July Degustabox Review

July Degustabox Review

How is July already almost over?! But to be honest, I’m usually excited for August’s arrival because it means birthday month!

In a way, I guess I was able to celebrate my last month of being 24 with this month’s Degustabox that I was sent to review.

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There were a lot more ready-to-eat snacks this month in comparison to the past few months, which is something I prefer since I’m always on the go, and rarely in the kitchen taking the time to cook something elaborate (even though that would be nice…)

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Mrs. Thinster’s Brownie Batter Cookie Thins were an obvious favorite of mine. Not only did they have a crisp texture, but there were enough chocolate chips to fit within the small cookies to give it a melty vibe. They reminded me overall of a flattened version of Famous Amos cookies.

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The snack bag sizes of the products in this month’s box were convenient for on-the-go travel. I took the bag of Kala Beautiful Beans to lab one day and had them throughout the morning, chomping on them between incubation periods and washing steps for an experiment I was doing!

beans
When it’s mid-July and the summer heat still isn’t enough, maybe some Tropical Curry Kala fava beans will do the trick. Spicy lime at your service πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸŒΆ πŸ‹ @degustabox

The tropical curry flavor was an intense spicy, lime flavor—and it does stick to your breath, so you have been warned!

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One item I was excited about wasn’t physically in the box, but redeemable with a coupon. RX Bar provided a “free bar” coupon that could be redeemable on any RX Bar! I think the company was feeling generous this month because I also saw them table a booth at the IDEA World/Blogfest conference last weekend. Both my coupon and samples at the conference allowed me to sample some of the new flavors, including Peanut Butter Chocolate!

pbchocolate_rx
Not my favorite @rxbar , but Chocolate Peanut Butter sounds like a safe enough flavor to add to your line-up of bars. I love the Peanut Butter flavor by itself, but for me, the addition of chocolate chunks was a bit much in terms of the texture and flavor. It does look pretty in the light though β˜€οΈ

The mini buttery vanilla Waffle Waffle waffle was a pleasantly surprising snack. I expected it be a dry and bland, but it had pieces of pearl sugar mixed in, as well as coated on top, so it had enough sweetness to balance out any dry dough.

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It definitely had a buttery taste and a vanilla aroma, a nice crunch from the pearl sugar, and like the wrapper exclaimed it didn’t need syrup, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a topping or two to it!

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“How does a nice buttery, vanilla waffle made from a batter mixed with crunchy pearls of sugar sound for breakfast today? πŸžβ˜•οΈπŸ΄Apparently #nosyrupneeded πŸ˜…”

This Mutti Tomato Sauce was a pure delight for mixing my crockpot vegetables in.

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I was so hungry the night(s) I used this, so I’m lacking dinner pics of veggies-piled-high crockpot bowls with a generous serving of thin, flavorful tomato sauce on top. I usually like a thicker consistency for sauces and liquids meant to function as meals, but the thin consistency of this sauce seemed to work well.

The bottle of Karma Wellness Water I must say was the one product this month that fascinated me the most. The featured flavor was acai pomegranate, and it is boasted as an “immunity booster”, with contents such as vitamin C4, zinc, berry extracts, and tea extracts.

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The vitamins are supposed to be infused only when you are ready to drink. The cap on top contains the mix that you push down on in order to release everything into the plain water that is actually inside the bottle. Shake well, and you’re good to go!

I thought I had deja vu when I saw these…

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And when I did take a look back at my previous posts, I did indeed notice that I had tried these popcorn snacks before! Just about a year ago in fact, when I first started working with Degustabox…

What I thought then…

The Wise popcorn bags I received came in lightly salted and Cinnabon flavors. I made my usual weeknight after-dinner snack of protein powder mixed with yogurt (proyo), and topped the bowl with popcorn. In this bowl, I topped it with the Cinnabon flavor and snacked on the lightly salted flavor on the side. The Cinnabon flavor was not very strong to my disappointment, and the popcorn of both flavors tasted somewhat stale (as in they didn’t have a robust crunch to them).

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…and I don’t think my opinion has changed to much since a year ago. I still thought the Cinnabon popcorn didn’t have a strong flavor, but both were decent-sized, palatable snacks.

The King Arthur Flour for Everyone’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix was an interesting addition. I like the graphic design of the packaging for some reason…makes me think of making something from scratch…

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…I guess that’s the point! The mix definitely has the fresh aroma of a semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie ready to be baked, and there were plenty of medium-sized chocolate chips in the mix. Haven’t had a chance to completely bake with the mix yet, but I don’t think it will disappoint!

