Cooking

My Top 15 Food Picks from #ExpoWest

ExpoWest was huge, literally, the biggest Natural Foods Expo that’s out there, and I walked away with 15 Favorite items from that show.  I tried to narrow it down to 10, but I just couldn’t.

1) White Girl Salsa

With a name like White Girl Salsa I knew I had to try it.  And I was so glad I did.  I love tomatillo’s, and this is what their salsa consists of (mild and medium)  They also have a few other varieties available.  Their Salsa is completely Gluten Free and yum, yum, yummy!

But the true fun came when talking to them as they prepared me for my picture 😉

2) The Bunnery

You may have heard of the restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  People have become such fan of the restaurant that they started to create their own products.  Their granola is to die for, and I am a huge fan of their Cranberry Vanilla variety.  They also have their own line of Pancake and Waffle mixes.  I can’t wait to try them out!

3) Laughing Giraffe Organics

Did I ever tell you that I am a huge fan of macaroons?  From the very first time I made my first batch I have been hooked, so when I tried the Laughing Giraffe Organics macaroons I was in heaven.  Absolutely delicious coconut flavor. All ingredients are organic.

4) Noosa Yohgurt

This yohgurt was voted Best of the West by the Press, and let me tell you it’s THAT good!  And I was thrilled to find out it was already available in Whole Foods Markets.  The yohgurt is smooth and absolutely delicious.  A heavenly treat for those yohgurt lovers out there.

5) ThinkThin Bars

From the moment I tried these delicious bars I have been hooked.  I absolutely love their Cranberry and Mixed nuts bar, and also their Brownie Crunch bar.  These bars are high in protein, gluten free, and zero sugar!

6) Turbana Plaintain Chips

Absolutely delicious! And btw: this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about these chips from me 😉

7) Love Crunch Granola

Granola with bits of chocolate in it, who doesn’t love that!  But this is a granola I absolutely could snack on at any time of the day, not just in the morning.  Convenient for lunches, or during the workday snack time.  The chocolate is real organic italian.  And has bits of berries in the mix.  A sweet tasty joy.

8) Odwalla Snack Bars

I tried their newest variety: White Macadamia, and omg I could go back for seconds and thirds it was that good.  Perfect for snacktime, or even after a good workout.  You’ve earned it! 😉

9) Rush Bowls

What is a Rush Bowl?  It’s a complete meal that truly fills you up.  With granola to mix in on the top and frozen all natural blended fruit on the bottom, it’s a perfect wake me up snack.  These are to be kept frozen, but they unthaw pretty fast, and are absolute divine.  I am a huge fan of the Yoga flavor!

10) Oogie’s Popcorn

I am usually not a fan of popcorn, but the minute I tried Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn I was hooked.  With delicious flavors such as White Cheddar, Kettle Corn, Hatch Chili Con Queso, Romano and Pesto, Smoked Gouda and a few others.  This is one popcorn I’ll be munching on in the future!

11) Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin’s launched their very own Candy Bar at ExpoWest this year, and let me tell you, it’s heavenly!  Mixed with their own organize peanut butter and infused with organic chocolate.  I could eat these every day and be satisfied.

12) Green Chopsticks

Their Potstickers are amazing, and the company is a ton of fun to talk to.  With facilities located in Alhambra, California, it’s local, and awesome.  They also offer an Organic Seaweed Snack, dumplings, and other asian specialties!

13) Peanut Butter & Company

When I tried their chocolate peanut butter I swooned.  I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but never thought of putting it together into one spread.  And boy oh boy was I happy to taste this idea.

14) SolBites

A two pack peanut butter and jelly snack.  Perfect for on the go snacking!

15) Eat Pastry

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Yes please.  Gluten free varieties along with dairy free varieties.  You keep the cookie dough refridgerated, and pop it out when you want to make a fresh batch of cookies.  This is one cookie dough you can eat raw 😉

 

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Categories: Cooking, Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

My FAVE Gluten Free Items at #ExpoWest

There was no denying it.  Gluten Free was all around #ExpoWest during the convention weekend of March 9th through 11th.

