Monday, March 31st, 2014

Expo West 2014, New Pure Bars and Other Favorites

It’s hard to believe that this was my 8th year at Natural Products Expo West. My first year at Expo, I showcased Pure at a tiny table in the back of the last hall, next to the bathrooms. I had a vinyl sign behind me and boxes of Pure Bars on the table in front.

It’s crazy to think but I actually believe that being one of those small, broke, yet cool companies with a great product brings you more attention at a show like this than being one of the big guys. People are looking for the innovative brands not the fancy booths. I have always loved that about this show. In those early years, even back in no man’s land, I was discovered by some of my biggest accounts and I can say with confidence that Expo West was a crucial part in launching the Pure business.

This year at Expo felt amazing. We created a warm, inviting kitchen-like feel in our booth and although we had a nicer space than we did in year one, we are still the small, exciting, and innovative company we always have been. By introducing our two new products, Cashew Coconut and Peanut Butter Chocolate Ancient Grains, we showed that we are bound to bring better products to more people and places than ever before.

As a mom who lives in the world of natural food and cooks for a family of five, I am always super excited to see what other new products will make my life and my family’s life healthier and easier! I walk the show as a consumer in search of the next new, groundbreaking products to use and enjoy. Below are a list of my top picks and why I loved them!

- Veronica

My 5 Favorites

Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Unfiltered “You don’t have to imagine the ginger” One of my biggest pet peeves is fake products, typical ginger ale being a prime culprit. This drink on the other hand has bits of wonderful ginger you can see and taste floating around in their delish flavors which blend ginger with pomegranate, monk fruit and jasmine. Yum, I want one right now!

Beyond Meat This company makes plant-based meat substitutes. While I wish all their products were organic and non-GMO, I LOVE that they use pea protein instead of soy for their Beefy Crumbles. Oh, and it is by far the closest thing to meat I have ever tasted.

Jem Nut Butters As a vegetarian family, we pound through the nut butters. Jem makes raw, sprouted nut butters that taste like my grandmothers secret fudge sauce. How they make something so wickedly healthy taste like the most indulgent dessert, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. I just want more.

Farmhouse Culture I love anything pickled, and so does my digestive system! These guys make 6 varieties of super kraut including beet ginger, smoked jalapeno, and horseradish leek that will knock your socks off. Visit their website for out of this world recipes that will make you want to buy a case today!

Date Lady No fellas, this is not someone you call when you are bored Friday night. This lady makes delicious date and caramel sauces that are a perfect vegan replacement for honey or substitute for maple syrup. The flavor is so deep and intense; I can’t wait to use it in some recipes.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Rum Roasted Fruit

As I was digging around in the freezer last night for dinner ideas, I ran into a bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum left over from the vegan eggnog we made during the holidays. It got me thinking about other ways to use the rum. Drinking it would be fun, but realistically as a busy, working mom, it probably won’t happen until the next holiday season, and that’s way too long to be taking up valuable space in the freezer.

I decided to use the spiced rum to make a marinade for roasting fruit. The only fruit I had in the house were apples and fresh cranberries (frozen from when I hoarded them over the holidays). I was bummed I didn’t have any pears which would have also been amazing in this recipe, but will definitely look forward to trying pears as well as peaches and berries when they come into season.

The key to roasting fruit is to first cover it and let it get all bubbly and soft, then uncover and caramelize it under high heat. You want the fruit to be soft but also slightly browned on the edges for the best flavor! Serve it in small bowls topped with yogurt, coconut ice-cream, or homemade almond milk. Is your mouth watering yet?

- Veronica

Rum Roasted Apples & Cranberries

Serves 2

3 tablespoons Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rum, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the apples and cranberries and mix well to coat. Pour the mixture into a pie plate and cover with foil. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbly. Turn oven to 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until fruit is browned on the edges. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Spice up Valentine’s Day with an Aphrodisiac Menu

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but every day is the right day to feel and express love. . Aphrodisiac foods help us do just that. I am intrigued by the science behind aphrodisiac foods because it helps us understand the mechanism by which these foods help us experience passion to the fullest. I choose my four favorite aphrodisiac foods to include this day and every day you want to make your romantic experience soar!

Honey: An incredibly sensual food, thick and sweet it creates a strong sensory reaction from the first drop on your tongue. Honey contains important minerals and vitamins that help our body produce and metabolize both estrogen and testosterone which keeps our libido strong. Now that is sweet!

Avocado: Rich and delicious, avocados embody indulgence and are packed with vitamin E which increases healthy blood flow and helps the body produce sex hormones. Guacamole anyone?

Basil: Known as the love herb in ancient times, it spices up appetizers and main dishes alike while heightening libido by increasing blood flow and decreasing inflammation. Talk about spicy!

Chocolate: The fact that this decadent food can also help your libido is almost too good to be true! Chocolate has chemicals that increase the production of pleasure producing neurotransmitters in our brain. It also contains potassium which helps increase stamina and zinc which is linked to sex hormone production. You know what they say, “Everything is better with chocolate!”

- Veronica

Make a simple yet delicious Valentine’s Day dinner with all of the above ingredients!

Valentine’s Day Menu:

Apple-Cranberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette & Pure Bar Croutons

Pasta with Diced Tomatoes and Avocado Basil Pesto

Dark Chocolate Glazed Poached Pears with Strawberries and Almonds

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

5 Awesome Organic Ways to Pamper Yourself in the New Year

Yogi Kathryn Budig shares her tips to start fresh and get healthy in the New Year.

Dry Brushing

This is an amazing method used to improve your circulation, lymphatic system, great exfoliant and even helps to banish cellulite! Grab a body brush (normally the kind with rough bristles that you would use in a bathtub) and brush your entire body in long sweeps towards your heart. Do this on dry skin when you wake up, before bed or before showering.

Clean Your Teeth with Activated Charcoal

This is a bit of a mess but one of the best, natural ways to whiten your teeth and improve the health of your gums. You can buy capsules of activated charcoal at health food stores. Just dump the contents onto your toothbrush and scrub away! Your mouth will be completely black, don’t panic! Do a good scrub with toothpaste afterwards and careful not to swallow any as it’s job is to pull out impurities.

Oil Letting

This is an ancient Ayurvedic approach to oral health. It’s fantastic for dental health as well as pulling toxins from the body. Use a T of sesame or raw coconut oil and swish in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. I do it while I’m taking a shower and doing my morning activities.

Facial Mask

Pamper your face once a week with a gorgeous facial mask. Look for companies that are organic and cruelty free. Products made from plants and food are the best!

Epsom Salt Soak

End your day with a beautiful soak. Epsom salts do wonders for a tired, aching body. It will help restore your muscles and prepare you for a good night of sleep.

For more information check out KathrynBudig.com.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

New Year, New Pure, New Promo!

We want to make sure eating better is as delicious as possible for you in 2014. So we came up with the most indulgent new flavors we could think of that also deliver Pure’s stellar nutrition. I have to admit, I can’t keep them in stock at our house because my teenagers and their friends eat them as fast as they are delivered!

Our crispy-crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Ancient Grains bar is only 160 calories, contains 5 grams of vegan protein and has only 8 grams of sugar.

The new creamy melt-in-your-mouth Cashew Coconut is the latest addition to our soft & chewy original line of Pure Bars and is only 190 calories with 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of vegan protein.

Of course ALL Pure snacks are certified organic, non-GMO verified, certified gluten free, vegan and kosher. Take a minute to discover more about these incredible new bars on our website and then take advantage of our promotion below to try them and start the New Year right! Trust me, you will be glad you did!

- Veronica

For recipes, tips and creative ideas check out our Instagram and Pinterest pages

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Happy Holidays from All of Us at Pure

Dear Readers,

I want to thank all of you for your support of Pure over the last year, and for your wonderful notes, comments and suggestions along the way. I am blessed to have such amazing customers alongside me on this journey of growing a company we can all be proud of. Many blessing to you and your family this holiday and into the new year!

In gratitude,

- Veronica

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The Power of Pomegranates

Normally I’m not into food that I have to work for. Anything that has to be peeled, broken, extracted and/or scooped is frowned upon. I like simple and easy.

However, there is one exception, a food that even the laziest of eaters cannot resist. It’s a beautiful fruit that is worth the effort just to experience the amazing taste and health benefits of it. That fruit is pomegranate.

