Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Easy Gluten Free Corn Dog Muffins

   Last week, while the kids and I were talking about the coming fair in our town, Child#2 and Child#3 both made a wish.  Both were hoping they could eat a corn dog just like their other siblings.  Yes, my eldest and youngest recently outgrew their allergies and both were to order corn dogs when we eat out.   

    As a food allergy mom, simple requests such this always pinch my heart. No matter how many years we've managed their food restrictions without any complains, hearing them long for something especially food makes me really uncomfortable. If I only knew how to make their allergies go away.  

     Then with some divine intervention, a packaged containing a GF Jules corn bread mix arrived in my house.  It was a prize I won in one of Vegetarian Momma's giveaway I entered in months ago. What a coincident right? 

     Since I haven't really tried making my own corn dogs on a stick, I asked the kids if they would be interested to try a Corn Dog in the shape of a muffin.  To my surprise, they were all excited with the idea.  They just reminded me of the two things that are important to them --- taste and the surprise in the middle.  

     Without any coercing, I gathered all my ingredients and said a quick prayer to make sure that the end result will turn out good.  After carefully preparing the batter and making sure I totally covered the kielbasa slices, I crossed my fingers while I waited for it to bake.  

   The final product as you can see below is beautiful. Though it's not as brown or yellow as most corn breads are, the muffins were very moist and delicious. Even if the sausage in the middle gave off some of its juices, it didn't make the inside soggy.  In fact, it made it more flavorful.  

     It was really a fun and yummy experiment. Thank you GF Jules and Vegetarian Momma for making it easier for this mom.  As you may have already known, the kids' smiles brought by these simple treats are indeed priceless. 

      Are you ready to give this recipe a try? Let me know how it went.  

- Roz  



1 box GF Jules Gluten Free Corn Bread Mix
2 6 oz. containers So Delicious Coconut Yogurt (vanilla flavor)
1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (sweetened vanilla)
1/2 Harvestland Polish Pork Kielbasa
1 Tbs. flax meal
3 Tbs. lukewarm water

Optional toppings:
1/4 cup Daiya Cheddar style shreds
2 Tbs. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (soy free for us)

1. Fill a saute pan with 2 cups of water.  Add the kielbasa and bring the water to a boil. Then let it simmer for 10 minutes. Take off from heat and set aside.
2. While heating the kielbasa, preheat the oven to 400 F. Line about 15 muffin crevices with either silicone cups or paper liners.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water to make a goo. Set aside for at least 5 minutes before using.
4. In a big bowl, with the help of a fork, whisk together the yogurt and flax goo until well incorporated.
5. Add the corn bread mix.
6. Slowly add the coconut milk. Mix well with a fork.  If the batter seems too thick add more coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the batter is smooth.
7. Fill the prepared muffin tins with the batter.  Make sure it each is just half full.
8. Cut the kielbasa into 1 inch thick circles.
9. Place one slice of kielbasa in the middle of each muffin.  Make sure that the meat is completely covered by the batter.
10. Bake in the oven for 20- 22 minutes
11. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.  The inside will be very hot.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Freebies: Mother's Day Deals, Coupons & Ebooks

    Can you believe that it is already the last weekend of April?  That means special events such as Mother's Day, Teacher's Appreciation Day and Graduation Day are fast approaching.  
    If you haven't bought a gift for mom or yourself (yes, you're a mom too right?), here are some great deals and coupon codes to help you shop for that special person.    

    Do you want to make mom's day extra special? I also found some free ebooks on handmade gifts, gluten free and low calorie desserts and savings tips.  There's also a beautiful short story you may like her to read.   

   Happy Shopping my friends!


(Note: This post contains affiliate links from programs I participate in. That means I get a percentage when you made a sale through the links the provided. It is an incentive given by the company and is of no cost to you. Thank you so much for helping me maintain this blog. You can read my full disclosure here.)  

Send Me Gluten Free - Mother's Day Promo

     Get 1 Month Free with a purchase of a 3-Month subscription. That's an $18.85 savings! Use the Coupon Code: GFMOM at checkout. This offer is valid until 5/25/2015.  

       If you want your first box to arrive in time for Mother's Day, place your order by 4/25/2015. After that date, you will receive the first box in June. 

Gifts for Mom Deals and Coupon Codes

Personalized Mother's Day Gifts

20 % OFF Flasks  - Coupon Code: FUNFLASKGIFT - Ends 4/30/2015 11:59 pm EST
25% OFF Pocket Journals - Coupon Code: STYLISHNOTES - Ends 4/30/2015 11:59 pm EST
45% OFF Wine Charms - Coupon Code: THATSMYGLASS - Ends 4/30/2015 11:59 pm EST
60% OFF Selected Gifts for Mother's Day - Coupon Code: JUST4HERSALE - Ends 4/29/2015 11:59 pm EST

      These ebooks are free to download at the time of posting.  Please remember that the price can change at anytime so don't forget to check before you download. 

Sugar Free Desserts by Lisa Lazuli

Paleo Desserts 

How to Dry Herbs at Home by Urban Cheapskate Mom

Homemade Soap Making Recipes by Roselyn Heart

DIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Summer 

A Mother's Day Short Story by Kaira Rouda

Pinch Like You Mean It by Dr. Penny Pincher


     Do you like to receive savings deals, tips, and recipes every week? Be a member of the TFMFriends List.  It's free to join and I promise you I will ever flood your email inbox.  Just one email every week.  That's it!   

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Deal Alert: Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale

    Hello TFM Friends!  I know it's only Thursday. However, I can't wait to share with you this amazing deal.  Our friends from Keeper of the Home and The Humbled Homemaker have just put together a collection of 76 ebooks, 6 ecourses, 1 audio download, 2 online conferences and 14 printable packs that was designed to help us moms and dads manage our homes better.  They called it the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  

 If you are always stressed, overwhelmed or simply interested on topics such 
  • Cleaning
  • DIY
  • Cooking 
  • Finances 
  • Marriage
  • Motherhood 
  • Organizing
  • Healthy Living
      Then today is your lucky day. 

       For a limited time, today until April 27, 2015 11:59pm EST, The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will be on sale for just $29.97.

Is it worth it? 

     Absolutely! The retail value of all the things included in the Homemaking Bundle is $984.74. Right now, you can get it for just $29.97.  That's a whooping 97% savings.

Here are some of my favorites that are included in the pack:

Retail Price of this Ebook $24.95

Retail price of this Ebook is $17.00

Regular Price of this Ebook is $14.98

Regular Price for this Ecourse is $95.00
    As you can see, just on the 3 Ebooks and 1 Ecourse alone, I already saved more than $100! That makes the other 95 items included in the bundle as Bonuses. Where else can you a find a deal like that?  

   When you buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle today, you will also receive these special bonuses: 
  • 1 Free Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 value)
  • 1 Free Online Class from Craftsy ($60 value)
  • 1 Free Stylish Scarf from Deborah& Co. ($20 value)
  • 90 Day "Good Deal" Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 value)
Love it Guarantee

     The makers of the Ultimate Homemade Bundle are confident that you will love your investment. Yup! I just called it an investment.  That's why they are giving you a 30 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee.   If for any reason you don't think that the home management tips, recipes and tools included are not for you, simply send an email to and they will give you a full refund.  No questions asked.  

What are you waiting for? 

     Click the banner now to buy this once in a blue moon deal.  I'm sure you find it really helpful as much as I do.  It is really a great investment to any homemaker both new and not so new.  


