Hot Weather Shenanigans

Hot Weather Shenanigans

The day after my first double run, I granted myself a rest day and enjoyed the extra hour or so in bed resting my sore head (later on in the week, I had my first migraine, and I’m thinking the trigger might have been the extreme weather change). Surprisingly, my leg muscles felt fine (probably due to the rolling I did!), but my head felt heavy, which I’m assuming was due to spending so much time exerting myself in he heat.

Needless to say, the rest day was absolutely necessary. I went into lab later in the morning, but since E was also in, we decided to head downtown together for some lunch. It was unbearably hot outside though, and the walk from 7th st. all the way to Grand Central Market had us feeling like we were melting. I was even in a tank top and shorts and felt like I was burning!

It was my first time visiting GCM (and I call myself an Angeleno!), and seeing all the foodie shops clustered in one place like that reminded me of a more crowded, packed version of the Tustin Marketplace. We first thought about checking out Eggslut, but the line was so serpentine that we thought it’d be best to try it out some other day. Instead, we opted for meals at two different stalls.

berlin--currywurst
Berlin Currywurst at Grand Central Market

I found my meal of choice at Berlin Currywurst. The last time I had a vegetarian currywurst was ages ago, so I was happy to be able to have it again.

Berlin
Small space, crowded counter.

My options were limited, but I was able to get a medium spicy tofu kielbasa currywurst plate. It even came with half of a crusty bread roll to mop any of that excess thick tomato-based sauce!

berlincurrywurst
Spent a hot Sunday trying to keep cool at Grand Central Market. It was my first time visiting the place too! Eggslut had a serpentine line, so I hopped on over to Berlin Currywurst, and chowed down on this spicy Tofu Kielbasa Currywurst with a hearty chunk of bread 😋😋

E found a stall selling avocado toast that came out with such beautiful presentation. My side beet salad was nothing in comparison. I’m not even sure why I got it…I had assumed it was part of the meal but then I realized I had to pay extra for it 😛

food
Why did I get this excuse for a salad?

After lunch, I hurried on home to catch up on sleep and just chill. I also tried another flavor of D’s Naturals Fluffbutter—Brownie Batter! Now I only have one more new-to-me flavor left to try…

fluffbutter
Brownie Batter? This flavor from @dsnaturals is more like Brownie BUTTER. The texture was smooth, yet each spoonful was dense. There was a strong cocoa taste that was the defining feature of this flavor. My only complaint—with all of the D’s Naturals Fluffbutters actually—is the oil separation. It’s always so difficult to make the oil mix through evenly, even though I attempt to do so with each jar. The last couple tablespoons at the bottom of each jar are always the driest as a result.

Overall, I thought it had a very sharp cocoa taste, and quite a thick texture. I still have issues with mixing up all the oil thoroughly in the jar—it just has a tendency to pool up on top!

I also managed to order four new The Lion’s Pack cookie dough flavors to try during the week. My favorite of the four I purchased was this “Teddy Dough”.

"Why HELLO there TEDDY DOUGH 🐻 🐻 🍪 🍪!! It's been a while since I placed a @thelionschoice cookie dough order---long enough to get a four pack of flavors I haven't tried yet! Teddy Dough is one of them, and I actually kinda love the more grainy texture this one has in comparison to the stickier consistency the other ones have. But I was expecting some broken teddy grahams to be mixed in...guess they just ground them down 🐻 😧"
Why HELLO there TEDDY DOUGH 🐻 🐻 🍪 🍪!! It’s been a while since I placed a @thelionschoice cookie dough order—long enough to get a four pack of flavors I haven’t tried yet! Teddy Dough is one of them, and I actually kinda love the more grainy texture this one has in comparison to the stickier consistency the other ones have. But I was expecting some broken teddy grahams to be mixed in…guess they just ground them down 🐻 😧

I thought this cookie dough would have crushed teddy graham cookies, but I think they were all finely-ground because the texture of the cookie dough was so smooth. It was like a crumbly sunflower butter jar with a mild cinnamon flavor. I could even detect a taste of honey.