Despite the work, pomegranates are hands down my favorite fruit. Every year around November they start to pop up in the stores here in Michigan, and I buy them as fast as week can eat them, usually 1 or 2 a day.

And worth it they are. Pomegranates are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods providing a cocktail of antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase heart and artery health, act as mood enhancers, increase bone mass and inhibit growth of cancer cells. I think that covers most of America’s health problems! Pretty great for a little red fruit.

And if the work still bothers you, I have the perfect solution. Introduce them to your kids. Before you know it they will be peeling and extracting the seeds for you, and you will all reap the benefits!

- Veronica

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Goat Cheese

About a month ago I was in a restaurant in San Diego that served roasted Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries. It was a delicious combination! I decided to mimic the dish using pomegranates and goat cheese. I loved it! In fact pomegranates can be used in place of cranberries, cherries or other fruits in your favorite dishes.

Serves 4
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends and outer leaves removed
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
3 oz goat cheese

In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with oil and salt until coated. Roast at 400 degrees until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Place roasted Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl. Gently mix in pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve warm or chilled.

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

4 Easy Ways to Lower Heating Bills This Winter

Last week it was 55 degrees, and there were still beautiful signs of fall foliage around town. This week we have a foot of snow on the ground. Welcome to winter in Michigan! I do love the change of the seasons but I don’t love the heating bills that come along with the cold. As we transition into colder weather, here’s an infographic of some of my tips to make the sting of the heating bill hurt less, so you can concentrate on the holidays and enjoy the cozy warmth that winter brings.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

- Veronica

From the Entire Pure Family

We wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Kathryn Budig’s Quinoa and Roasted Veggies with Lemon Coconut Sauce

We are excited to share a healthy quinoa recipe from a special contributor who certainly subscribes to the Pure lifestyle. Kathryn Budig, one of the youngest and most widely recognized faces in yoga, is also known for her love of food and laughter. Kathryn’s Quinoa and Roasted Veggies with Lemon Coconut Sauce is as filling as it is fun to make. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Quinoa and Roasted Veggies with Lemon Coconut Sauce

Ingredients:
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
2-3 cups brussel sprouts, chopped finely
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
sea salt
red pepper flakes
1 cup red and white quinoa
1 3/4 cups ZICO coconut water
salt and small pat of butter

for lemon coconut sauce:

1 cup canned coconut milk
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 T Lucini Fiery Chili Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
good pinch sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your cut veggies onto a cookie sheet and massage well with olive oil, sea salt and pepper flakes until evenly coated. Roast for about 25-30 minutes.

Soak your quinoa for 5 minutes then rinse well. Cook in coconut water, butter and salt for about 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and the quinoa is light and fluffy.

Blend coconut milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, chili oil and salt and pepper until fully incorporated. Place on the stove and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add all of your goodies into a large bowl and mix well. Place quinoa/veggie mix into individual bowls and ladle with lemon coconut sauce and don’t hold back!

*use extra virgin olive oil and red chili pepper flakes if you can’t find this oil

Pure is on Instagram

From recipes to behind-the-scenes glimpses of what happens at Pure, there’s something for everyone on our Instagram feed. Follow @purebarveronica, and be sure to tag PUREBAR in your posts – we can’t wait to see how Pure fits into your everyday life.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Cooking with Farro

Farro has finally hit the big time! I know this because I actually found it on the shelf of my local Michigan grocery store, which tells me that farro is now a food staple. I have eaten and enjoyed farro in restaurants for quite some time but never really thought about cooking it myself until recently. I have found it to be a really nice reprieve from pasta and a wonderful ancient grain to add to my repertoire. In fact, it can easily replace pasta and grains in your favorite recipes.

Farro reminds me of oversized barley and has what I believe is a really nice texture, similar to barley. I like the fact that it is hearty and I can chew it. Farro contains the grains of several species of wheat, and is usually sold in “pearled” form which means some of the tough part of the grain has been removed so that it cooks up faster and more tender.

Farro is higher in fiber than rice or pasta and also contains a good amount of protein, magnesium and vitamins E and B, which are all good reasons to take it for a culinary spin! Try my recipe below for a quick and delicious farro dinner, and check out my Pinterest page for even more farro recipes.

- Veronica

Recipe: Farro with Sundried Tomatoes and Baby Spinach

2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1-2 tablespoons for drizzle
1 large garlic clove pressed
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Ground black pepper
Grated parmesan

In a saucepan sauté the chopped garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the faro, stir and toast for 3 more minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes until faro is “al dente”. Drain any excess liquid. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and spinach. Remove from heat, drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with parmesan and serve warm.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Understanding GMOs

I first wrote about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) about 3 years ago. Since then several states have had measures on the ballot to encourage the labeling of food containing GMOs (see below for most common genetically modified crops) and there has been much more publicity about them. I still feel, though, that a general confusion exists about what GMOs are and why there is such controversy surrounding them.

As the founder of Pure, a company committed to organic and non GMO real food snacks, I feel it is important for us all to understand what GMOs are and why we should avoid them.

According to the Non GMO Project website, GMOs are defined the following way

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

To me, the fact that over 60 other industrialized countries including the European Union, Japan, and Australia ban the use of GMOs is another good reason to be wary of them.

One of the main reasons why GMOs are more prevalent in the US is because Monsanto, a very large corporation based in the US, manufactures Roundup which is the herbicide that most GMOs are genetically modified to be resistant to. Essentially, farmers can drench their crops in Roundup and kill every pest but not the plant itself. Keep in mind that research has linked Roundup to Parkinson’s disease, infertility and cancer and it is currently being studied more in depth by the FDA.

You can help! If enough consumers reject the idea of GMOs, the hope is that manufacturers will stop making these products. How do you know if a product is non-GMO? Even though labeling laws are not enforced, seek out products with a non-GMO verified seal. Also, always buy organic meats and produce to avoid GMOs.

As more seeds are genetically modified, traditional farmers (non-organic) are left with very few options, causing them to buy more Roundup. To learn more about GMOs visit the Non-GMO Project website. For a list of the top GMOs in the US, see below.

- Veronica

Top GMOs in the US

  1. Soy -93% of soy is genetically modified. Buy organic or look for the non GMO seal to avoid genetically modified soy which is in almost every processed food in the form of oil, protein and emulsifiers
  2. Cottonseed -93% of cottonseed is genetically modified.
  3. Canola-90% of canola seed is genetically modified
  4. Sugar Beets -90% of sugar beet crop is genetically modified. Sugar beets are used to produce 54% of the sugar sold in America.
  5. Corn -88% of corn in the US is genetically modified. It is also very prevalent in almost every processed food we buy.
  6. Papaya -75% of the Hawaiian papaya crop is genetically modified
  7. Alfalfa –between 20 and 50% of alfalfa is genetically modified

List of supermarket products containing GMOs

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Gettin’ “Figgy” With it

Tell the truth, how long did it take you to realize that figs are a fruit, not just the gooey inside of a “Fig Newton”? The first time I ever experienced a fig was in Italy. I have to admit that I didn’t know what it was. They served these beautiful, soft, green fruits on a platter after dinner and luckily my husband correctly identified them. He looked at me with amusement and said “Have you never had a real fig before?” I laughed and said not only had I never eaten one, but I had also never seen one! What can I say? I’m a child of the processed food 80’s and surprisingly even my hippie generation parents didn’t introduce me to figs.

It didn’t take long for me to love and truly appreciate figs the fruit, and Fall is the best time to include them in your favorite recipes. When ripe they practically melt in your mouth and are a great complimentary ingredient in salads and desserts which is especially nice given their impressive nutrients. Figs provide calcium for strong bones, fiber to promote weight loss and control blood sugar, and potassium to help maintain a good blood pressure. Like other fruits, figs are high in antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer.

Figs are especially delicious served with soft cheeses, I like to broil figs and spread them with a local herbed goat cheese for a wonderful appetizer. They are also great on pizzas and in dishes with grains like quinoa. Drizzle figs with vinegar or lemon juice for a sweet and sour flavor in recipes. Since figs are in season now, they are terrific paired with local farmers market tomatoes in a fresh salad! See one of my favorite fig-infused recipes below!

- Veronica

Fig, Arugula, Heirloom Tomato Salad

Serves 4

8 ounces of arugula

2 medium sized heirloom or ripe garden tomatoes, sliced into large sections

4 figs, quartered

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts

Place arugula in a salad bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly to combine

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together in a measuring cup until smooth. Drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.