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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.

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nuts are good for you

Yuck!  What another gross day!  Luckily, I had a gym workout planned so I headed to my spinning class this morning.  Love the instructor on Thursday’s – she kicks your butt!  My legs are literally still shaking 8 hours later.

Breakfast part 1 was eaten right after the gym -a protein smoothie!

  • 1 cup frozen berry mix
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp honey

Breakfast part 2 was after I got ready for work – an ezekial cinnamon raisin english muffin with almond haze and blueberry jam.

I love the Futter’s Almond Haze with its chunks of hazelnuts and almonds.  And, the Blueberry (North America) Crofter’s Superfruit Jam is by far the best flavor!

I spread 1/2 with the nut butter and 1/2 with the jam.  Delicious!

The morning flew by, so lunch time came very quickly.  Last night I prepared my lunch for the day so I wouldn’t be rushing – salad, pineapple and yogurt.  All stacked up and ready to go.

My salad contained green leaf lettuce, wheatberries, cheddar cheese and golden beets.

I also packed some snacks for today, since spinning days always seem to make me more hungry!

2 graham crackers, honey peanut butter and an apple!

Dinner will be a little later tonight for our dinner party, so this snack will hopefully hold me over.

In other news, it looks like nuts are finally making a comeback!  For years, so many women have been nervous to eat nuts because of the high fat content.  It is true that you should only eat them in small portions due to the high fat, but it is all good fats which are healthy and essential for your body.  Studies have shown that people who eat more nuts normally eat less overall because they keep them full and satisfied for longer.  Check out this article: Once a diet no-no, nuts are in again.  I have already eaten nut butter twice today!

See you after dinner!

sahale snacks

Sahale Snacks sent me some samples of their Nut Blends to try out.  When they arrived in the mail, I was psyched!  So many different things to try.

The idea behind the company is great!  The founder was hiking and wanted a more delicious snack that was still packed with the nutrition he needed for the climb.

From the website:

It all started with a climb up Mount Rainier in Washington State in August 2003. We had some beautiful views but nothing delicious to eat. The trail mix and stale nuts we brought on our trip helped to replenish lost energy, but did nothing to satisfy our desire for something great tasting, nutritious and as adventurous as our travels. That experience inspired us to create Sahale Snacks.

Our first line of snacks, the nut blends, are unique combinations of premium nuts, dried fruits, and exotic spices, each reflecting a beautiful location, culture and/or culinary tradition somewhere in the world. They are all natural, delicious, conveniently packaged, and full of nutrition. Recently we added a line of lightly glazed nuts with great fruits like raspberry, strawberry, and pomegranate.

We use whole ingredients in their natural form — such as cashews, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, and peanuts — and combine them with naturally dried and preservative-free (unsulphured) fruits, then add fabulous ingredients like organic orange blossom honey, lemongrass, balsamic vinegar, Moroccan harissa, or pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans.

Take us on your next adventure.

For now, you can purchase the nuts online, or at Starbucks.  They are part of Starbucks new snack line!  I saw them the last time I was there.  You can also search here for other locations.

I have been trying these nut blends on salads, on stirfries and just as plain snacks.  They are delicious anyway you eat them.  I found that all of the blends are sweet, but not too sweet.  Just the perfect amount.

Almond PB & JAlmond PB&J with Peanuts + Berries

Review: A great snack that really tastes like jelly covered almonds!  The addition of peanuts to the mix was the PB, so when I got a bite with an almond and a peanut, it was like a PB&J sandwich. 🙂

Nutrition Facts: My small bag of almonds was only 1 ounce, so therefore contained 1 serving.  A great snack to throw in your bag when you are on-the-go!

 

Honey Almond Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sea Salt

Review: Ok, these are my favorite!  They were just a simple, glazed almond with a touch of salt flavor.  The cranberries floated separately in the bag, but made a great mix when eaten together.  The glaze was not overpowering.  It just provided a touch of sweetness. I ate these right out of the bag as well!

Nutrition Facts: The bag I received was one serving.

 

Pomegranate Cashews – Cashews with Pomegranate + Vanilla

Review:  To me, these had a similar flavor to the Honey Almonds, but with a slight hint of vanilla (and obviously the fact that they are Cashews and not Almonds!:)).  I normally prefer almonds to cashews, but these were great!  They were sprinkled with lots of pomegrante that gave the nuts a bit more flavor and deliciousness.  I would absolutely buy these again!  Once again, they had the perfect about of sweetness and none of the flavors in the blend were overpowering, which is true in so many flavored nuts out there.

