Tag Archive | Product Review

Product Review: Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes

Garden-Lites Logo
Above Image Source, All Other Photos By Gail

Being a single, working woman means that I am all about convenience foods. With so many options available to shoppers, I know that I can count on finding delicious meals in the grocer’s freezer section that will go from the package to my plate in about 30 minutes, but I also want to eat food that’s healthy. That said, the ideal frozen entree should fill me up, but not fill me out, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Packaging

For all of those (and so many other) reasons, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are a terrific way for convenience-seekers to eat smart. Part of the Garden Lites line of vegetable-forward products that include muffins, waffles and entrees, Garden Lites Vegetable Bakes are an easy way to create a tasty, meatless meal that anyone who saw it would think you spent hours cooking.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake With Packaging

For this review I tried three different varieties of Vegetable Bakes: Cheddar Broccoli (seen above), Zucchini, and Roasted Vegetable. Each vegetable bake comes in its own baking dish and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to bake thoroughly, which gives you time to open a bottle of wine and make a pot of rice, if you choose — which I did.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Back of Packaging

When fully cooked, Vegetable Bakes are similar in consistency and mouth-feel to a very vegetable-dense quiche or frittata, where eggs have been added only to bind the ingredients together. Therefore it’s understood that these dishes, while vegetarian-friendly, are not vegan, due to having whole eggs or egg whites as an ingredient.

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Cooked

Here it is, just out of the oven, and you can see that the cheese has browned nicely!

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Serving Suggestion

It looks amazing, doesn’t it?

Cheddar Broccoli Bake Ready to Eat

Broccoli Cheddar Bake is a delicious and nutritious dish that is loaded with healthy, superfood ingredients like broccoli, onions, brown rice, and select spices, topped off with cheddar cheese.  Like all of the Vegetable Bakes, it is gluten free, Non-GMO and kosher, as well as being free of peanuts, tree nuts and soy. The full portion clocks in at just 210 calories and 7 Weight Watcher Smart Points. If you wanted to serve this as a side dish, it could easily feed two people.

Roasted Vegetable Bake Packaging

About a week after enjoying the Cheddar Broccoli Bake, I tried the Roasted Vegetable Bake. This dish is filled with tender carrots, broccoli, onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and potato, seasoned with assorted spices including black pepper and garlic salt. The Roasted Vegetable Bake is just 150 calories (wow!) and will set you back 5 Weight Watchers Smart Points. Check out all of those veggies!

Roasted Vegetable Bake Over Rice

I put some cheese on it as well!

Roasted Vegetable Bake With Cheese

There is no such thing as too much cheese.

Zucchini Bake Packaging

Last, but not least, I tried the Zucchini Bake. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and it makes everything that it touches taste better: this Vegetable Bake being no exception to that rule. Here, everyone’s favorite summer squash is combined with cauliflower, onions and  potatoes, as well as eggs, and a select seasoning mix for a farm-to-table dining experience.

Zucchini Bake over Rice

Here it is served over rice with a generous grating of sharp cheddar cheese, for just 150 calories and 5 Weight Watchers Points. A satisfying, delicious and low calorie meal that’s healthy and convenient: Win Win Win!

Find a store near you that sells Garden Lites products and get a money-saving coupon to use on your next purchase at This Link!

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Product Review: Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle

Brooklyn Bites Packages 2
Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

The holidays may be a few weeks behind us but, if you’re like me, the extra pounds gained from indulging in many (many) delicious treats still remain! The only way to take off the post-holiday fluff is to bump-up the exercise regimen and cut calories, which means feeling deprived — and that is never fun. But don’t despair: let me introduce you to Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle, a line of sweet treats that are not only ridiculously low in calories (between 80  – 110 per serving!), but they’re made with decadent, premium quality ingredients and are actually good for you. Just being serious!

Brooklyn Bites Packages 1

Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle was created by a mom and daughter duo who share a mutual love for baking and healthy eating. They had a mission to upgrade their cookies with the healthiest, most heart-friendly ingredients available. By default, their cookie became a brittle, which was so thin, crunchy, crispy and delicious that their healthy treats were an instant hit. Over the years, these ladies never lost sight of their goal to deliver the most wholesome and premium products while never sacrificing on taste or quality. All Brooklyn Bites products are still hand-made in Brooklyn with artisan quality ingredients!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle comes in six tempting varieties with on-trend flavor profiles to please every taste: Chocolate Lovers Delight, White Chocolate Brownie, Crunchy Creamy Pretzel, Chocolate Nutty Sea Salt, Coco Crispy Rice, and (my favorite) Cinnamon Coffee Cake.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Detail

It is no secret that I have a day job in a large office and that I sit with an enthusiastic team who never stops talking about food. When I received a huge shipment of Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle to review for the ‘Gig, I brought a couple of bags into the office to share with my coworkers, and everyone went insane for them. I am not even fan of cinnamon flavored anything, but the Cinnamon Coffee Cake variety blew by mind with its crispy texture, gingerbread-reminiscent cookie and drizzle of sweet icing that pulled everything together. Best part: a serving of four (4) cookies totals just 80 calories! Anyone can afford to indulge and not go off even the strictest diet.

