Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mary's Gone Crackers: Sticks & Twigs

I was sent a free product coupon so I could try Mary's Gone Crackers Sticks & Twigs. Sticks & Twigs are Organic Pretzel and a delicious gluten free snack. I live in rural Nova Scotia and sometimes I'm hesitant accepting product coupons from sponsors as it can sometimes be difficult to find the product I am supposed to review. This applies in larger cities as well, I am grateful that my grocery store has a natural/gluten free section. 

Out of the 3 varieties, I managed to find one single variety of Sticks & Twigs, the Sea Salt flavor. These gluten free pretzels seem a little pricey at $4.99 a bag. Consider that a large bag of name brand chips retails between $2.25 and $4 (Canadian) and that they are often of poor nutritional value. It makes sense to pay a little extra to cover the cost of wholesome ingredients. Mary's Gone Crackers Sticks & Twigs are a USDA Certified Organic Product.

These Organic Pretzels are jammed packed with Brown Rice flour and various seeds (Organic Brown Flax, Organic Whole Amaranth, Organic Whole Millet, Organic Chia and a few others wonderful ingredients) my sensitive teeth found them a little difficult to chew. The flavor was great though. I would love to crush them into smaller pieces and throw them into a bowl with some cashews and dried fruit. I think that would be wonderful.


When the kids came home from school, I gave them each a small serving with some nuts for a snack. Both the boys enjoyed them and found them quite yummy. The oldest didn't find them hard to chew at all, his teeth are much stronger then mine. The little lady that I watch after school loved Mary's Gone Crackers and when I asked her why she liked them so much she replied excitedly "...cause they're CRUNCHY!!"

You can find Mary's Gone Crackers on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received a free product coupon in exchange for my honest opinion about the product. I received no additional compensation. All opinions are based upon my personal experience with the product.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Andalou Naturals - Body Lotion

I received some Mandarin and Vanilla Body Lotion from Andalou Naturals to review. Andalou uses what they refer to as Advanced Fruit Stem Cell Science. By utilizing Stem Cells from specific fruit (ie: apple, grape, argon...etc) they are able to renew, repair and regenerate healthy skin. Apple cells stimulate healthy cell renewal and protects the longevity of skin stem cells. Grape stem cells protects the skins stem cells from UV damage and increases the skins UV tolerance.


I must admit the product does soften my skin according to product claims. I haven't used it long enough to attest that it does in fact live up to all of the company's claims however. The scent is wonderful. I'm one of those "Smell this!" people... you know, the ones who abruptly stick smelly things in others faces. Everyone seems to enjoy the smell as much (and more in some cases) as I do. The orange oil is a nice additive, it gives the lotion a very uplifting presence.

The downfall? The feeling the lotion left when I first put it on my skin took some adjusting to. I have been torturing myself trying to think of a good way to explain it and the closest example I can possibly concoct is this: You know that stickiness that is left on your hands sometimes after eating fruit? Strip away the stickiness... can you imagine the layer that is left? I feels slightly similar to that and I think the reason it bothers me so much is because I expect it to be sticky. Now this feeling goes away in about 10 minutes... After a few applications this was less and less noticeable to me.

You can find Andalou Naturals and their wide array of beauty and self care products on their website. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received this product to review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own honest opinions. This review was originally posted on my primary blog Music and Mommies. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#Book Review: B - by Sarah Kay


In March 2011 at the annual TED concert dedicated to "Ideas Worth Spreading" a 22 year old slam poet received a standing ovation when she presented her poem called "B". This poem has since grabbed the attention of over half a million people via You Tube. I received a hardcover copy of this poem to review.

"B" is described as a poem about mothers and daughters and the wisdom and hope that is shared and sometimes lost - between the two. It is a thank you note, love letter, wish, promise, confession and a secret all at once.  I am writing this to you all with tear soaked cheeks. Having just finished this very quick read, I find myself completely moved. There is so much wisdom and honesty within these pages. Available in Hardcover for $10 and on Kindle for $1.99. This book only takes 5 minutes to read, it is a treasure and would make a beautiful gift from mother to daughter.

