Chilling in Walnut Creek

Chilling in Walnut Creek

The next day, I woke up earlier than everyone else (6am of course) but forced myself to go back to sleep just for a little bit. My cousin got up to make coffee a little over an hour later. I wanted to get a run in, so I opted to have coffee when I came back.

I ran along the Iron Horse Trail for 10 miles, and when I came back my cousin and her wife had left for the gym, haha. My sister and I spent the rest of the morning just chilling around the house.

Quiet Saturday morning
Quiet Saturday morning

When my cousins came back, we wanted to go out for some fresh air while they caught up on house errands/work. My sis and I used that time to go into downtown to pick up snacks and walk around.

Walking around downtown Walnut Creek
Walking around downtown Walnut Creek

I noticed that they had an acai bowls shop by the name of Vitality Bowls, and I remember I had bookmarked it years ago as a place I wanted to visit if I ever stopped by in the East Bay. My sis also wanted to get a bowl, so we stepped inside.

Vitality Bowls
Vitality Bowls

There was ample seating inside, and despite the cold temperatures outside, there were many groups of people inside eating away at fruit-filled concoctions that were held in wavy-shaped stainless steel bowls.

whaisgraviola
My sister and I spent a good amount of time pondering over what is graviola…

My sister was craving a bowl that had ample amounts of banana and peanut butter. I wound up getting a classic Vitality Bowl.

bowlz
On the left ~ a Nutty Bowl with an almond milk base, apple juice, PB, banana, strawberries and flax seed topped with granola, (more) bananas, almonds and honey // On the right ~ a Vitality Bowl made with organic acai, bananas, strawberries and flax seed and topped with granola, honey, bananas, strawberries, and (not enough) goji berries

I loved my bowl, but wish there had been more goji berries. The base was also somewhat more watery than I expected, and my sister’s bowl base seemed to be as thick as ice cream. The stainless steel bowl kept things nice and cold however.

close up
Close-up shot of my Vitality Bowl šŸ™‚

After finishing the bowls, my sister and I headed back to the apartment. We just worked on our computers and enjoyed the company of my cousin and her wife. One of

their friends came over for tax help, and my cousin got started on cooking dinner while the NBA All-Star game played in the background. My cousin ended up making a “less spicy” version of Pad Kee Mao. The original recipe called for 22 chili peppers, but she generously cut that down to 7.

pad_kee_mao
Pad Kee Mao that wasn’t supposed to be spicy, but still was!

Even so, everyone commented on how spicy it still was! I however like spicy food, and didn’t find it off-putting one bit.

After dinner, we played a card game called Judgment that my cousin’s wife was a pro at. She beat us all by a wide margin. Soon after that, we called it a night and retreated back to our rooms. We had plans to go into the city the next day, so we had no problem turning in early to save up our energy for that. šŸ™‚

Vitality Bowls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The 100 Degrees Solution

The 100 Degrees Solution

Over the weekend, temperatures reached record highs, and it was extremely hot! It made no sense to walk outside, but did I consider that? Obviously not…

I wouldn't have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!
I wouldn’t have tried this refreshing treat had I not stepped out in the hot sun!

But I don’t regret that decision too much because I finally tried an acai bowl! At Kreation Organic, in the “fancy” Beverly Hills to be exact šŸ˜‰

I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!
I thought the utensils were organized really well, haha!

I stepped in and wasn’t sure where to look because the walls were covered and everything was calling my attention! I did spot the “cacao” Amazebowl on their wall menu though, and decided that sounded delicious enough to order. In the meantime, I sampled their kale chips…

Or should I say, chip??
Or should I say, chip??

My bowl came out in a compostable bowl, and I was ready to rip the plastic bowl off! Looking at this meal in front of me, I realized that this is probably the only way I will be able to get my fruit intake up (and eat bananas) !!

The Cacao Amazebowl - cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.
The Cacao Amazebowl – cacao, soymilk blend with banana and almond butter, topped with bananas, strawberries, apple, bee pollen (!!), granola, and honey.

