Monday, December 21, 2015

Brazi Bites

Nearly two years ago I was contacted by a lovely company, Brazi Bites, to review their traditional Brazilian cheese bread snacks. I responded with a resounding YES because who wouldn't love to try gluten-free cheese bread snacks?! I tried them and was hooked. Once I finished the samples I was bound and determined to find out where I could get more. At the time, however, they were really only located in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) and I was in New England. Thus began my love affair with Brazi Bites.


About a month ago Evan and I were in Syracuse perusing the aisles of Wegman's as I love to do, and I was astonished to see Brazi Bites in the freezer section! I bought several (aka quite a few) bags and proceeded to eat them ALL. As we are now blessed with a Wegman's in Massachusetts I hurried home to see if I could find them there and I am happy to report that I DID. To find in a store near you, click here. Shortly after,  I was again contacted by Brazi Bites to write a little bit more on their delicious product and I was obviously happy to oblige. I was also delighted to find out that they now have a new Garlic Asiago flavor!


All of Brazi Bites flavors, Jalepeno (my favorite), bacon, original, and garlic asiago can be eaten by themselves as a snack or in combination with a meal. This time around I sought to pair them with different meals. The bacon flavor was incredible with breakfast and brunch. The garlic asiago went really well with Italian dinners and was basically a gluten-free replacement for garlic bread! The original flavor went really well with a ham dinner (who doesn't love ham and cheese anything?). The jalepeno flavor is hands down my favorite for snacking or eating with anything. They even make great little sliders for pulled pork or breakfast sandwiches!


I was also thrilled to hear about Brazi Bites in a different context - on the TV show Shark Tank! The founders Cameron and Junea made it through to pitch Brazi Bites to the Shark Tank investors. To watch the episode and find out what happens click here: Brazi Bites on Shark Tank!


Please note, I did receive this product complementary from Brazi Bites but, as always, the opinions are entirely my own. Photo credit: Brazi Bites. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

San-J Sweet and Tangy Sauce

Ever been stuck in a food rut? I know I have. A few weeks ago was a prime example of me in a food rut. I was eating the same things over and over, and things I didn't even really like, but were easy. I was feeling like I needed a food kick-start. Insert a San-K glaze and marinade: Sweet & Tangy.


Once again San-J absolutely hits the nail on the head with this sauce. The Sweet and Tangy sauce is exactly that - deliciously tart with a smooth sweet finish. I decided to marinate some chicken and then grill it. The sauce goes so well with chicken, transforming a pretty bland grilled meat into juicy, caramelized strips. I paired it with a very simple coconut rice and steamed broccoli and it was a perfect healthy and delicious meal! I am dying to try it with shrimp in a stir fry!

Sweet and Tangy Grilled Chicken

Preferred cut of chicken (I prefer boneless thighs or strips of chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare your preferred cut of chicken. If breasts, cut into strips and salt and pepper. If thighs, salt and pepper as well. Place in a large ziplock bag and pour in a generous amount of San-J Sweet and Tangy sauce. Be sure it is enough to coat entirely. Let marinate for the time you have, overnight or just an hour works fine! Grill until no longer pink in center. Coat with additional Sweet and Tangy sauce while on the grill.

Coconut Rice

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice*
2 cups of coconut milk
1/4 cup of water
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Wash rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain in colander. In a 4 quart saucepan with a lid, add coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt and stir to blend. Add rice and stir while bringing to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow to cook for about 18 minutes or until done. Remove from heat, and let stand for a few minutes. Fluff and serve!


I'm sure many of you have heard about the arsenic issues with rice lately. To buy rice with the least amount of arsenic, choose white rice from India or Pakistan. Avoid brown rice because the hull retains arsenic and avoid rice grown in the US.


 




Please note, I did receive this product complimentary from San-J but, as always, the opinions are entirely my own. 


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Products I'm Loving

Gluten-Free products I have been really digging lately...










Friday, May 29, 2015

The wonders of wallpaper

If anyone is wondering what two layers of floral wallpaper and a layer of puke-free paint over horse hair plaster looks like you are welcome to come over my house and help scrape...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

the season of growth

With the unfurling of green leaves, sprouting of grass, and silent but frantic emergence of seedings also comes growth of another kind - graduations. To get you into the mindset of commencement time here is the 2008 Harvard address by my favorite author, J.K. Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination. Enjoy!

