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.

Simple Mills Banana Muffin Mix

It’s been a while since I wrote a new product review, so here you go!

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for a good muffin at breakfast time. Especially a fresh, warm, just out of the oven muffin. Simple Mills Banana Muffins totally hit the spot. These muffins are not only super yummy, but also healthy! They only have the best, most simple (get it, Simple Mills??) ingredients in them. The ingredients are almonds, organic coconut sugar, arrowroot powder, organic coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt. So not only are they gluten free, but everything in them is just naturally gluten free. This is also true for all Simple Mills products—they are all naturally gluten free, and all almond based. They’re even made in a dedicated gluten free facility!

Simple Mills Banana Muffin Mix

I wanted to add a little something extra to them, so I added about 1/3 cup of chopped pecans. It was nice to get little bits of crunch in the muffin. As for the muffin itself, it was so delicious! As I said in my King Arthur Flour GF Muffin Mix review, it’s not very easy to find muffins that aren’t dense and dry. But these were a different kind of awesome from the King Arthur Flour muffins. While those were fluffy and chocolatey, these were perfectly moist and nutty and banana-y.

simple mills banana muffins before and after

Simple Mills also has plenty of other products! As far as muffins go, they also have chocolate and pumpkin muffins (I have the chocolate mix in my pantry ready to be baked and devoured). They also have mixes for chocolate chip cookies, bread, pancakes/waffles, pizza crust, and vanilla cake. You can visit the Simple Mills website to look at these mixes in more detail, as well as the ingredients they use and where you can find products near you. I will definitely be trying more of their products in the future, but for now I will just enjoy my banana muffins.

simple mills banana muffins

 

King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Muffin Mix

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My first post of 2016! Yay! I hope everyone’s New Year is going great so far.

Now, it’s time to talk about muffins! Who doesn’t love a good muffin? I love using King Arthur Flour GF Muffin Mix, because the mix is just for plain muffins, so you can add whatever you want to them to personalize and make them delicious! There are endless possibilities with this mix. This time, I got the idea for these chocolate muffins from the King Arthur Flour website, specifically their recipe for Chocolate Breakfast Muffins. So here is how I made them!

What you’ll need:

  • One box of King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Muffin Mix
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter (or oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup espresso*
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • sparkling white sugar for topping (optional)

*The recipe called for espresso powder, but we didn’t have that on hand so I used brewed espresso. Because of this, I had to adjust how much liquid was in the batter and use a little less milk (usually 1 cup). If you do have espresso powder, use 3/4 teaspoon and use the full cup of milk.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° and line your muffin pan with muffin cups
  2. Stir together the melted butter, eggs, mil, and espresso. Add the mix and cocoa, and whisk until it’s nice and smooth, then add your chocolate chips
  3. Fill your muffin cups until they’re almost full, and sprinkle sugar on top
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean
  5. Remove the muffins from the pan, cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
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Before & after

These muffins were ridiculously good. They were so soft and fluffy (like seriously, do you see how puffy these things got???). A lot of the time, gluten free muffins are pretty dense and look deflated, but not these little guys. They are light and pillowy and chocolatey. The only bad thing was that I really couldn’t taste the espresso, but maybe that would’ve been better if I’d used espresso powder or just a little more brewed espresso. Overall, this muffin mix is fantastic, and definitely my favorite way to make muffins!

gluten free muffins

The Happy Mixer

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! As we all know, this day is about begin thankful for what we have, but it’s also about one other wonderful thing: food! So I want to talk about this fantastic, totally gluten free bakery, The Happy Mixer. This place is like heaven—it’s a bakery full of delicious treats, and I can eat anything that I want. It is awesome! Every couple of months I go to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s offsite office in Chalfont, PA, and this bakery is literally right next door. It’s a nice treat after a visit to the doctor for me, and I always have to get a bunch of things since I only get to go a few times a year.

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On this visit, what I brought home in this lovely little box was a chocolate chip muffin, a cream cheese brownie, a chocolate cake donut, two oatmeal raisin cookies, and a little cookie sandwich with mint frosting. Everything was amazing. First of all, the cream cheese brownie is one of my favorite things from here. It sounded weird to me at first but it turns out I love it! Another favorite of mine is the oatmeal raisin cookies. These are always a regular for me; I can’t leave the bakery without my oatmeal raisin cookies. The muffin was pretty much just a muffin, very soft but nothing super special. I would also say the same for the cookie sandwich, tasty but nothing very exciting. However, these aren’t things that you can get everywhere so it’s nice to have them available. This is the only place I’ve ever gotten donuts from, and they are great! They aren’t quite the same texture as a gluten-filled donut, but I will take what I can get—I love donuts.

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On this more recent visit, I brought home a pumpkin muffin, crumb cake, an apple cider donut, and two oatmeal raisin cookies (I did say I never leave here without them, right?). The muffin was great; I loved the flavor and texture. I was a little thrown off by the frosting though, because to me, once you put frosting on it, it’s a cupcake. It was still delicious, but I think I could’ve done without the frosting. I LOVED the donut. The donut itself and the frosting on top were both so yummy. (Keep in mind the muffin and the donut are seasonal, so they aren’t there year-round.) The crumb cake was also great. This is one of those things that I don’t get to have very often because I don’t know any other place that offers it. I would totally recommend any of these baked goods.

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One more item from The Happy Mixer that I want to talk about is their baguette. This is kind of amazing, because not many places have freshly baked breads. Yes, technically you could get a packaged baguette from brands like Udi’s and Schar, but why do that when you can have fresh bread??? It’s everything you’d expect from a baguette: crunchy outside and fluffy inside. I found that I liked it better when I warmed it in the toaster oven, because it softens it up a bit. There are so many possibilities with this baguette; you can slice it and make garlic bread, you could make a sandwich out of it, you could make bruschetta. I just love this baguette.

The Happy Mixer is one of my favorite places. It’s always so weird but so fantastic to be in there and have so many options!

Link to Happy Mixer menu