And here is my list of some of my favorites:

1) Russo’s Gluten Free Pizza

Russo's Pizza

Most Gluten Free pizza doesn’t taste that good.  Hey, I’ve heard it from a ton of people ;0 And once people took a bite out of Russo’s, words of praise were shared.  Shared by fellow bloggers, shared via twitter, and shared throughout the convention.  Russo’s knows what they’re doing in making Gluten Free Pizza taste good.  And the truth is: I’d eat it any day!

2) Udi’s

There’s really 2 reason I mention Udi’s here.  1) They’re a great company to connect with, work with, and talk with.  and 2) They make some delicious muffins and cookies.  Their brownie bites mini muffins are scrumptiously good.  I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll be hearing from me about Udi’s ;0

Credit: musingofahousewife.com

Udi’s also has some pretty amazing breads and doughs out in the world too 😉 Let me not forget all they have to offer.

3) Pappardelle’s Gluten Free Pasta

One of the hardest parts about given up gluten is giving up that scrumptious pasta, so I was on the lookout for some amazing pasta’s going gluten free.  I was very happy with Pappardelle’s Gluten Free Pasta’s.  They offer a variety of different pasta types.

4) The Pure Pantry

I go towards the sweet side of things, and when it comes to cookies and pancakes and cakes, oh my, but all of Pure Pantry products are Gluten Free.  It allows me to get my baking on!

Credit: purepantry.com

5) Mrs. Lauralicious

Another wonderful Gluten Free company that kept my eyes peeled to baking.  They offer cakes, muffins, cookies, pie crusts, and pizza dough to work with in their selection of bake at home products.

credit: mrslauralicious.com

I could go on…. but the ones listed above were my utmost favorites 😉

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My Favorite Drink Picks at #ExpoWest

Last weekend I attended ExpoWest, the largest Natural Product Expo on the West Coast.  It was being held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

I had a blast!  It was a good inclusion for me working towards that healthy lifestyle, and I was introduced to a ton of new products that I have become a fan of.

Part of the reason I was always so afraid to go the healthy avenue was the fear that the food wouldn’t taste as good.  SILLY, I know!  I was blown away by this expo in how good all the food I tried was.

In the next few weeks I’m going to be concentrating on ExpoWest and the fun products I ran across.  Unfortunately, there are far too many products to talk about in one post, so I’m breaking it up!

This weeks focus is on Beverages!!! I’ll be showcasing my favorite beverage finds at ExpoWest.

1) AMAzon Beverages

Picture courtesy of AMAzon Beverages!

It’s the first drink of its kind to utilize extracts from the Amazon Rainforest! Natural extracts with the names of Pfaffia and Cupuacu.  The drink is infused with cocunut water, and mixed with these extracts to make a refreshing flavor.  Trust me, of all the drinks with cocunut water at the EXPO, this one was the absolute best!

2) Zevia

For a person like myself who is trying to ween herself off of caffiene and sugary sodas, Zevia was my answer.  Zevia shaped just like a soda can is all natural soda with the use of Stevia. The soda is zero calorie and made of all natural ingredients.

 

3) Cuties Juice

I am a huge FAN of juices, and when I walked by the Cuties booth, I was shocked they were coming out with their own juice.  I have been a huge fan of their sweet tangerine’s for years!  It stopped me in my tracks, and I had to try.  Their fun flavors of: Tangerine Orange Mango, Tangerine Orange Pineapple, and their original tangerine.  It was really good, and I can’t wait to see it hit the stores!

They are also coming out with their all natural smoothie flavors of: Blue Blaster, Rockin’ Red, Dreamsicle, Go Go Green, Island Cuties, and their Protein Power.  I did not try these varieties.

4) FAVE Juice

My all time favorite juice of the entire ExpoWest show was Fave Juice.  Fave gives 3 full servings of vegetables in just one glass! The best part is that it doesn’t taste like veggies at all.  A perfect healthy drink for your young ones.  The other amazing part about Fave is that it’s only 60 calories!

