Nuts.com Products (and Recipes)!

Hi guys! I was so excited to receive an email from a representative from Nuts.com asking me to tell you all about their great products. They were kind enough to send me a couple of their products to try out (yay free stuff!).

First up, black walnuts!

Now, black walnuts are like regular walnuts, but with a much more unique flavor. They’re also full of great health benefits; they contain more protein per ounce than any other tree nut, and they are very low in saturated fat, and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (those are the good ones, they help maintain good cholesterol!). They come shelled and ready to go in the package, and I decided to make some pumpkin muffins and toss some of these in there! (I apologize for the lower quality photos, I forgot to bring my nice camera home so I had to make do with my iPhone camera)

These were really good! We used some pumpkin muffin mix that we got from Trader Joe’s. The muffins were fluffy and moist, and the walnuts provided a great crunch (I also added some chocolate chips, because a little chocolate never hurt anyone right?) I liked the walnuts in the muffins, but be warned, they are a little bit of an acquired taste. I probably wouldn’t eat them by themselves, but the unique flavor works pretty well when you put them in other things.

Next, pine nuts!

I never thought to eat a pine nut on its own, but I tried one and it actually tasted really good! It kind of reminded me of a sunflower seed. They have a great flavor that goes well in any kind of dish, and toasting them brings out even more nutty flavor! Like the black walnuts, these are also high in monounsaturated fats, which are great for heart health. They also contain nutrients that naturally increase energy levels (because who couldn’t use a little energy boost?). Anyway, the first thought that popped into my head for how to use these in a recipe was in pesto. But no, that’s too expected. I had to do something different. I didn’t want to blend them up into a sauce—I wanted to showcase them and their flavor. So I decided on a pasta dish with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, and basil. Heres the recipe! (Again, low quality pic, sorry 😦 )

Pasta with Tomato, Artichoke, and Pine Nuts

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 package Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti (or whatever spaghetti you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • one 8.5oz can of artichokes, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • a little bit of oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan

How to make it:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the pine nuts and garlic until light brown (I didn’t use all the oil for this step, just enough to toast the nuts and cook the garlic)
  3. Add the rest of the oil, tomatoes, artichokes, basil, and oregano and let it simmer for a little bit, and season with salt and pepper
  4. Toss in the pasta, and serve with grated parmesan

This really was such a delicious, fresh dish, and it allowed you to really taste the pine nuts. I can’t express how much toasting the nuts brings out the nuttiness; it was just so good. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my regular lineup.

Finally, the kind folks at Nuts.com sent me some gluten free snacks to try out. I got roasted chickpeas, veggie chips, and half-popped popcorn.

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The chickpeas were really really good. I’ve been wanting to give chickpeas a try as a healthier alternative for a snack, and they exceeded my expectations. I’ve been sitting in my dorm snacking on them since I got them. I think they taste kind of like a cross between a peanut and a sunflower seed. It’s great. Some friends on my floor had a little sampling session in the hallway and they liked them too! So the chickpeas have been college student approved. Now the next two snacks were kind of a toss up; I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about them. I’ll talk about the veggie chips first. I didn’t think I was going to like them that much. Well, correction, I knew I would like the sweet potato chips, I wasn’t sure about the carrots, squash, taro, or green beans. Yes, I said green beans. Someone made green beans into chips. And surprisingly, I liked them. And everything else in it for that matter. They each have a unique flavor, and I really like it. As for the half-popped popcorn, the name is literal—it really is only popped halfway. I was imagining the weird pieces of popcorn that don’t get fully popped when you microwave the bag. But these were not that. They are delightfully crunchy in just the right way. I really enjoyed them! I’m happy to have these great snacks as options for hanging out in my dorm. I might just have to order more when I run out!

I’m so happy that I got to try these products, and a big thank you to Nuts.com for sending them to me! They’re definitely worth a try!

Although I was not paid for this review, I received free samples of Nuts.com products. However, everything I’ve said in this review is my honest opinion and reflects my own personal experiences.

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Life Update!

Hey everyone! Since the last time I posted, I have officially become a Blue Hen (complete with cool, yet slightly culty, induction ceremony)!

udel induction ceremony

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but college has been keeping’ me pretty busy. I’ve been at the University of Delaware for about 5 weeks, and it’s been awesome! I’ve met a whole bunch of great new people, and I’m enjoying all my classes. It took quite a bit of adjustment in the beginning (it was weird to think that I live here now), but I’m mostly used to it! I still miss my family (and my cat) a lot though.

As for the food, I’ve been doing pretty well. Most of the time I eat at Caesar Rodney Dining Hall (I talked a little bit about it in this post), since it’s the most convenient because of the gluten free station. I can also order a meal ahead of time from Russell Dining Hall, which is literally 5 steps from my dorm room, but I either always forget to do it in time or nothing in there is any better than what’s in Rodney. I have ordered from Russell a couple times, but I’ve found that I like the food in Rodney better. One day I ordered pasta with meat sauce from Russell (which I was really excited about, since we all know I love pasta and I hadn’t eaten any since I moved in), but when I got it, the pasta had all completely fallen apart. I had a bowl of pasta mush. But that has been my only bad experience here with food! The quesadillas from Rodney are literally fantastic. How can you go wrong with a good ol’ gluten free tortilla filled with chicken,  black beans, and melty cheese??? Answer: you can’t. I’ve also eaten at a couple restaurants on Main Street, like California Tortilla, Honeygrow, Home Grown, Panera, and more (there’s literally so many options on Main Street). All have been great; maybe if I get some time soon I’ll write a full review on a couple of them. Also, for the times I just don’t feel like leaving my room or I don’t like anything in the dining halls, I just eat a frozen meal or a can of soup in the comfort of my own room.

Overall, college is pretty fantastic so far. I can’t wait to share some exciting college stories with you all soon. 🙂

College Decision!!!

Big news!! After months of back and forth between the University of Delaware and The College of New Jersey, I’ve finally made a decision on where I will be going to college! I have decided to go to…

University of Delaware! 😀

university of delaware

The campus is sooo beautiful! I love it so much. In the end, picking UDel just felt right. I’m so excited to go already! I would start tomorrow if I could. I’m already buying things for my dorm, and I still have four months until move in day. One of my favorite parts of this school is all the gluten free options! They just built a new freshman housing complex, which included a brand new dining hall, called Rodney Dining Hall. And it has a designated gluten free station! Meaning they only cook gluten free food here. Meaning very very little chance of cross contamination (I can’t say no chance for sure since there are other gluten foods in the hall). When we visited in March, we tried out Rodney.  Once we walked into the hall, the first person we ran into was the chef from the gluten free station! She was so ridiculously nice. I loved her. I’m so annoyed at myself for not asking her name, but I’m sure now I’ll get to know her very well since I’m going to see her all the time for all my meals! We visited at a weird off-time, around 3 o’clock, so they didn’t have the full range of options that they usually would since they were in the transition between lunch and dinner. At this time, they had cheese pizza, chipotle chicken BLT wraps, and salad. So what did I do? I tried them all!

udel rodney dining hall gluten free

Considering the dining hall horror stories I’ve heard, this meal was pretty great. Let’s go from left to right. So the salad was good; it was a salad. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, italian dressing. Pretty basic, but good. The pizza was so much better than I thought it would be. I thought it was going to taste like icky frozen pizza with not-so-great ingredients, but it wasn’t that at all! The crust was really nice, and the sauce and cheese tasted like pretty good quality stuff. I really enjoyed it. The chipotle chicken BLT wrap was tasty too! The wrap itself was one of the better ones I’ve tasted. The stuff inside was really good, but I wish there was more of it! The chipotle chicken had great flavor, and a great little spiciness to it. I just really wanted a good stuffed wrap, and the filling was a little sparse. Overall, this food completely exceeded my expectations!

So the dining hall has a little online portal where you can see the menu for the next couple weeks. I’ve seen some really good looking lunches and dinners, but there’s no gluten free options listed in the breakfasts. So of course, that was my first question to ask. Super nice gluten free lady told me that she always has some breakfast options for “her kids” at the gluten free station, like muffins and cereal.

But Rodney isn’t the only place to eat gluten free on campus. There are plenty of off campus restaurants that I will be able to stop in and grab something to eat, whether it be a meal or a snack.

Here are some places that I’ve already tried that I know are wonderful:

And some that I plan to try:

I can’t wait for August to come. I’m so excited to try all the new gluten free food in Newark. And even more excited to be a Blue Hen!! 💙💛