Chocolate Lovers Delight

For chocolate purists, the Chocolate Lovers Delight has a not-too-sweet chocolate taste that gets kicked up a notch by a drizzle of rich chocolate icing . There is no guilt when it’s only 90 calories per four-cookie serving!

Cookie Brittle with Crisped Rice
Coco Crispy Rice, Detail

Cookie Brittle Creamy Pretzel
Crunchy Creamy Pretzel, Detail

In addition to being low in calories, Brooklyn Bites Thin Cookie Brittle is dairy free, non-GMO, made without white flour to be gluten-free, egg-free, with no white sugar or preservative and — oh yeah — Kosher! Learn more about Brooklyn Bites and find a store in your neighborhood that carries these indulgent, yet healthy, treats at Brooklyn Bites NY Dot Com!

Product Review: Fruit Bliss Fruit & Nut Bites!

Fruit Bliss Snacks
All Photos By Gail

Naturally sweet dried fruit paired with crunchy nuts is a popular, healthy snack combination that really cannot be improved on; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t innovative ways to change-up the presentation! Fruit Bliss Fruit & Nut Bites combine sweet, fiber-rich fruit and toasted nut pieces into bite-size squares that taste far more indulgent than you’d expect from a snack with zero artificial ingredients.

Tart Cherry Cacao
Don’t These Look Like Tiny, Nut-Studded, Chewy Brownies? Wait Until You Taste Them

Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites start out with only the the best organic fruits, sourced from global regions such as the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, or the Agen area of France — locales known for their high quality produce.

Fruit Bliss Apricot Bites

In the simplest way possible, Fruit Bliss has reinvented dried fruit snacking. While most dried fruit can be tough and hard to chew, Fruit Bliss snacks have a soft bite thanks to a steaming and rehydration process that adds water back into the fruit. The only three ingredients you’ll find in these Fruit Bites are fruit, nuts and water — no added sugars are needed because the fruit is naturally sweet from the sun-drying process!

Fruit Bliss Apricot Bites

Because they are dried by the sun, Fruit Bliss snacks are naturally darker in color than your typical dried fruit snack. Fruit Bliss skips the preservatives and chemicals that restore dried fruit to a bright color, and leave you with what matters most – pure and simple organic fruit.

Fruit Bliss Fig Bites

Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites come in three varieties, Apricot with Dates and Hazelnuts, Fig with Dates and Hazelnuts (think: elevated Fig Newton), and Tart Cherry with Dates, Hazelnuts, and Cacao Nibs. The tiny bits of toasted hazelnuts also add a fresh crunch to the soft, chewy texture of the fruit, for a pleasing mouth feel.

Tart Cherry Cacao Presentation

The Tart Cherry and  Cacao Nibs combination is my favorite, as it tastes like little tart cherry-infused chocolate brownies! Amazing! Chocolate lovers take note! All Fruit Bliss Fruit Bites snacks are packaged in environmentally sustainable, resealable pouches, so you can toss them in your purse or backpack for delicious, healthy snacking on-the-go!

Get more information about the full line of Fruit Bliss dried fruit products, and order online, at Fruit Bliss Dot Com!

Tart Cherry Cacao Packaging

Product Review: Booty Shawl Fashion Hip Wrap

Audrey Hipburn Booty Shawl
Audrey Hipburn-Style Booty Shawl (Image Courtesy of My Booty Shawl)

When it comes to rocking my personal style, leggings are an endlessly versatile fashion asset that I simply cannot do without. I pair them with a T Shirt for yoga, top them with a tunic and boots for the office, and layer them under skirts or dresses for added warmth in the winter. While feeling properly dressed in just leggings and a top is not an issue for me, there have been a few situations where I felt like I maybe needed a little extra “street coverage” when my shirt ends up being shorter than I had realized before leaving the house. In a pinch, you can always tie a sweater around your waist, but isn’t it better to plan ahead so you can feel confident and keep your outfit looking polished? Sure it is.

