An ongoing love affaire with all things fashionable, tasty and fun

Posts tagged “Kale Chips

A Healthy Surprise

After my sad discovery about the closure of the healthy snack company Lollihop I was thrilled to find another snack delivery company out there called Healthy Surprise.

Not only was this little box was chock full of delicious goodies, Healthy Surprise really makes an effort to support organic, fair trade, green, and/or socially aware companies as well as expanding their reach each month to new brands and healthier, more diverse choices.

I was surprised by how small and sleek the box was, they do a great job with the package and there’s very little excess wrapping and packing materials, which is an eco-efficient approach that I especially like.

The contents were quite varied, the box included everything from bars and raw crackers to nuts and kale chips. I like trying new things and giving new flavors a go, which is one of the major reasons that I like these boxes (and CSAs) – They force you to get outside of your comfort zone and usual purchasing routines.

Apple Pecan Two Degrees Bar – The ingredient list for this bar are awesome. Vegan, gluten-free AND it containing quinoa, chia seeds, and millet. Oh, and it was absolutely scrumptious. Gooey, chewy, not too sweet, tangy, filling, and wholesome. Bonus? The company has a great program in place and for every Two Degrees bar you buy, they will donate a meal to a hungry child.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

Apple Cinnamon Raw Revolution Bar – TASTY! I love Raw Revolution Bars, these organic live food bars have always been high on my list. The Chocolate Coconut flavor remains the reigning champion as far as I’m concerned, though the Apple Cinnamon was quite good. Side note – This bar was pretty small – it was gone in just a couple bites which is always sad.

That’s It Bar – “1 Apple + 10 Cherries in this fruit bar” is the tagline, which I think is great, more companies should approach their products this way. The ingredients are really just apples and cherries. Pure! 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and they’re gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and have zero fat. Quite the healthy little bar.

Livin’ Spoonful Coconut Curry Crackers – Gluten free, vegan, raw sprouted crackers. Don’t be intimidated by the name of this healthy snack, it’s DELICIOUS. Really light in flavor, with a great crunch and texture. Even the boyfriend happily enjoyed a few bites. To top it off, Livin’ Spoonful is a great little company focusing on healthy, gluten-free living and has the motto “a garden in every bite.”

Twin Cakes Cashew Coconut Biscotti – I mentioned my love of Twin Cakes (the North Carolina-based bakery run by the twins who write the Pure2Raw blog) when I discussed gluten-free products – Gluten: The Good, The Bad & The Itchy. I’ve ordered virtually everything that their site has to offer at one point or another and not a single product has disappointed. In the past I’ve especially loved their raw crackers and snack bites, however their biscotti is now my new favorite. So. Good. Very coconut-y and dense, but a little bit chewy. Delicious!

Alive & Radiant Foods Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch – Kale chips are a great snack, but an acquired taste for some. They’re baked greens so there’s not a ton of crunch, but they’re pretty satisfying nonetheless. I really enjoyed this flavor, I’ve only ever had a few vegan ranch flavored snacks that I’ve enjoyed, frequently they taste nothing like ranch and are a disappointment. Not these though!

Righteously Raw Chocolate Maca Bar – I wanted so badly to like this bar, the packaging is beautiful and the information on the bar is top-notch. Gluten-free, no refined sugar, soy & dairy free, contained over 55 phytonutrients, increases energy & vitality, and balances hormones & increases libido. It looks like a large Kit Kat bar but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the taste. I like maca and use it in smoothies regularly, but this bar was not to my liking.

Samba 99 Cupuacu – This “original antioxidant super fruit bar” contains organic cupuacu pulp, organic Brazil nuts, organic cane sugar, pectin, and citric acid. Not familiar with Cupuacu? This “super food” contains Omega 3 and 6, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, essential fatty acids and amino acids.  It helps boost your immune system, and helps improve the health of your skin and hair. This chewy bar is a great pre-workout snack, a zing of sugar with a little protein, easy to digest and a great source of energy.

Hail Merry Orange-Rosemary Pecans – I don’t even like rosemary and I absolutely loved these nuts. Sweet and salty, and really satisfying. This snack is raw, vegan, and gluten-free and here’s what they have to say about their process: “Hail Merry first soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. We then dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids.” Tasty and healthy, what more do you need in a snack?

I hope you find these reviews helpful, I really enjoyed my first box and I was thrilled with not on the variety of options Healthy Surprise provided, but also the types of companies they are choosing to support. Couldn’t have chosen better myself. So if you’re in the market for some healthy snacks, I highly recommend giving this company a chance!


Weekend Grocery Shopping

When you work long hours and try to simultaneously maintain a consistent workout regime, eat healthy and get enough sleep, doing your grocery shopping on weekends can be a serious life saver. Many people plan their meals for the week and write their grocery lists accordingly, which is an especially great strategy if you’re cooking for a family, interested in making sure no food goes to waste and/or sticking to a budget.

