Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Clean Pantry Snacks

Product reviews by Lisa VanWilliams

Here are three USDA organic companies providing healthy snack options all made in the USA. What a great way to start the New Year by stocking up your pantry with better choices for yourself and your family. If you set yourself up to only have healthy choices to pick from, that's all you have to choose from unless you go out of your way! These are great for on-the-go healthy living and you can take them anywhere.

Honey Stingers - Steamboat, Colorado

Ralph and Luella Gamber have been making nutritious and great tasting honey-based foods since 1954. Their product line now consists of energy bars, protein bars, energy gels, organic waffles, organic chews, kids specific snacks, and their own brand of Organic Wildflower Honey. They sell these at Whole Foods, REI, Sports Authority, and Trailblazer just to name a few.

We really enjoyed the waffles, my daughter finished her half before we got back to the car.

You can find out more about the company and view the products here:

You can find your closest retailer here:

PROBAR - Salt Lake City, Utah

Jeff Coleman gave up his cheesesteaks when he met a PROBAR back in early the 2000's, and he fell in love. He loved them so much, he bought the company. and he now runs it with his family. PROBAR is the leading provider of vegan, organic, and non-GMO food products that are delicious, convenient, healthy, and plant-based.  They have five different lines called:
  • bite (anytime bar) -on-the-go-bites
  • Meal (whole food meal replacement) raw ingredients of fruits, nuts, & seeds
  • BOLT (energy chews) workouts to races, packed with electrolytes, B vitamins, complex carbs
  • FUEL (super food bar) organic fruit blend of cashews and oats
  • BASE (20g of protein) build strength and keeps you going strong

The bars come in a variety of flavors depending which variety you go with. You can find these at Target, Whole Foods, REI, and the Vitamin Shoppe to name a few. You can find out more about the company,where to get them locally, or order bars here:

Go Raw (junk-free food) - San Jose, California

Rob Freeland started making his first flax seed crackers back in 2002 in San Diego. They now have a full line of certified organic live foods. Raw foods are loaded with enzymes that help the body to properly digest and assimilate food for optimal nutritional value. They offer:
  • Sprouted Bars - Banana Bread Flax Bar, Raisin Crunch Bar, Live Pumpkin Bar, Real Live Apricot Bar
  • Sprouted Flax Seed - Sunflower Seed Flax Snack, Super Simple Flax Snack, Pizza Flax Snack, Spicy Fiesta Snack Flax
  • Sprouted Cookies - Sweet Crunch Cookie, Ginger Snap Cookie, Chocolate Cookies, Lemon Pie Cookie, Spiced Chai Cookie, Carrot Cake Cookie
  • Sprouted Bites - Sweet Spirulina Bites, Pumpkin Seed Bites
  • Sprouted Granola - Raisin Crunch Granola, Super Simple Granola, Coco Crunch Granola, Apple Cinnamon Granola
  • Sprouted Seeds - Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds, Sprouted Sunflower Seeds, Spicy Seed Mix, Simple Seed Mix, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds
  • Chocolate - Super Raw Chocolate, Orange Raw Chocolate, Mint Raw Chocolate
  • Coconut Crisps - Chocolate Coconut Crisps, Tangy Lime, Salt & Vinegar Coconut Crisps
  • Salad Snax - Rowdy Ranch Salad Snax, Thousand Island Salad Snax, Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Snax

You can find out more about the company and order products here:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Santa Barbara Nutrition Bars

Review & recipe by Lisa VanWilliams
Now is a great time of year to clean up your pantry and get ready for the New Year. This week, we will be covering some healthy snack options that are great to keep on hand for when the snack attack hits. These are great for traveling as well.

Today's pick is Santa Barbara Nutrition Bars and these Super Food bars are made in a wholesale bakery out of California, and they have been making these bars for over 20 years now. They are perfect for people living an active lifestyle and looking for a superior tasting bar the utilizes the finest tasting natural ingredients.

