Hye Thyme Cafe: Review - Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Review - Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

I was recently contacted by the folks at Thought For Food & Son asking if I would be interested in sampling the product of one of their clients, Healthy Solutions Spice Blends. I had never heard of Healthy Solutions, but a quick scan of their website piqued my interest, so I let them know that I would love to try out some samples.

What first caught my eye was that their blends contain no artificial ingredients or fillers, and most contain no salt or sugar. That's one BIG problem with a lot of spice blends - way too much salt. I also like that their blends are packaged in resealable pouches. Although some get used up in one use, others contain many servings, so the pouches are very space-friendly for those with limited kitchen space.

Another thing that I appreciate is that they offer a recipe right on the back of the pouch. That comes in handy for those nights when you get home from work and don't want to waste time digging for recipes and spices to mix your own blends. Just whip out the pouch and get started with a few additional simple ingredients.

Healthy Solutions currently offers 16 unique herb blends and 3 rubs:
  • Authentic Chili / Tacos
  • Bold Beef Rub
  • Hearty Beef Stew
  • Italian Meatballs
  • Perfect Steak
  • Pork & Poulty Rub
  • Savory Meatloaf
  • Ultimate Burger
  • Cajun Seafood
  • Encrusted Haddock
  • Grilled Swordfish
  • Herb Crusted Tilapia
  • Lemon Pepper Scallops
  • Salmon with Dill
  • Sesame Ginger Tuna
  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Beef Rub
  • Port & Poultry Rub
  • Seafood Rub

The samples that I received were the:
  • Bold Beef Rub
  • Italian Meatballs
  • Savory Meatloaf
  • Ultimate Burger

I had just been on a run of making different kinds of meatballs, so I set that one aside, and was still recovering from all the Easter goodies, so a full-on roast beef dinner will have to wait. Instead, I focused on trying the Ultimate Burger and Savory Meatloaf blends and was very happy with both.

This is an example of what I was saying about the portions; for the meatloaf, I used one whole packet, while the blend for the burgers only required 2 teaspoons per 1.5 pounds of ground beef, so there is plenty leftover.

First up were the burgers. Not a whole lot of thought had to go into these beauties - just mix 2t of Ultimate Burger mix with the ground beef, form your patties, and grill. I love that you can see the little bits of red bell pepper in the burgers from the spice blend.

Next up was the Savory Meatloaf, which I was also impressed with. It was very flavorful and warranted my baking up a loaf of Oatmeal Bread the next day so the leftovers could go into sandwiches. This is an example of one of the blends that requires additional ingredients, but a lot fewer than if you were pulling together the flavorings as well.  

My one problem with this one was that the ingredients included Bread Crumbs without mentioning whether they should be fresh or dry. Generally, when something references just bread crumbs, it's for crispy breading purposes, so it would be dry, but for croquettes, meatballs, etc., you would use fresh to not suck up all the moisture. Someone who doesn't spend much time in the kitchen might automatically reach for that container of dry bread crumbs and not end up with a nice juicy meatloaf like that pictured below.

Where I grew up in Hingham, MA, there is a little restaurant called Strawberry Fair. That's the one place in the world where I will order meatloaf, and it's in sandwich form on their homemade oatmeal bread. That was what inspired me to make the oatmeal bread for my leftover meatloaf. I heated the meatloaf to melt some Gruyere (and a sprinkling of mozzarella) I had leftover from making French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwiches a while back. Yummm!

Healthy Solutions is based out of Milford, New Hampshire. Currently, their products can be found in several states in stores such as Whole Foods Market, The Meat House, Hannaford, and Market Basket. If not yet available in your area, you can order directly from the website.

A big thanks to the folks at Thought For Food & Son and Healthy Solutions for the opportunity. Although the samples were provided to me, this is not a paid post, and all opinions are expressly my own. It's too bad I'm not a seafood person - that Sesame Ginger Tuna sounds interesting. Hmm, maybe with pork ...

I wonder what blends they'll come up with next.  To find out, follow along:

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