The one I was most surprised by was Red Velvet. I had much higher expectations for this one, but the jar I got had dough that was too sticky, and with a texture that was reminiscent more of cake than cookie dough.

redvelvet
I have to be honest—wasn’t a huge fan of @thelionschoice Red Velvet Cake cookie dough. My batch at least had the consistency of a gooey sponge cake, rather than a thick, paste-like cookie dough which I was expecting. The flavor was quite bland, and the chocolate bits did little to help enhance the flavor profile. Ah well, I have to admit I can’t complain about the quantity I got—my jar was literally full to the brim!

Butterscotch Maple Cookie didn’t come across as a flavor worth remembering. Sure, there were a decent amount of butterscotch chips thrown in, but the flavor base was quite bland.

butter
Butterscotch Maple Cookie: not sure what’s so “cookie” about it!

Finally, there was Cran-Orange. The mix-ins definitely overpowered the cookie dough base with this flavor, and it was definitely the frutiest of the bunch. It even had some white chocolate pieces thrown in so that was a plus!

cranorange
Honestly, this flavor (and its colors) reminded me of Fall…

Has the weather drastically changed where you live?

Do you get migraines?

Berlin Currywurst Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

October’s DegustaBox!

October’s DegustaBox!

October’s box was full of winners, and unfortunately…some not so amazing finds. Hopefully I can demonstrate my reasons why clearly in this bound-to-be long post!

october-haul
October’s haul

I received two flavors of Hometown Bagel’s Bagel Chips: garlic and cinnamon.

bagelchips_cinnamon
Hometown Bagel Bagel Chips – Cinnamon

I had the cinnamon ones first and they had a rough texture and hard crunch, but I did like them since it was a unique flavor profile for bagel chips. At least for me, since I haven’t seen sweet bagel chips before. The garlic ones were alright, but to me could have used more seasoning.

bagelchips_
Hometown Bagel Bagel Chips – Garlic

One thing that wasn’t lacking flavor were these Crown Nut Co. almonds:

sirachaalmonds
Crown Nut Co. Sriracha Almonds

These almonds were sriracha flavored, and even though it was a sample-sized packet, each almond was generously coated and as a result, there was no compromise on flavor.

My favorite product from this box were these fruit chews from Lovely Candy Co.

lovely-candy-co-fruit-chews
Lovely Candy Co. Chews

They honestly reminded me of Starburst, except they had a softer, chewier, and sweeter texture. You could also see fruit pieces within each chew.

chews
Sooooo chewyyyyyy

Finally, an alternative for a childhood candy that once wasn’t suitable for vegetarians/vegans because of its gelatin content!

My least favorite product hands down were these Energems.

energems
Energems…eeek

They are supposed to be a “dietary supplement” and are basically chocolate drops with extra caffeine in them. They do have a caution statement on them saying that they should not be given to children, and for people with sensitivity to caffeine to watch their intake, but the amount of caffeine for one serving (three chocolate drops), 133mg is actually a lot in my opinion.

I didn’t think these would have a strong effect on me, but definitely take caution if you have more than one serving at one time. I didn’t respond well to these, based ony my feelings of cramping, nausea, headache, and even dizziness. Honestly, there are much better ways to get energized (go for a run!), and I don’t think I’ll grab these any time I need a pick-me-up in the near future.

Even though the Energems brought me down, I was happy to find these in the box…

la-tortilla-factory-low-carb-flour-tortillas
La Tortilla Factory – Low Carb Tortillas

I’ve tried La Tortilla Factory tortillas before, but it’s been a while since I had them! They are slightly doughier and chewier compared to regular tortillas, but their stretchiness makes it easy to load ’em up with monstrous fillings. I, however, enjoyed them on their own.

I thought the Wasa Thins were tasty on their own as well. This particular flavor was Sesame & Sea Salt, and while the crisps were thin, they have the loudest crunch that is realistically possible for a cracker!

wasa
Wasa Thins – Sesame & Sea Salt

I personally did not try the Palo White Cheddar popcorn, as I wasn’t sure if the cheese enzymes were animal-derived or microbial-derived. Since I brought them to lab, I actually let my lab mates try them. I thought the packaging was a little retro, but I’m guessing the popcorn tasted like the cheese popcorn found in those giant Christmas popcorn tins that are sold during the holidays in Costco.

palowhitecheddarcheese
Palo White Cheddar popcorn

I still have to try the Numi tea—this box actually has eight different flavors ranging from green teas to fruity teas!

numi_tea-1
Numi Tea Assortment

They’ll be much more appreciated in the winter months, since LA is still having issues deciding if it’s still summer or not, haha!

numi_tea-2
Numi Tea – 8 different flavors

I wasn’t able to get around to trying the pasta either, but it’s interesting to see that the “high protein” trend has permeated into the pasta world too. It used to only be that white was available, but now along with the varieties of multi-grain, whole wheat, gluten free, and veggie, we now have a higher protein choice.

pasta-and-protein
Barilla Set

I did have time to make use of the sauce though! This jar contains seven cups of sauce, which I have been using as a wonderful coating over piping hot crockpot veggies. Try this with cooked cabbage, carrots, and squash—you won’t complain unless you are a picky five year old who subsists on chocolate pudding and chicken fingers 😉

crockpotveggieswithmarinarasauce
Crockpot veggies with marinara!

One of the items that came in this month’s box couldn’t be more fitting with the season. Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda was an odd but intriguing item to say the least. I looked them up because I was curious about the company and the idea of bottling such a flavor. Apparently this isn’t their “most creative”. In fact, they even produced a Turkey flavored soda for Thanksgiving (and even Tofurky flavored soda for vegetarians). Not so sure if I’d be down for trying that, but this Pumpkin Pie soda was not too shabby. It honestly looks like beer here:

jones_pumpkinpie
Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda

So there were some hits and misses, but the good items made up substantially for the not so good. Overall, October’s box was full of variety in regards to the kinds of food that were featured. I just know that for me personally, I’m going to stay away from the Energems…

Which of these October DegustaBox items would you try?

Ice Creamin’

Ice Creamin’

After scarfing down a beautiful pizza, and before face-planting in bed into a deep sleep, I walked along Main St. back to Venice for an ice cream fix. Before finding Areal, I had walked past Kippy’s, a vegan ice cream shop proudly serving coconut-milk based frozen desserts.

Kippy's!
Kippy’s!

At the front, several cartons of coconut milk ice cream were on display, ready to be scooped as if I were in a vegan Baskin-Robbins.

Ready to scoop!
Ready to scoop!

The “mini” was actually a small, compostable cup with two scoops of coconut milk ice cream.

Yessssss
Yessssss

From the flavors featured above on the menu, I decided that my two flavors would be Coconut Honey and Cinnamon Date, and since I couldn’t forget toppings, I asked for some mulberries even though they were $1 extra.

Toppings & seating
Toppings & seating

I found a seat at a long picnic table inside the shop, where two women were already sitting (though on the other side). One of them was speaking about the place with enthusiasm, and it was fun to inadvertently pick up on pieces of their conversation and their thoughts on veganism.

From the two flavors I purchased, I thought Coconut Honey was actually the blandest. Cinnamon Date was excellent in comparison, with an overwhelming (in a good way) nuttiness and spice to it. The mulberries were a disappointment however. I assumed they would be chewy like the mulberries I first tried last year, but they were surprisingly crunchy and off-putting. So I only found 1/3 of my combination appetizing, but I was glad to support a plant-based dessert shop, since I can only imagine what these businesses have to go through to get started and rally support once up and running.

Later on that weekend, I tried some new-to-me pints even though they were not vegan. After seeing both the Triple Chocolate flavor of Enlightened pints, and the limited edition Empowermint Ben & Jerry’s at Gelson’s Market, I couldn’t resist not purchasing them and giving them a try.

