Everyday Value on Whole Foods’ organic unsweetened almond milk

365 Everyday Value Unsweetened Almond Milk
365 Everyday Value Unsweetened Almond Milk

Product: 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk – $3.69+

What do you pour on your cereal in the morning?  What do you dip your gluten-free sandwich cookies into?  What takes the bite out of your coffee?  What do you bake with?

As someone who is lactose intolerant and sometimes sensitive to soy…I turn to either coconut milk or almond milk.  And, being the deal seeker that I am, I came across Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk while shopping the aisles one day.  Since it is no more expensive than the name brands I had been trying out, I figured…why not give this one a try too?

The 365 Everyday Value brand by Whole Foods has been a good choice in the past for me on other products.  But what about one that I literally use in a variety of ways…every day?  Well, this morning I got to find out because it was what I had in the apartment to pour over my (gluten-free) cereal.

What I found was that the 365 brand is rather flavorful on its own, without the additional syrups or sweeteners.  It really brings out the nutty flavor that you expect from almond milk, without being too much.  It’s a delicate, light flavor that pairs, rather than overpowers what it is teaming up with.  I’ve baked with it.  I’ve poured it over my cereal.  I even cooked with it (homemade, gluten-free mac & cheese for the WIN!) and everything came out just as good or better than if I had done it using actual dairy.  It also lessens the caloric punch of the dish you are preparing, consuming, and enjoying.  Added bonus!

No strange flavors or aftertastes.  This is pure almond goodness on its own.  And one that I would be more than happy to purchase again, should it be the winner of the price wars that week while I grocery shop.  Besides, I love the added bonus of calcium and vitamins in each serving of almond milk.  So, drink up and benefit!

Almond Dream Unsweetened Almond Milk a sweet, nutty pour

Almond Dream Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
Almond Dream Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

Product: Almond Dream Unsweetened Original Almond Milk – $3.89+

As you may know by now…I am a little bit obsessive about non-dairy milk products.  I’ve done almond milks, hazelnut milk, coconut milk (did I ever review those?), rice milk and so on.  And I have been pleasantly surprised by what I have had.  Almond milk is still a favorite of mine to have in my morning cereal.  There’s just something epic about the nutty flavor mixing with the corn, rice, cinnamon, chocolate, whatever flavor of the day cereal I have.

In my epic quest to find the best-ever almond milk out there, I picked up a shelf-stable box of Almond Dream Unsweetened Original Almond Milk on sale.  While I do show a bias to one particular brand of almond milk in general (from my blogs…you know what I’m talking about), I was actually quite surprised with how much flavor was in Almond Dream’s Unsweetened version of almond milk.

Honestly.

While this did go over my cereal, I reserved a bit of it to try on its own…only fair.

Well, what I found out was that this unsweetened beverage has enough sweetness on its own.  This had a lot of flavor and had that sweet nuttiness I expect from a good almond milk, even of the unsweetened variety.  This brand even has a bit more of a creamy texture than some of the others on the market.  I liked that.  It gave it an added boost.

Additionally, Almond Dream’s almond milks are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins A & E, and is also fortified with vitamins B12, D, and calcium.  That’s one great thing about almond milk is how much calcium you get from it.  When dairy is not an option, you gotta find calcium elsewhere and I’ve found the almond drinks to do just that.

While Almond Dream didn’t quite win against my favorite brand, it does rank high on my list of almond drinks.  So if one is not in the budget, I have a great one to fall back on.  Additionally, this paired really well with the smoked applewood Gouda I put in my homemade, gluten-free macaroni & cheese for Thanksgiving.  No weird flavor…it soaked up the white sauce and provided a creamy cheese base to pour over my brown rice noodles.  Very rich, very tasty.

I definitely recommend everyone give Almond Dream a try when searching for a non-dairy beverage.  The unsweetened variety is sweet on its own and full of amazing flavor.  Pour yourself a glass, add it to coffee, pour it over your cereal, bake something with it…I promise…you’ll love it.

Pacific Natural Foods turns nut beverages into a rich treat with hazelnut milk

Pacific Natural Foods Original Hazelnut Milk
Pacific Natural Foods Original Hazelnut Milk

Product: Pacific Natural Foods Original Hazelnut Milk – $3.29+

Ever since I had to give up milk due to the onset of lactose intolerance, I’ve dabbled in the alternatives that are out there.  I’ve had soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and rice milk.  I have favorites of each.  I have an obsession with unsweetened almond milk.  And nothing compliments coffee as well as a splash of vanilla coconut milk.  There is a myriad of options out there these days for those who can’t process dairy.

So, when my grocery store stocked Pacific Natural Foods’ Hazelnut Milk on its shelves, I was intrigued.  I’m a lover of hazelnuts…so…put it in liquid form and I think we’re at posh nut beverage level.  I like posh things.  What girl doesn’t?

With the splurge purchase of the moment made, I went home and tucked this away in my refrigerator.  Just in time too.  The weather turned and the comfortable transition into fall started to become the cold onset of winter.  With that in mind, it was time to break out the hot chocolate one night.

My other splurge for the winter was good, rich, gluten-free hot chocolate…by Ghiradelli.  And I just happened to have the Chocolate Hazelnut flavor.  So…this was going to be a rich treat, I could tell already.

I poured a small bit of Pacific’s Hazelnut Milk into a glass to taste on its own.  It definitely isn’t as thick as almond milk, but the robust flavor provided a smooth, creamy, and rich quality to it.  Yeah…this was going to be brilliant.  I heated it up, added my hazelnut-infused hot chocolate and gave it a good stir.

Smooth and rich.  That’s what the hot chocolate became.  Already pairing a quality product that has traces of hazelnut flavor in it with something as smooth and rich as Pacific’s Hazelnut milk…and the hot chocolate world was turned on its head.  Posh hot chocolate.  Yes…it does exist and it can be made in the comfort of your own home with the right ingredients.

The hazelnut milk was a great addition to my non-dairy milk alternatives.  I would buy this again in a heartbeat…use it in baking, use it on my cereal, add it to coffee.  I think it would just add to the flavors, the creaminess.  It tastes amazing.  So amazing, that drinking it straight is just as good as treating your food or morning coffee to it.

Seek it out, all you nut beverage lovers.  It will change your life, no matter how you decide to drink it up.

 

Cascade Ice doesn’t leave a sparkling impression

Cascade Ice Organic Citrus Twist Sparkling Water
Cascade Ice Organic Citrus Twist Sparkling Water

Product: Cascade Ice Organic Citrus Twist Sparkling Water – $1.00

I normally avoid sparkling waters for a reason.  I don’t like them.  They never quite taste…right.  I think…dry is the best description for them, if that’s possible for water.

I spotted Cascade Ice on the shelf at the grocery store and thought that it might be a great alternative to just plain water.  Let’s face it…water can get boring really quick.  I missed the part where it said it was sparkling water and thought it was simply flavored water.  No calories.  No sodium.  Most importantly…gluten-free!

Imagine my disappointment when I twisted open the cap and saw the rush of bubbles from the bottom up.  I thought…well, maybe it will taste like Sprite or another one of those lemon-lime citrus-type carbonated beverages.

That was wishful thinking.  While this did have a lemony-orange flavor to it, the carbonation completely ruined the drink.  Where it promised an “enticing mixture of delicious, ripe citrus fruits,” it delivered anything but that.  I took two sips of it and had to dump it out.  I wasn’t impressed at all.  Instead of quenching my thirst, it made me want to reach for anything else in reach.  And that was just to get the initial taste and flavor out.

I was disappointed, because I am a runner and I down a lot of water, every day, to keep myself properly hydrated.  The promise of a guilt-free beverage that could supplement my plain water did not happen with Cascade Ice Sparkling Water.  My roommate even picked one up (hers was Organic Lemon-Lime), and she had the same reaction.  It just lacked the flavor to balance out the sparkling proponent of the water.

I was far from impressed with Cascade Ice’s sparkling waters.  It would take a miracle to get me to try another one.  The carbonation totally took over, taking away from any flavor it might have added to the water.  Such a disappointment for something that sounded like it could have been absolutely delicious.

What a let-down.

Pure Almond goodness in Silk’s Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk

Silk Unsweetened Pure Almond Milk
Silk Unsweetened Pure Almond Milk

My journey into almond milk began here.  With a little company known as Silk.  They are most famous for their soy milk.  However, when I discovered I was lactose intolerant, I took a different approach, going with almond milk instead.  And my first foray (which has since expanded into other brands as well), was with Silk Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk.

It couldn’t have been a better way to start.  With only 35 calories per cup, this is a low-cal, delicious treat that is packed with nutrients and calcium.  In fact, it has 50% more calcium than regular dairy milk.  This is important to me, as my mom was diagnosed with osteoporosis at a very young age and was told she had the bone density of a 90-year-old woman.  So, calcium intake…a must with the women in my family.  With no lactose or dairy in this product, it means that it keeps my tummy happy, no matter what I use it in.

And the taste?  Light.  Just a slight nutty flavor.  And I like it perfectly poured into a glass and sipped.  It doesn’t need to hide behind the flavors of other foods, it’s good on its own.  It is smooth with only slight almond undertones.  I’ve baked with it…and it does relatively well being substituted for milk in various recipes.  It makes a mean white sauce for my homemade (and gluten-free) macaroni and cheese.  And it does exceptionally well when paired with my cereal in the morning.

While I do love Silk’s Pure Almond, it does fall just short of being my favorite almond milk.  The texture and taste of another unsweetened variety (Almond Breeze) won my heart the moment I tried it.  However, this brand does fall into my budget more often, which is why it is often the one you find in my refrigerator.  I can’t really criticize it…when it is made to be affordable and backs up its purchase-power with good flavor and texture.

Silk’s Unsweetened Pure Almond Milk is delicious anyway you drink it or use it.  So, make some space in your refrigerator and give it a try.  It won’t disappoint.  Well done, Silk.  Well done!

Almond Breeze almond milk – how (un)sweet it is!

Unsweetened Almond Breeze
Blue Diamond's Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze Almond Milk

At the beginning of the year, I discovered that I had become lactose intolerant.  This was heartbreaking to me, because I am a huge dairy girl.  Skim milk, chocolate milk, ice cream…you name it.  If it was a dairy product, I was probably gobbling it down.  So…what now?

One of the first things I tried when substituting milk was almond milk.  I was hooked…immediately.

What I really liked about the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk was the flavor.  Naturally flavored with just the sweetness of the almonds without any added sugars, this delicious beverage adds twice the calcium of regular milk at only half the calories of skim milk.  Hello!  Best of all, it tastes great.  I don’t need to have the added sugars because the almonds are sweet enough on their own.  The almond milk has a different, nutty tastes to it, but I like that.

And, given as an alternative to soy milk (which, when you have a gluten intolerance is one of those grey areas when it comes to lactose-free beverages), I’d choose almond milk every time.

Compared to other unsweetened almond milk products out there, Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze has a delicious flavor to it.  It doesn’t takes bland or leave an odd taste in your mouth.  But, when it’s done by a company that prides itself on nuts (Blue Diamond), it should be done right.  The company hit it out of the park with their almond milk.

I poured mine over cereal and drank it on its own.  Over cereal, it added a hint of sweetness, which I enjoyed.  It wasn’t bland like dairy milk is.  Instead, it adds to the flavor of what you are eating.  Sort of like an added bonus you wouldn’t normally get.  And on its own, or mixed into coffee, this was a nice, smooth flavor that didn’t leave me wrinkling up my nose.  The delicate flavor was just what I wanted in an almond milk.

Blue Diamond hit the mark with this unsweetened variety of almond milk.  If you are looking for a dairy and soy alternative, I highly recommend this brand.  It can be a little pricier than other brands out there, but you are paying for quality.  Even if you don’t have to give up dairy, I recommend trying this as an alternative.  You might be swayed.  And with the added bonus of extra calcium and fewer calories, you might consider giving up your dairy milk completely.