No Monkeying Around Bandar Foods are Hot & Tasty ~ Review & Giveaway

July 26th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group by Bandar Foods and received Bandar Foods items for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review or host this giveaway.  

Recently I attended an event at Love with Food and met the awesome folks at Bandar Foods who introduced me to, and allowed me to sample, some of their products!  And I’m not monkeying around when I say their products are hot & tasty!

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Bandar Foods makes a range of Poppadum, Naan chips, Vegetable Crisps, and sauces, and after the event they sent me some items to share with my family, and I can’t wait to share them with you!  (P.S., they will also send some items to one of my readers ~ so don’t be a monkey and forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!) 

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Based in San Francisco, Bandar reimagines traditional Indian flavors for everyday American foods, and is one of the most successful food product companies on Kickstarter of all time!  

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I love the story of how they were founded – man walks into restaurant, wants a hotter hot sauce, can’t find one, experiments with those currently made, friends like it, they enter the idea into Wharton Business School’s famed innovation tournament and win handily – and Bandar Foods is born.

Bandar means “monkey” in Hindi – and the founders have certainly monkeyed around with conventional Indian cuisine with their’ goal is to make traditional Indian flavors accessible for all Americans.  

Now on to share more of their hot and tasty snacks with you!

I will admit that I have tasted lentil chips previously and love them, but I had never tasted ones that were inspired by Poppadoms.  Poppadoms are enjoyed across India for generations, even before potato chips came along.  Bandar’s are so crisp and light, they are perfect alone or as a cracker with your favorite dips, spreads, and Bandar sauces. 

They come in two flavors: Original Cumin (shown below) and Crushed Black Pepper.  

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The next item we sampled were Bandar’s Crisped Harvest Vegetables Crisps.  These allow you to enjoy your favorite garden veggies as a delicious snack, and were a favorite of my daughter.  The crisps are kept simple with a delicious mix of whole veggies: sweet potato, purple sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, green beans, okra, and just a touch of sea salt.  They are gluten-free, vegan, and contain zero grams of trans fat, zero cholesterol, and are a good source of fiber.

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(photo courtesy of Bandar Foods) 

Harvest Vegetables Crisps are perfect paired with your favorite dips, or as a wholesome on-the-go snack!  These are crisps you’d find in my stash on a daily basis.  Perfect for trips to the playground, park, and those day outings with your kids.  Bring on those fresh crunchy veggies!

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Next on the Bandar line-up are Naan chips, and Bandar makes three varieties: Garlic, Himalayan Pink Salt and Tikka Masala.  Naan chips are pretty popular these days and Bandar’s are sure to please!

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(photo courtesy of Bandar Foods) 

Naan is definitely my favorite part of an Indian meal, and with Bandar’s Naan Chips, the tasty flatbread can be a part of any meal.  

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Bandar’s Naan chips have a great crunch and can hold up to dips and sauces.  I am a big garlic fan and my husband and I love the Garlic flavored Naan chips.  He even let me in on a secret, that they carry have them at his office and enjoys snacking on them there  (hello! why hadn’t he told me about that before?!)

I paired them with some homemade garlic hummus and they made the perfect afternoon snack for the family.  

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The last product in the Bandar Food arsenal are their sauces.  They currently have four sauces in-stock, and one that they are hoping to get back in-stock soon (Chili Garlic.)  Their four (in-stock) sauces are:

Masala Spiced Tomato Ketchup – an Indian twist on a classic American condiment.
Mint Cilantro Chili Sauce – one of the founders family recipe, a zesty, herbaceous chutney.
Spicy Mango Chili Sauce – inspired by Indian mango achar recipes.
Sweet Mango Chutney – versatile, tangy, and sweet.

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The sauces provide an easy and tasty way to spice up your sandwiches, dips, marinades, and anything else you want to make soar.  Other ways to use some of their sauces including adding into soups, rice, pizza, hot dogs and any other dishes that need a lift.

Bandar products can be found in over 1,500 US store locations including Whole Foods (nationally), Fresh Market, Sprouts, Safeway, and Target.  Check out their store locator or you can purchase direct from them via their online store

And for those one of you with allergies or special diets, here is the allergy information for the Bandar products:

– All Bandar products are vegetarian and vegan.
– All Bandar sauces, veggie chips, and poppadum chips are gluten free (naan chips have gluten.)

