December Degustabox

December Degustabox

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

The last Degustabox of 2017 was a fine one:

December Degustabox
December Degustabox

I could pretty much have everything except one item in this batch, so I’d say that is a pro for this month’s box. The majority of the items were also savory, but it was a nice balance between snacks and meal prep items.

The first item I tried was the box of Good Thins, The Beet One.

The Beet One
The Beet One

These chips (more like thin wafers) had a crisp, tangy flavor, which made sense since their flavor was “balsamic vinegar and sea salt” after all. Given their size and small thickness, they packed a flavorful punch! It almost like they had a hint of tomato/ketchup flavor too. 

Another salty and savory snack/condiment item featured in this month’s box were these Suckerpunch Gourmet Pickles. 

Suckerpunch Spicy Garlic Originals
Suckerpunch Spicy Garlic Originals

The pickle slices were cut at a substantial thickness, had a distinct crunch, and were actually sweeter than I thought they’d be, given that they were supposed to be “spicy garlic originals”. Funny thing was, I only noticed one small pepper at the top, and a couple of garlic cloves at the very bottom of the jar.

I actually made it a priority to try this bottle of Brianna’s dressing, since in times past I often didn’t get to review the bottles in time for review. Lately, I’ve been adding to crockpot bowls comprised of cooked cabbage, bell pepper, and potato slices, but there was one occasion where I drizzled it over some firm tofu that I needed to use up. This dressing flavor is an exquisite combination of honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and grape juice—uniting savory and sweet in a creamy blend. 

Brianna's ~ New American Creamy Balsamic
Brianna’s ~ New American Creamy Balsamic // Dressed up some tofu with it. 

Ozrey Bakery provided a coupon to redeem a product for free, since their products are bread/bakery items made fresh. I often passed by their brand of items during my trips to Sprouts, eyeing the intriguing morning rounds they are well-known for. I was able to finally figure out how they tasted, and I chose the Apple Cinnamon morning rounds to try first.

Ozery Bakery Morning Rounds ~ Apple Cinnamon

The morning rounds were soft and chewy, and had faint hint of cinnamon spice. I tried them toasted as well as straight out of the fridge, and while it did taste less “doughy” after toasting (actually it may have brought out more of the cinnamon flavor!) I liked how it tasted in either form.

For a quick lunch in lab, Cauli Rice came in extremely handy (starting next year, they’re rebranding as Fullgreen). I was given the Original and Spicy Chicken flavors to try. I gave away the chicken flavor, but the original flavor was easy to cook up. It simply required a microwave, and after a two-minute spin, the cauli rice was hot, fresh, and ready to be flavored before devouring.

Cauli Rice + Pesto
Cauli Rice + Pesto

This month’s box included a small bottle of Barilla Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, which I mixed into the cooked cauli rice. I had a voracious appetite before consuming this plate, given that I had spent the morning doing some low-impact cardio, dropping off my sister at LAX (and getting to the Southwest drop-off zone is a nightmare, believe me), and then fighting traffic to drop-off the car before coming into lab.

Barilla actually made up quite a few of the products in this month’s collection. Along with the pesto, ready-made pasta, breadsticks, and sandwich cookies were featured. Carb heaven.

The Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives had a crunchy texture much like the previous flavor of breadsticks I reviewed.

Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives
Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives

These had less of a tangy flavor however, and I could definitely detect the strong olive notes. I had them plain this time around rather than adding them as a topping or mixing them into a meal. 

I featured the Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies on my instagram, noting the following: “These Baiocchi sandwich cookie rounds from Mulino Bianco, consisting of a smooth hazelnut and cocoa creme sandwiched between two buttery shortbreads, were so flavorful and made for a nice after-dinner dessert. The shortbreads were slightly dry, but it didn’t take away from the overall delicious-ness of these cookies 🍪 😋”

Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies
Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies

They weren’t exactly Double Stuf Oreo status, but they were satisfying as they were.

Of all the Barilla products in this month’s box, I was astounded by the Ready Pasta Gemelli. Even the name sounds cute, haha!

"A warm pasta salad 🥗 🍝 for a chilly winter night ❄️"
A warm pasta salad 🥗 🍝 for a chilly winter night ❄️

The pasta is described as “an all-natural, fully cooked pasta that’s ready in the microwave in just 60 seconds. Made with 3 simple ingredients – a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and “al dente” Barilla pasta” Even though I know it’d be better to have more time to cook rather than rely on the convenience of a microwave, I can’t deny that I favor the convenience. And this pack of pasta? When I mixed it with some cooked cabbage and carrots mixed with that Brianna’s dressing I described above, it made for a quick, delicious dinner!