The bee pollen sprinkling was so eye-catching.

kreation_organic 3JPG
Oooh bee pollen….

The following day, my acai/smoothie bowl craving was still going strong! Sunday was immensely hot, and so that craving was very much justified. Since I was on my way to Sprouts for some grocery shopping, I stopped inside Bon Bon Berry and tried the Aloha Bowl (as much as I did want to try the chocolate flavor, I decided to go a different route to change the flavors I try)!

Strip mall smoothie bowls...anything to cool off on a hot day!
Strip mall smoothie bowls…anything to cool off on a hot day!

Since absolutely no one was walking outside, I wasn’t surprised that no one was indoors either. But at least it was at least 30 degrees cooler inside (or at least it felt like it)! I ordered the bowl at the counter, found a seat near the far wall, and waited for my bowl to come.

Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!
Empty because no one is outside, to come inside, on this hot day!

Unlike the bowl from the day before, the Aloha bowl I had before me was covered in coconut shreds and more fruity in flavor, perhaps due to the mango and banana combo. It still had granola and honey swirled in.

Aloha Bowl!
Aloha Bowl!

Obviously not as fancy as the Kreation Organic bowl, but it was just as satisfying. The customer service was great too, and it seemed like they really took care in fulfilling the order and making sure the bowl was cold, refreshing, and full of flavor!

You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!
You can never have too many close-ups of an acai/smoothie bowl!

Are you a fan of acai/smoothie bowls?

Kreation Organic Juicery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smart for Life Product Review

Smart for Life Product Review

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid to write this review.Ā This review is based on the products and information I received fromĀ Smart for Life. Ā All opinions are my own.

At the start of the new year, I got a pretty hefty box waiting for me at my doorstep.Ā Upon opening, everything was wrapped up in thick tissue paper and a kind letter was on top:

Smart for Life (2)

Smart for Life is best known for their cookies and protein bars, but since they contain gelatin, they were thoughtful enough to send me their vegetarian items. These included two flavors of their shake bottles, zero calorie creamer, and two flavors of water enhancers. They also sent two soup packets, but unfortunately I couldn’t have those after a second look at the ingredients…

Shake Bottles

TheĀ shake bottlesĀ jumped out at me first, of course. They come in the flavors below, as well as strawberry.

Smart for Life Shakes in 'Chocolat' and Vanilla.
Smart for Life Shakes in ‘Chocolat’ and Vanilla.

There was a fill line on the inside which gave a guideline as to how much water to add. After filling up the bottles with the appropriate amount of water, it was time to shake things up—literally!

SFL SmoothiesFrom the two, I preferred the vanilla flavor. It had a nice, distinctive vanilla aroma, and even though it had a sharp aftertaste, it wasn’t so sharp as the chocolate flavor.Ā  I wasn’t expecting the such boldness from a shake, but you get used to it after the first couple sips.

Tomato Soup

Smart for Life (4)

I was all set ready to try the soup packets, planning on mixing both packets and adding some cubed tofu, but noticed that unfortunately, one of the ingredients was Chicken Stock Base. I was disappointed, but I knew someone in my lab building could make use of it, so it didn’t really go to waste.

Liquid Samples: Creamer and Water Enhancers

I am not a big fan of creamer, so my opinion on this specific creamer may be biased. I like good old fashioned milk in my coffee (even almond and soy milk I donā€™t mind), but I did give this Smart Coffee Creamer a try one morning.

Smart Coffee CreamerTaste-wise, the addition of the creamer caused it to have a bitter aftertaste (probably from the coffee since there wasnā€™t any milk to mask it), but appearance-wise, it looked almost identical to my regular morning cup. Ā Itā€™s a good fake-out, but unless you are a creamer fan, you may not enjoy the taste (they do have a French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavor, however, and those may taste better).

Smart for Life (1)

To be honest, I was somewhat hesitant to try the water enhancers, the newest in their product line. Iā€™m not a big fan of sugary or sugar-free drinks—including Gatorade. I donā€™t mind fruit-infused water (cantaloupe-infused water tastes phenomenal!), but overall, I prefer my water as is.

