Monday, September 8, 2014

Freedom is Thinking Inside of the Box

Over the past few months, I have posted several product reviews for Freedom Foods after having the pleasure of finding their products at an expo in Georgia. (Missed the previous reviews? Click on the dates  to read them June 4th and July 15th ). And once again, I have been given the amazing opportunity to try out some additional products to see if they also rank as high as the others at the Nutrihomestead. My taste buds always say yes to these requests and happily, I love to come up with different ideas for us to use and share with others as well.

The first thing I was really excited about was to have the new and improved box of Tropico's! They were great before but now- perfect! They are still colorful but instead of adding all of those nasty artificial colors like other cereals, my family is eating things that are good for them, like sweet potato and carrot.

Although I have had their Smudge before, another jar was given to me so what else could I do but to oblige? Smudge is one thing that I do truly love having- a great alternative to a ready-to-use allergy-friendly chocolaty topping  (and, of course, for Smudgestashes!). It was a super hot day when I begin this review so we decided to utilize Smudge in an easy, old fashioned favorite way- popsicles! Three simple ingredients but a lot of flavor and a lot of smiles.

Smudge Pops
1 Cup dairy free milk of your choice
8 Tablespoons Freedom Foods Smudge
Enjoy Life Food chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix the dairy free milk and Smudge. (You can stir until well blended but we actually preferred to leave the mixture a bit "chunky" because it leaves some wonderful chocolate surprises for you to find while eating the Smudge Pops.) Add additional chocolate chips as an option. Pour the mixture into small plastic cups, place a plastic spoon into the middle for a handle and cover with plastic wrap. Place into the freezer on a tray until frozen. Once frozen, remove them from the cups and store in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

Servings sizes vary depending on cup sizes

NutriSon decided that he had to try making his own "Death By Smudge" dessert. Simply add Smudge over your favorite chocolate brownies to have a decadent treat. Better yet, heat the Smudge just a bit and pour the warm mixture over that dessert then proceed to feel yourself slide into a lovely, enjoyable chocolate coma..... tell me that your mouth is not watering right now.

Speaking of mouth-watering, I added both the Smudge and some pieces of Tropico's to my gluten free donuts (recipe here) for a special Sunday surprise. I am happy to report that both NutriKids were unable to leave any leftovers behind (and I was caught licking my fingers as well). Mmmm, donuts! Can we say "freedom" from donuts with the guilt? What I can say is that we approve of both.

I also got a box of the Ancient Grains cereal. This cereal is gluten free and is a hearty cereal flake. I found it to be almost like a cross between hemp and cornflakes with a slight almost smokey flavor to it. It's not sugary but does have a slight sweetness to it. And although I enjoy it as a cereal, I was thinking of the NutriKids. I was thinking of picky eaters and smaller hands. I was thinking NACHOS! How's that for making a sneaky, healthy snack?

Teeny Tiny Nachos
Freedom Foods Ancient Grains cereal
Apple of your choice (cleaned & cut)
Cheese of your choice (can be substituted with dairy free cheese)

Spread some Ancient Grains cereal on a place. Top with apple and cheese and heat until the cheese is melted in a microwave or oven.

Our next item was the Pro-Teen Crunch cereal. These rectangle-shaped cereal pieces are also the perfect pick-up size as well as being tasty to eat with or without milk. Slightly sweet, the Pro-Teen Crunch pieces are similar to a familiar crunchy corn cereal but with an added banana flavor- almost like Kix meets Brothers-All-Natural Banana Fruit Crisps. Sounds especially kid-friendly, right? These are also the perfect answer to a fun, fast activity to do with your children and as an on-the-go breakfast of snack. Or, dare I say, a great idea for an allergy-friendly class treat or party favor bags? Just a quick stop at your local craft store to pick up some plastic beading thread and you are on your way to an edible necklace or bracelet. I have to say that the time it took me to save this photo on my computer for the review, NutriDaughter had already demolished the bracelet and was starting on the necklace.

Not a fan of breakfast-on-the-go? How about another frozen treat instead?

No-Gurt Crunch Cakes
3/4 Cup Freedom Foods Pro-Teen Crunch cereal
3/4 Cup Freedom Foods Ancient Grains cereal
5 Tablespoons butter or butter alternative
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Non Dairy Yogurt
1/4 Cup Raw Honey
8 Strawberries, cleaned & pureed (saving the tops)

In a mini chopper, add the cereals, butter or butter alternative and the cinnamon. Once mixed well, press into aluminum muffin cups , filling half way.

In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla, non dairy yogurt, honey and pureed strawberries. One smooth, spoon the mixture onto the half-filled cups. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until solid.

Thaw slightly before serving and top with strawberry tops for decoration.

I also wanted to share what we use our leftover Smudge containers for. Yes, we wash them out and recycle some of them but they are the perfect size to reuse too. NutriDaughter has a fascination with keeping her items inside of things to keep everything in it's place (hmmmm, possible ADD but I can't imagine where she might get that since I am way to busy cleaning up the dishes at 10 PM only to remember that I didn't fold laundry which also makes me remember that I never did put away those magazines I went through). These containers make wonderful holders for anything and everything- kitchen items, hubby's extra nails in the garage, a fast snack on the go holder and even to re purpose for a nice holiday gift of a homemade treat inside. And since Freedom Foods is also a part of the NPC (National Packaging Covenant), I thought sharing would be the best way to help our environment as well.

In a nutshell (gasp! Maybe not a nutshell), Freedom Foods continues to offer products that are great tasting, healthier for you, free of GMO's in addition to so many other allergens and they are taking a huge step in helping our planet as well. I know that I always recommend that people try to think outside of the box but when you have boxes that are this good, there is no need. Instead, be free to think inside of all of the better boxes.

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