Photo Credited by: favejuice.com

5) Earthwise Juice Boxes

Just today I finally tried out Earthwise Juice Boxes, and I loved having that little carton of juice along with me as I went along my workday!  The flavors were wonderful, and they have quite a few: Berry Meadow, Harvest Select, Orchard Reds, Pomegranate Blueberry, Watermelon Supreme, Strawberry Kiwi, Orange Carrot Mango, and Passionfruit Aloe.  These juice boxes are all natural with no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors.  And it tastes GOOD!

6) And of course my favorites were there: Odwalla Juice, Naked Juice, Simply Orange, Hint Water, and Pom Beverages! 

7) Evolution Juice

Out in the lobby there was Evolution giving out samples of their all natural orange and apple juices.  Both tasted wonderful, but I am an apple juice girl at heart, and the fact it was all fresh and natural, I loved the flavors!  These juices have no preservatives in them whatsoever, and is also owned by Starbucks 😉

Credit: Starbucks

8) Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost

A ginger ale made with 100% Fresh Ginger with zero extracts!  A first of its kind, and my oh my is it refreshing. Also, no preservatives, and 100% natural.  This was the first drink that I tried at the entire Expo Show, and it was one that gave me a lasting memory.  For those ginger fans out there, you will absolutely loved this all natural Ginger Ale.  Varieties include: original; pomegranate, jasmine tea, and passion fruit.

Credit: http://www.foodgal.com

It was a great weekend filled with a lot of wonderful beverages, but the ones listed above were my favorites.  What were some of yours?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Healthy Eating Leads to a more Healthy Heart!

Welcome to Week 2 in my Heart Healthy Series this month.  Did you know that almost 80% of heart disease can be prevented by healthy eating and exercise?

Today, I’m going to focus on ways to improve your eating habits to a more healthy heart.

1) Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

Think about it.  If you choose a fruit or vegetable for a snack as opposed to cheese, crackers, or something sugary, you’re already off to a better start.  Those fruit and vegetables have natural ingrediants, and are a heck of a lot more healthier.

2) Select Whole Grains

The next time you’re at the store, what kind of bread do you choose?  Do you go for the plain old white bread?  Well, I challenge you to change it up and look for those multi-grained breads, and whole wheat breads, and breads filled with fibre.  They’re a lot better for you.

Whole grains have natural ingrediants within them that help to control blood pressure and heart health.  So, start eating more whole grains.

And if you haven’t heard: Flaxseeds are another source for regulating blood pressure and cholestoral.  These small brown seeds can easily be grounded up in a coffee grinder and thrown into yogurt.  Just an idea 😉

3) Eat Less Sodium 

Cut the salt out, but that also means, opting out of convenience.  Instead of that frozen dinner tonight, opt for making a homemade soup, or stew.  Eating homemade is a lot healthier for you.   Those processed foods such as frozen dinners and canned foods carry a lot of sodium within them.

But also, when you shop, look for the less sodium versions of those foods you purchase.  A lot of companies offer those varieties for you.

4) Control your Portion Sizes

The truth is.  We overeat, and we do it a lot!  Instead of going back for seconds, recognize that the full plate you just had was ENOUGH.  Also, study up on appropriate portion sizes.  Cutting back, and being aware of what we’re putting into our bodies is truly a good, healthy start.

5) Eat your Fish

Those Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fish actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease.  Eating fish once a week will help lower your risk, and the results are usually more positive than the risks that come from eating fish.

Omega-3 is good for our bodies because it helps to reduce inflammation in our bodies.  Inflammation in our bodies damages the blood vessels within, and leads to heart disease.  So, go out and ’tis the season to start enjoying that weekly meal of fish 😉

6) Eat Your Nuts

This is something I learned new, but nuts have a lot of those health heart nutrients our bodies love.  Omega-3, Fiber, Vitamin E, Unsaturated Fats…. so bring nuts into your life as a great snack.

A lot of the information I found for this article were pulled from: http://www.mayoclinic.com

They had some amazing articles on Healthy Eating related to your heart.  Please take the time to check out some of their well written articles, and start eating healthy on behalf of your heart =)

 

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Categories: Cooking, Life | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Chobani Yogurt

For years I was a dairy frozen manager at a grocery store.  I loved looking at the new kinds of yogurts that came in each day.  The first time GREEK yogurt came to my department, I had no idea what it was.