Sarah Kay has been a performing poet since she was 14 years old. She is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression), which encourages people to use Spoken Word Poetry as a tool for personal and world understand as well as a medium for self expression. The more I hear about this girl the more I see someone completely amazing. Check out Sarah's TED Talk below.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this hardcover version of "B" for review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Good On Ya Bar


The Good On Ya Bar is an Organic Food Bar Company based out of California. Made with a fair percentage of raw ingredients, this product contains no soy or dairy. The cost of these quality ingredients is in fact higher then most bars charge retail. The bars are not made with any Genetically Modified Organisms. Since non GMO ingredients are becoming increasingly difficult to source, I'm often tickled pink to discover companies that source pure ingredients. It is interesting to note that the Good On Ya Company also has a Deli that serves Organic and minimally processed meats, Organic Farm Fresh Raw Milk and Fair Trade Coffee.


The Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bar is made from Organic Raw Honey, Organic Raw Hemp Seeds, Organic Raw Sesame Seeds... This protein filled bar is their number one best seller and I'm completely salivating thinking about it.

The Breakfast bar is impressive. With 74% raw ingredients, this gluten and grain free bar packs a healthy punch. I must admit, when I first examined the nutritional ingredients, I couldn't help but notice the high fat content. In an effort to explain that this is not a bad thing due to the fact that these fats are very nutrient dense they posted a link to an article called Fat vs Sugar.

If you take a peak at each product page you will notice all the wholesome Organic and Raw ingredients that they use. If you click on each ingredients photo it takes you to a page containing information about the ingredient. This is the ingredient page for Celtic Sea Salt and this one for Organic Sprouted Flax.


Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. All information is sourced from The Good on Ya Bar website. This review was originally posted on my primary blog Music and Mommies. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good Karma - Flax Milk

There are so many wonderful milk alternatives available on the market these days. Being lactose intolerant, I commonly explore different milk options like soy, rice and most recently flax milk. I received 3 different varieties of Flax Milk from Good Karma Foods to try out, Original, Unsweetened and Vanilla. The milks are gluten free and are a delicious source of Omega-3s.
The taste of the Original Flax Milk was a little on the sweet side and not nearly as thin as I anticipated. It was a delicious stand alone beverage. When added to coffee or black tea, I required a little extra to mask the bitterness of the hot deliciousness.

The Unsweetened Flax Milk was delicious and had the right amount of sweetness for my taste. It it a wonderful addition to whipped potatoes paired with some margarine and herbs.

My favorite was the Vanilla Flax Milk, the consistency was slightly thicker making it more comparable to animal milk and even soy milk and the sweetness wasn't overbearing. This makes a wonderful desert milk to be used when making puddings, or flavored coffees. It would make a delicious milkshake, banana immediately comes to mind. I will certainly buy this product again!

You can follow Good Karma Foods on Twitter or Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received these products to try from Good Karma Foods in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no additional compensation and all opinions in this post are my own. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Truly Organic Foods

Truly Organic Foods is a Canadian company located in the Niagara Escarpment in St. Catharines, Ontario, owned by Lee-Anne and her husband Kent. About an hour outside of Toronto, St. Catharines is also known as the 'Garden City' which I personally find very suiting for a company such as Truly Organic Foods. Their focus is to sell natural foods that are free from chemicals and pesticides, as part of a larger global movement to help people connect with truly organic foods.
Goji Berries are Gluten Free, Vegan, Raw, Wild Harvest and Organic.
They are a wonderful source of  Vitamin  A and  Vitamin C and contain more Beta Carotene than carrots.
Along with their antioxidant properties they also contain 21 trace dietary minerals and 18 amino acids.
What began as a journey of information that steered this couple away from processed foods and pesticides, transformed as their passion grew. Their lifestyles changed with each discovery. Soon, after incorporating these changes they opened up shop so they could share their experience and what they've learned with others. Research, dedication and time was placed into providing their customers with the best possible food distributors and growers to provide the best certified organic products.
Freeze dried Almonds contain 97% of their nutrients.
While dehydrated Almonds contain between 50 - 80% of their nutrients.
The Freeze dried method of preservation enhances the flavor and crispness.
Allowing for nuts less prone to mold, bacteria and have a longer shelf life.
"It is more important now than ever to take control of what you eat, to love yourself enough to buy the best foods for your body and to take the time every day to prepare your food. The biggest gift you can give yourself and you family is a Healthier Happier You! " ~Lee-Anne and Kent Oszust

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post, all information was sourced from the Truly Organic Foods website. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Burt's Bees - Sensitive Facial Cleaner


I am a Bzz Agent and I have been since 2009. I was really excited when I was accepted into the Burt's Bees campaign. The company has a very transparent approach to natural products and they commit to never use any ingredient that has any potential health risks. In fact Burt's Bee's states on their 'Our Commitment' page on their website that they feel natural personal care products manufacturer have the responsibility to fully disclose their ingredients and any associated risks so the consumers can make the most informed decisions about the products they use.

I received the Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser to review. The product is made from some interesting ingredients and naturally I felt the need to research these products a bit. Specifically cotton extract, cotton extract often leaves the skin feeling very soft and silky and companies have a tendency to use it because it is generally less expensive. Burt's Bee's states that it also minimizes the effect of potential irritants and harsh soaps. While reading up about cotton extract, I also discovered that it is often avoided in sensitive skin products because of the high incidents of pesticides often by many manufacturers. Naturally, I begin to wonder about how pure the source of cotton extract is even with a company of such high integrity. But this product is hypoallergenic and designed to provide zero irritation.

The Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser comes in a tube and is a very thick unscented cream. When I use the product I feel the effects of the cotton, it is as though every single one of my facial pores has cotton mouth... probably one of the reasons I am so fixated by it at this point. The product does work well but I do recommend following up with a nice hydrating moisturizer. 

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for reviewing this product. I did however earn a few mypoints and some day I will be able to exchange them for a gift card. All opinions are honest and belong to me. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shanti Tea - Caramel Latte Tea



I recently had the privilege to sample a few blends of tea from Shanti Tea. A certain tea in particular caught my eye. Caramel Latte?? This is a tea company... right? I felt a mild wave of confusion hit me. Sure enough, inside of the package is loose tea and it smells incredible. Out of all of the teas, I kept going back to smell this one in particular. All of the teas I received by Shanti Tea had a beautifully blended aroma, but this one was enticing. Wait, is that a coffee bean in the mix. I can't honestly say I ever thought I would get excited over the addition of coffee beans in my tea. The addition of Sunflower Petals adds a nice burst of color to an otherwise dark tea as well as antioxidants.

The tea was delicious with and without sugar and milk and the light caramel flavor gave it a very subtle and natural sweetness. About 5 lovely people tried this tea in my home and it was well received by each individual.


Interesting fact: Did you know that the Mayans regarded Sunflower petals as an aphrodisiac and frequently drank Sunflower petal infusions?

Disclaimer: I received some samples from Shanti Tea to try in exchange for my honest opinion. No other exchange took place. All opinions written above are my own.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chia Chocolate Cookies

I have been having fun again in the kitchen with the Low Carb Baking Mix and Hemp Protein Powder from Bob's Red Mill. This time I involved a bag of Chocolate Chunk Chips from Enjoy Life. These dark chocolate chunks are nut and dairy free, Casein free, Gluten free, Vegan and Kosher. Even though I had so much goodness to add to these cookies, I still felt that these cookie could use an additional source of nutrients. So, I decided to add some Chia seeds that I received from Bob's Red Mill for a nice dose of Fiber and Omegas. 


In one bowl, I combined 1 and 1/2 cups of the Low Carb Baking Mix into a bowl with 1/2 cup of Hemp Protein Powder. I added 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of Baking Soda and 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt. Sift well.


