New! Top Picnic Picks for your Basket

Think fast!  It’s time to go to an outdoor concert with your friends or a park with your kids or a romantic al fresco dinner with your boo.  What do you pack for your picnic?  You need something light, portable, tasty and healthy… and a crowd pleaser cuz you don’t wanna be that person who brought the last minute convenience store cheese curls.

We recently were given some samples of new products guaranteed to liven up your summer adventures and omgee, we had to pack them for our own picnic!

For the sweet tooth:

Get your potassium on while satisfying the sweet cravings with Barnana.  We didn’t really know what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised and happy campers (even Monica liked it since she does not like any banana flavor products).  Simply, they are dehydrated bananas with a twist of treat.  Barnana offers 4 types of munchable banana bites which are Original, Chocolate, Coconut and Peanut Butter.  These are organic, gluten free, non GMO and non-dairy heart healthy snacks.  Barnana consist of minimal ingredients a.k.a you won’t find a mile long list on the side of the bag.

18548550026_62ef2edb20_o

For the purist, original Barnana is like popping mini banana chunks in your mouth.  The chocolate Barnanas felt decadent, with a coco shell surrounded the soft banana inside.  Tip: mix the chocolate with the peanut butter Barnanas and you will feel like you’re eating an extra healthy peanut butter cup (YES!).  The coconut Barnana seemed more like a homemade energy bite with a chewy texture and flakes of coconut.  We had guests over, ages ranging from 3 to 50, who quickly depleted our precious coconut Barnana supply.  The bites come in a compact package, perfect for backpack carrying.  You can purchase all flavors of Barnana online or search for a local vendor.

For the savory lover:

Ditch the greasy bag of potato chips and get classy with the back-packable Tuscan inspired Pasta Chips.  Made with semolina flour and sprinkled with Italian herbs, Pasta Chips pair well with the picnic classics like hummus, dips or the party favorite of Wisconsinites, CHEESE!

18575492395_6d069d7ac9_o

On our summer picnic to the new Maggie Daley Park, our guests sampled 3 different flavors: Mediterranean Sea Salt, Spicy Tomato Herb and Spinach Broccoli Kale.  Spinach Broccoli Kale will please the veggie lover and go well with an artichoke dip.  The Spicy Tomato Herb wasn’t so much spicy as much as a pop of zesty tomato flavor.  The light flaky texture would be perfect with mozzarella, tomato, basil bites as an appetizer.  The Mediterranean Sea Salt could easily knock a potato chip out of the park with it’s crispy crunch and touch of salt.  Dab it with french onion dip or an olive tapenade to wow a crowd with your master picnic status.  You can purchase Pasta Chips online or we’ve spotted them at Chicagoland Mariano’s.

18389014629_7d8968d36c_o

Dear audience, you know there’s nothing like a picnic with your fave friends in a park on a warm summer day.  Load up your basket and get ready to Mangia! with Pasta Chips and the seductive yet not sinful Barnana.  Where’s your top spot to stop for a picnic?  We’ll bring the snacks if you bring the blanket and the boombox (or bluetooth speaker…but that’s not as fun *wink*).

GoodBelly for Good Health

Listening to the radio can be enlightening sometimes…like, say when you hear that 9% of your local school district is out with the flu.  Cold and flu season is descending upon us like one of the Khaleesi’s dragons (yes, that was a Games of Thrones reference, we miss it so!), vicious and unrelenting!  Other than hiding in a bomb shelter or wearing a head to toe hazmat suit, what are some more social ways you can keep healthy?

One way is adding probiotics into your diet.  In our super bug society, good little bacteria flora often get killed off with the use of antibiotic soaps and drugs.  These good flora may help ease digestion processes (reduce bloating, gas, etc or make you more regular) and improve the immune system (read more on factors that influence the micro flora balance here).  Bacterial flora are often chilling out in yogurt but not everyone is able to digest dairy products.  GoodBelly, a probiotic juice drink, offers a dairy free, soy free, non GMO, organic AND vegan alternative probiotic boost* for people looking to win the fight on germs.  Each quart or shot also serves up immune enhancing vitamins and others, such as the PlusShot, include calcium too!

photo (13)

GoodBelly probiotic drinks contain live and active cultures of the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V®).  This thoroughly researched strain, with over 125 species of flora, has demonstrated an efficient ability to make it’s way through the digestive track and improve both digestion and immunity.  Many product options are juicy and fruit filled while some are for the purist who just wants a “straight shot” without the sugar.  Those with digestive issues should try the SuperShot which contains 50 billion cultures (flora everywhurr!).  We tried 1 flavor of the 32 ounce GoodBelly quart, Pomegranate Blackberry, and one flavor of the 2.7 ounce shots, Blueberry Acai.

16029745611_670a282d53_o

So how’d we fare?  Well the Pomegranate Blackberry is seriously tasty and we liked it so much, we got another quart and snagged a Mango too.  The shots were definitely more concentrated and we felt you could taste the oat base a little more in this version.  Stomach wise, Kate already took probiotics pills and enjoyed the benefits of better digestion processes. GoodBelly is a tastier alternative to pills and is easy to incorporate as a breakfast juice or just a meal in general when running late for work.

Ready to give it a shot (ha)?  GoodBelly walks you through with a 12 Day Belly Reboot with buy 2 get 1 free coupons and a money back guarantee.  Each day, you drink 8 ounces of GoodBelly and you can measure how you feel online with the Belly Tracker to see your results.  3 quarts should get you through your 12 day trial.  We found GoodBelly at the South Loop Mariano’s and it’s available at all Whole Foods.  You can also use GoodBelly’s “Find a Store” function for a store near you!

15844434950_101880253d_o

*Gluten sensitive folks, take note, although gluten free GoodBelly is available, we have had a hard time finding the elusive green capped bottles in the Chicago area.

We did not receive compensation for this post but did receive coupons for free products.

Fit Food Delivery with Factor 75

Does anyone feel a small scream in their throat when they see Christmas decorations coming out the day after Halloween?  Yep, it’s the kickoff to the whirlwind holiday season, that season of cookies and brownies and parties. And soon enough, our thighs are looking like those gigantic turkey legs that people get at county fairs.  When you’re busy, how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Well your own personal in-house chef works…if you’re Beyonce.  If you aren’t channeling your inner rich chick, however, there are some options to keep you eating well.  Thankfully, the trend of meal deliveries has flown into our lives and we are gobbling up the idea!  This past week, we got to try Factor 75.  So what factors would make you choose them as opposed to another meal delivery service?

Photo Jun 15, 12 41 54 PM

Eating healthy could not be easier. https://www.factor75.com/

1) Options!  You don’t have to sit on Santa’s lap to get what you wish for with Factor 75.  Everybody loves options, especially those with more restrictive dietary needs.  When we checked in to pick our food, it was easy to balance our different desires.  We chose 2 vegetarian meals, 2 gluten free meals and one snack.  Factor 75 hooks up almost any eater with paleo friendly, dairy free, vegetarian and gluten free possibilities.  Factor 75 has also partnered for Aritzone and sources local ingredients so you can not only eat clean, but with a clean conscience.

2) Ease!  Who doesn’t need a break from shopping cart collisions and entertaining long lost cray relatives?  Your Factor 75 meals are cooked up by a chef, delivered by a nice FedEx person right to your door, and all you do is heat those puppies up and eat.  Can we also mention no washing dishes either?!  *High Five*

3) Holiday looove!  Remember that dude you only dated through New Years?  Factor 75 is low commitment.  Try 5 meals and if you aren’t feeling it, you cancel.  If you like it, continue that relationship til’ Easter!

 

What did we eat, tho?

Kate’s Foods

The spicy paleo meatballs, made from grass-fed beef, had a hint of cinnamon that made them stand out from a boring ol’ chunk of meat.  They came with a side of brussel sprouts, cooked with celery root and mushrooms in a brown butter sauce.  The meal was hearty, quick to heat up and kept me full until a late dinner.Downloads6

The chicken sausage with apple and pumpkin hash and a frittata was my second dish.  The chicken sausage and hash were tasty but the frittata was just ok.  I think it’s because I don’t like reheated egg that much (personal problem!).

IMG_20141028_123050

 

Monica’s Foods

Sometimes I wake up late and don’t have time make my own breakfast (hitting the alarm clock for that “5 more minutes”). That’s where Factor 75 comes in handy with super goji berries mixed in steel cut oatmeal with cinnamon spice.   I’m not used to steel cut oats so I added a lil’ more sweetness with brown sugar.  Of course, you need a bit need protein to survive the workday so a hard boiled egg is included as well.

15464418970_99981c1862_o

After work is over and I finish yoga class and my health coaching program homework, I have no time to cook but (yay) my Factor 75 dinner menu is sitting in my fridge.  The vegetarian dinner option I selected was Southwest Quinoa bowl with mixed beans (black, white, pinto & kidney), red onions, cilantro and mashed sweet potatoes were hidden on bottom with sides of cheddar cheese and a chipotle aioli.

15739668715_4f4b6e75c8_o

Shared goodies (Holidays are about sharing, yeah?):

The superfood bites were healthy and tasty super stars with chia, flax, cacao nibs, coconut, oats, honey, and applesauce. Hey buddy, these were way better than a crappy fruit cake!

20141103_073902

Are you ready to take a break from the cooking grind?  Try Factor 75 here, and when you purchase 4 meals, get a free meal on us (see, we like to give!) when you sign up using the code “CHIORGANICGIRLS” as well as a free healthy Ebook with tons of tips.  Let us know what you think too! We would love to try a few more recommended meals (maybe the autumn stuffed acorn squash or butternut squash lasagna…hint, hint) to save us some time after standing in those Black Friday lines.

Happy munching!