Meatless Monday Blog: Gluten Free Bread

Yes yes, we know gluten free living has become trendy but it’s also very real for those suffering with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.  Celiac Awareness Month is quickly approaching next month so we thought we’d prep by sharing some allergen free goodies! BFree Foods has a dense line of non-GMO gluten free breads, bagels and wraps to ease the stress and limitations of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease.

BFree isn’t loafing around when catering to food sensitivities.  Their products are:

  • Egg Free
  • Soy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Vegan.

And they’re on a roll with their nutrition profiles.

  • BFree has much more fiber than your typical gluten free bread with a shorter list of ingredients.
  • Uniquely, they have a pea protein blend in the mix so you can get your muscle fix.
  • Additionally, their products are low in fat and calories!

Donut you wanna know what they taste like?

Breakfast: BAGEL

Multiseed Bagel and White Bagel

Does the BFree Bagel rise to occasion?  The quinoa and poppy seed crunch on the multi-seed bagel adds a depth of texture and flavor.  We dough know about you, but gluten free bagels were a new odyssey for us.  Although structurally bagel-esque, they lack the chewy texture we clamor for in bagels.  The multi-seed bagel was a bit crumbly and needed to be toasted to hold up to sticky peanut butter.  Our tip: add vegan butter after toasting the bagels to moisten um’ up.

On-the-Go Breakfast: BFree Multiseed Bagel with Almond Butter.

 

Eggs, vegan Daiya pepperjack cheese and BFree Foods white bagel.

 

Lunch Box: LOAVES & BUNS

Brown Seeded Loaf and Soft White Sandwich Loaf

Other gluten free loaves?  Baguette-about um!  These loaves are cut length wise, making them perfect for paninis and tasty for toast.  They are also hole free so your toppings won’t slip through the cracks.  The bread could have a bit more flavor but it’s mild nature makes it suitable for any topping.  The Soft white sandwich bread is perfect for tea parties or any gatherings when you have friends and family members with different allergies.

Tea Time with BFree Foods white loaf spread with Latana (formerly Eat Well Embrace Life) Edamame “Hummus,” cucumbers and dill.

 

BFree Brown Seeded Loaf with pesto, sauteed mushrooms, basil, spinach, sundried tomatoes and Lucrene mozzarella cheese.

White Plain Hot Dog Buns and Brown Seeded Hot Dog Buns

The buns are not your typical hot dog buns but are a great substitute, although easily breakable.  We created vegan banh mi sandwiches with the brown seeded buns for our friends and they loved it!

Vegan banh mi sandwich with Nasoya marinated teriyaki tofu, organic carrot slaw, white and red radishes, lemon vinegrette, jalapeno, cilantro and BFree Brown Seeded Bun.

Dinner: ROLLS

Brown Seeded Rolls and White Rolls

The white rolls mimic a dense ciabatta and make a solid breakfast or dinner sammie holder when toasted.  Get decadent and spread some garlic sea salt coconut ghee on the brown seeded roll before topping!

Vegan BBQ Sandwich with BFree White Rolls, Upton’s BBQ Jackfruit and Local Folks Foods mustard.

Other Products Wheat Loaved to Try (HA!)

We are curious about the sweet potato wraps and the quinoa chia seed and flaxseed wraps.  The only other brand of gluten free wrap we’ve tried was formed from rice flour and the wrap had too stiff of a texture.

Find BFree Foods:

Are you bready to crummmmble with BFree foods?  You can find them in Jewel-Osco in Chicagoland or search for a spot near you here to enjoy bready goodness without the gluten.

Wanna learn more about Celiac Disease and how you can help this May during Celiac Awareness Month? Check out https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/

Infographic_Celiac Disease at a Glance

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Thrive Bars: A GoMacro Healthy Snacks Giveaway!

The holiday season is hard to survive, let alone thrive, with your long list of to dos.  Between shopping and family parties, it can be hard to eat healthy and take time for yourself.  A grab ‘n’ go snack could be just the thing to make your holidays sing…or at least make them a little more pleasant!

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GoMacro brand, Thrive Bars, are ancient superfood bars with unique twists of flavor and chewy granola bar texture we know and love (without the hydrogenated oils and processed goop).  GoMacro company started on a farm in quintessential midwestern Wisconsin.  This independently run business started and is still run by a mother-daughter team set out to promote health, nourishment and healing foods.

GoMacro’s Thrive Bars continue the vision with organic ingredients like puffed quinoa and hemp hearts to keep you running.  Plant-based protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber keep your tummy happy while you focus on your loved ones instead of a grumbling belly.  Wipe that grinchy frown off your face with tasty treats like:

  • Ginger Lemon – Bright citrus and tangy ginger make this bar one of our top purse packed choices.
  • Blueberry Lavender – Fancy some tea?  Pair it with these floral bars with a touch of berry for ultra-yums.

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  • Almond Apricot – Sunny stone fruit flavor with bits of roasted almond picks up a dreary afternoon.
  • Caramel Coconut – Sweet tooth be gone with this island coconut flavor drizzled in caramel.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip – The traditional granola bar flavor but packed with 8 grams of protein in a snack sized bite.

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  • Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt – Simplicity = satisfaction with the savory and sweet combo of sea salt and cocoa.

Yes, they are delicioso but they are allergy and environmentally friendly too!  Thrive Bars are USDA-Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Gluten-Free certified, 100% Vegan, and soy-free (whew, how’d they do all that in one bar?)

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Shopping sadness can now be remedied by snack gladness.  One lucky reader will WIN a box of mixed Thrive Bars.  All you gotta do is show some holiday spirit for GoMarco Thrive Bars on social media by entering our giveaway here: a Rafflecopter Giveaway!

What if you don’t win?  You can still believe in miracles!  Thrive is offered now at Whole Foods Market or Use the codeThrive30 to get 30% off an online purchase!

Wanna learn more about other GoMacro products?  Check out our previous review here.

*We were offered 1 box of GoMacro Thrive Bars in exchange for an honest review…and we can’t wait to eat more!*

Win a Lifeway Kefir Prize Pack and Tame Tummy Troubles!

If there’s one thing politicians on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree with, it’s the stance of being pro-biotics.  HA!  Haven’t heard of probiotics as a hot button issue?  Well, perhaps that’s because they are a … Continue reading

Chiorganicgirls Meatless Monday: Grillable Veggie Burgers

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July is National Grilling Month and it’s been a scorcher in Chicago.  With all the BBQs and back yard grilling bonanzas this month, adding some veggie burgers to the mix can happify those who don’t wanna have a cow.  Humans are naturally omnivores, meaning we’re down (and hard wired) for some vegging out.  Plus, eating more veggie based meals can help the environment, reduce cancer risks, minimimize exposure to meat based antibiotics, and improve the quality of life for animals.  But lettuce not forget taste!  There isn’t mushroom for a bad tastin’ veggie burger on the grill.

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Upton’s Naturals, an independently owned Chicago based company, dedicates themselves to providing delicious veggie based meat alternatives for the vegan and vegetarian community in Chicago and abroad.  They just celebrated their 10th birthday and certainly know how to turnip any grilling occasion.

Their veggie burgers are one of the newest additions cropping up on their rotation.  So you may wonder, how does Upton’s Naturals: The Classic Burger stack up?

Battle of the Burger:

Traditional Hamburger vs. Upton’s Classic Veggie Burger

Traditional Single Patty Hamburger

  • Ingredients:
    • Beef (moooo)..maybe some hormones.  We can’t guarantee anything.
  • Nutritional Profile (from the USDA website):
    • Calories Per Serving: 254
    • Total Fat: 10 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
    • Trans Fat: .5 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
    • Sodium: 378 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 29g
    • Sugar: 5g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
    • Protein: 13 g
    • Cholesterol: 28 mg

Upton’s Classic Burger

  • Ingredients:
    • Vital wheat gluten, eggplant, water, tofu (water, soybeans, calcium sulfate), sunflower, canola or safflower oil, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), wheat flour, nutritional yeast, evaporated cane juice, onion, sea salt, garlic, natural hickory smoke concentrate, whole wheat flour, oregano, black pepper, paprika, parsley, marjoram and apple cider vinegar.
  • Nutritional Profile:
    • Calories Per Serving: 168
    • Total Fat: 5 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
    • Sodium: 365 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 9 g
    • Sugar: 1 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
    • Protein: 22 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 g
Upton’s Taste and Texture: Upton’s Burger tastes a lot like their other seitan blends that we’ve had before.  There is a slight smoke flavor with a peppery finish in the patty.   It’s a hearty veggie burger, not one of those ones that falls apart, and it easily cooks on the grill in a short time.  Can’t beet a quick cooking meat free burger to get those planty vibes!
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So who won?  Is this your garden variety knock out?  Upton’s has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than than a traditional beef burger.  It also has more fiber.  Upton’s is kosher, lactose free and vegan so it digs away at different dietary needs.  Note: Upton’s burger is NOT gluten free so traditonal burger takes the medal for that category.
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Are you ready for your BBQ guests to cheer “Olive Veggie Burgers!”?  
Upton’s Naturals’ Classic Burger is planting itself at natural retailers throughout the Midwest for $3.99 for a 2 burger box. Click HERE for a store locator.  Swinging by the Chi?  Sample the classic burger or many other vegan delights (jackfruit tacos, vegan bacon mac and cheese and more) at Upton’s Breakroom in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.  Visit www.uptonsnaturals.com and find @UptonsNaturals and @UptonsBreakroom on social media.

Chop to it! Win Quick Healthy Dinners with ChopBox

Have you heard the news that Americans can’t/don’t cook?  As a country, we spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.  Cooking, however, allows us to have more control over what we put in our bodies than eating takeout or processed pre-cooked foods.  So if you can’t cook (yet) or feel like you are too busy, healthy meal delivery services can dissolve both of these problems while being affordable.

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ChopBox is a Chicago based company that provides:
  • Family friendly dinner kits for 4.  Price per person is around $10 a person, less than you usually spend at many healthy fast restaurants.
  • Pre-portioned meals changed weekly to add variety. They do the shopping and portioning. You cook and enjoy!
  • Delivers the recipes and ingredients directly to your house so you can get your chef on.  Unlike other meal delivery service, you can either try ChopBox once OR sign-up for weekly meal service.

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Now We’re Cookin’

We were given 2 meals to sample in exchange for an unbiased review:
  • Tofu Stir Fry with rice noodles and veggies
    • Bright colorful vegetables and perfect amount of tangy sauce.
    • Delicious, filling, and we had more than enough for 4 people.  YAY healthy leftovers!

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  • Raspberry Pecan Crusted Chicken with sauteed asparagus and jasmine rice
    • Crunchy dark green asparagus, spicy sweet raspberry sauce and juicy pecan crusted baked chicken…yum!
    • Recipe cards are colorful with easy step-by-step instructions.
    • (Tip: Make sure you read carefully.  Kate missed the fact that egg white was pre-portioned and included, thus she needlessly cracked two eggs and wasted them.  Umm and she overcooked the jasmine rice so try not to multi-task).

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  • Both recipes were ones that Kate hadn’t made on her own so you get guidance and encouragement to try new foods.

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To the Chopping Block

  • The weekly menu options are a bit more limited than other meal services we have seen and/or tried with slim to no vegetarian options.  ChopBox is willing to work with you on any allergy or diet requests, however, so put your foodie desires out there.
  • If you are an experienced chef, you may want to add your own flava’ to spice it up to your taste.
  • If you don’t cook AT ALL, please note that you will need some basic ingredients like salt, pepper, olive oil, and pans to make these meals work.
  • You may have to chop ingredients 😉 for some recipes so we hope you have some decent knives.  The chicken dish actually required very minimal prep (no chopping) compared to the tofu.

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Wanna skip the line tonight?

  • Enter here to WIN your own ChopBox and feel like the next Master Chef.
  • Giveaway runs from July 11th-July 18th.
  • You must live in the following states to win and delivered: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.
  • Ready to roll with a ChopBox?  Sign up here!

 

Meatless Monday: New Laughing Cow Asiago Cheese

Cheese!  The friend of many a vegetarian and, in excess, a possible foe to your caloric intake.  Laughing Cow Brand Spreadable Cheese Wedges can make you giggle in cheesy delight however and ease your cheese anxiety (easy cheesy..hahahaha).

We’ve always been a fan of Laughing Cow cheese.  Their spreadable wedges are portable, low in calories, high in protein and a versitile snackaroo.  One of their newest flavors, asiago, is savory and satisfying when on the go, a quick after work snack or even when hosting a partaaaay.  We received free samples during the launch of the asiago wedge back in January and lightened up our New Years but then bought even more for the Super Bowl.  We decided to create 2 contrasting recipes to showcase 2 sides of the same cheese.

Kate’s Sweet N’ Spicy Wedges

Ingredients

  • 1 Can Crushed Pineapple Slices
  • 1 Jar Jalapeno Jelly
  • 1 12 ounce Jar sliced Jalapenos
  • 1 bag CrunchMaster Multiseed Crackers
  • Laughing Cow Asiago Cheese

Directions

Sooo…this is so easy!  Lay out the Multiseed Crackers crackers on plate.  Use a cheese knife or butter knife to spread 1/4 wedge of cheese (or more if desired) on each cracker.  Spread jalapeno jelly on each cracker.  Garnish each cracker with a piece of pineapple and a slice of jalapeno.  These lil’ crackers got demolished at our NYE gathering so we’re sure you’ll love um.

Monica’s Italiano Caprese Wedges

Ingredients

  • Cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Italian herbs
  • Garlic Sea Salt
  • Whole Black Pepper grinded
  • 360 Whole Foods EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Laughing Cow Asiago Cheese

Directions

Peel open several Laughing Cow Asiago cheese wedges, remove wrapper and set each wedge on a plate.  Sprinkle dried basil leaves, Italian seasoning, garlic, sea salt, and grounded black pepper on each wedge.  Slice cherrry tomatoes in half and wash/pat dry the basil leaves.  Add fresh basil leaves and halves cherry tomatoes to each wedge.

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Laughing Cow Asiago can also be smeared on tortilla chips and turned into breakfast nachos with scrambled eggs and veggies, spread on a bagel with spinach and roasted peppers or whateva’ you like (as T.I. says).  Or try the Pistachio Pear Honey Asiago recipe posted recently for a sweet treat.  Click here to read the recipe.

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Are you team Sweet N’ Spicy or team Italiano?  Do you have any other Laughing Cow Recipes you love?  Offer 9 total flavors, you can #savorthemoment with a different flavor every day!  Find Laughing Cow products at a grocery store near you.

Meatless Monday: Vegan Brunch!

Re-Mix your Meatless Monday recipe list with a veg-tacular event this coming weekend: Slo’Mo Remix Brunch w/ Live Lynnette’s Lynnette Astaire Join Live Lynnette, wellness wonder woman (pictured below) for a vegan brunch sound tracked by sweet soul jams from top notch … Continue reading

Meatless Monday Review: Marley Spoon Recipe Box

Looking for some Meatless Monday Inspiration but short on time, ideas, cooking skills?  Switch it up with a recipe/meal delivery service, Marley Spoon!  We received 2 free recipe boxes from Marley Spoon to review for all you organic peeps out there.  Marley Spoon actually has a wide delivery area including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia and ‘Murica (that’s layman for America).

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We Galentine’s Day-ed it up a little early and decided to have a cooking date night to try two recipes: Quinoa Burgers and Broccoli Coconut Soup.

Here’s how the service works:

It is a subscription service but you can pause the service when you like.  Your order is delivered on either a Tuesday or Friday in a cooler box so it keeps cook ready.  A variety of 7 chef created recipes are available each week catering to different culinary preferences (meaty, veggie, global inspired, vegan, dino..ok no dino but we are checking how closely you are reading).

You have a choice of a 2 person box or a family box to feed a small crowd with pricing that ranges between $48 (2x meals a week) to $139 for 4 family meals per week.  We actually spend more on groceries ourselves sometimes so the pricing seems pretty reasonable for the time you save.

What Rises to the Occasion:

Delivery: Delivery was on point and our boxes were waiting when we arrived.  Everything is pre-packaged so no need to measure.

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Recipes: Recipes come with gorgeous color photos of each step and outline exactly what you need to have on hand on your own (small staples like salt and olive oil).  Portions are more than what we would expect for 2 people.  For example, our Quinoa Burger recipe yielded 5 burgers and we had plenty extra couscous and soup from the Broccoli Soup recipe.  Depending on your appetite, you may be able to get 2 full meals for 2 out of each recipe (hooray leftovers!).

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Appearance: Both recipes looked like what was on the recipes cards when completed.  We felt like fancy french chefs.

Taste: The kale chips were crunchy and addictive…possibly the easiest part of the recipe box.  Our veggie burgers were hearty and filling.  The soup had a bi-partisan reaction…more on that below.

 

What Should Be on the Chopping Block:

Souper Spicy?:  With cooking, there is always room to grow!  With both of us being a level up from amateur kitchen goers, we think a few things could be improved.  The broccoli soup recipe was extra spicy for some reason and didn’t have the creamy consistency that appears in the picture.  We would have liked more of a coconut flavor and would have modified that spice to flavor ratio for some more depth.  It was possibly the green curry with ginger that could have been baby spiced to improve the other flavors in the soup.

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Time: It took us 2 hours to make everything.  For a busy person, this might not serve.  One suggestion would be for Marley Spoon to provide pre-chopped or diced ingredients but we aren’t sure how this would affect the freshness of produce.

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Final Course Thoughts?:

Taste your dishes throughout the cooking process and modify them if you like!  We added paprika and chili powder to our kale chips and were pleased with the results.  Don’t be afraid to be a kitchen rebel if you know how to cook to season items to your liking.

Bonding: We had a super fab time cooking together.  We could see this as a intimate date night, girls night out or bachelorette type experience, or just a way to liven up the ho hum experience of weekly cooking.

Overall, we loved the experience of learning to cook new recipes and spending time in the kitchen together. Ingredients are local sourced and grass fed animules, making you feel a bit at ease for what you are consuming.  Food waste is cut own bu the pre-packaged format as well.  If you’re looking for a culinary adventure with less effort, we suggest giving Marley Spoon a try! Use the Promo Code CHIORGANIC for $35 off your first box.

 

Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Sweet Potatoes!

Sometimes veggie cooking can get a bit boring so we hunt the interwebs for new ideas. With winter on our cold minds, our thoughts have been on fireplaces, s’mores, root veggies and anything toasty and easy….after all, cooking can be … Continue reading

Get Green with new OrganicGirl foods!

We’ve known about our namesake almost twinsie, Organicgirl greens, for over a year now.  Their organic pre-rinsed greens mixes have taken center stage in our fridge for months. Their spinach has starred in our green smoothies, their arugula pizzazzed our pizzas.  And yet, we were surprised to find out they had ventured into 2 new product markets, green juices and salad dressings.  Could they get any greener!?

As big Organicgirl fans, we got to sample both the dressings and juices at the recent Fit Foodie Run and (BONUS) were treated by Organicgirl to our very own bottles for further taste inspection.

We’ve been wondering, we have all these BPA free recycled clam shells of Organicgirl spring mix, what do we dress it with!?  Lemon Agave, White Cheddar, Fresh Tomato Italian or Kale Parmesan.

Can we put a squeeze of each on single leaves?  Each dressing has it’s only unique flavor profile that fits particularly well with the various greens that Organicgirl offers.

The Zesty Tomato Italian mingles with pepper greens, feta, artichokes, olives and roasted garlic.  For a fast and easy lunch, take a Toufyan multigrain pocket filled with greens, organic yellow cherry tomatoes, Morningstar Farms grilled chicken and dressing.

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The Kale Parmesan, reminiscent of pesto, meshes with super greens, quiona, baked butternut squash, red and green bell peppers, and pumpkin seeds.

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Continue fall trends with White Cheddar dressing drizzled over a spinach, green apple, dried cranberry salad with walnuts or hold on to summer with Lemon Agave dressing, watermelon, pinches of cayenne, jalapeno and that baby spring mix we mentioned. Another quick lunch creation to add with raw organic greens include cucumbers, veg grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan.

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Also, check out this super cool blog, Nutrition Happens, for even more recipe ideas.  Let’s get drizzical, drizzlical (Olivia Newton John reference!) with these new drizzly dressins’.

Next, the super secret just released Organicgirl “Get Real” Juices

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Fair Warning: If you are the type who loves your juice super fruity fruit loop flavored, these may seem a little..umm..veggie heavy (aka healthy tasting).  However, fear not.  Organicgirl tells you these organic cold pressed vegan juices are “More Greens, Less Fruit” so you can’t act like you didn’t know.  They are way lower in calories (think 45-60 for a full bottle) and way way lower in sugar so you won’t feel like you are crashing after drinking them.  Additional goodness: They have 2-3 servings of veggies in each bottle so it’s an easy way to down a head o’ lettuce or two to start your day or supplement your lunch. 4 veg-rrific options await you: The light and lemony “Brighten Up”, The minty cucumber “Be Cool”, The King of All Greens and ruler of the iron throne (hehehehe) Kale Rules and….

Our vote for best Organicgirl juice: “Fuel Your Ride” with 84% Greens and Veg, pumped up with kale, carrot, spinach, cucumber, beet and parsley.  We suspect the beet and carrot create a magical spell to make the kale less bitter.  Don’t be green with envy (HA!) other juices.

You can find Organicgirl products at Mariano’s (unless it’s Sunday when everyone snags all the baby spinach and makes us sad.  Don’t go on Sundays, people) as well as other food retailers in your salad-hood.