Nutrition Facts: I received a larger bag of these, so I am looking forward to enjoying them on salads and as snacks.

 

Ksar Nut Blend – Pistachios with Sesame Seeds, Pepitas, Fig + Moroccan Harissa

Review: Loved these!  Pistachios are paired perfectly with sesame seeds and a peppery spice.  I loved that these had just a hint of sweetness, but also had a kick at the end.  So far I have enjoyed these on salads, but haven’t eaten them alone – I think they would be a little too spicy for me.  I enjoy sweeter nuts as a snack.  They would be great on top of a spicy stirfry.  A great blend and a must try because it is so different!

Nutrition Facts:

 

 

Valdosta Nut Blend – Pecans with Sweet Cranberries, Black Pepper + Orange Zest

Review:  These are some delicious pecans!  And, are a great addition to a sweeter salad, which is just how I used them.  Once again, they just have a hint of sweetness.  I didn’t really taste the pepper at all, which was probably because I ate them in a salad.  The cranberries were a nice addition as well.

Nutrition Facts:

Each and everyone of these glazed nuts and nut blends were delicious!  I would happliy purchase any of them, and can’t wait to find their other nut blends that are out there.  I definitely recommend giving them a try for snacks and on salads!

Sahale Snacks uses healthier and natural ingredients in their blends, which makes me feel better about eating these nuts over other blends out there that use oils and artificial sweeteners.  I loved that you could see the whole cranberries and chunks of pomegranates and figs in the blends.  You know that you are getting the real fruit, and not just a concentrate!

Thank you Sahale Snacks!!

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Thank goodness it’s Friday! I’m ready for the weekend to begin.

I started my friday with some oats.  Due to the special occasion (it being friday and all), I added some fun toppings.

I used Steel Cut Oats today, since I am out of my favorite rolled oats.  I loved the steel cut oats.  They have a different texture, more like oatbran and I like it.

Steel cut oats are minimally processed.  They do not have to go through steaming or rolling, like rolled oats due.  For this reason, they also take longer to cook, but it’s worth the wait.  A normal pot of steel cut oats can take about 20-30 minutes to cook, but I bought these quick & easy steel cut oats to make on weekdays before work.  They only cook for 5-7 minutes and come out great.

One serving is 1/4 cup, which contains 150 calories.

I added a super ripe banana and 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds to my oats while they were cooking.  I like whipping in the banana to create banana oats without any chunks.

On top of my oatmeal I put 3 special ingredients:

The Nuttzo is so crunchy!

With some Birthday Tea, for fun.

Check out the sprinkles!

Lunch

I’ve been working like crazy today, so I didn’t break out my lunch until almost 3!  So late for me!!

Luckily, I brought a homemade salad with arugula, peppers, Valdosta pecans and goldenberries.

My second course was Honey Chobani with homemade granola!

Good thing I took pictures this morning, because lunch was gone in no time!

Dinner

Brant made me a pre-Valentine’s day dinner tonight.  It was delicious!

Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

from Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen baby peas (not thawed)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (he used 1% milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound dried gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  • Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

  • Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.

  • Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.
  • Add gnocchi to sauce with cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary.

Served with some delicious wine given to us by my parents for Christmas 2008!  Oopss!

Dinner was delicious.  I forget how good gnocchi is.  I loved that this wasn’t super creamy (because he didn’t use the cream) and I could taste the lemon zest.

And, Brant brought me a rose and chocolate!  Yahoo!  What a great guy. 🙂

More of my new favorite chocolate to try!

Happy Friday!!

snowy day

The city of Boston started their snow emergency at 8am!!  There wasn’t a flake on the ground when I left for work…

Back up to my workout!

I trekked to the gym this morning to do some speedwork on the treadmill, and lift some weights.  After running 7 miles with 8 x 800’s in 60 minutes, I moved on to weights.

