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amazing grass products

A few months ago, the wonderful folks at Amazing Grass sent me some samples of their protein powder and bars to try out.

I already knew that I love Amazing Grass products, but I was really excited to try out the new Vanilla Chai flavor!

If you are not familiar with Amazing Grass products, they have a variety of protein powders, superfood powders and energy bars.  Each of their products contain plant based mixes of whole fruits and vegetables that allow you to easily get some green nutrition every day.

Personally, I prefer to get my nutrients from the actual foods – eating whole veggies, fruits, etc – but, I love these Amazing Grass products when I am on the go or running out the door and don’t have a chance to eat as many fruits and veggies that day.  I always pack a few packets with me to take on vacation, like I did when we went to Florida last week.  Mixed with milk or water, they make a great post-workout snack or a regular snack while on the go.

Superfoods

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood is a perfect blend of alkalizing greens, antioxidant rich whole food fruits and vegetables, immune boosting support herbs, and friendly pre & probiotics. Our powder mixes so easily with water; you’ll wonder how essential green nutrition could taste this good.

The green superfood definitely tastes, well, green!  To me, I don’t love the taste alone, but mixed with a smoothie, I can hardly taste it!  Luckily, there are a variety of flavors to choose from – chocolate and berry are my favorite.  The chocolate mixed with 8oz of milk tastes like chocolate milk (with a green kick!). 🙂  It also makes you feel great and gives you a boost of energy if needed.

Amazing Meal

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Meal is a powerful and satisfying blend of Green SuperFoods, plant based protein, phytonutrient rich fruits & vegetables, digestive enzymes and probiotics. The way Mother Nature intended…Organic, Raw and Delicious.

The ‘meal’ powders are my absolute favorite, especially the chocolate!  Mixed with milk and a banana (and blended), it makes an amazing meal on the go.  Chocolatey and delicious, and barely any grassy flavor.  I made one of these smoothies everyday in Florida and it was great.  It gave me plenty of protein, fruit, greens and dairy to start my day refreshed and energized.

The new Vanilla Chai flavor is delicious!

It does contain stevia, which I don’t love due to the taste, but when mixed into a smoothie, I can barely taste it.  I have been mixing this flavor into any type of smoothie, but I particularly love it mixed with cherries!  Cherry Vanilla Chai – yum!

Energy Bars

From the Amazing Grass website:

Our certified Organic Green SuperFood Energy Bars feature a premium blend of nature’s most nourishing and delicious SuperFoods. The energy bars provide health conscious consumers with a more potent, convenient and affordable way to satisfy their hunger and deliver nutrients to their bodies the way Mother Nature intended – unprocessed, organic and delicious.

We’ve combined our best-selling and alkalizing Organic Green SuperFood drink powder with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to create a delicious and healthy treat. Loaded with nutritious organic nuts and seeds…

I was definitely a little skeptical about these bars!  I mean, I didn’t want to eat a bar that tasted like greens…that didn’t seem like fun!  But, I was pleasantly surprised. They have a good, normal bar texture and have a little crunch to them.  My favorite is by far the Chocolate Peanut Butter.  And, I love that they contain all natural and organic real foods mixed up into the bar.  Some bars on the market these days are basically candy bars!

Overall, I love the Amazing Grass products!  I have since found their products are Whole Foods and other Natural Food stores.  They are a little pricey, but you pay for what you get.  These powders and bars don’t contain any fillers, so you are paying for real whole foods (in powder and bar form!). 🙂

Thanks, Amazing Grass for sending me these awesome products!

manna bread review

A few months ago, Manna Bread sent me some samples of their bread for me to try.  And, by a few samples, I mean a loaf of each flavor they have!

It was extremely generous of them to send me so many samples and I greatly appreciated it!  I really do love the texture and the ingredient list of their breads.

[Disclaimer: I did receive these samples for free, but my review is completely my own.  If I didn’t like the bread, I would definitely tell you so!!]

From the website:

MANNA BREAD® is remarkably simple and wholesome, made entirely from sprouted organic grains, seeds, fruits & nuts. It contains no salt, leavening, yeast, oil, or sweeteners. By fully germinating our grains, we convert the starches into easily digested natural complex sugars, similar to those found in fresh fruits, hence the sweetness. The sprouts are ground and hand-shaped into loaves, baked at a low temperature, then packed and frozen to preserve shelf life, without any chemical additives.

MANNA BREAD® is moist, delicious, cake-like…and simply heavenly!

They are definitely right about that, the bread is extremely moist and cake-like, even after defrosting from the freezer.  The texture is awesome.  I have eaten the bread plain, with jam, nut butters, butter, etc.  It is perfect every single way.

I stuck all of the bread directly into the freezer and am just taking out a few slices as I eat it.  This way, it will keep for up to a year.

Shelf Life of Manna Bread:

Frozen (-10 F) – up to 1 year

Refrigerated (35 F) – 2-3 weeks

Room Temp (65 F) – up to 5 days

I basically liked each of the breads, but I definitely liked a few more than others.  My favorites contained chunks of dried fruit and nuts, like Fruit & Nut and Banana Walnut Hemp!

On to the review…not in any particular order.

Whole Rye

The rye bread is dense!  If you like rye bread, then you will definitely like this.  My favorite way to enjoy it is toasted with a smidge of butter and a side of scrambled eggs. 🙂

 

Cinnamon Date

Each loaf is fairly small, but very dense and filling, so don’t be fooled by the size!

You can really see the cake-like texture in the photo above!  This bread had a very subtle hint of cinnamon and a few chunks of dates throughout.  It was on the sweeter side, as most of their bread are, but I like that.

Millet Rice

Yum, Yum, Yum!  Millet bread is my all time favorite, and this did not dissapoint.  It was much more moist than the other brands I have bought, which was great.  The only downfall was that it really fell apart before I even ate it.  I love the Millet toasted with jam.

Multigrain

I liked this flavor, but it wasn’t anything special.  It was good with peanut butter, but if I had to choose, I would pick one of their many other flavors before this one.  Like, the carrot raisin!

Carrot Raisin

Look at the hunks of raisins!  I really liked this flavor, but I really like anything with carrots and raisins.  Due to the cake-like texture and the sweetness of the bread, it almost reminded me of carrot cake without the frosting!  Heavenly. 🙂

Fig, Fennel & Flax

This loaf was topped with tons of seeds!  I love that kind of texture in my bread.  The seeds were only on top though, and I would have liked more figs!  But, the flavor was good – only a hint of fennel.

Fruit & Nut

I loved this!  Generous chunks of dried fruits and nuts made it very fruity and delicious.

Sunseed

The sunflower seeds in this bread made it my absolute favorite.  There is something about sunflower seeds that I love.  They gace the sweetish bread a crunchy and saltier taste.  YUM!

Banana Walnut Hemp

I had tried this flavor before and was excited to be able to try it again.  I love bananas, so I loved this bread.  It has a lot of chunks of dried bananas throughout, which was great.  It is perfect on it’s own!

You can find Manna Bread in the freezer section of your grocery store.  Unless you are going to eat the bread within a few days, I really recommend storing it in the freezer.  For a few loaves, I cut them up into slices, then stuck it in the freezer for easy grab-and-go when you want a slice.

It tastes great toasted!

Thank you, Manna Bread, for letting me sample your bread!

vita mix ice cream!

During the Vita Mix demonstration at the Big E, we saw them whip up some delicious, quick treats, including Ice Cream!

It is so simple and easy!  And, you can basically mix up whatever ingredients you want.

This week, I was craving something cold and sweet, so for breakfast one morning, I whipped up some ‘ice cream’ using the Vita Mix!

Vita Mix Protein Ice Cream

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 scoop SunWarrior protein powder, vanilla
  • dash vanilla
  • 2 tbsp honey or sugar of choice

I added some protein to the mix because I am definitely trying to get more protein in my diet these days!

Turn the blender on and use the plunger to push down all of the frozen ingredients into the blades.  Trust me, it works!  After about 30 seconds, 4 peaks will form.

And, you will have creamy, cold ice cream.  Ok, maybe it doesn’t taste like ice cream, but more like frozen yogurt.  Either way, it is cold, creamy and sweet!  Just what I wanted.

Made in 1 minute, and all for me!

Check out the texture – it’s so smooth.

