Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mooney Farms Bella Sun Luci Review and Giveaway!



Mooney Farms began as a small, family-owned company operating out of Northern California. They first sold kiwis to local farmer's markets, but then introduced their famous Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes. Their very first batch sold out quickly and it was clear that they had a unique recipe which would bring them much success. In 1994, Mooney Farms relocated to Chico, California, where they would expand to a 100,000 square foot building. Mooney Farms now sells a variety of healthy, Mediterranean-style food products which are sold across the country. They pride themselves upon creating authentic and quality flavors and on being a company that is based on family values and integrity.


Mooney Farms sells the following variety of products:
  • California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Greek Oregano, Basil & Garlic
  • California Sun Dried Tomato Halves
  • California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut
  • California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Italian Basil
  • California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Zesty Peppers
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs - Halves  
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs - Julienne Cut
  • Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with whole pinenuts  
  • Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta with Italian Basil
  • California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sun Dried Tomato Risotto  
  • Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Sauce
  • Basque Norte Meat Marinade
  • Carne Asada Meat Marinade
  • Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves in Olive Oil 35oz.
  • Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut in Olive Oil 35oz. 
            
 

They also have the following gift basket selections available for order on their website (perfect for any occasion!):

  • The Mooney Family Story Gift Box - $49.95
  • Gourmet Marinade Basket - $44.95
  • Mediterranean Pantry - $59.95
  • Dinner for Two - $54.95
  • California Olive Oil Double Pack - $28.00
  • California Olive Oil Single Pack - $15.00

Besides their great taste and distinct flavors, Mooney Farms' products also have many health benefits. Being that their products are Mediterranean-inspired, they contribute to what has been referred to as the "Mediterranean diet". This diet has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, as well as heart disease. There have also been implications in the prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The diet favors olive oil to butter and herbs and other seasonings to salt. Fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and grains are all an important part of the diet, while red meat and sweets are generally avoided. This diet helps to inspire a long, healthy, and active lifestyle. Bella Sun Luci products are all based in 100% pure olive oil. The sun dried tomatoes have "12 times the amount of Lycopene than a raw tomato"; Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can lead to a reduced risk of many cancers, heart disease, and even digestive problems.

Mooney Farms' products are all certified gluten free and kosher. If you do not use the entire jar of sun dried tomatoes in your recipe, not to worry! They will last for approximately 6 months in the refrigerator.



Mooney Farms was generous enough to send me the entire package of Bella Sun Luci products shown above. They sent: Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs - Julienne Cut, Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs - Halves, Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta with Italian Basil, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Greek Oregano, Basil & Garlic, California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Italian Basil, and the California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Zesty Peppers. What an amazing package! There are so many possible dishes and appetizers to create with sun dried tomatoes that I hardly knew where to start. I had never tried the Bella Sun Luci tomatoes previous to writing this review, though I have had other sun dried tomatoes in the past. I love the Mooney Farms has such a wide variety of flavors available, literally for any kind of dish you could hope to prepare. Their products are relatively inexpensive (averaging $2.99/3.5 oz bag, $4.99/8.5 oz bag) and a little goes a long way.

For dinner one night, my family decided to help me create "Mediterranean Chicken" - a recipe listed on the Mooney Farms website. It was an easy and inexpensive dish that looked and tasted gourmet. Everyone in my family loved it and devoured it...we had no leftovers for the following day like we usually do! The Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs really provided the flavor and distinction for this recipe. They went perfectly with the chicken and artichoke hearts. These tomatoes really had a stand-out quality compared to ones that I have tried in the past. Generally I cannot taste sun dried tomatoes in a dish, but here, they were a complement rather than overshadowed. I think that if you use Mooney Farms' products, you will definitely be pleased and maybe even opened to the idea of sun dried tomatoes if you were ever turned off to them or if you haven't tried them before. They are tasty, filling, and healthy to boot! Here is the recipe that we were following from the booklet that Mooney Farms sent with my package:

Ingredients

  • 1 Jar - 8.5 oz. Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs
  • 1 cup well drained, chopped artichoke hearts
  • 4 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly to an even thickness
  • 4 cups hot cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain sun dried tomatoes, reserving oil.
  • In a large mixing bowl blend 1/2 cup of the drained tomatoes with the chopped artichoke hearts, Feta and Parmesan cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper.
  • heat reserved olive oil (from tomatoes) in a large skillet placed over medium heat; when hot, add chicken and sear both sides to light brown.
  • Remove chicken to oven-proof casserole dish and arrange in a single layer.
  • Top chicken with tomato-artichoke mixture. Place uncovered dish into the preheated oven and bake 20-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  • mix remaining sun dried tomatoes with the cooked rice and almonds.
  • Press 1/4 of the rice into a cup or large ramekin, then invert onto plates.
  • Rice should come out in a molded shape, repeat.
  • Place chicken on top of each serving of rice and sprinkle with basil leaves.
The only thing that we skipped were the almonds, because we weren't sure how that would taste. We also used fresh basil from the garden! I was surprised at how well it turned out, because I really am no cook. Here are pictures of the preparation and final results:


 


 
 


