Category: Eating

Mona’s Granola Starts Your Day Off Right

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by No Comments

Mona’s Granola was recently named the top granola in a test conducted by Cooking Light, making it a great addition to your family’s pantry.

Mona’s Granola is 100% natural with no GMOs and no artificial colors or flavors. It has been made in America in since 1981. Available flavors include cinnamon pecan, honey almond, and original.

Mona’s Granola uses rolled oats, sunflower seeds, raw wheat germ, wheat bran, honey, non-GMO safflower oil, and pure vanilla to create a wholesome product that the entire family can enjoy. The granola contains no added sugar, salt, or preservatives.

I like Mona’s Granola because it has a softer texture than other granolas I’ve tried in the past. I have very sensitive teeth and extra-crunchy granola can be hard for me to chew. My son also has an aversion to crunchy foods, so the softer texture of Mona’s Granola was a plus for him.

Granola can be eaten as dry cereal with milk, but I’m fond of adding a bit of granola to my yogurt in the morning. The honey almond flavor tastes great on strawberry yogurt since it adds a bit of sweetness.

You can also try baking with granola to make tasty yet healthy treats for your family. Granola is great for adding to homemade trail mix, cookies, muffins, and more. The Mona’s Granola website has a recipe for banana granola muffins that your kids are sure to love.

Mona’s Granola is a good source of fiber, which helps regulate digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Mona’s Granola also contains 4 grams of protein per serving, which provides energy and helps repair muscles, skin, hair, and organs.

If you tend to get hungry between breakfast and lunch, try adding Mona’s Granola to your morning routine to provide the energy you need to get through your day.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Mona’s Granola

Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans Are a Tasty Addition to Any Easter Basket

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by 1 Comment

If your kids like jellybeans, Wonka’s Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans are sure to be a hit addition to their Easter basket. These jelly beans have a crunchy Nerds candy shell and a sweet jelly bean interior.

The bag includes grape, lemon, orange, lime, and cherry flavors. The jelly beans are surprisingly addictive. The sample bag I received was gone in no time at all, since my husband, my son, and I couldn’t keep our hands off these tasty jelly beans.

Wonka’s Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans were voted “best sour jelly bean” by Good Morning America. I didn’t find them to be overly sour, however. They had a little more “kick” than typical jelly beans, but I liked them even though I’m not normally a fan of sour candies.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I thought the jelly beans themselves were gorgeous. The bumpy texture and the bright colors make them a great choice for displaying in a clear glass candy jar. Fill a mason jar full of jelly beans, add a printable tag from Nifty Mom, and you have a quick gift idea to celebrate the season.

If you really want a sugar fix, try using the jelly beans to decorate a Peeps cake for Easter! I made one of these desserts last year and it was a huge hit. I just make a plain round cake with peeps around the outside and jelly beans on the top, but Made for Pinterest has a cool polka dot version that looks like lots of fun.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Target

Cooking Planit Makes Meal Planning Easy

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

Do you need a little help figuring out what to feed your family?

Cooking Planit is a website and mobile app that provides you with step-by-step instructions to create full meals while organizing the meal planning process to save you time and money.

The makers of Cooking Planit describe the site as a “GPS for the kitchen.” Users can filter meals by main ingredient, occasion, dietary restriction, and/or type of dish. There are also options for searching for kid-friendly meals for picky eaters or quick and easy meals for your super busy days. Each recipe has a full list of ingredients and all of the cooking utensils that you need.

I love that this site gives you coordinated meal plans that include main dishes and side dishes instead of individual recipes. The directions are very detailed, which would be ideal if you’re trying to get your teens to help you out in the kitchen.

Once you’ve decided what to make, you can add all of the needed ingredients to a grocery list to simplify your shopping process. You can even sync your account across the web, your iPhone, and your iPad.

The only potential drawback I can see to the Cooking Planit site is that I can’t easily find nutrition information for the recipes. So, this might not be the best site if you’re really concerned about calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, etc. unless you’re fine with just filtering out unacceptable recipes based on the dietary restrictions guidelines the site has.

Visit the Cooking Planit website to check out the desktop version of the service or download the free iOS app.

Photo credit: Cooking Planit

Tired of Coffee? Tazo Focus Tea Energizes You and Tastes Great

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 by No Comments

Every now and then, I find myself sick of coffee but still in need of something to get me through the morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. I saw a box of my sister’s Tazo Focus tea on a shelf in my mom’s kitchen the last time I visited and she was kind enough to share with me. She gave me two bags, and after the first cup, I was on the hunt for a box of my own.

I don’t normally like black teas unless they’re iced and sweetened; I’m normally a caffeine-free, herbal tea kind of girl. I’ve been known to brew some green tea to drink in place of my morning coffee, but aside from the occasional chai, hot black tea’s just not usually my thing.

This one is a mix of black tea, yerba mate, cocoa peel, and orange essence. Honestly, they had me at cocoa.

The description on the box calls it “invigorating,” and I have to agree. It perks you up without the jitters coffee can give you. The caffeine level is 46-60 mg. It tastes amazing with raw honey in it; to me, the addition of honey brings out all the flavors in the tea, but it’s good without anything added to it, too.

The only thing I dislike about this tea is something I hate about all teas. It’s not as quick as making coffee in the Keurig or pouring a second cup out of a coffee pot. It has to steep for five minutes (longer than some other teas), and you have to boil water first, so it’s not exactly quick.

I guess if you wanted to, you could brew a big pot of it (I usually only do one cup at a time) and it’d be no different than having a second up of coffee from the coffee pot, especially if you use a French press for coffee and have to wait for the water to boil anyway.

Anyway, I find this tea a delicious change for those times when I need a pick-me-up but don’t want coffee. It’s around $4.00 for a box of 16 bags.

Photo credit: Vitacost

Take a New Spin on Healthy Meals with the Paderno World Cuisine Veggie Spiralizer

Posted on Mar 12, 2014 by 1 Comment

Pasta lovers will especially love the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer, especially if they’re trying to cut back on their favorite carb-heavy foods.

Making “pasta” out of vegetables leaves no room for guilt. You can make three kinds of vegetable noodles with this machine—long, spaghetti-like noodles; long flat noodles (like ribbons); and long, thick spirals. You can make pasta, curly fries, or just beautiful additions to meals that would normally have plain, boring sliced vegetables on them.

Though it would be nice for the machine to just do the work for you at the flip of a switch, it is nice that you don’t have to worry about batteries or finding a good place to plug it in. You do the work manually. The suction cups stick to your countertop so you have both hands free. One turns the handle while the other pushes the platform with the vegetable attached toward the blades.

You have to be extremely careful when handling the blades, but one good thing is that the machine has storage for the two blades that aren’t in use while the third one is in use. That means you don’t have to store them in a drawer somewhere and risk cutting your fingers when you reach in for something else.

The parts are top rack dishwasher safe, which is probably one of my favorite things about it.

How can something that turns vegetables into spiral noodles up to two feet long be anything but fun? The food’s more fun to eat, too, so if you have kids who don’t like to eat their vegetables, this may be something you can use.

Photo credit: Amazon

250 Best Meals in a Mug Makes Cooking for One a Snap

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 by No Comments

Camilla V. Saulsbury’s 250 Best Meals in a Mug shows you how to make your own homemade microwave meals in just minutes. Ms. Saulsbury is an experienced food writer who has authored over a dozen cookbooks and won top prizes in cooking competitions such as the $100,000 National Chicken Cook-Off and the Food Network’s $25,000 Ultimate Recipe Showdown.

This book would be the perfect for any college students or young singles you know. The recipes are healthier and much cheaper than having them live off TV dinners or make huge batches of food that end up going to waste because they don’t feel like eating the same thing every day of the week.

It would also be a good cookbook to keep on hand if you’re trying to teach your older children how to be more independent. My son still isn’t allowed near the stove, but I’ve been letting him cook a few things in the microwave. 250 Best Meals in a Mug has several recipes he can handle on his own, such as the spaghetti and meatballs, brownies, cheese fondue, and poached eggs.

To cut prep time, the recipes incorporate convenience foods like frozen cooked meatballs, frozen veggies, canned tuna, and ready to use broths.

Types of recipes featured in 250 Best Meals in a Mug include:

  • Recipes with 4 ingredients or less
  • Breakfast
  • Breads and muffins
  • Soups, stews, and chilis
  • Meatless main dishes
  • Meat, poultry and seafood main dishes
  • Past and grains
  • Snacks
  • Desserts

The desserts were some of my favorite recipes in this cookbook, since I tend to overindulge when I make an entire cake. A dessert in a mug satisfies my sweet tooth without unnecessary temptation.

Here’s a sample recipe, reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Double Lemon Cake

A delicious lemony dessert made quickly in a mug in your microwave!



  • Cake
    • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
    •  1⁄4 tsp baking powder
    • 1⁄8 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
    • 11⁄2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Icing
    • 1 ⁄3 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    • 11⁄2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


For the cake: In the mug, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a fork, beat in egg, sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice until very well blended.

Microwave on High for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (checking at 1 1/2) or until risen and center is just set. Let cool slightly or entirely in mug. Eat directly from mug or gently remove to a small plate.

For the icing: In a small bowl or cup, use a fork to stir confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Prep Ahead Option: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the mug; cover and store at room temperature. Whisk the egg in a small airtight container, then add sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice; cover and refrigerate. Prepare the icing in a small airtight container; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tip: Using oil, instead of butter, in this recipe helps to keep the cake extra-moist. You can use 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) lemon extract in place of the lemon zest.

Courtesy 250 Best Meals in a Mug by Camilla V. Saulsbury
© 2014 Robert Rose Inc.
Reprinted with publisher permission.

Photo credit: 250 Best Meals in a Mug

Zhena’s Tea Is a Tasty Way to Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Posted on Feb 28, 2014 by 1 Comment

If you’re trying to get healthy, tea is a far better beverage choice than coffee or soda. In addition to having less caffeine, tea contains flavonoids that are good for the heart and help prevent your risk of developing many types of cancers.

Zhena’s new line of Extra Strength Slim Me teas are designed to offer all the health benefits of regular tea along with a specially formulated combination of herbs that help promote weight loss, such as Raspberry Ketone, Green Coffee Extract, Garcinia Cambogia Fruit, and African Mango Seed.

The product is available in four flavors:

  • Cranberry Ginger
  • Peach Vanilla
  • Superfruit Mixed Berry
  • Raspberry Mint

I am not a huge tea drinker, but I’ve been trying different kinds of tea lately in a quest to help kick my diet soda addiction. I really like the Cranberry Ginger and Superfruit Mixed Berry flavored Extra Strength Slim Me tea. It’s helped me cut down on my soda consumption considerably and it’s certainly a nice change of pace from drinking plain water.

The Extra Strength Slim Me teas can be served hot or ice cold, depending upon your taste preferences. My husband and I both thought the tea tasted better cold.

When you drink an eight ounce glass of Zhena’s Extra Strength Slim Me tea before each meal, it helps to suppress your appetite. It’s not meant to be a magic cure for obesity, but it seems like it would certainly be helpful if you’re trying to drop a few pounds.

Each Zhena’s Extra Strength Slim Me tea tin contains 30 tea bags and sells for $9.99. You can buy the tea on the Zhena’s website or at Rite-Aid stores nationwide.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Zhena’s

Elmo Makes Snacktime Fun for Your Toddler

Posted on Feb 24, 2014 by No Comments

If your child likes Sesame Street and you like fast yet healthy snacks, Earth’s Best’s Organic Crunchin’ Crackers are a must-have addition to your pantry.

These crackers are USDA organic. They contain no growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, or potentially harmful pesticides or herbicides. They are also free of hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

Earth’s Best Organic’s Organic Crunchin’ Crackers are an excellent source of iron to help transport oxygen throughout the body and zinc to help boost the body’s ability to fight infection. They also contain six B vitamins to help unlock the energy in carbohydrates.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I was impressed by the level of detail in the designs on each cracker. I’ve purchased several brands of character crackers that had a cute box and bore no resemblance to the featured character when you opened the package, but these little crackers look just like Elmo and Big Bird.

When paired with a small portion of fruit, they’re the perfect fun yet nutritious snack for your little one.

However, if you’re the type who tends to swipe your kid’s snacks, I’m warning you that these crackers are ridiculously tasty. I had the box out waiting for my two-year-old nephew to arrive, but my nine-year-old son and I ended up eating half the box ourselves.

You might want to pick up two boxes to make sure you have enough to go around!

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo: Earth’s Best

Power Crunch Bars Are a Tasty Way to Get the Protein You Need

Posted on Feb 21, 2014 by No Comments

Protein bars can be a great way to get the nutrition you need when you’re on the go or after you’ve hit the gym. Power Crunch products are made with a special type of hydrolyzed whey protein that helps improve the absorption of the protein within the body, making them a unique alternative to other brands of protein bars on the market.

The Power Crunch Choklat bars are my favorite. I think they taste a little like a Nestle Crunch bar. They come in milk chocolate and dark chocolate varieties.

There are two servings per package with 110 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 7 grams of sugar per serving. They are a gluten-free treat, which I thought was a big plus because none of the other brands of protein bars that I’ve tried have been gluten-free, and I know that many of you are trying to eliminate gluten from your diet.

As for the original Power Crunch bar flavors, the chocolate mint and peanut butter fudge flavors went over the best with everyone who helped me sample the different varieties. They’re light and flaky with enough of a chocolate taste to satisfy your sweet tooth. The chocolate mint bar almost tastes like Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.

Even though I’m not officially a vegetarian, I like the Power Crunch bars because I’m not a big meat eater and they’re an easy way to get much needed protein into my diet. My mother, who is diabetic, really liked that they’re relatively low in sugar. Each bar, which is a single serving, has 200 calories, 13 grams of protein, and 5 grams of sugar.

Visit the Power Crunch website to find a store near you that sells Power Crunch protein bars.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Photo credit: Power Crunch

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