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Product Review

Gift Idea: The Nut House & Country Market

November 1, 2017

This post has been compensated by The Nut House & Country Market. All opinions are mine alone.

Holy wow, it’s November already! I can hardly believe it! I have already been hard at work trying to do my Christmas shopping early so I don’t end up in a mad dash like I was last year. One thing that’s really important to me when it comes to gift shopping at any time of the year, is supporting local businesses and finding gifts that are unique and different and tailored specifically to the person I’m shopping for. So all season long, I’m going to post gift ideas that feature cool, local companies. This first post will be highlighting The Nut House & Country Market in Ridge Spring, SC.

This is *not* the kind of nut house I belong in, but it’s close enough. (photo via The Nut House & Country Market)

The Nut House & Country Market is owned and operated by Yon Family Farms, which produces one of my all-time favorite nuts: pecans! Their homemade pecan treats are made with pecans from their very own orchards in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, and have been beloved by hungry pecan lovers for over 20 years.

Made by hand by friendly, local folks! (photo via The Nut House & Country Market)

Perfect for the holidays, The Nut House & Country Market offers 2 different variety gift tins. The small features your choice of 3 treats at $25, and the large features a all 7 of their delicious treats, a whopping 1.5 pounds of pecan candy, at just $35 (only $10 more than the small tin)! They also offer about 15 different tin designs, so you can customize your tins to fit the perfect occasion.

Keeping it hyper-local with my design choice!

I tried one of their blue palmetto small tins, filled with my favorite candies: Pecan Pralines, Pecan Brittle, and Dark Chocolate Clusters. They were all really yummy, but my favorite was the pecan brittle. It was some of the best I’ve ever had!

It almost looks too pretty to eat! …almost.

They shipped my order out within 2 days of me ordering it, and I couldn’t be happier with the service, presentation, and flavor of my tin. They also offer corporate gifts, individual treats, plain pecans, and a number of local products, too, so be sure to shop local this holiday season!

That pecan brittle, though!

Order your treats: NutHouseAndCountryMarket.com

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: October Edition

October 25, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a Labor Day party, summer cookout, or just because!

Alkalife TEN Water

So I know a lot of people really love to drink Gatorade when they’re hungover, but I absolutely hate the taste of any of those sports drinks. I want to electrolytes without all that other stuff, and Alkalife delivers! Their water is really good, without any sort of after taste or anything like that, and it’s my go-to drink after a night of too much fun.

Where to buy: Alkalife.com, Publix, Amazon 

PureLYFT

As someone who’s been tired since approximately 1998, I really loved these PureLyft caffiene powder sticks. You can either peel off the sticker (although this is a little tricky) or pop off the end and pour it into a glass or bottle of water (or juice, or even a cocktail), shake it up and voilá! It has the same amount of caffeine as a tall cup of coffee, had a very light flavor (lemon-lime was my favorite), and had the added benefit of helping me drink more water and be more alert.

If you buy from PureLYFT.com, you can save 25% with coupon code getLYFTed25

Where to buy: PureLYFT.com, Amazon

Soylent Coffee

I always loved the idea of Soylent (a whole, nutritionally balanced meal on the go), but my biggest hesitation in trying Soylent was its name (I mean, I’ve never seen the movie, but I got the gist of it). They recently announced new coffee-inspired flavors, which contain 400 calories of plant-based nutrition and the same caffeine as a strong cup of coffee, so I finally decided to take the plunge. Their new flavors come in blackest coffee, café vanilla coffee, and café chai. My favorite, by far, is café chai. It’s not too much, and I love the convenience of just grabbing one when I’m on my way out the door!

Where to buy: Soylent.com, Amazon

Loacker Wafers

One of my favorite things about traveling is eating local snacks and goodies and seeing how food differs from culture to culture. Being part Italian, I was really excited when I got the opportunity to try Loacker wafer cookies, marketed to me as “a taste of the alps.” (I mean, come on!) They reminded me of the wafer cookies my grandmother always served to us when I was younger. They’re not super sweet like most American cookies/snacks, but I still really enjoyed how light and airy they were. My favorite flavor was chocolate hazelnut!