No more monkeying around, it’s time for you to enter to win some of their products!  Just enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below for a chance to win  2 bags of chips (of winner’s choice) and 1 bottle of sauce (winner’s choice except Chili Garlic).   Giveaway ends August 8, 2016.  Good luck!

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This giveaway will run from July 25, 2016 through August 8, 2016. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, aged 18 and up.  The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media.  Busy Bee Kate is not responsible for prize fulfillment. All entries are optional.  Void where prohibited by law.

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group by Bandar Foods and received Bandar Foods items for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review or host this giveaway. BBKSignatureSmall

CREAM (Cookies – and now more – Rule Everything Around Me) – Crazy Good!

July 18th, 2016

BusyBeeKate-CREAMSignDo you have an extreme sweet tooth?  Cookies AND ice cream together should do the trick…. And as if CREAM couldn’t make these combos any better they are now adding in new and improved cookies, waffles and do’sants… making even more crazy good combinations for you to choose from!

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Recently I was invited to check out CREAM and sample their new & improved line of CREAM cookies (2.0,) as well as their new waffles and do’sants which were recently added to their menu.  I didn’t know what to except and all the options were so amazing, I seriously wanted to try every combo but that just wasn’t possible or they have to roll me out of the shop :)  They did allow us to try as many options as we wanted though and I was excited to see both Vegan and Gluten-Free cookies, as well as dairy-free ice cream available.  

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As soon as I walked into the CREAM store I felt like I was in heaven, everything smells and looks so good.  It reminded me of my childhood as my Mom baked a lot, and the smell of fresh cookies from the oven always takes me back to those days.   I love these CRAZY GOOD cookies, 2.0 style!

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After a few minutes in the store I was greeted by a gentleman who I soon learned was one of the co-founders (Jimmy) of CREAM in 2010.  Upon learning more about CREAM I was drawn to the story of how it was founded and impressed by how much they have grown in such a short period of time.  

In 2010, Jimmy and Gus led the Shammies family in opening the first CREAM location in Berkeley, California. The store was a “…throwback to their childhood, when it became a “thing” for them to sandwich rich ice cream between mom’s fresh-baked cookies making one-of-a-kind cookie ice cream sandwiches.”  Here’s Gus passionately talking about the business and what we’d expect on our visit.

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Gus talked about how upon opening the CREAM founders made four promises.  “The first was to provide premium products made from our own proprietary recipes with superior ingredients. Next, keep costs low so that happiness remains affordable for all. We also wanted to delight each customer by showing you the same love you’d show your own BFF. And, of course, a fun and relaxed atmosphere where an impromptu karaoke song and dance session could break out at any moment!”

CREAM locations have been popping up everywhere lately, and it’s easy to see why. You’re able to pick up to two flavors of freshly baked cookies, AND the type of ice cream you want, AND toppings if you want those too.  And now with the added waffles and do’sants (their version of a cronut,) you have even more options.  

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I loved waffles and ice cream as a child and this instantly became my favorite of the bunch!

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The warm, fresh cookies (including Vegan & Gluten-free options) and artisan ice cream make for an amazing dessert or special treat any time of the day.  The Vegan and Gluten-Free options tasted really good and it would be hard to tell the different between those and the non-Vegan and non-GF cookies. 

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They have choices that will tickle everyone’s fancy. If you have a dairy allergy, they have dairy free (soy-based) ice cream too. 

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I love that they have so many ice cream and cookie selections. The cookies and all baked goods you choose always comes out warm and freshly baked.  

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Many of the establishments are small and some do have some seating options while others don’t. The service was friendly and everyone working there was upbeat and welcoming.  They are also very accommodating when I wanted to try some samples to help narrow down my choice!   

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Their Very Berry Strawberry ice cream may be the best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had.

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It’s a 3-step ordering process: choose your cookies/waffles/do’sant, ice cream, and toppings.  Here’s a look at their menu:

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I love that you can make any combo you want and the cookies, waffles, and do’sants are served warm, so that the sandwich has that perfect combination of warm and gooey with cool and creamy ice cream.  I like that you can literally build your own to your custom liking on all categories.  All their sandwich served warmly with cold refreshing ice cream makes for a crazy good dessert combo!

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DIY Character Necklaces – Disney: Finding Dory, Doc McStuffins & More!

July 12th, 2016

We finally got to see Finding Dory last weekend (and we give it 5 stars!) and while we were planning our outfits out I kept thinking how we needed some jewelry to match.  I checked out a couple of stores and wasn’t able to find any so I decided that we would make our own… and once we started making them… well, we just couldn’t stop!

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I love how simple and easy these were to make, and the cost is probably about under 50 cents for each one.  Of course you could make these fancier with bead strings and clasps, but I love the look of the yarn and using it makes it simple for kids to help too.

I’ve laid out the easy steps below:

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This would be a fun project to do with the kids while they are home for the summer.  You can choose any characters you like ~ the possibilities are endless!  Just hit up your local craft store or the Target Dollar Spot which is where we found our Finding Dory stickers.  

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For our necklaces we also went with Minnie and Doc McStuffins, and I have a long list from my daughter about what she wants next.  

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Making these were a lot of fun and I felt like I easily accomplished something really cute in a short amount of time.  And this was such a fun project do make with the assistance of my daughter who chose the characters she wanted, foam colors, and yarn colors.  She also loved helping with the glue and threading the yarn.

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I also got to make a few necklaces for myself including those oh-so-adorable otters who really steal one of the scenes (no spoiler alerts here, I promise!)

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Here’s my daughter modeling a few of the necklaces, first up, Minnie Mouse:

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And here she is at the movie wearing a few of the Finding Dory characters, including my husbands favorite, Hank, and her favorite snowman, Chilly from Doc McStuffins:

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This week I’ll be making some matching barrettes at the request of my daughter to go alongside her necklaces (and I’ll share the DIY for those too shortly.)  In the meantime here’s our selection of the necklaces we have made so far!   

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Hope this is an easy and fun project you can make with your kids this summer and ongoing.  What a great way to show your love for your favorite movie or television show.

Just keep swimming friends!
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Allergy-Friendly Festive July 4th Pancakes

July 1st, 2016

Today I’m sharing a festive and fun way to kick off the upcoming July 4th holiday, and one that is so easy to do!  Just whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes, add a side of strawberries and blueberries and top the pancakes with your favorite whipped creamed!  Sprinkles & flags are optional!  

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For our pancakes we used Enjoy Life Foods Pancake + Waffle Mix, a tasty, easy to make vegan, and gluten-free pancake mix.

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These pancakes are top 8 free ~ just use your safe choice of whipped topping (So Delicious CoCo Whip would make a great dairy-free option.)
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Handmade Happy Mail ~ Sending Happiness One Card at a Time ~ Interview & Giveaway

June 27th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group by Deena and Handmade Happy Mail and received a Handmade Happy Mail subscription box for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review.

As a prior small business owner I love to support other small business owners, especially those run by women.  Handmade Happy Mail is a new small business bringing beautifully handcrafted greeting cards to your doorstep monthly. Handmade Happy Mail is all about sending happiness one card at a time.

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Handmade Happy Mail was founded by Deena Hopkins who recently took her craft of making handmade greeting cards a little further by making them available on a monthly basis in a subscription box.  I recently spoke with Deena and interviewed her about Handmade Happy Mail and Deena was so generous to offer a giveaway of a 3 months subscription box of Handmade Happy Mail (be sure to enter at the bottom of the post!) 

Here’s a little snippet of what Handmade Happy Mail  “is a monthly subscription box of totally unique and beautiful greeting cards made by my hands. A subscription box works much like a magazine subscription – you sign up once, then a lovely box is delivered to your door every month!  You don’t have to do a thing, it’s all automatic!  The cards and postage stamps come to you, you simply write a personal message and send them to your loved ones.”

Handmade Happy Mail subscription box contains five cards – two birthday cards, two themed cards (like Thank You or Congratulations), and one special holiday card (like Mother’s Day or Halloween). August boxes will be sent on July 15th, September boxes on August 15th, and so on.  Here’s a look at the July subscription box:
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(photo courtesy of Handmade Happy Mail)

Deena personally and makes all of her cards herself – they are handmade in the U.S. using all made in the U.S. supplies, tools, and papers.  That’s pretty awesome.

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School is Out ~ Check out the KIDFUN e-Book for Some Fun Summer Activities & Ideas!

June 18th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group from Sharla Feldscher and I received a copy of her e-book for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review.

