Archive for September, 2013

???????????????????????????????Product Description:

Try our raw style unbaked honey cookie. It’s our option for those of us in the gluten free world and they’re delicious. Sweet and crunchy flavors meld with nutritious organic oats and delicious organic cherries and blueberries. Who says you have to sacrifice flavor to be gluten free!

I received a Cherry Berry Raw Cookie in my September Love with Food box!

Tea Suggestion:

I brewed up a cup of this Kenyan Black Tea from Justea … and I wanted something a little sweet to enjoy with my cuppa … and I reached for this raw cookie.  The tea was better than the cookie, but the tea certainly did make the cookie more enjoyable!

What I Think:

This is the first product from my September Love with Food Box that I reached for … I was wanting something a little sweet to go with my tea, and this is what appealed to me in my stash of treats.

This is a gluten free, raw cookie.  Contrary to the above description … there really isn’t anything in this cookie that would qualify to me as “crunchy” … it’s a tart, sweet, spiced, chewy “cookie” that sort of tastes … healthy.

Nothing wrong with that, of course.  It’s not bad … it’s actually pretty tasty, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to order this particular product, for a few reasons:  First … it’s a bit more tart than it is sweet.  I’m not a big fan of tart, and I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I really prefer the balance to be the other way around … that is, more sweet than tart.  Second, this goes a little overboard on the cinnamon.  I like cinnamon, but there’s just too much in this cookie.

OK, so I told you what I wasn’t crazy about with this cookie, so now I’ll mention what I do like about this:  I like the chewy texture, the coconut and the fruity taste.  It’s a hunger satisfying cookie.

My Final Thoughts:

Not my favorite gluten free product that I’ve ever tried.  Not my favorite “raw” product that I’ve ever tried.  It’s not bad and I wouldn’t turn it down if I were offered one of these cookies … but it’s not something I’d buy.

A few months ago, I stopped my subscription with Love with Food mostly because I had fallen so far behind on my product reviews and I didn’t need so many more products coming in … putting me even further behind.  But now that I’m getting caught up, this was a box I wanted to reinstate right away because I missed it.

???????????????????????????????And for good reason.  I had forgotten just how many treasures Love With Food packs into each and every monthly tasting box!

This month’s box features a guest curator:  Chef Ming Tsai.  I was excited to see what Ming Tsai would put in this month’s box … and there is quite a huge array of goodies in the box this month.

The first two items that I’m really excited about are two “tea bags” of sipping broth from Millie’s Savory Teas.  I previously tried one of these teas/broths and while it wasn’t my favorite “tea” … as a broth, I found it tasty.  In this month’s Love With Food box, there are two flavors that I haven’t yet tried so I look forward to sampling those.   I’m also really excited to try the Bruschetta Dipin Dip!  I love Bruschetta … and I’m looking forward to trying this!

This month’s box also featured a bag of Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Chips from barefruit – a product I’ve previously reviewed, so I won’t be reviewing it again, but I think this is a great opportunity to pass along a healthier “chip” choice to my youngest daughter who recently pledged to start eating healthy.

Also in this month’s box:  A tube of Wild Garden Roasted Garlic Hummus Dip (I previously reviewed the Traditional Hummus Dip), A Gluten Free Blueberry Fruit Bar from BettyLou’s, Cinnamon Crunch from Cosmos Creations, Cherry Berry Raw Cookie from Licious Organics, and Fruit Snacks from YumEarth Organics.

And in case you lost count … that’s TEN items in this month’s box!  Woot!  And given the sheer number of items in the box, it surprises me that there’s only one that I’ve previously tried!  It looks like I picked the right month to start my Love With Food subscription back up!

If you’re interested in subscribing, you can learn more here.

???????????????????????????????Product Description:

The ever popular blend of a tangy pure vinegar and  raw all natural salt complement each other perfectly and give  your taste buds a real punch.