Enlightened Triple Chocolate
Enlightened Triple Chocolate

In brief, I found the Triple Chocolate Enlightened pint to be too overwhelming after a few spoonfuls (too much chocolate for me, but perhaps suitable for a choco-holic), but the Empowermint B&J’s was actually pretty good! It was creamy, and had caramel swirl kindred to what you would find in the Vanilla Caramel Fudge flavor, with the base ice cream flavor being a minty vanilla of course (though the pint says its peppermint ice cream). Because the pint displays some political imagery, I imagined this pint would be a fun snack to have while watching the debates this fall. I wonder if this flavor will stick around that long??

Empowermint!!
Empowermint!!

A random snack I had during this weekend as well was my first flavor of Picky Bars! Now that they are at Trader Joe’s, it’s making it easier to purchase them and have another bar brand to keep an eye out for.

I first learned about them through Runner’s World, spotted them at REI, and then the other day noticed them along with other more familiar bars at good ol’ TJ’s. I had to try Cookie Doughpness first, and was intrigued by the sticky consistency and fruity, cinnamon flavor that made me associate this bar with what I think a sticky oatmeal raisin cookie would look/taste like. So the bar wasn’t exactly cookie dough, but it was DOUGHPE!

Cookie Doughpness!
Cookie Doughpness!

Again, I am loving that there is another vegan-friendly bar out there finding its way into the mainstream market, and I’m looking forward to supporting the runners behind the bars.

Kippy's Ice Cream Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MealEnders Lozenges Review and Giveaway

MealEnders Lozenges Review and Giveaway

Disclaimer: This post is a review about products received from MealEnders and sponsored by FitApproach. All opinions are my own.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been months since I last chewed a piece of gum. There used to be a time that I’d chew through a pack of 14-piece Orbit gum within 1 1/2 days…and now, I shudder to think about spending money on gum when it could be spent on food that is much more filling 😉

But there is nothing wrong with having something small and that lacks “real” nutritional value to keep you busy between meals. It especially makes sense during the holidays—if all the food items for the special family lunch/dinner/feast are in the oven/stove/microwave, what’s left in the pantry to keep you going until it’s time to sit and chow down?

One option is to grab a MealEnders Signaling Lozenge. Yeah, they may be designed as a weight management tool to curb overeating, but there’s no rule saying you can’t have them before a meal. In fact, they pretty much taste like mints wrapped in a candy layer!

 MealEnders Signaling Lozenges.
MealEnders Signaling Lozenges.

MealEnders are described to consist of two components: a sweet, outer reward layer and a cooling/tingling inner core.

mealenders (8)
Those layerz I’m talking about.

The outer layer provides a measured dose of “dessert” associated with the end of a meal, while the inner core engages the trigeminal nerve (the nerve that senses “taste”) with long-lasting cooling/tingling sensations that cleanse the palate.

While they are marketed with the purpose of curbing appetite and to provide the body with time for its natural satiety process time to catch up, I still believe that it’s important to honor your hunger cues first and foremost. If someone has a balanced, intuitive relationship with food, this shouldn’t be a problem.

But for those of us who have dealt with restrictive behaviors in our past and present, it may be healthier to view these lozenges as another snack option. Like I said, they look and taste just like candy! The flavors just scream candy flavors too.

When I tried cinnamon for the first time, it tasted like a melted cinnamon roll at first, before hitting the lozenge layer.

 CINNAMON
CINNAMON

Chocolate Mint and Coffee looked identical, but their flavor definitely kept them apart. One has an outer layer just as cool as its lozenge layer, while the other had a little extra buzzzz.

 Chocolate mint...
Chocolate mint…
...and coffee, don't they look identical??
…and coffee, don’t they look identical??

And while Citrus had me thinking it was going to taste like a “boring lemon cough drop”, I was pleasantly surprised by lime green hue!

 So neon lime!
So neon lime!

It was more like a key lime pie enveloping a fruity lozenge. 😛

MealEnders is also giving away four 25-piece packs so you can try all flavors: Cinnamon, Mocha, Chocolate Mint and Citrus. Just enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway restrictions:
– U.S. only
– One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from MealEnders through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner.