Where to buy: Loacker, Amazon

Tonnino Canned Tuna

So, I’m not usually a fan of canned meats in general, but I’ve read on numerous blogs and talked to a personal trainer who told me that canned tuna is one of the best sources of protein when you’re trying to lose weight / build muscle. Since I have a cat, the idea of opening up an actual can was a little off-putting, but this canned variety from Tonnino was a lot more aesthetically pleasing. I like that it comes in different flavors, because I like a little variety in my diet.

Where to buy: Tonnino.com, Whole Foods, Amazon

Robbins Republic

I love supporting little independently owned businesses, and this microconfectionary out of California makes adorable (and delicious) sweet treats featuring local California liquors. My personal favorites are the whiskey caramels and the drunken brittle!

Where to buy: RobbinsRepublic.com

Product Review

Taste & See North Carolina: Review

October 18, 2017

A few weeks ago, I received this awesome box from a cool, local company out of North Carolina called “Taste & See North Carolina.” The box is a quarterly subscription box that includes handpicked local products from artisans from our northern neighbor.

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They have a few different options corresponding to the different cities in NC. You can choose from Asheville, Durham, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem. Since I’m a huge fan of Asheville, I opted for that particular box and was not disappointed! (P.S. use code FOODAGE at checkout, and you save $5!)

Let’s take a look inside the box!

You see, I taste. Then you order and you taste, too!

Ginger Spice Pancake Mix – Dolci di Maria
Black Mountain, NC

I’m one of those weirdo people who don’t really love plain pancakes, so I love that they sent this flavored pancake mix for me to try out. They were really yummy on their own (and even yummier when I added bittersweet chocolate chips). If you have a waffle maker and are also one of those weirdo people who don’t like pancakes, you can also use the batter to make ginger spice waffles, perfect for fall!

But really, what foods *aren’t* improved by chocolate

Peruvian Roast – Biltmore Coffee Roasters
Asheville, NC

In case you didn’t know, I’m kind of a coffee fiend. I’m always willing to pay a little extra for quality beans because they pretty much always lead to a tastier cup of coffee. This Peruvian roast definitely woke me up in the morning!

I might be what some people refer to as “an addict.”

Apple Butter, Imladris Farms
Fairview, NC

My Irish roots were so excited to see Celtic knots on the side of this jar! I was even more excited when I saw that it was apple butter, which is one of my favorite spreads in the morning. This apple butter was really yummy! A perfect balance of sweet, tang, and spice.

I love that I can pronounce (and ID) every ingredient in here!

Vanilla Bean-Infused Honey, Asheville Bee Charmer
Asheville, NC

I love honey, and this vanilla-infused honey was so luxurious and decadent. I couldn’t get enough! One morning, I made a vanilla bean-infused honey latte using the Peruvian coffee from Biltmore Coffee Roasters and it was un-bee-lievable (couldn’t help myself).

Oh, honey!

But wait, there’s more!

These boxes make a great gift for birthdays, special occasions, or for the upcoming holiday season!

Use code FOODAGE at checkout, and you save $5!

That means a taste of the awesome artisans throughout North Carolina for just $35 a box!

 

Product Review Recipes

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

August 30, 2017

I love trying out cool new local products. When YesiFoods (a local Charleston brand) owner Kim Oglesby reached out to invite me to try some of her “addictively different cheese spreads” I was 100% on board.

via GIPHY

They have 4 different flavors: dill pickle, green chile, sriracha, and scotch bonnet (listed from mildest to spiciest). The cheese spreads are made using only hand shredded cheddar cheese (never any cream cheese) and are locally produced in North Charleston. My favorite, and their best seller, is the green chile.

But they’re all delicious.

In addition to being delicious eaten on its own with crackers, pretzels, or a spoon (don’t judge me), it makes a great substitute in any recipe in which you’d normally use cream cheese. With that idea in mind, I decided to make one of my favorite chicken enchilada recipes using the green chile cheese spread.

Any excuse to eat Mexican food, really.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 container of YesiFoods Green Chile Cheese, room temperature
  • Flour or Corn tortillas (I used both because the people I was cooking for had very strong tortilla opinions).
  • 2 cup of Herdez Guacamole Salsa, divided
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used Italian Rose Fresh Cilantro Salsa)
  • 1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375. Combine your YesiFoods cheese spread, 1 cup of guacamole salsa, and shredded chicken together in a bowl and thoroughly combine. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Apologies for the blurry photo!

