Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate Review

The Perfect Hot Beverage for a Cold, Snowy Day

Hot chocolate in a mug  on a table with winter decor

It turned out to be a bit of a winter wonderland today. It was only the second official snowy day of the season – but it was quite beautiful to see the city blanketed in a coating of snow this afternoon. Even if it only lasted for a little while.

It’s days like today that remind me of snow days of my youth – where my siblings and I would spend a few hours outside playing in the snow until we were nearly frozen. At the point of our faces turning red from the cold, we would head inside and would be greeted by our mother welcoming us back in to the warmth with mugs of hot chocolate. Back in the day, the hot chocolate was typically a Swiss Miss packet with marshmallows that would slowly melt (if we didn’t pick them out and eat them first). Those were the days!

In my adult years, I haven’t consumed hot chocolate as often – mostly because most commercial mixes are so darn sugary and probably because I tend to crave more caffeinated hot drinks like coffee and tea these days. However, I am so excited to have found a new healthy hot chocolate mix that has clean and organic ingredients, features adaptogens in the form of mushrooms and is so easy to make. You just add water!

Introducing Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate

A photo of Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate packaging

Laird Superfood is an amazing wellbeing brand that is probably most famous for their healthy alternatives to coffee creamers. (I still have to try their coffee creamers as well as their other amazing products.) The brand, co-founded by elite surfer and health entrepreneur Laird Hamilton, first emerged about five years ago and has expanded significantly especially over the past few years. Laird Superfood products are now showing up everywhere – Costco, Walmart, Amazon, REI, Whole Foods, Kroger, and even at my local health food stores.

I first heard about the brand while watching the host of one of my favorite YouTube channels for healthy shopping ideas, FlavCity, rave about the Laird Superfood Coffee Creamer in Costco. Following the video, I googled the brand and landed on their official website. I was captivated by the brand’s story and broad portfolio of products. I decided to purchase the Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate on the spot that day. I must have been craving chocolate.

Top Notch Clean Ingredients

When my Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate arrived a few days later, I was immediately impressed by the plant-based hot cocoa ingredients – which do not contain any fillers, additives, can sugar or artificial ingredients, colors, sweeteners or chemicals. It’s also dairy free, gluten free, vegan, soy free and non-GMO. Which means it works for just about any diet around.

And all but one of the ingredients are organic. Here is the full nutritional profile of the product:

The ingredients and nutritional profile of Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate

Functional Mushrooms Add to the Nutritional Profile

Many of us are not strangers to functional mushrooms – as they are popping up in many products on the store shelves and in our pantries. Adaptogenic mushrooms (Chaga, Reishi. Lion’s Mane, Maitake, etc.) have been used for centuries to support overall wellbeing. And these and other functional mushrooms are in many of the other products that I consume including Four Sigmatic Coffee and Rebbl protein drinks.

Laird Superfoods have added Reishi, Chaga and Maitake to the hot chocolate powder – which definitely elevates the nutritional profile. For more information about the benefits of these adaptogenic mushrooms, click here. And if you are curious, you can’t actually taste mushrooms in the mix. They blend in perfectly with the cacao, coconut milk and cinnamon flavors.

Just Add Water or Milk

It can’t be any simpler. All you need to do is add 3 1/2 tablespoons of the Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate powder to a mug with 8 ounces of hot water or your milk of choice. (When I use milk with this hot chocolate powder, I use unsweetened almond milk.) It’s equally as delicious with water or almond milk.

After I add the powder to the hot water/milk, I use a handheld mixer to create a frothy, delicious beverage. I use a simple frother like this one: click here. You can also use a spoon or small wisk if you don’t own a handheld mixer/frother.

My Review

Five stars graphic

I give Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate 5 of 5 stars. It is not too rich, but definitely satisfies any craving for hot chocolate. I love the brand’s commitment to only using the best ingredients without any added fillers , cane sugar, or junk. I feel good about consuming this beverage and with no guilt- which definitely is not the case with other hot chocolate beverages. The powder is a bit pricey ($10.95 for 8 ounces) but it will likely last a long time as it is not something that you will indulge in every day. Now, with this product in my pantry, I am super excited for the next cold, snowy day to make a fresh mug of this amazing stuff.