But it started to sell.  I then went on to a different department, but every day for break I’d stop to pick up my yogurt.  That’s when I first noticed Chobani Yogurt.  Another Greek Style yogurt.

The first thing that grabs my attention about Chobani is the packaging.  It’s not packaged like other yogurts.  The logo and the colors grab your attention.  Your curiousity gets the best of you.  So I picked one up to try it out.

Greek Yogurt is a lot thicker than regular yogurt.  To me, Chobani yogurt tasted smooth, sweet, and wonderful.  I was hooked and have been a fan since.  I don’t buy yogurt too often but when I do, I always make sure to pick up Chobani.

Direct from Chobani yogurt’s website, this is what makes Chobani different from all the rest:

This unique straining process is what makes Chobani “Greek” and full of flavor and health benefits:
·      Only natural ingredients. No preservatives. No artificial flavors.
·      Free of synthetic growth hormones: No rBST-treated milk.
·      Includes 5 live & active cultures, including 3 probiotics.
·      Made with real fruit.
·      Twice the protein of regular yogurts.
·      A good source of bone-building calcium.
·      Gluten-Free and Kosher-Certified.
·      Safe for people with corn, nut and soy allergies.

The above makes me love Chobani even more just because I realize how healthy and natural the process of creating it truly is.

Have you tried Chobani Yogurt?  What are your thoughts on it?

The above post was written out of my own free will.  I have always loved Chobani Greek Yogurt so I wanted to share my love with everyone else.  For more information and fun recipes please check out their website: http://www.chobani.com

 

 

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Tastefully Simple, have you heard of it?

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Tastefully Simple party.  What is a Tastefully Simple Party?  Well, think lots of your friends getting together in one home, and samples of wonderful homemade dips and snacks being passed around the room for you to try.  Literally, about 15 items of product was passed around the room.

They had wonderful dips from Roasted Onion flavor to Garlic flavor to Beer Cheese soup to the scrumptious desserts of Nana’s Apple Cake, to Chocolate Pound Cake, to a Toasted Almond Cheese Ball.  EVERYTHING was delicious.

The best part of Tastefully Simple’s products is the fact that it takes 2 ingrediants or less to make the products.  A lot of the items just need you to add water, or a simple item to make the product work.

Some of my favorite items to try were: The BEER Bread, absolutely delicious, The Roasted Onion Warm Dip, Nana’s Apple Cake, and the Chocolate Pound cake.

Their dessert products are incredibly moist and absolutely delicious.

For more information on Tastefully Simple, check out Tracy Koss facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thesimplestuff

Or her Tastefully Simple page here: http://www.tastefullysimple.com/home.aspx?scid=0090332

No matter where you are in the country, you can order from Tracy and you will receive your product.  Trust me, it’s WORTH it =)

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Grandma’s Fruit Salad!

If there is one meal that was passed down to me over the years, it would be my Grandma’s Fruit Salad.  Or as I grew up, I only knew it as Mom’s Fruit Salad.  When I went to bed last night, I had it in my mind we were going out to eat for Thanksgiving,.. however, when I woke up this morning I realized I deserved a home cooked meal, and one made of love, so I rushed out to the grocery store.

This meal was filled with my favorites: Ham, Green Bean Casserole, Cheesy Hashbrowns, Stuffing, Cranberries, and Grandma’s/Mom’s Fruit Salad, not to mention: Apple and Pumpkin pie because I couldn’t make up my mind =)

I want to share the recipe of Grandma’s Fruit Salad with you:

Ingrediants:

1 pkg Strawberry Jello (I grabbed the large box)

1 bag of mini marshmallows

2 cans of Fruit Cocktail

2 or 3 bananas

1 jar of maraschino cherries

1 container of cool whip

Preparation:

In a bowl, prepare the jello.  I usually do the quick set method where I boil the water then add 1 cup cold water and the rest ice cubes.  Refridgerate in fridge for a hour.

When it’s set a bit, drain the fruit cocktail, and maraschino cherries, cut up the bananas, and throw into the jello.  Stir around, then add the marshmallows.  Stir around some more, then add in the container of cool whip.  Stir around more.  Put back in the fridge.

This jello can be served as a side, but our family tradition was to always serve it with the pie for dessert.

Hope you enjoy and try it out =) You won’t be disappointed!

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Thanksgiving Monday

All week I am going to talk about Thanksgiving, each day, each theme will incorporate the Thanksgiving blessings into it.  Since today is Photograph Monday, what better way to incorporate Thanksgiving than sharing pictures of some of my favorite foods during this scrumptious holiday.

Stuffing: My absolute favorite side dish during Thanksgiving.  For me, I have yet to meet a stuffing I do not like or enjoy.  It’s hard for me to believe there are others out there that actually don’t like stuffing at all, but I must keep an open mind and recognize it’s an acquired taste, and it’s one I could eat for days before getting tired of it.

Although this Stuffing looks interesting to me, made with leeks and chards.  I bet it still tastes delicious!

Cranberries are another long time favorite of mine.  As a kid I would watch as the cranberries got passed along the table, and how there were always leftovers for them,but whenever it got to me, I dished those cranberries up on my plate, and go for seconds or thirds.  For whatever reason, I could not get enough of them.  Over the years I’ve grown to have a taste for the homemade cranberries, but my all time favorite is still the jellied cranberries out of the can.  Nothing can replace the flavor or feel of the jellied cranberries.  Each year I make sure to buy an extra can just for me to add to a special meal prior to Thanksgiving.

And of course, when it comes to dessert, I must have my pumpkin pie!  My craving for pumpkin pie starts at the end of September and continues all the way through Thanksgiving.  Each time I go to the store I spend some time in the bakery looking over all the pumpkin pies, and of course, caving in and buying one.  This is my one fall must have every year.  This craving will not be going away anytime soon!

I love the food that comes out for Thanksgiving, and the older I get, as I learn new recipes and new foods to try, I’m learning to love this holiday even more.  As of recent, I learned my new found love of Sweet Potatoes.  I can’t do yams with marshmallows, but from now on, my sweet potatoes will be roasted and I love every bite of them.  One method of cooking, so simple, and my entire taste of a food has been changed.  The simple things in life can often times bring you the most joy!

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My Lasagna!

One thing I pride myself on is my lasagna.  It tastes really good, my mom requests I make it all the time when I was back home, and I like making it for anyone that comes to visit.

I want to share the recipe with you:

Ingrediants:

1 lb. Italian Sausage

16 oz container cottage cheese

16 oz container ricotta cheese

2 jars italian sausage spaghetti sauce

2 16 oz packages mozzarella cheese

1 package lasagna noodles

Glass Casserole Dish

Preparation:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Layer 1 jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the glass casserole.  Cover with lasagna noodles.

Fry up the italian sausage! (In the meantime, mix together the ricotta and cottage cheese together in a bowl then spread over the lasagna noodles.  After the italian sausage is cooked, layer half on top of the cheese mixture then use one package of mozzarella cheese and layer over the italian sausage.

Add another layer of lasagna noodles, then layer the other jar of spaghetti sauce over the noodles, then layer the other half of the italian sausage then add the other package of mozzarella cheese.

Cook in the hour for 1 hour.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

 

 

Frying up the Italian Sausage!

 

 

 

 

 

 The Ricotta/Cottage Cheese mixture atop the spaghetti sauce and lasagna noodles waiting for the italian sausage to put atop it!

 

 

 

 

And the finishing product!! Looks good, doesn’t it? =)

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My Breakfast Bake

2 Rolls of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

1/2 Stick of Cream Cheese

6 Eggs

1 package sharp cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 375

Break eggs into bowl, stir and put in frying pan.  Add the 1/2 stick of cream cheese.  Scramble the eggs and cream cheese together until done.

Roll out one can of the crescent rolls onto a baking sheet.  Add the Egg Mixture in the middle.  Sprinkle cheese on top.

Roll out the other can of crescent rolls on top of the cheese mixture, then piece the ends together of the two crescent rolls.  Sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake in oven at 375 for 12 minutes.

And have breakfast.  Add spices to add a little bit of flavor, etc.

 

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