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Hello Fresh Meal Delivery: A Comparison to Blue Apron And Plated.

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

Well… Hellooooooo Fresh.  It’s finally your turn — Nice to try you.  It’s hard to give-up Blue Apron, but I’m ready.   Temporarily that is.  We previously tried and reported about Plated, another meal (recipe + fresh ingredients) delivery company.  It’s my plan to try most, if not all of the popular meal delivery companies and here we try and compare Hello Fresh to Blue Apron and Plated.

Box from Hello Fresh

The Hello Fresh ingredients and recipe cards arrive in a large box that lists the enclosed meal’s nutrition facts on its side — A nice feature not included on the Blue Apron and Plated boxes.

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

In fact, each meal is packaged individually in nice windowed white boxes.  It’s different than Blue Apron and Plated — The recipe ingredients are contained and sealed together in the large box.

Hello Fresh Packaging

The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.

Hello Fresh Meat

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are smaller than all others I’ve used, including the recipe cards from Chef’d, soon to be reviewed here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back for that comparison.

Hello Fresh Recipe

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are harder to read than the others — The card and photo are smaller, thus appear less detailed.  The Blue Apron recipe cards are more user-friendly than those printed for Hello Fresh and Plated.  Blue Apron includes a photo of the chopped ingredients and the others do not.  I had no trouble following the Hello Fresh recipe cards, but Blue Apron’s are better.

Hello Fresh Meal

Taste and the recipes — I made Jamie’s Roasted Chicken with Lemony Bombay Potatoes (above) and Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto with Meyer Lemon (below).

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).

Hello Fresh Risotto

Dukkah-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Snap Peas and Citrus Sour Cream (below). I liked it best from our first box.  Not pictured, we also tried three Hello Fresh vegetarian meals. Since I forgot to deselect upcoming meals, I received a second Hello Fresh box in the mail. Related to that, the Hello Fresh web interface could use improvement.  It’s not as easy to view and/or cancel future meals as it is on the Blue Apron and Plated websites.  I had switched from the Hello Fresh ‘Classic Box’ to the ‘Veggie Box’ subscription on their website, because it’s a better value.

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

Hello Fresh costs approximately $10 more for a Classic Box (three meals w/meat) = $70.  Three meals w/meat from Blue Apron costs the same as three vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh = $60. Aside from cost, we agree that Blue Apron meals are more flavorful and sophisticated overall. And since they do cost less, they’re a better deal all around.  I keep the Hello Fresh and Plated subscriptions open in case there’s a meal I can’t refuse, but need to manage them better so not to receive meals from all companies in the same week.  Each offers potential for a great meal.

Plated (Recipe + Ingredients) Delivered: A Comparison to Blue Apron.

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

Plated Fish

It’s official — I’ve prepared 100+ Blue Apron recipes.  My husband counted them.  After two-hundred plus total dishes, I decided it was time to try a few other meal delivery companies.  At least three to start… Plated, Hello Fresh and Chef’d.  It’s not because we don’t like Blue Apron.  We love them.  I’m now curious how others’ dishes compare.  Are they as flavorful and international?

Plated Box

The Plated Report — Plated’s box was huge and all was packed within a thick insulation that looked like it should be recycled in the garden.  Different than Blue Apron, but it kept all cold and fresh.

Plated Dessert

One of the BEST things about Plated is they offer Dessert.  Blue Apron currently does not.

Plated Recipe Cards

Dessert (recipe and ingredients) costs about $8 more, over Plated’s meal plan — Most comparable to our Blue Apron Meal Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), Plated offers (2 Meals for 2 People = $48 + $6 for shipping = $54).  Shipping is free with $50+ purchases.  I thus added one of Plated’s weekly Desserts to try and to qualify for free shipping.  $56 was our total for 2 Meals and 1 Dessert for 2 People from Plated.  Leon thought all looked good upon arrival (below).  I did too.

Leon and Plated

Plated’s recipes were well written and somewhat unique, like those offered by Blue Apron.  The pictured Plated meals were good, but none knocked our socks off, like many Blue Apron meals have. We also missed the third meal offered by Blue Apron.  Apples to Apples, the same Blue Apron Plan (3 Meals for 2 People = $60), costs $72 at Plated.  I wouldn’t mind future meals from Plated, but I prefer to save money.  Plated is good, but they charge more for the same comparison of food.

Plated Soup

I prepared Plated’s Pan-Roasted Redfish with Baby Kale Risotto (top), Cheese Tortellini with Basil and Spinach in Tomato Soup (above) and Caramelized Pear Shortcakes with Whipped Cream (below).  We liked the Pan-Roasted Redfish the best and the other two recipes were just average.  Plated’s recipe cards are nice and large, but not as glossy as Blue Apron’s.

Plated Shortcakes

The Caramelized Pear Shortcakes aka Biscuits were already baked, which made preparation easier, but the Dessert not as homemade.  I may order from Plated again to try a different Dessert if its weekly menu sounds better than Blue Apron’s weekly menu.  I’m currently subscribed to all listed herein, though opt for Blue Apron most of the time.  If interested in trying any meal delivery company, be sure to obtain a coupon or coupon code, as each offers a $20 – $60 discount on your first box.  Don’t miss out on that.  Check back soon to read our Hello Fresh and Chef’d Reports.

Home Chef: A Weekly Meal Delivery Kit Comparison.

December 20th, 2017 No comments

Home Chef is another company that offers the delivery of weekly meal kits.  I’ve previously reported about a few others — Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated.  And now, here is Home Chef.

Our Home Chef meal selection included Coconut Jasmine Rice Bowls with Fried Plantains and Corn Pico De Gallo, Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread with Walnuts and Caramelized Onions & Brown Sugar Salmon with Ranch Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.

The recipe cards came with a nice white binder and they were 3-hole punched on good card-stock.

Each meal is grouped in its own sealed, handled bag with a straggler or two in the box, and the meat is under ice, which is convenient and good.  All received with this shipment was fresh.

However, the Naan received for the Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread was folded into its meal kit bag and thus cracked in a few places.  I had to carefully place them back together before topping and baking them.  They ended up tasting great, but it was mostly due to the Caramelized Onions, Fig Preserves, Goat Cheese and Arugula — An amazing combination.

We liked the Brown Sugar Salmon too, though mine didn’t end up as gorgeous as the one on the recipe card.  Not uncommon, but the sweet, tangy flavor it was anticipated to have was there.

Home Chef’s price is comparable to Blue Apron’s — The Home Chef cost is $59.70 a week for (3) meal kits for (2) people and Blue Apron’s current cost for the same is $59.94.

We like Home Chef, and we like Plated and Hello Fresh too, but Blue Apron is still our favorite weekly meal delivery kit company.  Aside from these meals and the others I’ve tried and reported about, Blue Apron meals have been prepared in our kitchen on a weekly basis for about two years now.  I like Blue Apron’s unique meal options and that all is made from scratch.  It’s extra time and labor in some cases, but worth it in flavor.  I like Naan, but would have preferred fresh Pizza Dough with the winning combination of Caramelized Onions, Fig Preserves, Goat Cheese and Arugula.  Pizza Dough would most likely come with a similar Blue Apron meal.  I have no complaints about any of these companies and I am still willing to try others, if the menu is right.

Blue Apron Review: The Menu Of The Week Never Looked So Good.

April 30th, 2015 No comments

Cod

Blue Apron Box Report No. 2 — We love them even more now.

Blue Apron

It’s Blue Apron’s unique and enticing recipes that I appreciate most — The meals are exciting to eat.

Chicken

We received 3 new recipe cards and the ingredients to prepare them all — Our final dishes are pictured on the right of its respective recipe card and our first Blue Apron report is linked here.

Cod

Each meal was completely different than the one before it and all had exceptional flavor.

Pork

We’re already looking forward to the next box from Blue Apron.  Originally I was just going to try them, but their weekly menus and quality of ingredients are keeping me interested.  I had also planned to try and compare similar companies, but after a little research it looks like Blue Apron may be offering the best deal.  If that continues to be true, I may not want to try nor like another. Each looks similarly impressive, but I must have a good price too.

Similar companies are listed below and prices may change — Check them out yourself.

Plated.com – Eating Well Made Easy ($12/Serving – $72/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Hello Fresh – Restaurant Quality Meals At Home ($11.50/Serving – $69/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Green Chef – Deliciously Simple ($14.99/Serving – $89.94/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Forage – Recipes from Notable Restaurants ($7.50 – $15/Serving – $60/Week – 4 meals total, which may serve 2. It’s unclear)

Chef’d – The Easiest Way to Cook Like a Pro ($19 – $38/Serving for 2 – Each meal has its own cost)

Taste Of Temecula Wrapped Up With Samplings On SOCO Patios.

September 2nd, 2013 No comments

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We took a short trip to Temecula to celebrate our engagement.  Thanks for the engagement gifts and money.  We didn’t expect anything and finally cashed a few checks sent over a month ago.  Sorry.  We were set to spend it on backyard lounge chairs, but couldn’t find one long and comfortable enough for Mr. 6’4″, then considered it towards a new dishwasher, until deciding to spend it on a spontaneous weekend of eating and exploration.  Thanks for the fun!

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It started with Coffee, King’s Hawaiian Rolls and a Lottery Ticket from 7-Eleven in Fullerton.

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Without any research, we stopped at various places of interest along the way and all day.

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Once in Temecula, we started with a Mango Margarita at Rosa’s Cantina.

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Where next?  We picked on a whim.  If it sounded good and had AC we were in.

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One of our favorite stops was at Crush & Brew, where we sniffed and tasted Wine.

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We liked #3 (above) best and contemplated buying a bottle, but wanted to stretch our bucks to try more places and things.  Crush & Brew also offers the largest Flat Breads we’ve seen.

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We had the Greek Flat Bread, which filled us up good (and we were trying to save room).

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We take a moment to thank you for this opportunity — On to more Temecula finds…

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I’m not sure what Death Paste (above) was/is — We didn’t want any. 😉

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Soro’s Mediterranean Grill was our next stop for Dolma (aka Dolmades) and Iced Tea.

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Blackbird Tavern is below — It’s a large, super-cool, indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar.

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What a great space they have — You wouldn’t know it from the front.

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All this outside is hiding inside — Blackbird Tavern is the place I miss living next to the most.

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I’m not sure what you call the toss-the-beanbag-game, but we played it — See it in flight?

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I liked the starter (below) so much, I recreated it at home — See the recipe here.

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It’s called Olives & Almonds on their menu.

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Menus are inside album covers — I don’t know Lee Evans.  Also pictured is The Blackbird.

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We finally scratched our scratcher and won nothing — No worries, it’s a great day.

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All pictured above are located on or off Old Town Front Street in Old Town Temecula.

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Stopped at PALA Casino with only $20 of our $250 designated towards hopeful multiplication.

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It was instead hijacked from the bunch after a short time in play.  Adios.

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On the road again… We bought Avocados off the side of the road.  I always want an Avocado.

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On the way home, we stopped and walked around Oceanside — View from its pier on an overcast day.  The sun disappeared awhile, but do you see the giant bubble?  Some guy was making them.  Since we still had adventure money to spend, we planned to stop at The Beach House in Laguna Beach to exhaust the rest, but there was an hour wait and we didn’t want to.  Instead, all was saved for the next day’s escapades in the SOCO District of Fullerton.

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We started at our favorite Tea LoungeTranquil.  Iced is always refreshing and flavorful.

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Ended up at Joe’s No Limits! Bar & Grill — We sought to eat and drink on patios only.

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Had ‘Joe’s Picks’ Sausage selection — I liked the Chicken & Jalapeno Sausage, primarily.

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Though the menu doesn’t say, we were glad the above came with really good French Fries.

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After Joe’s, we went to The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen (below).

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Cheers to more food and drinks on SOCO patios.

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The Slidebar offers a long list of Opening Acts (they call ’em) aka Appetizers.

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We had the Smothered Tots and Deep Fried Pickles — Well prepared and different.

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And the Deep Fried Mac N’ Cheese — Not the healthiest options, but it just so happened.

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Do you know where this heart is found?

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It’s at Fullerton Train Station.  We considered eating there, but opted for Hopscotch Tavern.

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We were down to our last few engagement-dollars and almost done eating.

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On our final SOCO patio of the day — Hopscotch Tavern we had a shot of Tequila — Mezcal.

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And Donuts with Lavender, a dessert special — I like the Hopscotch menu and will go back.

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We appreciate the weekend journey — It was worth it all and so much more.

Matt & Me

Smiling faces here. 🙂

Great Maple Libations And Seasonal Plates At Fashion Island.

January 21st, 2012 1 comment

Its spot in Fashion Island (near Nordstrom) has gone through a few changes to become the Great Maple it is today.  I liked the Italian restaurants that preceded it and now appreciate the “Libations and Seasonal Plates” we had in the Bar this day — $5 Small Plates on Fridays.

It was Happy Hour time (4:00 – 6:30PM) and the start of Newport Beach Restaurant Week.

All deals were contemplated over a couple Black Lemonades, a seasonal drink special.

Bread in a bag with soft Butter, with a dash of Olive Oil, Parsley, Salt & Pepper, a nice touch.

Here for a quick bite on the way to elsewhere and do want to try the Moroccan Lamb Burger next time.  Today it was the Market Asparagus with Shaved Pecorino and Lemon Olive Oil.

Chorizo Picante Board and Aioli Mayo.

Creamy Polenta with Pancetta and Shaved Pecorino.

Great Maple:  Nice people, creative libations, a cool atmosphere and tasty seasonal plates.

Celebrate Celebrations, Come On: There’s A Party Going On Right Here.

December 11th, 2011 No comments

The Turnip Rose Grand Newport Plaza, Celebrations and Elite Catering — A celebration to last throughout the years.  So bring your good times and your laughter too, they’re gonna celebrate your party with you.  Everyone around Orange County come on.  It’s a wonderful place for a memorable wedding (or event) and we got a taste of it.  Wow about everything!

The venue, FOOD, decor and service couldn’t be better and Celebrations couldn’t be hipper.

At a “Taste of Turnip Rose” we tried a little (and in some cases a lot) of that being offered by The Turnip Rose Elite Catering and we’re still talking about how great it all was.

This is your sample of our sampling of the Grand Buffet, California Classics Buffet and more.

All Chicken was tender and flavorful, not commonly said about wedding reception Chicken.

We’re still marveling that each Filet Mignon being perfectly cooked.

Unique Scalloped Potatoes.

There were self serve and full service stations throughout the Ballroom at the Grand Newport Plaza.  We hit ’em all more than once and rolled out with giant smiles on our faces — More “Filet Mignon PLEASE” seemed to be our theme of the evening.  Gracias.

And many thank you, thank you, thank you’s and WOW’s.

Mahi Mahi (below) to be plated and topped with a Cucumber Mango Salsa.

Filet Mignon and Mahi Mahi shared our third plate of food. 🙂

Flawlessly cooked Filet after Filet after Filet.

Sample table setting.

Pretty Special Martinis.

Hors D’ Oeuvres were passed by well-dressed, friendly and knowledgeable Servers.

The Mandarin Chicken (above) tasted like the Sauce was basted in — Truly tasty alone.

The adorable Gourmet Sliders have Truffle Oil, yum-and-a-half regarding that.

Additional Martini options include the Filet Peppercorn Martini and others below.

Salad Buffet.

Peanut Butter Brownie Shooters and Mini Cupcakes.

Bride and Groom Strawberries.

The service was impeccable and the affiliated DJ played great songs.

We met nice, soon-to-be Brides and Grooms including Nikki & Kyle.  Enlarge for a better view.

Sample food choices/options — You can’t go wrong with The Turnip Rose Elite Catering.

Coffee Stations, a Chocolate Fountain and Liquor injected Strawberries in the courtyard.

Lots to dip.

The Festival of Strawberries, a Sweet Things item with an injection of Kahlua…

…Amaretto, Tia Maria, Drambuie or Grand Marnier, if you so choose.

Love is Sweet! Candy Buffet for guests to pack a box to go.

Fun for all ages — We enjoyed the Candy days after the event, a lingering memory.

On to the hippest, we ended the night with a personal tour of Celebrations.

Celebrations is the most stylish OC wedding venue I’ve seen — Every detail is covered too.

It’s well designed and highlights each Bride and Groom in special ways.

Nice lighting, monogrammed floors, a photo booth, nearby Bars, changing wall photos, etc.

Celebrations is located in the former Club Vegas space, $2M later and way better.

Guests will certainly be impressed with the place now.  We are!

Choose your colors.

The kitchen is pristine too, like everything else there.  Was tempted to show the bathrooms.

As if all isn’t enough, a Farewell Table was set up with Hot Tea, Coffee and Donuts.

Even the parking is pleasant and close to the Grand Newport Plaza and Celebrations.

We love Kelly, one of the nicest around — He runs all with his Brother and a dedicated team.

Full with a Farewell Table Donut bagged in hand — Let’s celebrate, it’s (more than) all right.

08/05/13 Update:  Visit The Turnip Rose website for venue information — The Grand Newport Plaza event room is no longer available, but Celebrations is going strong, and so is The Promenade Event Centre & Gardens in Costa Mesa.

The Capital Grille In Beverly Hills: It’s South Coast Plaza Next Time Baby.

June 9th, 2011 No comments

I contemplated posting this report, since our handy dandy Guest Blogger, Bonnie focuses more on getting lost than the food, but I don’t blame her — I’m sure I would’ve been frustrated too, thus do post her account below, mostly so not to stymie the amazing food and professional photographs provided by The Capital Grille in Beverly Hills.  Although pissed about the drive, she loved the food.  I’ve yet to dine at The Capital Grille and will most likely opt to do so at the South Coast Plaza location.  A photo of the Bar is posted first, because Bonnie needs a drink after telling her story…

The Capital Grille in Beverly Hills — Having had such a wonderful meal at the Capital Grille in Costa Mesa only a week before, I decided to start my night in Beverly Hills at their brand new, sister restaurant in the Beverly Center. 

It wasn’t their fault that I got totally and completely lost. I should have known better than to make the drive from Newport Beach to Beverly Hills at 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday night without anydirections on me at all. But heck, I’ve been to the Beverly Center before. Indeed, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so I know it quite well. And geewhiz — I have GPS — so why would I need directions?

Because — truth be told, I haven’t lived in LA for thirty years, so I completely forgot how to get to the Beverly Center. And the directions my girlfriend’s daughter gave me over the cell phone were quite detailed, but…

 WRONG!

Plus, nobody at the restaurant could figure out where I was when I told them what cross streets I was passing.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Adding final insult to injury, my GPS would not “accept” an address on Beverly Boulevard beginning with the number “8”.

!!!@#$%!!!

Once I finally arrived though, we were treated to the same fine service and attention from the Capital Grille’s staff, along with some delicious food and drink. Our server, Charles, graciously apologized (even though he didn’t have to!) for my hour and a half of misfortune, and then served us a beautiful Steak with Béarnaise Sauce and Crab, Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster, and Sautéed Spinach on the side.

We didn’t have time to take a tour of the restaurant that was offered to us by Managing Partner Gina Doyle, but we sure appreciated the fact that they treated us to another Exceptionally Distinctive Guest Experience.

Thank you — Charles and Gina — and next time I come to LA, I promise to bring directions.

Thanks Bonnie — I’m glad I wasn’t with you, though I am ready for their SCP location.

Pom Wonderful is 100% Real (Seed) Juice.

May 31st, 2009 No comments

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It takes too many Pomegranates, ARILS (seeds), stained fingers and possibly stained clothes to create what Pom Wonderful provides.  I grew up with a large Pomegranate Tree in the neighborhood.  All the kids loved the seeds, but it was a lot of work and a mess to get at them.  My Mom would tell us to open them up outside — Ever since that time, they’ve been a novelty in the supermarkets.  I’ll buy one occasionally, but the same obstacles to enjoyment still exist.

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Due to the effort involved in getting at the goods, I was happy to receive a case of Pom Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice in the mail.  I contemplated various recipes I could make with all of it.  Above I made Dried Cherry Scones with a Pomegranate Glaze — The Glaze is a mixture of Powdered Sugar and Pomegranate Juice.  And I’m calling them Pretty in Pink Scones.  I’ll be drizzling the Glaze over the Scones I’m entering in the Culinary Arts Competition during this year’s Orange County Fair.  In the long run this is the only recipe I made from the case, mostly because I couldn’t stop drinking them.  The bottles are so cute too.

misc-019-copyAside from liking the taste, I’m glad to read it’s good for you and grown locally in the sunny San Joaquin Valley.  And 100% Juice is always important to me.  When I ate Pomegranates as a kid, I didn’t know they were good for cardiovascular health and a superior source of antioxidants.  I didn’t care about that then, but I care about it now.  It’s good to find something I like that’s really good for me — I wish I could say that about more things.  Pom Wonderful appears to take pride in its products (literally) from tree to bottle.  Learn more below.  Knowing all these things, its value went up for me.  I need more. 🙂

Pom Wonderful DIRECT:
http://www.pomwonderful.com/?cmpid=71021&KNC-gle&&gclid=CIag7K6Z55oCFR0Sagodqi7PBw

What’s a Pomegranate?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate