I’m not usually a fan of faux meat products, but once in a while I crave the texture and flavor of a comfort food like chicken tenders or in this case, pan-fried sausage. Most of the time I love a good panko crusted veggie, fried tofu or crispy eggplant but I must say, Field Roast “sausage” is de-liscious!!
We tried the Smoked Apple Sage – “a savory combination of apples and sage anchored with yukon gold potatoes with a subtle hint of hickory smoke”. We pan-fried it in olive oil and it got super crispy and browned, reminiscent in texture to moms breakfast sausage. In fact, we both “mmm”ed repeatdly. When mixed in with the pillowy gnocchi and olive oil it tasted better than the real deal. Not to mention they are made with all natural (soy-free) ingredients, pack 26g of protein and only 10g of fat:
We used Pumpkin Gnocchi this time, and sprinkled a bit of grated Brazil Nuts over top. The next day, we split some soft pretzel rolls and added some pan-fried sausage with a bit of broccoli slaw on top…equally YUM.
We haven’t been this impressed with a store-bought product in a long time. If you’re a plant predator or just looking to cut down on your meat consumption a little, go buy some Field Roast sausages, you will be pleased! (Found in the frozen section next to vegan/vegetarian products like “burger” patties etc.)
Some people are as particular about their granola as others are about tomato sauce. Some buy only one brand while others have recipes passed down through generations with specific ingredients and methods. I don’t typically buy granola because of the high sugar and heavy processing leaving an unhealthy product with no redeeming values (high in oil, refined sugar, refined grains etc.) .
However, when The Sconeage Bakery sent me a sample box with full sized packages of their Fresh Roasted Granola products I was happy to taste! They included a Blueberry Cranberry Granola bar, a Chocolate Granola Bar and a 1 lb. container of their Fresh Roasted Blueberry Cranberry Granola.
The ingredients were plant based and minimal, just what was needed for the texture and taste of each product. These indeed tasted like fresh baked products, things I would have been pleased to have come out of my oven for a special treat.
I was upset when I found the box on my front stoop (a day or two after it had arrived) because the box was bashed in and it had been very hot outside. Although the bars were a little smooshed, the wrapping wasn’t broken and no ants had penetrated the barrier. Whew! The chocolate was a little melty but that ended up being a good thing since it tasted like a giant delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookie…Oh my goodness Yum. AJ and I had been outside working in the yard, mowing, trimming, planting when I had found the box and as soon as I assessed the damage I broke open the granola for a snack break.
It was super crunchy and sweet, the caramelized pieces tasting just slightly shy of burned, like caramel popcorn stuck to the pan. I loved the dried blueberries and cranberries mixed among the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, coconut, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. The only other ingredients were canola oil, vanilla, salt and brown sugar. This was AJ’s favorite of all three products. I’m sure this would be a delicious addition to coconut yogurt, fronana or on some fresh or grilled fruit, but we ate the majority of it, over a few days, by the handful.
My favorite was the Chocolate Granola bar, in all it’s giant gooey chocolate chip cookie glory. The package stated there were 2 bars in each Granola bar bag even though it was formed into one awesome envelope sized block of goodness. The blueberry cranberry bar was also yummy, but I’m primarily a chocolate girl. The ingredients in the bars were the same except the Sconeage Bakery swapped brown sugar for brown rice syrup to give them their chewy, soft consistency.Thank you so much to the Sconeage Bakeryfor sending me your tasty handcrafted treats to review!If you’re looking for a “somebody else did the dishes” super tasty treat with some redeeming qualities to boot, I highly recommend ordering some of their granola to try. www.sconeagebakery.com. They have many other enticing flavors like pumpkin, apple cinnamon and even make no sugar/unsweetened varieties, nut free varieties and 100% organic granola.
I was selected along with 28 other bloggers to participate in Kitchen Play’s “29 Ways to Leap into Jarlsberg Dip” event and giveaway. (Scroll down to see how you can win). Their new product is made with their well known Jarlsberg cheese, mayo and sweet red onion. I decided it would work terrifically with the flavors of my caramelized French Onion soup so I baked them together into these creamy, cheesy mushrooms.
