Munch Madness with Duane Reade’s deLISH Snacks #DRMunchMadness

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March may mean the beginning of spring but to sports fans, it is the most important time for college basketball. That’s right, it’s national championship time! To get ready, we started getting our Tournament brackets organized and scouted Duane Reade and their deLISH brand for our #CollectiveBias Munch Madness snacks that would keep us going during these intense games. We’re already fans of the deLISH Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes, so finding game time snacks was a breeze.

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The question on our minds when we first entered Duane Reade was, what do we get for our game time Munch Madness? Which wonderful Duane Reade’s deLISH Snacks should we get? Do we go with chips and dip? Pizza? Pigs in a blanket or go for extra points with sandwiches and pot stickers? Either way, all those choices were found under the deLISH brand. We made a video of some of the amazing options that are available under Duane Reade’s store brand.

Unfortunately our game get-togethers have dwindled in size since some teams were eliminated quickly (not ours…yay!!) and we’re still here to cheer on Harvard Crimson and Duke Blue Devils (our personal top team picks). Since we were now a smaller sized-party, we decided to go with the following mix of yummy deLISH products – Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar, Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt, Tortilla Chips Restaurant Style Multi-Grain, Frozen Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip, Blueberry Nut Blend Trail Mix, Colossal Cashews, Original Crackers, and Cranberry Blends Grape Cranberry Juice Cocktail for delicious cocktails.

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The chips and dip were a huge hit (no one believed the deLISH Frozen Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip was not homemade – loved the big chunks of artichoke hearts), I should have bought more for myself. The Blueberry Nut Blend Trail Mix and Colossal Cashews combination kept our energy level up (there was lots of screaming and jumping around) and as Harvard beat Cincinnati 61-57 and secured it’s placed into the next round, we celebrated with a few glasses of deLISH Cranberry Blends Grape Cranberry Juice and vodka cocktails. Next game we’re keeping our eye on, Duke vs Mercer, then it’s back to Harvard and their game vs Michigan State…..it’s going to be an intense weekend. Check out some pics of our game time snacks before it was pulverized.

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What are you snacking on during the tournament? You’ve seen our tournament picks and Munch Madness snacks, what are yours? Have you thought of visiting Duane Reade for your get-togethers? To get updates and more information the variety of Duane Reade deLISH products available, visit www.duanereade.com, follow them on Twitter – https://twitter.com/DuaneReade and Like them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/duanereade.

What’s New in Health & Nutrition | Delicious Products to Get Your Daily Vegetables Intake

We’ve been told since birth that eating your vegetables is a vital part of our diet and nutrition. Of course most of us do not like to eat vegetables and really struggle with trying to eat them, mainly because of taste – I for one struggle with Kale (I really do). But there is great news for those who struggle with adding vegetables to their diet. Thanks to Lifeway Kefir, Green Giant, Jamba “at home” Smoothies, and Edy’s® Outshine, you can get your daily intake of vegetables without worrying about taste.Lifeway Veggie Kefir

Lifeway-VeggieKefir

Can’t eat your vegetables? Why not drink them. Lifeway has launched a trio of naturally probiotic, high-protein, drinkable blends where your everyday veggies are turned into superfoods with no sugar added. With these new Lifeway Veggie Kefir blends, you get the traditionally tart and tangy Lifeway Kefir, a burst of garden-fresh flavor and a full serving of vegetables. Your veggies have never tasted so good. The Veggie Kefir is available in savory beet, cucumber, and tomato.

Green Giant® Veggie-Blend-Ins

green giant veggie blends-ins

Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables (some none at all), now thanks to Green Giant, we all have a great way to make sure we’re getting our daily intake of vegetables no matter what recipe we’re preparing. Cooking mac and cheese? Blending smoothies or pancakes for breakfast? or baking cookies or a chocolate cake? All you have to do is just pour any of these Green Giant Veggie Puree Blend-Ins into your dish and blend it right into your meal, snacks and dessert preparations. I recently adding the spinach puree to my chili recipe I made, check out a before picture and the blending in the video below (trust me, it tastes 1000% better than it looks lol):

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Green Giant has teamed up with Deceptively Delicious’s author, Jessica Seinfeld, to help your family eat more veggies. Butternut squash works well in cheesy or slightly sweet dishes like macaroni and cheese and pancakes. Carrot works well in ground meat dishes like tacos and baked goods like muffins. Spinach mixes well into red or darker dishes like spaghetti and brownies. I know what you’re thinking “spinach in brownies?” – it doesn’t sound appetizing but believe me when I tell you that you don’t taste the spinach AT ALL, just delicious chocolate. This is a fantastic way for both kids and adults to get eat healthier.