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default." -- J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April by the Numbers

Has this been the fastest April in history, or is it just me? This was the first month since we moved into our Hodgepodge House in September that we've been able to work outside and not freeze and we took full advantage. I'm having trouble remembering the days and weeks individually, but here is a little bit of my April by the numbers...
1 raging case of poison ivy
2 Sarah Bernhardt peonies planted
2 Endless Summer Hydrangeas planted
3 Endless Summer Hydrangeas waiting to be planted
1 Virbunum planted
5 GIANT holes dug
6 seeding trays knocked over by Tori
1 pair of gloves tossed (see poison ivy above)
The first green things in my yard - Stelladora - Daylillies

The landscaping of our  Hodgepodge House, as it is affectionately known, left A LOT to be desired when we moved in. We had tons of multi colored mulch to contend with and zero plants to work with. This fall we planted a bunch of day lilies, several hydrangea, a dogwood pagoda tree, and two different varieties of peonies so they could over-winter well and I've been dying to see the results. I was psyched to see that despite the 100+ inches of snow we received, nothing was permanently damaged! Those improvements, in addition to the list above, have really changed the outside of the house for the better!


Emerging coral charm peonies

We also put together a really cute little herb garden in a wooden barrel that we bought at Home Depot. We included sage, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, basil, thai basil, and thyme. My phone has been taking less-than-stellar photos so I am going to try and get some actual photos to update you with. The peonies are growing much faster than I expected! Fingers crossed for some blooms this year...

Tori enjoying the sun

Mini retaining wall I built on a whim, it's only a little crooked

Completed herb barrel!

The side of the house 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are Cheerios going Gluten-Free??

The short answer: it appears so!! A long-time favorite of all ages, and one without a comparable officially gluten-free option, is now entirely transforming their process to produce a gluten-free product. To read more check out the Gluten Dude Blog here: http://glutendude.com/gluten/are-gluten-free-cheerios-safe-for-celiacs/.

Interesting timing as gluten-free rice krispies have been pulled citing "production problems"....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Surf Sweets - Gluten-Free & Organic Treats

If you are anything like me, the appearance of Easter candy shortly after Valentine's Day brings on mixed emotions. On one hand I LOVE candy, on the other I don't love the ingredients in most candy and being gluten-free further limits my choices. Enter Surf Sweets. Organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO candy products!


Surf Sweets offers delicious candy options similar to many popular mainstream candies. Shown above are jelly beans, gummy bears, watermelon rings, and fruit chews (ie. starbursts). The jelly beans come in a delightful variety of flavors, my favorites being the lemonade, pineapple, and mixed berry. These really don't even compare to regular jelly beans in my option. See the ingredients below and TRY to tell me you'd rather eat the other guys.

Surf Sweets Spring Mix Jelly Beans: Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Grape Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Colors Added (Organic Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Organic Turmeric), Natural Flavors, Confectioner’s Glaze, Carnauba Wax, Organic Sunflower Oil.

The gummy bears are my favorite and don't make me feel awful about eating them. They even have 100% of your daily vitamin C needs and are vegan! Surf Sweets don't contain any of those unnatural food colorings either. The fruit chews are delightfully normal colored and don't appear radio-active. I also tried the peach rings which I have always liked but these were soft and chewy - no broken teeth here.


While Surf Sweets products are gluten-free, they are also free of the top 10 allergens, including dairy, casein, nuts, and soy, which make these great for people with serious food allergies. Many people without allergies, or friends/family with allergies, don't understand the social/emotional impact of food allergies. Halloween and Easter can be ostracizing experiences for children in school if they can't participate the same ways. With Surf Sweets, these holidays no longer have to be a stressful and disappointing experience.

Another thing I love about these packages of candy, is the appropriate amount of product in each little bag. The gummy bears shown below fit comfortably inside a snack-sized bag and keep you from gorging on candy post-Easter or accidentally consuming hundreds of extra calories. Perfect for lunches, party favors, and more!


 

Surf Sweets are organic, gluten-free, and non GMO. They really are the smart choice for the smart candy consumer. You can find their products in a bunch of convenient locations and their website has a great location finder here: find Surf Sweets near you! If you can't find a retailer you can also buy online. (Just in time for Easter, too!)

On the fence about organic candy? PLEASE read the ingredients of these and the mainstream options and you will be forever convinced. It also helps they are super attractive candies and go so well in my PiP Studio bowls. =)


Click below for a little more information and here for the Surf Sweets story!


Please note, I did receive these products complimentary from Surf Sweets but, as always, the opinions are entirely my own. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

melbourne beach, florida 2015

This winter has been one for the record books, literally. Boston has had a record amount of snow and with that came a record amount of headaches (and back aches). We made a last minute visit to Florida to visit family in March and it was very much needed for mental and emotional rejuvenation. 


We had seven days of 80+ degree weather and 100% sun.




On our second to last day we made the short trip to the ocean for the sunrise. Totally worth it.