Category Archives: Product Reviews

Bella Sun Luci – Not Just Sun Dried Tomato Products

Bella Sun Luci produces more than just Sun Dried Tomato products. Just like their line of sun dried tomato items, their marinades that I tried had fantastic flavor. This company knows their food and they do it right !

Marinades
Marinades

The marinades are only 10 calories per tablespoon – so you just can’t go wrong ! And the amount of flavor you get is phenomenal. The Carne Asada and Basque Norte marinades are great on chicken and beef alike. The Carne Asada was perfect on a thin, thin sirloin that I grilled. When done, I sliced it up and had it inside flour tortillas with some salsa and caramelized onions – OH SO GOOD !!

Marinade
Marinade

Be sure to look for these products are your favorite grocer. They are definitely superior products from a company that cares about quality and value.

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes

Bella Sun Luci – Sun Dried Tomato Products that Knock Your Socks Off

Bella Sun Luci is a premium brand of Mooney Farms in Chico, Calilfornia. The company has been family owned and operated and their dedication to value and quality shines through in their products !
Sun Dried Tomatoes

I have used sun dried tomatoes in many of my dishes – I love the flavor of them. Sometimes I find certain brands are just a little too sweet for my liking. Bella Sun Luci products are just perfect to me – they are sweet, but not overly sweet. All the sweet goodness you expect from a sun dried tomato is there, but without the sweet aftertaste that you get from some other products. To me, this makes them just PERFECT.

You can use sun dried tomatoes in sooooo many ways. I often put them on a sandwich. Add a few and you’ll find no need for mayo or mustard – the POW of flavor from the tomatoes is all you need. Try their herbed julienne cut or even their tomato halves. They are packed with lycopene and other good healthful things – but more importantly, they are packed with flavor. Flavor you won’t forget and flavor you will find yourself craving !!

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes

As well as sandwiches, try the julienne cut in pasta salads of all types. Just cook pasta, add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, some sliced prosciutto, some diced kalamata olives and sprinkle with some feta cheese for a great salad that goes well next to just about anything.

By far my most favorite product from Bella Sun Luci that I tried was their Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. This is TO DIE FOR !! The complexity of flavor was astounding. There was just the right amount of tomato mixed with just the right amount of pesto and this has now become a staple in my pantry !! First I made some crostini and ate it pure and simple on the bread (with just a slight dusting of grated parmesan cheese on top). Delicious !

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes

Then I sauteed some onions and peppers and added a few tablespoons in right at the end of the cooking period. Can you say FLAVOR ? Now I can’t wait to try it mixed into a soup broth. Take any chicken or fish soup that has a chicken or vegetable broth. Stir in just a tablespoon or two…see what I mean !?! Utterly delicious!

Be sure to keep your eye out for my review of their new marinades, Carne Asada and Basque Norte. Mooney Farms certainly has my vote for delicious products and you’ll want to make sure you try these products soon – my local market carries many of their items and I’m sure yours does as well ! If not, you can always head over to the website and order there.

Looking for some more recipes that use sun dried tomatoes? Check out these recipes that I’ve posted:

Tilapia Puttanesca
Rotini with Ham
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Couscous with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Soup

Quick Healthy Snacks

We all know how hard it can be to find prepared foods and snacks that are good for us. Well, Lifestyle Foods has some awesome products that solve that problem – all are healthy options, and all are prepared and ready to grab out of the fridge making them just as convenient as grabbing those cookies or that full of fat hot pocket from the freezer – – healthy eating just got a lot easier !

Apples

The food is available online (http://www.lifestylefoods.com) where you can mix and match and create your own personalized pack of snacks. Or if you are in the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area, you can find the products in 7-11, Sheetz, and Royal Farms locations throughout New Jersey, in a few Hudson News locations including JFK Airport, and most Giant locations across Pennsylvania. There are soups, salads, snack packs, breakfasts, stand along snacks – more than enough choices to keep the pickiest of eaters happy.