As a Mom to a 3 year old I am always looking for things to do that are creative and fun, but I must be honest, my mind goes blank sometimes and I start running out of ideas.  While I like to hop on Pinterest for inspiration I can get lost in that sea so easily and find myself pinning organization tips or recipes when I really just was looking for something fun to do for the next hour with my daughter, not pining for the next hour!

Sharla Feldscher has come to the rescue and just in time for Summer.  She is the author of seven books on creative play, and most recently created an updated e-book of KIDFUN—400 Fun & Easy Ideas for Kids Ages 2 to 8.

KIDFUN is filled with hundreds of simple suggestions and ideas for having fun.  With many years of experience writing, and a background in education she has many wonderful and creative ideas that have been kid tested over the years.

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KIDFUN…400 EASY & FUN IDEAS FOR KIDS 2-8

KIDFUN appeals to parents, grandparents, babysitters and anyone who spends time with children. This ultimate guide to fun with kids, first published in 1995, shares amazingly easy and free ideas to inspire creativity.  KIDFUN is available on Amazon.com to purchase for $5.99.

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MELT® Organic – (Dairy-Free) Buttery Spreads that Are Great for Everyday Uses + Giveaway

June 13th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group from MELT® Organic and I received product samples for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to host this giveaway.

MELT® Organic reached out to me recently and offered to send me some of their products for review.  I had never heard of them and couldn’t wait to give them a try.  MELT® Organic is a line of luscious, all-natural butter improvements for butter lovers seeking an alternative with beneficial ingredients. Its flagship product line, MELT® Organic Buttery Spreads, is made from the Perfect Blend™ of fruit- and plant-based oils: virgin coconut, flaxseed, hi-oleic sunflower, palm fruit and canola.

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(Allergy-Friendly) Top 8 Free – Double Chocolate Chip Cookie/Cake/Brownie

June 12th, 2016

I’m not quite sure what to call this sweet treat so I’m naming it a cookie/cake/brownie, because it really could be disguised as any of those.  This delicious recipe is vegan – and is gluten, egg, soy, dairy, and nut free.  (For those watching gluten, be sure to chose oats that are certified gluten-free.)

I used MELT Organic in this recipe and tomorrow I’ll be sharing more about their awesome products and also having a giveaway to win some of their products!  Be sure to stop back then to enter the giveaway and check-out how I have used MELT Organic in our everyday lives these last few weeks.

 I developed this recipe with those on special diets in mind and also for those looking for their chocolate fix ~ and this recipe sure delivers.

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Love with Food + Enjoy Life Foods = Gluten-Free & Doing Good

June 4th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group from Love with Foods and Enjoy Life Foods and I received product samples for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review.

May was Celiac Awareness & Food Allergy Awareness Month and to celebrate, Enjoy Life Foods took over Love with Food’s May gluten-free subscription box where they packed an amazing assortment of Enjoy Life’s certified gluten-free treats into 1 box! 

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Love with Food is a monthly snack and food sampling subscription box. They only send natural and organic food and snacks, and for every box shipped they donate a meal to charity.  Love With Food donates to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry. 

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I am not a subscriber to Love with Food (namely because of other food allergies in our family), but through my affiliation with Enjoy Life Foods as a blogger, was sent a box to check out, and to learn more about both companies.

Here are the details on the Subscription Box: Love with Food Gluten-Free Box

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Upcycled Fruit Bowl ~and~ Hanging Office/Craft Organizer #ChickfilaMomsDIY‬

May 31st, 2016

Chick-fil-A sent me a few free product coupons and one was for their new Spicy Southwest Chicken Salad.  I couldn’t wait to try out this new salad and immediately I fell in love with it and have eaten four within the last two weeks (!) It is that good.  The fun part is they also challenged Moms in their Chick-fil-A Moms Club to come up with a DIY project upcycling the plastic salad container after eating the salad.

I love challenges like this and the rules were very loose, basically be creative and have fun with it. Since I had four salads and I was determined to make something from the four containers!

For my first DIY I turned the salad plastic container into a fruit bowl with the additional help from a used Earth Balance butter container.  For my second DIY I turned 3 salad plastic containers into a tiered hanging office/craft organizer.  I love the final result of both projects – they weren’t hard to make and can’t believe they were made using plastic containers that otherwise would have been tossed in the recycling bin.

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Check out the easy instructions below for both projects and when you are done with your Chick-fil-a plastic containers make sure to wash them out and save for a fun project.  You’ll be amazed at what you can create!

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Busy Bee Kate