Review – Nogii protein bars and powders – Gluten Free and super delish!

Gluten free has come a long way. I remember almost 10 years ago the lack of options and FLAVOR! I am not GF but have always tried different GF options. Needless to say I was pretty psyched to try the Nogii line.

nogii-logo

I wasn’t familiar with Nogii so I took to the www to do some research. Nogii was founded by none other than Elisabeth Hasselbeck from the talk show The View. Her story of what lead her to Nogii was interesting to say the least. She struggled with stomach issues and fatigue and it wasn’t until a forced 39 day detox (being on the show Survivor will do that to you!) that she found out she suffered from Celiacs Disease. Celiacs Disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine and can affect how you absorb food.

nogii 1

The product line for Nogii is impressive. Protein powders, bars, snack bars, paleo bars and kids bars. If you’re new to the whole GF way of life you can even pick up Elisabeth’s book – The G Free Diet. Nogii products are made with sustainably sourced, premium ingredients, NoGii bars have an ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and do not contain any trans fat, hydrogenated oils, or high fructose corn syrup. Score!

The D’Lite bars were my family’s fave. The kids couldn’t get enough. We tried the Caramel Bliss..  a perfect 120 calories when you’re craving a not so friendly candy bar. Plus they’re the perfect size for your little ones!

nogii twins

My next favorite was the Chocolate Coconut High Protein bar. If you know me AT ALL or even read my occasional blog.. coconut or chocolate is definitely a recurring theme. They have high protein bars which average about 17 grams of protein and 230 calories. They also have super protein bars which are 30 grams of protein and about 400 calories. I found the super protein bars were great on a work out day as a meal replacement. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp bar was ridiculously good. Just look at the pictures of the Peanut Butter Chocolate High Protein bar and the Cookies & Creme Super Protein bar. Stop drooling..

nogii cookies  nogii bar detail

The Nogii Whey and Quinoa Vanilla Bean Protein powder was a great addition to smoothies – 20 grams of protein! I didn’t really like it in my blender bottle. I didn’t find it to satisfy my hunger like some other protein powders do.

By now you must be at least a tad interested in trying these items yourself. Definitely follow my links! They have a store locator and i was amazed how many places close to me already carry them!

While you’re at it enter their #NogiiTableSetters contest! You can win an overnight trip for you and a guest to NYC to meet Elisabeth Hasselbeck! Enter here!

Links:

Nogii

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Xlear Care Kit review and special deal for you!

When I was sent my free Xlear Care Kit from Green Moms Meet I immediately went to Google. What is the deal with Xylitol? Here are some facts I found:

  • Xylitol is a sugar alcohol extracted from plant material. 
  • Xylitol is diabetic friendly because of its low impact to blood sugar. 
  • Xylitol is actually benefitial in dental care products because it helps reduce cavities and actually promotes remineralization in teeth. 
  • Some studies show xylitol actually can help reduce the incidents of middle ear infections. 

The list goes on and on. Needless to say I was pretty psyched to try my kit. The kit includes:

  
1.5fl oz Xlear Nasal Spray

3 pack of .75fl oz Xlear Nasal Spray

Non-Fluoride Peppermint Toothpaste

Spearmint Oral Rinse

Two 40ct Gems Mints

Six 12ct Stronger Longer Gum

This entire kit at normal retail would cost $65. Until the end of June you can purchase this same kit for $25 (plus s&h). That’s a $45 savings! 

My take on some of the products:

  • My fave – toothpaste! I personally have seen such a great impact on my kids teeth. It’s not too spicy for them and not packed with sugar.  It’s always freaked me out that most conventional toothpastes AREN’T for kids and say harmful If swallowed. What the what?! No way to flouride too. 
  • Runner up – their gum! Sometimes I eat stuff during the day that makes my breath stiiiiiinnnnnk. Seaweed. Ew. Brussel sprouts. Oof. Not good when your job makes you talk to people all day. This gum is perfect if you can’t get to a toothbrush in time. Makes your mouth feel fresh and tastes great. 
  • We didn’t get a chance to try their nasal sprays this time around but we’ve used them in the past. Gentle and helpful when your congested or feeling a bit under the nasal weather. One of my boys is SUPER prone to ear infections so now that I’ve read how beneficial xylitol can be we’ll be adding it to his daily regiment. 

In the end this is one of the best freebies I have received. I’m blown away by the quality of their products and the impact on our dental routines! I’ll definitely be purchasing another kit before the month is out. 

  
Social Media links for Xlear:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Spiced Blueberry Green Tea featuring frozen Wild Blueberries!