I received a bag of these chips in my July Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

When I eat salty snacks like potato chips, I really want iced tea.  I want something that’s easy to guzzle down to quench the thirst fast.  This Strawberry Mint Julep White Tea from 52Teas makes a really refreshing iced tea, and the sweet berry notes and crisp minty notes offered an enjoyable contrast to the tangy vinegar and salty chips.

What I Think:  

Salt & Vinegar chips are one of my favorite flavors, I love the contrast between the salty, the tangy and the hint of sweet that I get from these chips.  So, I didn’t mind a bit when these chips were featured in my July Knoshbox.

These are “Kettle” style chips, which means that they are thicker than your average potato chip.  They are crunchy … but what I’m liking is that even though they’re very crunchy … there is something different about this crunch.  You know how sometimes you get some of those other kettle-style chips out there, and there’s more crunch than substance?  The chip seems to be so crunchy that it’s difficult to bite into it.  These are crunchy … but they’re not “hard as a rock” crunchy.  They’re crunchy with that light “crispness” that a thinner potato chip has.

I can taste the potato here.  On North Fork’s “Our Story” page on their website, it says that the reason why the potato flavor shines through is because these are fried in 100% Sunflower Oil.  As someone who has not fried a whole lot of potato chips, I’m going to believe what they say based on two things:  1) I don’t fry a lot of potato chips so I really don’t know if there is a difference in oils or not, and 2) as I’m munching and crunching my way through this bag of chips, I can TASTE that there is definitely something different about these chips.

I also like that the salt and vinegar has not been overdone here.  They’re salty … sure.  They’re tangy and vinegar-y … yep.  But the flavor is not so overpowering that I’m not tasting the potato goodness that these chips have.  In some of the salt and vinegar chips that I’ve tasted, there is so much flavoring that is all I taste.  I like that I’m tasting the potato.

My Final Thoughts:  

These are really good.  I’d love to try some of their other flavors.  I find myself intrigued by their Sweet Potato flavor as well as their rosemary and garlic flavor.  I’d definitely consider ordering more of these!  They are definitely YUMMY!

black-raspberry-flavored-sparkling-water-beverage

Product Information:

rich. refreshing.  naturally flavored with just a hint of tartness. taste the burst of billions of bubbles in our sparkling black raspberry flavored fruitwater®. it’s a little tart, a little sweet. all delicious. just like you.

I received a bottle of fruitwater in my July Goodies Box.

What I Think:

So, the first thing that I check out when I get a drink like this in one of my tasting boxes is the label.  Does it contain Aspartame?  No, this product doesn’t, it contains Sucralose … which is still an artificial sweetener but, it isn’t as dangerous to me personally as Aspartame is.  I’m quite allergic to Aspartame, when I consume it, I am pretty much OUT for the day.  I start feeling sick, like I’m going to vomit, and I feel dizzy – well, dizzier than usual! – and I need to lay down.  I’m just NOT good after I consume Aspartame.

But, Sucralose doesn’t affect me that way, so I felt safe cracking open this bottle of fruitwater.  Unfortunately … it still tastes very artificially sweetened.  Icky!

Once my palate can get past that yucky artificial taste, I can taste the berry flavor.  This … on it’s own, beyond the artificial sweetened taste is alright … I think this would actually be something I could drink if it had been sweetened with something like cane sugar or even agave nectar.  As it is, though, I can’t drink much of this, because my palate is just telling me NO!  I suppose I’ll give the rest of this to my husband … he’ll probably love it.

My Final Thoughts:

Didn’t like it enough to even drink half a bottle of it.  The berry flavor would be nice if it was sweetened with something not artificial.  For those who don’t mind that “diet-y” chemical-y taste and aftertaste, I can see the appeal of a drink like this, but me … I’ll stick with my tea, thanks!

smorecookie

Photo from Knoshbox
Click on the pic to go there

Product Description:

These all-in-one s’more cookies are hand made by S’more Bakery of New York City. Semisweet chocolate chunks, handmade vanilla bean marshmallows and rolled oats come together to create a delicious thin and crispy cookie.