Weekend Comfort Food – Healthy Pizza

A picture of healthy gluten free and dairy free pizza

Delicious Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pizza Recipe

Well, it’s finally the weekend after a seemingly never ending week. A stressful week coupled with chilly, damp weather outside is really making me crave good old comfort food. And not just any comfort food …. pizza to be more specific.

Pizza is probably the meal I’ve missed most since I changed my diet about 9 years ago. Back in the day, I probably ate pizza at least once a week, Having worked in NYC for many years, pizza was always the easiest to-go item to pick up during a quick lunch break or on the walk after work to the subway. After I removed gluten and dairy from my diet, finding the perfect gluten free crust and dairy free cheese alternative has been quite the challenge. Finding decent fake “cheese” has been the trickiest by far. But lately, there are more and more viable options to choose from at the supermarkets and big box stores.

Well, after much trial and error, I think I found the perfect crust and cheese combination to satisfy any pizza comfort food craving. Plus, the recipe below requires very little prep time and uses some ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. I picked up the other ingredients, such as the crust, “cheese” and sauce using Whole Food’s curbside pickup service – which has been my favorite way to shop during this pandemic. You simply order via the Amazon app, select a pickup time, and park in one of their grocery pick-up designated spots. An employee will pack your groceries in your trunk and you will be on your way. It’s completely free! (Delivery is also available if that is more your jam, but fewer slots are available and delivery charges apply.)

Finding the Best Crust & Cheese

The easy recipe below uses Cappello’s Naked Pizza Crust – a frozen grain free, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, certified paleo, soy free and non-GMO ready-to-use pizza crust. The crust is made with an almond, arrowroot and cassava flour base. It also includes a few other clean ingredients such as cage-free eggs, organic coconut milk, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, psyllium husk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey. It’s not only the cleanest gluten free crust that I could find, but also the tastiest. This crust retails for $6.99 at my Whole Foods. (Cappello’s also makes the best tasting gluten free fettucine. Check out there other products here.)

Capello's Naked Pizza Crust and Violife's  Just Like Mozarella Shreds

Like I mentioned earlier, finding good cheese alternatives has been quite the challenge. The simple recipe below features Violife’s Just Like Mozzarella Shreds, an excellent vegan alternative to shredded mozzarella cheese. It’s honestly the closest in taste and texture to cheese that I could find – without the odd aftertaste common with most dairy free cheeses. It also melts very similar to real cheese. Although it is not quite paleo because it contains some rice starch, it has a clean and simple list of ingredients. It’s not something that I would purchase often, but I give it a pass to use on occasion to satisfy a comfort food craving. It retails for $5.29 at my Whole Foods location.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients featured in this article

What you will need:

  • Cappello’s Naked Pizza Crust (frozen)
  • Violife Just Like Mozarella Shreds (a few handfuls)
  • Pizza sauce (I used a 1/2 of a small jar of Rao’s pizza sauce)
  • A few pinches of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of minced onion seasoning (or garlic or any other seasoning that your prefer)
  • A handful of arugula or basil for finishing

Steps

  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Per Cappello’s instructions, place the baking sheet in the middle rack while the oven preheats. (I sprayed the sheet with an olive oil cooking spray.)
  2. Remove Naked Pizza Crust from the plastic and cardboard tray. Place the crust on the preheated baking sheet.
  3. Add the pizza sauce and spread it to cover the pizza crust.
  4. Sprinkle salt on the sauce and add the minced onion or any preferred seasoning.
  5. Add a layer of the Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds. (Note: don’t pile on layers of cheese otherwise it won’t melt evenly.)
  6. Cook until the cheese is golden brown (13-20 minutes based on your oven speed).
  7. Remove from the oven and add the arugula or basil.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
The various stages of making the pizza - from bare crust to finished pizza with toppings

This is a once-in-a-while treat that will be sure to satisfy any pizza craving. Beyond indulging in the occasional comfort food like pizza, here are some tips for how to de-stress during stressful times. Here’s to a nice, relaxing weekend for us all!