Flavors available:
  • Dark Chocolate Almond
  • Mango Lemon
  • Coconut Almond
  • Peanut Chocolate Cherry
  • Cranberry White Chocolate
  • Sampler Pack

The brand is available at some Costco locations, and most Stop & Shops in Connecticut.
You can find out more about Santa Barbara Bars, find a location near you, order online here:


Today I used took a couple of Coconut Almond bars and put them in the food processor and made a bread crumbs out of them. I took a breast of chicken pounded thin, salted & peppered. Dipped it in egg wash and coated it with the granola bar. I melted some coconut oil and seared it on both sides, and then finished cooking it in the oven at 350 for ten minutes. I will let this cool, slice it up, and serve this over a salad for dinner. It tastes and smells wonderful, and this would also work wonderfully on a nice mild piece fish like tilapia or sole. Flavorful and crispy at the same time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

CB's Nuts - The Northwest's Premier Small Batch Nut Roasters

Review by Lisa VanWilliams

We made some tasty dark chocolate peanuts with CB's Nuts, and sprinkled them with hazelnuts for our Holiday guests to nibble on. Clark Bowen got they idea for CB's Nuts when he attended a baseball game in Baltimore years earlier in 2001. Back in the Pacific Northwest, no one was selling peanuts at the ball games. He made his dream come true and he started modestly selling peanuts from a hobby-sized roaster outside the stadiums.

They grew, they expanded, and they built relationships with retail stores and companies. They now travel around the country to visit farmers and build partnerships with growers that also value quality products and sustainable agricultural practices. Plus, they use organic ingredients whenever possible and the peanuts are grown in the USA.

They offer peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, nut butter, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and more. You can find out more about the company, and order online here:

Find a local retailer here:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Clean Candy - Organic & Fair Trade Hard Candy

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
These candies taste really good!! Clean up your candy dish with these old-fashioned favorites that are USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and allergy-friendly. They have flavors like: Butterscotch Button, Peppermint Starlight, Root Beer Float, Lemon Drop, ChocoMint, Orange Slice, & Watermelon Wheel.

Clean Candy was just launched in October 2015 by a trio of health & nutrition minded women (a mom and two daughters), and they only use the highest quality ingredients. They have been making candy since 2007 for The Natural Candy Store.

They have no artificial color or dyes, no artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, & no hydrogenated oils. But don't be surprised, the flavors are bold & strong, they are on point, they are not little whimpy organic candies. Try out your favorite flavor and have, "All the fun without the funny stuff." Each candy is individually wrapped.

You can buy them online at the Natural Candy Store:

Monday, December 14, 2015

reCAP Mason Jars

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
If you are looking to create some clever homemade gifts that can be given in Mason Jars, reCAP is where it's at. Karen Rzepecki invented these when she was having trouble keeping her salad dressing where it belonged. Now everyone can shake, pour, and store with these little cap gems. The caps will fit on any Mason Jar, they are BPA-free, sustainable, spill-proof, and made in the USA! The have pour lids, flip lids, regular, wide-mouth, sprayers, and pump options. They also sell multi-purpose tags for labeling and gifting made easy.

You can use them tons of things!! Storing snacks, dressings, drinks, gifts, wet/dry mixes, protein shakes, and any kind of small item that could use a home (popcorn kernels, tacks, dry pasta, etc).

They also offer a glow in the dark, bug catching kit for the good kiddies on your list.

To find out more about reCap, or order them online, please go to:

They also support 1% for the Plant, and they have pledged to donate 1% of annual sales to support non-profit organizations focused on sustainability. They are also partnered with Environmental Erie to raise awareness of environmental responsibility. They have also supported the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation to bring breast cancer awareness.

A few gift ideas:

Sangria can be stored for a party or you can drink them all yourself at your leisure

Pour lid

Cookies for Christmas gifts
Candy gifts, mix and match or stick to a favorite. Get creative with bows & ribbons.

Doggie treats for all your animal friends!

