Berry Cart snack box and app

Berry Cart snack box and app

Snack subscription services are gaining popularity and flooding the marketplace. So how does one differentiate itself from the others all trying to grab a share in a quickly crowding market? Offer something a little different from the competition. That’s exactly what Berry Cart is doing. Berry Cart has two components. It first began as a free mobile rebate app that offers cash back for purchasing healthy products. This is a great way to save money on high-priced specialty foods.

Recently the company expanded the offering to include a snack subscription service containing brands featured on the app. The products are all natural, gluten-free, organic, vegan and/or non-GMO products.

Berry Cart snack box and app

Berry Cart snack box and app

The subscription box includes eight to ten healthy products. At least four of them are a full size and others are snack sized. In addition, the box contains an information card with details on the box contents and how to collect the cash back rebates using the Berry Cart app.

The box contains an information card with details on the box contents and how to collect the cash back rebates using the Berry Cart app.

The box contains an information card with details on the box contents and how to collect the cash back rebates using the Berry Cart app.

My Berry Cart box included: Beanfields bean & rice chips; I Heart Keenwah Clusters; Simple Squares; World Peas; Snakaroons, Hemp Hearts, Kutoa Snack Bar, Pure Stevia and Ips Chips.

The subscription box includes eight to ten healthy products.

The subscription box includes eight to ten healthy products.

What we liked: Let’s just say that my family is very familiar with the Beanfields chips. They love them and were gone before I could photograph them. I shared the other snacks with some friends. We liked the ranch-flavored world of peas. We all liked the Keenwah peanut butter clusters. They have a similar texture to a granola bar.

We all liked the Keenwah peanut butter clusters.

We all liked the Keenwah peanut butter clusters.

We also really liked the vanilla snakaroons. They were gone quickly

Vanilla snakaroons

Vanilla snakaroons

What we disliked: We weren’t fans of the Ips Chips with protein or the simple square.

Ips Chips with protein

Ips Chips with protein

I’ll be trying out the hemp sprinkled on top of a salad. I can also add it or the organic stevia to a smoothy.

Berry Cart monthly snack subscription costs $24.99, including shipping. You can enter code “Get5off” for $5 off your first order. The Berry Cart app is free and available for both iPhone and Android devices.

 

Have you ever tried a snack-delivery service?

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of a Berry Cart snack box, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

La Creperie, Key West, FL

La Creperie, Key West, FL

Key West, FL has a rich culinary scene. With over 200 restaurants on the 4 x 5 mile island, foodies like myself are quick to discover an amazing assortment of great restaurants to tempt your taste buds, many with incredible atmospheres.

When traveling, I like to find those gems on quiet, “off the beaten path” streets, serving something extraordinary and unique to the destination. Before leaving, we made a list of the island’s specialties, which included conch fritters, pink shrimp and key lime pie. Little did I know we would find the closest thing you can to a French street café, serving up the most amazing crepes you’ve ever had!

La Creperie, Key West, FL

La Creperie, Key West, FL

La Creperie is a “must visit” restaurant when in Key West. The owners are French and the food is authentic. They understand what a crepe should look and taste like. The menu includes a range of sweet, fruit-filled crepes; a savory counterpart of galettes made from organic buckwheat stuffed with cheese, veggies, protein and amazing sauces; omelets; French plates like croque monsieur and Madame; Paninis and cold sandwiches; and salads.

Upon our first visit – yes we went twice over our six-day trip – I ordered an omelet with bacon, chives, potatoes and cheddar cheese. It was one of the best omelets I’ve ever had!

An omelet with bacon, chives, potatoes and cheddar cheese - it was the best I've ever had!

An omelet with bacon, chives, potatoes and cheddar cheese – it was the best I’ve ever had!

They serve the omelets with a side of French bread toast. It was so good that I ordered the same thing the second time we visited.

At our first visit, my husband opted for a sweet crepe that was filled with Nutella and fresh strawberries, topped with gelato ice cream. The crepes are large and you are able to share, if you are willing to give up a bite. Of course, I had to taste it – oh my – how good it was!

A sweet crepe that was filled with Nutella and fresh strawberries, topped with gelato ice cream.

A sweet crepe that was filled with Nutella and fresh strawberries, topped with gelato ice cream.

 

At our second visit, he again selected one of the sweet crepes, but this time it was filled with fresh pineapple chunks, coconut and caramel – and of course topped with the vanilla gelato ice cream. It was another big hit!

Another sweet crepe, but this time it was filled with fresh pineapple chunks, coconut and caramel – and of course topped with the vanilla gelato ice cream!

Another sweet crepe, but this time it was filled with fresh pineapple chunks, coconut and caramel – and of course topped with the vanilla gelato ice cream!

Our friends tried one of the savory buckwheat galettes that was filled with chicken, béchamel sauce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and melted Swiss cheese. The combination of flavors was amazing and the organic buckwheat was crispy and light.

One of the savory buckwheat galettes that was filled with chicken, béchamel sauce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and melted Swiss cheese.

One of the savory buckwheat galettes that was filled with chicken, béchamel sauce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and melted Swiss cheese.

One of the cool features to this restaurant is that you can sit inside at the counter and watch two French women making the crepes right before your eyes!

You can sit inside at the counter and watch two French women making the crepes right before your eyes!

You can sit inside at the counter and watch two French women making the crepes right before your eyes!

We were mesmerized watching them in action making 30 different kinds of crepes on the circular griddles. I couldn’t believe how they flipped the crepes so effortlessly without tearing them.

We were mesmerized watching them in action making 30 different kinds of crepes on the circular griddles.

We were mesmerized watching them in action making 30 different kinds of crepes on the circular griddles.

La Creperie is open daily for breakfast and lunch only. It is located at 300 Petronia Street, across from Blue Heaven restaurant, in the Bahamian section of Key West – away from the hustle and bustle of Duval Street, but not a long walk from it. Be forewarned that the restaurant is usually quite busy on the weekends so you may have a short wait but totally worth it. We found the crowd to be thinner on the weekdays. Also, the restaurant only takes cash payments – no debit or credit cards.

La Creperie - a “must visit” restaurant when in Key West!

La Creperie – a “must visit” restaurant when in Key West!

Ooh La La C’est Magnifique! Bon Appetit!

 

Have you ever been to Key West, FL?

Have you ever eaten at a French creperie restaurant?

Cave Tools, Meat Tenderizer Mallet

Cave Tools, Meat Tenderizer Mallet

There are certain recipes that require thin or consistent thickness meat. The meat tenderizer mallet is a cook’s tool designed for this purpose.

Cave Tools Meat Tenderizer Mallet

Cave Tools Meat Tenderizer Mallet

Cave Tools is a line of high quality barbecue and cooking tools. Michael “Medium Rare” O’Donnell founded the company in 2013. I was provided with their meat tenderizer mallet and asked to give it a try.

The meat tenderizer mallet is a cook’s tool designed for  thinning or tenderizing meat.

The meat tenderizer mallet is a cook’s tool designed for thinning or tenderizing meat.

The tool serves dual purposes. You use the smooth side to flatten the thickest part of meats or seafood so it is the same thickness as the edges. This way when it cooks it will do so evenly and avoid dryness of the thinner edges. You use the toothed surface to pound cheaper, tougher cuts of meat to break up the meat’s fibers to make it tenderer.

The tool serves dual purposes, depending on which side of the head you use.

The tool serves dual purposes, depending on which side of the head you use.

I gave the tool a try with some boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I would be grilling later. Before flattening and tenderizing the meat, cover it on both sides with plastic wrap.

Chicken breasts before using the meat tenderizer mallet.

Chicken breasts before using the meat tenderizer mallet.

I like several feature of the tool, especially the rubber-gripped handle – perfect for someone like me who has small hands. Also, the tool’s weight was perfect for getting the job done easily. I will definitely use it when making my chicken piccata recipe (so good you’ll want to lick the plate), where having thin chicken is a necessity!

Chicken breasts after using the meat tenderizer mallet.

Chicken breasts after using the meat tenderizer mallet.

As for my grilled chicken, it worked perfect! After pounding and tenderizing the chicken, I drizzled it lightly with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then I sprinkled them with freshly picked rosemary and chives that I chopped finely. They grill up quickly and are very flavorful.

Thinned chicken breasts are perfect for grilling!

Thinned chicken breasts are perfect for grilling!

The Cave Tool meat tenderizer mallet is made out of stainless steel and is dishwasher safe. Cave Tools are sold online at their website. Currently, the meat tenderizer mallet is on sale for $9.99. The feedback of thousands of end users helped design this line of tools.

 

Do you have any recipes that call for thinly pounded meats, which would be perfect for a meat tenderizer mallet?

What’s your favorite cook’s tool?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Cave Tools Meat Tenderizer Mallet, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Sausage, Feta and Sage

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Sausage, Feta and Sage

For many of us, the pinnacle of the summer months is the highly anticipated vacation. While we are away, we enjoy the sites, relax and sample the local cuisine. According to Trip Advisor, about a third of travelers introduce new foods into their diets during and after a vacation. I often find that the specialty foods that I’ve sampled while on vacation inspire me when I return home to either recreate or create a new dish that captures the flavors in my memory palate. It is with this inspiration that I created this new recipe.

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Sausage, Feta and Sage

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Sausage, Feta and Sage

 

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Sausage, Feta and Sage

2 pints of roasted cherry/ grape tomatoes (see note below)

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

5 medium shallots, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. sweet turkey sausage, casings removed

8 sage leaves, washed and roughly torn into large pieces

2/3 c white wine

12 oz Feta cheese, crumbled (fat free is okay to use)

½ of 14 oz can of low sodium chicken stock

¼ c chopped scallions

Salt & pepper to taste

1 lb. whole-wheat penne pasta

Roast the tomatoes as directed in the deconstructed bruschetta recipe and allow cooling.

Slow roasting the tomatoes brings out their sweetness!

Slow roasting the tomatoes brings out their sweetness!

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Then, add in the sausage, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cook until completely browned and crumbled (about 10 minutes).

Add the wine and sage leaves and cook until the wine is evaporated. Stir in the feta, roasted tomatoes and half the scallions.

Add the chicken stock in ¼ cup increments as you continue cooking for 5 minutes. The “meat sauce” should not be dry or soupy. You want just enough liquid to keep the sauce moist but not wet.

It's a heart "meat sauce" mixture rich with flavors!

It’s a hearty “meat sauce” mixture rich with flavors!

While making the sauce, cook the pasta as directed. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the meat mixture and cook for 2 more minutes over high heat, stirring to combine the pasta and sauce. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

 

Yields 4-6 servings.

 

How have you ever tried to recreate or create a recipe after a vacation?

American Flatbread Frozen Pizzas

American Flatbread Frozen Pizzas

Pizza is the world’s most popular food, according to the US Department of Agriculture. In fact, 13% of the US population ages 2 and over consumer pizza on any given day, with each person in America eating about 46 slices per year. Everyone seeks a reliable, neighborhood pizzeria to satisfy his or her cravings. But when the pizza deliverer can’t come quick enough, frozen store-bought pizza is a good short cut. American Flatbread has a line of premium frozen pizzas for people who care about pizza and the planet.

American Flatbread frozen pizzas

American Flatbread frozen pizzas

American Flatbread is a New England-based company that began with one bakery in Vermont. Over the years, the brick and mortar storefronts have expanded to several other locations. In order to bring the flatbreads to more homes across the country, they teamed up with Rustic Crust Company in 2010.

AM Flat IMG_2150

American Flatbread’s frozen pizzas feature 100% organically grown wheat crusts and are topped with fresh herbs, vegetables and the high-quality cheese, containing no growth hormones. They are all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors and are handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.

The frozen pizzas are all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors and are handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.

The frozen pizzas are all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors and are handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.

We had the opportunity to try three of the frozen flatbreads: Tomato sauce and three cheese; fresh basil pesto and feta; and Ionian awakening.

The pizzas are very simple to bake in the oven.

The pizzas are very simple to bake in the oven.

The pizzas are very simple to bake in the oven. My son, who is home on summer-break from college, was the primary consumer. He found them easy to cook up, especially appreciated them when we were having something for dinner that he didn’t care for.

We enjoyed all three of the pizzas.

We enjoyed all three of the pizzas.

We enjoyed all three of the pizzas, but he especially liked the Ionian Awakening one. It’s an interesting combination of Mediterranean flavors that in addition to the sauce and cheese includes red onion, Kalamata olives, garlic and rosemary. All of the pizzas were very flavorful.

The Ionian Awakening was our favorite.

The Ionian Awakening was our favorite.

American Flatbread frozen pizzas retail for $6 – 8 in the grocery stores. Right now, the company is offering a $3 coupon online. I found these pizzas at my local Stop & Shop supermarket. To see if there is a grocery store in your area that carries them, you can use the online product locator.

Real Simple magazine recognized American Flatbread frozen pizzas as the “Best Frozen Pizza” by best cheese and best mushroom categories.

Real Simple magazine recognized American Flatbread frozen pizzas as the “Best Frozen Pizza” by best cheese and best mushroom categories.

Real Simple magazine recognized American Flatbread frozen pizzas as the “Best Frozen Pizza” by best cheese and best mushroom categories. We would look to keep some on hand for those times when you need a quick meal and/or snack.

 

What’s your favorite frozen pizza brand?

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of American Flatbread frozen pizzas, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.