Purely Elizabeth. Cauli Hot Cereal Review

Purely Elizabeth. Cauli Hot Cereal - Strawberry Hazelnut option

Oatmeal used to be a breakfast favorite and a permanent staple in my pantry. It’s quick, filling and is the perfect breakfast for a cold, snowy day like today. However, on my quest to clean up my diet, I researched oatmeal a bit more. I discovered that most oatmeal on the supermarket shelves, especially the single serve and instant options, are anything but healthy.

For starters, most instant and single serve oatmeal options include a ton of added cane sugar – to the tune of up to 12 grams of added sugar. Plus, they may contain other questionable ingredients like syrups, “natural flavors” and a long list of additives and preservatives. In addition, and probably most scary, is that oats contain glyphosate, the toxic weed-killer in the pesticide Roundup. (Click here for more details. If you can’t bear to give up oatmeal, products that contain organic oats are best – although they may still contain trace amounts of glycosphate.)

And of course, many people like myself who embrace a paleo-based diet are eliminating grains – making oatmeal a no-no. And lastly, oatmeal may be hard to digest for many. While it will likely keep you full for a few hours, oats can be hard on the stomach. Oats contain a protein called avenin, to which some people are allergic to intolerant to. Others may experience a prolonged heavy stomach feeling or some discomfort as you digest the oats. With all that being said and after putting oatmeal on full blast, I am excited to have found a delicious, grain-free “oatmeal” option.

A Ground-breaking New Oatmeal Alternative

I originally came across Purely Elizabeth.’s (and yes they include a period as part of their brand name) Cauli Hot Cereal when placing my latest Target curbside pickup order – which I wrote about here. I am sometimes slightly suspect of cauliflower-based products because cauliflower products are EVERYWHERE these days (rice, crust, crackers, pasta, etc.) and they can sometimes be hit or miss. But, thanks to the Target app, I was able to read the label before adding it to my cart – and the label alone made me want to try this product.

Right on the label, Purely Elizabeth.’s Cauli Hot Cereal claims to be the “first-ever oat-free, cauliflower-based breakfast.” Yes, it is completely grain-free and is also certified gluten-free, non-GMO and certified vegan. Although two varieties/flavors are currently available, this review focuses on the Strawberry Hazelnut variety.

How Does it Look?

Cauli Hot Cereal before the water is added

Upon removing the freshness seal, the Cauli Hot Cereal looks somewhat similar to oatmeal. The big difference is the cauliflower “flakes” are not as robust as actual oats and are smaller than the nuts and seeds included in the cereal.

What are the Ingredients?

I am beyond impressed with the simple clean list of ingredients, many of which are organic. What delights me the most is that cane sugar is not used at all; instead, the paleo friendly coconut sugar alternative is the chosen sweetener. And only 4 grams of added organic coconut sugar is included in one container.

The ingredient list of the Cauli Hot Cereal

What is the Nutritional Profile?

As mentioned above, the single serve container only contains 4 grams of added sugar (with 8 grams of total sugars, which include the natural sugars from the strawberries and other ingredients) – which is a whole lot better than most single serve oatmeal on the market. Each Cauli Hot Cereal container also includes 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 40 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of total fat and small amounts of calcium, iron and potassium. And, an entire container is only 190 calories.

How do I Make Cauli Hot Cereal?

Kettle of hot water

Preparation is very similar to single serve oatmeal. You simply add boiling water to the marked fill line and wait 4-5 minutes to steep. For a quicker option, you can add water to the fill line and cook the container in the microwave for 60 seconds. For a much longer option, the package includes instructions for overnight “oats” which features soaking the oats in milk for 4+ hours. My one recommendation regardless of preparation is to mix everything together with a fork or spoon for about a minute before eating.