In a separate bowl, cream together 1 and 1/4 cup of butter/margarine along with your choice of sugar or sugar free substitute. I used brown sugar this time. However, if you wanted to stick to a low carb cookie I would recommend a sugar free substitute. Once this mixture fluffed up, I added 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. I then combined the wet and dry mixture and added 3/4 cup of Chia seeds. Added a great deal of fiber to this batch of cookies. 

After the Chia seeds were all stirred into the dough, I added the Gluten Free Semi Sweet - Mega Chunks from Enjoy Life Foods. I set the oven to 325 earlier and by the time the dough was complete I was ready to drop spoon sized balls onto a couple non greased cookie sheets. Makes approximately 30 chewy cookies with a light crispy edge.

The cookies turned out absolutely delicious. My husband immediately ate 4 when he first discovered them. They were a hit with our mortal kombat buddies too. They taste completely unhealthy, but they aren't. The chocolate chunks really made these cookies quite amazing fresh out of the oven. It was perfect amount of chocolate.


Disclaimer: I received a few products to try from Bob's Red Mill and Enjoy Life Foods to try for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation. This recipe was created by me using a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe that I modified to suit my needs.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#Review - Greenworks Product Line


I received a bunch of Green Works products to try out on behalf of Green Works and Mom Central Canada. Each Green Works product is made with an average of 95% percent natural ingredients, a powerful cleaner without all the harsh chemical odor and terrible residue. I was sent the products shown in the picture below to try out during my spring cleaning adventures. The package arrival was perfectly timed for my instinctive cleaning fiasco that arrived when Mr. Sun came out to play.


While not as potent as other natural cleaners I have used, Green Works Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner is a wonderful surface cleaner for my toilet. Equipped with a nozzle that allows for very even distribution, a gentle scrub left the toilet fresh and clean. Unfortunately, it didn't do much to tackle the hard water stains that are a frequent problem in this household.

I was surprised to discover that the Green Works Natural Dishwashing Liquid Original Scent pleased me more than the Tangerine Scent. I thought for certain it would be the other way around. This dermatologist-tested formula is composed of 97% naturally derived ingredients and works amazing in hard water. I can only imagine how much suds this liquid would produce in soft water, but I'll bet it we could at least make sud beards.... for everyone.

I've never been a fan of disposable wipes, I'm more of a facecloth/rag kind of girl. I have found it better for my overall ecological footprint. Although, Clorox provides a convenient biodegradable solution for all of you looking for a quick on the go disposable wipe. Green Works Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes are made with 99% natural ingredients like Citric Acid and Wood Fibers. I would probably not put them in the compost that I use for gardening but I do rest easier knowing that they I can still put them in the green bin regardless. These were terrific for cleaning up those little boy bathroom messes that I constantly seem to find.

Green Works Natural All Purpose Cleaner has a nice clean scent without being too overpowering. I should probably note that I can't enter the grocery store cleaning aisle because the smell is too overpowering and chemically laden. When I find a softer smelling cleaner, I really do rejoice a great deal on the inside. I used  the all purpose cleaner to clean a variety of surfaces and spot treatments all over the house and observed no visible residue.

My windows were terribly filthy, between cats that scratch at them all day and kids grubby hands, they were long overdue for a good cleaning inside and out. Green Works Natural Glass and Surface Cleaner certainly got the job done without leaving streaks on my windows. I can't say the same for my mirror, I had a hard time getting a streak free job on the mirror. I'm going to try again with some newspaper and see if I have better results. I don't think the Glass cleaner is the streaky culprit.

Currently at Walmart you can find great deals on Green Works products. They offer exclusive all purpose cleaner refills and they also have an All Purpose Cleaner/Dish Soap combo pack available at a great price.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Green Works program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of The Clorox Company of Canada Ltd.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Low Carb Grocery - Smart Break Cashew Crisp



A little difficult to chew, the Dixie Diner - Smart Break Cashew Crisp Protein Bars provide an all natural or gluten-free diet with a delicious low carb snack. These protein bars contain 69 calories, 1 gram of sugar and 32 mg of sodium. I had my husband try a piece and his remark was as follows: "You can tell it's healthy and I don't mean anything bad by that. It just takes some getting used to..."

