Product Love

I don’t really do product reviews unless I’m given a product to try for that sole purpose. However, sometimes I find something really yummy, fun, useful, or just worth sharing. In this case, I really just feel the need to share some of the new things I’ve tried in the past few weeks that I’ve really enjoyed.

First, I had the opportunity to try Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax bread, courtesy of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. By opting in I was sent a loaf and a few kaiser rolls to enjoy. It just so happened that I was planning to make sandwiches that week, so it wound up being very convenient! My fiancé has been requesting his sandwiches on this bread recently, so he’s definitely a fan! Since the slices are on the bigger side, I’ve made quite a few open-faced “grilled cheese” sandwiches of sorts. A perfect afternoon snack!

I also made a trip to Trader Joe’s where I picked up my first loaf of Ezekiel Bread. Yes, it’s been a carb heavy few weeks! So many blogs that I read seem to all enjoy some Ezekiel bread with a form of nut butter on top of it pre-run, and also just through the course of other meals. Since I had never heard of the bread until recently, I decided to check it out. I grabbed the Ezekiel 4:9 bread, and eagerly made a peanut butter, almond butter, and jelly sandwich with it. YUM! I’m a big fan of super grainy breads, so this was right up my alley. I know it’s an acquired texture/taste for some, but I really enjoy it; I remember back in the day when my mom would get fresh bread and make sandwiches from it as a treat, I always requested the uber-grained breads. Even though the slices are smaller than typical sandwich bread, it’s still really filling because of all the grains. I’ve been savoring this loaf – I don’t want it to end!

Look at that grainy goodness!

Finally, after seeing so many tweets and blog posts about the Chobani lemon flavor, I just had to pick some up for myself! I was unsure as to just how lemon flavored the yogurt would be, as I enjoy lemon to an extent, but find that it can easily be overpowering. I mixed in some golden flaxseed for a little texture, and it was absolutely delicious! I absolutely love Greek yogurt, and Chobani is definitely my favorite brand (as I’ve read is also the favorite of quite a few other people!). I was always a big vanilla fan, and also the plain to replace sour cream, but I think I might have found a new favorite flavor! I can’t wait to get back to the grocery store for more.

I have a ton of other favorite foods / products that I find myself buying each week, but these three are the newest additions to my rotation. I think I’m going to start a weekly post of some favorites of mine, and since I’m always discovering new things, I doubt I’ll run out!

Question: What are some of your favorite foodie products?

Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

Growing up, Saint Patrick’s Day was one of my favorite holidays. We made Irish soda bread, had corned beef and cabbage, and I got to wear cute green socks, shamrock tattoos on my cheeks, and other fun things. Then, in college, I attended the Scranton parade every year – a true showing of debauchery. And now that I spend most of my time in the kitchen, I was able to try my hand at Irish soda bread, without the help of my mom.

Both of my parents are mostly Irish, my father’s grandparents being immigrants (it goes back a bit further on my mom’s side). It’s no secret I’m Irish – my hair is dark with hints of red and curly, I freckle as soon as my skin sees the sun, and I “tan” red (aka not at all). No one in my family has brown eyes, and in keeping with the stereotypes, I love potatoes and beer. Though my taste buds have changed and I don’t enjoy corned beef, I do still love boiled cabbage, especially when it’s colcannon.

For the average person, Irish soda bread might seem a little bland. But the Irish weren’t ever really known for their flavorful foods. I personally love it, especially when it’s warmed up with some butter. The best part is that because it makes such a large loaf, there’s plenty left over to enjoy for breakfast, or as a snack.

I wound up bringing a loaf to work and everyone loved it! I always feel so accomplished when a large group tries something I’ve made and they have rave reviews. In addition to my soda bread there were green cupcakes, and a giant cookie cake with a shamrock on it. I’m happy to report that my bread was finished first!

This is the recipe that my mom has been following for years. I can’t remember it ever being any different. Although a few times she tried to sneak in some caraway seeds (I’m not a fan). I’m thinking maybe I won’t wait until next March 17th to make this again…

Irish Soda Bread
– makes one loaf –

2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup softened butter (half the stick)
3/4 Cup rasins
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
1 Cup buttermilk
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tbsp water

1. Sift flower sugar baking powder, soda and salt into large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until like coarse meal.
2. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Add buttermilk, mix to moisten the dry ingredients.
3. Put onto floured surface and knead for several minutes until smooth.
4. Form dough into round ball place on greased baking sheet. Flatten ball until about 1/2 inch high
5. Brush top and sides with egg/water mixture. Cut a 1/2 inch deep cross in top.
6. Bake at 375 degree for 30-40 min. or until toothpick comes out clean
7. Cool on wire rack. Brush top with butter, or serve butter alongside the bread

More pumpkin!

Last night, I had the fine opportunity to make Pumpkin Bread.

Never having made bread of any sort before,  I was definitely nervous. I was somewhat comforted when I found a recipe from Simply Recipes, since simple was at least in the name. And let me tell you, the name of the site couldn’t have been more accurate – it was SO simple, and absolutely delicious!

While mixing all of the ingredients, the kitchen really started to smell like fall; I think it was a combination of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I also, however, was faced yet again (for the third time in the past two weeks) with the not-so-pleasant smell of puree pumpkin. It really reminds me of baby food; and not in the “oh, babies are so cute I love them and want my own one day” kind of way.

I’ve started to wonder if anyone can have too much pumpkin in their diet. I sure hope not, because I’ve ingested enormous amounts of it since the beginning of September. I even managed to work in some Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee that I found at Target over the weekend, on top of mixing it into fudge.

The bread definitely has a ginger-bread taste to it, but it also embraces the pumpkin flavor. This is definitely lower on the pumpkin intensity, which I happen to enjoy a lot. I find that pumpkin is a delicate flavor that needs to be measured meticulously, as too much can be extremely overpowering and unpleasant, while too little bodes the question of “what was the point?”.


I’m definitely going to make my co-workers jealous when I whip this bad boy out for my morning snack. Cue the salivating!

At any rate, here’s the recipe for the Pumpkin Bread. I definitely suggest giving it a try!


1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée*
1/2 cup (1 dL) olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use. Or, if you are working with pumpkin pieces, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.

3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.