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Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters

In 2004, Noha Waibsnaider founded Peeled Snacks in her tiny New York City apartment when she noticed there was something missing from the snack aisle. Store shelves were full of processed potato chips, corn syrup-filled candy, and energy bars made with too many mysterious ingredients, leaving snackers to feel the “spike, crash and burn” effect. Without finding any options both healthy and enjoyable, Noha set out to fix that problem.

Her solution? Tasty and nourishing snacks made with pure, wholesome ingredients to satisfy your cravings at anytime or anywhere, while lifting your mood and leaving you feeling energized. Noha’s vision was and is still today to make healthy snacking as close to nature as possible. What began with three varieties of organic fruit snacks has now expanded to include crunchy apple clusters and indulging trail mixes, and we’re not stopping!

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Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters are crunchy organic apple pieces rolled into fun-to-eat, tasty apple clusters. Each bag contains a full serving of fruit without any fat or preservatives. Enjoy right out of the bag or take breakfast to a whole new level and add to your favorite yogurt.

Apple Clusters are available in 3 flavors: original, cinnamon and berry. They are gluten free, organic and non-GMO. Each bag of Peeled Snacks is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, and made with wholesome ingredients you can feel good about eating. There are no added sugars, sulfites, preservatives or oils. Peeled Snacks energize your mind and body, and support the way snacks should be made – with real food!

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You can purchase Peeled Snacks online and at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S., including Starbucks, Whole Foods, target and on Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Big Slice Apples Review and Giveaway

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Big Slice Apples were first cooked in Grandma Hoerner’s farm kitchen, made from apples straight from the orchard in the late 1800s. Her grandson, Duane McCoy, inherited his grandmother’s recipe. Recalling the wonderful flavor from his youth, he worked hard to replicate her recipe, finding the perfect blend of firm apples and sweet fruit-juice sweetened sauce. Then came a groundbreaking idea: put them in an on-the-go pouch, capturing all that rich, natural goodness and flavor of Grandma’s best in an industry-disrupting package. But they didn’t stop there! Big Slice is proud to introduce 16 fantastic flavors of Big Slice pouches.

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Each pouch contains ready to eat cooked apples and wholesome ingredients. Made with real fruit, all pouches are non-GMO (except Pineapple Passion Fruit), all natural, and gluten free. Big Slice are a great source of vitamin C and contain no high fructose corn syrup.

Six fantastic flavors of these pouches were initially launched into 250 Super Target locations in January. In February, they will be offered in almost all [1600+] Target locations. This is pretty amazing stuff for an American company from the heart of the Midwest, originally created by a grandson trying to recreate his grandmother’s amazing big sliced apples!

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There’s nothing like Big Slice out there. And as for flavors, these are definitely unique. Flavors include: banana mango & hemp seed, blueberry pomegranate, boysenberry chocolate, cherry vanilla, cinnamon French toast, natural, pineapple passion fruit and fiber, raspberry hibiscus and green coffee extract, orange ginger, apricot, peach green tea and aloe, lemon berry, chai, peach bellini, caramel, and cinnamon candy.

The pure line— orange ginger, apricot, natural, blueberry pomegranate, lemon berry, chai, and cherry vanilla— are made with just one goal in mind; creating something simple and delicious. Amazing on Greek yogurt or all by itself, each recipe is made with pure fruit and spices gently blended together. All pouches are fat free and 90 calories or less.

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My favorite was the cinnamon French toast, from the luxe line. The goodness of fresh, crisp apple cooked to perfection only gets better when it tastes like Sunday morning breakfast, especially one that I haven’t eaten in years! Made with all natural ingredients it’s a guilt free snack, with just a hint of dark brown sugar. The richness of French toast is unbelievable and tastes great on its own or over vanilla bean ice cream.

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The luxe line lets you indulge in a delicious snack with rich flavors but without the guilt. Decadent and healthy, each serving is only 70- 110 calories.

I also enjoyed the fit line, which includes Pineapple Passion Fruit & Fiber, banana mango & hemp seed and raspberry hibiscus and green coffee extract. Being fit doesn’t mean succumbing to fad diets or giving up flavor. Four different varieties promote energy, power, balance, and beauty.

