Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Products

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people know what Whole Foods is these days. What I’m not sure about is, whether or not all of those people know about the different Whole Foods product lines that they offer; especially the very reasonably priced 365 Everyday Value line.

From the Whole Foods website:

Value priced plus high quality

Our 365 Everyday Value® products can fill your pantry without emptying your pocketbook. With value prices every day of the year, our products are formulated to meet all our quality standards, come in both natural and organic selections, and will change the way you shop at Whole Foods Market®. That’s because we have it all — from whole grain flours and shade-grown coffee to organic milk and frozen veggies. We make it easy to stock up on the best products for the best price.

365

They offer a variety of products — everything from herbal supplements, cleanses, essential oils, organic pizzas, ice cream, salmon, juice, crackers, soy milk, salad dressing, coffee, and SO MUCH MORE. Recently, the lovely folks at the Whole Foods Andover gave me an awesome basket of products to sample.

Here is a list of what was in the (fabulous) bag — keep in mind, the whole bag was less than $35:

1. Organic Blue Tortilla Chips — Non-GMO Project Verified (The Product Verification Program uses a process that combines on-site facility audits, document-based review and product testing to verify compliance with the standard at every level of the supply chain, from manufacturing facilities to ingredient suppliers. For a product to be verified and bear the seal, it must undergo a process through which any ingredient at high risk for GMO contamination—soy or corn, for example—has been proven to meet the standard through avoidance practices and testing.)

2. 365 Wild Albacore Tuna – 100% pole or troll-caught (Looking for some quick and simple meals to make with canned tuna? Find some here!):

3. Organic Fusilli Pasta

4. Canola Mayo

5. Organic Medium Salsa

6. Organic Green Tea (Colin and I are slightly obsessed with green tea. Are you too? Find some fun and creative ways to serve it here.)

7. Organic Italian Dressing

8. 365 Sparkling Water

9. 365 Water Crackers

10. Artichoke Hearts

11. 365 Citrus Dish Soap: No phosphates, no phthalates, no chlorine and no artificial fragrances. The scents of citrus, lavender and pine come from 100% natural essential oils and there are some unscented options too. Also, there is no animal testing on the products and the packaging is recyclable and made with post-consumer recycled materials.

All of these items adhere to Whole Foods strict quality standards; featuring foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.

Check it out!

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The afternoon I picked up my bag, I couldn’t help but use some of the products right away! I whipped up a quick pasta dish for dinner that Colin and I ended up loving. I used the organic fusilli pasta, added in the 365 artichoke hearts, and then some sauteed spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese that we had. Quick, and quite delicious (if I do say so myself).

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If you’re in the area, save the date for Whole Foods Andover’s Spring Tea Party. :)

When: Saturday, March 23rd from 11am–3pm

What: Enjoy a taste of spring with Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value products!

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Check out what’s on sale this week in Andover. And don’t forget to check out Whole Foods Andover on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on their sales and events.

I received these Whole Foods products free of charge, but my opinion (as always) is honest, and my own! Thank you to the Whole Foods team for providing me with some of the facts about their products, and for this opportunity.

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Chocolate Fest at Whole Foods!

I love chocolate. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard many people say that before. Especially women; I mean, a prerequisite of being a woman is liking chocolate. It doesn’t even have to be every type of chocolate, but at least one of the varieties. I’ve only met one person (in the world) who doesn’t like chocolate — they shall remain nameless for their own protection.

Anyway, back to the point!

Chocolate is wonderful. So is Whole Foods. And so is tasting LOTS of different types/forms of chocolate. “So, what does all of this mean?”, you ask. It means that Chocolate Fest is coming to the Whole Foods Andover this Friday, February 8th from 5:00 — 7:00 p.m. and you should absolutely add it to your calendar. You can find your favorite chocolate, and pick up a few items or ideas for that nice dinner you plan on making your lovah on Valentine’s Day (feel free to take that as an aggressive hint, Colin).

The lovely folks at Whole Foods gave me a bunch of chocolate to try out. It was tough (not!), but somehow I got through it. Thanks again y’all!

