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kaia foods review

A few months ago, Kaia Foods graciously sent me some samples of their raw and vegan foods.


 From the Kaia Foods website:
 
Kaia foods was founded with the belief that our health is best supported by eating an abundance of minimally processed whole foods. We sprout, mix and dehydrate our organic foods at low temperatures so that they remain ‘raw.’ No baking, frying, bleaching, or weird processing steps!
 
 I was psyched when I received this package!  The products fit perfectly with what I believe food should be about.


 
 Organic Buckwheat Granola
 I was sent their 3 flavors to try out – Cocoa Bliss, Dates & Spices and Raisin Cinnamon.
 
Made with sprouted buckwheat, sprouted walnuts, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted pumpkin seeds, coconut, ground flax seeds, and agave nectar, plus dried fruits and seasonings.
 

 Cocoa Bliss Granola
 

 
 I had never tried a raw granola before, so I honestly was not sure what to expect here.  I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with the Cocoa Bliss being the chocolate lover that I am, so I started here.
 
 The granola is made of buckwheat*, agave nectar*, raisins*, dried coconut*, cacao powder*, ground flax seed*, sunflower seeds*, pumpkin seeds*, walnuts*, natural vanilla extract, spices, and mineral salt. (*organic) 
 
 It contains big chunks in the bags, which I really enjoy in my granola.
 

 

 Did I like it?  I loved it!  The buckwheat gives the granola a super crunch and the raisins add a little chew to it.  The chocolate flavor comes through nicely, but is not overpowering by any means.  This was my favorite out of all 3 granolas!
 

Dates & Spices Granola
 
 Ingredients: buckwheat*, dates*, agave nectar*, ground flax seed*, dried coconut*, sunflower seeds*, pumpkin seeds*, walnuts*, natural vanilla extract, spices, and mineral salt. (*organic) 
 

I really liked this flavor as well.  I liked that there was definitely a hint of spice, but it was not all that you would taste.  Once again, I love the crunch of the buckwheat.
 
 
Raisin Cinnamon Granola 
Ingredients: buckwheat*, raisins*, agave nectar*, ground flax seed*, dried coconut*, sunflower seeds*, pumpkin seeds*, walnuts*, natural vanilla extract, natural orange extract, spices, and mineral salt. (*organic)


This was my second favorite!  I loved the hint of cinnamon that came through, and all of the raisins.  YUM!

If you like buckwheat, I highly recommend this granola.  It is different than your typical granola and in my opinion is better because it gives your body more essential nutrients while you eat!

Organic Sprouted Sunflower Seeds

All we do to our sunflower seeds is sprout, season and dehydrate them at low temperatures instead of roasting them. The nutrients and great taste stay intact and aren’t processed away.

I was sent 4 flavors of their sunflower seeds: Garlic & Salt, Sweet Curry, Teriyaki and Cocoa Mole.

Garlic & Salt

Ingredients: sprouted sunflower seeds*, onion powder*, garlic powder*, and sea salt. (*organic)

This flavor was great.  Salty with a hint of garlic.  Not too overpowering.

Sweet Curry

Ingredients: sprouted sunflower seeds*, raw agave nectar*, curry powder*, wheat-free tamari*, cumin powder*, garlic powder*, cayenne pepper*, and sea salt. (*organic)

Yum!  These had a mild sweet taste that I loved.

Teriyaki

Ingredients: sprouted sunflower seeds*, wheat-free tamari*, raw agave nectar*, ginger powder*, garlic powder*, and cayenne pepper*. (*organic)

I am a big fan of terriyaki sauce, so I did like these.  The flavor is that of a typical terriyaki – not too sweet, but not spicy either.  In my opinion, the curry was better!

Cocoa Mole

Ingredients: sprouted sunflower seeds*, raw agave nectar*, raw cacao powder*, vanilla extract*, cayenne pepper*, and sea salt. (*organic)

I definitely liked these!  They taste like a sweet dessert (but, not too sweet!).  Watch out for the kick at the end. 🙂

Overall, the sunflower seeds are delicious!  The actual sunflower seeds do not taste any different than what you would normally buy, but they are sprouted which makes them healthier for you.  I typically buy raw seeds and stay away from the roated and salted seeds for health reasons, so I would purchase these in a second.

Organic Fruit Leathers

To make our fruit leathers we puree whole organic fruits and dehydrate them at low temperatures, without adding sugars or concentrates. Yum!

I was sent 3 flavors of fruit leathers to try: Vanilla Pear, Spiced Apple and Goji Orange.