The fit line provides even more fiber and/or protein with the addition of hemp and green coffee extract for example.

The Banana Mango Hemp was delicious. Made with apple slices, mango chunks and hemp seeds, I could taste all the flavors in every bite. And although it was the only one over 150 calories, it provides so many great nutritional benefits; 5g of protein, 2g of fiber, 4g omega-6, and 150% Vitamin C.

The Raspberry Hibiscus and Green Coffee Extract was also one of my favorites. Made with so many amazing flavors, this combo was delicious. Each serving has 30% caffeine and it provided me with an extra boast of energy.

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When you buy Big Slice pouches, they donate a portion of the purchase to the Sparkle charity— blessing women in need.

Now for the giveaway!

Big Slice was kind enough to not only send me a variety of samples to try, but they want to give one of my readers the same Big Slice pouches to try for themselves!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This giveaway ends on June 6, 2014 at 11:59pm. Open to U.S. residents only.

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Disclaimer: I received this product for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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Product Review: Tastefully Simple introduces new line of Gluten Free products

Screen shot 2014-01-07 at 10.18.18 AMTastefully Simple is a home tasting company featuring a variety of convenient, easy-to-prepare foods and gifts designed to help people spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the rest of their lives. Products are available through independent consultants primarily at home taste-testing parties nationwide, or online.

Tastefully Simple launched a line of gluten free products this past fall.  They are tested to meet the new FDA standards and are SO delicious!! The mixes are easy to prepare. Each pouch has a basic recipe on the back with easy to follow directions that only require the addition of just a few simple ingredients such as butter, carbonated beverages, eggs, chopped apples or plain tap water.

In addition to the basic recipe, featured on each bag is a second recipe that’s just as easy to make!   The Vanilla Bean Pound Cake Mix, for example, features a recipe for a trifle using the prepared cake, while the Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix includes a recipe that uses applesauce and dried cranberries instead of fresh apples.  Each pouch also includes “More ways to mix it up” with creative mix-ins, toppings & stir-ins plus neat ideas on how to serve these delicious goodies!

I was fortunate enough to try all 4 new products! Here’s my thoughts:

The Fudgy Brownie Mix is loaded with chunks of real fudge. Simply add melted butter and eggs to the mix, stir, then bake for one of the best brownies you will ever taste! Although the brownies didn’t look so pretty after I cut them, they were to die for.IMG_5815

They were such a hit with my friends – I didn’t tell anyone they were gluten free until after they ate them!

The Bountiful Beer Bread is a quick bread mix that doesn’t require any kneading and is ready in 45 minutes! Instead of beer I used club soda. The bread turned out soft and moist. This is a great bread to enjoy with a hearty gluten free soup. I think it would be great for soaking up clam chowder broth or a hearty stew.IMG_5820

The Cinnamon Apple cake was drier than the others but with vanilla ice cream on top, or a nice caramel topping, it would be better. I loved that it was an easy to make fun and festive fall dessert. I was expecting a stronger cinnamon flavor and would recommend adding in a teaspoon to the batter. I also suggest mixing the egg and batter before adding the chopped apples.IMG_5814 IMG_5818

My sister made the Vanilla Bean Pound Cake. She said she loved it –now I wish I made it myself! She said it was moist and flavorful, with an exquisite vanilla bean flavor. Not only could you taste the vanilla bean, but you can actually see the little black specs of real vanilla bean in the desserts. Katie added blueberries to half the batter and said she loved the berry flavor, but that it was also excellent on its own!photo 1

Ranging in price from $8.99-$11.99. The four mixes will only be available through March 2014. Every few months Tastefully Simple retires and introduces new products. I can’t wait to see what the new gluten free offerings will be!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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Product Review: Melissa’s Exotic and Tropical Fruit Basket

Get your gift-giving thinking caps on, it’s that time of year again! Before you head to the mall or buy any gift cards online, check out Melissa’s for some unique and healthy gift basket ideas.Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 4.25.26 PM

Not the gift basket type? I suggest you take a look at Melissa’s before making that decision. They’ve got something for every taste, from practical and family-friendly to exotic and gourmet. We’re not talking supermarket quality basket, we are talking high-end, quality produce—that’s what Melissa’s does. Melissa’s is an actual produce company, not just a gift basket company, and these people know their kumquats from their clementines!

There are many great gift baskets to choose from, including the Deluxe Exotic and Tropical Fruit Basket that the kind folks over at Melissa’s sent me! IMG_5707This stunning assortment is arranged in a woven basket with cellophane wrapping and colorful ribbon. If you are looking for a fresh, juice selection of the season’s best exotic fruits, look no further. Melissa’s gift baskets would make a great gift for anyone—family, friends, and co-workers. Or if you are looking to add some new and different fruits and vegetables into your life, you can order one for yourself!

Overflowing with some on the world’s most luscious, brilliantly colored fruits, selected at their peak of perfection, promise the mouthwatering flavors of far away places. Based on seasonal availability, the selection may include: Asian Pears, Blood Oranges, Feijoas, Kiwis, Kumquats, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Sapotes, Tamarillos, Lychees, Passion Fruit, Specialty Bananas, Strawberry Papayas, Cherimoyas, Baby Pineapples, Pepino Melons, Mangoes, Starfruit, or Coconuts.IMG_5697

My basket was filled with:

Passion Fruit, Kiwis, and Mangoes – some not just ripe, which was nice so I didn’t feel rushed to eat them all right away.

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Passion Fruit

Feijoas, sometimes known as the Pineapple Guava, are a lime-green, egg-shaped fruit with a soft, succulent flesh similar in texture to a pear. Its flavor is reminiscent of pineapple, quince and lemon, with a hint of eucalyptus. I like to cut them in half and spoon out the white, succulent pulp and edible seeds—yum! Or slice it up and add it to a fresh fruit salad. IMG_5698

Sapotes closely resemble an apple in size and shape. The inside is filled with small black seeds, and the flavor is similar to a blend of banana, peach, lemon, and coconut. IMG_5710

I loved the juicy mangoes, sweet papaya, and baby pineapple, which has the same delicious flavor as the full sized pineapple and is actually a bit sweeter.IMG_5764

The kumquats were sour, like a lemon, and I put them in my water, like you would a lemon.

I also really enjoyed the Tamarillo, also known as a tree-tomato. The full-flavored, tart flesh is an excellent source of vitamin C.

The Red bananas were small and plump with had a creamy flesh that is sweeter than a yellow banana. I couldn’t eat all the ones in the basket so I used the rest to make banana bread.

Is your mouth watering yet? Head on over to Meilssa’s and check out their wide selection of fruit, vegetable, wine, grilling essentials, and many more baskets!IMG_5708

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips Review and Giveaway

Bare Fruit was so generous in sending me samples of their all-natural cinnamon apple chips to review.IMG_4668

Bare Fruit Apple Chips are made from certified 100% organic Washington State apples (and nothing else). They are low in calories, fat free, a good source of fiber, and gluten free.IMG_4671

Bare Fruit uses a unique process that bakes the chips so that the naturally occurring sugars caramelize on the outside, providing a sweet and tart flavor combination without any added sugars or flavors. A lot of chips out there on the market are high in cholesterol, but these snacks have none.IMG_4673

The all-natural apple chips come in 5 flavors:

–       Cinnamon
–       Fuji Red
–       Granny Smith
–       Sea Salted Caramel
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Bare Fruit also makes 3 organic apple chips:

–       Cinnamon
–       Fuji red
–       Granny Smith

These apple chips are sweet and crispy, but not dry. The sweetness of the added cinnamon adds just the prefect amount of spice flavoring. The chips do not have the processed or chemical taste that some dried apple snacks have. Another plus is that none of the chips were soggy; the entire bag was crisp and fresh. Because the chips are baked, they are not greasy, and I like that I can eat these chips without getting messy.IMG_4677

Each 0.53oz bag (1 serving) contains only 50 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of sugar.IMG_4672

Sound good right? Enter below for a chance to win your own case of Apple Chips!

Click to win a Case of Bare Fruits Apple Cinnamon Chips or scan the image below.a-pgtb-me-4NCkWN

The contest begins Tuesday, September 17 and ends Tuesday, September 24 at 11:59pm.

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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Whiskey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

My sister made this sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving.  She originally wanted to use Guy Fieri’s (a Food Network Chef) recipe but our mom bought maple syrup instead of agave. It was a big hit at dinner, everybody loved it. To make the cooking process more efficient, and because we already have a hundred and one things to do Thanksgiving morning before the guests arrive, cook the sweet potatoes the night before. Cool and refrigerate over night.  Do everything else in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Jameson whiskey (or other gluten free Whiskey) I promise Jameson is gluten free, click here to see their gluten free statement
  • 2 cups crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook the potatoes whole, do not pierce. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the potatoes are soft. Let cool. When cool, peel and cut into 1/2 inch slices.

2. In a small saute pan lightly toast the pecans over over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the maple syrup and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the whiskey and simmer for 5 minutes more.

5.  Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Arrange the sweet potatoes, alternating with the apples. Pour the whiskey-pecan mixture over the top..

6. Bake for 30 minutes, basting the top with the whiskey sauce once at 15 minutes.

7. Serve warm.

Gluten Free Rice and Lentils with Apples

Last night I got together with some girlfriends for dinner. One of my friends is a vegan so not only did I need to make something gluten free I also wanted her to be able to eat it as well. I love to play around with items I have at home. I also didn’t have time to go out to the store and by any ingredients for various recipes I was contemplating to make, so after rummaging through my fridge and the pantry, I came up with Jasmati rice, an onion, red lentils and the apple I didn’t eat at lunch today.

Well, what turned out as an experiment, ended up being a quite tasty dish. I liked how it turned out. It was a hit at my friends dinner party later that evening, and I received very nice compliments from everyone.

I overcooked the lentils just a bit, and I was nervous the dish would be too mushy, but it wasn’t it was great the way the ‘semi-mushy’ lentils and rice mixed together so well.

Ingredients
1 cup rice
1 ½ cups red lentils
¼ cup onion, diced
1 T olive oil
1 medium-large granny smith apple, diced
1 teaspoons cumin
1 garlic glove (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon parsley
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander seed
Directions
1.     Cook rice according to package directions. Half way through the cook time, I added 1 teaspoon curry powder so it would infuse into the rice.
2.     In a saucepan, add 2 cups of water and the lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. I add a few pieces of onion to the boiling water for a little flavor. Cook longer if you want ‘mushier’ lentils.
3.     Dice the onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the union and garlic until the onion begins to brown. Add the chopped apples and cook for 2 more minutes.
4.     Drain any excess water from the lentils.
5.     Combine the rice, lentils, chopped apple and onions into a bowl. Add in spices and mix.
6.     Serve warm and enjoy

Quinoa with sauteed Apples and Almonds

One of my best friends introduced me to quinoa last year, and I absolutely love it! Quinoa contains more protien (16g, some varieties have more) than any other grain and is a great source of fiber (7g per serving)- which I need as part of my high fiber diet. It is also high in magnesium and iron, and is 100% gulten-free. Quinoa is light and easy to digest. It’s not heavy like many other grains and can be used in a variety of dishes. My favorite is this recipe from Cooking Light, which I’ve altered just a little to better satisfy my love of cinnamon and apples. This recipe makes 4 servings (1 cup per serving).

Ingridients:
– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 teaspoons olive oil
– 3/4 cup chopped onion
– 3/4 cup finelly diced carrots
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1 cup chicken broth (vegetarian version: vegetable broth)
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnaom
– 2 cups diced unpeeled apples
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds
– 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

This recipe required me to rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve, in a large bowl and rub the grains together for 30 seconds before cooking. I always skip this step…

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a saucepan over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic. Sautee for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender and carrots begin to brown.
Stir in broth, water, quinoa and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a forl.

While the quinoa is simmering, in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add the apple and sautee for 7 minutes, until apple begins to brown. Add apple, almonds and pepper to quinoa and toss to combine. Serve warm.

This is also great cold over spinach salads!

The original recipe calls for 2 cups of vegetable broth, but I used half chicken broth and half water. In my recipe I also added 1/4 teaspoon more cinnamon, 1/2 more apples and 1 tablespoon extra almonds and I think it tasted better this way than the first time I made the original recipe.