Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's be honest, I am addicted to Azure Standard too.  Every month I tell myself that I don't really need anything, but every month I order anyway.  At least I'm not ordering as much as I used to.  So I am not ordering any Sarah's Starts from Azure Standard this spring.  I made the difficult decision that I'm not going to try to put in a garden this summer and instead try to fix up the lawn and the horrible thistle-covered patches that were my first attempted gardens.  Too bad, some of the heirloom tomatoes looked so good.

This month here is what I ordered from Azure Standard.

Kombucha Wonder Drink Kombucha Niagra Grape, Organic - So far this is my favorite flavor.  I really love the grape, and so do my kids.  I don't drink kombucha every day, but I might drink one bottle a couple of times a week.  My kids would drink it all day, every day but I am hesitant to let them have too much.  I know it has all of these (supposed) health benefits, but I just don't want to get carried away with them considering the caffeine and alcohol it may have.  The last thing I need is for my 4- and almost 2-year-old kids to be chemically induced in any way.  Besides how great it tastes, for some reason this brand is so cheap it beats any kombucha I have ever seen in any store.  Of course, I decided to buy a case this month since I am now sure that we really like it and I added it to my cart without checking out.  Two days later the price of the case had gone up seven (!!) dollars.  I still bought it.
Natural Value Tomatoes, Diced, No Salt Added, Organic - These are my go-to diced tomatoes and I buy a case at a time.  This brand is organic and all of their cans are BPA-free.  They are also super cheap.  The tomato pieces are pretty large, so I usually toss them in my Vita-Mix and either blend them completely into a sauce or dice them up a bit more.  A couple of nights ago I tossed a can into the Vita-Mix along with a can of Natural Value Tomato Paste, Organic and some greek seasoning to top a pizza.  It wasn't quite authentic, but it was still pretty yummy.  My kids ate it, so I'd call that a win.

Natural Value Coconut Milk, Organic - This is the only full-fat organic coconut milk I have found that contains only coconut and water in a BPA-free can.  The cream layer is half the can and there is no way to shake it together again.  I use this in so many things, sauces, smoothies, and ice cream come to mind first.  I have also made iced coffee drinks with it and it is completely rich and decadent.  Honestly, I hate to admit it, but the price on a case of this coconut milk at Azure Standard puts Amazon to shame.  I get the organic case for only two dollars more than the non-organic case on Amazon.  We go through about a case a month.

Bionaturae Wildberry Fruit Spread, Organic - This has been on sale for the last few months, so I decided to give it a try.  We have had just about all the flavors, but this and the strawberry have been our favorites.  I love that it's all organic and it doesn't have any refined sugar added (it contains apple juice concentrate as the sweetener).  It doesn't have that cloyingly sweet taste, and I think it's a pretty decent compromise since I ran out of my own home-canned strawberry jam.  I would say that it doesn't have a really strong flavor like more traditional jams, but maybe that's because it doesn't have sugar.  My only other gripe is that the jar is pretty small so it doesn't last long.  It seems to me that there is always just a little bit left in the jar that isn't enough for anything.  Unfortunately, that means I usually end up eating that last bit with a spoon.

Fresh Produce Onions, Yellow, Organic - I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  We eat a lot of onions and I get a 3 lb bag for less than five bucks.  They usually have no problem with going bad before we can use them up, and they last just fine on the truck.  They are also usually good-sized instead of the small organic ones you can find in the grocery store.

Independence Cheese Cheddar, Medium, Raw - This is a new item for me.  I try to stick to raw, grass-fed dairy at home and it's not always the easiest thing to find.  I purchase my raw milk, butter, and cream from a local dairy but the price of their raw cheese is pretty steep.  My kids, my daughter especially, love cheese to snack on, so paying $18/lb just doesn't really make sense when we go through quite a bit of it.  I usually buy the sharp version of this cheddar, but it was unavailable this month.  It is also a cultured cheese, which is always a good thing, even if it isn't an active ferment with live cultures.  This brand is the least expensive one Azure Standard carries that is raw, pastured, and organic.  It also tastes awesome.  It comes in half pound packages so it's a more manageable size than the full pound blocks I was buying before.  One of the main differences I found between this one and the last brand I was buying, Organic Pastures Cheddar Cheese, Truly Raw, Organic, is that this one is much softer.  It really doesn't hold up well to grating.  It works, but the final bits just crumble.

Coconut Secret Garlic Sauce, Organic - This is a new one for me, so I haven't tried it yet.  I am trying to avoid soy at home, so I already use Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos, Raw, Organic instead of soy sauce.  It is a really go substitute, although a bit sweeter than regular soy sauce.  I decided to try this sauce first, because it was on sale, and second, because it only contains a few ingredients.  Something so simple as Organic Coconut Sap, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Ginger, and Organic Cayenne Pepper sounds like it should be easy to throw together for a quick sauce, but chances are this will taste a lot better than what I could come up with.  Not sure what I will use it for yet, but I'm thinking it will likely be something obvious like a stir-fry with some left-over meat.
Amore Vita Avocado Oil, Refined - This is also a new one for me.  I bought it specifically to make mayonnaise because avocado oil is very neutral in flavor.  I looked all over for organic oil, but all the options were either too large of a container or olive oil.  The last mayo I made was with olive oil, and while it tasted fine, it was a bit strong.  We don't really go through a lot of mayo, so it may actually be months before I get around to using this anyway.

So that was my order for this month.  I pick it up next Thursday at 6:00.  If I have one complaint about Azure Standard, it is this pick up time.  They changed it a few months back and it truly is a pain to drive 25 minutes to pick up my order right at dinner time.  I have to drag the kids out right when we are usually eating.  I still think it's worth it, though.

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