Category Archives: Product Reviews

FOOD FOR LIFE – Black Rice Tortilla – Gluten-Free

ezekiel black rice tortillaFood For Life recently sent me some of their new Black Rice Tortillas to sample.  It is nice to have another gluten-free tortilla in the market and fun to have it made from such exotic ingredients.

The tortillas arrived just before my family and I went to visit my sister and her family near Tahoe.  I brought the tortillas along because two of her four children and gluten-free as well and I wanted to get their opinion of the product.

We used the tortillas to make quesadillas and my nephew liked them.  When I asked him how he thought the compared to other gluten-free tortillas he has tried, he said he thought they were about the same.

I find that they are a little more pliable and not as brittle as some of the other brands I have tried.  They also have a slightly chewy texture which I am fine with.

Have any of you tried these yet?  What are your favorite gluten-free tortillas?

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY – SO DELICIOUS STYLE

So Delicious Cashew Milk COMPRESS

It is always fun to receive packages in the mail, especially the ones that are gifted to you.  So delicious has done it again and upped the ante by sending their newest milk…Cashew Milk!  This shelf-stable milk will be available nationwide in stores beginning this month and the suggested retail is $2.49.

We love cashews around here.  The love runs so deep that I have to restrain myself from eating them by the handful(s) since we all know nuts are not a treat we can eat in unlimited quantities (though I wished they were).

The new cashew milk is creamy and flavorful, which will make it a perfect addition to my morning smoothies (especially the unsweetened vanilla flavor).  Since it is made from cashews, the fat content is high (30 of the 35 calories are from fat), but since I wont be drinking it by the glassful, I am not worried about it.  I can’t wait to make my Mac and Cheez with the unsweetened original flavor.

So Delicious Frozen treats compress

So Delicious has made good use of monkfruit from which the fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Thanks to this wonderful fruit, the “no sugar added” frozen treats they sent us have only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

My daughter is over the moon about the Fudge Bar Minis.  The timing of this treat couldn’t be more perfect since she has been feeling left out this summer as she watches the local kids nosh on Fudgsicles.

I know BOTH of my kiddos are going to go nuts for the “world’s ONLY gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free cookie dough ice cream“…it is going to be a serious spoon war between the two of them.

Now we just need So Delicious to come-up with a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream sandwich!  I am officially putting in my request :-)

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SAN-J GLUTEN FREE ASIAN DRESSINGS

San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings.  I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty).  I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!!  HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…

TAMARI PEANUT PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI

Created by: Amie Valpone

INGREDIENTS - Serves 4.

12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
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PREPARATION

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.

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Recipe courtesy of San-J. www.san-j.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

SO DELICIOUS GETS MORE STABLE

So Delicious Shelf Stable Barista Creamer unsweetened vanilla almond milk

At Expo West So Delicious (you know I love them) showcased some exciting products they released in February… SHELF STABLE “Barista Style” Coconut Milk Creamers in French Vanilla and Original as well as Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk (Also available in refrigerated half gallons!).

I was excited to learn that they made their creamers shelf stable.  I like to have the creamers on hand for when I am making treats (puddings, ice creams, smoothies, etc.), but don’t always plan well and that has meant that on occasion I have had to throw away the refrigerated creamers because they expired before I needed them (again, poor planning on my part).

Now that the creamers are shelf-stable I won’t have to worry about timing it just right because they can sit in wait on my pantry shelf until I need them.  I do wish the shelf stable creamers came in more than one size though since 32 oz. is quite large.  There are times I will use that amount for a recipe, but if I am just splashing it into a beverage, it would be nice to have say an 8 or 10 oz. container available vs. opening the 32 ouncer.

Seeing as sugar is SO present in our world, I am glad So Delicious is now providing UNSWEETENED Vanilla coconut milk.  One serving provides 50% of your daily B12 and 30% of your vitamin D.  I thought you might like to take a look at the nutrition info:

Nutrition Facts – Amount Per Serving

Serving Size 1 cup (240 mL)
Calories
45
Calories from Fat
40
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5g 7%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 50mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g
 

While at the booth I got the down-low on some gluten free sweet treats they are working on developing.  It’s hush hush, but let’s just say those of you who are both gluten free and dairy free will be so excited (can you say “childhood favorites?”).  Hopefully these new products will be ready to sample at next year’s Expo.

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Mary’s Gone Graham Crackers!!!

Mary's Gone Crackers Graham Crackers COMPRESS
This is easily one of the new products that got me the most excited at Expo West.  Mary’s Gone Crackers, a brand known to all with gluten issues, has developed the most bomb-diggity graham cracker!!!

I don’t know about you, but I have been underwhelmed by the gluten-free graham crackers I have been buying for my daughter for years now.  She eats them and when you crumb them and use them to make a “graham” cracker pie crust they work, but the taste is not graham-like whatsoever.

Another issue I have with the gluten-free graham crackers on the market is how brittle they are.  Inevitably when you open up a box at least 1/3  are cracked before you even get them out of the container.  S’mores end-up a broken mess.

Mary’s Gone Crackers’ grahams are completely hearty and thick and will rise to the s’more challenge for sure.

How about the taste?  I am not joking when I say that I actually PREFER THESE GRAHAMS OVER REGULAR GLUTEN-FILLED GRAHAMS!!!!!

I wished I remembered specifically when they will be coming out in stores.  Most of the products debuted at the Expo will be rolling onto shelves late spring / early summer and I am sure these will be too.

Are you as psyched about these as I am?

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PLAYING KEEP-AWAY WITH THE SAMSUNG TABLET

Samsung Collage

So, I have had the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet for nearly a week now and my family LOVES it.  It seems as though everyone has been playing keep away with the tablet, so I haven’t gotten as much time with it as I would like.  As I imagined, it did take some getting used to since my fingers are so familiar with the iPad.

I wasn’t sure what my kids would think of the Windows 8 platform, but they seem to have really taken to it.  When I asked my 12 year old if he preferred the iPad or the Windows 8 tablet he replied…and I quote, “Dude…the tablet is sooooo much better!”  When I asked him why he said, “Uh Mom…(pause)…it is a computer and tablet in one…how can you not see that is light-years better???”

When I started playing around with it I was initially disappointed that there does not seem to be as many apps as the iPad has.  When I mentioned my disappointment to my son he asked me which apps I wished it had at which point he promptly downloaded my Nook reader to the desktop screen on the tablet and the problem was solved (those smart kids!).   UPDATE – Apparently I am an idiot…I was looking for the apps incorrectly…there IS a NOOK reader on the tablet (I am learning everyday!).

While I don’t see Vegin Out or Happy Cow on the tablet, there are quite a few vegan apps available.  I like having Happy Cow and Vegin Out handy when looking for restaurants in new areas.  Fortunately my phone takes care of that for me as would an internet search.

I thought I would share our 5 favorite things we have discovered about the tablet:

1.  The tablet is a computer and tablet in one

2.  My husband is able to stream the UCLA games to the tablet when they are not televised (something he could NOT do with the iPad and he is over the moon excited about that)

3.  Netflix is MUCH more user friendly on the tablet vs. the iPad.  i.e When I am watching a show and an episode is coming to an end, the next episode starts automatically.

4.  My husband was able to make it so I have access to the files from my actual laptop on the tablet meaning that I can actually write blog posts from the tablet and upload the pictures for the post from my laptop.  I tried to do this on the iPad and it was a real pain in the behind because I had to use Log Me In (not very user friendly).  Yay for the tablet!!!

5.  I love that the homescreen on the tablet scrolls through weather, top news, etc. and I can see all of that in one glance.

I have a feeling I have barely scratched the surface with the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet.  I can’t wait to read Beer & Beans blog post about the 5 Essential (Free) Windows 8 Tablet Apps.

Apparently Intel has also released a new Fujitsu device for business users that sounds pretty cool too.  You can check out the video HERE.

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.

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SNACKS I KEEP IN MY CAR

Peter Rabbit Organics Collage

Have any of you caught-on to the fruit / veggie snacks in a pouch?

Last year at the Natural Products Expo West I tried Peter Rabbit Organics 100% pure fruit and veggie snacks and I was instantly converted.  Prior to trying their product I tried other brands I saw in stores and was not impressed with the funky aftertaste that accompanied them which prompted me to look at the ingredients and see that they had citric acid in them as a preservative…and that made them taste a bit funky.

Peter Rabbit’s products seriously don’t have any aftertaste.  They simply taste like what they are since they are 100% pure fruits and veggies with no preservatives.  For over a year now I have kept a variety of Peter Rabbit squeeze pouches in the car as quick and easy snacks for the kids and I because (1) They are healthy and pure  (2) They are shelf stable  (3) They are low-calorie.

I tend to lean toward their veggie blends…my absolute favorite is the Sweet Potato, Corn, and Apple and my kids go nuts for their fruit blends.

Sili Squeeze Collage

The only thing I dislike about these products is the packaging…I hate all the waste.  For that reason I was really excited to see a new product at the Natural Products Expo West this year that tackles this exact problem; a REUSABLE squeeze pouch!!!!!!!!!!   Yay to the people at Sili Squeeze for bringing this product to the market.  While I wished they were a little less expensive (They range from $13.99-15.99), I love this product.

Stay tuned for more fun finds from Expo West…

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INTEL TABLET CREW

I was recently selected to be a part of the Intel Tablet Crew.

Basically I completely lucked out because I was sent a brand new Samsung ATIV Smart PC!!!  I can’t wait to see how it differs from the iPad (which I am very familiar with).

I plan on sharing my observations with all of you as well as letting you know what my other half and my children think of the tablet.  We have several demographics covered within our 4 person family!

I work on a PC, my son has an Apple, and we own several iPhones in our family, so it will be interesting to see how we adjust to the Windows 8 platform.

I am also interested to see how the apps differ and what sorts of vegan apps there are..

Do you have any specific questions for me?  Any suggestions?

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Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.

 

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VEGA ONE BARS

Vega One Bar Arrival Collage

Vega-One-Bar-Family-ImageA few days ago I saw a box on my doorstep and was thrilled when I realized they were the new Vega One Bars.

I am not much of a bar lady, but was excited when I saw the ingredient list…finally some vegan protein bars that are not loaded with soy crisps.  In fact, Vegan One Bars don’t have any soy crisps in them at all (which is important to me since I avoid soy due to my hypothyroidism).  The protein base is made from Vega’s Complete Protein Blend (sprouted whole grain brown rice protein, pea protein).

I also appreciate the fact that Vega One Bars are gluten free and don’t have any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

  • Gluten-free
  • 15g protein
  • 1.5g of Omega-3
  • 6g fiber
  • 1 billion dairy-free probiotics
  • 1 serving of greens

Now how about taste?  I was sent all three flavors; Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Almond, and Double Chocolate.  My favorites were the Chocolate Almond and Double Chocolate.  As for the Cherry Chocolate bars, I wished they had a stronger “cherry” taste.  When I shared that with the people at Vega, they were very receptive and mentioned that they are always working to perfect their products and flavors.

kidcollage

These bars taste like an indulgent snack.  My daughter had one as an after-school snack and yelled out, “These are AWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!”  She doesn’t sugar-coat her opinions…trust me!

When I am in a pinch and out of time, the Vega One Bars will substitute well for breakfast or as an after-workout snack, though I will definitely not be eating them with abandon since at $47.79 for a box of 12, they have hefty value to them.  I take some comfort in the fact that they are loaded with important vitamins and probiotics which helps offset the cost in my mind a bit.

Vega One Bar Collage

At 250 calories they weigh in less calorically than most bars on the market.  While I wish the bars were lower in fat, I like that the fats come from natural fat sources such as Vega saviseed oil chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and nut butters.

Have any of you tried the bars yet?  What did you think?

I am headed to the Natural Products Expo West this weekend, so be prepared to hear about some new products and perhaps win a box of samples for yourself (it was fun doing that giveaway last year!!!!)

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The wonderful people at Vega sent the bars to me gratis, however the opinions are all mine.

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MEDITERRANEAN SNACKS – Baked Lentil Chips

Mediterranean Snack Foods recently sent me some of their Baked Lentil Chips to try.  After sampling the three varieties they sent, I sat down at my computer to type my review and brought along the Sea Salt variety and some hummus to snack on as I type (that’s a good sign).

While the sodium content is higher than I’d like, it pails in comparison to many of the “healthy” snack cracker/chips on the market today.  Since the chips are made primarily from a bean flour mix (lentils, garbanzo, and adzuki beans),  I expected the chips to be dense, however the more closely resemble a popped chip vs. what we have come to know a baked chip to be.  They are light and airy, yet they stand-up to dips very well without breaking.

I liked all 3 flavors, but if pressed I would have to say that I rank them in this order:

  1. Cracked Pepper (surprisingly good and best eaten without a dip in my opinion)
  2. Sea Salt (great with hummus)
  3. Rosemary

Seeing as I literally ate the whole bag (I considered it lunch), I would say that they have underestimated the serving size since a bag is supposed to contain 4.5 servings.

For those of you interested in the nutrition information:

Nutrition Info (Sea Salt)
Nutrition Info (Rosemary)
Nutrition Info (Cracked Pepper)

Mediterranean Snack Foods does offer other flavors of Lentil Chips, however they contain dairy…so be sure to read the labels.

Have any of you tried these yet?  What did you think?

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Image courtesy of Mediterranean Snack Foods.

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