Flip lid
Multi-purpose tags for labeling/gifting

Friday, December 11, 2015

Karen Murrell Lipsticks

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
Did you know the average woman consumes an average of four pounds of lipstick during her lifetime through drinking, eating, and kissing??!! - so you should try to keep it natural and chemical free. Karen Murrell Lipsticks are award winning natural lipsticks made with high quality organic ingredients. It's a vegan lipstick in a box with no animal testing or no animal based materials. Karen Murrell hails from the North Shore of New Zealand, and she been called a flower child because that's one of the things that inspires her creativity.

They have a wide range of cheerful shades to pick from and they are packaged in 100% recyclable and renewable boxes made from New Zealand trees and printed with soya ink. You can pick from 19 different shades and she also offers a moisture stick. The lipsticks go for around $20 US Dollars.

They sent me a few colors to try out. They taste and smell wonderful and I would recommend trying them out and adding them to your collection.

Don't let anything nasty touch your lips!

You can find out more about the company, and order here:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

PLANT Apothecary - Brooklyn NYC

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
PLANT makes organic, all-botanical, chemical free apothecary goods with a conscience. It's run by a husband-and-wife team and they design and formulate all the products either together or independently. They offer a new twist on effective, time-honored traditional skincare and health remedies from all over the world. PLANT follows the principles of classical aromatherapy and herbalism to bring us some of the best nature-based products available today.

All of their unisex products are made right in Brooklyn, NYC. PLANT products are made with the help of adults with physical and mental disabilities, at the non profit BKLYN UNLTD workshop. BKLYN UNLTD's mission is to give disabled adults access to work training and paid opportunities.

Way to go PLANT! Here's to making great products and empowering disabled adults.

They offer face scrubs, masks, cleansers, baths, oils, & body wash. They also have a line of herbs and spices like organic Italian essentials, organic Thai essentials, organic Mexican essentials, organic Indian essentials. They even have a Mobile Foodie Survival Kit for $26, which is a pocket size set of 13 essential herbs and spices for any foodie on the go. Great stocking stuffer optoins for foodie friends you don't know what to get.
photo courtesy of PLANT
To find out more about the company or order any products, please go to:

They sent us some samples to check out. The Calm Down Bodywash in Ginger Lavender has  a great scent but it does not linger after washing. It lathers well and it's definitely an aromatherapy experience. Ginger and lavender are known to have quiet and calming effect for an overstressed and wound-up mind. A 9.5 ounce bottle is now on sale for $14.00.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pure Indian Foods - Ghee

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
Ghee is clarified butter made from the milk of a cow or buffalo and it's very common in Indian Cooking. Last night I made a huge batch of Chicken Tikka Masala for one of my clients and we fried up the chicken in some Turmeric Superghee from Pure Indian Foods.

Why cook with ghee?

  • It has a higher smoke point than butter, olive oil, & coconut oil
  • Ghee is rich in butyrate which is good for decreasing inflammation and improving the digestive system
  • You can use it externally to treat burns and swelling on the skin
  • It has a great nutty buttery taste great for popcorn, rice, veggies, and bread
  • It does not need to be refrigerated and it has a long shelf life (3 mths)
  • Since ghee is from a cow (a holy animal in India), it is believed to have positive energies
  • low lactose amounts so it's great for dairy intolerances
  • Ghee is rich in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, & K
  • Grass-fed cow ghee can help improve insulin resistance to help fight cancers 
  • It can be used as a facial moisturizer for dry skin

Pure Indian Foods is based out of Princeton, NJ and they are a fifth-generation family-owned ghee business since 1889. They make 100% pure organic USDA certified ghee from grass-fed, & pasture raised cows. All of their products are made in small batches right in NJ. They are also non-GMO. 

You can find out more about the company and order products here:

You can look here to see if there is a location near you that sells Pure Indian Foods here:

Here's the yummy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe we made using Turmeric Superghee and it came out delicious! Try not to get it on your hands, my fingers are now stained yellow because of the Turmeric:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
If you are looking for a perfect on the go snack to keep at the office or in the car, these little munchers are delicious. They have two main ingredients of pistachio's and cranberries. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan, cholesterol free, zero trans-fat, and they are a good source of dietary fiber. They are also individually wrapped.

Setton Pistachio is one of America's largest pistachio growers and producers. They started growing the nuts almost 50 years ago in the San Joaquin Valley out in California on 10,000 acre family farm. They have nearly 1 million pistachio trees planted on this farm and they follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP's) to ensure they are grown responsibly.

They also run their plant off of solar power from the sun, and this clean energy helps to reduce their emissions. Plus they practice other sustainable and responsible business practices by:

  • Routinely recycling all waste water back into their orchards through a filtration system to save approximately 50 million gallons of water each year
  • They recycle more than 200 million pound of protein and nutrient-rich agricultural hull bio-matter as cattle feed
  • They sell 12 million pounds of shells every year to electrical utilities to be burned for power generation
Support a great company, doing great things, and try out Setton Farm Pistachio Chewy Bites. 

They taste wonderful and I would recommend these. They are available in major store chains across the country such as: Shop Rite, Price Chopper, & Wegmans. You can also find them online at Amazon:
2-Pack: $1.99
6-Pack: $5.99
16-Pack: $12.50

You can find out more about the company here, and view all the products they make:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stocking Stuffers & Gifts for the Girls

By Lisa VanWilliams
If you are looking for a few small items to let someone know that you are thinking of them, or if you need to fill that stocking up, here are a few ideas for any age lady in your life. Hair products, lip gloss, face masks, foot care, lip sticks, chapstick, jewelry, and other items sure to put a smile on anyone's face. We will tell you where you can find them, and how much.

5 glosses for $20!!! $80 Value for this travel set of 5 colors.

Freeman Beauty Bare Foot .99-$3.79
Freeman Beauty has been making skin beautiful since 1976. They offer more than 75 products that are fun, fresh, frugal, and flirty!

Kiss Freely 
Allergy friendly cosmetics. Merlot Lipstick (best seller) $12 and Lime Peppermint Lip Balm $5.75
Jennifer Kurko started the company when her daughter was diagnosed with severe skin allergies. One day she kissed her daughter and she broke out in hives. She started mixing batches, and developed her own line she now calls "Kiss Freely", and the line is made free of 8 major allergens (some of them being: sesame, shea butter, peas, coconut, avocado, & sunflower seeds). 

Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care $24.99
You can find Mad Hippie at select Whole Foods Markets or order online. Mad Hippie offers an extensive range of natural, safe skin care products to protect the skin from harmful effects of environmental factors. Their goal is to create the safest, most effective products on the market utilizing scientifically advanced actives coupled with Mother Nature's finest antioxidants. Made in the USA, never tested on animals, & packaged in BPA-free recycled bottles.

Charming Charlie $8-$10
Stylish affordable swag! Jewelry, handbags, & apparel.
Waverly cross ring, ring trio, & Horizon Cross necklace below.

7th Heaven $1.99 each
These fun little packs come from 7th Heaven and they have been making face masks for over 30 years. They are 100% natural and they come in two great flavors: Chocolate Mud Mask & Cucumber Peel Off Mask. 

Hask Beauty - Hair products $1.66-5.99
Ulta, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Shop Rite, Rite Aid, & Target all carry this brand. 
Hask is a collection of hair care products featuring exotic oils from around the world. For over 50 years, the Hask brand delivers unique, intensive conditioning treatments to restore and repair damaged or chemically treated hair. 

California Baby - Calming Basics Tote $12.99
Natural, organic, and sensitive skin care products. Started by a mom who didn't want to put harmful chemicals on her babies. They have a wonderful line of products and I used the bubble baths when my children were babies as well. 

Zao Organic Makeup - Lipsticks $37.30 each
Certified organic cosmetics made in Italy. Chemical free, cruelty-free, gluten-free. & vegan. Cool refillable bamboo cases too!