Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Sun Cups in Your Stocking

PicsArt_1387413942344I was recently contacted by Sun Cups to sample their line of chocolate butter cups. Being a (peanut) butter cup, chocolate, and sunbutter fan, I was ecstatic to learn about this great alternative to traditional peanut butter cups. However, I was also a little bit hesitant. While I love the idea that those who are allergic to peanuts can indulge in the delight of a butter cup, I was honestly expecting the taste to be no comparison. Luckily, I was wrong…soooo wrong! Sun Cups are beyond delicious!

I was able to sample four varieties….Milk Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups, Mint Cups, Caramel Cups, and my absolute favorite…Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups. Not only did these cups compete against the popular conventional brands, they surpassed them in flavor, in my opinion. I am quite honestly a huge fan now. The richness and taste of both the chocolate and the sunflower butter is just the perfect combination.

What makes Sun Cups even more unique is that they are both health and eco-consicous. The Sunflower butter, chocolate, and other ingredients used are organic and non-GMO. Sun Cups are free of soy, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts. Additionally, the cacao used to make them comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

So if you’re looking for a safer, healthier sweet treat for your family, Sun Cups can be found at Wegmans and a few other stores or online. For more info or to order your Sun Cups, visit their WEBSITE or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Trust me, one bite and you’ll be in love too! Perfect for the holidays.

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May Eco-Box for Moms

PicsArt_1369539184196When I opened up my Ecocentric Mom Discovery Box for Moms this month, I could not believe the goodies I got. The month of May definitely takes the cake so far….and here I thought the last couple of months would be hard to beat. The first thing to catch my eye….a full size bar of organic dark chocolate…bliss!!! If the May Mom Box products don’t convince you to sign up for your very own monthly subscription of awesome surprises, not sure what else will. Can’t wait for June…my birthday month!

Here’s the breakdown of the Mom Discovery Box for May from Ecocentric Mom:

Kallari Chocolate ~ This gourmet chocolate is not only organic and delicious, but helps to preserve the rainforests and protect the Kichwa culture. A full size bar sells for $5.95.

Orgain ~ The world’s first certified organic nutritional shake is a great way to get a healthy meal on-the-go. I have had the vanilla shake before and enjoyed it very much. It was great to be able to try the chocolate-flavored shake this time. Great after a workout. A single carton typically sells for $3.69. I also received a 40% off online coupon.

Gnu Bar ~ Another healthy snack I’ve tried before. Love these bars! They are high in fiber and low in calories. The chocolate brownie bar is so yummy. They are soft and chewy and made with organic and healthy ingredients. One bar typically sells for $1.99.

Fisika Soap ~ I received a sample of the coffee-vanilla soap. It smells so good and leaves my hands feeling soft. Fisika is Greek for “natural,” an appropriate name since it is made with natural ingredients, including organic olive oil and coconut oil. A sample-size bar goes for $2.22. I received a 10% off online coupon, as well.

Pura Botanica’s Rose Retreat Botanic Bath Infusion ~ I could smell these bath crystals as soon as I opened my box. The infusions are made with organic ingredients and are three-in-one bath therapies. Restorative mineral sea salts, fragrant essential oils, and curative herbs and flowers made for a spa-like, all-natural, destressing bath right in my own tub. Loved the smell of roses. A single botanic bath infusion sells for $10. I also received a “buy 1 get 1 free” online coupon.

Purely You Minerals Satin Plum Eye-Shadow ~ Back in March I took advantage of an Ecocentric Mom coupon I received for another mineral make-up company and got a lipstick I love. Well, this time I received a mineral eyeshadow I love. The plum shade is exactly what I typically use. The small size I received sells for $1.50. I am going to have to place an order and take advantage of the free lip gloss with $20 purchase offer.

Elma & Sana Argan Oil Peppermint Lip Balm ~ I am very excited about this product. Argan Oil is the latest craze and Elma & Sana sells Pure Organic Argan Oil. They use this same oil in their skin and hair care products. Argan Oil is known for having very high levels of Vitamin E and fatty acids. This provides anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and healing properties, among other benefits. The oil comes directly from Moroccan Women Cooperatives and supports women in business in Moroccan Villages where Argan trees grow. The lip balm sells for $4.99. I also received a 20% off online coupon.

doTerra Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Lemon Essential Oil ~ Essential oils have so many benefits and can be used for so many different reasons. The lemon essential oil sample I received has a great citrus smell that can be used to uplift your mood. It can also be used as a cleaner for the home, topical and internal cleanser, and can even soothe a sore throat. The oils generally sell for $13.33 per 15ml. When you sign up as a “preferred member” on the doTerra website you can always receive 20% off your order.

CocoPlum Soothe Spray ~Great discovery. This spray is made with organic green tea, pure aloe vera and a special blend of essential oils. It acts as a first aid kit in helping soothe skin from  sunburns, blemishes, rashes, itching and even stress. I’m sure it will come in handy this hot Summer season. I’m already carrying the sample in my purse. A 4oz full-sized bottle sells for $14. I also received a $5 off online coupon.

Branch Basics ~ Another great spray I am now carrying in my purse. Branch Basics is an all-purpose soap concentrate made from pure, food-grade ingredients. It is perfectly safe and non-toxic for all. It can be used to clean anything and everything, from household items to baby’s gentle skin. This product can basically replace all of your cleaning products and save you so much money, as well as help protect the environment. I received a pre-diluted 2 oz sample which sells for $3.75. I plan to use it on-the-go for those moments you need a quick hand cleaning and there’s no sink. It also works as a stain remover, produce cleaner and disinfectant for scrapes and cuts. The uses are endless. I will definitely be using my 15% off online discount.

Derma H2O Water Wipes ~ I am a huge wipey fan. They come in handy for so many things. The problem is most contain toxic chemicals, dyes and perfumes. It was very reassuring to find this pack of 10 Water Wipes…preservative-free, allergy friendly, made simply with 99.9% water and .1% grapefruit seed extract. This could very well be the safest, purest, gentlest wipe there is. Instant fan. The sample pack came with a 20% amazon.com online promotion code.

OraMD ~ Another great surprise. Ironically, I have been using this product for the last few weeks. It is a 100% all-natural liquid toothpaste that offers so many benefits and is a better alternative to conventional toothpastes. A single bottle sells for $22.97 and lasts you a very long time. I also received a 15% off and free shipping online coupon. I am due to review this product on my blog in the next week and host a giveaway….so stay tuned!

GoGreenMarketplace.com and GreenDeals.com ~ Coupon for $5 off your first order. Yet another coincidence…I was recently asked to join the blogger team for the Green Deals Blog! This is a great site for those who like to shop online. You can find just about anything you need or want to support your green, organic and healthy lifestyle.

Indigenous.com ~ $15 Gift Certificate. I’m looking forward to shopping for some organic, eco-friendly clothing on this site real soon.

Get your own Discovery Box from Ecocentric Mom…sign-up today!

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Holiday Cheese and Fruit Platter

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was very fortunate not to have to do any cooking this holiday. I was able to sit and enjoy a delicious meal, wine and quality time with the family. It was very needed. I was also able to put a lot of thought and effort into the appetizer dish I was asked to bring.  O.k., so it didn’t take much thought, but I’m still proud of my effort. Anyone who knows me knows I simply can’t resist cheese and if I could, I’d live off of cheese, chocolate and wine forever. My family is also very big on cheese and wine so I figured a cheese tray would definitely do. I trotted off to Trader Joe’s to buy a couple of my favorites and find a few new ones to sample. Imagine the sweet surprise at finding the very same cheese I had encountered last year around the holidays…and have been searching for ever since!

Chocolate Cheddar Cheese…what more could one need? A glass of red wine to go with it, but of course. The cheese is a great treat by itself too. The Chocolate does not overpower the cheddar or vice versa, as one might think. It’s a great blend. Melt it on some crispy bacon and now we’re on a whole new level. 😉

Another favorite Trader Joe’s cheese right now, perhaps thee favorite, is the Creamy Toscano Cheese Dusted with Cinnamon that I discovered back in September. It is truly brilliant. The light traces of cinnamon blend with Cheddar and Parmesan flavors to create a delicious and unique combination that is addicting. (Well, at least I’m completely hooked.)

Shopping at Trader Joe’s is always full of great surprises and new finds. It always inspires me too. After finding pomegranate seeds and some new cheeses, I instantly envisioned my pretty party platter.  I included the name labels on the tray so that everyone knew what they were trying. It was a big hit. It’s an easy and fun appetizer that can be used for any event, big or small (girls’ night, wine tastings, etc.), or even just a quiet evening at home. I’ll be putting together a bigger and better one for Christmas!

Holiday Cheese & Fruit Platter

Other cheeses I included: Trader Joe’s Parmesan & Gouda – another favorite in our household; Trader Joe’s Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper- a very unique combination that took a little getting used to, but enjoyed; Trader Joe’s Asiago Cheese – loved it on crackers. Also included are Trader Joe’s Red Grapes, Blackberries, Blueberries, Pomegranate Seeds, and Cracker Assortment.

New Whole Foods Market Cookies

Yum! This week I’ve been munching on 4 of the 9 different varieties of the new line of Whole Foods Market cookies. What a treat! They are small enough that you can indulge a little, but packed with enough flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sweets and desserts are some of the biggest battles in my home. I have a huge sweet tooth, I’m not going to lie. Unfortunately my daughter has inherited that tooth.  I try to find items that she will enjoy as an occasional treat or dessert, yet not contain too much sugar. Even more difficult is to find sweets that won’t contain some of the other hidden culprits: artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, GMOs, dyes, etc. I do not want to deprive her (nor myself), so I do my best to teach her about moderation and the effects of sugar and other harmful ingredients. These cookies are a great option! They are all natural and contain no trans fat. They are also made with non-gmo unbleached flour, regular cane sugar, natural coloring and flavors, even an organic soy lecithin emulsifier is used. Depending on the variety, a serving size (3-5 cookies) contains anywhere from 6-11 grams of sugar. I can deal with that. My “little” is perfectly happy with 2 cookies….I tend to crave the third.  With 9 varieties to choose from, there is definitely something available for everyone. So, I sat down after dinner with my daughter, hubby, and mom who was in town this week, and took tasting notes as we each sampled all four of the cookie flavors below:

First up: Oatmeal Raisin Crisp – 4 cookies contain 140 calories and 7 grams of sugar. You’ll get 1-2 raisins per cookie, which is perfect for the size. (Each cookie is a little bigger than a silver dollar.) My mom and the hubbs agreed that this was their absolute favorite flavor of the bunch. I’m a chocolate fan, but I have to agree that this might very well be one of the best tasting oatmeal raisin crispy cookies I’ve had. The “little” thought they were pretty good too. They had a nice cinnamon/nutmeg kick to them that blended perfectly with the oats and raisins.

Second: Meyer Lemon Chocolate – 5 cookies contain 150 calories and 6 grams of sugar. The cookies are topped with a light dust of powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle. I am not a fan of lemon in my dessert at all, but mom and hubbs are and well, the chocolate helped. Mom and hubbs were a little disappointed. Hubbs thought they tasted like grass. I can sort of agree.  However, the “little” loved the taste. She said it was lemony and her 2nd favorite of the bunch. 😉

Third: Dark Chocolate Almond – 4 cookies contain 130 calories and 11 grams of sugar. For being little cookies, they sure gave them some big chocolate chunks…and I’m not complaining! The dark chocolate is light, not too dark or bitter. Everyone agreed that the chocolate overpowered the almond taste though, but again, I’m not complaining.  Hubbs and mom thought they were ok, but not memorable. They were my favorite and my daughter agreed that they were pretty good. What a great alternative these are for popular conventional brands of chocolate chip cookies.

Last, but not least: Caramel Chocolate Chunk – 3 cookies contain 130 calories and 11 grams of sugar.  This cookie reminded me of a Chips Ahoy. While it was definitely good, and bigger in size than all the others, the chocolate overpowered the caramel taste. The result was a great chocolate chip cookie taste. This was my daughter’s favorite of them all.  It came in a close second for me. Hubbs and mom were a little disappointed as they are both caramel fans but agreed that it was still a good cookie.

While opinions and personal taste are going to differ, we all agreed that we were pretty impressed with all four varieties of the cookies. Whole Foods Market has done a great job, once again, of offering a healthier alternative for the whole family to enjoy. Best part of all, they are definitely affordable at $3.69 a tub! ENJOY!

Other flavors include: Sweet Ginger Snap, Classic Chocolate Chip, Classic Almond Windmill, Caramel Corn, and Raspberry Thumbprint.