Another night, we chose to select an appetizer from the recipe booklet that Mooney Farms sent us to go along with our main course. We chose the "Sun Dried Tomato Artichoke Dip"...can you tell we love artichokes yet? For this recipe, we utilized the Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves in Oil. I am so excited because I have found a new party favorite! This is the perfect dish to bring to your next pot-luck or event. I guarantee your friends and family won't believe that you made it, and will think that it took much longer to create. It plates very nicely, and could literally be paired with anything to dip -- we used tortilla chips, but I bet it would taste great with a baguette, or any type of vegetable. Here is the recipe we followed from the Mooney Farms' website, and afterward are the pictures of our creation:

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or diced
  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, diced
  • 6 Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves in Oil, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a glass 9-inch pie pan or baking plate mix cream cheese, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Using a large fork, blend together.
  • Add the Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, parmesan cheese and basil. Stir together until well blended.
  • Flatten dip with fork or spatula so dip is an even layer in pan.
  • Sprinkle top with the Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Bake at 375º degrees for 16-18 minutes.
  • Dip should be golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with sea salt bagel chips or your favorite cracker.

 


I would love to hear your ideas for future recipes that I should try with my remaining Bella Sun Luci products! I am taking the rest to my new apartment so my boyfriend and I can whip up some new dishes in a few weeks. I will be sure to report back with the rest of my creations. So far, these products get an A+!

Interested in learning more about Mooney Farms and their products? Check out the links below:



One lucky reader will win their own Bella Sun Luci prize pack, courtesy of Mooney Farms! All you need to do is enter on the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers, 18 and over, unless you have permission from your parents. Please be honest when submitting Rafflecopter entries -- remember, I DO check all of your entries for verification, and I will throw them out if they are false. If the form has a spot for you to enter information, please provide me with the appropriate username, link, etc so that it is easier for me to verify your entries! I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize, that is the company's duty. I will contact the winner via email (so make sure to use one that you check) and you will have 48 hours to respond with your shipping information. If you have any questions or if the Rafflecopter is not working properly, you can always contact me via Facebook or email (links on the sidebar). Good luck!!

42 comments:

  1. I'd love to try the Mediterranean Chicken recipe. It looks so delicious and tempting

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  2. i would like to try Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Sauce

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  3. The California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Greek Oregano, Basil & Garlic sound wonderful! I home make our sandwich rolls each week, and this would be a wonderful addition to the rolls.
    bethelderton59 at gmail dot com

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  4. Sun Dried Tomato Deviled Eggs recipe.

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  5. ANy of the sun dried tomatoes would be great I use a lot of them and I would love to try Mooney Farms - Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs

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  6. I'd love to try the Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  7. i would like to try Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Sauce


    agnesye@hotmail.com

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  8. The sun dried tomato deviled eggs sounds delicious!

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  9. Bella's artichocke salad recipe sounds amazing!
    Ttrockwood(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Ttrockwood

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  10. Commented on goose valley review
    Ttrockwood(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Ttrockwood

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  11. Sun dried tomato artichoke dip for sure!

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  12. tomato and artichoke pasta sauce ftw

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  13. I'd love to try Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with whole pinenuts - I'm a total sucker for pesto! :)

    Angela Rhodes
    nofearpapertiger AT Gmail.com

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  14. I'd like to make the Italian Prosciutto Panini - thank you.

    barbara dot montyj at gmail dot com

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  15. I would love their California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut. I would use it in salads and pastas.
    twinkle at optonline dot net

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  16. I would like to try the dried tomato halves. They look so pretty.

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  17. Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Sauce. I make my own pasta, and that would be ideal on top with a bit of grated cheese. I love Italian food.

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  18. California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Italian Basil

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  19. http://www.mooneyfarms.com/recipes/recipe/creamy-mushroom-sauce-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-chicken-and-pasta. sounds delish! chefl@swbell.net

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  20. Tomato & Artichoke Pasta Sauce sounds sooo good!

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  21. I have tried their sundried tomatoes in oil with italian herbs and I love to make home made cream sauce with sausage with it, yummy!

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  22. i am obsessed with sundried tomatoes, and theirs are the only way to go.

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  23. Commented (as Salleefur/Jesselyn/Jesster) your Coconut Peanut Butter review (thank you - very helpful!) here is the link:

    http://thesecond-thought.blogspot.com/2013/07/earth-balance-review.html?showComment=1373419512901#c4920133016463790126

    Jesselyn A/Jesstinger
    jessterlyn(at)aol(dot)com

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  24. heather: the dried tomato halfs hg temp addy at hot mail dot com

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  25. I'd like to have the California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Italian Basil
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  26. I'd love to try the Basque Norte Meat Marinade! It would be great for many recipes.

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  27. Id like to try the Amazing Ribs recipe that was entered in the recipe contest.

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  28. If I won the prize - I'd probably make ALL of those mouthwatering recipes - maybe starting with the Award Winning Recipes - Just because I would have to start someplace!

    One that immediately caught my eye is the :http://www.mooneyfarms.com/recipes/recipe/sun-dried-tomato-and-shrimp-pasta-with-artichokes-mushrooms

    (But I am sooo eager to try the Lamb Burger recipe!

    Jesselyn A/Jesstinger
    jessterlyn(at)aol(dot)com

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  29. California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Greek Oregano, Basil & Garlic.

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  30. I'm drooling over the thought of the Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta with Italian Basil! YUM!!

    Thanks!
    Samantha
    jamesmadison1974@gmail.com

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  31. I would like to try the sun dried tomatoes. I would probably use them in some dips or spreads at barbecues.

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  32. I would love to try Bella Sun Luci's Basque Norte Meat Marinade.

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