Booty Shawl Package

Enter the Booty Shawl: a lightweight, fashionable hip wrap that you can wear as a shirt extender or skirt-cover up over tight jeans or leggings anytime you want a little extra coverage that complements your style.  When I heard about the Booty Shawl, I immediately knew this was a fashion accessory that would not only be fun to play around with, but something that I could use right away to solve the coverage dilemma.

Audrey Hipburn Booty Shawl
Audrey Hipburn Booty Shaw in Black Stretch Lace

The ladies at Booty Shawl sent me over this Audrey Hipburn in Black Lace, which goes with practically everything my closet. This is what it looks like on:

AH Black Lace

So super chic! Audrey Hipburn provides the most coverage of all Booty Shawl styles. Low on the sides,  the  wide waistband can be worn rolled over to cover pockets and provide more tummy holding power or unrolled for more midriff shaping. Large kangaroo pockets stash cash or cards or so you can go hands-free.Throw this baby on after dance class and you’re ready for cocktail time!

Booty Shawl comes in three other styles. Check them out:

Lauren Bashawl

Lauren Bashawl is the newest girl in the Booty Shawl house; a direct response to customers who loved the wide 4″ waistband and wanted coverage for curvier hips. Her skirt is cut with greater easement to fit over more voluptuous hips, but still does the basic booty covering duty.

Booty Shawl Stella Draper-1

Stella Draper’s asymmetrical design allows for adjustments side to side. Slide it to the right for a little more leg reveal. Slide to the left for more hip reveal. Topped off with a simple elastic waistband, Stella provides coverage and cost control.

Booty Shawl Isabella Wrapalini

Isabella Wrapalini features a wide 4″ waistband which provides tummy holding talents. Crossover panels on the side of the legs provide great mobility for lateral movement. Ideal for dancers, prances and jumpers of joy. The secret waistband pocket holds essentials!

Each Booty Shawl style comes in an array of fabrics, colors and sizes (XS2X) and can easily be worn with any outfit you can imagine! Dress them up over skinny jeans, keep it casual over yoga pants, rock them at the gym over leggings, or wear it as a swimsuit coverup. The fashion possibilities are endless! Visit My Boot Shawl Dot Com for more Information on each Booty Shawl style and to make purchase, check out the Look Books, and visit the Booty Shawl Etsy Shop at This Link for custom orders!

Product Review: Summer Snacking and BBQ Favorites From Traina Home Grown

Traina Brand Images
All Photos By Gail

It’s hard to believe, but we are now half-way through summer. If you aren’t already deeply-immersed in the weekend picnic and backyard BBQ scene, it’s time to step up your game! Traina Foods has just introduced Home Grown;  a new line of healthy dried fruit snacks and gourmet condiments that makes it easy to bring the taste of summer to your table right now!

Snack Size Frutons

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh summer fruits that you can find everywhere — from the grocery store to your local farmer’s market. But, as silly as this may sound to some, there are those who miss out on fresh summer fruits because the time and effort it takes to wash, peel and cut up the fruit is just too daunting. With a plant-forward approach to eating in mind, Traina Home Grown introduces Fruitons, a delicious, convenient way to help you meet your overall healthy diet needs with perfectly portioned snack bags of their naturally sweet California sun-dried fruit. Sun-dried fruit is nutritionally equivalent to fresh fruit, being high in fiber, healthy nutrients, and antioxidants. Good to know!

Traina Dried Apricots
Traina Home Grown Dried Apricots

Not only are Fruitons a tasty, grab-and-go snack, but they can also be a versatile ingredient in creative meal preparation. I’ve been taking Fruitons to the office and adding them to the morning oatmeal I buy in the cafeteria.

Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
Oatmeal With Apricot and Cherry Fruitons Mixed In!

The hot cereal plumps the dried fruit, adding a chewy sweetness, and making a healthy breakfast even more delicious!

Frutons Large Bags

Fruitons also come in larger, resealable 6-once bags, so you can add the taste and nutritional benefits of dried fruit to all of your summer recipes.

Frutons Assorted Mix

Fruitons All American Blend contains a pleasing assortment of dried peaches, cranberries, grapes, apples and blueberries. This selection is ideal for making your own trail mix, sprinkling into salads, mixing into yogurt, and for perking-up the aforementioned hot cereals. Fruitons would also be an excellent substitute for raisins or other dried fruits that are called for in a variety of baking recipes! The creative possibilities are endless.