- Roz 

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure here.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cream Cheese, Butter and Cream is Not Dairy

   A few weeks ago, my sons and I have a lengthy discussion about dairy. It all started when my kindergartner mentioned that his brother is small for his age because he doesn't get enough calcium. Child #3 disagreed with his younger brother and said that his doctor said that he doesn't lack any nutrients in his body apart from Vitamin D.  All of us in the family knows that he takes a Vitamin D supplement.

    Anyway, if you have been with 2 or more children, you would already known what happened next. They started arguing which eventually needed my full attention.  When I asked Child #4 what happened, he said that they learned how to eat healthy that day.  Since his brother cannot have dairy, he doesn't get enough calcium in his body. Thus, he's bones are not strong.

   Child #3 who's getting restless, blurted out that his younger brother is lying. Before, the other started to counter the statement, I asked him, if he knows what dairy means. He said cow's milk, cheese, soy milk.... Wait up?  Did he just said Soy milk? When I tried to clarify, the older brother changed his mood and started to come to his brother's aid.  "Yes, soy milk is dairy!", he told me without hesitation.

     What in the world is wrong in here? Now, both brothers were ganging up on me. Then out of the blue, Child#2 (whom I consider the "brains"), came in to help her brothers.  Slightly agitated, I asked my daughter, since when did soy become dairy? Then she replied, "When I moved to public school about 3 years ago, they added soy to the dairy group. You can check out that plate thing."

      Since we were on the tight schedule that day, I asked Child#2 to get the dictionary and look for the meaning of dairy. After she read that Dairy has two meanings 1. a business that harvests or processed milk products for human consumption  2. milk and any foods made from milk (which comes from a mammal), I was able to let them listen to me.  Then I started citing non dairy foods that are rich in calcium such as flax, beans, spinach, and other leafy greens which we always have in the house and they often eat. Finally the discussion ended. With them at least.  

    Last weekend, as I was going through the pile of papers the kids bring home from school, I saw this sheet that says nutrition with this logo.

     Could this be the "plate thingy", Child #2 mentioned a while back? Curiosity rushed in and yes, I went to their website. While I was browsing,  something alarming caught my eye.  

    The USDA's Choose My Plate program has classified milk based foods such as cream, cream cheese and butter as not part of the dairy group. Below is a text from their website regarding the dairy group. 
All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group.
     Now, I realized where my children's confusion came from. Instead of sticking to the common meaning of dairy to educate people, the authors behind the My Plate program made a version which I think is more confusing and can even be deadly.

     If they wanted to emphasize the importance of calcium in the diet, why didn't they just name it Calcium group instead of Dairy group?  By excluding milk products such as cream cheese, cream and butter in the dairy group, many including my kids will start to learn that products such as those mentioned are actually "not dairy", "non dairy" or even "dairy free".  

     For us dealing with food allergies, spreading this is type of information can be detrimental.  Did you know that ChooseMyPlate is meant to be used as practical resource for individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators and the food industry to help customers? 
    As if explaining dairy allergies isn't hard enough, now I have to prepare myself and my kids to debates regarding what is dairy and what is not.  As you may have seen on my instagram posts, my children do eat "dairy free" cream cheese (Daiya) and butter (Earth Balance Soy Free).  At a very young age, I trained them to only eat those and they knew by heart what it looks like. Child#3 is now able to read the ingredient list without any issues. They don't eat the 'regular' cream cheese or butter. So far, so good.

      For Child#2's case, who's already a 4th grader by the way, she's caught in this dilemma.  After her class was thought about the ChooseMyPlate, she has to accept that 'regular' cream, butter and cream cheese is not dairy. They did have a test about it too. Can you imagine how awkward the position she was in when most of her friends told her that it is okay for her to have those product because it is actually "not dairy at all"?  They knew that she is allergic to dairy for years.

      What do you think should we do about this? 

      I love to hear your thoughts.  Please let me know what you think by writing your opinions on the comment section below.  

