Banza Pasta Review and Giveaway!

IMG_1311I’ll tell you right off the bat — my family loves this pasta. Every single one of us. We bought it for the first time about 2 months ago and it is the only kind of pasta we have bought since then. I have given away my other boxes of GF pasta because they just seem so un-nutritious (is that a word?) to us now — compared to Banza pasta. I don’t want to use the word “unhealthy” because, obviously, regular GF pastas aren’t junk food, but they are definitely nowhere near as healthy as Banza pasta is… Take a look at this comparison on the box:

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When I first saw boxes of Banza in Wegmans, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the great graphic design on the packaging and then the fact that it is made from chickpeas, which my daughters and I love!  Once I got home and had more time to read the box, I realized what a jackpot I had discovered…

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Banza vs. Gluten-Free Barilla
In comparing a 2 oz. serving of Banza with a 2 oz. serving of Barilla GF (what we ate before), Banza has 8 g. fiber while Barilla has 1.  Banza has 14 g. protein while Barilla has 4. Banza has 32 g. carbs while Barilla has 44. Banza has 4% calcium while Barilla has none. Banza has 30% iron while Barilla has none. Banza is non-GMO while Barilla is not. Calories are pretty even: Banza is 190 and Barilla is 200. Banza is made in the USA (yes!) and Barilla is made in Italy.

There are a few places where Barilla wins out: Barilla has 1 g. total fat and Banza has 3.5, and Barilla has no sodium while Banza has 60mg, if those comparisons are important to you. Barilla boxes are 12 oz. and Banza boxes are 8 oz. Lastly, Barilla is probably about $1 cheaper a box than Banza.

That being said, Banza still wins hands-down in our book, and we hope we never have to go without it. Banza has everything my family needs. We all struggle to get enough fiber (and Banza really helps), one of my daughters has low iron, and we all need more protein, which is why we eat this almost every night now. If it’s not the main course, it’s a side dish…

IMG_1309We make it according to the directions and then usually saute it with steamed vegetables, olive oil, garlic and a few spices…

Our new favorite way to use Banza is sauteing artichokes in olive oil, with garlic, garlic salt and oregano, then mixing in the cooked pasta, which tastes absolutely gourmet!

IMG_1304My daughters and I all love chickpeas so we knew we would like the taste of this pasta. We didn’t expect it to taste exactly like your typical GF pasta (usually made from corn, rice & soy) since Banza is made mainly with chickpeas, but we enjoyed the taste immediately. Even my husband (who doesn’t eat plain chickpeas) loves Banza and said, “This is all we are buying from now on,” because of the nutritional content of this pasta, mainly the fiber, protein and iron, which has been a game changer for our family.

IMG_1245Another way we enjoy Banza is topped with bruschetta and pesto…but it is also good with butter and parmesan cheese, or topped with spaghetti sauce.

IMG_1239We often have it as our main course, mixed with chicken, chopped artichoke hearts and a side of GF garlic bread — a meal I could eat every day.  🙂

Because regular GF pasta doesn’t have fiber, we hardly ever ate it, but now we eat Banza all the time because of the fiber….and protein….and iron, not to mention great texture and taste. It holds its shape like no other GF pasta I can think of. No more crumbly, tiny broken apart pieces of pasta. Just whole pieces from now on. We are never going back!

Check out Banza on Facebook and twitter to learn more.

And now for the giveaway, which I wish my own family could win!  😉
Banza has generously offered to donate one free variety case (6 boxes, mixed shapes) to one lucky winner!  All you need to do to enter is comment here and let us know WHY you are so excited to try Banza. Contest runs through December 1st at midnight. Then I’ll randomly pick a winner and email that person. If I don’t hear back within 24 hours I’ll pick someone else. U.S. residents only please. Thanks and good luck!


Disclaimer: Nobody put me up to this review and I bought all the Banza myself. I’m just sharing products that we love and I was not compensated in any way. Opinions are my family’s and my own.
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Blake’s All Natural Foods Review and Giveaway

Hello from soon-to-be-snowy Buffalo!  A chill is in the air and our long winter is soon to be upon us…156561_600

Of course, with two wood stoves and lots of wood cut and ready to burn, we keep it quite cozy around here for these 6+ chilly months. That being said, we still need our comfort food and quick meals on busy nights. Some of our easiest and yummiest go-to meals for jam-packed, wintry nights are waiting just inside the freezer. It’s a relief —when you have no energy to make dinner — to find these meals that just need to be baked before satisfying the whole family’s tummies.

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This is where Blake’s All Natural Foods come in with their “carefully handcrafted, made-from-scratch” gluten-free shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie….

Screen shot 2015-11-03 at 11.01.58 AM The main thing you need to do is plan ahead for baking time (375 degrees for 40 minutes for the shepherd’s pie, and about 50 minutes for the chicken pot pie.) And if your family has really large appetites, add a quick side dish. Other than that, just pop these in the oven and go get some stuff done til the timer rings. My entire family can attest that both of these GF meals are delicious, hearty and satisfying.

IMG_2089Blake’s gluten-free chicken pot pie boasts a tasty cornbread top crust and savory gravy, is healthy and filling (especially for a kid) and nice and chunky… As I said, there is just a top crust, which I love. It’s the perfect balance between crust and filling…

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As you break through the top crust with your spoon, you find generously sized chunks of potatoes, white meat chicken, tender peas and carrots in a light gravy…

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It makes for a very satisfying meal on a cold night, especially with a quick side like veggies, pasta or bread. Here is the nutritional information:

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Blake’s shepherd’s pie is equally tasty. After you fluff up those mashed taters, you’ll feel like you’re eating a freshly cooked, homemade meal.

IMG_2073The taste and texture of the sweet corn, mixed with the savory, mildly seasoned ground beef and warm potatoes is the perfect combination.

IMG_2082I don’t know what else to say except my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Here is the nutritional information:

Screen shot 2015-11-03 at 10.07.29 AMWe tried the “all natural” versions of these meals, but they are both also now available in organic!  And, although I haven’t been able to find it locally, Blake’s hearty beef stew is also gluten-free — and looks amazing!

You may also notice that the packaging has changed since we took these pictures, as this post, like others, has been a long time coming, and we have eaten Blake’s many times since then. Regardless of the packaging, what hasn’t changed is how delicious and wholesome these products really are. To learn more about Blake’s, please visit their website. To find their products near you, check out their handy store locator.

Now for the giveaway!  Four lucky winners will win FOUR FREE PRODUCT COUPONS each, courtesy of Blake’s (offer good up to $5.99 retail each item). There are 16 of these coupons to split between 4 of you.

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To enter, just comment below and let us know what you currently do for last-minute GF meals for your family on super-busy nights. That’s it. You don’t need to share it or tweet it or like anyone else’s page or do any of those annoying giveaway requirements other blogs have. Just comment below before midnight on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Then I’ll randomly pick 4 winners, email them and mail them their prizes once they get back to me with addresses. If I don’t hear back from anyone within 24 hours I’ll pick another name to replace them. Easy as chicken pot pie!  🙂


Disclaimer: Blake’s initially sent me 4 free products to try for this review but I have bought many more on my own since then.  I only promised an honest review and was not compensated in any other way. Opinions are my family’s and my own.
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For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter,
and be sure to check out the online photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.