Category Archives: Product Reviews


Thunderbird was kind enough to send me a sampling of their real food bars. ¬†What I like most about these bars is just that…they are made with REAL FOOD.

When deciding which bar to try first, being a lover of carrot cake,  I immediately zeroed in on the CASHEW + FIG + CARROT flavor.

Check out the simplicity of the ingredients…

INGREDIENTS: Dates, Cashews, Figs, Carrots, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Himalayan Sea Salt

NUTRITIONAL FACTS:  Serv. Size 1.7oz (48g), Calories 150, Fat Cal. 26, Total Fat 3g (4% DV), Sat. Fat 0.5g (3% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 204mg (8% DV), Total Carb. 29g (10% DV), Fiber 3g (11% DV), Sugars 26g, Protein 4g.

I am really impressed with the taste and texture of the bars and highly recommend them to my endurance athletes for fuel on their runs, bikes, etc. because they have a fair amount of bars that are lowfat and high carb.

Thunderbird also makes some bars that are higher fat which would be great for my clients who have trouble getting all of their fat macros in (I never seem to have trouble with that!).  The HEMP + SUNFLOWER + PUMPKIN SEED bar has 22g fat and lower carbs at only 11g.

INGREDIENTS: Dates, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Nut Butter, Coconut Shreds, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Cinnamon, Himalayan Sea Salt.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS: Serv. Size 1.7oz (48g), Calories 250, Fat Cal. 198, Total Fat 22g (33% DV), Sat. Fat 6g (30% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 75mg (3% DV), Total Carb. 11g (4% DV), Fiber 3g (4% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 7g.

HERE is a link to all of their bars. ¬†If you are unsure which flavor to get, Thunderbird has 3 different types of assorted boxes for you to purchase. ¬†Make sure you enter¬†FITQUEST at checkout for¬†20% off your order. ¬†Please know that I have ZERO affiliation with the company and do not make any money by recommending them…I simply like their products and they generously offered a coupon code for my readers.


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gomacro macrobars

I have been eating GoMacro macrobars for YEARS!  I think the first time I ever tried one was over a decade ago.  First off they taste amazing, and secondly the ingredients are so simple and there is nothing unrecognizeable in them.  I was recently sent a tray of their GoMacro minis (mini versions of their full bars) to try and there were lots of flavors that were new to me.

Just check out the nutrition information / ingredients in the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bar (my favorite):

Go Macro Nutrition Info

I especially love these bars for endurance athletic events or hikes.  I would much rather get my energy from these bars than from a gu of sorts and there is an awesome ratio of fats / carbs / proteins versus being purely carbs.

I am particularly partial to GoMacro’s¬†Protein Pleasure (PB choc chip), Protein Replenishment (peanut butter), Sweet Rejuvination (cashew butter), Protein Paradise (cashew caramel), and Balanced Goodness (granola and coconut). ¬†I can honestly say that I like all of their flavors (they have 11 flavors in all) with the exception of Prolonged Power (banana and almond butter)… I am generally not a fan of banana products and only like ACTUAL bananas or banana bread, so I am not really sure that I am the best judge of that. ¬†In addition to those mentioned above, they have:

  • Protein Purity (sunflower butter and chocolate)
  • Wholehearted Heaven (almond butter and carob)
  • Sweet Revival (sesame butter and dates)
  • Sunny Uplift (cherries and berries)
  • Morning Harvest (apples and walnuts)

The texture of the bars is very similar to a caramel…soft and chewy. ¬†These bars are not dry like a lot of other bars out there nor are they chalky like many vegan protein products tend to be (win, win).

gomacro-table-1GoMacro also prides their products on being:

  • Organic
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan
  • Kosher
  • Non-Gmo
  • Soy-Free






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FOOD FOR LIFE – Black Rice Tortilla – Gluten-Free

ezekiel black rice tortillaFood For Life recently sent me some of their new Black Rice Tortillas to sample.  It is nice to have another gluten-free tortilla in the market and fun to have it made from such exotic ingredients.

The tortillas arrived just before my family and I went to visit my sister and her family near Tahoe.  I brought the tortillas along because two of her four children and gluten-free as well and I wanted to get their opinion of the product.

We used the tortillas to make quesadillas and my nephew liked them.  When I asked him how he thought the compared to other gluten-free tortillas he has tried, he said he thought they were about the same.

I find that they are a little more pliable and not as brittle as some of the other brands I have tried.  They also have a slightly chewy texture which I am fine with.

Have any of you tried these yet?  What are your favorite gluten-free tortillas?