Upper Body Weights

  • Overhead press (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • 21’s (3 sets, 10lb weights)
  • Chest press (3 sets of 12, 12.5lb weights)
  • Tricep row (3 sets of 12, 12.5lb weights)
  • Upright row (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • Front raises (3 sets of 10, 7.5lb weights)
  • Side raises (3 sets of 10, 7.5lb weights)
  • Fly’s (3 sets of 12, 10lb weights)
  • Tricep extension (3 sets of 12, 10lb weight)
  • Lateral pulldown (3 sets of 12, 50lbs)
  • Seated row (3 sets of 12, 40lbs)

Great workout!  My legs were burning after my run, and my arms were burning after the weights!

Once home, I was starving, so I immediately dug into breakfast!

Museli with homemade granola and a scoop of Cinn-ful Pecan Mix Nut Butter

This is the best kind of Museli I have tried.  I love Bob’s Red Mill!  I haven’t tried all of his stuff, but the museli and oatmeal are delicious.  Remember my NuVal shopping experience, when I found out that Museli was more nutritious than Oats?  Well, I still love my oats, but I like the switch it up once in awhile too.

I mixed this museli with a litte almond milk, and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, so that my pecan butter would melt.  I then topped it with some homemade granola and Cinn-ful Pecan Butter.  It was delicious, as usual.  The addition of pecan butter made it more sin-ful. 🙂

The Cinn-ful Pecan Mix Nut Butter is from Futter’s.  They have a great company who make lots of different types of nut butters instead of peanut butter.  All of their products are made with little to no extra ingredients added, and are so good!  I have tried a few other flavors, but this Cinn-ful Pecan is to die for, seriously!

(sorry for the blurry photos today :()

They recommend that you keep pecan butter in the fridge, but I like it ooey and gooey, so it sits in my cabinet!

I feel a cold coming on (it seems like everyone around me is sick!), so along with breakfast I had some Cold season tea from Yogi.

The tea contains a lot of natural herbs to fight a cold!  I love natural medicine practices.  I’m not one to take cold medicine, so I try to fuel up on natural stuff.

Mmmm…it has an overall orangy flavor, and I love tasting some herbs too.

Warmed me right up.

My blurry tea fortune says: You must live for something higher, bigger and better than you.

On to Lunch!

I am still working on some leftovers, but wanted something different today. I decided on a salad with arugula, peppers and hemp seeds!  Hemp is so good for you (read about it in a previous post here).  I normally use the protein powder in my smoothies, but bought some seeds during my last health food store shopping.

They don’t taste like much, but do have a nutty flavor, so they make a perfect addition to sprinkle on salads or in stirfrys for an added boost!

I added some homemade pomegranate dressing to my salad – pomegranate juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Along with my salad, I had a pineapple chobani with some additional pineapple mixed in!

 

And, for my sweet ending, another new chocolate bar!  (only a few pieces though)

Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

Word cannot describe this bar!  It was so good.  Rich dark chocolate paired with sea salt and chunks of almonds.  I mean, check out the almonds!

Loved this one!

Of course, it came with a love poem:

How great would these chocolate bars be for Valentine’s day?!  Chocolate and a love poem! (hint, hint)

lots of samples

It feels like Monday, since I took yesterday off!  I have been receiving some samples from different companies over the past few weeks and have not been very good about actually trying them, so that is my mission this week!

I started my morning with a fruit & protein shake.  I used a Blended Bliss You Shake sent to me by You Bar as the base and added some other goodies as well.

I have talked about You Bar before on my blog.  You can create your own bars, shakes, cookies, cereal or trail mix on their site!  I will post my full review after I finish my samples!

This shake contained: Whey Protein, Organic Cane Juice, Organic Strawberries, Organic Bananas, Organic Vanilla Powder.

So, basically it was a strawberry-banana protein powder!  To my shake, I added the following:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • handful frozen strawberries
  • ~ 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • ~1/2 cup almond milk
  • Blended Bliss protein powder

Then, I blended it up to create a smooth and creamy Strawberry-Banana Shake!

Mmmm…it was good!  And, definitely tasted like a strawberry-banana ice cream shake.  I liked the addition of my bananas, strawberries and yogurt to make the shake a little more satisfying and filling, but the powder would probably taste just as good blended with the milk of your choice.

Normally, I prefer to make my own smoothies and shakes, instead of using a mix, but if I was in a pinch or travelling this would be great to have on hand!

Lunch was leftovers again!

I had leftover Israeli Couscous with a small salad.  To the salad I added some peppers, feta and pistachios from Sahale Snacks.

