Hi, everyone. As I mentioned yesterday, I have a bunch of products that are calling out to be reviewed. So, without further ado, I am attempting to tackle those reviews in this post.
Today I will be reviewing products from Living Harvest Tempt Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Vitamineral Green, Brad’s Raw Chips, Navitas Naturals, Tofu Xpress, Newman’s Own Organics, Coconut Bliss Ice Cream, Sunwarrior, and GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha.
Disclaimer: Please note that all products mentioned in this post were sent to me, free of charge, for the purpose of reviewing on this blog. Despite this, however, I have attempted to present an unbiased analysis. Also, as I didn’t buy these items, I did not consider cost in my evaluation.
Living Harvest Tempt Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert is dairy and soy free, vegan, gluten free, cholesterol free, non-GMO, kosher, and trans fat free. Selected flavors are also free of tree nuts. Oh, and isn’t the packaging cute? (Because that’s all that really matters.) I tried three flavors: Vanilla Bean, Mint Chip, and Chocolate Fudge. They were all quite delicious and incredibly creamy. The taste is a little different than regular ice cream, but it is not as strong as the hemp milk that I reviewed. I think the vanilla would go lovely with a fruit sauce or over warm brownies or apple crisp. The mint was probably my least favorite, but my brothers thought it was great. There are also two other flavors—Coffee Biscotti and Coconut Lime—that I didn’t try but which sound quite yummy. One thing I found with this “ice cream” is that it gets very hard in the freezer—like really hard. In order to scoop it I found it necessary to microwave it a bit. It tastes better to me when it is a little soft. One good thing about this hard consistency is that it would be good for a frozen dessert, like an ice cream cake or mud pie.
Vitamineral Green is manufactured by the Health Force Nutritionals company and is a green powder made of a bunch (and I mean a bunch—check them all out here) of different leaves, seaweeds, enzymes, and probiotics. All of those things sound really wonderful, but I am not quite sure how to use this. Does anyone have any ideas? I’ve tried it in smoothies and mixed with water and it is definitely very “green” tasting—but perhaps I was using too much? I’d love to get some ideas. I like how they stress that it is not a supplement, it is “actual food.” It was also voted “best green powder” in the annual Best of Raw Awards. P.S. The name reminds me of that I Love Lucy Vitameatavegamin episode. :)
Brad’s Raw Chips sent me three flavors of their crisp, dehydrated chips. According to their website, these are “Made from fresh vegetables and fruits, sprouted flax seeds, and buckwheat groats.” There are eleven flavors; I tried the Kale, Red Pepper and Indian. All were incredible! My favorites were the kale and red pepper, though. I was amazed at how tasty these are—I think I actually prefer them to regular corn chips or crackers. I definitely recommend trying these. I think they are good just on their own, but I imagine they would also be lovely with hummus, salsa, or any other savory dip.
From Navitas Naturals I received some Cacao Sweet Nibs and Mulberries. I had never had either, so I was excited to try them after hearing about them on other blogs. The cacao nibs were kind of crunchy, and had a coffee undertone. The mulberries were almost flavorless—just sweet and a little chewy. According to Navitas’ beautiful website (they do a great job with their packaging and marketing—I am very impressed!), raw cacao (a.k.a. “nature’s chocolate chip”) is high in magnesium, iron, flavanols, polyphenols, and fiber. I’m not sure what all of those are, but you can read more about this “food of the gods” here. Mulberries are good for the heart and contain resveratrol, iron, fiber, and vitamin C. You can learn more about these here. I would definitely recommend checking out their website. The graphics, photos, and information on is really excellent, and there are also a lot of great looking recipes available.
This next item isn’t a food product…it is a device. Tofu Xpress was kind enough to send me one of their innovative tofu presses. It can be used to press out the water from tofu, spinach, or anything your wish! What a clever idea! It’s very simple, sturdy, and easy to use. Here are some pictures (they are small but can be enlarged by clicking on them). The first row is without tofu; the second row shows the press in action. Basically it just uses a spring to pressure the food and expel any excess liquid. I thought it would require twisting, but it is very easy and just locks into place. There is also a detachable lid (shown in the third picture) that can be use as a cover when marinating or for storage. I have used this a couple times already and I really like it. I am trying to limit my soy intake, as I have read a lot of things that paint it as less than ideal. But no one says you have to use soy tofu! I have heard of hemp tofu and almond tofu, and—as I mentioned—this can also be used to press frozen spinach or other vegetables.
