Tag Archives: product review

Should I even DO a Hickory Farms review?

I just love surprises! :D

Some of my favorites:

~2 pink lines!! :) (hoping to see this one again soon!)

~Finding an email with the subject line: “You’re the winner of the Cloth Diaper Dream Package Giveaway from Biehl Adventures!” (Ok, so that one hasn’t happened yet, but I know it would rank up there on my favorites list!)

~Coming home from work to find a fun package in the mail!

I have to come clean. I wasn’t as excited to dig into this package from Hickory Farms as I was to let my husband do the honors. I hesitated to even do this review, because it’s not really in keeping with my blog’s mission. I’m not so much of a “meat and cheese” snacker, and sausage is not in my vocabulary. I know the quality and company reputation are very good, but I rarely pay much attention to the Hickory Farms stand in the mall because it’s really just not my thing…

The hus, on the other hand, was beside himself with glee when this pretty box showed up!



This was quite a generous gift, so I took it along on Thanksgiving to quell the beasts while they waited for turkey on the big day. (Beasts = my dad and my husband.)


The guys happily tore into the sausage and cheese bricks, but much to my surprise, there was an unexpected star of the show…

The cranberry mustard!


My mom and I were immediately interested when we saw the jar, and after sampling on crackers and a little cheese, we were impressed! My wheels immediately started turning, trying to envision the best uses for this intriguing new condiment…

And, seeing as how we are smack in the middle of leftover turkey season, my husband picked up a full sized bottle on our next trip to the mall (along with a bottle of pineapple honey mustard, too!)

I have plans to cook a turkey this weekend, and now that plan includes some hearty whole wheat bread, some of our newest baby spinach harvest and a schmear of Hickory Farms cranberry mustard! (I must include, however, that this product does contain HFCS, which means that this is a one-time purchase for us. If Hickory Farms could do something about that, we just might become regular customers!)

**Oops! I almost forgot! Foodbuzz and Hickory Farms want to know who in my life deserves a little extra attention during the holidays this year (the person I nominate can win a little something of their own from Hickory Farms!) My answer? No question: My Dad. My dad is pretty much of a rock star: On top of a full-time job, he and my mom watch my one year old so I can keep my job without having to use day care. Their help has been instrumental in helping me achieve over a year of cloth diapering, breastfeeding and organic foods for my son! Without them, I don’t think I could have done it, especially because day care providers seldom support such requests. My dad would be thrilled to get a little extra gift under the tree this year! I hope they pick him! :)

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What’s your favorite condiment?

How do you build the perfect leftover turkey sandwich?

Disclosure: I received product samples from Hickory Farms, in conjunction with Foodbuzz, for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review, and the opinions are my own, based solely on my personal experience with the products.

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Product Review: Quinoa Gold

Uh oh. The Hydration Project is rearing its thirsty head again…

This time, in the form of a tall, cold glass of quinoa

Wait… what?! Quinoa? 

Yup. Quinoa. I love quinoa. It is a nutrient-packed supergrain, after all, and an easy way to add texture and nutty flavor to tons of dishes. I love it plain, with veggies, in place of rice, in breakfast porridges, and now, I love to drink it, too!

I tried Quinoa Gold on a whim when I found it in a local grocery store. I had never seen it before, and it was in my cart before you could say, “Mother of all Grains!”

I was afraid I’d be weirded out by the texture, but it wasn’t an issue at all. I can’t say it was comparable to anything I’d ever had before, but the bits of quinoa in the mix weren’t offputting. My husband compared it to some of the SOBE drinks. I thought it was completely unique, and maybe a little…slick? Definitely one you want to drink very, very cold.

What I love about Quinoa Gold:

  • 100% organic
  • contains complete proteins
  • low glycemic index
  • sweetened with organic agave nectar
  • provides sustained, caffeine-free energy!
  • I’ve even heard that quinoa increases a nursing moms milk supply! (Not sure how true that is…further investigation is in order…)

As a busy, breastfeeding mommy, I look at Quinoa Gold as a way to check hydration and organic nutrition off my list with ease, and I can drink it on the go. (And, for my vegan and gluten-free friends out there, it fits your needs, too!)

Learn more about the history and benefits of quinoa and Quinoa Gold here. Try Quinoa Gold in Dark Berry, Mango Passion and Pina Colada (Great flavors make great nutrition even better!)

 

*I received no compensation or product from Quinoa Gold. This review is my own opinion.