Frutons Sun Dried Tomatoes

Do you like sun-dried tomatoes? Who doesn’t? You probably already have a few favorite pasta recipes that call for this premium ingredient. Now you can have sweet and savory sun-dried tomatoes on hand all the time!

Traina Sauces
Traina Ketchups

If you’re planning a BBQ any time soon, be sure to pick up a couple of bottles of Traina Home Grown’s new Gourmet Ketchups and BBQ Sauces for all of your grilling needs! These sauces taste great on a variety of meats — burgers, chicken, steaks —  as well as on vegetables, and used in dips. There are four pounds of tomatoes in every bottle of Home Grown Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup, and these ketchups are also gluten free, kosher, vegan and contain no corn syrup.  There is an organic variety of Ketchup as well as two additional specialty favors.  Gourmet Sicilian Ketchup, with its Italian herb blend, is great on fish and chicken, and to add a kick to your meal,  try the spicy Gourmet Sriracha Ketchup! All are made with same care and quality ingredients.

Traina BBQ Sauces

You’re probably not going to find BBQ sauces like these anywhere else, because Traina Home Grown BBQ Sauces are made with real dried fruit, for an extra special taste! Both the Sun Dried Apricot and Sun Dried Plum BBQ Sauces are sweet and spicy, and would taste so amazing on ribs! The Sun Dried Plum variety reminds me very much of Hoisin Sauce. I served it as a dipping condiment with Trader Joe’s Masala Burgers, and it was off the hook!

Find out more about the Traina family of fine products, shop online, get recipes or find out where to shop in your neighborhood for the products in this post, at This Link!

Frutons Assorted Packaging

Product Review: Tayst Coffee Roasters Subscription Box Service

Tayst Logo
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Coffee? I sure do. I especially love my Kuerig Coffeemaker for its convenience, ease of clean up, and the seemingly endless variety of flavors and drink types available in those little pods. I love it! But I also love the Earth, and the amount of waste that accumulates in landfills from those same little pods is not lost on me. A couple of years ago, I actually purchased a set of reusable plastic coffee pods, which can be filled with your own ground coffee, and then washed and reused again and again. They work fine, but the amount of sediment left in the bottom of the coffee cup after drinking is unappealing to me. Faced with this conundrum, I went back to the regular disposable pods. Sorry, Earth.

Coffee Box

Recently, I was contacted by Tayst Coffee Roasters, a subscription coffee service that delivers high-quality, gourmet coffee pods and supplies directly to your home or office. Tayst is concerned with sustainability, and so all of their pods, bags, cups and related packaging are fully compostable and thus biodegrade. It is a cause for excitement! Tayst sent me a sample box of their delicous coffee to try out for review, and here’s what was in that box:

Bold and Brilliant

Bold and Brilliant Bold Roast, Bag of 10 Pods.

Medium and Magnificent

Medium and Magnificent Medium Roast, Bag of 10 Pods.

Vintage Vanilla Cream

Vintage Vanilla Cream Varietal Roast, Bag of 10 Pods.

That’s an entire month’s worth of coffee! Wow! They also sent me these:

Coffee Pods

4 Random individually-packaged coffee pods of various boldnesses.

Coffee Bag Clips

And these cute little wooden clothespin clips, which are for sealing the open bag to keep the pods fresh! Cutes and practical!

Tayst Cups

And they sent me some cups and lids, in case I want to take my coffee to go! So thoughtful!

My Tayst box arrived on a Friday afternoon, so I was excited to make a cup for myself first thing on Saturday morning! I went for the Vanilla Cream first, because flavored coffees are my jam. As you can see, the pod has no hard plastic cup and the coffee is just contained inside a soft, compostable filter.

Coffee Pod Close Up

Here is a close up of the pod.

Coffee in a Pig Mug

While all beverages taste great when served in a Pig Mug, this Tayst coffee is so smooth, rich, robust without being bitter, and the sweet Vanilla Cream flavor really started off my weekend right! I have been enjoying Tayst coffee at home for a few weeks now, and I have come to crave its yumminess.

Of course, there is a good reason why Tayst coffees tastes so fantastic. The beans that go into Tayst coffee are sourced from sustainable farms around the world. These fine beans are roasted, ground fresh and put into compostable single serve cups, and then sent direct to customers. By choosing to source coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, companies subscribing to Tayst Coffee Box Service are having a demonstrable impact on the ground, conserving natural resources and improving the lives and livelihood of farm communities. Every way you look at it, Tayst Coffee Service is great for the environment!

How It Works

It’s so easy to get started with Tayst Coffee delivery to your home or office. First, choose either Keurig or Nespresso compatible single serve cups in quantities as low as 30, 40 or 50 pods monthly for individual or family use. Prices go down a few cents per cup as you increase your order, and if you are ordering for an office, buying in a larger quantity would make sense. There are subscription plans that deliver as many as 2500 pods per month, at a significant savings.

Next, choose your brew strength. There are two bold roasts, two medium roasts, plus the Vintage Vanilla Cream for flavored coffee fans, and a Defiantly Decaf variety that still maintains its dark, rich coffee characteristics. You can also choose the Tayst Sample Box to get a mix of all varieties.

Coffee Pod Trio

You’re in control of how often and how much coffee you will receive with your subscription. Either set it and forget it or adjust the coffee taste profile, quantity or frequency of your monthly order at will.  Initial office coffee box orders include Tayst Coffee Storage Jars and Tayst Ceramic Coffee Mugs, with the number of each adjusted according to the size of your order. You can also order a sleeve of 20 compostable coffee cups for just $6.00. The best part is that there is no commitment and no contracts to sign. You can cancel your delivery subscription at any time!

Visit  Tayst Dot Com for more information, and to get 30% Off your first box! You’ll be glad you did!

A Yawn is a Silent Scream

Product Review: Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches For Allergy Symptom Relief

Dr. Loos Harmony Patches Packaging
All Photos By Gail

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, like I do, then you know that the symptoms can really lay you low — especially when they can linger for weeks at a time. There are plenty of effective over the counter remedies, like antihistamines, cough suppressants and expectorants to help you get through the worst of it, but there are few factors to consider. Maybe you are someone who isn’t good with remembering to take your next dosage, or maybe you are conflicted about what you can take that won’t bring on unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness. Most importantly, you want to know that the ingredients in whatever remedies you choose to take are safe and as natural as possible. It’s a lot to deal with when all you want to do is feel well again.

Coincidentally, a week into my most recent onset of allergy symptoms, I was contacted by a representative of Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches, which are an organic, all-natural treatment for the relief of coughs, colds and allergy symptoms. She asked if I’d be interested in trying out Dr. Loos Harmony Patches as I blew my nose for the millionth time that day “I am having an allergy attack right now!” I replied. “How soon can you get them to me?” She put a package in the mail to me and I had them two days later! I started using them immediately.

Dr. Loos Harmony Patches Child to Adult

Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches are transdermal patches containing herbs and organic, natural ingredients that you apply to your skin and leave on for up to 12 hours at a time. I received samples of two different varieties of cough, cold and allergy relief patches: one that treats Age 8 to Adult, and one for Mature Adults 50+ Years. For my first treatment, I applied five of the Age 8 to Adult patches as directed on the reverse of the packaging – 3 on my chest and 2 on my back – about an hour before bed time on a Friday, and slept with them on me. The patches seen above are about the thickness of a sheet of paper, and once they are on your skin, you do not feel them at all.

Dr. Loos Harmony Patches Instructions
Information and Detailed Instructions Are Printed on the Back of Each Package

Although I had been waking up several times during the night with coughing fits for, say, the previous five nights, on this night I didn’t cough even once during my sleep. Once I was awake on Saturday morning and hit the twelve hour mark, I removed the patches, showered, and applied a fresh round of patches to my clean, dry skin. I wore those patches from noon until midnight. I only coughed a few times throughout the day; and when I did, the cough was much more productive than it had been. I felt much improved from the previous 24 hour,s to say the least. Bonus: I didn’t have to remember to take any pills or other oral medications!

Dr. Loos Harmony Patches Mature Adult

Saturday night, I slept without any of the Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches on me, but Sunday I  decided to try the Mature Adult patches. These patches, seen in the photo directly above, are slightly thicker than the pink patches, and are therefore easier to apply, especially to your back area. Besides the visual difference in the color, shape and thickness of the patches, there is a difference in the adhesive, in that the Age 8 to Adult variety contains a small amount of acrylic, and the Mature Adult variety is recommend for anyone with sensitive skin. The propriety formula on both patches is identical, with the active ingredients being USDA organic ginger, chamomile, and fennel, with no alcohol sugar, bicarbonate or additives.

Because Harmony Patches are applied directly onto the areas of the body where symptoms originate, the ingredients are absorbed into your body immediately and can get to work right away to make you feel better. After using the patches for a few days my symptoms were great reduced and I was much more comfortable. I recommend them!

Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patches are also available to treat Tummy  / Digestive Distress in both Children and Adults. Get more information about the Dr. Loo’s family of Harmony Patch products at This Link, and visit Amazon Dot Com to Purchase!