little nervous and even thought, “Maybe I should have declined this campaign”. I eat vegetables daily and in huge quantities so I am picky and especially when it comes to a frozen product. To get an idea of what I like to eat so you can see where my palette lands in all this, I love Fresh & Easy’s stir fry mix to their Broccoli bags and these all come from the freezer section. I also pick up 2 heads of fresh broccoli, and other vegetables, at my local market because I know it will last me a week and the second week I go frozen. It’s my way to balance freshness and convenience without sacrificing my need and want for vegetables.

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So, I pick up what I call the “original” Garden Veggie Patties. I figure if they do the original right, I then will give their other varieties a try in the future. I have a meat-less meal once a week and it’s not planned but sometimes I just don’t want meat or fish. I know, I’m a girl with bunny rabbit habits. The patties are just 110 calories per serving, 350 mg of sodium with 10 grams of protein. Okay, a little high on the salt but I have seen much worse and I don’t consume large quantities through out the day so I am safe.

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The ingredients:
I looked and the first is Vegetables. Okay, I expected water or some tofu but it states Vegetables and the mix equates to mushrooms, water chestnuts, onion, carrots, green bell peppers, and black olives. Next comes the soy protein. You then have wheat gluten, water for hydration, egg white, cooked brown rice, rolled oats to corn oil. Then comes soy sauce and other items like jalapeno pepper powder, celery extract to garlic powder, and a touch of sugar. Mostly, things I can identify, pronounce, and my brain can retrieve an image to the name! My patty will not be glowing in the dark from chemicals so that is a good thing!

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Is it good?
I saw the ingredients and minus the jalapeno pepper powder (I thought I would just think chili flakes for that one), I thought why bun it when I can pan-fry it and add it to my stir-fry. You got water chestnuts and soy sauce so I’m already there! I fried with just 1/2 teaspoon of peanut oil and sesame oil. I added no sauce or anything else and when it was done, I used the remainder, plus a 1/4 teaspoon of oil (peanut and sesame) to fry my veggies. I added a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce to my vegetables and I’m done. I plate it with a Jasmine rice I made two days ago, that I added Edamame (frozen) too. Then topped it with the veggies, cut up the Morning Star patty into bite size, a dash of sesame seeds and I’m done. I then go crazy with the Sriracha Sauce and chili flakes but that is another blog post.

The Verdict:
I would buy these patties again. Found myself craving them a few days later and they settled well. Very filling and flavorful. I would say this is the best tasting vegetable and soy protein I have had and not to sound like everyone, it had a chicken like texture and taste. I don’t know if that was the intention but yummy is yummy! I also liked how quick and well they fried up with very little oil. I had that whole golden brown action going that tasted great when you ate it. The product is not so overly milled that it resembles just patties made from baby food. MorningStar Farms treated me like and adult and I see the bell pepper and pieces of real food in the patty. Loved them and I can’t wait to try their other selections. They had some that were flavored more towards the Italian to Mediterranean cuisines. I even saw a breakfast sausage……do I dare? These were so good that I’m game!

I received the above product from BzzAgent and my only commitment is to provide an honest review.  I have no obligation of sharing a favorable (or unfavorable) opinion.  The above statement are my own opinion based on my experiences with the product.  Your opinion may differ from mine.

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