Spoon the chicken mixture into your tortillas. Pack tightly and wrap, fold side down in a casserole dish. Top with the 2nd cup of guacamole salsa, red salsa, and shredded cheese.

You can really pack it in tight. I got 6 flour tortillas and 4 corn tortillas in this casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered or until your cheese is nice and melty. Let cool and serve! I served mine with Spanish-style brown rice and black beans.

Good luck not eating it all in one sitting.

It’s a little spicy, so if you’re sensitive to spice, you can choose a more mild version of salsa verde in place of the guacamole salsa.

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: August 2017

August 23, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a Labor Day party, summer cookout, or just because!

Moore’s Marinade

Not all buffalo sauces are created equal, but Moore’s is definitely at the top of the list. I used a little bit of Moore’s to brush on some chicken right off the grill and I mixed it into this amazing dip my mother calls “crack dip” (pictured above). It’s basically cream cheese, shredded cheddar, bacon, and some Moore’s mixed together, baked, and served with your favorite chips or crackers. If you like Buffalo sauce, you’ll love Moore’s!

Where to buy: Amazon.com, Harris Teeter, Publix

Barely Bread

So I’ve been doing this thing on and off recently where I stop eating bread and try to do that whole “paleo” thing (it’s very half-assed on my part because giving up bread is hard). Luckily I discovered Barely Bread, which is paleo-friendly bread made with almond flour. They make baguettes, bagels, and regular sliced bread, and it’s actually pretty good. It doesn’t really compare to bread with actual gluten in it, but if you’re paleo or gluten-free, it’s a pretty legit substitute. I used it to make avocado toast, and I truthfully didn’t notice that it was without gluten.

Where to buy: BarelyBread.com

UFO Beer

I always worry about fruit-based beers that they’re going to be cloyingly sweet or have that super artificial medicine taste, but this Cranbeery beer from UFO is actually delicious. It has really subtle hints of fruit, so it doesn’t overwhelm your tastebuds. I took it to my friend Caty who is something of a beer snob, and she was just as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Where to buy: Total Wine, Harris Teeter, Bottles, Whole Foods

Carrington Farms Chia Seeds

I am already a huge fan of Carrington Farms’s coconut oil, so when I was sent some of their chia seeds, I was really excited to start adding them to my morning smoothie! They’re organic and full of Omega 3’s, which I’m told are good for me. They also have a ton of calcium in them, which, as a woman who rarely drinks milk, I definitely need more of.

Where to buy: Amazon, CarringtonFarms.com, Target, Publix

Product Review Product Round-Up

Products We Love: June 2017

June 28, 2017

Being a food writer comes with a lot of fun perks, not the least of which is the fact that a lot of companies send us fun food products to try out with the hopes that we share some of our favorites with our readers! I’ve been getting a lot more of these products lately, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorites that would be perfect for a 4th of July party, summer cookout, or just because!

1. Pure Growth Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits

I did not take this picture. I wish I was that talented!

I will admit that because these are marketed at kids, I assumed they would not really be my thing. I threw them in the car while I was driving to Atlanta, thinking maybe it would delay how long I was able to drive before stopping for food. To my surprise, they were absolutely delicious! And pretty filling, too. I ate 1 pouch and was good for the whole 5-hour drive to Atlanta. Kids or not, if you often eat breakfast on-the-go, I highly recommend these!

Where to buy: Amazon.com, Target

2. Lowcountry Kettle Potato Chips

Let’s just put them all together in one bowl and let what happens happen.

How am I only just discovering these amazing chips?! As someone who usually doesn’t love potato chips (they’re just too greasy, I don’t get it), these were like a reinvention of the classic potato chip. They’re super crunchy and don’t leave your fingers feeling like an oil slick afterward. My favorite flavor is the Spicy Pimento Cheese, although the State Fair Fried Pickle is a close second.

Where to buy: LowcountryKettle.com, local grocery stores around Charleston

3. Arctic Zero Lactose-Free Ice Cream

So I’ve recently been trying to cut down on my dairy intake because I think I’m starting to develop a bit of an intolerance to dairy (which I ignore most of the time). When Arctic Zero sent me a couple of their pints, I was super pumped. The peanut butter swirl was my all-time favorite. Keep note that it doesn’t taste like regular ice cream, but as a frozen dessert, it was pretty delicious.