The yummy looking pistachios on top of my salad are actually the Ksar Nut Blend from Sahale Snacks.  The Ksar Nut Blend is Pistachios with Sesame Seeds, Pepitas, Fig + Moroccan Harissa.

From the website:

An exotic, piquant combination of Pistachios and Pepitas, sweetened by figs and honey, and finished with a peppery kick of Moroccan Harissa.

They were a great addition to the salad.  I love a little bit of crunch.  A little sweet, but definitely a spicy and peppery kick at the end!

A few hours later, I was hungry for a snack!  I decided on an Oikos Chocolate Greek Yogurt and a Trail Mix from You Bar!

I absolutely love this greek yogurt!

Chocolate on the bottom!!

The Best Trail Mix contains Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Blueberries, Cranberries, Sunflower Seeds and Sun Drops Chocolate Candies.

It was great, just like trail mix.  I love that you can pick your own ingredients because I always want to combine the different trail mixes that are out there!  I also liked that there is no added sugar to the nuts in the mix.  So many trail mixes add oils and sugars to their nuts, but these are just plain.  Normally, I love to buy nuts and dried fruit to put my own mix together, but this is perfect for a healthy snack on the go!

This bag contains 234 calories, 16 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein, so I only added about half to my yogurt.  With the chocolate yogurt and sun drops candies, I felt like I was having dessert without the guilt!

A sweet and satisfying snack, which was perfect to hold me over until dinner!

long run & leftovers

After lunch I headed to the gym for my long run.  After my busy weekend, I could not get motivated to run outside.  It seemed like more work than running on the treadmill, and I’m just not sure I would have pushed myself to run 10 miles!  So, I headed to the gym for my run.  I made sure to go so that I could watch Oprah during my run, which definitely helped move it along.  One hour and 35 minutes later, I had 10.6 miles under my belt.  Phew, glad that is over! 🙂

It is really important to fuel up with protein after a tough workout, so once home I made some juice, had some blueberry tea (to warm up!) and snacked on a Super Charge Me cookie to hold me over until dinner.

In my juice mix went:

  • 1 huge carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 small green apples
  • 1/2 lemon

This fruit was all destined to be tossed with the trash tomorrow, so I needed to use it up!

We have tons of leftovers from the weekend, so dinner was a smorgasbord!

I had one slice of pepper and cheese pizza, one slice of BBQ chicken pizza and salad for greens!!!

I added some nuts to my salad for crunch.  Sahale Snacks sent me this Valdosta Nut Blend, along with some other nuts for me to try (full review to come later after I have tried everything).

The nut blend contains Pecans with Sweet Cranberries, Black Pepper and Orange Zest .  They were a delicious, sweet and crunchy mix!  I added a sprinkle of feta to my greens as well.  For dressing, I mixed up a little pomegranate juice with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Dressing ingredients:

Instead of mixing it all up, I just drizzle some of everything onto my salad.

I also enjoyed a Pomegranate Mocktail with my dinner, as well!  Seltzer with a splash of POM pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lemon. 🙂  I felt like a cocktail, but needed a detox after the weekend!

POM Wonderful sent me some samples of their 100% pomegranate juice that I have been enjoying for a few weeks now.  I love to use a splash of the pomegranate juice in my seltzer water and to mix it with a little olive oil for a delicious salad dressing, which is just what I did tonight.  The pomegranate juice is great!  It is both sweet and tart at the same time, and tastes just like the juice that you would squeeze directly from a pomegranate!  And, it is super healthy for you!

Check out the facts from their website:

All of POM Wonderful Juices:

  • contain no added sugars, preservatives or colors
  • are a good source of potassium
  • are gluten-free
  • are flash pasteurized to retain both flavor and nutrients
  • are certified kosher

It’s also 100% authentic, 100% delicious and 100% pure, meaning there’s no added sugar, colorants or cheap filler juices.

You can find this in almost any grocery store, so definitely give it a try!  The juice is great in cocktails as well!

For dessert, which I seem to have to eat lately, I tried a new chocolate bar!

Chocolove’s Crystalized Ginger in Dark Chocolate (65% Cocoa Content)

All of Chocolove’s bars have a fun poem inside!  This one came with a poem about Romeo & Juliet:

The chocolate bar is delicious dark chocolate with hunks of ginger – yum!

I love this chocolate company!