Jamba “at home” Fruit & Veggie Fusion® Smoothies

jamba fruit and veggie smoothies

Everyone loves smoothies, it is a great way to enjoy fruits. The line of Red, Blue and Green Fusion At-Home Kits offers a unique blend of vitamin-rich vegetables with delicious fruits, creating a powerful and convenient blend-and-serve smoothie. The Green Fusion combines green apple, mango, pineapple, kiwi, banana, broccoli, spinach and spirulina to offer a sweet yet hearty smoothie. The Red Fusion combines red raspberry, strawberry, dark sweet cherry, purple carrot and sweet potato; and the Blue Fusion combines blueberry, banana, apple, blackberry, carrot, broccoli and spinach. Each smoothie kit contains whole pieces of frozen fruit and vegetable blocks that, when blended with one cup of apple juice, makes two, eight-ounce servings. Each glass also provides an excellent source of vitamin C, at 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and 25 percent of the RDA of vitamins, E, K, B1 and B6.

Edy’s® Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars

Edy's Outshine fruit veggie bars

If you want to try yet another way to enjoy your veggies, check out the first national line of frozen fruit bars that combines both fruits and vegetables in a delicious frozen snack. The Edy’s® Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars features five new refreshing and innovative flavors: Blueberry Medley, Tangerine Carrot, Apple and Greens, Peach Mango Medley and Strawberry Rhubarb, along with a 12-count multi-pack featuring Strawberry Rhubarb, Tangerine Carrot and Blueberry Medley. At 35-60 calories each, the Fruit and Veggie bars contain at least 25% vegetables from purees and juices, so you can be rest assured you are enjoying a rejuvenating, healthy snack.

Sweet & Delicious Low-Calorie Valentine’s Day Cocktails

According to Nielsen, Americans alone will purchase around 58 million pounds of chocolate during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day – that’s A LOT of sugar. Some of you may not want to add even more sugar with the cocktails you will be enjoying, but there is hope. You are still able to enjoy a delicious, low-calorie Valentine’s Day cocktails to toast your sweetheart thanks to Cascade Ice Sparkling Water and these following Valentine’s Day-inspired recipes. Cascade Ice sparkling waters are free of unnecessary and unhealthy “extras” found in other flavored waters like calories, sodium, caffeine, gluten and sugar without losing its delicious flavor. Below are three delicious cocktails you are sure to enjoy for Valentine’s Day. Say goodbye to boring champagne and spend your romantic night enjoying these sexy and sweet drinks:

Love Potion Pizzazz

Cascade Ice Love Potion

To mix up the irresistible potion, mix 2oz of Cascade Ice’s Pomegranate Berry with 1oz of vodka. Add a garnish of fresh cherries and you’re ready to go!

Passion Pucker-Up Cocktail

Cascade Ice Passion Pucker-Up Cocktail

Mix up this tantalizing drink by pouring 1.5oz of tequila and 3oz of Cascade Ice Black Raspberry over crushed ice into your mixer. Next, add the juice of a lime wedge and a handful of raspberries. Garnish the cocktail with an orange wedge and you’re ready to serve!

Blushing Sparkler

Cascade Ice Blushing Sparkler

Mix 1oz of whipped vodka, 4oz of Cascade Ice Pink Grapefruit, the juice of a lemon wedge and a handful of ice in a mixer. Pour the cocktail into a chilled glass and garnish with lemon wedges.

What do you think of these low-calorie Valentine’s Day cocktails? Which of these three would you try?

Is Your New Year Resolution to Eat Healthier? Try the Ninja Ultima Blender w/ Dual Stage Blades

As with every year, New Year resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier are uttered across the globe every January but thanks to the amazing Ninja Ultima Blender, we can be truly on our way to creating healthier drinks and meals. There are five models in the Ninja Ultima range, most of which includes 16 oz. Single Serve Cups and lids for personal drinks on the go. The Ninja Ultima BL820 Kitchen System includes a food processing bowl and blade accessories. In this post, we’re concentrating on the Ninja Ultima BL810.

THE NINJA Ultima

The expansive speed range of the Ninja Ultima Blender offers everything from gentle blending to total crushing to Nutrient Complete Juicing™. This means you can do anything from juicing to making soup, grinding meat, crushing ice, grating cheese, etc. Thanks to Ninja Ultima’s Total Crushing™ Blades that rotate at 5,000 RPM (crushing whole fruits, vegetables, seeds and ice) and its bottom High Speed Cyclonic Blades that rotate independently at 24,000 RPM (liquefying ingredients into a silky smooth consistency in a matter of seconds), you can prepare healthy meals any time of the day, for any occasion.