Look at these low calorie counts !
Apple Wedges – 30 calories
Shred Snack – Chicken strips and cheddar cheese cubes – 175 calories
Essential Snack – Mini bagel with cream cheese, hard boiled egg, apple wedges – 200 calories
Manhattan Snack – Hummus, pita bread, carrots, cheddar cheese – 240 calories
Hollywood Snack – Honey wheat pretzels, apple wedges, grapes, cheddar cheese – 200 calories
Glam Snack – Apple wedges, grapes, almonds – 150 calories
Mac Snack – Mac and cheese cubes, grapes – 110 calories
Obsessed Snack – Greek yogurt and honey graham sticks – 150 calories

Head on over to Lifestyle Foods (http://www.lifestylefoods.com) and grab some snack foods that are guilt free !

Lifestyle Foods Does it Right !!

We all know how hard it can be to find prepared foods and snacks that are good for us. Well, Lifestyle Foods has some awesome products that solve that problem – all are healthy options, and all are prepared and ready to grab out of the fridge making them just as convenient as grabbing those cookies or that full of fat hot pocket from the freezer – – healthy eating just got a lot easier ! Lifestyle Foods With so many options (and all of them tasting GREAT), you could live off these little meals and snacks. And that is precisely what I’ve done for a few days as I’ve been taste testing and reviewing all the different options. My goodness, there are so many things to choose from and one tastes better than the next. They definitely get a thumbs up rating from me !

The food is available online (http://www.lifestylefoods.com) where you can mix and match and create your own personalized pack of snacks. Or if you are in the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area, you can find the products in 7-11, Sheetz, and Royal Farms locations throughout New Jersey, in a few Hudson News locations including JFK Airport, and most Giant locations across Pennsylvania. There are soups, salads, snack packs, breakfasts, stand along snacks – more than enough choices to keep the pickiest of eaters happy.

I would love to see this product line on shelves in every food store, in every convenience store, and in all colleges across the nation – how great it would be if college students all had easy access to prepared foods that they can eat on the run or place in their dorm refrigerators for easy access to healthy snacks.

The quality is stupendous, the taste is great, the combinations are well thought out, the packaging is minimal (which is an added bonus in my mind!) and the calorie count is way low. Add a piece of fruit and some nuts as a dessert to one of the salads and you have a complete meal. Or instead of 2 slices of pizza next meal, have one slice and one of these quick salads next to it. Eating healthier is so much easier when great options are a few steps away and READY TO EAT.

Below you’ll see a list of all the products I’ve tried and some misc. comments – even if you don’t have time to read the info, please do yourself and your family a favor and grab some of these items. When they are there in the fridge ready to eat, you will find that you grab them. I have, my husband has, my teenage daughter has – and we all feel better because of it !

SOUP + SALAD

The soups are fresh and tasty and if they were packaged separately, I would be buying them up ! They do not taste like Campbells’s canned soup – they are fresh and scrumptious. The salad dressings appear to be low fat options and more than enough is provided, even for dressing hogs like me.

My favorite here is the Tomato Basil soup – oh my goodness ! Just a little chunky; actually the perfect texture. Super taste.

The only thing here is I would recommend NOT using the cardboard as the microwave stand – if it opens up after you grab the soup, you could end up with hot soup all over the place :( And you certainly don’t want to waste even a spoonful of the yummy soup !

Chicken Noodle+ Caesar – 120 calories

Vegetable and Garden – 90 calories

Tomato Basil and Garden – 120 calories

SALADS

The salad dressings appear to be low fat options and more than enough is provided, even for dressing hogs like me. The dressings are very flavorful.

The chicken salad is white meat only and for only 190 calories you are FULL when you are done – the portioning is fantastic. The tuna salad is equally as fresh and quality tuna is definitely used. The chicken in the cobb salad has a nice little kick to it – this could actually use a little more lettuce for all the add ins and dressing you get.

Taco Salad – 160 calories

Caesar with Chicken – 220 calories

Garden with Italian – 80 calories

Garden with Ranch – 120 calories

BLT with Ranch – 200 calories

Tuna Salad and Romaine – 210 calories

Chicken Salad and Romaine – 190 calories

Cobb with Ranch – 220 calories

SNACKS

All the apple wedges are crisp and fresh without any flavor of the agent used to keep them from browning (ascorbic acid).

Veggies are sweet, cheese is mild and fresh, dips are zesty – great snack attack packs.

Apple Wedges – 30 calories

Shred Snack – Chicken strips and cheddar cheese cubes – 175 calories

Essential Snack – Mini bagel with cream cheese, hard boiled egg, apple wedges – 200 calories

Manhattan Snack – Hummus, pita bread, carrots, cheddar cheese – 240 calories

Hollywood Snack – Honey wheat pretzels, apple wedges, grapes, cheddar cheese – 200 calories

Glam Snack – Apple wedges, grapes, almonds – 150 calories

Mac Snack – Mac and cheese cubes, grapes – 110 calories

Obsessed Snack – Greek yogurt and honey graham sticks – 150 calories

BREAKFASTS

The oatmeal was so hearty and such a grand portion ! I might add a little honey or nuts to make it even better. But this is a great little package even as is.

Awake Snack – Granola, apples, grapes, trail mix – 170 calories

Oatmeal and Apple – Whole apple, steel cut oatmeal (with turbinado sugar and raisins to add in)- 230 calories

Lifestyle Foods (http://www.lifestylefoods.com) have snacks and mini meals to satisfy your sweet tooth or your craving for savory food – they have it all. They provide nutritious, ready to eat, delicious snacks that compliment a healthy lifestyle.

Almondina – The Delicious Cookie without the Guilt !

You can’t imagine my pleasure at biting into a ‘healthy’ cookie and being so blown away by the flavor and texture ! These cookies are incredibly good. And with no added fat or salt, no preservatives, and no cholesterol, you just can’t find a reason to say ‘no’. Believe me, that’s a good thing.

Almondina
Almondina

The first thing you notice when you bite into these great cookies is the perfect texture. Not so hard like a traditional biscotti that you break your teeth if you don’t dunk them, yet not soft or crumbly. These are perfect. They are much like a thin cross section piece of a traditional biscotti. But I believe the texture and the flavor are superior.

These thin, light, crunchy cookies come in many flavors – one is better than the next. They are great for entertaining. But there is no reason to not ‘indulge’ (and I put that in quotes because you can barely consider this an indulgence considering there is no guilt!) all the time – no cholesterol, all natural and ONLY 99 CALORIES for 3 cookies (original and bran).

Almondina
Almondina

Like all the best recipes, this one was Grandma’s secret recipe until the end of her life. We are so glad Zaliouk has made them available for us all. Try all the great flavors – original, sesame, cinnaroma, bran treats, gingerspice, pumpkin spice, choconut and chocolate cherry. Each is packed with nuts and full of flavor. I think my favorite is chocolate cherry, though the original keep calling me back to the package :)

Get your ALMONDINA biscuits (named after Grandma Dina) now ! You can order online or they are available locally in most areas (I’ll be getting mine at Whole Foods and Trader Joes). Head on over to almondina.com for more information.

I am so addicted !!

Almondina
Almondina

Poundcake with Cinnamon Sauce

Did someone say poundcake ? Did someone say cinnamon sauce? Add the 2 together and you get QUITE the dessert. And, of course, it’s available from Plentiful Pantry ! Just add this to their growing list of mixes that get you out of the kitchen in no time flat.

Poundcake with Cinnamon Sauce
Poundcake with Cinnamon Sauce

As usual with the mixes from Plentiful Pantry, the dish had the guests OOOing and AHHHing as they bit into the most moist poundcake they had ever had (and that was before I even added the sauce !). All I did was add butter and water – how great is that !?!?

Check out the full line of desserts over at Plentiful Pantry. They have so many different ones to choose from and they all turn out perfect dishes full of homemade taste.

Three Cheese Risotto

Does making risotto scare you? It scares me ! Especially after watching Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsay screaming at everyone that they can’t get the risotto right ;)

Queue up “Rocky” music….Plentiful Pantry has come to the rescue – and now you can be a winner whenever you make risotto ! Their Three Cheese Risotto mix could not be any easier to prepare. Just add water, simmer, add cheese and you have PERFECT risotto.

Three Cheese Risotto
Three Cheese Risotto

It’s creamy, elegant, moist, cheesy, and so very flavorful. I think next time I am going to add some sauted mushrooms in for a beautiful Mushroom Risotto. The box makes 6 servings and it comes out to 140 calories per serving.

I don’t know how they do it, but all of their mixes turn out the most fabulous results. They must have some pretty good test kitchen chefs !! Thanks again, Plentiful Pantry – you made another meal a success.

Hawaiian Pasta Salad

Looking for something a little different for lunch? Instead of regular old pasta salad, how about some Hawaiian pasta salad? Plentiful Pantry makes it so easy and it is such a refreshing change of pace.

Hawaiian Pasta Salad
Hawaiian Pasta Salad

8 servings
180 calories per serving

Their mix basically handles the noodles and the dressing spices – you just add some cooked chicken (I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey and it was great !), pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, onion and avocado. The mixture of noodles (colors and shapes) makes for such a fun salad! And their poppy seed dressing is so special – sweet without being too sweet and just a little tart with the mustard in the dressing and the vinegar bite. Just whisk up the dressing and pout over the fruits, meat and cooked pasta. Chill a bit and presto…LUNCH IS SERVED !

Hawaiian Pasta Salad
Hawaiian Pasta Salad

Plentiful Pantry does such a great job of getting you out of the kitchen fast providing mixes that are tasty and easy to put together. I have tried several of their products and I find them all to turn out very good food.

Check out our reviews of other Plentiful Pantry products:

Blondies and Maple Sauce
Key Lime Cheesecake Bars
Roasted Tomato Parmesan Bisque

Pumpkin Cobbler

Special Holiday Coupon from Plentiful Pantry

Good through the end of the month……25% off your order at Plentiful Pantry !!

Just use COUPON CODE 4HCOL25 at checkout.

This is PERFECT timing – Plentiful Pantry has some of THE BEST desserts on the planet. And they are sooooo easy to make. You will be in and out of the kitchen in no time ! And the results are just spectacular. Every Plentiful Pantry dessert I make gets rave reviews. Here are my suggestions for a decadent Thanksgiving dessert trio….

Pumpkin Cobbler
Blondies and Maple Sauce
Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

All you do is add a few ingredients from home and mix – they take all the hard work out of it. You can literally be done with desserts such as these in only 10 minutes ! That works for me :)

(This offer cannot be combined with other promotions / coupons)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Gingerbread Cookie Crust

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE MIX IS NOW ‘BUY 2, GET 1 FREE’ !! HEAD ON OVER TO PLENTIFUL PANTRY AND ORDER SOME TODAY.

Take the creaminess of the best of cheesecakes, add just the right amount of pumpkin flavoring – then put it all in a delicious gingerbread crust. All the greatest flavors of the season in one stunning dessert !

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake

16 servings
110 calories per serving

To make this rich, creamy dessert, all you do is grab a Pumpkin Cheesecake mix from Plentiful Pantry and add a few ingredients from home – some water, some cream cheese and some butter. It just couldn’t be any easier to put together and the results are stunning. The dessert is so creamy and has just the right amount of pumpkin flavoring. Just before serving, drizzle with some caramel sauce for a mouthwatering dessert that you can prepare in a snap.

Between the Pumpkin Cobbler and the Pumpkin Cheesecake available at Plentiful Pantry, your Thanksgiving baking is DONE ! And you’ll be out of the kitchen in 2 shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Check out our reviews of other Plentiful Pantry products:

Blondies and Maple Sauce
Key Lime Cheesecake Bars
Roasted Tomato Parmesan Bisque

Pumpkin Cobbler

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Coupon code good through October 10, 2010
Coupon not eligible to be combined with other special offers/coupons
Any associated contests available only to US residents

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