Where to buy: Amazon, Bi-Lo, Walmart, Publix, Earth Fare

4. Fire Department Coffee

Isn’t their branding pretty?

Coffee that’s aged in liquor barrels? Why not! If you’re a fan of Irish Coffees, then you’ll love this brand. My favorite is the bourbon roast. I will say that I am not a fan of the tequila roast (tequila and coffee isn’t my jam, apparently…good to know). I also really like this company because they partner with organizations like Sons of the Flag, which benefits burn victims, so I can feel like I’m doing a good deed with each morning brew.

Where to buy: firedeptcoffee.com

5. Muuna Cottage Cheese

Muuna acai bowl FTW!

This month was apparently about me learning to like foods I had previously thought I didn’t care for. Muuna Cottage Cheese sent me a few different flavors to try, and I went in not sure how if I was going to like any of them. I can safely say that the blueberry flavor is delicious when mixed with some granola or as part of an acai bowl (which is how I’ve been using it), and the plain is really good when used in dips!

Where to buy: Ingles and Giant


Product Review Random Fodder

Product Review: Southern Breeze Sweet Tea

June 10, 2016

In honor of National Sweet Tea day, I decided to review a cool new product I was introduced to whilst shopping at my local Publix store (where I always spend too much money…that’s not just me, right?). I’m a Southerner at heart, but it took me well into my college years to finally develop a love for the South’s great nectar: sweet tea. Although I’ve never been able to brew my own version that tastes as good as Chick-fil-a, that doesn’t stop me from trying (although I never seem to be able to get the sugar ratio right).

Like this kid.

Like this kid.

Which is why I was so intrigued when I learned about Southern Breeze Sweet Tea, which claims to “sweeten as you steep” so you don’t actually need any sugar. Even better, the teas are all zero calorie so I can drink as much as I want without worrying about breaking my diet! Excited, I bought all the flavors I saw to go home and try them. You start the same way you would with any other tea: boiling water.

I may not be a 5-star chef, but this I can do, no problem.

I may not be a 5-star chef, but this I can do, no problem.

Once you boil your 2-quarts of water, you let 2 tea bags steep for about 3-5 minutes.

*turns on Gilmore Girls*

*turns on Gilmore Girls*

Then you remove the tea bags. I put mine in the fridge for a little while to cool down a bit so it didn’t get too watered down when I added the ice. Once it’s cool, just pour over ice like your normally do and enjoy!

Ahhh... tastes like home!

Ahhh… tastes like home!

Here’s a rundown of the flavors, in order of my favorites:

Original Sweet Tea

There's no beating a classic!

There’s no beating a classic!

It has that classic flavor you look for in a sweet tea. Refreshing, cold, full bodied, and sweet enough to make you smile.

Raspberry

Fruity and delicious.

Fruity and delicious.

Raspberry tea is my guilty pleasure. I love the one that Turkey Hill makes because it has enough sugar in it to rot your teeth out immediately. This one has a similar flavor without me feeling like I need to brush my teeth immediately afterward.

Lemon

Think "Arnold Palmer"

Think “Arnold Palmer”

I like this one because it packs a pretty strong lemon punch. It’s a little stronger than just squeezing a lemon into your tea, but not quite as strong as an Arnie Palmie is. If you’re not a fan of lemon with your tea, I’d try one of the other flavors.

Peach

Like the Mario character, Peach tends to be my least favorite.

Like the Mario character, Peach tends to be my least favorite.

To be fair, peaches are one of my least favorite fruits (betraying my southern roots again), so this shouldn’t really be a surprise. I also felt that this was the one that tasted the least authentic. But that may just be my peach bias.

So many flavors, so little time.

So many flavors, so little time.

General comments: they use artificial sweetener, so your first sip has that tinniness that tends to come along with that (think about diet coke). Once you get past that, it’s delicious; you can’t even tell the difference. I’ll be bringing this along to Sean & Christine’s Annual Farmstravaganza Fourth of July party, so people can enjoy it regularly (or maybe with a little liquor mixed in).

**Note: I received free product for this review, but all opinions are my own**
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