BrightCore Nutrition’s True Food™ Product Review

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I recently had the opportunity to review two supplemental powders from BrightCore Nutrition — their True Foods™ Premium Superfood Formula: Chocolate and Original flavor (Chocolate pictured). And because I’ve got a hubby and kids – they got to be my taste-testers.

True to their motto “Premium Superfood Formula,” these powders do include plenty of superfood ingredients, including Wheat Grass, Alfalfa, Spirulina, Chlorella, Kelp, Milk Thistle and Goji Berry … just to list a few (there are many — including powders derived from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even whole grains such as quinoa and amaranth). It also contains a probiotic blend and digestive enzymes. I was pleased to see the Chocolate contained cocoa and stevia, instead of added sugar.

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At first I was a little disappointed in the fact that this product didn’t mix well when incorporated directly into a liquid (milk, coconut juice, or any of my alternative milks). However this really is a good sign. Why? Because sugar dissolves quite well in liquids (this product is not made up of sugars — whew!). I processed it into my Nutri-Bullet to get the creamy, smooth consistency I desired. Then added a couple dates and just a hint of coffee to enhance the Chocolate Flavor.

My husband has used both flavors of TrueFood™ powder in his fruit and yogurt smoothies because he recently had dental surgery and can only consume smoothies, pureés and juices this week. He is really trying to incorporate nutrition into his soft diet. This definitely works for him. My kids enjoyed the Chocolate blend which I whipped together with lots of fresh strawberries, soy milk, vanilla extract and a couple dates (and some ice to froth it up). And, even though they had an opportunity to smell the powders earlier (didn’t care for it), they drank it all up and didn’t even know it was in there.

With only 25 calories per serving, this is a great choice to add in more nutritional bulk to my family’s smoothies or simple shakes. Although it is not a protein powder (only 2g protein per serving), it definitely adds a super boost of nutrition to our smoothies and drinks. And, bonus: they are #gluten-free #nonGMO #raw #soy-free  and #dairy-free so they are #super-clean and suitable to those with certain allergies.

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Disclaimer: Although I was not paid for this review, I did receive full-size complimentary containers of both TrueFood™ Superfood Formulas. This is purely my opinion and not at all influenced by the fact that I was compensated.

“Meat Sauce” on the fly (and it’s not ground turkey, beef or chicken)

This one’s for you, busy moms!

It’s been one of those So Cal hot days and I wasn’t up to walking to my local market. Come Monday – we generally make do with what is in the fridge. MIL shops on Tuesdays for the week. Not enough eggs, no tofu, no protein source (except Deli thin turkey slices) and I wasn’t going to make turkey sandwiches (although I’ve done that before).  So I got creative!!

  • What’s leftover?: Couscous
  • What condiments/seasonings/Soups?: Trader Joe’s Tomato Soup, Marinara Sauce
  • Any protein? Deli thin turkey slices, 1 egg

So here’s what I came up with: not meat sauce Recipe: Blend 1 cup cooked couscous with 4-5 slices of deli thin turkey and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Mix with egg white. Add in 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs and season with Italian spices. Lightly pan fry using cooking spray to resemble ground beef, then add in 1/2 cup – 1 cup marinara sauce and a couple of Tablespoons of tomato soup, depending on how saucy you’d like it. It tastes great on its own, but you certainly can enjoy it over pasta as an alternative protein. Why not?! Meatballs are often made with egg and breadcrumbs. My kids burn plenty of energy for the extra carbs. But I’d certainly enjoy the “meat sauce” alone with a generous side of veggies. : )

Nutrition Notes:

  1. Generally I use low sodium soup (and TJ’s has some decent finds), but this was a MIL buy and we had it in the cupboard.
  2. I don’t use these turkey slices often, but it is a fav staple for my MIL and she eats very little as it is.
  3. We have a good Marinara – it’s got Tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, garlic, basil, spices (Victoria – White Linen Collection) Good taste —not the lowest in sodium, but not too high.  Rao’s Homemade marinara (sensitive formula) is a little better on the sodium and also contains few and all-natural ingredients – and uses olive oil (not canola) — only 260 mg sodium per serving, but the Victoria – White Linen tastes a little better in my opinion.

Got Cranberries? Add pizzazz to this BBQ side dish.

Cranberries can be enjoyed year-round as dried cranberries are accessible and add a delightfully sweet-tart taste to your recipes, including a picnic standard — potato salad.

I adapted the following recipe from the Cranberry Marketing Committee and because the dressing is so easy, tasty (a delightful combination of yogurt, low fat mayo, vinegar, cranberries and hot pepper sauce), and adaptable, it can be used for various types of salad. I think next time, I’ll use it for an egg or tofu salad!

Cranberry & Cucumber Green Bean Potato Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Cran potato green bean salad

Healthy Make-Over “ICE-CREAM CEREAL”

When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was ice-cream cereal. Granted it was loaded in sugars – from the Frosted Flakes to the big dollop of ice-cream, that melted creamily and dreamily into the cereal. And don’t forget that milk contains sugars. Wholy-moly at 34g sugar in one bowl — a sugar overload!!

Sugar Breakdown: 3/4 cup Frosted Flakes 12g Sugar + 1/2 cup ice-cream 15g Sugar + 1/2 cup Whole Milk  7g Sugar = 34g Sugar

Today,  I’m much more aware of the hazards of excess sugars. [Here’s an article for my case in point. It’s on sugar-sweetened beverages – but it doesn’t matter where the sugar comes from, habitual sugar excess wreaks havoc on the body.] So when I want a treat, that yearns back to my childhood days, I make-it-over for a healthier version. Here’s my healthified take on Ice-Cream Cereal – no ice-cream, but definitely a creamy-licious appeal.

Healthy Make-Over “Ice cream Cereal”

The recipe:

  • 1 cup Rice Krispies (only 4g sugar per 1 1/4 cup serving)
  • 1/2 cup organic soy milk (or almond milk) (3g sugar per 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Tablespoons Labne – Middle Eastern “yogurt/cheese” (1.5 g per 3 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 packet Stevia (0g sugar)
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries (4g sugar per 1/2 cup serving)

Mix stevia into Labne yogurt. Set aside. In a bowl combine cereal, milk. Then add a small dollop (3 Tbsp) of the sweetened Labne. Top with Strawberries and enjoy.

Sugar Breakdown: 4g + 3g + 1.5g + 4g = 12.5g sugar – 4 of which come from antioxidant-rich fresh fruit= 8.5g added sugars

And just in case you haven’t seen Labne, you can purchase it in the cream cheese section of your grocery store. I got mine at Ralphs. It looks like yogurt, but thicker than most (closely resembles strained yogurt but I think its a bit denser).

Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

As promised I have a tip and an avocado recipe for you. If you recall in a recent post, I visited Rancho Rodoro and picked farm fresh avocados. #sponsoredtrip #CAavocados They are finally ripe, and quite delish.

Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

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The Recipe:

  • 1/2 medium Hass Avocado
  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup canned, low sodium chickpeas
  • 6- 8 Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1-2 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Optional: Add some chopped raw veggies of choice (I like cucumbers – they are refreshing)

Blend well tahini, soy sauce and lemon juice and set aside for dressing. Toss quinoa, chickpeas and cilantro. Drizzle on dressing. Fold in avocado and strawberries, reserving a few slices of each to garnish. Enjoy!

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AVOCADO-LICIOUS TIP via Katie Ferraro, RD: For better appeal and access to more nutrients, use a criss-cross cut to open and peel avocado. Simply slice length-wise and then around the width. It will easier break off into 4 sections – seed comes right out! It also provides easier access to the most nutrient-dense portion, the dark green area near the peel.

Visit California Avocado Commission‘s site for some other great tips and recipes.

A Festive Salad for Cinco de Mayo

Hi folks! I’ve got a perfect side dish to serve up at your Cinco de Mayo celebration. It’s a confetti of deliciousness, a fiesta of colors and textures and it’s so simple to make. I recently enjoyed it over a bowlful of kale greens with fresh sliced avocado, lime & sea salt and some Flackers (one of my fav Gluten-Free chips – see below). Thank you Cranberry Institute for your “tool kit” and thank you Cranberry Marketing Committee this yummy recipe.

A Fresh Salad for the Start of Spring! (Serve it up at your “Cinco de Mayo” celebration)

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CRANBERRY & CILANTRO QUINOA SALAD

Try a delicious and simple Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad (recipe below) for meatless Monday this week. Yield: 8 servings Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup minced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pinch ground red pepper

Directions

1.       In a small sauce pan, bring water and pinch of salt to a boil over high heat; stir in quinoa, reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 13 minutes).

2.       Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3.       To the bowl of quinoa, stir in cranberries, carrots, red and yellow peppers, red onion and cilantro until mixed.

4.       In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, salt and ground red pepper and pour over quinoa-cranberry mixture; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Does not have to be served cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 30, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Sugars 11g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee, uscranberries.com

Disclaimer: I was not paid to feature this recipe or mention uscranberries.com. However, I did receive a “tool kit” of supplies, including dried cranberries and some useful kitchen tools to make this recipe. I am happy to report it was absolutely delicious (and there are no leftovers).

These are the Flackers. They are simply nutritious – basically seasoned sprouted, raw & dehydrated flax seeds. I like this Rosemary variety. I found these at Whole Foods. BTW: They didn’t ask me to feature or mention their product, I just simply like them. : )

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An Incredible Avocado-licious Weekend

Hi folks! I’m back after a mini hiatus, as I’ve been working on my yoga teacher certification.

Though I’m in my final weeks of training, I couldn’t turn down a chance to join the California Avocado Commission for a fun, creative and educational weekend – enjoying everything avocado. Yep, practically everything avocado from every dinner course to a packed day of tours the following day — getting the scoop from the farmers and packers and even getting to pick some of my own avocados from Rancho Rodoro farm.

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Farmer Randy showed as around his farm and let us pick some avocados to take home with us.

I had to take this pic of itty bitty avocados for my little twin girls. They love tiny things. Although we got to pick plenty of good medium sized avocados to take home with us.

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With a daily dose of avocado and accommodations at the Four Seasons, who could resist such an opportunity thanks to the folks at Golin-Harris PR firm, California Avocado Commission and coordinating RD Andrea N. Giancoli.

Here I am with some of my new friends enjoying wine outdoors – at the Four Seasons – before our lovely dinner by the amazing Chef featuring non other than the avocado. On the left is Caroline Kaufman, RD and on my right is Gillian Ferguson, KCRW Producer of Good Food. And in the pic below, another new friend, EA Stewart, RD.

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The chef tells us about our delicious meal, starting with a greens salad with yummy sliced avocado and concluding with a chocolate dessert to die for. Wish the lighting was good enough to take pictures of our yummy meal. Speaking of which, my Nutri-Savvy Facebook page shows some avocado-licious dishes including a Gazpacho and a tasty seasoned avocado over toast by Chef Pink (see pic below this one of Four Season’s chef).

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Since it was too dark to get any good pics of our delightful dinner at the Four Season’s, here’s a pic from one of the many delicious dishes at our Rancho Rodoro lunch:  Chef Pink’s Seasoned avocado over toast .

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Stay tuned for my next Avocado post – waiting for my farm picked Avocados and the package of avocados from our packing facility tour to ripen. Tips I learned from Registered Dietitian Katie Ferraro and an avocado-licious recipe to come.FullSizeRender-84