Tag Archives: review

Green Giant Has a Surprise: New Veggie Chips!

{Sponsored Post}

Although I am not a big snacker, I do enjoy having a side of something crunchy with a bowl of soup or with a sandwich at lunchtime. Of course, most chips aren’t super healthy. But imagine if there was a tasty chip made from whole grains and veggies! Well, Green Giant has a big surprise for you: its brand-new Veggie Chips.

That’s right, we all know Green Giant for canned and frozen vegetables. Well, now they have a delicious new way to sneak more veggies into our diets. Thanks to a Green Giant rep sending us some free bags, I was able to sample two varieties: Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips and Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips.

green giant veggie chips

The tortilla chips were hands-down, the family favorite. They were full of flavor and delicious! The sweet potato chips were very yummy too, but a little more subdued. They were the perfect accompaniment to my sandwich.

green giant veggie chips


Here are some fun facts about the new chips.

  • The Green Giant™ Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips – Zesty Cheddar Flavor are made with real vegetables, 17 grams of whole grain per serving (48g are recommended daily), and are naturally flavored.
  • The Green Giant™ Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips – Sea Salt Flavor are made with real sweet potatoes and made with 14 grams of whole grain. Plus, they contains 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips*!
  • *Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g per 28g serving).

The folks at Green Giant want to know what your surprise talent is. Here are just a few that they have unearthed — check out more on their YouTube Channel or head over to the Green Giant Facebook page and show the Giant what you can do!


Green Giant has provided me with a printable coupon for Pure Sugar readers who’d like to try out their new veggie chips. Save 85 cents on a bag — I bet you’ll be surprised by how good they are, too!

Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant

{Review} Morningstar Farms Meatless Burgers

I love a good burger. A big, juicy, meaty, medium-rare burger, with lettuce, onions, pickles, ketchup, and mayo. I am not a veggie burger kind of gal. I love many vegetarian dishes, but I didn’t really see myself picking up a package of frozen veggie/soy burgers from the market. So, when I was afforded the opportunity to do so for free thanks to my participation in a BzzAgent Campaign for Morningstar Farms products, I gave it a go.

We do try to eat one meatless meal a week, and while I prefer a whole foods meatless meal, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. And if the choice is between a semi-healthy veggie burger from the freezer, or a completely unhealthy fast-food option, I think the decision is a no-brainer.

bzz agent morningstar farm blog review

The other day I decided to try out these Morningstar Farms burgers. I chose Spicy Black Bean Burgers and a package of “Grillers” — which are supposed to taste like real hamburgers. I did not tell my kids they would be having veggie burgers for dinner.


As you can see, frozen out of the box they don’t look too exciting. They are definitely smaller than a burger I would make with fresh beef or turkey, but we were having soup, salad, and fries on the side so I didn’t think portion size would be an issue (and it wasn’t).

I served the kids first and asked them to let me know what they thought. (I served them the “Grillers” with their usual toppings — trying to see if I could fool them.) The response was overwhelmingly positive. My 10-year old thought they tasted a little different than usual, but not in a bad way. My 7-year-old also really liked the burger and finished it without having to be prodded, even after he learned it was a veggie burger. I’d say that’s a positive review!


For myself, I made up a black bean burger with pepper jack, lettuce, jalapenos, salsa, and mayo. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it. Drew had one of each (bunless), and liked both of them, but felt that the “Grillers” were a better substitute for someone craving a burger.

Of course, there is always a caveat. In this case, the long ingredient list is kind of a put-off to me:


I am not really sure if a processed “veggie” burger is healthier for me than a burger made with high-quality beef. It is also unclear if Morningstar Farms uses GMO soybeans, if that is a concern to you.

Would I purchase these products again? Even with my hesitations I would probably buy them again. I’m not sure I would make them a regular item on my menu. Honestly, I prefer a less processed vegetarian option (and truthfully, one that does not use soy as a primary ingredient). But as I said at the beginning of this review, in a pinch and between a Morningstar Farms veggie burger or a fast food burger, I think the veggie burger wins on both convince and overall healthfulness. And it is surprisingly tasty.

As  member of BzzAgent, I received coupons for Morningstar Farms products, including a coupon to try a product free of charge. I did not receive any further compensation. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

{Book Review} The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines

lighthouse cookbook review

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved lighthouses. Growing up in Massachusetts, and spending plenty of time on the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, I guess that’s no surprise. So when I was asked to review a cookbook that focused on recipes from some of the country’s beautiful landmark lighthouses, I eagerly accepted the opportunity.

The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines, by Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson is just as much a history book as a cookbook. Divided into eight regions (the Northeast Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast Atlantic, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gulf Coast, Hawaii and California, Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and the Great Lakes), this book gives you a taste of various regional cuisines along with facts and stories about each lighthouse. As you might imagine, the recipes focus on seafood dishes, but there is actually a wonderful variety of recipes.

lighthouse cookbook review

I decided to test out a recipe for Cranberry Nut Bread from the Bass River Lighthouse in West Dennis, Mass. (that’s on Cape Cod for those who aren’t familiar with the area). Cranberries are synonymous with Massachusetts, so I knew this was going to be good. And I was right. The recipe formed a perfectly shaped, slightly dense quick bread that was just amazing warm from the oven.

lighthouse cookbook review

I was given permission to share this recipe with my readers, and I know you’re going to love it. If nothing else, be sure to bookmark it and give it a try next fall when everyone is craving the sweet-tart taste of cranberries.

lighthouse cookbook review

Cranberry Nut Bread
from The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 c. AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. milk
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Mix in the butter. In a separate bowl, blend together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Alternately add the flour mixture to the milk and egg mixture. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries. Power the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 min. Bread is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Another thing I like about the book is that it’s not just a grouping of random recipes. Each lighthouse has recipes that together form a complete meal. If you want to find a unique menu for dinner with friends, chances are there’s something in The American Lighthouse Cookbook that will sound delicious and take all the thinking out of planning your meal. It’s a really unique way of setting up a cookbook, and I see myself referring to this one quite a bit when the weather warms up and I’m feeling more like fish and vegetable recipes.

The introduction of the book states that it “couples food with the romance of the seacoast, adding a dash of history and wrapping it in the very current ‘eat local’ movement.” I am definitely looking forward to taking that to heart because it features a delicious breakfast from the Saugerties Lightouse — less than half an hour away from here. Ah yes… Saugerties Lightouse pancakes, New York cherries with granola and yogurt, oven-roasted bacon, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes with cheddar cheese and scallions. Sounds like a perfect Sunday brunch if you ask me!

I received a free copy of The American Lighthouse Cookbook: The Best Recipes and Stories from America’s Shorelines. The opinions expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. I received no further compensation for writing a review of the book.

{product review} caveman cookies – rainforest flavor


It’s been killing me to see all these delicious-looking cookie recipes posted on blogs this month. After all, December is the month of cookie swaps, homemade gifts, and treating yourself. Still, I am trying hard to resist the temptation and avoid as much flour and sugar as possible. So when I read an e-mail about Caveman Cookies, I was intrigued. Paleo cookies? That I don’t have to make myself? Why yes, I would be very interested in trying those!


Caveman Cookies are made with Paleo-friendly ingredients including nuts, honey and berries. They are certified Kosher, gluten-free, and dairy-free. I was sent a package of the new Rainforest flavor for my review. The flavor is described like this in the marketing material:

The cookies feature an exotic combination of Brazil nuts and chewy dried cherries, with a kick of cayenne pepper. The other ingredients are honey, almond meal, chopped almonds and nutmeg.

Drew and I both tried them before we read the ingredients and thought there had to be ginger in the cookies – we were very surprised there wasn’t! There’s a definite kick from the cayenne and I guess when combined with the nutmeg, you get that taste of ginger.

We also had very different opinions on the flavor. Drew didn’t like them at all, I am sorry to say. I thought they were interesting and I kind of like them. They are very different from your standard chocolate-chip cookie, or even one made with coconut flour, but I found the slightly sweet taste and sticky texture enjoyable. The cookies are also available in original (similar to oatmeal-raisin), Alpine (carob and hazelnuts), and tropical (coconut and macadamia nut).

Here’s a peek at the nutrition facts:


A bag of 12 cookies costs $9.95. While that seems pricey, the ingredients are expensive and they’re not loaded with the junk found in most other mass-produced cookies. They’re not that big, but I found one was plenty to satisfy my sweet tooth, and technically the serving size is two cookies, so if one doesn’t do it — go for the second one!


You can purchase different sized bags (including sampler bags) on the Caveman Cookies website. Each cookie is individually wrapped in a cello bag to preserve freshness (which also means you don’t have to eat the entire bag as soon as you open it). As I read through the reviews on Amazon, I noticed that there is some argument as to whether or not these cookies are really Paleo. There seems to be a lot of bickering lately about what, in general, a Paleo diet means, but as far as I am concerned the ingredients meet the definition. (Of course, I am not a strict Paleo person by any means, as evidenced by the milk in my tea in that photo at the top of this post.) At the very least, these are certainly a great choice for those following a GF diet.

To sum it all up: I love the idea of a healthy cookie that I don’t have to bake myself. And although the Rainforest flavor is a little spicy for my taste, I’d give another variety a try without hesitation.


Disclosure: I received one free bag of Caveman Cookies in the Rainforest flavor to review on my blog. I did not receive any financial compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are my own.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

hartstrings kids clothes review

Heartstrings Kids Review

Laura is a girly-girl. She loves getting dressed up. She loves fancy clothes. And she really likes picking out what to wear. So when I was offered the opportunity to choose an outfit from Hartstrings Kids to review on my blog, I knew that my little lady would want to have a say in it.

Hartstrings offers a selections of boutique clothing for babies, boys, and girls. I had such a hard time narrowing down my choices because there are so many outfits I loved. Ultimately, I picked my three favorites and then asked Laura which one she liked best. (She might be two and a half, but she definitely has strong opinions!) She loved the Long Sleeve Sweater Dress from this season’s Fair Isle Collection. I was kindly sent a pair of matching leggings to complete the look.

Heartstrings Kids Review

Shipping was speedy and the clothes were safely packaged in a plastic mailer. I ordered a size 2T for Laura. Typically she wears anywhere between a size 18 months – 24 months because she is a tiny little peanut, but I wanted her to get extra wear out of this pretty dress. I would say it is true to size. It is a little big on her, as I expected it to be, but not so big that it looks baggy. The knit is very soft and she was really comfortable. Actually, I had to bribe her with candy to take off the clothes and put her play clothes back on!

Heartstrings Kids Review

The clothes at Hartstrings are on the pricier side, but I think the prices are reasonable for special event or holiday clothes. Plus, as I browsed through the site, I noticed that quite a few choices were on sale. If the quality of the clothing I received is indicative of the rest of their offerings, I would (and probably will) order from Hartstrings in the future.

Heartstrings Kids Review

I think I’ve also seen Hartstrings specials on some of the daily deal sites, so you can always look for those too 😉 I know that we’ll get a lot of mileage out of this bright and cheery dress. In fact, Laura will have her first chance to wear it next week at her cousin’s birthday party!

Be sure to follow Hartstrings on Twitter and check them out on Facebook to be one of the first to learn about specials, deals, and new items.

Disclosure: I received free products from Hartstrings for review as part of my participation in a campaign by MomSelect.  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

hot wheels nitro speeders giveaway


Do you have any idea how much Noah loves Hot Wheels? No, I don’t think you do because he probably loves Hot Wheels more than any other kid in the history of ever. He has cases full of them. We have bins full of Trick Tracks. And it’s not uncommon for him to just randomly blurt out “Hot Wheels! Beat that!”

So when I was presented with the opportunity to review one of their brand-new Nitro Speeders RC Cars, I jumped at the chance! Jake is into anything RC these days, so I knew this would be a great toy for both of them.

Laura was napping on me when they wanted to open up the package, so I left everything (aside from opening up the plastic) up to Jake (age 9). He sorted out the contents of the box, got a screwdriver and installed the 4 AA batteries (which were not included with the car). The RC car took about 20-30 minutes to initially charge and then it was ready to rock.

It’s really hard to describe how fast it flew down the hall. Take a look at this video we made to get an idea of how speedy this little car (and I mean little — less than 2.5″!) is:


  • Lightening fast and very amusing
  • Pocket sized remote doubles as charger and carrying case – from my point of view, this is the toy’s best feature! Otherwise, this car could get lost easily. Instead of several different things to keep track of when your child (or husband, ahem…) is done playing with the car, you just snap it in and put the controller on the shelf
  • Handles vertical loops and does awesome jumps
  • Works with Trick Tracks


  • High speed makes them challenging to control until you get the hang of it
  • Super tiny and easily drives under wine fridges, couches, hutches, etc.
  • Need a lot of hard surface floor space (tile, hard wood, vinyl) to really go wild

You do have to be careful about stray carpet fuzz or sewing thread (ahem) because these things easily tangle around the wheels and that will keep the RC car from prime operation. All in all it is a great toy and my boys have been having so much fun playing with it. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the hot gifts this Christmas, and I am thrilled that I have one to giveaway to one of my readers! Here’s how you do it:


Learn more about these cars at the Nitro Speeders website.  This toy retails for about $27.95 and is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Disclosure: I received a free Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders RC Car for review as part of my participation in a campaign by MomSelect.  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.