October Degustabox Review ’17

October Degustabox Review ’17

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

First off, Happy (belated) Halloween! I’ve made the decision to not dress up as anything—just drop by a department Halloween party, and then head home. I know, I am such a partier I have no control 😛

With November here, and Thanksgiving (and my first FALL marathon) coming up, it’s time again for another Degustabox review!

October Degustabox
October Degustabox

Unlike last month’s box, October’s offerings were much more appealing to me. It contained old favorites, and new brands I’ve been meaning to try!

I was ecstatic to see a bag of Hippeas chickpea puffs thrown in. I first spotted them at Starbucks, and then I happened to pass by their warehouse near downtown Santa Monica since it’s right along the Expo Line! I was beyond ecstatic to try the new and local vegan-friendly alternative to cheese puffs.

Hippeas -
Hippeas – Vegan White Cheddar

These were beyond crazy delicious. They had a firm texture, a nice crisp crunch, and each puff was coated with just the right amount of vegan cheese flavoring.

Since it was a box arriving in time for candy’s famous holiday, it made sense that a bag of Cow Tales made a comeback. It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, but Degustabox has partnered with them before in the past. I also noticed the new colorful, cartoon-y packaging.

Cow Tales Minis
Cow Tales Minis

Then there were two cups of original SunButter…I was certainly awestruck. Fortunately, I can have peanuts and foods with peanut-based ingredients, but I think I still prefer sunflower butter over peanut butter. It has a much smoother consistency in my opinion, while still keeping peanut butter-like thickness.

I had one cup serve an unconventional purpose: as a dip for plain Boboli pizza crust, which was also a featured product in this month’s box. Honestly, it was a pretty good combo!

Sunflower butter and pizza crust
SunButter cup and Boboli Original Mini Pizza Crust

I had the other cup scooped into a cottage cheese chocolate proyo bowl, which is something along the lines of what I’m normally used to as an after-dinner snack.

Just like old times
Just like old times

The Bush’s White Chili Beans contained “chicken base” as one of their ingredients, so I had to pass on trying it. I don’t see why it did though…I’m sure the recipe would have been just as good—if not better—without the addition of a meat product.

Does it have to have chicken in it?
Does it have to have chicken in it?

I was however able to try the Bush’s Kidney Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce, after thorough examination of the ingredients for any meat source. I initially thought about adding it to one of my crockpot dinners, but then I thought why not try it on its own? I warmed it up for lunch in lab one day, and it was definitely nourishing through its well-mixed flavors of ripe tomatoes, chili peppers and cumin. It had enough fiber to keep me satiated as I worked the rest of the afternoon.

Suitable for a lunch break.
Suitable for a lunch break.

The Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt wafer cubes were an interesting snackable. I normally don’t prefer wafers over other types of cookies and biscuits, but these wafers were certainly an exception. Each cube has four layers of raspberry-yoghurt flavored cream, sandwiched between mini crunchy wafer squares.

Quadratini
Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt Wafer Cubes

They definitely had a yogurt-like aftertaste, but that did not detract from their delicious taste.

Unlike other wafers I've had!
Unlike other wafers I’ve had!

When I saw a small cup of overnight oats, I was reminded of my early blogging days when overnight oats and OIAJ (oats in a jar) were super trendy. Now that brand name companies got a hold of this one-time, food-bloggers-only secret, I wasn’t surprised to find this container from Dave’s Naturals in this month’s box.

Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats - Apple Nut
Dave’s Naturals Overnight Oats – Apple Nut

This flavor had dried apple cubes, chia seeds, and dried oats. All I added was enough almond milk to soak the oats in, and after letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I pulled it out and it made for THE best stuck-in-lab-analyzing-data-all-morning snack.

The Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt snacks were light, poppable, and had a creamy yogurt coating that worked well with the chewy cherry flavor. These were able to keep a gummy-like texture due to pectin. No gelatin was seen in sight, which was a mark of approval in my book!

Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks

I didn’t get a chance to try the two Kernal Season’s Popcorn Seasoning bottles (White Cheddar and Kettle Corn), since I gifted them to my sister, who is a greater consumer of popcorn than I’ll ever be, haha!

Which of these October Degustabox products would you try?

Neat & Sweet

Neat & Sweet

I believe the best gift anyone could give a (grad) student is a crock pot. It’s simply the best vessel to get the cooking job done when a weekday schedule is just too busy. 

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While I do have interest in using my stove top a bit more than for just hard-boiling eggs, most of the time it is just easier to just chop out exactly what I need, throw, and go. Even so, these Neat Meat Replacement mixes did help me venture out beyond the slow cooker boundaries…at least in the latter part of this post 😉

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Egg substitute, mexican mix, & original mix.

The mixes come in powder form, and consist of ingredients like garbanzo flour, ground pecans, and chia seeds (in the case of the egg substitute).

 Mexican mix.
Mexican mix
 Egg substitute
Egg substitute

On the back of each bag, it gives instructions as to how much water to add per bag of mix. You have to do the math for anything less 😉

neatoriginalmix__

I tested out the original mix using both the egg substitute and real eggs. I ended up cooking both “experiments” with a crock pot since I was curious about how that would turn out…

The patties I made using real eggs turned out more dense, almost reminiscent of a brownie, but of course not sweet!

Crockpot Neat Burger Patties with Shredded Cabbage and Quinoa Salad
Crockpot Neat Burger Patties with Shredded Cabbage and Quinoa Salad

The patties I made with the egg substitute and original mix turned out to be much softer, but I think I may have added an extra tablespoon or two of water!

Crockpot Neat Burger Pattie with Green Beans and Lentils
Crockpot Neat Burger Patty with Green Beans and Lentils

Again, I couldn’t help but conduct some more crock pot experiments with these mixes, so I continued to do so with the Mexican Mix.

Neat Mexican Mix with Egg Replacement
Neat Mexican Mix with Egg Replacement
 Patty ready for cookin'!
Patty ready for cookin’!

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But I did save enough in the end for the “recommended” cooking instructions, and was able to get a crisp patty out of it!

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Which complimented the veggies that were simmering all day in my crock pot of course 😉

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Since my Dad and sister were visiting me for the weekend, I felt like it would be a good idea to whip up something for them, baked-goods style. When I saw this in Trader Joe’s pumpkin-themed section while grocery shopping one weekend, I picked it up with the intention of baking them using the Neat Egg Substitute.

 Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix
Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix

With some alterations to the recipe provided on the side of the box, the result was something that all three of us couldn’t get enough of! I told my roommate she could help herself to some, but unfortunately, I don’t think she reached for them in time, since my Dad, sis, and I pretty much feasted on what seemed to be the entire pan!

Tahini Pumpkin Bars
Yields 20
Replace butter with tahini, and you have a nuttier, fudgier pumpkin bar!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix
  2. 2 Neat Egg Replacement “Eggs” (or two regular eggs)
  3. 4 oz. of Tahini
  4. Optional: extra chocolate chips or chopped nuts
  5. Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix wet ingredients (tahini and eggs) together.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry mix in a bowl.
  4. Add chocolate chips or nuts (if you prefer, this is optional)
  5. Mix all ingredients together until you get soft dough. Add ¼ cup of water as you go, so you add just enough to get a dough-ball consistency. (I ended up using about four ¼ cups of water in the end).
  6. Pour batter into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use non-stick spray if you prefer (I used a parchment paper that didn’t require it) and spread the dough into a flat square that is thick enough to cut into bars later on.
  7. Bake for about 55 minutes, checking every 10-20 minutes to adjust for variances in ovens.
  8. Cool bars before cutting. Enjoy!
Adapted from Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix Recipe
Adapted from Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix Recipe
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
pumpkintahinibarsteps

Using the Neat Egg Substitute and replacing the butter with tahini caused me to feel trepidatious at first, but when my sister went back for seconds, I knew I had done something right, and for once, it wasn’t something made using a crock pot (but I do wonder how that would turn out…)

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Cooling off before digging in!

Have you used any of Neat’s products?

Do you often find yourself sticking to a certain appliance most of the time when it comes to cooking?

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