How Does it Taste?

While the overall texture is surprisingly similar to traditional oatmeal (with the exception that the Cauli Hot Cereal is a bit crunchier), the taste is drastically different. It took me a few spoonfuls to get used to the taste, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. You do taste a bit of the cauliflower, although it is not as overpowering as I thought it would be. The blend of hazelnuts, almond powder, coconut flakes, coconut sugar, flax seeds and chia seeds is quite tasty. On a disappointing note, I didn’t really taste the freeze-dried strawberries – which one would expect to have a stronger presence in this cereal given that the variety is called Strawberry Hazelnut.

What Varieties are Available?

From what I could find out, it looks like only Strawberry Hazelnut and Cinnamon Almond varieties are available online and in stores. The Cinnamon Almond variety is similar nutritionally compared to the Strawberry Hazelnut variety, except that the Cinnamon Almond variety has a bit less sodium (20 mg vs. 40 mg). It’s important to note as well that online reviewers rate the Strawberry Hazelnut variety a bit higher than the Cinnamon Almond variety – although I enjoyed both equally.

Where Can I Buy It?

As I mentioned, I bought it via Target’s same day pickup through their app. It’s also available for purchase directly from Purely Elizabeth.’s website and at some grocery stores. It is a bit more expensive than single serve oatmeal (which you can often find for about $1 or so) and can range in price from $2.79 – $3.35, depending on the store or website. If you prefer to buy in bulk, Amazon sells a 12 pack for $33.99 (or $30.24 for the Cinnamon Almond variety).

How Do I Rate Cauli Hot Cereal?

Overall, I give Cauli Hot Cereal (Strawberry Hazelnut) 4.25 out of 5 stars. Of course, it is wonderful to even have a hot, grain-free cereal option at all as a breakfast option. I love the inventiveness of Purely Elizabeth. to produce a healthy product that is a much better hot cereal option for most people than oatmeal. While I enjoyed the flavor, I was most impressed that I could eat the entire container without experiencing that heavy, bloated feeling that often follows after eating oatmeal. I subtracted .5 stars because the strawberry flavor was too subtle for my liking. And I subtracted .25 stars because while most ingredients are organic, I would have preferred that all of the ingredients were organic. That’s just being nit picky thought, because the ingredients are super clean.

Purely Elizabeth.’s Cauli Hot Cereal is definitely worth a try if you are looking for a grain-free hot cereal option to replace oatmeal.

Target Grocery Haul – Paleo & Healthy Food Finds

Who doesn’t love Target? Pre-pandemic, it was one of my favorite stores to aimlessly wander on a Saturday morning and fill my cart with items for my home, pantry, fridge, freezer and more. These days with the pandemic ever present, I’m not walking around any stores; however, I am loving curbside grocery service.

Target offers one of the best contactless curbside shopping services where you can submit an order through the app, employees will do your shopping for you using your list and will bring your order directly to your car – all within a few hours of submitting an order through the app. It’s often difficult to get same-day curbside pickup slots at other stores, but Target always has curbside same day pick-up availability in my area.

Beyond convenience, Target has really upped their game by carrying many healthy items at fabulous price points. Here are a few great Paleo & healthy food finds from my latest Target grocery haul:

1. Birch Benders Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix – $4.99

Birch Benders Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix

Quick, tasty and grain-free pancakes are so easy to make with Birch Bender’s Paleo & Waffle mix. You just add water! The clean and diet-friendly ingredients produce fluffy pancakes that will satisfy any pancake craving. See my full review of this product here.

2. Applegate Naturals No Sugar Uncured Bacon -$4.59

Most bacon on supermarket shelves are loaded with sugar, preservatives and questionable ingredients. That is why I normally buy bacon from ButcherBox, who offer clean, sugar-free bacon as an add-on to their monthly curated meat subscription boxes. When I run out of ButcherBox bacon, Applegate Naturals No Sugar Uncured Bacon is my favorite stand-by option. As the name suggests, Applegate Naturals adds no sugar to the bacon and as an added bonus, it is Whole30 approved.

3. Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil – $8.49

Avocado oil is the perfect oil for high heat cooking; however, a 2020 study from UC Davis concluded that 82% of avocado oils on the market are rancid or mixed with other oils. With so many fraudulent avocado oils on the market, it’s important to do your research before adding any avocado oil to your cart. Chosen Foods and Primal Kitchen offer some of the best, pure avocado oils on the market. Although a bit pricey, this Chosen Foods oil at Target is the rare, real-deal and will last you a long time. (For additional information about the best oils for cooking, click here.)

4. Swanson Sipping Bone Broth – $1.79

Swanson bone broth

Bone broth has been all the rave for a while now. A few years ago, people used to line up at hip bone broth places in New York City to score overpriced cups of bone broth. Now there are more options to heat up some healthy bone broth at home. While it is fairly time consuming to make your own bone broth at home, quality, pre-made bone broth is now available at stores like Target. This tasty sipping bone broth from Swanson is super affordable and feature surprisingly clean ingredients.

5. Siete Grain Free Taco Shells – $5.99

Siete Grain Free Taco Shells

Avoiding corn and grain? Taco Tuesdays are now back if you can snag these grain-free taco shells at Target. The shells taste just like corn taco shells, but are non-GMO. Siete is a ground-breaking new brand who also offers delicious, grain free tortilla chips as well as clean taco seasonings, dairy-free queso, enchilada sauces, salsa and more.

6. Purely Elizabeth. Cinnamon Peanut Butter Grain-Free Granola – $5.99

Simply Elizabeth. grain-free granola

Purely Elizabeth., a relatively new and exciting brand, offers some of the cleanest breakfast foods on the market. When I am craving cereal or granola, this is my go-to choice. Although a bit pricey, this grain-free granola flavored with cinnamon and peanut butter is made from clean ingredients like almonds and seeds, includes MCT oil for brain health and energy and is satisfies both sweet and savory cravings.

7. Purely Elizabeth. Strawberry Hazelnut Cauli Hot Cereal – $2.79

Purely Elizabeth. Cauli Cereal

Speaking of Purely Elizabeth., they also offer on-the-go grain-free cauliflower-based hot cereals. Just like oatmeal (but without the grain), you only need to add water for an instant breakfast. The single serve cereals come in several varieties including strawberry hazelnut and cinnamon almond and have the same consistency of traditional oatmeal.

8. Primal Kitchen BBQ Ranch Dressing & Marinade – $5.79

Primal Kitchen BBQ Ranch Dressing

It’s often difficult to find salad dressings and marinades without gluten, dairy, soybean oil (or other seed oils), sugar, “natural flavors” and other sketchy ingredients. Primal Kitchen is one of my favorite paleo friendly brands for salad dressings, BBQ sauces, mayonnaise, oils and more. Most of their dressings, like this one, include quality avocado oil and stellar ingredients. Although pricey, Primal Kitchen dressings are a step above most others on the grocery store shelves.

9. Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara – $7.39 (on sale)

Rao's Homemade Sensitive Marinara

One of the best tasting marinara sauces in the market has to be Rao’s Homemade. While you can find countless others at lower price points, none will rival the taste and clean ingredients of Rao’s. And Rao’s is one of the few tomato sauces that does not contain added sugar. Rao’s offers an assortment of sauces, including this sensitive formula which does not contain onions or garlic – which is unheard of with marinara sauces.

10. GimMe Organic Sea Salt Premium Roasted Seaweed – $1.99

Roasted seaweed snacks

If you are craving a salty, healthy snack on-the-go, these roasted seaweed snacks are a great option. With only three ingredients and no added sugar, these non-GMO and USDA certified organic are low in calories and include nutrients like iodine, calcium, potassium and iron.