 When I opened these, I was not sure what to expect.  They seemed drier and flakier than the typical fruit leather that I was used to, but I was willing to give it a shot!

Goji Orange

 Ingredients: orange*, banana*, goji berries*. (*organic)

Mmmm…very orangy!  I liked it.   

Spiced Apple

Ingredients: apple*, banana*, spice blend*. (*organic)


I could taste the banana more than the apple in this one…

 Vanilla Pear

Ingredients: pear*, banana*, vanilla extract*. (*organic) 
 

I was a big fan of all of the fruit leathers, so I am having trouble picking a favorite!  If I had to though, I think this is it!  I love the pear that comes through.

The texture of the fruit leather is a bit different than your run of the mill fruit leather, but as you are eating these just think of the nutrients being absorbed by your body from the real fruit that was used to create them! 🙂

Overall, I really enjoyed all of Kaia Foods products.  They use minimal ingredients and a very minimally processed which allows the products to keep most of their nutritional value intact.  I would buy each of the products again without hesitation because I feel really good about eating them!

Another bonus from the website:

As part of our mission to improve quality of life through proper nutrition we invest 1% of sales in fighting hunger. We currently donate to The Hunger Project and to the United Nations World Food Program.

super sunday

I started my day with a 5 mile treadmill run at the hotel gym (which consisted of 1 treadmill, 1 stationary bike and 1 elliptical).  Luckily, no one else was there!  It always feels great to sweat after a night of drinking.

We were headed to a post-wedding brunch, but I was starving, so I re-fueled with a post-run recovery drink (8 oz Chocolate Almond Milk, 1 packet Chocolate Amazing Meal, ice cubes).  It was delicious!  This is my go-to recovery drink while on the go.  The Amazing Meal tastes great, especially mixed with almond milk, but it tastes best when ice cold.  I also had a packet of plain instant oatmeal with flaxseeds and a banana.

A few hours later, we hit up the brunch where they had a wonderful spread of food.  I ate some scrambled eggs, a slice of zucchini bread, spinach and fruit salad.

Brunch totally screws up my eating!  I snacked all afternoon…yogurt, pita bread, hummus, dried fruit and a supercharge me cookie.  I didn’t eat a lot of all of this stuff, but it still feels like a lot because I’m snacking all day instead of eating 3 meals.  Oh well.  Life is too short to worry about it! 🙂

This afternoon, we hit up the South End Open Market (SOWA), where we picked up some local greens, hummus and pita bread.  They all made an appearance for dinner this evening.

Mixed greens and Pea shoots!

Tabbouleh and Whole wheat pitas.

Then, I whipped up some cookies, granola and nut butter for gifts.  Homemade gifts are the best (well, I think so at least).  They come from the heart and are made with love!

Super Charge Me Cookies (original recipe from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan).

To bring with us to the LOST finale party tonight.

Modifications to recipe:

  • 2/3 cup almond flour instead of flour
  • 3 tbsp cashew butter instead of almond butter

I have made additional changes in the past, but the original recipe is so good that it’s hard to change too much. 🙂

Crazy Nut Butter

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw brazil nuts
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 1/2 cup flaxseeds
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds

Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Be patient while blending.  The nuts will go through stages, but will eventually become smooth and creamy!  This process took about 12 minutes for me.

This made a ton of crazy nut butter!  I filled three 1/2 pint jars.

Chai Granola

*I got the inspiration for this recipe from Sarah at The Smart Kitchen.  I used most of the dry ingredients, but varied the wet ingredients to what I had on hand!

  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1 cup chopped raw cashews
  • 1 cup chopped unsweetened banana chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried ginger, chopped

1.  Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl, including spices (but leave out raisins and ginger, as they may burn while cooking).  Mix well.

2.  Add all wet ingredients to a bowl and heat on a stove top over low heat until all melted and mixed together.

3.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix very well.

4.  Pour mixture onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets and cook at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until slightly browned (take out once at about 15 minutes to mix).

5.  Add raisins and chopped ginger, then place back into the oven for 5-7 minutes.

6.  Take out and let completely cool before storing in an airtight container.

7.  Enjoy plain, with milk or sprinkled over yogurt!

Time for dinner!

I made up a big salad with farmers market greens, tomato, cucumber, orange pepper and feta sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.  With tabbouleh, kalamata olive hummus and whole wheat pita bread.

Off to watch the LOST series finale!!

granola – 2 ways

I am headed down to Long Island for Easter this morning, so I thought I would give you guys something to drool over. 🙂

As you read in my post on Thursday night, I spent my night cooking up a storm.  I really do love to cook – well, I like to bake. 🙂  It is a stress reliever for me, and something to do at night while I’m watching T.V., since I can rarely sit still.  Plus, I end up with a delicious treat at the end of it!

I baked up 2 batches of tasty granola!  I love to make my own granola because you can control what you put into it.  Galaxy Granola is awesome, as I have talked about before, because they use applesauce in place of oils.  I decided to give this a try to make my homemade granola a little healthier!  I also got ideas, like banana puree instead of oils, from Ashley at Edible Perspective!  She makes delicious looking granola and granola bars.

Making your own granola is so simple.  You can basically use any ingredients that you want and/or have.  I normally have a bunch of different raw nuts, oats and unsweetened dried fruit on hand, so when I decide to make granola, I just pick and choose my ingredients.  Here it goes…

First up was a chocolate granola.  I have been wanting to experiment with adding cacao powder to granola, so I was psyched when this one came out good!

Chocolate Coconut Banana Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup lightly chopped raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup unsweeted dried bananas, diced (i like the dried whole bananas, not the chips!)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted cacao bliss (yum!) or coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp mashed ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder

In order to make your granola, just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix.  I normally add the dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients.  And, I normally just add the amounts that I want of each item, this time I did measure though.

Once mixed, placed your granola on a cookie sheet.  I line mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Bake in the oven at 325°F for about 20-25 minutes.  I stir it half way through to make sure it is not burning.  This chocolate granola took 20 minutes to bake.  You should take it out when it is crisp, but not burnt to a crisp!  The granola will crisp up more as you let it sit out.  And, do that – make sure you let it sit on the baking tray until completely cooled and dry.  Then store in an airtight container.

Next on my list was a fruity granola, but with lots of crunch.  I decided to combine dried ginger, blueberries and apples in this mix.

Apple Blueberry Ginger Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup macademia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apples
  • 1/3 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried ginger

Once again, throw everything into the bowl, minus the fruit!  I think that the apple, blueberries and ginger might burn a little or get too tough if you cook them for the entire time.

Mix well, and spread mixture onto a baking sheet (mine was lined with parchment paper).  Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 or so to keep cooking evenly.

After about 20 minutes, when the granola is getting crisp, remove from the oven and mix in your dried fruit.

Bake for another 5 minutes, or until just crispy.  Leave spread out on the baking sheet until completely dry and cool, then store in an airtight container.

My granola just about fit in there, with some to spare…

There you have it!  Delicious, healthy granola anytime you want it.  It really is simple to make, and the possibilities are endless!  Next, I’d love to try something with pumpkin butter or apple butter because the applesauce worked perfectly.

Have a great Easter tomorrow!

rain rain, go away

It was an awful day outside today!  The rain and the time change really screwed me up this morning.  I had so much trouble getting out of bed.

When, I finally did – I made a glorious smoothie, which was so much tastier than my last mix.

Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Super Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 scoops chocolate Amazing Grass (for some greens!)
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (they make the smoothie so thick!)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca (see below)

It was awesome.

I decided to purchase some Maca Powder over the weekend because I have heard such great things about it.  I make smoothies all the time, so it is perfect to add to them.

(Source)

Maca is a plant with a radish-like route that is ground up into a powder.  It helps rebuild a weak immune system and remineralize poorly nourished bodies.  Maca is also known to increase one’s energy levels and endurance, as well as combat fatigue.  It is a great powder to throw into a smoothie, mix into oatmeal or sprinkle on toast before an endurance event (like a half marathon!).  It has a nutty, slightly earthy taste, but added to my smoothie I could not taste anything.  For more information, check out this website.

I woke up this morning exhausted from our weekend, but after adding some Maca to my morning smoothie, I actually felt re-energized!  Plus, I need to make sure that I do not get sick this week, so Maca will help to keep my immune system in check.

A few hours later, I felt like some toast.  So, I had a slice of my Cherry, Peach Hog Heaven bread with Raspberry Crofter’s Jam.

I love all of the chunks of nuts and dried fruits in this bread.  It is so good!

Definitely check out When Pig’s Fly!

Lunch was on the weak side today, since we had no time for grocery shopping yesterday.

Siggis Pomegranate & Passion Fruit yogurt with ground flax and homemade granola.

Along with some plantain chips and dried (unsweetened) pears.

We went to a fun potluck dinner tonight at a friend’s house.  They made the main dish, we brought the salad and other friends brought dessert.

The main course was a white fish with tomatoes and feta.  It was delicious!  Thanks John. 🙂  Along with the fish, we had couscous, salad and Flax Oat Bran Bread from Great Harvest.

For dessert we had strawberries and blueberries marinated in Grand Marnier – so good (but, no photo).