Blueberries hands down are my fave thing to have handy in the freezer. There have been many a times I made a smoothie that looked like mud and blueberries are my savior. They turn it a great shade of reddish purple and help cover any super strong spinach flavor. Seriously.. thank you blueberries for helping me lie encourage my kids to drink healthy smoothies.

Moms MeetWild Blueberry Association of North America teamed up to have bloggers everywhere enjoy these tasty, wild blueberries. What was the first thing i did? I went out and bought the biggest bag of frozen wild blueberries I could find! In this case it was Wyman’s of Maine. We did everything with them – added them to pancakes, smoothies, yogurt, granola and some homemade ice cream. (disclaimer – if you have a little one and they eat a ton – be prepared for their.. um.. poop to uh.. turn dark. Cmon parenting is full of these lessons right?!)

blueberries

Then I started to do some research about what exactly makes these little buggers so amazing:

  • 99% of the Wild Blueberry crop is frozen fresh at harvest, which locks in their nutrition and taste.
  • Wild Blueberries have a more intense flavor than regular blueberries. Wild Blueberry plants are more genetically diverse with thousands of interlocking plants spreading and interlocking naturally across fields over thousands of years. That diversity is what gives Wild Blueberries their complex and delicious flavor—an extraordinary mix of tart and sweet
  • Wild Blueberries are called “Wild” because they are not planted— they have occurred naturally in barrens and fields in Maine and Eastern Canada for 10,000 years.
  • Blueberries contain antioxidants, are low in fat and contain vitamin c.

Then came the task of creating something interesting with my blueberries. While doing some research I found everything from pickled blueberries, blueberry onion jam and a bunch of marinades. I wanted to create something that screamed summer. I also wanted to create something that encouraged eating blueberries while maintaining their health benefits.

blueberries ingredients

Spiced Blueberry Green Tea

6-8 bags of your favorite green tea (I chose my fave – Organic India Tulsi Green Tea)

1-3 sticks cinnamon (depends on how strong a cinnamon flavor you want)

2 tablespoons lavender

1 1/2″ – 2″ fresh Ginger (peeled and sliced)

1 cup frozen Wild Blueberries

8 -12 cups filtered water (really just depends how big your container/how much you want to make!)

Cheesecloth

Cooking Twine

The key to “brewing” this tea isn’t brewing at all. I call it refrigerator tea… Everything basically gets put in a pitcher and is ready to go within a few hours.

  • create your spice pouch. Cut approx 5×5 square of cheesecloth. Place the cinnamon, ginger and lavender and tie closed with the twine.
  • create your blueberry pouch. Cut another 5×5 square of cheesecloth and tie your blueberries up in it.
  • Fill your container with the filtered water.
  • Add in your teabags, spice packet and blueberry pouch and give it a stir.

Immediately you notice the blueberries turning the water a lovely red/purple!  Place it in your refrigerator overnight. Here is where you can get creative. Want a super spiced tea – keep everything steeping for 24 hours. Want a lightly spiced blueberry green tea – only leave it in a few hours. Same thing goes for the spice pouch. More ginger if you love ginger, more lavender if you love lavender. If you want a sweeter tea I suggest taking the blueberries out and giving them a quick spin in your vitamix and adding that to your glasses before you pour the tea. Talk about beautiful!

blueberry tea final

Oh and if this is the first time you’re cooking with dried lavender.. don’t worry it’s completely okay to eat!

Everyone in my family loved it! Even my hate-to-try-new-things boys.. they were all about it! This will be our summer staple. The health benefits of Wild Blueberries, green tea and no added sugar. WIN!

Are you a fan of blueberries too? Follow Wild Blueberries for some blueberry inspiration!

twitter.com/wildblueberries

pinterest.com/wildblueberries

instagram.com/wildblueberries

And don’t forget to give us some love too!

twitter.com/matchingmummies

pinterest.com/matchingmummies

instagram.com/sjordanusher

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Vegan coconut pineapple NICE cream with Organic India Moringa Powder 

Moringa?! Seriously before I was sent a free sample from the kind folks at Green Moms Meet I had never heard of such a thing called Moringa. I’m pretty well versed with things on the super food spectrum. Totally not this one.

OrganicIndia-Moringa

Moringa originated in northern India but it is now grown all over the world. The plant itself is considered a super food because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and and amino acids.

Some things I didn’t know about Moringa:

-Moringa is considered one of the most complete, nutrient-dense plants on Earth, containing over 90 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, and abundant minerals.

-Moringa leaves have been eaten for thousands of years as a superfood nutritional supplement, and are often used to combat malnutrition in impoverished countries.

-ORGANIC INDIA Moringa is USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher and Halal certified, gluten-free, and vegan.