During Farmer’s Market season, AJ and I love to get up on a Saturday morning and head over to downtown Warrenton. We stop into Great Harvest Bread company for a cup of coffee and then walk over to peruse the tables of fresh local produce. If you haven’t ventured into Great Harvest yet, go take a peak. You’ll be happily greeted by the friendly employees and enveloped in the warm and heavenly scent of baking bread and goodies. Then, you’ll be asked what you would like to sample. Now they say “sample” but many times that means a full size slice of peach cobbler bread or huge broken bits of molasses or pumpkin cookies or butterscotch chip scones. Or maybe a little of each. Yum. We’ve also purchased a few muffins and scones on occasion which are yummy but super sweet. Get a cup of black coffee with them.
One day Pablo overheard me talking to a friend over coffee about my blog. He was kind enough to give me a free loaf of bread to review and after sampling a slice of the Spinach Feta Bread I was sold. (for Free.99 to boot 🙂 )
It’s made with their yummy flour, spinach, honey, yeast, sea salt, feta, eggs from free range hens, garlic, oregano and black pepper. The packaging says there are about 18 servings in the loaf and each one has about 120 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. We ate it in about a week so I think our servings were more than 2 oz. however.
Now the good stuff. My mother and AJ will confirm, I am very particular about bread. I never was one for subs or sandwiches as a kid and I rarely eat them as an adult. I like a good artisan bread with a crusty outside and I usually toast it so every surface is browned and slighly crisp with a good soft chewy interior. And it must be warm.
However, this bread was delish solo. It was moist and tender like a good cake yet sturdy and chewy like the interior of my favorite artisan breads. It needed no accouterments and no toasting to be perfection. We could have easily snacked on it plain but that sounded like a bad plan. : )
I served it on the side of soups and salads and tried it toasted with eggs for breakfast. It was scrumptious in every application.
Wednesday is Spinach Feta day so go grab a loaf, they go fast!
Bella Viva generously sent me a package of their Dried Apple Tart Rings, Dried Strawberries and Dried Bing Cherries to review. The apples and strawberries are 100% natural but the cherries have sulfur dioxide added. They are all delicious! These are a gourmet treat wonderful for snacking on but also fabulous in baked goods like pancakes, muffins, breads….etc. etc. The Bing cherries are by far the best dried cherries I have ever tried, sweet and plump, the apples and strawberries like candy. Yum.
Bare Fruit was kind enough to send me a 14oz bag of their organic bake-dried Cinnamon Apple Chips a few months ago. Yum! These are now a staple in our house as I found the same flavor at Costco. They are a delicious, crunchy snack with low calories and sugar and no added ingredients. We love these.
There are so many types of Protein Powders on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide what is best for you. You want something easy to digest, as your body uses the amino acids in protein to continuously rebuild enzymes, tissue, hormones, and other important molecules. Did you know most protein powders are created using chemical extraction? Many protein powders have been mechanically separated, heated to high temperatures, and processed using chemicals like hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide which can damage the amino acids like immunoglobulins (antibodies), and glycomacropeptides (help calcium absorbtion & boost immune systems). Just like with any food, the closer to the original form it is, the healthier, more nutrient rich and cleaner burning it is for your body. Something that tastes great would be nice too, right? In this post I have reviewed and pooled information on some great products that will help make your protein powder choosing easy and tasty!
Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Chocolate
Sunwarrior makes awesome stuff. All their proteins have 98.2 assimilation rate and are about 83% protein. One scoop of the chocolate is 15g of protein, 80 calories, 1 g of fat, 5g of carbs and only 1g sugar. And it’s YUMMY! I love it in my Mocha-Flax shakes (below) or just mixed until creamy with 1/4 cup almond milk like a protein pudding (or heat for 10 seconds and its like a warm pudding mouse mmm). Ingredients: Whole brown rice protein (Bio-Fermented Raw Sprouted Whole GrainBrown Rice Protein), Cocoa, Pectin, Xantham gum (Natural Bio-Fermented Stabilizer), and Stevia (all natural plant-based sweetener).