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Have you tried quinoa? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?

Would you try Quinoa Gold?

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Product Review: So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage

Why are people so afraid of coconuts? I think they’re downright adorable.

I guess it comes down to a fear of fat. When I tell people that my quest for a dairy-free, soy-free milk replacement has led me to an all-out love affair with So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage from Turtle Mountain, they often gasp.

“Isn’t there a lot of FAT in that?”

The answer is yes, and no. There is fat in coconut, and it is saturated fat, but all fat is not created equal. The fat in coconut is a saturated fat that consists of medium chain fatty acids, which means that your body utilizes them as energy instead of storing them as fat. 

So, yes, there is fat in coconut milk but just as in an avocado, or almond butter, or (insert your favorite “good” fat here) it doesn’t harm you, and in fact may benefit you, as part of a balanced diet.

So, yeah, I’ll say it: I ain’t ‘fraid of no fat.

But there’s more good news… So Delicious isn’t straight coconut milk. Instead, it’s a coconut milk beverage made with organic coconut milk, and is fortified with calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Magnesium and Vitamin B12, and only contains 5 g of fat per serving. You can check out the nutrition facts here. Perfect for breastfeeding moms like me, who need extra nutrients, especially calcium, but would rather not get it from cow’s milk or soy.

But enough of the technical stuff…let’s talk about how it tastes! 

When I purchased my first container of So Delicious, (I chose the sweetened vanilla variety), I wasn’t quite sure how to use it. I poured it over my granola, and used it in my overnight oats, and found it to be rich, creamy and smooth, with just a hint of coconutty flavor. Now, I love my almond milk, but this seemed to have a flavor and…body, maybe?…that I liked even better.

So, it became a regular staple in my kitchen. 

But tasting good as a breakfast component and fully replacing milk are two different things, so I put it to the test at dinnertime. I used it to help adhere the crumb coating on my Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia, and then visited the Turtle Mountain website to see if there were any other uses that piqued my interest…

Curried Coconut Soup, anyone? (click link and scroll down for recipe.)

Spicy curry and sweet carrot with the creaminess of coconut…I think I’m in love. The only thing better than the flavor is the fact that this recipe is easy enough to throw together during my son’s afternoon nap. :D

There are a lot of reasons people choose to eliminate dairy from their diet: health reasons, lactose intolerance, environmental issues, a vegan lifestyle, nursing a child whose tummy reacts badly to dairy, or simply not wanting to drink the milk of another lactating animal…

For those people, I urge you to give this stuff a try. I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan for quite a while, and finally finding a dairy-free, soy-free option that tastes great is making that decision a little more feasible for me. Especially once I realized how extensive Turtle Mountain’s line of products is!

Soy, soy-free, coconut, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, organic, fruit-sweetened, or agave-sweetened; non-dairy ice creams, sorbets, beverages, novelties, yogurt, even kefir!–You name it, they offer it.

Soooo, once I became a full-fledged fan of So Delicous, I figured it was time to finally try Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent coconut milk “ice cream.” (I’d been it eyeing forever!) I picked up the coconut and cookie dough flavors (looked for chocolate, but my store’s selection was limited). My husband and I did a proper sampling, then inhaled both containers. :lol:

The texture was creamy and full, not watery like many of the rice milk “ice creams” I’ve tried. I wasn’t sure if I should expect the coconutty flavor to come through in varieties other than coconut, and I did notice it in the cookie dough, but I love it so there are no complaints here. Nice chunks in the cookie dough, too, as you can see…

Since ice cream is at the very tippy top of my list of necessary indulgences, I am thrilled to have this as an option. I feel a little twinge of guilt every time I eat regular dairy ice cream because I know it may cause my son a little digestive upset, and it’s so nice to know that there is a way for us both to be happy! Especially now, in the heat of the summer.

As if the benefits and taste of Turtle Mountain’s coconut milk products weren’t enough, I found them in a No-GMO Shopper’s Guide. I checked their website to verify, and sure enough, they are committed to producing products that contain no genetically modified organisms. 

Sold.

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How about you? Have you ever tried So Delicious coconut milk products from Turtle Mountain? Let me know what you think of them and you can win! 

Thanks to the gracious folks at Turtle Mountain, I have some free product coupons and I’d like to pass them on to you! (These coupons are good for any Turtle Mountain product.) There will be 2 winners of 2 coupons each.

There are 2 ways to enter:

#1. Visit Turtle Mountain’s website and leave me a comment letting me know which of their products you would use your coupons to try (My pick: Hibiscus Coconut Water Sorbet!)

#2. Mention this giveaway on your blog.

Be sure to leave me a separate comment for each entry. I will choose 2 winners at random on Saturday, June 26th. Winners will be notified via email on that day.

UPDATE 6/26: Congratulations to my two winners, Claire and Melissa! (Comments #23 and #30). Thanks for participating!

Please note: Use the store locator to find out if you’ll find Turtle Mountain products in your area!

To find out more about the benefits of coconut and Turtle Mountain’s commitment to good health, visit their website and click on the “health” link at the top of the page.

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food

Product Review: Fruit 2 Day

This morning: slept until 7 (!) , went for a 3 mile run with my favorite boy, and then chowed on this Van’s waffle topped with almond butter, half a nanner, cinnamon, a few cranberries and just the tiniest drizzle of honey. Doesn’t it look a little bit like a sundae? 

It totally hit the spot and kept me full all morning. I LOVE breakfasts like that. I wasn’t even tempted to snack.

…and then, a new milestone! I left the room for two minutes and came back to find this big boy sitting staight up all by himself…

Dude…this first year is zooooming by!

We’re going to visit some friends tonight, so dinner has to be early. Like 3 pm early. Not sure how that’s going to work out, but I needed some to tortillas, so here I sit at the grocery store Wifi cafe. The perfect opportunity to check out a product I’ve been eyeing. I’ll warn you…I’m pretty skeptical.

Have you tried Fruit 2 Day? I grabbed a two pack of the Mango Peach flavor at the grocery store today because I was feeling a little “smoothie” and these piqued my curiousity. These are marketing as a super-easy was to get 2 servings of fruit for only 120 calories. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping myself from eating too many servings of fruit each day, so I don’t need a product to help me achieve my fruits and/or veggies quota. In fact, I had to stop myself from eating a peach with my waffle this morning, because I knew I already had a fruit on there. 

I would actually go so far as to say that I am slightly offended by the commercials I’ve seen for this product. The one that gets me the most is the one with a woman sitting in an office, at her desk, trying unsuccessfully to eat a peach. The message is clear: fruit is just too darned messy and hard to eat, so give it up and just buy Fruit 2 Day. I see what all you bloggers eat every day, and I think you all do pretty well with handling your fruit. No ruined shirts, no sticky desks…not that you’ve shared anyway. 

Maybe I’m out of touch with reality. Is this a problem people really struggle with? Is fruit so difficult to eat that we have to package it in a bottle for them so they don’t get it all over themselves? I’m thinking this is really unfortunate marketing, especially considering kids might actually believe it. Why not just advertise this based on taste and fruit content without giving kids in an obese country just another excuse not to eat fruit?

I can just hear it, “Mom, I can’t eat that piece of melon. It’s too HARD.” If I ever hear that…man, I don’t know what I’ll do.

Ingredients: white grape juice from concentrate, mango puree, peach pieces, orange juice from concentrate, pineapple puree and pieces, acerola cherry juice from concentrate, lemon juice from concentrate, pear pieces, carrot juice from concentrate, natural flavor. (The list on some of the other varieties disturbed me. The strawberry orange flavor contained bananas, which is great until someone with a severe banana allergy buys it–like my mom–not realizing they use banana as a thickener.)

This thing was just weird. Not like a smoothie at all, but really sweet and very chunky. Like one of those kids’ diced peach fruit cups, sort of. I had to chew it, but the whole thing was gone in no time, leaving me with a plastic bottle. :x

Is it a drink? Is it a snack?  I guess that should make me feel like I’ve eaten some fruit, but I think the satiety factor with this stuff is zero. 

All in all, it tasted OK, but that’s not really the point. I have an issue with the whole idea of this product, and a major problem with its marketing. I work in marketing, and I’d have raised a major fuss about this idea going out the door. 

My family…we’ll be sticking with real fruit, ‘cuz we’re just really cool and coordinated like that, and frankly, I don’t find eating fruit all that challenging.

And besides that, the fruit that nature gives us is beautiful. It’s one of life’s pleasures that can be easily overlooked in a throw-away, fast food society. We should all take the time to eat it and enjoy it, not slug it from a bottle.

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Have you tried Fruit 2 Day? What are your thoughts? (On the product AND its marketing)

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food, The Everyday