Good Things Come in Twos

Good Things Come in Twos

Over the past few weeks, I came across some new-to-me food products, but I was stuck trying to figure out a way to get them featured in a blog post.

Then I realized that all of them came “in twos”, and at least for each product I tried, I was able to compare and contrast two different flavors. I didn’t have a strong dislike for one flavor over another for each of the products, so then it hit me—“good things come in twos”!

A developing veggie chip brand, protein bar company, and well-known greek yogurt company with novel “flip” creations are all featured here for your reading enjoyment!

Crunchables are dehydrated veggie snacks that are flavored with an intriguing spice mix, and right now, the company is going through its first steps as a start-up! I was excited when Michelle and Cindy (founders of Crunchables) asked if I could sample two of their products:

The BBQ chips had a mild cheese-like flavor, and the dehydrated veggies used here were broccoli crown pieces. They actually were coated with a dark red powder, and had a sweet taste with a spicy kick of an aftertaste.

BBQ
BBQ

The Nacho cheese chips were thick, flat pieces of dried eggplant. Even though the flavor was titled as “nacho cheese”, these chips actually reminded me of buttered toast!

Nacho Cheese
Nacho Cheese

Beyond the fact that the snacks are just seasoned dehydrated veggies, gluten-free, raw, and vegan, the veggies that are used for the snacks can be traced back to “ugly veggie” origins. The company is focused on a food waste reduction angle, and by working with local farmers to use veggies that would otherwise go to waste, they’re able to lower costs and reduce food waste. I think that’s a pretty cool!

When I heard there was a protein bar that was branded as Too Busy To Eat, and when I confirmed its existence because the name sounded hilarious, I was fascinated and knew that I had to see what these bars were all about.

toobusy
These bars were bigger than I had expected, given their nutrition facts!

I was sent the Double Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough flavors to review. I immediately fell in love with the DCC flavor, as I found it dense, but very chewy. It had a slight crunch, and if I had to compare it to another common protein bar, I’d say it’s like the Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bar except TBTE’s flavor is much more palatable in my opinion 😉

Even if I wasn't "too busy to eat", I'd eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn't detect any of that "protein flavor" that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars...), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
Even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn’t detect any of that “protein flavor” that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars…), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

The cookie dough flavor wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t remind me of anything related to cookie dough. It had a milky flavor, light crisp texture, and overall had more of a vanilla flavor rather than cookie dough.

This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn't compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.
This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn’t compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.

They also have a Vanilla Coconut “superfood” bar flavor, and the bars have about 20 grams or protein, 20 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They are grass-fed whey protein-based (so while not vegan, they are vegetarian), gluten-free, contain organic cashew butter, and do not have any artificial preservatives or colors. Like I said, even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d be pretty happy munching on these TBTE bars 😛

Kroger had a Friday Freebie deal a few weeks ago for any free Chobani Flip. I had been wanting to try the new Cinnabun Fun flavor ever since I learned about four of the newest flavors being released. Other than the random toss-in of pecans, this flavor met my expectations. I always wish that there is a greater topping-to-yogurt ratio for these yogurts though 😝

Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip
Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip

I’d be the last person to confess my love for carrot cake, but I was flipping over this Carrot Cake Creation Chobani Flip!

carrot
Carrot Cake Creation

The yogurt was actually “sweet carrot”-flavored, and had a good amount of cake pieces glazed with cinnamon, walnuts, and white chocolate. Of course, I wouldn’t argue if Chobani decided to add more toppings to balance out the yogurt 😛

Which of these food items would you most like to try?

Easy-goin’ Okie Eats

Easy-goin’ Okie Eats

It felt so freeing to be able to take a break from being a “city girl”, and take a week off to go to my first home of Tulsa, OK. It was an easy-going week filled with naps, cuddling with my cat, runs at River Park (though they were shorter than what I’m used to doing, due to some shin pain I’ve been having), ice cream and custard runs, get-togethers, shopping, movie and Olympics-watching, and getting in as much home-cooked dinners as possible.

I had this Chobani Flip flavor (Chocolate Haze Craze) with hazelnut pieces and chocolate as a snack my second night there.
I had this Chobani Flip flavor (Chocolate Haze Craze) with hazelnut pieces and chocolate as a snack my second night there.