Topped with a little granola for crunch…and to make it feel more like breakfast, 🙂

theo chocolate – seattle, wa

Can you guess what my absolute favorite part of Seattle was?!  Ok, well, maybe not my absolute favorite part, but it was a pretty good bonus!  On Friday, we visited and toured Theo Chocolate!

Theo Chocolate is located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.  It is a trendy neighborhood with fun restaurants and shops, including my favorite Homegrown.

We entered into their lobby where they have samples of and sell a variety of their chocolates, including chocolate bars, truffles, sipping chocolate, etc.

Lots of samples, but we waited for the tour.

After checking everything out, we headed downstairs to learn about chocolate and tour their facilities.  We were armed with hairnets!

We learned a lot about chocolate growing and making throughout the tour.  I already knew a lot of the information from reading Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie (see post here), but it was interesting to learn about the process that Theo uses.

Theo Chocolate is the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States.  They use only organic and fair trade ingredients, including the extra ingredients that go into some of their chocolates, like hazelnuts and ginger.

They buy from the chocolate growing region, which surrounds the equator.  Many of their chocolate bars only use chocolate from one specific region, while others use a mix.

What does Theo mean?  Theo comes from the Greek name of the Cacao tree – Theobroma Cacao, Food of the Gods.  Theobromine promotes happiness in people!

Their chocolate is delivered to the factory as cacao beans,

and they start the process completely from scratch.

Backing up a bit…cacao pods grow on trees.

When they turn pretty colors, the pods are ready to be picked.  It is imperitive that they are picked right away, otherwise the beans inside start to rot.

(Source)

Once the pods are pried open, they reveal a white gel-like substance surrounding each bean.

(Source)

The covered beans are then thrown into a barrel and left to ‘rot’, or ‘ferment’.  Skipping this step, causes chocolate to be bitter and unedible.  So, fermenting helps the beans (just like wine and beer!). 🙂

Once the beans have fermented, the leftover get is washed away and the beans are shipped to their various chocolate making locations, including to Theo.

They are shipped in bags, but once at the factory, each bag is sorted threw to make sure the beans are good and washed.  Once they pass the test, the process of making chocolate begins!

D.R. = Dominican Republic

They are roasted here.

Then transfered to the Winnower which seperates the husks from the nibs.  The nibs can then be used as chocolate.

Cacao bean husks

And, Cacao Nibs

Next, the nibs head to the stone mill to get crushed into a paste.

All of the ‘bad paste’ gets dumped out before the paste heads to the mixer.

The mixer is where sugar and/or milk powder is added (for milk chocolate).  Then it heads through the refiner and the conche to minimize the sugar and reduce any acidity.

The chocolate stays in the holding tank until it is tranferred to the tempering machine, which is a very important step!  It binds the butter and solids together.  Then, one of two employees adds any additions and pours the chocolate into molds.

Our next stop, the kitchen where we got to sample lots of goodies!

An employee is making their graham cracker here to be included in the Big Daddy bar.

Everything that goes into their bars and confections is made in their own kitchen.  All of the ingredients are organic as well!

This was made from chocolate scraps.

Theo makes all sorts of chocolate from dark chocolate to milk chocolate.  Some favorites are Chai Tea, Chile Dark, Hazelnut Crunch, Cacao Nib Crunch.  They are all delicious!

We had a fantastic time on the tour learning more about chocolate and the chocolate farmers, along with how Theo chocolate is actually made.  It makes me feel good about buying their chocolate!

boston greenfest 2010

On Saturday morning, Brant and I headed downtown to walk around Boston’s GreenFest!

But, before heading out, I whipped up a delicious and summery smoothie!

Summery Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups fresh watermelon
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut water

It was delicious!

There were booths and stages set up all over City Hall Plaza.  Green cleaning products, green house products, green food, green music. 🙂

It was a very nice morning, so a lot of people were walking around as we were.

Nantucket Nectars, Zipcar, Stonyfield and JP Licks were a few of the sponsors.  They were all handing out free samples.  We definitely tried some!

Local t-shirt companies

Local coffee companies

And, my favorite – a local cleaning product company!

The products are enzyme based, so they work without a ton of scrubbing.  The enzymes continue to work and break down the dirt for up to 36 hours!

We bought some sample products, so I will be sure to let you all know how they work once we try them out.