Made with unbleached all purpose flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, old fashioned oats, unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract. Due to the delicate nature of these crispy cookies, some breakage may occur during shipping.

I received this S’more Cookie in my July Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

When I grabbed this S’more Cookie, I was already sipping on a Chai Latte!  I made a rich, delicious Chai with this Strong Brew Chai concentrate from Chico Chai!  I am sure I could have found a more suitable pairing in my cupboard, but I love this chai, and the cookie was delicious with it. YUM!

What I Think:

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My cookies out of the package …
broken and crumbly … but still yummy!

I was a bit disappointed when I opened my July Knoshbox and found this cookie broken into bits with quite a few tiny crumbs at the bottom of the package.  I know that the cookie tastes the same whether it’s broken or whole … but let’s face it, if presented with a platter of cookies, most of the time you’re likely to choose a whole cookie rather than a broken one, am I right?  Whole cookies are more fun to eat.  That’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

Before reading the above product description and before opening the package, I expected that this would be a thick, soft cookie, but it isn’t.  This is a thin, sort of crispy cookie.  I say “sort of” because even though it’s been baked to be crisp, the chewy marshmallow-y aspect of the S’more cookie gives it a compelling chewy texture.  The so it is crisp when you bite into it, and then it becomes chewy as you chew.

These are actually quite tasty.  They are chocolate-y and I can taste the oats, and I like the cocoa and oats combination.  On the rare occasion that I bake oatmeal cookies, I usually prefer chocolate chips to raisins, so the chocolate and oats combination is a welcome pairing.  The marshmallow is not so much “tasted” as it is experienced in the cookie.  The aforementioned chewiness gives this treat a very intriguing texture.  There is also a LOT of butter in this cookie.  Not complaining about that … I like a buttery cookie.

My Final Thoughts:

This is not so much a s’more taste to me as it is a chocolate and oat cookie, so therefore I feel like these cookies suffer from a bit of a misnomer.  People who might buy this thinking they’re going to be eating a s’more are in for a bit of a surprise.  I expected more of a s’more-like taste but it is still really delicious and something that I’d be happy to eat again.

I love tomatoes.  I call them my favorite “fruit” … not so much because they are technically a fruit but because my favorite vegetable is carrots, and I would have a difficult time choosing between the two if they were both deemed vegetables.

???????????????????????????????This summer, my big Costco discovery was these Symphony tomatoes (I’ve also seen a smaller “symphony” package in Chuck’s Produce, which suggests to me that you might be able to find them elsewhere as well.)  They are an eye catching array of colorful cherry sized tomatoes – with colors such as chocolate brown, white (which looks like a “greenish” white), green, orange, and the familiar red.  Most of the tomatoes are roundish in shape, but some are “Roma” tomato shape.

To make my tomato salad, I start with a colander full of these tomatoes with all the blossoms removed and the tomatoes washed thoroughly.  Then I cut them.  Most of the round tomatoes I cut in half, but some of the larger round tomatoes I cut into fourths … basically, I cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

???????????????????????????????Then I season with Kosher salt and ground pepper.  If I happen to have it on hand, I will substitute the Kosher salt with a gourmet salt from Woody’s Gourmet.  (My personal favorite is the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt)

Then I reach for my bottle of Smoky Bacon flavored Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree.  This is the MAGIC product in this salad, because it adds such a delightful flavor.  The bacon flavor is not an overpowering flavor, and I might like this even better if the bacon flavor was more pronounced (Bacon is a lot like chocolate in that more bacon = better.)  The bacon is best tasted when you taste the oil on it’s own, but, I still taste the bacon flavor when I make this tomato salad, and  love the way the smoky bacon and tomato flavors meld.

Note:  If you really want to focus on the bacon flavors, I suggest seasoning with plain Kosher salt rather than the gourmet stuff, as the extra seasoning in the gourmet sea salts tend to distract my palate.

grapeseedoil

Photo from Wildtree
Click on the pic to go there.

I have fallen in love with Grapeseed Oil because I love the taste.  I used to be very devoted to olive oil, but, I like grapeseed oil even better, and I love the Wildtree brand (and not just because one of my dear friends sells the stuff!)   The taste of the grapeseed oil is not as heavy as the olive oil, and I find this especially desirable on a salad like my tomato salad where I want to taste the tomato.

I drizzle the grapeseed oil over the seasoned tomatoes, and then I follow that with a drizzle of vinegar.  I tried this salad first using this Champagne Mimosa Vinegar from Chapparal Gardens – LOVED it – but now I use balsamic vinegar and that is good too.  The Champagne vinegar is better … but it is also kind of pricey, Then again, so is a good balsamic vinegar, but since I always have balsamic vinegar on hand … well, you get the idea, right?

After I’ve seasoned and dressed the tomatoes, I toss the tomatoes well in the mixture to make sure that all the tomatoes get some vinegar and oil and seasoning on them.  And then I eat it.  YUM!

???????????????????????????????Yeah, I told you it’s easy.  So, if it’s a little too easy for you and my recipe is leaving you asking why I bothered to write this post … let me add this:  Tomatoes are very good for you!  They are an excellent source of antioxidants and help lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and potassium.  And they’re practically calorie free!  Now, the dressing on this salad isn’t calorie or fat free, of course, but, I suggest go sparingly with the vinegar and oil anyway and let the tomatoes be the star of the show.

You can find more yummy grapeseed oil recipes on my friend Jennifer’s blog!

???????????????????????????????Product Information:

Crunchy wagon wheel pasta flavored with cheddar cheese and a hint of jalapeño heat. These unique pasta chips combine the look and taste of pasta with the delightful crunch of a chip. With 50% less fat than regular potato chips, it’s okay to indulge.

I received a bag of these pasta chips in my June Goodies Box!

Tea Suggestion:

With these zesty chips, I wanted something that I could guzzle when I needed to help quench the jalapeño heat that builds on the palate, so I turned to iced tea.  The iced tea that I had chilling in the fridge when I opened this pouch of chips was this Lime Cola Flavored Black Tea from 52Teas.  YUM!  I really like the way the tangy flavor of the lime contrasts with the warm spice of the jalapeño.

What I Think:

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this package … pasta chips?  Weird!  And they are indeed weird!  These are the most unusual “chips” I’ve encountered in some time.

The size and shape is reminiscent of “Honeycombs” cereal.  The texture is crunchy, I was almost expecting them to have the texture of uncooked pasta, although I’m not entirely sure why.  They have a texture that resembles a dense corn chip, but without the grain-y mouthfeel.  Very different, but not at all unpleasant.  On the contrary, I’m actually enjoying these quite a bit.

The chip itself is very “different.”  It doesn’t taste potato-y or corn-y or like any other type of chip that I’ve ever tasted.  I like that these don’t taste or feel greasy like a potato chip usually does, I like that these have a good, crisp texture, and a really hearty taste that is quite satisfying.

There is a good balance of cheddar and Jalapeño pepper flavor.  These aren’t super hot as I thought they might be given the fact that they’re called “Cheddar Jalapeño” … this is more like a nacho cheese sauce kind of heat … you know the kind of cheese sauce that has some diced jalapeño peppers already in it?  It’s a lively amount of heat, but not so much that I have to extinguish a fire on my tongue after each chip.  The warmth builds gradually in a very agreeable way.

My Final Thoughts: 

I would definitely buy these pasta chips again.  I really liked them.  I visited the Pastitas website and found that they have six different flavors and I’m definitely intrigued!  I’d love to try them all!