- Roz

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Organic Veri Soda Giveaway

     It's been a while since I've hosted a giveaway and I'm sure you are missing it too. Right? Well, today I have an exciting news. Our friends from Moms Meet and Veri Organic Soda have graciously sponsored a special treat just for you my TFMFriends.  

   Before I give you the details for the giveaway, I have a confession to make. While I was able to readily remove all the foods that my children were allergic to from our home, up to now, I still have a tough time giving up soda. While this carbonated drink is not really a staple in our diet, (We are the unlimited water family), there are just some meals that doesn't feel complete without it. 

    For instance, I always enjoy an icy root beer soda to go along my burger and fries. A cola tastes great with Crispy Pata (Deep fried marinated pork) or Lechon Kawali (Fried pork chunks). While Ginger ale is perfect with Chinese food.  

     I admit, my soda and food parings is my "dirty" little secret. I'm not proud to share these delicious indulgences because I'm also a big fan of healthy eating. Soda is on the contrary is the epitome of true unhealthy food. As most healthy advocates will say, enjoying the later just overthrows my good intentions.  

    This got me thinking.  Why does this bubbly treat has such a bad reputation? Then, out of the blue, I was contacted by Moms Meet to review this new brand of soda called Veri Soda.   

    At first, I was quite confused with the product. The terms "soda" and "organic" in one line doesn't seem to go hand in hand right? Soda depicts bad for the health.  While "organic" equates good for the body.  

    After I visited Veri Soda's official website, the questions lurking in my brain were answered.  Soda got its bad reputation from the ingredients used to make it.  A typical soft drink contains high fructose corn syrup, caffeine and phosphoric acid.  It is also loaded with chemical preservatives.  

    Veri Soda's mission is to make a different kind of soda with no artificial colors, aromas, flavoring or even sweeteners. They were even able to eliminate 65% of the calories without sacrificing the taste. How did they do it? By simply using the best organic ingredients which is easily seen in each can. These includes organic cane sugar, stevia extract, lemons, ginger and cinnamon.  The end result is a delicious treat without the guilt.  

     Aside from being a USDA-NOP organic certified soda, Veri Soda is caffeine free, lightly carbonated which allows us to taste the actual flavor. There's no harsh sweetness or lingering after taste like most zero calorie sodas.  It has a "low glycemic load" meaning you won't have a sugar spike or the dreaded crash after. The best part, a 12 oz can only has 60 calories! 

     Sounds good so far?  Well, for any soda drinker, the true test is the taste. There are 4 flavors of Veri Soda and our family was able to taste all of it.  Here's our consensus. In general, we found out that Veri Soda is not overly sweet. Yes, there's a hint of sweetness but not the type that will keep you thirsty and craving for more.  Surprisingly, it indeed is good both cold and at room temperature. Though I still prefer it icy cold. 

    The orange flavor was the favorite of my kids. It tastes like orange juice but with the bubbles. Since it is not extremely sweet, I didn't need to dilute it in ice.  Yes! I'm that mom.  The lemon lime I have to say is the farthest from the soda we are used to. It's not bad tasting. In fact, it is like lemonade with the bubbly.  As for the cola flavor, the die hard fans of the two leading cola brands will definitely taste the difference. It's not the same as any of the two. However, I love it.  To better describe the taste, it is close to that of root beer.  Since I'm a fan of it, then it captured my heart. Lastly, is the ginger ale. This is my favorite flavor. I can taste the ginger but in a sweet and refreshing way.  It is tasty palate cleanser especially after a greasy meal. 

     Curious to try Organic Veri Soday already? Then let me tell you about the giveaway.  2 lucky US TFM Friends will each get a coupon for a FREE 4-Pack Veri Soda. There are 4 ways to get entries - type in a comment after this post, visit our Allergy Friendly home on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway or become a VIP TFMFriends newsletter subscriber.  Do one or all.  As always, the more entries you have, the more chances of winning.  

     The giveaway starts today and will end on April 29, 2015 11:59 EST.  

     What are you waiting for? 

      Good luck!

- Roz

(Note: I received the product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program of May Media LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As  Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media LLC or the manufacturer of this product. Please see my full disclosure here.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 16, 2015

On Food Allergies: Another Life Lost, Another Lawsuit

       My heart breaks every time I read another food allergy related death in the news. 

      As you may have known, Child#2 and Child#3 who both have multiple food allergies and asthma, are high risk for anaphylaxis. Though we haven't had a trip to the ER related to it yet (Thank God!), the fear of having a severe reaction every time they eat is always there.  

       Last month, there were two food allergy related news that created a stir in the web. Though both has been shared a few times in several food allergy groups on Facebook, I can't help but share it to you and voice out my opinions about it. 

      The first story was about the parents of an 11 year old boy from Alabama who died last June 3, 2014 due to an anaphylactic reaction to tree nuts.  They are now suing their local Publix Grocery Store for the death of their son.  

        According to the article,

"The purpose of the lawsuit is the raise the awareness of food allergens that are potentially fatal in children, to have Publix follow the federal law in labeling food allergens and obtain some measure of compensation for the family."
The family is suing for mental and emotional distress and suffering, as well as punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.

       You can read the full story here.

     The second story was about a family from Minnesota who filed a lawsuit against a local diner after their 16 year old son who has a severe dairy allergy passed away from complications due to an anaphylactic reaction. They were saying that the restaurant's negligence is to blame for the untimely death of their son.  

     Check out the full story here.

Photo courtesy of CreativeClam 

    After years of dealing with my children's food allergies, I have to say, these news were quite disturbing for me.  Yes, both incidents, though had a tragic end were instrumental in spreading information about the severity of food allergies. Their stories were a proof that a food allergy is not a joke or a hype. I can't even imagine the pain of losing a precious child over a piece of cookie or pancake.  That's why I'm really saddened by the loss.

     The lawsuits however, don't have my sympathy. In both cases, the restaurant, grocery store and their employees showed that they lack the necessary knowledge and precautions to handle food allergies. That doesn't mean though that the sole responsibility of the deaths is theirs alone.  (I'm not a lawyer just an opinionated mom).

      As much as I hate to say it, the parents did make a lot of mistakes as well. They broke some cardinal rules of managing food allergies such as:

1. Know the ingredients of what your child is about eat.

      That's the main reason why we read food labels and ask for better food labeling. In both scenarios, the children ingested food that are not even labeled. We are not talking about fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables here. To be more specific, it's a chocolate cookie and pancake. Products that require several processed ingredients which can be easily exposed to cross contamination. Plus, both can are often times made with ingredients (nut and dairy), the boys are known to be severely allergic to.   If you don't know what's in it, just say NO!

2.  Too much trust on food servers.

       In both cases, the moms did ask the store associate and food server if the product they were about to get is nut free / dairy free.  That's why the plaintiffs are pointing their fingers to these people. I'm not tolerating ignorance but not everyone is well knowledgeable with the words "dairy free" and "nut free" . Some so called "experts" tend to get confused too.

      For instance, tiger nuts, peanuts, water chestnuts and coconut (though the USFDA decided it is and I don't know why) are technically not a nut even it is part of their names. Pecans and cashews are types of nuts. Unless you know your food really well, it is very easy to make a mistake.

       The same holds true to dairy. Now here's an interesting fact. The USDA classifies cream cheese, cream and butter (milk based products that have little or no calcium) as not part of the dairy group. This is shown in their website.
3. Medication and emergency protocol.

     Now, this will be the hardest to swallow especially to the parents of the 16 year old teen. He ate without any immediate access to his epinephrine. Also, the reluctance to immediately call 911.