You can also save 20% at MealEnders.com with the discount code FitHolidays20

Kravin’ for Krave

Kravin’ for Krave

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid to write this review. I paid for these bars myself, and all opinions in this post are 100% my own.

Like pretty much any food blogger I’ve come across, I am in love with Quest Bars. Banana Nut Muffin (even though I can’t stand raw bananas), Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Double Chocolate Chunk, and White Chocolate Raspberry were all awesome flavors, and of course there are the original flavors!

But this post isn’t about the Quest we all know in love, but the product featured is quite similar.

Krave Natural Protein Bars
Krave Natural Protein Bars

I learned about these Krave Natural Protein Bars recently, and after seeing their similarities in ingredients and consistency to Quest Bars, I knew I had to try them—even if it meant dropping $31.99 for the variety pack on Amazon. We all have our exceptions for splurging, right ;)?

The variety pack comes with two of six different flavors: Baked Apple Pie, Banana Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, French Toast, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Raw Cookie Dough.

I had ordered these bars on a Thursday, and was expecting the package to arrive at least a week later, but I found a box at my doorstep (to my pleasant surprise of course!) on the following Monday night. I have to give Pure Fitness Nutrition props for quick shipping!

The bars are also have slimmer look to them, as if they are flattened-out versions of Quest Bars. They also do weigh less than what the Nutrition Facts say (the “serving size” is 70 grams, but the bars range from 55-65 grams according to my kitchen scale).

I gave French Toast a try first:

French Toast in bar form!
French Toast in bar form!

The bars all share the common ingredients of a milk protein blend, blue agave inulin, peanut butter, and erythritol, and differ in regards to the addition of other flavors and ingredients, obviously.

French Toast stands out due to its inclusion of pecans and cinnamon, ingredients that hark back to the Sunday morning breakfast classic.

French toast is great, but sometimes bars just taste better!!
French toast is great, but sometimes bars just taste better!!

Apple pie is a breakfast food too, right?

Baked Apple Pie
Baked Apple Pie

No worries, if it’s in bar form, it is.

Baked Apple Pie on a plate.
Baked Apple Pie on a plate.

Funny thing is, this is EXACTLY the French toast bar with the addition of dried natural apples! Laugh out loud worthy :P!

Raw Cookie Dough was ultimately my favorite, even though it is a flavor that’s tossed around and around among food bar companies.

Raw Cookie Dough
Raw Cookie Dough

But how can you not love anything that has cookie dough in its name? And look at the marble-y chocolate swirls :D!

Cookie dough is the best :D.
Cookie dough is the best :D.

After consuming these three flavors, my initial excitement was beginning to wan. Chocolate Fudge Brownie was not too bad though:

Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Chocolate Fudge Brownie

It was softer than fudge, and easy to eat with a spoon even. Along with chocolate chips, there were pieces of walnuts included. I almost forgot to take a picture though, hence the picture mid-bite!

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Unwrapped
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Unwrapped

It does look more photogenic with the walnuts to the side though…

The last two flavors both have chocolate chip in their title: banana and peanut butter.

Banana Chocolate Chip
Banana Chocolate Chip
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Both bars look very similar to each other, and only differ in their aromas. The banana one obviously has the aroma of a ripe banana (not too appetizing for me, but fortunately the chocolate combination makes up for that), and the peanut butter one has more of a peanut flour aroma.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bar
Banana Chocolate Chip Bar
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

I know any of these bars would have tasted 10x better when nuked in the microwave.

Will I be substituting these over Quest Bars in the future? Probably not, since I can get a variety pack of Quest Bars for a cheaper price, but perhaps if I have a hankering for French Toast or Raw Cookie Dough, I’ll probably make an exception and splurge on a 12-pack of those individual flavors.

Have you tried Krave Natural Protein Bars?

What do you not mind splurging on?

A Bar Fit For…

A Bar Fit For…

…a bananamaniac.

