Ready or not, winter weather is here, so it’s time to protect your lips — your body’s most vulnerable skin — from the damaging effects of dry heat indoors and frigid temperatures and winds outdoors. This time of year, I like to stock up on Lip Balm — keeping a tube on my bedside table, on my desk, and of course in my purse — so that soft and healthy lips are never further away than the end of my wrist. With the holidays coming up, Eco Lips has just introduced their Candy Cane Organic Lip Balm, which comes in the brand’s revolutionary Plant Pod, a patented 100% plastic-free, plant-based packaging that looks and acts like a regular tube. Sustainability never tasted so good!
The simple pleasures of enjoying a bowl of cereal with milk has returned to my life recently, thanks to a line of shelf-stable, plant-based milks from Koita, a natural foods company based in Italy (check out my review of Koita’s Organic Coconut Milk at This Link). This week I am reviewing Koita Oat Milk, made from Italian oats and water, and fortified with vitamins and calcium. I’ve reviewed oat milk-based beverages on the blog before and found them to be quite delicious, and ideal as a milk-substitute in smoothies and shakes, thanks to its creamy texture that’s very similar to dairy milk.
When Covid dictated a shift from working at an office to working from home, my daily routine changed in many ways. One small but significant shift involved what I regularly enjoyed eating for breakfast each morning while sitting at my desk. The office pantry always stocked fresh milk in the fridge for our coffee or cereal, so it was super convenient (and saved me a few bucks) to keep a box of my favorite cereal — Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins, available at Trader Joe’s — at work. At home, I rarely purchase dairy milk because it basically starts to go bad as soon as it’s packaged, and it’s easy to forget to use it up before the expiration date hits. Needless to say (but you can see I am about to) when I started working from home — one year ago — I stopped eating packaged breakfast cereal entirely. That changed recently, when I found out about Koita, a line of shelf-stable, plant-based milks from Italy! Today I’m going to review Koita Organic Coconut Milk, which has brought the joy of breakfast cereal back into my life.
Did you overindulge a bit more that usual during the holiday season? Join the club. It would be nice if Holidays-in-lockdown meant that there are no rules, and you can eat whatever you want, but if you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to curb your consumption of sweets treats, there’s a new candy in town called Pink Panda that can help you snack guilt-free.
Pink Panda is a line of gummy candy that lets you give in to the sweet desires of your inner child while also satisfying your responsible adult brain that says snacks should be healthy whenever possible. Made with 90% less sugar than regular candy (only 2g per bag), there is no sacrifice made the it comes to quality and taste. We received bags of both the Treasure Chews and Astro Blasters varieties for review. Read on for our findings!
Review Continues, After the Jump!
Do you like yogurt? I sure do. As food trends adapt to changing diets, I’ve sampled and reviewed a variety of delicious non-dairy yogurts. While these yogurts are ideal for fans who are lactose intolerant, and also those who follow a vegan diet, the bottom line is that it has to taste great. With nut-derived milks becoming increasingly popular, it makes sense that an almond milk-based yogurt would hit the market. If you’re curious about non-dairy yogurt alternatives, let me introduce you to AYO, a delicious and healthy yogurt made with organic almond milk.
AYO was created by the Billings family, who have been growing almonds on their farm, based in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, for four generations. The Billings‘ are forward-thinking farmers who are passionate about introducing better-for-you foods with clear traceability, vertical integration and sustainable practices. Their commitment to innovation, and a farm-to-spoon philosophy, created AYO yogurt. From their almond orchards where everything starts, to picking, then churning, blending with organic fruits or organic vanilla, and culturing the yogurt — the result is luscious, probiotic-rich yogurts that taste fantastic.
Since I’ve been working from home, yogurt has been one of my go-to snacks, so I was thrilled to receive samples of all four flavors (Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, and Vanilla) of AYO yogurt to enjoy. Each variety has only 150 or 160 calories per 5.3 ounce cup, so you can stay on your diet as well!
When I opened my first cup, what I noticed right away about this yogurt is its very smooth, almost drinkable consistency. No stirring is needed because the fruit is thoroughly blended with the yogurt, to guarantee that the first spoonful tastes as sweet and tangy as the last.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so I enjoyed this flavor every much. You can see little bits of peach on my spoon. Yummy.
The Vanilla AYO is just sweet enough, but also has the distinctive tangy flavor that tells you that you are eating real yogurt.
You can snack and work at the same time!
When you peel back the lid of the Blueberry AYO Almond Milk Yogurt, guess what you smell? Blueberries.
AYO would be perfect as an ingredient in variety of recipes for healthy shakes and desserts, but today I’m going share with you the most delicious Granola Yogurt Breakfast Popsicle recipe, which they call Gro-Yo Pops. The whole family will love these, as they are great for the summer months and make an easy, nutritious breakfast!
Gro-Yo Pops (Dairy-free, Plant-based, Farm to Freezer Popsicles)
1 ¼ cups AYO Strawberry Yogurt
½ cups chopped fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries)
4 teaspoons coconut oil or GHEE, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons coconut flakes, ground almonds and crumbled
Stir yogurt, berries, 2 teaspoons coconut oil and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Divide among six 3-ounce popsicle molds. Stir coconut flakes, and ground almonds and the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut oil together in a small bowl. Top each popsicle with 1 tablespoon of the coconut almond mixture. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.
Visit This Link to learn more, to find a store near you that sells AYO, and to get money saving coupons to use towards your purchase!
I will be the first person to admit that I am not the most creative home cook, so having seriously-restricted access to restaurant-prepared meals means I am fighting food boredom. While I’m relying more than ever on the amazing frozen food section at my local Trader Joe’s, I’m also exploring my ability to make tasty rice and pasta dishes with minimal effort. When it comes to pasta, the more cheese, the better, so Parmesan cheese is always in my pantry. Now, vegans and others following a dairy-free diet can also enjoy the cheesy, umami flavor of Parmesan with Parma! Vegan Parmesan seasoning.
The folks at Sister River Foods, makers of Parma! recently sent me two different varieties of this versatile seasoning blend to review for the blog, and I can’t believe how much I love it. Parma is the original plant-based parmesan; a dairy-free, protein-rich condiment ideal for use on pasta, pizza, salad, vegetables, popcorn, avocado toast and most other main dishes and savory foods. Parma is made from only natural ingredients including superfoods such as nutritional yeast, Himalayan crystal salt, organic sunflower seeds (clearly identifiable in the above photo) and organic hemp seeds, among other healthy ingredients.
Parma! Comes in Four Varieties, Including:
Original Parma! – Featuring an irresistibly cheesey umami flavor. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds.
Garlicky Green Parma! – Distinguished by a cheesey umami Italian herb flavour complemented by nutritiously delicious kelp, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Garlic, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Kelp Powder, Organic Dried Basil, Organic Dried Oregano.
And two more I would love try!
Better Than Bacon Parma! – Voted Favorite Bacon Flavored Product by VegNews and featuring a smokey cheesey umami bacon flavor. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Ground Paprika, Organic Dried Onion, Natural Flavor, Organic Brown Sugar, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Smoked Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds.
Chipotle Cayenne Parma! – Blessed with a smokey umami flavor akin to the most popular barbeque potato chips, with a slight cayenne kick at the end. Ingredients: Nutritional Yeast, Organic SunflowerSeeds, Walnuts, Organic Ground Chipotle Pepper, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Ground Cayenne Pepper.
A generous dusting of Garlicky Green Parma! on hot pasta elevates the flavor of your favorite sauce, and creates an exciting contrast of textures as the crunchy seeds mix with the tender pasta. Absolutely delicious.
Here, I have seasoned my breakfast of a cheese omelet and a scoop of cottage cheese with Original Parma! The Parma! was especially helpful in adding much-needed flavor enhancement to the cottage cheese, because I had accidentally purchased the unsalted variety — which otherwise, honestly, tastes of nothing. Thanks, Parma!
Founded in 2004, Parma! has steadily grown to its current status as a leader in the dairy-free cheese alternative arena and a key player in the multi-billion-dollar global vegan food category. Looking back on the origins of the Parma! brand, Sister River Foods’ co-founder and CEO Shannon Schnibbe recalls that it all started as the result of her severe allergies and effort to find foods that might give her relief. Introduced to raw foods, she was soon inspired to begin making what is now Parma! for herself, friends and family. After moving to Oregon and becoming pregnant with her first baby, Shannon decided to combine her passion for healthy eating with her corporate experience and turn her hobby into an actual business. The vegan parmesan revolution had begun!
Find Out more about Parma! and Sister River Foods, plus get Delicious Recipes, at This Link!
Do you like Bananas? I sure do. Whether I’m eating a fresh banana (which is considered to be possibly nature’s most perfect food) or enjoying virtually anything banana-flavored, I am all about this versatile, bright yellow fruit. There isn’t much you can’t do with a banana, except get it to give juice — and puréeing it in a blender is not the same thing. If you are a Banana Fan, let me enlighten you to the fact that yes, you can drink a Banana, because Banana Wave Banana Milk is a thing that exists.