Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Product Review: Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

Recently, I received a sample packet of Pumpkin Flax Granola from Nature's Path in the latest shipment of goodies I got from SampleSource. I have eyed the small package with anticipation for the last couple of weeks, just waiting for the right time to finally open it and dig in. Today was that day and I am actually enjoying the last few nibbles of my sample as I type up this review.

Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola is made with a blend of rolled oats, cane sugar, soy oil, brown rice flour, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, oat syrup solids, sea salt, molasses and cinnamon. It is a non-GMO verified product and USDA certified organic. It also contains 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, 31 grams of whole grain and is considered an excellent source of ALA Omega-3. Nature's Path describes their granola as:

"Enriched with pumpkin and flax seeds to offer up an impressive 450 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids and 1500 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids"

All of this sounds great, but let's be honest, how many of us are going to spend our hard-earned money on this product if it doesn't taste good? Well, luckily for us, it is good for our taste buds as it is our bodies.

Unlike many granolas that are hard, Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola is very easy to chew. It doesn't contain the heavy coatings and sharp edges that make so many other brands difficult to eat. This granola is packaged in small pieces and comes with a very light coating, which can make it difficult to eat if you're on the go, but not having to gnaw your way through hard clumps is a definite plus! It is the perfect blend of crispy and crunchy thanks to the abundance of flax and pumpkin seeds mixed throughout. But what about the flavor, you may be asking. Well, the flavor is simply fantastic. There is a light sweetness to Pumpkin Flax Granola and a hint of cinnamon, but neither are overpowering.

As much as I enjoy both the texture and flavor of this granola, my favorite thing about it is its versatility. It can be eaten straight from the package as a quick and easy, although slightly messy, snack or you can pour it into a bowl and top it with fresh fruit and your favorite milk and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Microwave it for a hot cereal alternative on cold mornings or mix it in with oatmeal or cream of wheat for an added boost in flavor and nutrition. I can also easily see myself stirring it into a cup of yogurt or sprinkling it on top of frozen yogurt, as an ingredient in a parfait, topping on a trifle and so many other ways to incorporate this yummy granola into my every day meals.

I love eating granola and have been known to make my own when time allows, but I have weak teeth so eating it can be a painful experience that leaves my mouth and jaw aching for days afterwards. Since trying this product out, I have a very strong feeling that granola is about to become a regular part of my diet instead of being an occasional and painful indulgence. Thank you Nature's Path! I can't wait to try out some of your other products. For more information about Nature's Path, Pumpkin Flax Granola and their other products, please visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

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Disclaimer: I received this sample of Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola as a participant of the Sample Source program. This free sample in no way colored my opinion or affected my judgement of this product. My opinion is my own and free from bias. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sweet potato pecan bread recipe

This bread is a great way to use up leftover sweet potatoes. It is also a delicious way to sneak some veggies into a picky eater's diet.

SWEET POTATO PECAN BREAD 
Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white sugar 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/3 cup water 
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 

Directions 
Preaheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X5 loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugars and oil. Add eggs and beat until well mixed. In a second bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Alternating flour and water, stir into sugar mixture until just combined. Add sweet potatoes and pecans and stir. Pour into prepared pan and bake 55-60 minutes. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Sausage and cornbread dressing recipe

If you are looking for a new dressing to serve with your Thanksgiving feast, this one is a delicious choice! It has many of the traditional flavors we associate with dressing with the savory flavor of sausage and a satisfying crunch from pecans. It's sure to be a hit.

SAUSAGE AND CORNBREAD DRESSING
Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces sausage 
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion 
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery 
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 5 cups dry white bread crumbs 
  • 4 1/2 cups crumbled corn bread 
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted 
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth 

Directions 
Brown sausage and drain well. Set aside. Add butter, onion, pepper and celery to the same skillt used for browning the sausage. Cook until tender. Add to cooked sausage. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place bread cubes and corn bread crumbs in a large bowl and combine. Mix in sausage and onion mixtures, seasonings, and pecans/ Drizzle with chicken broth, tossing to combine. Pour mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish and cover. Bake 35-45 minutes, until heated through. Makes 12 servings

Pecan tarts recipe

These bite size treats are a delicious addition to your dessert table during the holidays. Their small size also makes them a great choice for work parties, too.

PECAN TARTS
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine margarine and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in egg yolks, almond extract, and flour. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray and press the crust mixture evenly into the cups. Bake for 8 minutes. Combine butter, corn syrup and powdered sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add pecans and fill baked crusts half full. Bake for 5-6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving, or serve warm topped with mini scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Quick and easy cornbread recipe

Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without cornbread on your table! This recipe makes a great batch of cornbread that can be served on its own or used in other recipes calling for cornbread, such as dressing.

QUICK AND EASY CORNBREAD 
Ingredients

  • 1 cup self rising cornmeal 
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes.