Not all soups are created equal. Some soups have additives that make them tastier, others to make the colors more vibrant, while other soups put in industrial chemicals to ward off microbial bacteria. None of this is particularly palatable.
If you need a tomato soup though to add as a base to a meal or to enjoy on it's own with some cheesy toast, then these are the brands that I highly recommend. They don't have any of the above mentioned chemicals and are extremely tasty too!
The condensed soups you have to add water too so that they thin out, but other than that, heat in a pot, top with some sour cream and fresh chopped basil and enjoy!
When it comes to adding a dairy product to your child's school lunchbox, yoghurt is often a really convenient product. They come in the perfect serving size and kids will often love them. As you have read however not all yoghurts are created equal so I will share with you two yoghurts that I regularly buy to pop in my children's lunchbox.
Vaalia is a staple. They say on their site no artificial preservatives, flavours and colours and they mean it. Their snack sizes are perfect for the lunchbox and quite safe. They are more expensive than your more recognised brands, however IGA and Woolworths stock them cheaper than Coles.
I also recommend Chobani yoghurts which come not in packs of 12, but as individual round tubs. Often they will be on special for $1 a tub.
Do you have a yoghurt that you regularly eat that is chemical free?
Note: After the publishing of this blog post I have since discovered that Vaalia has now added Carmine to their Berrie Flavours. Avoid this flavour if you exhibit sensitivities to this natural colouring.
Easter is of course a time when we reflect on the reason for the holiday, but as with all our rituals of life, food is often the central focus.
Rather than look at the obvious one, chocolate, I decided to focus this year on bread - yes bread! We eat it every day but at Easter we often eat special bread treats like Hot Cross Buns.
In the pantry we are eating Hot Cross Buns in our lunch boxes most days as well as warmed up on the weekends and the ones that we are buying are Brumby’s Nuttella Hot Cross Buns.
These buns have Nuttella inside them (YUM!) and are made fresh every day at Brumby’s bakeries so they are preservative free. They also don’t have dried fruit so again are missing that preserving nasty.
Your bakery will also now start making fruit free buns, if Nuttella is not your thing. If it is your thing though, they also have a double choc bun - just for a little more decadence this Easter. Be quick though - Easter has a use by date!!
It's summer well and truly here today! I'm typing this blog post on what will eventually be a 43 degree day (109 Fahrenheit)- that is hot!!! And well and truly ice cream weather. But, what is the best icy treat to give the kids that isn't loaded with artificial rubbish?
Well here in Australia believe it or not the only icy fruit treat that you can buy off the shelf that is ok is these products from Smooze. I know - I can't believe it either, they are the only one!
They are a great treat as they have zero artificial colors, zero artificial flavors and use natural citric acid as their preservative. Their flavors are coconut based and even this is ok as they use pressed coconut milk, nothing dried.
They are flavored with fruit 100% fruit juices and purees - nothing reconstituted and no concentrates.
The flavors are:
Mango and Coconut
Pink Guava & Coconut
Pineapple & Coconut
For more nutritional information and stockists click here and enjoy these all Summer long guilt free.
The Festive Season has arrived quite quickly in my opinion and so that means turning our minds to thoughts of specific celebration foods. I try to make as much as I can this time of year but of course that's not always possible.
A great product to have on the Christmas table, share with friends at pre-holiday catch ups or send with the kids to school break up parties is Shortbread
It's sweet for those of us with a sweet tooth and fine festive fair (some even come in Christmas shapes!). What's more it's additive and preservative free! So instead of reaching for a packet of choccie biscuits take another look at grandma's old favourite - Shortbread.
You can add to that list as well Gingerbread! Another great favourite free of nasties. But be warned! Not all Shortbreads and Gingerbreads are baked equally. Once you start adding flavours and decorative colours and sweets then some thorough label checking is required.
Take for example those I have pictured. Walkers is a great brand as they are sold internationally and stick to your basic recipe of flour, butter, sugar and salt, so all good (unless you eat Gluten free).
The other clear package of flavoured Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread bites is not so straight forward. The pistacio's and cranberries have been treated with a sulphite and it lists an ingredient "natural flavours" - well what does that mean? Very obscure!
The other product pictured is Woolworths Elfies Gingerbread Men with iced decoration. Normally this would be a stay away product but in fact the iced colouring is made from Beetroots used for their red colour and Lutein used for it's orange colouring - both perfectly safe.
So feel free to spoil the littlies this silly season with these treats!
So you may have guessed that I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, and sometimes it is very hard to be chemical free when you want to sink your tooth into something sugary and syrupy.
With this month's pantry item you can indulge but not feel guilty and not have the chemical hangover the next day. I love meringues because they are quick and easy and an impressive dessert. You can of course make your own meringue but the idea of this site is to make life easy and educate on ready made alternatives.
In Australia the weather is warming up and that means BBQ season. It's also the lead up the festive season all over the world, so that means lot's of work break ups, school parties, thanksgiving meals and general get together's. When your asked to bring a plate or you volunteer to bring dessert why not try meringues!
You can serve with toppings like fresh fruit and cream, homemade fruit sauces, crushed honeycomb, homemade ice-cream etc. A plain meringue can be a nice little sweet treat occasionally in your child's lunchbox.
Varieties I recommend are:
Miss Meringues' Mini Meringue Cookies - Chocolate (not other flavors)
President's Choice Imported Meringue Nests
Coles Meringues Nests
Coles Meringue Natural Vanilla Flavor
Aldi Ashwood Meringue Nests
I do not recommend flavored varieties and those with colors. Also avoid if in Australia ready made Pavlova's. Try making your own with a Pavlova egg from the dessert aisle.
This time of year is party central for our family, we have a number of birthday parties and are invited to many leading up to the Christmas festive season.
Recently I discovered a way of coloring my children's cakes with these natural food coloring's from Hopper's Natural Foods.
They have a great range of colors and even sprinkles and 100's of 1,000's. You can order them online here and even though they are based in Australia they do overseas orders as well.
They are made from natural ingredients for example the orange is made from carrots funnily enough.
Just a word of advice, it is suggested to add citric acid to help brighten the colors - just don't add as much as me or your icing will be very lemony!! Check out my daughters birthday cake colored with Hoppers!
Ok, so it's no secret that I love convenience, and quite frankly by baby number 4 I think I deserve a little corner cutting. Yes, with my first two children I boiled, pureed and strained every fruit and veg in sight, but from number 3 it's been a slippery slope since.
Well now with products like Rafferty's Garden I don't have to feel guilty anymore. Why? Because what it says is in the product is all that is in the product. I am in fact feeding number 4 as we speak "Rafferty's Garden Apple, Pear & Cinnamon (and nothing else)" - yeah I am the ultimate multi-tasker!
I know packaging can lie, but in this case it's the packaging that helps the product. These new pouches of food that are coming on the market make it so that manufacturers can preserve the foods they make without chemicals - cool huh?
So in a nutshell I like these products because:
- they taste great - my children don't spit them back at me!
- they have great varieties;
- they are SUPER convenient and can be consumed anywhere;
- they have no additives and preservatives - period!
Of course most things do have a downside and I acknowledge this negative on behalf of all the environmentally conscience individuals out there (me included!)- yes it is a packaged product and this means a contribution to a landfill, however it is a package that squashes down and it's not suggested that you feed your child every meal this way.
They also make fruit snacks for your older children and with the Australian summer coming up they will keep well in the lunchbox and can be frozen to add a cold treat at recess.
Equally during the colder months it's a fun way to get all year round fruit into your children when they are over the ol' apples and oranges.
If you would like to know more about this New Zealand company go to www.raffertysgarden.com
By the way What's in the Pantry Reviews are not paid for endorsements - I write about it because I love it!!
Taylor number 4 enjoying his Rafferty's Garden lunch!
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Bec Taylor is a Capricorn so a lover of all things to do with organizing. Don't believe it? Look at her pantry! Yes, it looks like that all the time. Don't be a hater!