Which of these products would you want to try the most?

August Degustabox

August Degustabox

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

This month was full of pleasant surprises and reunions. I kicked it off with a low-key birthday with lab mates, a fun weekend with a long-time friend, and my sister’s arrival and permanent move to SoCal (at least for the next two years!)

I’m so behind on posts—including my monthly Degustabox review! And this month surely did NOT disappoint!

August Degustabox
August Degustabox

This month’s box included snack items made with unique ingredients, a throwback to a childhood favorite, a creamy sauce for stirring into warm dinners, a nut butter brand I’ve been longing to try, and an item I was able to easily prepare and bring to my lab potluck.

The pasta chips were the most unique items in the box this month, at least in my opinion…as well as the most flavorful! I received a bag of flat Rosemary-flavored Pasta Chips, as well as “Meatball Parm” flavored Pasta Bow-Ties. Both flavors are vegetarian though, and are made with semolina flour (just like pasta).

Pasta Chips - Rosemary
Pasta Chips – Rosemary

Of the two, I liked the bow ties the best due to their sharp crisp and hollow center. The Rosemary ones had a much more herb-y smell (not surprisingly), they had a nice crisp to them as well.

Pasta Bow-Ties - Meatball Parm
Pasta Bow-Ties – Meatball Parm

I love how there is always something in these boxes—at least one—that can be incorporated in my crockpot dinners. Sharwood’s cooking sauces was something I came across before, but I absolutely loved the Sharwood’s Creamy Coconut Korma.

Sharwood’s Creamy Coconut Korma topped on steamed vegetables

These Welch’s berry-flavored fruit rolls brought me back to my elementary school days for sure! I do remember the ones I used to have had a thicker consistency. These were harder to peel off the paper…

Welch's Berry Fruit Rolls
Welch’s Berry Fruit Rolls

Of course, I can’t ignore the chocolate goodies! Goya’s Maria Cookies were previously included in a Degustabox, and this time around, the classic biscuits were used to make a chocolate cookie sandwich.

Goya Golden Maria
Goya Golden Maria Sandwich Cookies

I wish they had some more of the chocolate cream filling, but these would definitely work well paired with a hot cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate!

Cream filling, but where is more of it??
Cream filling, but where is more of it??

When I saw this sample pack of NuttZo in the box, I pretty much jumped for joy.

NuttZo 2go – Chocolate Peanut Pro

I have been wanting to try NuttZo for the longest time, and this sample pack was the answer! This flavor was definitely slick and oily, but that made it easy to squeeze out of the packet. I hate it when nut butters get stuck to the sides of their containers—such a waste of material and money, haha!

And these Nature’s Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bars were another snack product I’ll oftentimes pass by in the grocery store but never think to buy. They definitely had a heartier, grainy texture and a dense amount of filling. Nothing like those generic flat Fig Newtons or even those Nutri-Grain bars.

Nature's Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar
Nature’s Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar

I’m not a big M&Ms fan, but when I spotted this bag of Sunspire Sun Drops, I couldn’t resist but eat them right out of the bag! Sure, I could have shared them with my landlords (the lady loves to make chocolate chip cookies and these certainly could have made her next batch pop with color), but I enjoyed popping them into my mouth one by one.

SunDrops Milk Chocolate Candies

Before coming across this bag of tostones chips, I was not aware of their existence. Apparently they are twice-fried plantain slices, and are pretty much the definition of a chip. I love how the back of the bag emphasizes that THEY ARE NOT BANANAS.

Goya Original Tostones Chips
Goya Original Tostones Chips

I had to give up trying the Dole Peaches in Strawberry Gel Cups, due to an ingredient I usually avoid, but one of my labmates helped himself to two for breakfast the day I brought them in.

Dole Peaches in Strawberry Gel Cups
Dole Peaches in Strawberry Gel Cups

That same labmate also held a lab potluck a few weekends ago, and along with some store-bought tortilla chips, I “made” some hummus…with some help from Hummustir that is.

Mediterranean hummus ready to-go!
Mediterranean hummus ready to-go!

It was really simple to prepare since the ingredients were all included and fit into the container. It all even came with a small wooden spoon! I basically added the large packet of chickpea puree first, then the tahini, followed by the spice packet. And since I received the Mediterranean flavor, the flavor mix provided a gentle blend of lime and garlic. Even though it joined the ranks of many other bowls of dips and bags of chips at the actual venue, it was still a top-notch quality spread given that it was made with convenience in mind!

Which of these items makes you think of summertime the most?

Yes, It’s Done!

Yes, It’s Done!

It’s so hard to believe that the past couple of months had me so anxious/stressed all over one little day. Well, on Tuesday I passed my qualifying exam, and it literally felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I had been working on it for so long that I forgot what it felt like to go out on the weekends and explore the city.

Now the only major thing left in this whole grad school thing is getting to the end—defending a dissertation and graduating! That won’t be for at least another 2.5 years, but I honestly think the hard part is over, at least in terms of academic requirements.

Last week however, I was feeling 10x more stress and anxiety compared to how I feel now.

Last Thursday, I stayed home to work from home. I was glad to save time from commuting, and I even squeezed in a run and Whole Foods/Vitamin Shoppe stop before heading home to work.

RX Bars

To my surprise, I found two new-to-me RX bars at Whole Foods, and snacked on them at the store.

Coffe Chocolate had a rough texture and the chocolate chips against the coffee flavor was strong, and overall I thought it was alright. I truly loved Apple Cinnamon though—tasted like Apple Pie if one added nuts into the crust!

Coffee Chocolate // Apple Cinnamon

I also had a Smores flavored Combat Crunch bar that I picked up from Vitamin Shoppe, and it tasted like a higher-quality Milky Way bar. Basically a Milky Way bar with a thicker, crispier, crunchier chocolate-coating shell.

Smores Combat Crunch

On Saturday, we got a day break from the rain. I used that to my advantage and went out for a ~11 mi run. I was thinking about attending the women’s march taking place in downtown, but my priority was working on my PowerPoint presentations.

Uplifter’s Kitchen

Before heading to work, I had to get some breakfast in me. I ended up going to Uplifter’s Kitchen for a quick, small bite in a cozy atmosphere. Despite it being sunny, the temperature was still chilly from the rain.

Where to order

I ended up getting a seasonal mixed berry scone with a cafe latte on the side made with almond milk. I could have consumed this on the go, but I truly did want to give myself a break before transitioning to work mode.

A seasonal mixed berry scone with juicy fruit!

This scone was encrusted with sugar crystals, and the blackberries and strawberries were so juicy!

Also got a latte with my scone 🙂

The latte on the other hand, was sub-par. Maybe because they hadn’t sweetened it themselves, and when I got it I was too lazy to figure the right amount of sweetener to add. At least the frothy part looked pretty, and it was made from locally-sources almond milk? That is a plus, right 😉 ?

Picked a seat by the wall.

I also later found out that my scone made a difference! Haha, apparently, the proceeds that Day were going towards organizations that support women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality and protection from discrimination for immigrants. I was thrilled to hear that, and safely came to the conclusion that I was able to contribute to the day despite my own personal to-do list 🙂 !

Well—since my quals trials are over, I am overwhelmed (with happiness) thinking about what I could do this weekend! Ah, it feels like I need to catch up with the entire world, haha.

Uplifters Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Commercial Take on Overnight Oats

A Commercial Take on Overnight Oats

Disclaimer: I was NOT endorsed by Chobani for this review. This review is based on the products I bought on my own from a discount grocery store. 

I remember way back in 2011 when overnight oats was such a trendy thing in the foodie blogosphere. When I first began blogging publicly, I was intrigued by the concept of soaking oats overnight in milk or yogurt, and then adding things like dried fruit, nut butter, and chocolate chips to the mix the following morning.

It has taken three years for “the rest of the world” to catch up to what us food-obsessed bloggers kept secret for so long, and not surprisingly, it was Chobani that took the leap into commercializing the overnight oats concept, through their Chobani Oats line.

They have four flavors in the collection: Apple Cinnamon, Banana Maple, Blueberry, and Cranberry. I happened to stumble upon ¾ flavors at my local Grocery Outlet. Not only was I in pleasant shock after seeing that these even existed, but after noticing that they were only $0.59 a cup, you better believe I stocked up!!

I tried all three flavors that same day after a shift at work and dinner. Looking back, I noticed that I ended up eating them in alphabetical order. That was not done on purpose, at all 😉

All of the yogurts in this collection have a goopy texture from the steel-cut oats mixed in, but it seems to me that the thick consistency that makes greek yogurt what it is was downgraded by the presence of the oats. So all of the yogurts pretty much tasted like regular, more fluid yogurt mixed with oats. 


All cups are 160 calories, have decent protein content, and ensure those who are foreign to overnight oats that it is, in fact, “ready to eat—serve chilled”.


Apple Cinnamon was my least favorite I have to say. As much as I wanted to be a fan of all flavors, I wasn’t exactly raving about the mini apple chunks or off-cinnamon taste.

Apple Cinnamon

Banana Maple was alright. I didn’t taste the banana flavor that much though, really.

Banana Maple

I’m surprised Chobani doesn’t already have a cranberry-flavored greek yogurt, but as part of this collection, the cranberry yogurt+steel oats combo was a winner. Not only was the yogurt colored pink, but there were decent-sized chunks of cranberry thrown in too!


Unfortunately, blueberry was nowhere in sight when I made my grocery store visit. Perhaps it’s too popular to be overstock? In that case, I guess that means I really do need to try it 😉 !

Have you seen/tried the new Chobani Oats line?

Skout Organic Trailbar Review

Skout Organic Trailbar Review

Note: The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

One of the races I signed up for this year includes some trail paths, and it’s scheduled for late March. While I have not yet taken the time to “practice” fueling on-the-go, I’m pretty sure that obviously whatever I plan to consume should be easy to hold onto and should sit well in my stomach.

I once did try to eat a chocolate PowerBar on the go, and that didn’t turn out to well for my first time. Perhaps next time I should go with something more lighter, yet packed with the needed nutrients and carbs every runner needs?

Skout Organic Trailbar
Skout Organic Trailbar

A bar (my kind of food!) made with natural ingredients and is vegetarian-friendly (that’s why I like anything labeled “vegan”—it’s like a default safety sticker since I’m a vegetarian)?

Even though I didn’t sample these bars on-the-go in the literal sense, they gave me enough energy to keep me going throughout the days I had them. All five flavors of Skout Organic Trailbars were a home run for sure.

5 Skout Bars
5 Skout Bars

I was able to sample 10 bars in total, since the folks at Skout graciously sent me two of each flavor. I couldn’t decide which flavor to try first so I picked out a flavor lottery style—out from a bag came cherry + vanilla!

Cherry + Vanilla
Cherry + Vanilla

Just from looking at the bar, I could tell it was going to be chewy and soft. Even so, the bar was packed with dried fruits (cherries specifically with this bar). I didn’t think I would be able to detect the vanilla flavor, but was pleasantly surprised that I was able to.

Apple + Cinnamon
Apple + Cinnamon

Maybe it was the light & bright green wrapper, but the apple cinnamon bar sounded very appealing to me when I found the chance to sample it one morning. The cinnamon could definitely be detected in this flavor, bringing some actual “spice” to this bar and it also had that little kick to get me out the door for a long day in my lab classes.

Chocolate + Peanut Butter
Chocolate + Peanut Butter

The Chocolate/Peanut Butter combo is a classic, but ultimate favorite of mine. Skout’s version was no exception. I absolutely adored this bar and its textures, which included pieces of peanuts and organic dates! Yes, they somehow managed to squeeze fruit into this combo, and I honestly would have never known if I had not taken a peek at the ingredients list, which, by the way is quite succinct:


Quite nice, and to the point if you ask me!

Chocolate + Coconut
Chocolate + Coconut — looks almost identical to a LaraBar in this pic :P!

Another chocolate flavor was included in the bunch, and was infused with some tropical coconut! The texture was much smoother than the chocolate + peanut butter combo, but the chocolate still prevailed. In both chocolate flavors, chocolate was the obvious star but the coconut (in this flavor) and the peanut (in the previous flavor) both fulfilled their duties as supporting flavors.

Blueberry + Almond
Blueberry + Almond

Last, but certainly not least, was the blueberry and almonds flavor. It wasn’t a knock-out for me, but the texture was much smoother than I expected since I assumed the almonds would pack a little crunch just as the peanuts did in the chocolate and peanut butter flavor.

I think a Skout Bar would be the perfect way to fuel during a long run, or even hiking/rock climbing as the brand suggests. Pretty much anyone who needs energy for their adventures (workouts, workday, whatever!) would find these bars satisfying and sustaining.

Thanks again to the folks of Skout Organic Trailbar!

Have you tried a Skout Bar?

Do you fuel on long runs, or any run in general? What do you fuel with?

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