That’s right, the Ninja Ultima lets you go beyond just juicing. Want to lose weight in a delicious way? Try some metabolism boosting recipes like Apple Almond Power Smoothie, Kale and Cabbage Slaw, or Blackberry Mint Italian Ice (recipe below).

Planning a get-together? Try a delicious Sweet Red Pepper SpreadButternut Squash Mac & Cheese, or Blender Salsa. Throw out those thoughts that you’d have to buy the $600 Vitamix Blender to create those awesome, chef-inspired recipes. For half the cost of the Vitamix, you get a blender that is more powerful. So far I have tried these two recipes featured below (once with a substitute of pineapple and ginger instead of the blackberry+mint) and I plan on whipping up some homemade guacamole and trying the Chillout Chai Smoothie recipe.

Blackberry Mint Italian Ice

Blackberry Mint Italian Ice



2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Using the Bottom Blades in the Pitcher, add the blackberries and water and PULSE 2 times.
Select Speed 1 and flip the switch to start. Slowly increase to Speed 6 and process until smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan.
Add sugar and mint and slowly bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.
Cool completely and strain into a 9 x 9-inch glass dish. Freeze for 6 hours, stirring frozen crystals every 30 minutes.Serve or store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Cook Time: 25 min + Chill time: 6 hours

 

Super Ninja 9

Super Ninja 9

2 tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery cut into thirds
1 Granny Smith apple, quartered, unpeeled and uncored
1 small carrot, peeled and cut in half
1-inch piece of red onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper seeded
1/4 beet, peeled
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups ice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Place the Top Blades in the Pitcher and add all of the ingredients in the order listed.*
PULSE 3 times. Select Speed 10 and flip the switch to start.
Blend for 45 seconds.

I have personally owned and used a Ninja Professional Blender for over two years so I’m very familiar with the brand and their products. It should come as no surprise that we’re raving about the powerful Ultima blender. It is still going strong with no indication of slowing down (I guess this is why my mother has been eyeing it for herself). I am sure two years from now, I will still be enjoying my Ninja Ultima and all the delicious and healthy recipes they recommend.

Wish You Were Beer | Home Brewing 101 w/ Vimbly at Bitter & Esters

No one will ever accuse me of being a beer lover or drinker but I love checking out new and different experiences, so when I was invited by Vimbly (the fastest way to book thousands of super cool activities, classes and date ideas such as cooking, glassblowing, pizza making, samurai sword fighting, and of course Home Brewing, etc) to take part in a class about home brewing your own beer, I jumped at the chance. As I said, I’m not a beer drinker but how many times do you have the opportunity to learn the secrets of brewing your own beer from an expert? Thanks to Vimbly, I walked into Bitter & Esters (the city’s first DIY Brewery) in Brooklyn to learn all there is to know about home brewing.
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Armed with a Dr. Feelgood beer, brewed on site at Bitter & Estes, and a manual, instructor and co-founder, John LaPolla gave us step-by-step instruction on homebrewing. Bitter & Esters offers the following classes: Brewshop 101, Brew Like a Pro, Brew on premises and Advanced classes. Tonight I would partake in Brewshop 101 – Home Brewing Essentials.

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John gave the last a detailed list of making the perfect batch of beer. We learned the necessities of general preparation such as sanitizing EVERYTHING, bottling, equipment needed, and avoiding common home brewing mistakes. We learned about the various types of Grains (did you know darker grains contribute to the color of the brewed beer?), different types of Malts (Base Malts, Kilned Malts, Caramel Malts and Roasted Malts), the facts that Hops come in three forms – Whole Leaf, Hop Plugs and Pellets (two of the three are pictured below) and measuring the bitterness of hops in beer (btw, this is called an IBU – International Bittering Unit).

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To get a more detailed view and knowledge of the class, I invite you to partake in the two-hour class offered via Vimbly – Brewshop 101: Home Beer Brewing Essentials – the class is really fun and interactive and John is quite hilarious . And don’t worry if you are a beer novice, you will walk out with a vast knowledge of proper home brewing. Check out a few more pictures from the class below:

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I would like to thank the wonderful people at Vimbly for inviting me to enjoy this wonderful class and the staff at Bitter & Esters for the amazing experience and for making me enjoy my first beer….actually I tried three, including one made with Perrier (which was quite amazing).