     Did I ever forget to bring my children's epi? Yes! A few times especially after I change bags.  Did I allow them to eat? A big NO! I treat their epi as a soldier's gun. I will not go to any battle without it.
      Though I never mentioned to my children that we are not eating at the restaurant because I left the epi, I made countless excuses such as "The waiting time is too long." "The place is dirty." and the reason no one can argue about, "Mom is not feeling good right now. I really need to go home."
     Dealing with food allergies is not an easy task. As much as we want others to accommodate our children's special needs, let us not forget that we are responsible for our child's survival. We know first hand that a mistake can be fatal. That's why we have to be extra vigilant.

     I know how hard it is to see faces of longing or hearing complains of hunger.  So let me end with this message my kids' allergist always tell me every appointment.
     "2 or even 4 hours of hunger will not kill your child.  A tiny bite however, of something he/she is allergic to can."        

- Roz

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Have you Tried Radha Beauty's Fractionated Coconut Oil?

     I'm not a stranger to coconut oil. Way before the coconut oil phenomenon here in the US, I was already exposed to its many uses and benefits. Just a little FYI about me, I grew up in the Philippines which coincidentally is the second largest importer of coconut oil in the old. (Wink!)

     Anyway, when the people at Radha Beauty asked me to try and review their Fractionated Coconut Oil, I was really excited. Before this opportunity, I admit I haven't really used the "fractionated" version.  In fact, I have no clue what it is. Do you?

     If you're not familiar with fractionated coconut oil, here are some basic information about it. One, fractionated or liquid coconut oil is highly refined or saturated. It underwent a distillation process wherein some of its components (triglycerides) were removed. The result is a more shelf stable type of coconut oil which stays liquid in spite of temperature changes. Due to its stability and rancidity resistance, this type of coconut oil is the one commonly used in cosmetics, hair care products, aromatherapy and medicines.

     When I received my bottle of Radha Beauty Fractionated Coconut oil, the first thing I noticed was the absence of the distinctive coconut smell. I remembered smelling like dessert for a few days after my grandma used coconut oil to deep condition my hair as a child. Yes, my hair was soft, shiny and really straight. The downside was it also smelled yummy too. Geezz! So, when I reached my teens, even though I already know how great my hair becomes after applying coconut oil on it, I preferred to stay away.

    Since Radha Beauty's Fractionated Coconut oil is odorless and colorless, I didn't hesitate to use it on my hair and daughters.  Child#1's hair is quite oily so I only applied it to the tips of her hair.   Child#2's hair however, is really thick and tends to easily get damaged.  It also easily gets tangled. After 2 weeks of use, here's a photo of her hair.

      Now her hair is very manageable, soft and tangle free. She is currently growing her hair so the ends are uneven. Though she hasn't had a trim in about a year, her locks are still split ends free.

      Radha Beauty's fractionated coconut oil is also an excellent skin moisturizer. The past winter here in New Jersey was brutal on my skin. For the first time, my hands were cracking.  After using this product for a week, my hands surprisingly healed and is now very soft.  I love that it is not greasy and is easily absorbed by the skin. In fact, instead of lotion, this is now my after shower moisturizer.

      Getting curious already? Why don't you give Radha Beauty'sFractionated Coconut Oil  a try? A 16 ounce bottle is currently on sale for $13.89. That's a $36 savings! Plus, you can get free shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member or if your order is at least $35. Oh, Radha Beauty also gives a 100% lifetime guarantee. If you don't love it, just let them know and they will give you a full product refund. Isn't that sweet?

      Give it a try too and let me know what you think?

- Roz
(Note: I received a free product to use for this review. My opinions about the product however, is not affected by this.  Whatever I wrote is based fully on my experiences and my goal is to give you a review that's completely honest.  Please see my full disclosure here. )

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Freebies: Send Me Gluten Free Box, Club Wine, Ebooks and more

        TGIF!  How was your week so far?  Before you relax, check out these amazing deals I found for you today. 

        There are ebooks that will help us cope and manage stress, prepare paleo kid's lunches and more.  I also found a nice coupon for wines and gluten free product subscriptions.  

        Enjoy the last days of Spring Break.

- Roz

Brand Coupons 

           If you are not yet aware, Pillsbury now offers gluten free pizza crusts, pie and pastry dough, cookie dough and more. 



            If you are a wine lover, this is nice to have. Wines start at $13 so it is very affordable too. 

Send Me Gluten Free: Gluten Free Subscription Box

Get 20% OFF your membership with coupon code WELCOME20.  
Send Me Gluten Free Box.


        As of this posting, these ebooks are free. The prices however can change anytime so I suggest, you check the price before downloading.  

Paleo Kids Lunch Box by Angelina Dylon 

Stress Management by Richard Carroll

Zap Your Procastination by Romuald Andrade

This is My Energy by Lisa Townsend

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

4 Reasons to Try Organic India Moringa

    One of the things I enjoy as a Moms Meet blogger is that I am able to try new and healthy products which I wouldn't notice otherwise. A perfect example for this is Organic India Moringa.  

    Before this review, I have to say, I thought I have no clue what this nutritional supplement is. Though it is slowly creating a buzz in the healthy living community, I never really paid much attention to it.  At the back of my mind, this is just another "trending" product for the billion dollar weight loss market.  

   When I received the information that I was chosen to try this product, I began to make some research about the plant called Moringa.  To my surprise, Moringa is nothing new to me.  In fact, it was a staple in my diet as a child growing up in the Philippines. Back there, Moringa is called malunggay.  Its small round leaves were widely used in our favorite dishes such as Mung Bean Stew and Chicken Tinola. The recipes were posted here on the blog by the way.
      As I read more about moringa or malunggay, it brought back so many memories. I remembered my grandma forcing me to eat these leaves a few times a week especially when my iron and blood count are low. (I have Thalassemia.) She also made me drink tea made with these leaves whenever I have stomach aches. Most importantly, it also reminded me of my first job in my grandma's kitchen which is to separate the leaves from the stem.  

        For generations, my family has used moringa and I have to admit, I did benefit from it. But don't just take my word for it.    

      I have gathered some information that will let you think about adding Organic India Moringa in your diet today.

1. Certifications and Labeling.
    As most of us allergy people know, the US FDA has a long way to go when it comes to efficient labeling and regulations. When it comes to dietary supplements for instance, manufacturers must register their facilities with FDA but they are not required to get FDA approval before producing or selling.       

    Organic India Moringa has done all the hard work for us conscious customers. It is USDA Certified Organic, Non GMO Verified, Kosher and Halal Certified. The Moringa Leaf Powder is also gluten free, vegan and doesn't contain any fillers such as sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, corn, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives.  This means that only the best quality moringa is in each container. 

2. A Super Food.
     Moringa is considered as one of the most complete, nutrient-dense plants on earth.  It contains over 90 nutrients, 46 antioxidants and abundant minerals. A 1/2 tsp serving of Organic India Moringa leaf powder for instance, has these recommended daily values: 4% Vitamin A, 15% Vitamin C, 110% Thiamine, 130% Riboflavin, 106% Vitamin B12, 3% Calcium and 5% Iron. 

3. Time tested.
     The Moringa leaves have been eaten for thousand of years and are often used to combat malnutrition in impoverished countries.  It has been a part of the diet of people in tropical countries such as India, Cambodia, Maldives, Bangladesh, Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Philippines. Not only is it known for its culinary uses but for its healing and energizing properties as well. 

4. Convience
     The Moringa tree is grown mainly in tropical and subtropical areas. Since it cannot tolerate frost or freezing temperatures, the best way to enjoy its health benefits here in the US is in a dried form. 

    Organic India has made moringa not only accessible but also really convenient. The capsule form can be easily taken just like any nutritional supplement. While the moringa leaf powder can be added to any smoothies, soups, dips, drinks, puddings and even sauces for that extra boost of vitamins and minerals. 

      I've never been excited over a nutritional supplement before. Through Organic India, my family and I were able to get the health benefits of moringa in such an easy and convenient way. My kids didn't even realize that that their favorite foods is now packed with extra nutrients.  

      Have you ever tried moringa in your diet?   Love to hear your thoughts.  

      If you have any questions or like to learn more about Organic India, your can check them out in  Facebook and Twitter too. 

- Roz
(Note:  I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do no necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.) 

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Closer Look At Goya Foods

At the GFAF Expo last September 2014, I was surprised to see Goya Foods as one of the exhibitors for the event.  The brand has been a staple in grocery stores for ages. That is why I wondered what are they doing in a gluten free and food allergy expo. Though I was really curious, I wasn't able to have the chance to talk to their representatives there because of the big crowd that never disappeared in their booth.  

    Then, earlier this year, I got an email from them asking if I would be interested to be part of their blogger campaign. Since I have been a consumer of their brand way before our food allergy journey, I decided to say yes and give it a try. After all, I'm a big fan of their canned calamari, olives and beans.  

    As I did some research about the company, I was delighted to find out that this company is actually based here in the Garden State.  I love local businesses!

    Anyway, here are the products Goya foods sent me to try.  

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

       I've seen this on grocery shelves for years.  However, I never really had the confidence to grab a bottle. Even if it is really affordable.  Maybe it's because of the simplicity of the packaging. Perhaps, it's the notion that specialty ingredients such as oils and vinegars have to be pricey to be good.  I don't really know.  That's why I got really excited to use it on my recipes.  

      To my surprise, Goya's extra virgin olive oil's quality is at par with some of my favorite expensive brands.  It has a nice sweet undertone that works perfectly well with seafood and fish.  The flavor is really mild which makes it a good butter substitute.  

Adobo Light Seasoning

      The original Adobo seasoning has been a staple in many households for generations.  Though many of my chef friends swear that it is their secret ingredient, I haven't really used it in cooking.  I find the original one too salty that's why I barely use it.  
      Then came the Light versions of Adobo seasoning (less sodium).  Both versions (with black pepper and without black pepper) is not a staple in my pantry. I used it to add flavor to my gluten Fried Calamari and it turned out really good.  

Frozen Yuca 

    Growing up in the Philippines, I have known yuca (also known as Cassava) as a common ingredient in desserts. Back there, this starchy root vegetable with a very mild flavor is used in different types of snack cakes.  When mixed with coconut and sugar, this potato like vegetable becomes a well loved delicacy. 

     When the people at Goya sent me some recipe ideas for yuca, I was shocked to find out that in most countries, it is served as something savory and not a dessert which I am accustomed to. 

      Since the hard work of peeling the hard skin was already taken cared of, I started to use it as a  ingredient to replace potatoes in some of my well loved dishes.  

        Above, is my Drunken Stew Recipe.  I used frozen yuca in place of potatoes and it readily thickened the sauce which I love.  The sweetness of yuca also enhances the flavor of fennel and cognac.  

       With potatoes as inspiration, I made Yuca Mash using my the Dairy Free Mashed Garlic Potatoes recipe here on the blog.  To my surprise, all four of my kids love it.  The smooth and creamy texture is really close to the dairy laden mashed potatoes yet, it didn't require plenty of butter or any cream. Thus, it is way healthier and lower in calories.  

       This review has been a eye opener for me. Who knew that Goya Foods has long been making products which are naturally gluten free and food allergy friendly all these years?  The best part is that we don't have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy them.  Not to mention, most are already readily available in our local grocery stores.  

        By taking a closer look to well loved brands such as Goya Foods, we can actually have delicious gluten free foods while on a budget.  

        Have you tried any of the above Goya products?  What are your thoughts? 

- Roz 
(Note: I was given free products to review for this post. This, however has no effect on my opinions and experiences about the brand. Please see my full disclosure here. )

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