I tend to be a bit more lackadaisical when it comes to grocery shopping for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m only cooking for myself so I have more flexibility with my meals, which means that if I want to eat nothing but sugar snap peas and jalapeno hummus for “dinner” no one can say anything! 🙂 (2) I try to eat seasonally as much as I can so I like to see what’s available in stores/at the Farmer’s Market before deciding what to eat. (3) I get a CSA basket every other week so I have to factor in its arrival when I consider what I’ll need for a given week. (4) Finally, I only spend every other weekend in San Francisco since I spend the other half in Sacramento with my boyfriend, and obviously if I’m coming back on the train at 7pm on a Sunday there’s no hope of grocery shopping.

In all of the situations above its great to have some basic staples and emergency items in your pantry. Just in case.

I like dipping.

A lot.

Hummus is a non-negotiable staple in my life and I usually have a couple store-bought varieties on hand at any given time. I also like to get sprouted garbanzo beans at the Farmer’s Market to make my own hummus, though I that I must warn you, sprouted hummus has a very distinct flavor. I’ll also dip virtually anything (including a spoon and/or my finger) into nut butter, so I usually keep a jar or two of sunflower seed butter in my pantry (and under my desk) as well as cashew butter.

Dipping time! Lydia's kale chips & juice pulp crackers/flatbread from TwinCakes

I like crudities and/or apples for dipping in hummus and nut butters, as well as kale chips (Lydia’s Organics can be hard to find but all of her products are worth the effort) and juice pulp crackers. I mentioned TwinCakes in this post, they are a vegan/gluten-free/mostly raw East Coast bakery that you can order from online. I adore their crackers, flatbread and snack bites, all of which are parfait pour dipping!
 
Another staple that I keep in the pantry are various gluten-free goodies, pastas & grains for quick meals, breakfasts and snacks.
 

Gluten-free goodness: Brown rice pasta from TJs, Quinoa pasta from Real Foods, Mary's Gone Crackers chia seed Sticks & Twigs and Glutenfreeda Oatmeal

The gluten-free snacks that I keep around vary depending on what I find in stores and what I’m in the mood for. My last trip to the Farmer’s Market yielded a ton of new products so I had to move my stash to the freezer for safe keeping, so in addition to the above I have sprouted garden burgers, chickpea flour naan, spicy Moong Dal and GF falafel in the freezer.
 
Yum.
 

Healthy raw or dried snacks and canned goods that can easily be added to/used as the base of a meal are also good to keep around. 

 
I always have tons of nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, lentils, beans, seeds, quinoa, couscous and canned beans & tomatoes on hand. These might not seem like much but adding kidney beans to a salad can be the perfect topping, dried pineapple rings (no additives) the most amazing dessert when sprinkled with cinnamon or quinoa the ideal base to your grilled vegetable dish.
 

Two other quick meal basics that are absolutely necessary in my kitchen are nooch and Braggs, which can both be used for a variety of dishes.

 

I couldn't live without Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids (less sodium than soy sauce & ideal for a quick stir fry) and nutritional yeast from the bins at Real Foods

Nutritional Yeast (aka Nooch) is deactivated yeast, available as a powder or in flakes, either pre-packaged (looks like parmesan cheese cans) or in the bulk bins at a health food store. Nooch contains protein & vitamins and is a complete protein, in addition to being free of sugar and allergens like dairy and gluten. Vegans, vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts often use nooch in place of processed cheese substitutes like soy cheese and Daiya to achieve “cheesiness” in their recipes. If you checked out the Oh She Glows Mac n’ Cheese recipe that I talked about here, you’ll see that nooch is a major ingredient.
 
Bar love. 🙂 While I’m not a ‘replace my meals with bars’ kinda girl, I do always keep bars of some sort in my purse, desk and pantry.
 

I go through phases with my bars, and while I will always LOVE Larabars, I'm deep in Raw Revolution devotion right now

I’ve also made two batches of these super easy raw cacao snack bars from Choosing Raw in the past few weeks. You can easily add/subtract flavors based on what you have on hand (cacao & coconut turned out SUBLIME) and these are delish after being frozen.
 
In addition to the dry (i.e. pantry) items that I like to keep on hand, there are also a few perishable staples that I consistently keep at home. Hummus (as lovingly mentioned above), spinach, firm pressed tofu, onions, ginger, garlic, large dates (always key for raw dessert recipes), sprouted garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, dipping veggies like celery, carrots, cucumber, cabbage & peppers, Daiya (Pepperjack is AMAZING) and berries to throw in the freezer for smoothies.
 
After the weekend shopping I cut up my fresh veggies and store in two ziplock bags, one to take to work (with a tub of hummus)  and one to keep at home for snacking. I also cube 1/2 my sweet potatoes and any squash I may have picked up, to make them easier to prepare mid-week (I love baked sweet potatoes as a side so usually keep one or two whole). I also make big batches of black beans (try this recipe for Cuban black beans) and lentils to be added to wraps, stir-fries, salads and eaten as sides during the week (small containers of each go to the office with me as well).
 
Other than this minimal prep I tend to just eat what sounds good on any given night, since I have all the necessary ingredients on hand!
 
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this peek into my cupboards and I’ll be back at a later time with a look at the goodies I keep stored my office for mid-day snacking.