Wow! Sign me up! I work full time (not to mention a two hour commute each day), have 3 crazy energetic boys. Not to mention a Husband who works just as hard and gets just as tired. I was very excited to get the opportunity to try the Moringa Leaf powder and supplement capsules for free!
For me – the real challenge was figuring out how to use it daily. We put it in our smoothies which was great! I’ll admit the taste takes a bit of getting used to. Anyone familiar with any sort of greens supplement will understand what it tastes like ;o)
For me the capsules were a tad easier to remember. I took the Moringa supplements for a week and noticed a difference especially in my PM commute. I didn’t feel so exhausted and didn’t want to crash the second I got home. SCORE!
Using the powder at home was much easier. My favorite concoction – Vegan Coconut Pineapple Nice Cream with Organic India Moringa Powder! Creamy, delicious and a dairy free treat for the family. We used our Kitchen Aid Ice Cream machine. Since I had some technical difficulties (my paddle broke UGH!) I did a small batch in the ice cream machine and another just in some Pyrex in the freezer.
moringa nice cream
Ingredients
-Two 15oz cans of whole fat coconut milk
-One to Two cups of fresh, cubed pineapple – add more or less based on your preferences.
-3 teaspoons Moringa Powder – we found this to be the perfect amount. Gave it a bit of green color without a strong greens    taste
-Your favorite sweeteners – this is TOTALLY optional. We added a bit of maple syrup to give it a bit of sweet but not too much.
-blend all the ingredients in your Vitamix/blender
-refrigerate until fully chilled. the colder the ice cream base the better it works in the ice cream machine.
-if you’re not using an ice cream machine just put into a freezer safe dish with a lid.
The batch in the ice cream machine was smooth, creamy and super delish. It was great knowing we were having a dairy free snack with some added health benefits. My kids absolutely loved it. We’ll be experimenting with other coconut milked based ice creams soon.
moringa nice cream bowl
The freezer batch wasn’t as creamy but still just as flavorful. I let it sit out for about a 1/2 hour. I found it easier to cut into squares.. could you say possible ice cream sandwich ingredient???!
Overall I could see Moringa being a pantry staple in this house. Getting my kids to eat their share of veggies etc is a daily struggle so Moringa powder could be my saving grace! One 8 oz. canister (approx 48 teaspoon servings) of Moringa Leaf Powder retails for $22.99, and 90 capsules of Moringa retails for $19.99.
OrganicIndia-logo

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Giveaway! Harvestland natural chicken, pork and turkey vouchers!

Do you ever just have those moments where the planets align and things just fall in place? Or the moment where you are sent a  Green Moms Meet blogger kit for Harvestland natural chicken, pork and turkey and realize all your wildest, meat loving dreams have come true? Same thing right?!

HARV-logo

My family is ultra familiar with the brand Harvestland. We do a lot of our shopping at our local BJs and they offer a lot of Harvestland products. As a family with three boys who seem like they NEVER stop eating, buying in bulk is the way to go for us. Before I was given the opportunity to try other Harvestland products we mainly purchased their kielbasa, frozen chicken breasts and hot rotisserie chickens BJs cooks in-house. We ended up also trying their Florentine chicken burgers, Italian pepper & onion chicken sausage, buffalo meatballs and frozen chicken breakfast sausage. The Harvestland product line includes fresh chicken, turkey, and pork products, as well as a variety of fully cooked refrigerated, frozen, and deli meats. Harvestland also offers USDA-certified organic chicken. These chickens are raised without antibiotics on free-range, organic farms and are fed an all-vegetarian diet of certified organic ingredients.

meat products
What makes Harvestland different:

-No antibiotics ever. Antibiotics are widely used on livestock in the US. The more we use antibiotics the more resistant those strains become. The scary part is that even if we consume the meat that was raised with regular antibiotic use – it increases the chances that we will become resistant to those strains of bacteria etc too. Brings new meaning to ‘you are what you eat’. Check out this article from Prevention magazine if you want to read more on the subject.

Fed All-Vegetarian Diet With No Animal By-Products. Used to increase protein levels in livestock feed, animal by-products have been linked to outbreaks of major animal diseases as well as increases the risk of transmission of bacteria like Salmonella. 

No nitrites or nitrates added except for those naturally occurring in sea salt and celery juice powder. No MSG (people still use that?!)

All of these standards are VERY important for us. We believe that conventional groceries are full of preservatives, colors and everything icky. We are label readers, WE have standards!

 

OK I have one gripe (besides the fact they don’t offer bacon yet). What bums me out about Harvestland:

-Their website states they only feed their organic chickens GMO free feed. C’mon Harvestland.. spread the wealth. Get certified from the Non GMO Project. All the cool kids are doing it.

non-gmo-project-logo

Overall – Harvestland offers a delicious, convenient product at a great price. Their product variety is great and easy to find.

Want to try your own Harvestland products? Visit Harvestland  on social media (links below) and let us know what you like about Harvestland. Leave a comment below by Sunday 3/1/2015. We will pick a random reader to win $15 in free product vouchers so you can try some yourself!

In the meantime check them out online –

Harvestland @ Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

And don’t forget to follow us online as well –

matchingmummies @ Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter

 

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Reese’s peanut butter chocolate spread – i’ve never had such mixed emotions about chocolate and peanut butter!

I’ll admit it. I am SO not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I hate pink, for starters.

Have you ever researched the roots of Valentine’s Day? There are some interesting articles. Everything from Roman men getting nekkid and hitting the ladies with whips made from goat skin…. to the most interesting story of forbidden love and the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love. Unfortunately it’s become a forced day of roses, chocolate and chalky candy hearts.

Ok so I’m getting off topic. Thanks to the lovely folks at Influenster and Reese’s  – they sent me some Reese’s peanut butter chocolate spread to try out. Chocolate and Peanut are a marriage made in heaven. Reese’s peanut butter cups are usually my impulse buy as i wait in the overly long lines at Target. Reese’s also brings me back to when I was 12. I went to my first Faith No More concert and Mike Patton was wearing an orange Reese’s tshirt. *sigh*

When I opened the jar I was enticed by the smell of Reese’s peanut butter cups. YUM! First taste – a bit underwhelming. It was more sugary than chocolate peanut buttery. Slightly grainy and not so peanut butter creamy. Of course I’m comparing with Nutella.. which tastes like what it is.. chocolate hazelnut spread. While it does fill a craving for all that is sugary sweet, I think I would use it more frequently if the ingredients started with peanuts instead of sugar. My other gripe is their use of the petroleum based preservative, TBHQ. I don’t want to eat something that is found in cosmetics and pet food.

When I review – I always try to use it a few ways to get a feel for it. In this case.. i added what makes EVERYTHING taste better – BACON. I cooked up some super delish, nitrate free Applegate Farms Good Morning bacon. It’s made from pork shoulder instead of belly reducing 60% of the fat. Let it cool completely before using. Then a pan on low I added the Reese’s spread and a few splashes of coconut milk to thin it out a bit. Once it reached a creamy, pourable texture I took it off the heat. Dip the cooled bacon into the Reese’s spread and place on a sheet of wax paper. I crushed up some shredded bacon and sprinkled it on top. Then I threw them into the freezer because I wanted to firm up the chocolate.

About 20 minutes later you’ll have this:

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 4.57.15 PM

If you’ve never had bacon and chocolate you really haven’t lived. So all in all I’d give the Reese’s peanut butter chocolate spread a 5 out of 10. While it has a good flavor, it’s nothing I could see myself keeping in the house regularly.

I received this product for free to review via Influenster & Reese’s. All my words and opinions are my own :)

Living microwave free – The Popcorn Edition

A few years ago we made the decision to live microwave free. We had one… rarely used it.. so it was the obvious decision.

I’m sure I could go on and on citing a trillion different articles as to why using a microwave is bad for you etc etc. But I’m not gonna. Google it my friends.

That being said there were a few adjustments. Like my favorite Whole Foods Market frozen rice. 😢 just not the same without a microwave…

And those awesome microwaveable scented pad things that you can put on your shoulders and neck. They’re delightful… But what to do when you don’t have a microwave?

One thing that’s MUCH better? POPCORN! Nothing beats stovetop popcorn… My popcorn could kick microwave popcorn’s ass. Maybe even that neat silver JiffyPop we all have fond childhood memories of.

Step 1 – use a large pot – like that you would use for pasta. Give those kernels some room to grow why dontcha?!

Step 2 – pick the right oil. Again there are a million different articles as to why one oil is better than another. Not going there. I choose Coconut. It leaves a very faint coconut flavor, isn’t over oily when popped and has some health benefits.

Step 3 – heat the oil at medium heat. Drop a couple kernels into the melting oil and cover. When those babies pop.. You know it’s time.

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Step 4 – pour about 1/4 – 1/2 cup into the pan depending on number of servings you require I’ve been making it so long I know that if I cover the bottom of my pan it’s approx 10 servings. Know your oil and know your pan. I usually add a bit more oil at this stage for a kick of flavor and benefits.

Step 5 – Put a lid on it! No seriously. And keep it slightly vented to let steam out.

TADA! Delish, healthy stovetop popcorn. No microwave needed. 😊

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I typically just throw some sea salt on but tonight I went all out. I threw on some Penzey’s Spicy 4/S salt. It is now my fave popcorn topping!

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***** What items did you re-learn to cool when you ditched your microwave? Leave me a comment! ***

xoxo
Sarah