In the beginning of the week, I spent most of my time at home, and when my Dad got off work, we would go grocery shopping or to River Park for some breath of fresh air. After familiarizing myself with the area, I went to River Park in the following days for morning runs. My left posterior shin was acting up, so my runs ended up being short and semi-sweet.

Braum's Dairy
Braum’s Dairy

On one night, we went stopped by Braum’s—a ubiquitous dairy shop in Oklahoma—for some late night ice cream. It’s almost like the dessert version of McDonald’s in Oklahoma. I got a cup of birthday cake ice cream, which ended up being a bright blue scoop with soft chunks of vanilla pound cake mixed in.

Braum's Birthday Cake
Braum’s Birthday Cake

Since my Dad had a free pastry to redeem at Panera, we went there for breakfast. We split a coffee, an egg sandwich with cheese and avocado, and a sugary-sweet bearclaw.

Panera Breakfast with Dad!
Panera Breakfast with Dad!

We didn’t eat out much on this trip because I wanted to take advantage of having home-cooked meals prepared (with love J ) and we also ate at get-togethers at friends’ houses. For lunch on my last full day in Tulsa, we went to a housewarming of one of my dad’s co-workers. They had Desi food catered, and we piled on the trays as we made our way down the marble countertop in the kitchen of their new home.

Desi food!!
Desi food!!

Later that day, my Dad and I went to the movies to watch Ghostbusters (while I love the SNL ladies, the movie was ‘meh’), and afterwards, had a treat to cool-off that’s favored in the Midwest and South over froyo! I think there is only about two froyo places in all of Tulsa, and if you have a craving for something sweet, frozen, but not ice cream, your next best thing is frozen custard.

Welcome to Andy's!
Welcome to Andy’s!

Andy’s Frozen Custard was very close to the theater we went to, and I told my Dad I would pay for the both of us. My way of saying thanks for not having to buy groceries that week 😉

How is custard made?
How is custard made?

They had so many variations on frozen custard available. While vanilla and chocolate are the main base flavors, they can be included in the creation of a sundae or concrete, the latter of which involves a crazy amount of mix-ins and sauces depending on what combination caught your eye.

Chocolate & Vanilla Frozen Custard
Chocolate & Vanilla Frozen Custard

My Dad and I decided to keep it simple and just get a cone/cup of the base flavors chocolate and vanilla. We enjoyed our desserts outside, and I took note of the smooth, creamy taste of my custard. It was light, but not froyo-light. It actually had the creaminess of a soft-serve you’d get at a fast food restaurant.

I knew that after giving one of the base flavors a try, I would have to come back to try a concrete. Seeing as my next trip won’t be until December, I’ll probably have the chance to choose from seasonal flavors…like candy cane!

Overall, my six-day trip to Oklahoma was a good one. I was sad to leave so soon, and honestly wouldn’t have mind staying another week. Time will fly by before I know it though, and I am planning to make my winter stay a longer one.

Until Next Time...
Until Next Time…

Andy's Frozen Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chocolate Fix

Chocolate Fix

Late last week, I started taking antibiotics for my bacterial sinus infection, and since I have to complete the cycle to the very last pill in order to avoid resistance, I thought it would be fun to try new-to-me foods in the process, since I was instructed to not take a pill on an empty stomach. Gotta listen to the doctor’s orders—right ;)?

On Friday morning, I woke up with some aches, but no fever! I was able to sleep soundly that night since my doctor prescribed me some codeine cough syrup to help with the incessant coughing that had been accompanying my fever every night. To see how much my body was capable of doing, I went to the gym to get some light exercise in (ZUMBA).

After an hour of that, I stopped by Vitamin Shoppe to pick up some Cookies and Cream Quest Bars. Unfortunately they weren’t in stock, but then I figured that this would be the perfect time to try something new, so I finally decided to try the Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups that have been out for a while.

Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups (1)

There are two cups per pack of standard size, and what’s cute is how the Quest name is imprinted on the bottom!

Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups Collage

The cup is also even in length and circumference. I’ve noticed in the “usual” candy PB cups that the diameter is larger at top, with it narrowing at the bottom, but that’s not the case here. The filling is not that creamy, but more similar to a peanut powder. I didn’t mind the texture, but it could be off-putting to some.

PB Fillin'

There was a lot of filling however!

Would I buy these over a regular Quest Bar? Maybe if their price wasn’t $2.99 per pack, and perhaps if they were cheaper than an actual Quest Bar, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for these. They are worth trying at least once though!

Over the weekend, I found some awesome finds at Grocery Outlet and the 99¢ Store—which included 2/$1.00 Chocolate Jocalat Bars (from Larabar) and 2/$1.00 Chobani Raspberry Choco Fix Flips!

I was ecstatic to try the Jocolat bar first since I have been meaning to try them forever, but it always passed my mind when confronted with so many other bars to choose from at the grocery store ;).

Jocalat Larabar Chocolate

It pretty much had the same texture as a regular Larabar, although some chocolate flavor could be detected. It wasn’t anything to write home about though, at least in my opinion :/.

As for the Chobani Raspberry Choco Fix Flip, I was expecting to find yogurt (of course) with chocolate chunks and dried raspberries as the “mix-ins”.

Raspberry Choco Fix Chobani Flip Yogurt

Unfortunately, the yogurt (which was vanilla) was already mixed in with chocolate chip pieces while the “raspberries” in the flip portion of the container were pureed into liquid preserves. I was disappointed that the reality didn’t match up with my initial mental image, but the “real” version wasn’t too bad. Would I scope this guy out over key lime crumble? Probably not…

What has been your go-to chocolate snack lately?

Jet-Speed January

Jet-Speed January

How can we already be approaching the end of January?! Am I the only one in shock??

I realized I haven’t had a life update post in a while, and found some time to do a ‘lately-style’ post. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the midst of this January whirlwind!

1) I’ve been indulging in my Quest Bar cravings, and decided I might as well be earning some Vitamin Shoppe points in the process.

From top to bottom: Coconut Cashew - nut butter taste with a 'tropical' flavor, Peanut Butter and Jelly - 10x better than the real deal, Apple Pie - literally tastes like apple pie in bar form!!
From top to bottom: Coconut Cashew – nut butter taste with a ‘tropical’ flavor, Peanut Butter and Jelly – 10x better than the real deal, Apple Pie – literally tastes like apple pie in bar form!!

2) I’ve been booking flights while feeling nervous and excited at the same time. Interview season for grad school has officially arrived!

3) I’ve been having more fun with the good ol’ dehydrator. I’m getting closer to my goal of finding the “perfect” dehydrated yogurt concoction. This try, I used one cup of pineapple Chobani, and scooped out dollops and pressed them into smaller circles. I also only dehydrated them for 9.5 hours. They came out chewier than my first attempt, but still crispier on the edges than I’d like them to be. They were condensed with pineapple flavor though!

As for the sweet potato chips, the “fleshy”part had a rougher texture, but the flavor was out of this world. They reminded me of a rougher/earthier version of those Terra chips (which I like too, by the way).

Dehydrated Pineapple Yogurt Rounds and Sweet Potato Chips

Speaking of yogurt, I’ve also been loving this flavor of Chobani Flip (Almond CocoLoco —> fun name too!)

Almond CocoLoco

4) I have been trying to hop on board the coffee-n-creamer bandwagon, but so far, I still prefer trusty ol’ milk in my coffee. I’ve only tried the International Delight samples for cappucino, half-n-half, and a zero calorie creamer…but still…

Friday morning was coffee with an ID half-n-half sample and stevia...tasted very 'meh' to me.
Friday morning was coffee with an ID half-n-half sample and stevia…tasted very ‘meh’ to me.

This week I plan on doing a lot of planning and prepping for my first interview (!!) in twelve days…I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but the feelings come in waves that alternate with each other. I’m just going to work on finishing up January prepared, confident, and ready for what’s scheduled in February :)!

How’s 2014 been so far? What’s been going on in your life lately?

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy

Last week was a super long one. I had my share of relaxation and family/friends time, but I also had a lot of work that needed to get done (applications with a Dec. 1st deadline…), as well as actual work (Black Friday weekend = more hours!).

In the days before Thanksgiving, I snacked on some new-to-me treats to keep my stress levels low. I even found some time to treat myself to some much-deserved froyo the weekend before Thanksgiving:

Froyo mix: pumpkin and vanilla froyo (the vanilla tasted better surprisingly..), mochi pieces, cherries, poppers, carob and yogurt chips ---> deliciousness!
Froyo mix: pumpkin and vanilla froyo (the vanilla tasted better surprisingly..), mochi pieces, cherries, poppers, carob and yogurt chips —> deliciousness!

I found the following bar at Raley’s at a discounted price:

bar
The bar I believed could appease my Greens Plus Peanut Butter/Chocolate Protein Bar craving…

It tasted alright. It has a “mushier” center filling than I would have liked, but the hard chocolate shell made up for it. They also have a “natural” no chocolate original flavor that I am curious about trying in the near future.

yogurt
Two new-to-meh Chobani Flips!

I also was able to try two new-to-me flavors of Chobani Flip since they were on sale for $0.79 each at the 99 Cent Store :)! Peachy Pistachio was my favorite, since pistachios are after all my favorite kind of nut, and mixed together with peach yogurt…it’s just a winning combo. Blueberry Power was not bad either. Actually, it tasted more like blueberry yogurt than the single serve blueberry Chob in my opinion :P! And mixed with walnuts and chia seeds? Maybe they should rename it Brain Power…

On Thanksgiving, we had a nice spread out (tofurky, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pie, etc.), but my ultimate craving was fulfilled through homemade baby biscuits with Boca gravy.

Little nuggets of delicious-ness
Little nuggets of delicious-ness

Perhaps it was my 10k turkey chase race that caused me to have crazy carb cravings, and while I did have some other things from our spread, my dig at the meal was mostly through these biscuits topped with Boca gravy.

How can this not be delicious?
How can this not be delicious?

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy 

Biscuits

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 8 oz butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Crumble tiny bits of butter and blend into mix of all dry products.
  2. Add milk and make a dough.
  3. Roll out the dough with a dusting of flour.
  4. Fold and roll, fold again and roll a few times.
  5. Roll out the dough to about 0.5″ thick sheet.
  6. Using a circle cookie cutter, make about 14 or so biscuits and lay on cookie sheet.
  7. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  8. Bake in 450 degree oven for 12+ minutes, making sure the bottoms don’t burn.

Boca Gravy ( 2 servings)

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Boca crumbles (or any veggie soy meat crumbles)
  • Flour
  • Salt
  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet.
  2. Toast 2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic until brown.
  3. Use ¼ cup Boca crumbles and brown.
  4. Add ¼ cup of flour and brown (don’t burn).
  5. Add salt to toast.
  6. Add milk and dissolve the solids.
  7. As gravy thickens, add more milk to maintain gravy consistency.
Gravy glory :3
Gravy glory :3

When I used up the Boca gravy, I piled on some more biscuits with some garlic gravy we had “reserved” for the mashed potatoes, and even some cranberry sauce. Craving was appeased, and Thanksgiving, in my book, was a success ;).

If you partook in a Thanksgiving meal, did you have a little (or a lot) of everything, or did you have a lot of one thing?

Good Food, Bad Food: A Mini Review

Good Food, Bad Food: A Mini Review

Haven’t had a food-related post in a while, so I thought I’d do a mini-review on some good (and surprisingly not so good…) bars and yogurts I had this week.

Chobani Flip – Nutty for Nana

I was more than eager to try (and stock up) on these yogurts since they were on sale at Grocery Outlet for $0.79 each! I left with three since I already had a stockpile of yogurts at home and didn’t want to reach the hoard-er line. (Haha, get it?) 😉

Awesome toppings, but bland yogurt.
Awesome toppings, but bland yogurt.

Anyways, the topping in this yogurt included dark chocolate chunks and honey roasted salted almonds, and while I can’t complain about this, the yogurt tasted nothing like the regular Banana Chobani cups. I wouldn’t enjoy eating the yogurt on its own, but since thankfully it came with great-tasting toppings, all ended well :).

Greens Plus – Chocolate Energy Bar

I oftentimes visit Trader Joe’s in the early morning or little after noon, but it is seriously a mad house between the times of 3-5pm (at least the ones near me). Apparently, I found out my favorite bar, which I often purchase from TJ’s, is pretty popular. It’s cousin, the Greens Plus – Chocolate Energy Bar was overstocked, so I settled for it that day.

Good, even great...but not my go-to.
Good, even great…but not my go-to.

While it still has the smooth chocolate coating as its counterpart, the filling felt lighter and had some crisp to it. I prefer the protein version of Greens Plus bars because the filling feels more substantial to me (and well, they taste much better in my opinion).

Perfect Food Bar Carob Chip

It is a rare occasion that I find so many faults with a bar, but as of right now, the Perfect Food Bar brand leaves an awful taste in my mouth. How can a bar that’s touted to be wholesome and full of natural ingredients cause me to gag? I can’t judge all of the flavors in this line right now, but if they are all like the Carob Chip flavor, I’ll be passing them up.

Eww @ this bar...
Eww @ this bar…

Maybe I shouldn’t have read the ingredients before chomping in. I think after I read “tomato” and “dried whole egg” powder, my appetite sunk. I spent a few seconds eyeing my oddly orange colored bar, and all I could think of was tomato/vegetable/eww (okay, so a tomato is technically a fruit, but why, oh why, mix it with carob?!).

I managed to finish the bar because a) it was pretty pricey and b) I hate wasting food, but not even two pieces of Orbit gum could get rid of the gross aftertaste. Do yourself a favor when it comes to this bar and stay. away.

Siggi’s Blueberry Yogurt

Since I had the excuse-of-a-bar mentioned previously for breakfast, and because I had an aftertaste in my mouth that desperately needed to be erased, I tried a new-to-me flavor of Siggi’s…blueberry.

Siggi's, I know you can do better!
Siggi’s, I know you can do better!

I thought it would taste just as pleasant as this flavor I had a while back, but it turned out to be subpar and disappointing. The blueberry flavor was somewhat bland, and the texture wasn’t nearly as thick as the acai and mixed berries flavor.

But since I know Siggi’s can do better, I won’t count this outlier against them ;).

Have you had any foods that did not meet up to you expectations recently?

Bloggy Break Wrap-Up

Bloggy Break Wrap-Up

This post is just a wrap-up of the final days of the August Blog Break. I didn’t take a picture for some of the days, and honestly don’t feel like taking a pic just so that I can say I “completed the task”. But enjoy the ones I did take a picture for :).

Aug 23rd) Sacred

N/A

Aug 24th) Hear

N/A

Aug 25th) Sunday Morning

Sleeping in (even if only until 7:30 am). I think I take my pillows for granted :P
Sleeping in (even if only until 7:30 am). I think I take my pillows for granted 😛

Aug 26th) YES

Finding the final three flavors of Tarte yogurt I have yet to try:     . Grocery Outlet, YES.
Finding the final three flavors of Tarte yogurt I have yet to try: Green Tea & Honey (my new favorite), Mango & Coconut, and Blueberry and Acai. Grocery Outlet, YES.

Aug 27th) Number

One other Chobani Flip I have yet to try. The pecan nuggets were the best part.
One other Chobani Flip (Vanilla Golden Crunch) I have yet to try. The pecan nuggets were the best part.

Aug 28th) Smell

The smell of peanut butter is great, but of an empty peanut butter jar? Even more better! I added some oats to this for a quick brekkie last week.
The smell of peanut butter is great, but of an empty peanut butter jar? Even more better! I added some oats to this for a quick brekkie last week.

Aug 29th) Your Favorite Thing

Chocolate Peanut Butter. Need I say more??
Chocolate Peanut Butter. Need I say more??

Aug 30th) Sign

N/A

Aug 31th) Smile

N/A

Can anyone still believe August is over? It makes me sorta sad because I’m a summer girl and I love the season, but at the same time, I’m okay with transitioning into fall…especially if my running pace improves from all of the running I’ve been doing this summer in the heat!

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