Delicious meal with friends.  Time for bed!

coconut yogurt & gRAWnola

I had a 90 minute run on the agenda for this morning, so I whipped up another version of my tropical smoothie for a pre-workout snack.

Tropical Smoothie – V2

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squirt of agave

This version was great!  Check out the chunks of strawberries and coconut butter in there!

I ran 9.5 miles in 90 minutes for my weekly long run in about 10°F weather!  I came home to a post-workout smoothie!

Chocolate PB Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax

Blended to perfection!

Crazy Richards produces Krema PB as well, so I received some samples of this too!  It tasted just like the Crazy Richards Smooth PB.  It’s great!  I poured it right into my mix.

This guy was thick, but delicious!

I cooked up a storm last night – coconut yogurt and raw granola!  I was too exhausted to get the cookies in!  I have been trying to stay away from all dairy for the past week (since last friday, exactly) for experimentation.  I love yogurt, so I have been trying to find alternatives.  I don’t like soy yogurt, so I decided to try the new coconut milk yogurt that they have in stores, and I like it.  I like the milk, yogurt and ice cream!  So, I decided to try to make my own coconut milk yogurt!

I used the same steps as my last yogurt, but just used coconut milk instead of regular milk!

I started with 3 cans of full-fat coconut milk and added in 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch.  I was reading about how to make coconut milk yogurt and multiple people suggested to add it for thickness and texture.  Since I had some in my cabinet, I decided to do so.  We’ll see how it turns out!

I heated the milk to 180°F.

Then, I took the milk off of the heat and allowed it to cool to 110°F.  The milk is thick!  I’m not sure I needed that tapioca starch…

After cooling, I added 1 tablespoon of the plain store bought coconut milk yogurt as my starter.  I whisked that in until mixed.

I then poured my mixture into a pitcher and then into the 7 individual yogurt containers.

I plugged in my yogurt maker and set the timer for 12 hours, which is the suggested cooking time for coconut milk.  It will be done in the morning!

While that was cooking (it will be cooking overnight!), I started to work on my granola!  I started by zesting my orange and adding that to my food processor, along with the orange juice and pear.  I pulsed until coarsely chopped.

I had been soaking my almonds and macadamia nuts for about 3 hours, so I chopped each of them in the food processor individually, then added them to the pear mixture.

I mixed up some agave, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a separate bowl and then poured it onto my nut + fruit mixture.

I then stirred in my extras!  Chopped dried bananas, unsweetened dried cranberries, coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Since my dehydrator is too small for a job like this, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread my granola mixture onto that.

I then put it in my oven on it’s lowest setting of 175°F, with the door slightly ajar and “baked” it for a long time – almost 5 hours.  Or, if you don’t care about the granola being raw, then bake it in your oven at 300°F for 1-2 hours.  Make sure you take it out and stir it around every once in awhile.

gRAWnola

adapted from the Fitnessista!

  • 1 pear, roughly chopped
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup raw agave
  • 1/4 cup pure grade A maple syrup
  • 1 T orange zest
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 cups soaked raw almonds
  • 1 cup soaked raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds (i used 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1 banana, diced – i used 3 dried, unsweetened bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries (added to original recipe)

Directions:

  1. Soak the almonds and macadamia nuts for a few hours before using.
  2. In a food processor, combine the pear, orange juice and zest, and pulse until coarsely chopped then move to a separate bowl.
  3. Add the macadamia nuts to the (empty) food processor and pulse to chop a little bit and add them to the pear mixture.
  4. Repeat for the almonds.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the agave, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add this to the nut + fruit mixture and mix very well.
  7. Stir in your extras – chopped dried bananas, dried cranberries, coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  8. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer (or use a dehydrator).
  9. Bake (dehydrated) in your oven at the lowest temperature with the door ajar for about 6 hours (dehydrating will take longer).  Or cook at 300°F for 1-2 hours.
  10. After it is ‘cooked’, let sit for a little while to cool before storing in an airtight container.
  11. Serve with your homemade coconut yogurt!

The granola came out great!  I got impatient because I was ready for bed, so I turned up the heat in my oven for the last 30 minutes.  This browned the granola nicely!

It made a ton of granola!  A huge bowl full!

Speaking of yogurt, mine is done!  12 hours later, and 3 hours in the fridge to chill and it is the perfect thickness and texture.

My granola is also done, so I mixed up a bowl of coconut milk yogurt with about 1/a cup of my gRAWnola.  YUM.

The yogurt is definitely not something I could eat everyday, but it is perfect for a sweet breakfast or dessert!