Remember when I got that big package of products from Newman’s Own Organics? Well, I’m still using up all those goodies. Some of my favorites have been the packages of dried fruit. It’s like candy! They sent prunes (dried plums), dried apples, raisins, and a berry blend—all organic, of course.
These were all great! The raisins were moist and plump, unlike some other off-brands of raisins that I’ve tried (I never knew how different raisins could be until I tried a bad variety). These were great, though! The prunes were one of my favorites. They are so amazingly sticky and sweet—I just love their powerful flavor, too. I know not everyone is a fan of prunes, but I am a fan!
The apple rings were fabulous! They are chewy and sweet, yet just a little tough—exactly as they should be. I’d never had dried apples before on their own, but they are great! Ideas for eating them include snipping into oatmeal or over cereal; dipping half in chocolate; baking into muffins, cookies, or pancakes; or—my favorite way—just eating out of the bag. The berry blend is a fun mix of dried raisins, cranberries, cherries and blueberries. I enjoyed these sprinkled over oatmeal; tossed in an arugula/walnut salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic; and in a homemade trail mix. Yum!
You may remember that NOO also sent me quite a few chocolate bars. These sat around for a while because I am *gasp* not a big fan of dark chocolate. I tolerate it, but I don’t love it. I keep trying it hoping that I will like it better and can join the bandwagon of gushing dark chocolate lovers. But, truth be told, I prefer a milder chocolate if I am going to consume it on its own. That’s why I chopped both of these up and baked them into cookies. I imagine that it is painful for some of you to hear that I butchered the chocolate in this way, but I have to say, these made wonderful cookies! I did sneak a few chunks as I was chopping and I found it to be very smooth, rich, and probably everything a dark chocolate lover would hope for. So don’t take my word for it, go get some of your own! (You can learn more about this company’s commitment to sustainable, fair trade, organic chocolate here.)
Next up, Coconut Bliss. One thing I like about this ice cream is that it has a very good ingredient list—it is sweetened with agave and uses minimal fillers or additives. Before trying it, I had heard a lot of people rave about this non-dairy ice cream. So naturally, I was eager to try it for myself and excited to use the coupons that Luna & Larry’s sent to get myself some free dessert. I picked up Vanilla Island, Mint Galactica, and Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge. My first impression was that it wasn’t very sweet, but it kind of grew on me. While the vanilla tasted more like coconut, the chocolate hazelnut had a rich, deep chocolate taste with only mild coconut undertones. I like coconut, I’m just not sure that I love it. My favorite flavor that I tried was probably the mint, and I think that this is because it masked some of this coconut flavor. All things considered, I thought these were fun to try and definitely wouldn’t complain if I had to eat it again. :) For a full list of the flavors available, plus description and nutritional info, visit this link.
Sunwarrior sent me two sample size packets of their protein—the chocolate and vanilla. Both single-serving packets were sweetened with stevia (which I am not too fond of, except in Zevia) so that was a bit of a turn-off. But really, these weren’t bad. Not incredible, either, but not undrinkable like some protein powders. I think the chocolate was better than the vanilla, though it wasn’t as chocolate-y as I would’ve liked. I know a lot of people LOVE this stuff, though, and it is definitely a great option health-wise compared to the whey, casein, and soy protein powders out there.
And now, one of my favorite products: GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha. (If you don’t know what kombucha is, there is a bunch of info on GT’s website about it.) I don’t know why this stuff is so addicting; maybe it’s the trivial amount of alcohol it contains? Haha. Although some people can’t stand it (I will concede that it is a bit of an acquired taste), I really like it. I especially enjoy the Synergy varieties that GT makes. These are 95% kombucha and 5% fruit juice. But the regular is great too. What I like about this stuff is that, thanks to all the enzymes, good bacteria, and other beneficial things, it is SO good for you. I also love it because it seems to help me curb cravings and mindless eating. Something about the little bit of fizz in it kind of fills up my stomach when I want a little something (not sure that made sense…). Anyway, thanks, GT. I loved it!
Have you tried any of the products that I mentioned in this post? Which ones would you like to try?
I also have a little survey here: