Review of Skinny Pop Popcorn

Popcorn is often a safe dairy free treat for me to enjoy and can make a nice change for a treat to enjoy on the go as an alternative to a packet of crisps. So on my recent adventure across America I popped into Whole Foods and found the aisle with the popcorn in the hope that I could find some that was safe to me to eat. Surprisingly, it was quiet hard to find some that were safe for me to eat. Luckily, I found a multipack of Skinny Pop popcorn that was safe to eat. So I grabbed to have as my savoury snack to enjoy on my travels.
img_0821
I loved the simplicity of the packaging of this popcorn with the mini packets of popcorn looking like coming towards you to be eaten. On the front of the packaging it is clearly labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for vegans. On the ingredients list to the popcorn popped maize, sugar and sunflower oil are listed. As I got this popcorn in America the regulations on food labelling is slightly different. The popcorn is labelled to the back of the packaging as being dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free.
img_0824
img_0820
On opening the bag I was greeted by a faint subtle salty aroma. I did my usual close sniff up test and this didn’t change. On closer inspection inside the bag the popcorn looked like even sized pieces of the popcorn which looked plain. This was a positive to me as I didn’t want my popcorn to be too salty. On biting into the popcorn I immediately got the taste of plain popcorn this was preceded by a subtle taste of salt the strength of which was spot on. The texture of the popcorn was just right. I experienced a combination of textures initially it was slightly crunchy followed by a light airy softness of the popcorn. This popcorn was a great safe savoury treat for me to enjoy whilst on my travels. In fact the large multipack didn’t last long. Luckily, I was able to stock up at local convenience stores. I even took some home with me to enjoy on the plane on the way home.
img_0823
So would I recommend this flavour of popcorn? Gosh yes I would. I liked everything about this popcorn from its simple packaging, through to its flavour and textures. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet why not give this popcorn a try as a savoury treat. So thank you Skinny Pop for producing a nice popcorn I can enjoy as a treat. I shall be buying some more of your popcorn on my next visit to America.

Merry Christmas

img_0745
Just a quick post to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. I hope that you have a fun packed and reaction free day. I’m have to confess to getting a little excited about the big day. This year we are staying with my family and my sister is doing the entertaining. She has had fun trying to accommodate those of us with a dairy free and gluten free diet. A one stop supermarket shop just wasnt possible as I’m sure many of you share the same experience as this. She even did a trial run for the main meal with a little help from my nephew Jon. Who was very proud of his gluten free Yorkshire puddings. So here’s to our very first family free from Christmas. All I have to do is turn up with some festive tea to enjoy later in the afternoon.

Dairy free breakfast in New York

image
On our first full day in New York my body clock was all out of synch I was starving at 5am. I checked on Google and nowhere local was open. I was surprised we were staying on Wall Street, maybe this was why. There was a local bagel shop that did vegan options but it wasn’t open for another 2 hours. So it was breakfast buffet in the hotel for $30! I explained that I had a milk allergy and asked what I could have. The staff were very helpful and knowledgable. It was a no go for all pastries, toast, scrambled eggs and certain cereals. They offered me freshly cooked eggs which I accepted. I asked if I could have fried eggs, which was no problem. I was unable to have the bread and asked instead if I could get my own bread which they were happy for me to do. Thank goodness for my Tesco’s free from bread. They also offered me almond milk as well as the regular soya milk to have in my tea. Of course I politely said no thank you. I ended up with melon and bacon to start. Bread and egg followed by corn flakes and locally made honey. This was of course accompanied by the obligatory earl grey tea. This was a typical holiday breakfast for me that filled me up nicely for the morning. I was just glad that I took my emergency Tesco’s free from bread.

Eating out in New York and being dairy free

The first stop of our American adventure was New York. After checking into our hotel we went straight to a local Irish pub whose name escapes me, sorry. I got a menu no allergen listings noted. I had forgotten how much easier it now is to eat out in the UK. I opted for a simple green salad with no dressing and a mini steak. I hoped that this would be OK. I explained to the waitress that I had a milk allergy so could I have the salad just plain and a well done steak. This was no problem. The salad soon arrived. It was indeed green salad with tomato cucumber and a fair bit of onion. The steak was well done yet tender and had a simple herb and spice topping. It was a simple safe dinner to start our wee little adventure.
image
On our second night out we found ourselves at yet another Irish pub. This time it was MCGees it’s the bar which they based How I met Your Mother on. Again no allergens marked on the menu. I explained to the server that I had a milk allergy and needed something from the menu that was dairy free. I asked to check that the fish and chips would be OK. Sadly not. She explained that a simple burger and chips was safe. So that is what I had. The burger was simple beef burger in a bun with some fries.
image
The burger was nice beef patty that had a simple seasoning that tasted a tad of black pepper. The bun was nice and bouncy and soft inside. The fries were not as crispy or as fluffy as I had hoped but we’re fine. To be honest I was expecting a larger burger as I was starving as it had been a long time since breakfast. So if I’m honest I was still a bit hungry, but better to be that than be ill. We then headed to Times Square before returning to the hotel where I had a cup of tea and some bourbon biscuits. If I’m honest I was a tad disappointed by my food I think it is where we ate. I have been lucky to visit before and found it a lot easier. Maybe I need to return just check that I was unlucky this time.

Review of Bigelow earl grey tea

As a girl who it is fair to say is addicted to tea my little adventure across America was a bit of shock to me. I had been warned that it may be difficult to grab a cup of tea but gosh this so true. I have never really had a problem before but perhaps that is because of where I had previously visited. I missed my tea but especially my earl grey. I always asked if tea was available did they have any earl grey, often the answer was no. When it was yes the tea of choice seemed to be Bigelow. So of course I just had to do a review on my blog.
img_9796
Onto the ingredients list tea leaves and natural oil of bergamot is listed. No allergens are highlighted and there is no may contain warning.
img_9800
On opening the package there was an aroma of a strong black everyday tea with a hint of bergamot intermingled with this. I was unable to work out what tea this was. I thought that it would be a strong black tea as the recommended brewing time was two minutes. I let the tea infuse with the hot water for this time. What I noticed was the tea immediately infused with the hot water and turned to a medium dark brown colour. Despite this I let the tea infuse as instructed. This indeed resulted in a stronger looking tea. But what about the aroma? It simply seemed to be sadly lacking. On my close up sniff test it did indeed smell of a black tea, but I struggled to find that bergamot aroma. On sipping the tea it tasted like a reasonable quality black tea, but I just couldn’t taste that bergamot. I was a little disappointed to say the least. On a positive at least I was able to have a cup of tea and trust me that’s was a big thing for a tea addict from the UK. Also its strength meant that I was able to re steep the tea and have two cups of weaker tea as it was too strong for me at the recommended brewing time. As I was always given two teabags I saved some to take home and remind me of my fantastic holiday. So I gave the tea another try at home to ascertain if it tasted any different with freshly boiled water and in a nice tea cup. Sadly, both it’s the aroma and flavour were just the same as I remembered.
img_9801
So would I recommend this earl grey tea? I’m afraid not. The tea was a little too strong for me and only had a very feint hint of bergamot noted. Sorry Bigelow but this tea just wasn’t for me.

Flying Business class with British Airways and being dairy free

I was very lucky to fly business class with British Airways to start our American adventure. Now, I am lucky in that I have flown long haul on several occasions previously. Each time I dread the meal times as more often than not I can’t eat the food. It is not uncommon for me to be given gluten free instead of dairy free or contains milk. As a result I always assume that I can’t eat the food and take a large supply of goodies with me to eat on the plane. I checked the menu for a flight and none of the choices available were suitable as they all contained milk. I was a tad disappointed as I had secretly hoped that I wouldn’t have to order a special meal. So I pre ordered my meal not knowing what I would get. I made sure that I made the most if the business lounge having a large breakfast so that I wouldn’t be hungry on the flight. It didn’t take long for the meals to be served. Normally mine always comes before everyone else’s, not on this flight. It came at the same time. I didn’t expect much. I asked what it was and checked that it was indeed dairy free. It was and to my disappointment the crew didn’t know. The first course came which I assumed was my main meal, but no there was more to come. I greeted by chicken on a green purée with a side salad. It turned out to be a cold chicken breast on avocado. The texture from the chicken breast went well with the smoothness from the avocado. The salad was fresh and crispy, the oil dressing added the little extra. I was struggling and this was only the starter.
image
image
image
Onto the main course. I think this was cod, although I could have been wrong. This was accompanied by picked vegetables which I think we’re carrots and fennel, a tomato and a green mash. I have no idea what the mash was. I really enjoyed the pickled vegetables as this mad a nice change. The fish was ok. It’s flavour was pretty non descript and it was slightly dry in textures as if it had been overdone. I’m afraid I didn’t like the green mash, what ever it was. It was smooth with intermittent lumps and I don’t think we’re meant to be there. I much preferred my starter and I’m afraid it just didn’t seem to compare to everyone else’s main meal.
image
Onto to dessert I had high hopes for this. Please don’t let it be fruit. I always get fruit and this is not a pudding. I got a jelly with a few berries scattered in it. I had hoped for more but hey ho. The jelly was light and refreshing but l just couldn’t work out its flavour sadly. We then got our post meal tea or coffee. This was a bog standard stewed black tea for me. Where was the Twinings tea that I had read about? A real disappointment.
image
The time soon arrived for afternoon tea. Everyone had finger sandwiches and scones with jam and cream. What would mine be? A pre packed tuna and mayonnaise roll with fruit kebabs. I know it’s not easy catering for food allergies / intolerances but it just didn’t compare. It’s not hard to source free from cakes instead of fruit. My roll was ok, it was dry with a reasonable filling and crumbled as I ate it. My fruit kebabs were nice but not the same a proper cake / scone. As for the tea I politely declined the bog standard tea and asked for mint which is what I got.
image
image
image
image
In summary it is the best food that I have been offered on a plane. What I would suggest is that crew should know what the food is, so that you can enjoy the experience like everyone else. I personally like to know what I am going to eat. I would also like a proper dessert to enjoy not fruit or jelly. The Twinings tea on request is great for a tea addict like me. It should be openly offered like the alcoholic beverages you shouldn’t have to ask for it.

Review of Mighty leaf organic earl grey tea

Our first part of our journey on the California Zepher started in Chicago. We got complimentary use of the lounge whilst we waited to board the train. My friends went exploring to find out what food and wine they could sample I went straight to the hot drinks section. To my amazement there was a little selection of teas and it wasn’t Lipton. It consisted of earl grey and decaffeinated breakfast teas from a company called Mighty leaf. As you can as you imagine I was a little excited. So I got a cup added the hot water and grabbed a teabag, or silken package as I later found out.
image
image
I Googled the Mighty leaf website to check the ingredients and it consists of organic black tea leaves and organic bergamot oil. No allergens are highlighted in the ingredients list and there is a no may contain warning. It is also listed as being gluten free and suitable for vegans.
image
image
On opening the package there was a delightful aroma of bergamot intermingled with a slightly strong black tea. I was unable to work out what tea this was. Not only was this a posh teabag it smelt wonderful. This was looking promising. It had a recommended brewing time of 4 minutes, so I let the tea infuse with the hot water for this time. What I noticed was the lack of aroma it had simply disappeared, even on my close up sniff test it just about smelt like a weak everyday black tea. On sipping the tea it tasted like a reasonable quality black tea, what had happened to the bergamot ? I was a little disappointed to say the least. On a positive note I preferred it to the Lipton tea that had been on board the train on our trip from New York. So I had another cup as I knew that I was about to embark on a long journey with limited access to tea. I also grabbed an extra one to have on the train after my dinner. I put this somewhere so safe that I couldn’t find it. I found it once I had unpacked at home. So I gave it another try to ascertain if it tasted any different with freshly boiled water and in a nice tea cup. Sadly, its the aroma and flavour were just the same as I remembered.
image
So would I recommend this earl grey tea ? I’m afraid not. The initial exciting aroma just seemed to disappear and I was unable to taste the bergamot. Sorry Mighty leaf this tea just wasn’t for me.