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Twisted Shotz

My favorite thing about being a Blogger continues to be discovering and sharing amazing new brands and products. I previously wrote about attending the 2013 Holiday Buying Show and discovering some delicious spirits. One of the most fun and innovative alcohol brands I discovered at the show was Twisted Shotz.
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What exactly are Twisted Shotz? They are delicious, bartender-quality mixed drinks that offer TWO great flavors in one Twisted Shot! The liqueurs are held separately in each divided shot glass ready for your enjoyment. Indulge in such delicious shots as Porn Stara Raspberry Vodka and Blue Curacao Liqueur, Sex on the Beacha Banana/Pear Liqueur and Cream Liqueur, Buttery NippleButterscotch Vodka and Vanilla Cream Vodka, etc. There are several delicious cocktail options to enjoy. These must-try shots are available in a 4-pack and part of a party pack. Get to know all the delicious twisted combinations from Twisted Shotz.
polar bear twisted shotz

Just in time for the holiday season, Twisted Shotz introduces Polar Bear – a sensational combination of Peppermint and White Chocolate Cream Liqueur. Want to get some for your next party? Just click on Find Twisted Shotz to see retailers near you.

 

“Fall” in Love With These Delicious Snacks

We love the fall season for so many reasons but our favorite are the yummy fall-themed flavors like sweet potato, pumpkin, savory spicy flavors and a few surprises.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries are not new, I’ve been enjoying this savory treat for decades but Boulder Canyon brings a new experience with its Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, Potassium and Beta-Carotene, a vital antioxidant that promotes overall health. This completely natural snack mirrors the shape, taste and texture of the popular side dish and is made from natural ingredients, with no trans fats, zero cholesterol and only one gram of saturated fat. They are gluten free, Kosher certified and contain no genetically modified organisms (Non-GMO). Grab a 7.5-ounce bag for $2.99-3.29.

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Want a touch of sweet to your multi-grain tortilla chip? You must try this How Sweet Potato It Is from Late July. They’re certified organic, whole grain, gluten free, non-GMO, peanut/tree nut free & delicious. I especially love pairing them with hot red beans; something about the flavor combinations are sublime. Get a 12-pack of the 5.5-Ounce bag for $37.53 at Amazon.com or grab them at Whole Foods.
farm rich ravioli

Farm Rich continues to keep you happy with their latest delicious launch. Put aside the fork and get hands-on when these delicious toasted ravioli treats are put in front of you. The Farm Rich Toasted Ravioli are lightly breaded treats that surround a small pocket of mouth-watering four-cheese ravioli. You won’t be able to stop eating them. Run, don’t walk to your local supermarket to get your hands…(mouth?) on these.

lifeway kefir frozen

Lifeway’s Frozen Kefir in Tart and Tangy Pumpkin is a creamy, delicious dessert that packs 10 live and active probiotic cultures in a delicious pumpkin flavor. This tart and tangy treat is high in protein and calcium, and it’s made from all natural ingredients. Fair warning, do not eat directly from the pint….you’ll soon find the entire thing empty. Are you ready for a low-calorie, frozen dessert on the go? Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors or colors. With only 60 calories in each bar, Lifeway Frozen Kefir Bars are a tart ‘n’ tangy treat you will love…..especially in the creamy Pear. I know you’re probably thinking Pear is more of a summer fruit but this light, refreshing flavor makes a perfect snack anytime.

What do you think of our new favorite snacks?

VH1’s Carrie Keagan Launches Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wines

I love a good glass of wine and you guys already know I love discovering new and exciting products – which is exactly what I did a few nights ago. Magnifico Giornata, Italian for “Magnificent Day”, launched their new trio of essence-infused, European Blend sparkling wines.

Hosted by VH1’s Carrie Keagan (a partner in the brand along with CEO, Bob Manfredonia), guests were able to sample each of the essences, passed hors d’oeuvres, a pairing table of small bites created specially to compliment each of the essences and music by renowned New York DJ, Jeffrey Tonnesen.

The delicious sparkling wines are infused with subtle essences of Lavender Honey, Ginger Pêche and Grapefruit Blanc (the last being my favorite) and blows every other sparkling cocktail out of the water (if you’re a fan of Absolut’s Tune – you will die over Magnifico Giornata).

Guests also enjoyed three performances by burlesque troop Nuit Blanche, known for their provocative performances (see below for a snippet of one of the performances)

Notable attendees at the celebration included: Carrie Keagan (Host, VH1’s Big Morning Buzz with Carrie Keagan), Phillip Bloch (Celebrity Stylist), Janell Snowden (VH1), Trey Morgan (Radio Host, Z100), Kristen Ruhlin (Actress), J Smith Cameron (Actress), Cara Castronuova (Fitness Personality/Trainer, The Biggest Loser, Season 11).

The Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wine Collection is available now for $24.99 per bottle in finer liquor stores and lounges throughout NYC, and will roll-out to other key markets in the U.S. later this year. For more information about Magnifico Giornata, check out www.magnificobrands.com and follow them on Twitter @MagnificoGio.