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So Delicious Cashew Milk COMPRESS

It is always fun to receive packages in the mail, especially the ones that are gifted to you. ¬†So delicious has done it again and upped the ante by sending their newest milk…Cashew Milk! ¬†This shelf-stable milk will be available nationwide in stores beginning this month and the suggested retail is $2.49.

We love cashews around here.  The love runs so deep that I have to restrain myself from eating them by the handful(s) since we all know nuts are not a treat we can eat in unlimited quantities (though I wished they were).

The new cashew milk is creamy and flavorful, which will make it a perfect addition to my morning smoothies (especially the unsweetened vanilla flavor). ¬†Since it is made from cashews, the fat content is high (30 of the 35 calories are from fat), but since I wont be drinking it by the glassful, I am not worried about it. ¬†I can’t wait to make my Mac and Cheez with the unsweetened original flavor.

So Delicious Frozen treats compress

So Delicious has made good use of monkfruit¬†from which the fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar. ¬†Thanks to this wonderful fruit, the “no sugar added” frozen treats they sent us have only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

My daughter is over the moon about the Fudge Bar Minis. ¬†The timing of this treat couldn’t be more perfect since she has been feeling left out this summer as she watches the local kids nosh on Fudgsicles.

I know BOTH of my kiddos are going to go nuts for the “world’s ONLY gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free cookie dough ice cream“…it is going to be a serious spoon war between the two of them.

Now we just need So Delicious to come-up with a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream sandwich!¬† I am officially putting in my request ūüôā


Filed under Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian


San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings. ¬†I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty). ¬†I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!! ¬†HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…


Created by: Amie Valpone


12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds


Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.


Recipe courtesy of San-J.


Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


So Delicious Shelf Stable Barista Creamer unsweetened vanilla almond milk

At Expo West So Delicious (you know I love them) showcased some exciting products they released in February… SHELF STABLE “Barista Style” Coconut Milk Creamers in French Vanilla and Original as well as Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk¬†(Also available in refrigerated half gallons!).

I was excited to learn that they made their creamers shelf stable. ¬†I like to have the creamers on hand for when I am making treats (puddings, ice creams, smoothies, etc.), but don’t always plan well and that has meant that on occasion I have had to throw away the refrigerated creamers because they expired before I needed them (again, poor planning on my part).

Now that the creamers are shelf-stable I won’t have to worry about timing it just right because they can sit in wait on my pantry shelf until I need them. ¬†I do wish the shelf stable creamers came in more than one size though since 32 oz. is quite large. ¬†There are times I will use that amount for a recipe, but if I am just splashing it into a beverage, it would be nice to have say an 8 or 10 oz. container available vs. opening the 32 ouncer.

Seeing as sugar is SO present in our world, I am glad So Delicious is now providing UNSWEETENED Vanilla coconut milk.  One serving provides 50% of your daily B12 and 30% of your vitamin D.  I thought you might like to take a look at the nutrition info:

Nutrition Facts –¬†Amount Per Serving

Serving Size 1 cup (240 mL)
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.5g 7%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 50mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g

While at the booth I got the down-low on some gluten free sweet treats they are working on developing. ¬†It’s hush hush, but let’s just say those of you who are both gluten free and dairy free will be so excited (can you say “childhood favorites?”). ¬†Hopefully these new products will be ready to sample at next year’s Expo.


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Mary’s Gone Graham Crackers!!!

Mary's Gone Crackers Graham Crackers COMPRESS
This is easily one of the new products that got me the most excited at Expo West. ¬†Mary’s Gone Crackers, a brand known to all with gluten issues, has developed the most bomb-diggity graham cracker!!!

I don’t know about you, but I have been underwhelmed by the gluten-free graham crackers I have been buying for my daughter for years now. ¬†She eats them and when you crumb them and use them to make a “graham” cracker pie crust they work, but the taste is not graham-like whatsoever.

Another issue I have with the gluten-free graham crackers on the market is how brittle they are. ¬†Inevitably when you open up a box at least 1/3 ¬†are cracked before you even get them out of the container. ¬†S’mores end-up a broken mess.

Mary’s Gone Crackers’ grahams are completely hearty and thick and will rise to the s’more challenge for sure.

How about the taste?  I am not joking when I say that I actually PREFER THESE GRAHAMS OVER REGULAR GLUTEN-FILLED GRAHAMS!!!!!

I wished I remembered specifically when they will be coming out in stores.  Most of the products debuted at the Expo will be rolling onto shelves late spring / early summer and I am sure these will be too.

Are you as psyched about these as I am?


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Samsung Collage

So, I have had the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet for nearly a week now and my family LOVES it. ¬†It seems as though everyone has been playing keep away with the tablet, so I haven’t gotten as much time with it as I would like. ¬†As I imagined, it did take some getting used to since my fingers are so familiar with the iPad.

I wasn’t sure what my kids would think of the Windows 8 platform, but they seem to have really taken to it. ¬†When I asked my 12 year old if he preferred the iPad or the Windows 8 tablet he replied…and I quote, “Dude…the tablet is sooooo much better!” ¬†When I asked him why he said, “Uh Mom…(pause)…it is a computer and tablet in one…how can you not see that is light-years better???”

When I started playing around with it I was initially disappointed that there does not seem to be as many apps as the iPad has. ¬†When I mentioned my disappointment to my son he asked me which apps I wished it had at which point he promptly downloaded my Nook reader to the desktop screen on the tablet and the problem was solved (those smart kids!). ¬† UPDATE – Apparently I am an idiot…I was looking for the apps incorrectly…there IS a NOOK reader on the tablet (I am learning everyday!).

While I don’t see Vegin Out or Happy Cow on the tablet, there are quite a few vegan apps available. ¬†I like having Happy Cow and Vegin Out handy when looking for¬†restaurants¬†in new areas. ¬†Fortunately my phone takes care of that for me as would an internet search.

I thought I would share our 5 favorite things we have discovered about the tablet:

1.  The tablet is a computer and tablet in one

2.  My husband is able to stream the UCLA games to the tablet when they are not televised (something he could NOT do with the iPad and he is over the moon excited about that)

3.  Netflix is MUCH more user friendly on the tablet vs. the iPad.  i.e When I am watching a show and an episode is coming to an end, the next episode starts automatically.

4.  My husband was able to make it so I have access to the files from my actual laptop on the tablet meaning that I can actually write blog posts from the tablet and upload the pictures for the post from my laptop.  I tried to do this on the iPad and it was a real pain in the behind because I had to use Log Me In (not very user friendly).  Yay for the tablet!!!

5.  I love that the homescreen on the tablet scrolls through weather, top news, etc. and I can see all of that in one glance.

I have a feeling I have barely scratched the surface with the¬†Samsung ATIV Smart PC Tablet. ¬†I can’t wait to read Beer & Beans blog post about the 5 Essential (Free) Windows 8 Tablet Apps.

Apparently Intel has also released a new Fujitsu device for business users that sounds pretty cool too.  You can check out the video HERE.


Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.


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Peter Rabbit Organics Collage

Have any of you caught-on to the fruit / veggie snacks in a pouch?

Last year at the Natural Products Expo West I tried Peter Rabbit Organics 100% pure fruit and veggie snacks and I was instantly converted. ¬†Prior to trying their product I tried other brands I saw in stores and was not impressed with the funky aftertaste that accompanied them which prompted me to look at the ingredients and see that they had citric acid in them as a preservative…and that made them taste a bit funky.

Peter Rabbit’s products seriously don’t have any aftertaste. ¬†They simply taste like what they are since they are 100% pure fruits and veggies with no preservatives. ¬†For over a year now I have kept a variety of Peter Rabbit squeeze pouches in the car as quick and easy snacks for the kids and I because (1) They are healthy and pure ¬†(2) They are shelf stable ¬†(3) They are low-calorie.

I tend to lean toward their veggie blends…my absolute favorite is the Sweet Potato, Corn, and Apple and my kids go nuts for their fruit blends.

Sili Squeeze Collage

The only thing I dislike about these products is the packaging…I hate all the waste. ¬†For that reason I was really excited to see a new product at the Natural Products Expo West this year that tackles this exact problem; a¬†REUSABLE¬†squeeze pouch!!!!!!!!!! ¬† Yay to the people at Sili Squeeze for bringing this product to the market. ¬†While I wished they were a little less expensive (They range from $13.99-15.99), I love this product.

Stay tuned for more fun finds from Expo West…


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I was recently selected to be a part of the Intel Tablet Crew.

Basically I completely lucked out because I was sent a brand new¬†Samsung ATIV Smart PC!!! ¬†I can’t wait to see how it differs from the iPad (which I am very familiar with).

I plan on sharing my observations with all of you as well as letting you know what my other half and my children think of the tablet.  We have several demographics covered within our 4 person family!

I work on a PC, my son has an Apple, and we own several iPhones in our family, so it will be interesting to see how we adjust to the Windows 8 platform.

I am also interested to see how the apps differ and what sorts of vegan apps there are..

Do you have any specific questions for me?  Any suggestions?


Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Intel.


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