Aside from it being a little tough to consume, I really enjoyed the Cashew Crisp bar. I loved how few calories it has and that it contains very little sodium and sugar. So many products are filled with both that I feel it cause to celebrate products that aren't. This product is vegan and doesn't taste bland. I really like cashews a lot. This product is probiotic as are the Dixie Diner sticky bars that I recently reviewed. The product is low glycemic and contains 78 mg of Potassium.



Disclaimer: I received a sample of this bar from the Low Carb Grocery in exchange for my honest opinion. No additional compensation was received.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Low Carb, High Protein Pizza

So I received a few different products from Bob's Red Mill to try and I decided that I would cook something with them and show you what I made. I decided to use the Low Carb Baking Mix and the Hemp Protein Powder to make a Low Carb, High Protein Greek Pizza. So, I used a pizza dough recipe I had kicking around the house and substituted some ingredients. 


 First of all I mixed 1 packet of Quick Rise Yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water until dissolved.  Then I added a tablespoon of softened butter/margarine, 1 tablespoon of Sugar or Sugar Free Substitute. 1/2 Teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of hot water. Then stir until smooth.


The recipe called for 2 3/4 cups of Flour. The package of Protein Powder says I can substitute 25 percent of my flour with it. So, I mixed together 2 and 1/4 cups of the Low Carb Baking Mix in a separate bowl and I allowed the remaining 1/2 cup to be the Hemp Protein Powder.  I then combined them together with the liquid mixture and kneaded to make a dough that is very green. 


The recipe makes enough for two pans of pizza, I added our homemade greek vinaigrette for the sauce and sprinkled a bunch of oregano on it. I then added some cheese and a whole bunch of Greek ingredients.


My husband liked it a lot, I was a little surprised. Lately much of his health food reactions have been a little stale but he enjoyed this quite a bit. I personally loved this a great deal and I would like to make another with all freezable veggies so I can grab it by the slice when I'm in the mood for some pizza with a dash of protein.

Disclaimer: I received these products to sample from Bob's Red Mill in exchange for my honest opinion. No other monetary exchange occurred.

#Recipe: Low Carb, High Protein Greek Pizza @Bobs_Red_Mill

So I received a few different products from Bob's Red Mill to try and I decided that I would cook something with them and show you what I made. I decided to use the Low Carb Baking Mix and the Hemp Protein Powder to make a Low Carb, High Protein Greek Pizza. So, I used a pizza dough recipe I had kicking around the house and substituted some ingredients. 


 First of all I mixed 1 packet of Quick Rise Yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water until dissolved.  Then I added a tablespoon of softened butter/margarine, 1 tablespoon of Sugar or Sugar Free Substitute. 1/2 Teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of hot water. Then stir until smooth.


The recipe called for 2 3/4 cups of Flour. The package of Protein Powder says I can substitute 25 percent of my flour with it. So, I mixed together 2 and 1/4 cups of the Low Carb Baking Mix in a separate bowl and I allowed the remaining 1/2 cup to be the Hemp Protein Powder.  I then combined them together with the liquid mixture and kneaded to make a dough that is very green. 


The recipe makes enough for two pans of pizza, I added our homemade greek vinaigrette for the sauce and sprinkled a bunch of oregano on it. I then added some cheese and a whole bunch of Greek ingredients.


My husband liked it a lot, I was a little surprised. Lately much of his health food reactions have been a little stale but he enjoyed this quite a bit. I personally loved this a great deal and I would like to make another with all freezable veggies so I can grab it by the slice when I'm in the mood for some pizza with a dash of protein.

Disclaimer: I received these products to sample from Bob's Red Mill in exchange for my honest opinion. No other monetary exchange occurred.