Tag Archives: Organic

Cooking with Sun Basket

It’s no secret that I like to cook.  I love creating healthy recipes and getting creative in the kitchen.  However there have been some times where I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut and just end up doing the same recipe over and over again.  When the team at Sun Basket reached out and asked if I would be interested in trying their service, I was intrigued.  So here’s my experience cooking with Sun Basket.

cooking with sun basketSun Basket is a meal delivery service that specializes in seasonal food from the Pacific coast.  All the ingredients in your delivery are from local farms and organic when possible.  Another cool thing about Sun Basket is you can choose your menu based on your dietary preferences.  I ended up going with the Paleo menu, but Sun Basket also offers a gluten-free and vegetarian menus, which are great for anyone with dietary restrictions.

cooking with sun basket bagsMy week came with 3 different meals and all the ingredients to prepare them.  The meals I ended up with were: Italian Sausage and Sauteed Kale, Chicken and Poached Eggs with Sweet Potato Hash and Vietnamese Fisherman’s Stew.

As promised, my delivery arrived with all of the ingredients already portioned out.  I also love how Sun Basket includes recipe cards for each meal.

sun basket bagFor our first dinner we went with the Italian sausage and sauteed kale and it was delicious! It was super easy to throw together and we had a delicious dinner in no time.

cooking with sun basket dishSince we had both worked out that day we also added a sweet potato for a little extra starch (per the recommendation on our recipe card) which was the perfect complement to the meal.  I also loved that the pork sausage came from Niman Ranch; it really shows how much Sun Basket prides itself on providing the best quality ingredients possible.

sun basket final mealFor the chicken and potato hash, the chicken was Mary’s organic and the cod provided in for the Vietnamese stew was organic as well which was great.  Each recipe took roughly a 1/2 hr to cook and there was plenty for two people.

So now here’s the fun stuff.  Sun Basket is offering one lucky reader a chance to win one FREE week of Sun Basket meals (that’s 3 meals for 2 people, a $60 value).  All you have to do is enter below (open to US residents only, sorry!).  And if you don’t win you can still get a pretty sweet 20% discount here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Sun Basket for hosting this giveaway and providing such delicious meals!  I’m already feeling more inspired in the kitchen!

Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s

A couple of years ago I attended my first Natural Products Expo West and had a blast meeting a bunch of different vendors, trying new products and immersing myself in some of the best healthy and natural products on the market.  I couldn’t attend last year due to being in the thick of wedding planning, so this year I was excited to return AND meet with one of my favorite brands.  So consider this recap the Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s edition.

justins nut butter expo westFor those not familiar, Justin’s is a company specializing in nut butters and peanut butter cups using all-natural ingredients and NO preservatives.  The company uses organic ingredients when possible, and offers a line of almond butter, peanut butter, and natural PB cups that taste 1000x better than a Reese’s in my opinion. The Englishman and I always have a jar of Justin’s Almond Butter in our house, and I always take the to-go squeeze packs whenever I travel.  So when I had the opportunity to meet THE Justin at Expo West this year I jumped at the chance.

natural products expo west justinsJustin was incredibly nice (as expected) and was happy to chat about his products, what’s new, and what’s coming up for 2015.  First up is the dark + milk chocolate peanut butter minis, which at 70 calories a pop, are the perfect little treat when you are craving something sweet.

justins mini pb cupsI have already shared some of the minis with my friends and they were all big fans.  I can’t wait to stock up on more when these hit shelves starting in April.

In addition to the minis, Justin also has plans to create more healthy snacks by the end of 2015.  He explained that everything is still in the very early formulation stages, but he did share that he’s looking for that “snackability” factor and to expect lots of peanut butter and almond butter combos with more traditional snacks like pretzels and crackers.  PB and pretzels?  Sign me up.

Justin also shared that one goal of the brand this year is to become more green with their packaging and using more sustainable materials, which I thought I was great.  It’s so nice to see a brand constantly evolving and taking steps forward to be more environmentally friendly.

Not only was Justin incredibly nice and great to chat with, I could see how passionate he is about his brand, which definitely reflects in his products, cause they all taste great!  If you haven’t tried Justin’s yet, I recommend starting with the Maple Almond Butter or the Dark Chocolate PB cups.  Or even the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.  Or Classic Almond Butter.  Obviously I don’t discriminate.

expo west justinsJustin’s products can be found at most supermarkets, Target and even Starbucks, and the new minis will be available starting in April.

Thanks again to Justin and his team for the great meeting at Expo West!

Eatin’ Greens at Greenleaf ChopShop

Last week Barry’s Bootcamp had a “Bikini Bod” event that included some sweet swag, Vitamin Water and a live DJ that spun during our butt kicking sweat sesh.  The workout was as intense as usual (see a full recap of Barry’s here), and afterwards as I was rehydrating and sporting my new headband, I noticed a bunch of coupons for Greenleaf ChopShop in my swag bag.

I had heard of Greenleaf when I lived in LA, but never got the chance to make it there before I moved to OC.  Greenleaf recently opened a location in Costa Mesa, so I was excited to finally check it out and use some of my coupons.

The concept behind Greenleaf is pretty simple – the restaurant offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups and even breakfast items, or you can build your own salad creation.  Greenleaf also has a small market connected to the restaurant that is full of pre-made salads, sandwiches and has a small drink bar for those on the go.

When I arrived at the restaurant on a late Saturday morning, it was packed.  Tons of people were sitting on the patio enjoying their large plates of eggs, greens and steaming cups of coffee.  Since I arrived at the weird in-between breakfast and lunch time, I decided to order a customized salad to go.

Creating a customized salad at Greenleaf is pretty simple – choose your greens, 4 veggies ($0.65 to add more), cheese, carb, fruit, nuts, legume, herbs, and then add your protein which costs anywhere from $1.50 to $6.00 extra depending on the protein you choose.  You then get a dressing of your choice and viola!  Your salad is done.  For my salad I went with arugula as a base, and added tomatoes, sunflower seeds, mozzarella, carrots, cucumber, hummus and olives with balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

The salad was good, although definitely lacking in the hummus department.  There was only one small dollop of hummus and it was located at the bottom of the box so it basically got lost among everything else.  More hummus next time please!

I will say that the salad was quite good, but it also wasn’t anything that I couldn’t create at home myself.  I think next time I visit Greenleaf I’ll try one of their sandwiches or a breakfast dish to change things up a bit.  I did like the atmosphere inside the restaurant and the outdoor patio is just too cute.

If you are ever in the Costa Mesa area be sure to stop in and check this place out!