“By using a unique natural wholistic bio-fermentation process and by combining the sprouted endosperm and the bran from raw sprouted whole grain brown rice, (the result of this amazing process is) a massive increase in Lysine and all 9 essential and non-essential amino acids forming a perfectly balanced amino acid profile. At 80% pure protein, Sunwarrior has created the highest and first raw complete vegan, hypo-allergenic superfood protein on the market. Not only does it taste superb but it blends exceptionally well and is easy to digest. In fact our protein is so easy to assimilate that it has 98% correlation rate to mother’s milk and a 98.2% digestion efficiency rating making it one of the highest digestibility and efficiency ratings of any other protein source. Sunwarrior Protein is also naturally rich in Vitamins and Minerals and contains high amounts of Antioxidants, Tocopherols, Tocotrienols and other essential nutrients — such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium. Using Sunwarrior Increases the efficacy and absorption of vitamins and minerals. There has been a direct correlation between the use of Sunwarrior Protein and the absorption of vitamins. Because Sunwarrior Protein is so digestible it can be easily assimilated by infants, the elderly and adults — The World Health Organization may be using Sunwarrior Protein in the future to feed malnourished individuals because of the hypoallergenic profile and superior absorption that Sunwarrior has been shown to have.There is currently a clinical trial which shows promise that Sunwarrior Protein aids in the absorption of vitamins in Aids patients. There has been a direct correlation between the use of Sunwarrior Protein and the absorption of vitamins in Aids patients where other proteins do not provide such synergistic affects during the intake. Weight Loss – Clinical studies in Japan have shown that by providing Rice Protein as a staple in a diet it can act as a weight control vehicle. This is especially because of superior absorption rates. Cholesterol – Clinical studies have shown promise that Sunwarrior has cholesterol lowering potential and the USDA is currently using Sunwarrior in trials to see if it may help control high blood pressure.”
Sunwarror is our favorite. So much so, that I joined their affiliate program. If you’d like to order some, you can find it here.
NutriBiotic kindly sent me a full size 22 oz. of their Nutritionally Balanced Drink Mix. “NutriBiotic’s naturally flavored Vegetarian Vanilla Bean ProZone is more than a supplement or “meal replacement” product. ProZone is formulated to contain the performance enhancing and healthy living balance of essential macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.” 1 serving has 14g protein, 184 calories, 6g fat, 19 carbs, and 12g sugar. Ingredients: Enzymatically processed rice protein from whole grain, sprouted brown rice; pure crystalline fructose; medium chain triglycerides; natural vanilla flavor; guar gum; and xanthan gum.
“If you are on a weight-loss program, you may use ProZone Nutritionally Balanced Drink Mixes to replace two meals and one snack each day. ProZone can help create and sustain optimum metabolic function, which helps your body produce the right ratio of insulin to glucagon, so you’ll burn excess calories, release stored body fat, build lean muscle, and lose excess pounds.”
We thought this was pretty tasty and blended fine. When I tasted the first time I had to re-read the label to reassure myself it really was all natural vanilla and sugar as it tasted so sweet…we now tend to mix in a quarter to a half scoop of plain Pea or Rice protein with this one to cut the sweetness.
Living Fuel graciously sent me their full-sized can of their Living Fuel, “A revolutionary Protein and Fiber Formula derived from healthy plant sources, with 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes”. I definitely think Living Fuel is on to something including their own natural sweetener blend and pro&prebiotics in all of their products (they also make the CocaChia bars and snack mix). A serving has 21g protein, 140 calories, 4g fat, 10g carbs, and 1g sugar. Ingredients: Enzymatically and Mechanically Extracted Protein from non-GMO Organic Brown Rice & non-GMO Yellow Pea Proprietary Complex, Stabilized Brown Rice Bran, Xylitol (from organic hardwood trees), Natural Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Mannitol, Organic Vanilla Extract and Stevia Proprietary Complex.
This is a great product with healthful, naturally derived ingredients but must be mixed with something else (unlike the Sunwarrior which is great on its own) because of the flavor or lack thereof. Pea protein can tend to have a chalky mouth-feel and unpleasant play-dough smell and taste, so just mix it in the blender to make a fruit smoothie and you won’t notice!
This was one of the first vegan protein powders I bought and I still have some left…like I said above, unflavored Pea protein has a distinct taste and smell so I don’t use it by itself. I usually mix this one with the vanilla or put small amounts (1/4-1/2 scoop in bars, oatmeal etc.) It has 28g protein, 130 calories, 2g fat, 1 carb, and 0g sugar. Ingredient: 100% Pure Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate[from yellow peas (Pisum sativum)]. Allergen-Free.
You want something quick and easy to have on hand for your family. Snack bars that are healthy, with whole food ingredients you can not only name but identify. There are many good well-known brands of snack, meal and energy bars out there including LARABAR, Luna Protein, Clif MOJO, Clif Kid,Clif C, Odwalla, Kashi, etc. So in this post I have reviewed a few lesser known bars that could be a great addition to your lunch boxes and pantries including products from CocoChia, Greens Plus, Nutrobiotics, Just Great Stuff, Purefit, Raw Revolution and MacroLife.
“Nuun is a portable sports drink mix that contains the necessary electrolytes to keep you properly hydrated without all the sugars like most sports drinks. It’s used by cyclists, triathletes, runners, hikers, yoga bods, just about anyone who’s active and wants to stay properly hydrated. Drop a Nuun in a bottle of water and you’re good to go.”
Nuun kindly sent me 5 different flavor tubes of their electrolyte drink tabs and 2 water bottles to review. The little recyclable plastic tubes they came in are the perfect size to slip in your purse or running/hiking pack. The tabs themselves remind me of large sweet tarts, natural pastel colored using B2 & beet juice and scented lightly with each flavor. They contain four essential electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium; and vitamin C & B2. Electrolytes are important for your muscles to contract correctly, so you don’t develop cramps or muscle fatigue. In our average day, most of us do not require added electrolytes. However, for strenuous workouts with much sweat loss lasting more than 2 hours an electrolyte like Nuun would be a good idea. You put one tab in 16 oz. of water, watch it fizz and drink.
We found that for our everyday tastes or tasks like working in the yard, usually half to a fourth a tab in a full bottle of water is a good amount. They even have a notch for breaking in half (think like on Rx pills). They have zero sugar, or carbs (great for my diabetic friends and their children), are under 8 calories and do help keep you hydrated. For workouts at the gym including lifting, Step classes, Yoga, running and Zumba, or working at the barn & riding for a few hours in 90-something degree weather I found a full tab was great. I noticed less muscle soreness and less cramping which I tend to get in my stomach, under the left rib-cage when I run. They also are good in portable hiking packs/bladders like Camelbacs because with no sugar and a clean (not gritty) texture they won’t clog or inhibit the growth of yucky things. They would be awesome for hiking/pack trips if you used chlorine tablets to clean your water too (now I would prefer our MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter, but that review is later: ).
The flavors I tried were Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon-Tea, Tropical, Tri-berry and Lemon-Lime. My favorite was the Strawberry Lemonade and Tri-berry flavors. My friend liked the Lemon-Lime best. They do not compare in taste to anything I have tried before, definitively not like a sickeningly sweet sports drink or flavored water like Propel. They have an almost effervescent taste and similar to a less sweet, watered down drink mix.
The only thing I’m not crazy about is some of the other ingredients including sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, and acesulfame. I think there are plenty of other natural ingredients (Stevia etc.) that could replace the extra overly processed ones.
Nuun does make “U Natural Hydration Tabs” for lower intensity or everyday activities which have more Vitamins and minerals added and less “other” ingredients:
Stevia Leaf Extract
Other ingredients: dextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, vegetable juice color, sesame oil.”
Overall, I think these are a good product, but I would challenge Nuun to work on modifying their ingredient list to less “other” ingredients and more natural, whole ones (similar to their “U Natural Tabs” minus the dextrose).
A tube costs about $6 and includes 12 tabs.
Let me know if you’ve tried them and if you notice a difference in your performance, less cramping etc. and what is your favorite flavor?