Here’s what I got to taste:

1.Taza Chocolate — I tried their Coco Besos Coconut Kisses bar which is 70% stone ground dark chocolate with coconut. I liked all of the chocolate I tried, but this was my favorite! I am such a sucker for dark chocolate AND coconut, so if you put the two together, fuggedaboutit.  It’s organic, Direct Trade certified, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, and locally made in Somerville MA. (Facebook, Twitter)

2. Cissé Trading Co. — I tried their Signature Semisweet Hot Cocoa which was awesome. Definitely not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill hot cocoa. It’s made with Fair Trade cocoa powder, and a mix of milk and dark chocolate chips. So worth it. (Facebook, Twitter)

3. Raaka Chocolate –  I tried three of these quirky, delicious virgin chocolate bars; the Bourbon Cask Aged bar, the Vanilla Rooibos bar, and the Black Coffee bar. The Black Coffee bar was my favorite, because I am a coffee addict and cannot help myself. All three were bursting with flavors, and that’s what I really liked about these in particular. The bourbon had some caramel going on in there, the vanilla included a delightful hint of cherry and marshmallow, and then the coffee bar offered a toffee/cinnamon kick. Raaka chocolate is vegan, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and are also wrapped up like little gifts, which really works for me. (Facebook, Twitter)

4. Bixby and Co. — I tried their Heart’s Delight Chocolate Bar which consists of dark chocolate with almonds, strawberries, and Ceylon cinnamon, as well as their Mulligan Chocolate Bar which consists of organic milk chocolate with walnuts, dried currants, and Vietnamese cinnamon. They are different — I personally liked the addition of the nuts in these two. These bars are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. (Facebook, Twitter)

5. Vosges Haut-Chocolat — Ok, hold on to your hats for these two. I tried Vosges’ Mo’s Milk Bar first. AMAZING. This one consists of 45% deep milk chocolate, hickory smoked uncured bacon, and Alderwood smoked salt. I meant, are you kidding? The salty, sweet combo does not (!) disappoint here. I also tried their Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar which consists of 70% dark chocolate, Rogue Ale’s Chocolate Stout beer, Alderwood smoked salt, and burnt sugar caramel. This was great. Katrina (Vosges founder) must have a really good idea about what makes men happy (you go girl). Chocolate + bacon = a happy man. Chocolate + beer = a very happy man. I could add another component into these equations that would = an elated man, but I will leave that to your imagination. Anyway, these might be a good choice for Valentine’s Day this year, ladies. (Facebook, Twitter)

6. Divine Chocolate — I tried their White Chocolate and Strawberry Hearts. They were, quite literally, divine. Not only were these pretty little hearts really tasty, they are also made with cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo — a co-operative of farmers in Ghana. When you buy this chocolate, these farmers get both a fair deal as well as a chance for a better future. A cause that’s definitely worth those chocolate calories, if you ask me. (Facebook, Twitter)

Don’t forget to check out the Andover Whole Foods on Facebook and Twitter as well!

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Happy Chocolate Fest, and happy early Valentine’s Day! :)

Yella (And 100 Days of Kindness, Day 76)

Last night we went to Yella, a delicious Mediterranean restaurant in Andover. We had a really nice time. :) I got the Mediterranean chicken – the blend of cinnamon, chicken and yogurt was so good.

 

Very, very tasy

They treated us to baklava for dessert!

Love the sugar dish

I would definitely recommend a trip to Yella!

 

Onto the kindness…

I had to be one of the nicest people in the world today. Colin was kind enough to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn, after drinking with his man friends last night, in order to pick me up at drive me to my MRI at Lawrence General. I told him he didn’t have to, but honestly I was extremely nervous (and I think he picked up on that) so I really appreciate him coming along. I didn’t even think I was going to be able to go through with it because I freaked out again :(. It was an open MRI, which was better, but still very scary to me. The woman who was setting me up totally calmed me down and was just so extremely helpful – I would have never been able to do the MRI if she wasn’t so wonderful. I’m so grateful and I let her know after I (somehow) made it out without completely panicking or making myself look like a wackadoo.

I then treated Colin to a well-deserved breakfast and bonus! this afternoon, a movie. We saw The Fighter which takes place in good ol’ Lowell, MA. It was a great movie and ladies, lets just say…Mark Wahlberg is looking prettty good.

Double bonys! I also made Colin a very tasty dinner (if I do say so myself) which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

 

100 Days of Kindness, Days 74 and 75

I missed yesterdays post. Shame on me!

My kindness yesterday was for myself. I’m figuring this can count towards my project because this is my blog and make the rules. Instead of coming home and zoning out in front of the TV last night I decided to take a nice, warm bath and read my book. I have a tip for you: relaxing is a good idea. It helps melt all that stuff called ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ away. You should try it some time. ;)

My kindness today is sending out a few thank-you’s for wonderful Christmas gifts I received as well as a belated congratulatory card for a special someone.

Now I’m off to dinner with Meg, Matt, Katie and Pepe. We’re going to a Mediterranean place called Yella in Andover. Meg and Matt have been there before and love it! I’ve never been, but have been wanting to go for a while, so I’m very excited.

 

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday night. Happy Weekend!

100 Days of Kindness, Day 59

Another visit to New York winding down… Meg and I are packing up and shipping up to Boston once again. It’s been such a great trip! I always get a little sad when we leave, but know that I will see my family soon. And Molly will be living up by us in Andover in just a few weeks (she’s transferring to Merrimack! WOOPWOOP!) which I’m pretty excited about.

My kindness for today: Leaving Kelly a little surprise for the fab ‘do she gave me and visiting my grandfather (in the hospital :() before we get on the road. We’re heading there soon. I hope he’s feeling good today and gets to come home ASAP!

Millions of peaches, peaches for me…

This past weekend was a great one. It’s been really busy moving into a new apartment so it was so nice to get a chance to A – spend some quality time with Colin at the Josh Turner concert at the South Shore Music Circus on Friday night (it was amazing! A new musician, Brent Cobb opened – he was reeeally good; great voice. Even if you don’t like country I think you’d like him…) B – got to spend some quality time with Meg at the Andover farmers market and the Peach Festival at Smolak Farms (my new favorite place) and C – some quality time with one of my best friends, my college roommate, Danielle who I haven’t seen in SO long – it was wonderful to catch up!

One of my favorite Josh Turner songs (*please note – all my favorite dance moves are in the 80′s scene. Gotta love the 80′s people.)

The concert –

Good combo :)

Brent Cobb

Josh Turner

The Farmers Market -

Ummmm a bacon scented candle? Bacon all the time? Yes, please.

One of the most delicious treats in the world. I LOVE FOOD!

Smolak Farms Peach Festival –

Hard little worker

Delicious

The Jimmy Fund Fantasy Day at Fenway recap coming soon! :)

Casablanca, Smolak Farms & Food Inc.

This week, my sister Kelly and her wonderful boyfriend Brian have been visiting – it’s been so great getting to hang with them!

Last night we all went out to dinner at Casablanca in Andover. A – I friggin love Mexican food and B – I friggin love Casablanca. Excellent place, excellent service. We really enjoyed our meal and also enjoyed a ton of laughs – Meg was crying from laughing so hard most of the meal. She didn’t laugh hard enough to pee her pants though, which is good, because we were out at a restaurant.

Anyway, we decided to get these:

because Brian just celebrated his 21st birthday!!! Happy birthday BEM! :)

They were delicious! They were also HUGE. I felt like I could’ve dove right in and done a few laps.

Spicy habanero sauce oooweeee

Fun little fiesta!

Tonight, we went to the last Summer Chef Series at Smolak Farms in North Andover.  Chef Samuel Hunt of 15 Walnut was the featured chef – he did an amazing job! Even though it was raining, the event was still really great! There was a huge tent for everyone to hang out under and watch the food demo. We got a free sampling of a red wine (Clayhouse Vineyards Adobe Red, only $8.99, and very good!) thanks to the Wine Connection in North Andover. We also bought some food to munch on – I had the vegetarian minestrone and then peanut noodles and some of a lobster roll (which is funny because at work yesterday I was writing about Mexican food and had Mexican for dinner and then today at work I was writing about lobster and I had lobster for dinner.)

Pretty!

Heading in!

So pretty

Slainte!

Yum!

Demo

Peanut noodles :)

Lobster roll

Samples of Caprese Salad with peach

So colorful

So when we got home tonight we watched Food Inc. It was SO interesting and SO made me never want to eat chicken again. Yay!

Food Inc.

Did you see Food Inc? What did you think of it all??

A Long Island Saturday (and Congratulations Kelly!)

I love Boston. It’s funny though, because on the weekends, I’m rarely there. (And I’m also contemplating moving back to Andover, if anybody knows of one bedroom or studio apartments in the area let me know! That’s neither here nor there though…) This weekend we’re home on Long Island visiting the family. Unfortunately my grandfather experienced a stroke while we were in Ireland and once he was able to come back to the states he had to go right into a stroke rehab facility. Anyway, today he comes home! So, I thought this would be a great weekend for Colin and I to come to Long Island for a visit.

This morning my Mom, Dad, Colin and I went to Glen’s Dinette, right in Babylon Village (where my parents house is.) It was lovely! It’s a hotspot in Babylon, but luckily our wait was only about 5-10 minutes. Good thing, because I was huuungry. I got “The Traditional” or as my two best friends (Mary and Heather) and myself call it, “The Traddy.” Two eggs over easy, with home fries, whole wheat toast and a side of bacon. YUM. I also had plenty of O.J. and coffee of course. It was delicious! And we had a great time. I love spending some QT with the parentals.

Glens!

:)

Pops!

Later my dad is grilling for dinner and my buddies Mary and Heather are going to come over for a visit. My sisters Molly and Kelly are around too which is GREAT. Kelly just graduated from the Vidal Sassoon Academy in LA! She is a PRO hairstylist now, it’s so amazing. She has cut my hair before and it came out great – but truthfully, I really can’t wait until she highlights my hair, woopwoop!

I’m so proud of my beautiful sister Kelly. She’s extremely talented. She has found exactly what she wants to do with her life and exactly what she was meant to do. What a wonderful thing! (I’m still trying to figure that out…) She’s back in New York and ready to style some hair! Who needs a new ‘do??

CONGRATULATIONS KELL! I love you!

Kelly hard at work!

Gorgeous!

Also, if you have a second I’d really appreciate your help on this… My Aunt Nancy (one of my biggest blog supporter/fan!) entered her cute little puppy in Newsday.com’s Cutest Canine Contest on Long Island. If she wins, she gets $1000!!! Please vote for little Ginger! Thanks guys!

Ok, time to prepare for Pa’s arrival! Have a great Saturday! :)

The shit box, a hot commute and pizza

I drive in what I like to call a shit box. Unfortunately that’s not a nice name, but I only tell the truth (well, most of the time I do…) So, luckily both of my windows have recently broken in the S.B. They just don’t go down anymore which is helpful. In the winter the driver’s side window broke in the sense that it wouldn’t go up – it was stuck down. Needless to say my drive from Cambridge to Andover (my commute at the time) was not an enjoyable one. Go figure that now in the summer they are stuck up instead of down.

Also, instead of blowing amazingly cool and refreshing air, the AC blows out hot air. Gotta love that. That’s when God blessed my little S.B. with a sunroof. But does that help? No, not really.

Listen, I’m not ungrateful or spoiled. I’ve actually never had a ‘nice’ car (one day I will though.) At the moment I don’t really have the money to splurge on a new one, and you know what? The S.Box gets me from point A to point B. Because of this I will proudly use that Monte Carlo to get from here to there, I will not be ashamed when I have to open my door (instead of roll the window down) to pay the toll on the Mass Pike, I will try to get as much air as I can from the sunroof, I will carry deodorant in my bag so I can reapply before going into work and most importantly, I will drive that shit box around with an effing smile on my face.

Ok now on to last night’s dinner which was inspired by A Boston Food Diary’s pizza. Mine is pretty different (I forgot to buy ricotta cheese this week and didn’t feel like going to get any…) but even though it was different, it was still very delicious.

Since Colin made me an amazing steak dinner Sunday night, I figured I should repay him! We both really enjoyed it. :)

So the base of my pizza was flat bread, then I had Pastene pizza sauce, chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, black olives, cheese

I put the chicken and some garlic in to cook, with a little salt, pepper and chili flakes

Throw in some veggies!

Add some sauce (dark picture, sorry!)

Put the veggies/chicken on top, then your cheese (extra cheese please!)

After about 15 minutes, voila!

We topped it off with a little fresh basil as well, loooove basil

We ate dinner outside, here is a picture of a beautiful rose-bush in our backyard!

Night!