Friday, July 25, 2014

Review : good2grow juices and veggie blends !

The days when juices were an occasional treat are long gone. Nowadays, parents all over have an inordinate number of choices when it comes to these ubiquitous treats. Picnics, birthday parties, casual gatherings, school lunches, summer camps...there is just no end to where juice boxes will make an appearance. For all their omnipresence and choice, the challenge lies in choosing a product that is not laden with artificial flavors, colors and added sweeteners. When you eliminate these culprits from the ingredient list, then there isn't too much of a choice.
When I got the opportunity to try fruit juices from the good2grow line of healthy beverages, I was curious. Since I am always on the lookout for food and drink items that I can serve my kids without any qualms, I was intrigued by the information that I had about good2grow.

The packaging was pretty unique in that a single serve bottle came with a character top which utilizes a patented spill proof design. These tops could then be reused if you purchased a refill pack of juice bottles. The 'SippaTops' come in dozens of character options such as Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, Marvel, etc.
I purchased a single serve bottle with a character from 'Cars' and also a refill pack. My kids were as intrigued and thrilled as I was to see this product and couldn't wait to try it out ! They loved the flavor and I loved that it was spill proof ! This way, as long as the top was tightened properly, I didnt have to worry about my kids taking their juice bottles into the living areas and inadvertently spilling the juice all over the carpet !

The good points of this juice are :
  • These juices are made from 100% fruit juice, as well as fruit and veggie blends. They do not contain added sugar, HFCS or any artificial additives or preservatives.
  • The juices come in 6 delicious varieties to suit all palettes.
  • They are sold in 3 different sizes ( 4 oz., 6 oz., and 8 oz.). Choosing the right size for your child becomes much easier.
  • As I mentioned above, the various 'SippaTop' character tops give a uniqueness to the juice bottles. The caps are also reusable and dishwasher safe.
  • All the bottles are BPA-free, non-GMO and recyclable.
  • The veggie blends contain less sugar than traditional juices and also contain one combined serving of fruits and vegetables.
  • These products are easily available at grocery stores, mass retailers and drug stores including Kroger, Safeway, H-E-B, Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, CVS, Toys"R"Us, etc.
  • It would be convenient to send these single serve bottles as part of a school lunch, occasionally.
The aspects of this product that I didn't like so much:
  • Although I get that the character tops are attractive to kids, I think its a lot of unnecessary packaging. I have never had to bribe my kids to drink juice and in an age where people are trying to be more conscious about their carbon footprint, single serve juice bottles create a lot of landfill.
  • As a parent of two school going boys, I have come to realize that even the best fruit juices, without any additional sugars and artificial additives, are not the best drinks to offer to our kids on a daily basis. Juices have almost no fiber, a lot of sugar(even if its natural) and just add calories without providing the best nutrients. 
But I believe that all treats are permissible in moderation and I make no exception when it comes to juices. So in that regard, I would feel pretty good about offering the good2grow line of juices to my kids when it is accompanied by healthy food choices which include protein and healthy fats.
Other notes:
  • The retail price for a single serve is $2.49 to $2.99. Refill packs range from $2.99 to $3.49. As a conscientious food shopper, I would not pay for single serve juice boxes on a regular basis because buying a big bottle of natural fruit juice is much more economical and "green" ! 
  • Refrigeration of the products is not required but is recommended for better taste.
For more information, please visit the following resources: 
If you would like to receive a free refill pack with the purchase of a single serve beverage, visit and enter to win a themed birthday party for your children.
Also be sure to check out the social media experience StoryStictcher at and enter to win a $5000 scholarship and free coupons.

Disclaimer : I received free vouchers for this product from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to review this product and post my opinions on my blog. My opinions are completely my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Hungarian Kipfels - Baking Eggless Challenge

For the Baking Eggless Challenge for the month of June, the recipe chosen was Hungarian Kipfels. These are traditional eastern European delicacies and are always made for special occasions such as weddings or birthday celebrations. Basically, for any occasion where family members could gather, create memories and share delicious food ! Sounds familiar ?
In any case, these sweet morsels are made with a rich dough and the filling could be prune or apricot butter, poppy seeds or even cream cheese and walnuts. I definitely wanted to make these because they looked delectable. The original recipe would definitely feed a crowd, but since I was only making it for 4, I had to scale the recipe down.

Original Recipe can be found here - June Meyer's Hungarian Kiffles
2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1 stick / 8 tbsp butter , room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C + 2 Tbsp warm sour cream
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp grated orange zest

4 Tbsp walnuts , chopped finely
4 Tbsp granulated sugar


1. Add the yeast to 2 Tbsp of warm water and set aside for 5 minutes to proof.
2. Meanwhile, mix the softened butter into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead well until everything is incorporated and the dough turns smooth and soft. If required, add a little lemon juice to bring the dough together. I didnt need to add any extra liquid.
4. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume. (about 2 hours). In a separate bowl, mix the ground walnuts and sugar and keep aside.
5. Once the dough has risen, pinch off lemon sized balls and using your palms and fingers, pat the dough into a circle. You can use a cutting board, or a flat plate to help you enlarge the dough circle.
6. Place a teaspoon of your filling mixture in the middle of the circle. I used homemade apricot butter.
7. Staring from one edge, roll the dough such that the filling is covered.
8. Roll the pastry in the walnut sugar mixture and place seam side down on a greased cookie sheet.
9. Form similar dough packets and place on the prepared sheets.
10. Keep aside in a warm place for about 45 minutes to let the dough rise again.
11. Preheat the oven to 350.
12. Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes until lightly brown.
13. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container when completely cooled. Remember to let the pastries cool completely before storing, else the pastry will sweat and make the rolls soggy. Not good eats.

1.  These little rolled up dumplings were seriously delicious. The buttery, flaky crust, the nutty and slightly sweet topping and the sweet and tart apricot butter filling provided a plethora of tastes and textures.
2. It is a very rich sweet, even without using eggs, so I would recommend that they be consumed in moderation!
3. Kids and hubby liked them, so it does appeal to quite a broad palette !
4. For the apricot butter, I essentially followed this recipe , but also added some freshly ground cardamom to lend an Indian touch. The apricot butter can also be used instead of regular jam. It was pretty easy to make and was quite good.

1. I could have used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour to increase the whole grains in the recipe.
2. Also, I think my active dry yeast was past its prime. The dough didnt rise as much as I expected. Please check the expiration date on your yeasts because more often than not, recipes using yeast depend largely on the yeast for the texture and taste of the end product !