This List is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

In addition to the great finds above, Target is an excellent place to shop for nuts (slivered almonds – $3.89), organic fruit (organic raspberries – $3.99), organic salad (organic spring mix lettuce – $2.59), organic canned pumpkin – $1.99 and so much more.

Paleo Pancakes – Birch Benders Pancake & Waffle Mix Review

Every once in a while, I crave pancakes for breakfast. It’s usually on the weekends and after a more intense morning workout. I always find this craving to be somewhat odd because I was never too fond of pancakes growing up. (The sames holds true for bagels; while everyone else in my family looked forward to “Bagel Sundays”, I was never a fan … probably due to gluten sensitivity which wouldn’t be diagnosed until many years later.) These days, my diet is (mostly) Paleo and pretty clean. When I do get these random pancake cravings, finding quality pre-made Paleo pancake mixes with clean ingredients has always been always challenging.

Sure, I could always whip up some pancakes from scratch using gluten free flours, eggs, baking powder, salt, oil, almond milk, etc. And I’ve done that many times. Not all recipes or flours are created equal, though. And I often got mixed results. With all of the ingredients and preparation apparatus required, my kitchen was always left in disarray afterwards. (But hey, if you have time and don’t mind some clean up, check out my tasty pumpkin pancakes recipe here.)

I have also tried pre-made mixes before from some of the better known brands (Bob’s Red Mill, Kind Arthur, Stonewall Kitchen, etc.). Some required added ingredients like eggs or (dairy free) milk which really didn’t save much time (or mess) compared to making pancakes from scratch. While most of these mixes tasted great, I was not always thrilled with the less than stellar and sketchy ingredients in some – which include cane sugar, rice flour, potato starch, artificial additives, natural flavors, oils, etc.

Finally a Clean Paleo Pancake Mix!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a video posted by FlavCity (who provide paleo and keto shopping tips and content on YouTube), which featured the Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix variety. I was impressed by the clean, simple ingredients. Although the Keto mix is not an option for me since I avoid dairy, I researched the brand and discovered that they also offer a paleo-friendly version.

As the name implies, the paleo version is grain free and contains no added sugar. The ingredients are clean and simple: cassava starch, organic coconut flour, almond flour, eggs, salt, monk fruit (a natural sweetener that does not impact blood sugar levels), and spices.

Ingredients are so clean!

Preparation is Easy

In addition to the amazingly clean ingredients, what I love most about this pancake mix is that you only have to add water. That’s it! You simply mix 3/4 cup of the Birch Benders paleo pancake and waffle mix with 2/3 cup of water and it is ready to go.

I typically add two large spoonfuls of the mixture it to a large frying pan at a time with a tablespoon or two of avocado oil. I flip the pancakes after about 2 minutes and give it a good 2 minutes to cook evenly on the other side. The mixture is enough to make about four small to medium-sized pancakes.

How Does it Compare to Traditional Pancake Mixes?

I am impressed. The pancakes come out fluffy and cook just like regular pancake mixes (including those both with and without gluten). They are slightly lighter in color compared to other pancake mixes. The texture is identical to traditional pancakes, though.

In terms of taste, the pancakes are absolutely delicious. I promise that they will satisfy any pancake craving. I do find the pancakes to taste a bit sweeter than traditional pancakes, which is likely due to the cassava starch and monk fruit natural sweetener. So, your taste buds will notice a bit of a taste difference. In the future, I will likely experiment with adding some vanilla collagen powder and/or canned pumpkin to the mix.

Due to the heightened sweetness, I recommend limiting the amount of maple syrup that you pour on the pancakes and possibly pair it with a less sweet fruit like berries. To balance out the sweetness of the pancakes, consider adding a savory side like a piece of bacon.

My overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Where Can I Purchase Birch Benders Paleo & Waffle Mix?

Birch Benders is a bit pricier than most traditional pancake mixes, but many health minded people like myself are likely willing to pay more for top quality, clean ingredients. The cheapest options that I could find are at:

Amazon ($4.88)

Walmart ($4.88)

Target ($4.99)

Click on the links above to try some for yourself today!