Although AJ and I don’t miss meat, a friend suggested we try Seitan for something different as our protein. Seitan is an ancient Chinese food made from wheat gluten with all of the starch removed, leaving a slightly chewy “meaty” food. It is very common in Asia especially in Buddhist communities. It is very popular as a vegetarian, vegan and Macrobiotic food with 21g of protein, about 120 calories, B vitamins, iron and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol per serving. It was actually VERY tasty and it may be a nice occasional add-in to our stir-frys, for grilled satays etc. The texture and taste are very similar to a tender piece of beef; a nice bite with a bit of chew but almost a melty finish.
I grew up drinking skim milk 3 meals a day and as an adult at least once a day on my cereal or in protein shakes. In the past year I have been buying exclusively organic fat free milk. When the hubby and I decided to do our detox I purchased some almond milk and we have since to go back to dairy milk. We may add it back in occasionally, and we do eat dairy cheeses and Breyers Natural ice cream, but I must say I love almond milk on my cereal and it makes the best protein shakes! If heated/steamed under 130 degrees it’s also fabulous in our Sunday morning lattes.
Almond Breeze vs. Silk Almond Milk
I prefer Almond Breeze by Blue Diamond; it is creamy, and tastes of sweet, raw almonds. (You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten raw, unseasoned, nuts). In my opinion the Silk Almond Milk has an unnatural thickness to it and the flavor isn’t as clean. This could be because I am used to fat free milk and don’t want my cereal etc. to have a white film on it. Both steamed fine for lattes but we thought the flavor of the Almond Breeze was better in this application as well.
Ingredients: Blue Diamond: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, Sunflower Lecithin, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2 and D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E). Silk: All Natural Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), All Natural Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Dipotassium Phosphate, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Vitamin E (D-Alpha-Tocopherol), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2.
Both have similar nutritional breakdown as well as ingredients (except for the Dipotassium Phosphate in Silk).
2.5 g. fat
180 potassium (150 in Silk)
8 g, carbs
7 g. sugar
30% of your daily calcium
50% of your daily vitamin D
So Delicious Coconut Milk
This tasted very plain, kind of neutral, slightly like coconut water. It wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t want to drink it plain. I used the rest of the carton doing halfsies with almond milk in my cereal and shakes. Next time I will try the “original” instead of the “unsweetened” version which would be more similar to the original Almond milks; sweetened with a bit of cane sugar.
1 cup serving is:
5g fat (healthy medium chain fatty acids that the body easily metabolizes. This means our bodies use it as energy and not stored fat)
65 mg of Potassium
1 g carbs
50% of your B12 for the day
Only 10% of your calcium
*Update…Really like the Vanilla Coconut milk and it has more Potassium (90 mg) . A glass makes a nice sweet treat for after supper too.
So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk (Kefir)
Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to a sour Greek yogurt. It contains tons of live and active cultures, including Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactic. Greek yogurt helps feed the good bacteria already in your gut but Kefir goes a step further and adds healthy bacterias. It has been widely consumed in Europe for hundreds of years, known for it’s health benefits. The first published literature on Kefir was in 1908 by Russian bacteriologist, Ilya Iljitsch Metschnikow. Mechnikov was the first to develop a theory relating toxic bacteria in the gut to aging and that healthy latic acids could prolong life. His research positively connected the high age of Romanians and Bulgarians to their regular consumption of Kefir. In 1908, Metschnikow was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for his findings. *
I had tried “regular” dairy Kefir when I was on antibiotics to help keep good bacteria and populate my gut. I would blend it with frozen berries or add a bit to smoothies/protein shakes as it tastes like sour cream+ strong Greek yogurt. However, I recently bought the Coconut version and it is really good! Is is creamy and smooth and a little thinner than dairy Kefir which was hard to pour and strong. The coconut Kefir has a pleasant aftertaste and smell of coconut and a bit of an effervescent feel.
Live Active Cultures Include: L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Plantarum, L. Rhamnosus, L. Paracasei, Bif. Lactus, Bif. Bifidum, Bif. Animalis, Leuconostoc Cremoris and L. Acidophilus
1 cup serving is:
6g fat (healthy medium chain fatty acids that the body easily metabolizes. This means our bodies use it as energy and not stored fat)
6 g carbs
35% of your B12 for the day
30% of your calcium
30% of your magnesium
only 3g. of sugar