There are lots of foods out there that I would probably never get around to trying if it weren’t for the blog world. Ask my mom and she’ll tell you that I’ve never been world’s most adventurous eater…but I am getting better!
Last week, when I was offered the opportunity to try some products from Swanson Health Products, I jumped at the chance to try some of the things I’ve seen around the blog world for months but have yet to try!
*Disclaimer- I received these products for free. All opinions are my own*
After browsing their extensive website, here’s what I chose:
Can you believe I’ve never had any of those things before?!
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. I’ve heard good things about coconut water and all of the electrolytes it contains so I decided to save mine and try it after a three mile run. To be honest, I hate coconut. I can’t stand the flavor and I don’t eat things with coconut in them. HOWEVER, I really wanted to give this water an honest try.
I chose the pomberry flavor in hopes that the other flavor would kinda hide the coconut. I came home from my run, poured it over ice, cleared my mind of any negative coconut thoughts and took a sip. No dice, my friends. It definitely tasted like coconut. I will admit that you could taste a slight fruit flavor as well, but it wasn’t strong enough to block out the coconut. If you like coconut, give this stuff a try! But this is one product that’s not for me.
The good news is, I had much better luck with the next two products!
If you’ve been reading for any length of time now, you know that I’m a big granola fan. You probably also know that I’m constantly trying to reduce the amount of sugar in recipes and consequently, many of my granola bar attempts end up as granola because they never stick together!
This time though, different story. After much searching, I decided to try Jessica’s 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Granola Bars. It gave me the opportunity to use my brown rice syrup and my chia seeds! I followed her recipe but used almonds instead of peanuts and added in sunflower seeds, cranberries and raisins.
Check out how awesome these products are!
(Click to enlarge!)
So back to the bars. The result? GREAT flavor! SUPER crunchy just like I like them! But they were crumbly. I got some to stick together in squares, but about half the pan ended up as chunky granola. I was fine with this because I was so impressed with how it tasted. I loved the brown rice syrup, and the only negative I can come up with for the chia seeds are that one seems to inevitably get stuck in the permanent retainer behind my lower teeth!
After more research, I came up Anne’s recipe which used brown rice cereal. I’ve seen this cereal in several recipes and I finally remembered to pick up a box!
I decided to give my granola bars one more try. I kinda combined Anne and Jessica’s recipes. Mine is below:
Brown Rice Granola Bars
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Keywords: bake snack healthy low-sodium vegetarian cranberry oats chia seeds nuts
Ingredients (12 bars)
- 1 1/2 c oats
- 1 1/2 c brown rice cereal
- 1/2 c chopped almonds
- 1/4 c unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 c natural peanut butter
- 1/2 c brown rice syrup
- 1/2 c Craisins
- 1/2 c Raisins
In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine peanut butter and brown rice syrup. Microwave until peanut butter is melted, pour over dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Add in any additional mix-ins (dried fruit, chocolate chips…)
Press into a greased 9×13 pan. (I had about an inch of empty pan at one end)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.
I was so excited about this batch that I forgot to stir in my cranberries and raisins before I pressed it into the pan!
The result? Perfection! These stuck together perfectly once I waited for them to cool. I got a little anxious and started to cut them early and some chunks fell off…but once they were totally cool, I had some pretty perfect granola bars!
I was impressed with Swanson’s website, their product choices, their prices and their fast shipping! I’d definitely recommend giving them a try.
**Bloggers- Are you interested in getting some free Swanson Health Products to review on your blog? Check out the Swanson Health Blog for all the details.
PS…I’ve got my sights set on buckwheat crepes and homemade lara bars so i’ll be back with those product review once I try them!