1) Wrapper, 2) Full length, 3) Microwaved (best way to eat, imo...)
1) Wrapper, 2) Full length, 3) Microwaved (best way to eat, imo…)

I am far from ever loving raw bananas. For some reason, I can’t stand the texture, smell, or taste of a raw banana! I don’t mind banana-flavored things, like banana breads, yogurts, even bars…to some extent.

I was really hoping this Quest Bar in Banana Nut Muffin would change my preferences for banana, but to be honest? I was so glad when I finished the 12-pack box, since after the first three bars, I figured the flavor wouldn’t be to my liking no matter what. I do have to say though, like most Quest Bar flavors, it’s pretty tasty when microwaved ;).

—♥—

…those who can’t forgo their daily bowl of oatmeal, but if the circumstances call for it, this would have to do.

Apple and cinnamon is a combo I think we often take for granted. It’s almost expected for any food company that specializes in oatmeal to have some sort of spin on the flavor combo, but little did I know KIND bar’s take on these two classic ingredients would be a knock out!

Never thought apple cinnamon oatmeal in a bar could ever be done? Think again...
Never thought apple cinnamon oatmeal in a bar could ever be done? Think again…

I am seriously in love with this flavor, but seeing how my Dad brought this back from an airport Starbucks and I haven’t seen this flavor in any of my local stores, I’m not sure how I will enjoy this perfection in bar form again :P!

—♥—

…the cashew craver.

I don’t think chewy cashew cookies are all that common when it comes to mainstream cookies (I mean, macadamia cookies are the norm, how are cashews not??), but saying that, this classic Larabar flavor serves as the perfect alternative for the elusive cashew cookie.

For the cashew cookie dreamer.
For the cashew cookie dreamer.

—♥—

…those who prefer chewy over crispy, or crunchy.

I like to call this 18 Rabbits bar “deceivingly chewy” since it looks like it would be a crunchy bar from the outside, but it’s (almost) as soft as a cloud when you bite into it.

Deceivingly chewy!
Deceivingly chewy!

I couldn’t taste the dates too much in this flavor (more so the honey), so perhaps they should rename it “Haute Diggity Honey”? Does that pack any punch :P?

—♥—

…a ballerina (or a gymnast, or even a runner 😉 )

The logo was on the box that was shipped to me :3!
The logo was on the box that was shipped to me :3!

I had the chance to sample and review three Barre bar flavors this past week, and being the bar-fiend that I am, I was excited to do so :)!

3 flavors to try :)!
3 flavors to try :)!

The first flavor I tried was the Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan flavor.

Barre Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan
Barre Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan

Not only were the raw ingredients simple and wholesome, but seeing that “a portion of all proceeds benefits arts education” was really great to know, and knowing the sales were supporting a good cause.

Hint of spicy.
Hint of spicy.

I could really get the hint of cinnamon in this bar, making it, you could say, “sweetly spicy”. The bar was moist, chewy, and I imagine easy to bite into while doing a pirouette (don’t take my word for it though!). I could see this flavor, and any of the other flavors as perfect go-to fuels for long runs.

Next up was the Ballerina Spirulina flavor.

Barre Ballerina Spirulina
Barre Ballerina Spirulina

I loved how I could see the flecks of spirulina throughout the bar. There was even a hint of coconut which I appreciated as well!

Spirulina and coconut throughout this kid!
Spirulina and coconut throughout this kid!

Last, but certainly not least (actually, it was my favorite from all three!!) was Black Swan Chocolate Berry.

Black Swan Chocolate Berry
Black Swan Chocolate Berry

This flavor would have blown my ballet shoes off if I was wearing any, but since I was wearing Ked sneakers laced up pretty tightly, no such thing happened. What really made this bar a winner was the dried cherries. The flavor name is pretty cute too :P.

Dried cherries are the best :D!
Dried cherries are the best :D!

Had so much fun snacking on this on the way to class (as if you couldn’t tell already!).

—♥—

Are you a fan of food bars?

Note: The Barre bars were provided to me for review. All other bars were puchased on my own. My opinions were not paid for in either case, and are solely my own.
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