Smart for Life 'Water Enhancers'!

But everything deserves a chance, and even though theĀ AcaiĀ Pomegranate flavor looked way too similar to cough syrup, I poured and mixed 3mL (the suggested serving size–approximately 0.6 of a teaspoon) into a glass of water.

Acai pomegranate water enhancerThe verdict? Even though it was powerfully sweet, I actually liked how it tasted. I wouldnā€™t recommend drinking this before going on a run though. Thatā€™s what I did, and my stomach didnā€™t feel too well as a result.

Peach Mango water enhancerPeach MangoĀ tasted like a toned down/carbonation-free version of Fanta. I have a preference for the AcaiĀ Pomegranate from the two.

Even though these products are marketed as ‘diet’ products, they can be supplemented with other foods to make a more substantial meal. I could easily see the water enhancers as a substitute for Gatorade (at least in terms of flavor), and theĀ shake bottlesĀ could be paired with an english muffin with PB or a nutritious omelette for a go-getter’s breakfast. It would have been nice if the soup was made with a vegetable base versus chicken, as it could have made for a nice broth for some soft tofu cubes or stock for a vegetable stew!

‘Enhanced’ water or plain water—what’s your preference?

Are you a fan of creamer?

Recent Eats: Bars & Yogurts

Recent Eats: Bars & Yogurts

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you may already know about my penchant for all things bar and yogurt-related. When I get the chance to try a new bar or yogurt, I will not just leap at the opportunity, but pounce and devour on whatever bars/yogurt I’m set out to try. Though that may sound extreme, it’s pretty much true ;)!

I’ve been wanting to try a Vega product for some time now, so when I saw this Vega Vibrancy bar at a decent price, I couldn’t help but purchase it:

Vega Vibrancy Bar Chocolate Decadence
Vega Vibrancy Bar Chocolate Decadence

The bar itself is small, but it has a chewy and crispy texture from the chia seeds. It was actually similar in taste/texture to another chia bar I had recently. I was also pleased to see some interesting ingredients in this bar likeĀ Vega SaviSeed (sacha inchi) oil and white chia seeds. Yes, white chia seeds.

White Chia Seeds!!
(source)

These bars can get pretty pricey for the amount you get, but I can’t wait to try the others in this brand in the future!

Another neat find was this new bar from Starbucks that my Dad found for me.

I love trail mix bars!
I love trail mix-esque bars!

I am guilty for not celebrating the return of fall with pumpkin (insert baked good, drink, etc. here), so shall I just count the pepitas in this bar as my first dose of pumpkin ;)?

On the yogurt side of it all, I finally got the chance to try the Chobani Flip Key Lime Crumble flavor…and wow was it a home run!

New favorite Chobani yogurt....dare I say it....even better than Strawberry Banana?!
New favorite Chobani yogurt….dare I say it….even better than Strawberry Banana?!

Seriously, could anything taste better than key lime yogurt + mini white chocolate chips + graham cracker crumbs?! I think not! Sorry strawberry banana Chob…I think this is my new favorite flavor ;)!

But I would be lying if I said the above yogurt didn’t have any competition…

I feel like this is the most "rare" Chob flavor...
I feel like this is the most “rare” Chob flavor…

Lemon Chobani is a decent enough rival. It’s citrus vs. citrus when it comes to these two yogurts. While I do love the lemon flavor, and how it was evenly blended (it wasn’t a fruit-at-the-bottom type of yogurt like usual Chobanis), it does leave that tangy aftertaste that even toothpaste can’t fully get rid of. Nevertheless, the body and flavor of this yogurt is truly satisfying.

If you want to talk about body though, let’s talk Siggi’s.

This is Fage-level good!
This is Fage-level good!

I had the Acai & Mixed Berries flavor, and this yogurt was extremely thick…comparable to Fage’s plain yogurt! The berry flavor was overwhelming (in a good way), so no toppings were necessary. Straight from the cup and into my belly was the perfect way to enjoy this dairy delicacy!

What foods have you enjoyed eating recently?

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