The Goya Olive Oil is another item I have yet to (but am eager to try!) and since the jerky sticks were obviously a meat product, I had to hand them over to the six-foot-something post-doc in my lab— since he’ll eat anything that’s on our common table, haha!

Which of these items would you snack on while pondering over where your summer has gone?!

June’s Degustabox

June’s Degustabox

I still have my French adventure to spill about, but had to take a short break from the travel recaps to gab about this month’s Degustabox!

When I can back from Europe, my sister stayed with me in LA for two weeks, and for the first week my landlords were out of town vacationing in NYC. We saw it as an opportunity to be flexible cooking in the kitchen, and this month’s Degustabox had all the ingredients and more to help us make some healthy, fresh, home-cooked meals.

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We bought a fair amount of produce and pretty much pan-cooked veggies like broccoli, onions, carrots, and peppers. On one night, we split a head of broccoli and carrots and had it alongside some vegan crab cakes. My sister tried Bibigo’s Gochujang Hot & Sweet Sauce on top of hers, and loved the smoky flavor and thick consistency.

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I tried the small jar of Sir Kensington’s classic ketchup, and though I didn’t like how thin it was (thick ketchup all the way!), the flavor was a light blend of sweet and savory.

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I had a can of Brooklyn Organics Coconut Ginger Ale on the side. It reminded me of a more flavorful La Croix coconut sparkling water. It definitely had carbonation, but it was like the coconut flavor had the first punch while the ginger flavor lingered later.

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I was happy to have my sister around to share the snacks with me. While I was in lab, she tried out the Ritz Crisp & Thins Cream Cheese & Onion flavor while out on he road looking at apartments in the OC. She noted how especially light they were, almost like air when compared to similarly popped chips!!

 

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I was a fan of Pop Corners’  Our Little Rebellion bean crisps in “Salt of the Earth” flavor. Not only did they have a powerful crunch and salty exterior, the chip was a beauty to look at. I remarked how each crisp looks like a kaleidoscope image.

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When I first spotted the bag of Julian’s Recipe Meyer Lemon Waffle Thins with Quinoa, I immediately thought about the stroop waffles I love so much. These however were more like flattened biscuits or shortbreads shaped like waffles. They didn’t have a chewy texture when bitten into like a stroop waffle would.

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Still, they did taste delicious, lemon flavor and all. It would have paired perfectly with a giant cup of coffee, but I smacked on these from the bag the evening after I ran the Rock n Roll San Diego marathon (yes, I have a lot of catching up to do in regards to my blog posts πŸ˜‰ !)

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My sister and I both were pleasantly surprised by Entenmann’s Mini Apple Snack pies.

I wasn’t expecting something that sounded so banal to be taste-worthy. The crust is lightly glazed, but the filling is incredibly sweet and gooey. Like one of those apple pies from McDonald’s but way better. The box came in a pack of six, and I brought a few to lab only to take one back for myself!

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I didn’t get a chance to try the Gochujang Barbecue Sauce, but since my sister fell in love with their Bibigo’s Gochujang Hot & Sweet Sauce, I’m pretty sure this sauce will be a winner and a staple for my weeknight crockpot dinners. We wanted to try and make the Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon muffins while the landlords were away, but we didn’t get a chance to. Brianna’s Cilantro Lime dressing sounds curiously fascinating, and by the looks of it, it looks like a little will go a long way on not just salads, but veggie bowl dishes with rice or quinoa.

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The Viter Energy mints, while vegetarian-friendly, are caffeine-boosted so I passed on trying those. I do appreciate the company answering the vegetarian question in their FAQs though!

Which of these products would you try?

May’s Degustabox

May’s Degustabox

May’s Degustabox contained a lot of surprises, many of which got me excited about my trip to Europe that was at the end of the month. There were a balanced amount of snackables, condiments, and other meal prep items that would be fun to try out and incorporate into my weekly meals.

May's DegustaBox
May’s DegustaBox

I loved the Soy Yay Sauces that were included in past boxes, and this Asian Mesquite BBQ Sauce included. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and it definitely has a smoky flavor. The consistency is thick (just how I like my sauce/marinades!) and along with topping on my crockpot veggie bowls, I used it to flavor some otherwise plain tofu shiritake noodles one night.

Flavorful sauce!
Flavorful sauce!
Flavoring otherwise bland noodles!
Flavoring otherwise bland noodles!

The sauce also paired well with this Wild Harvest grain rice that was also shipped in this month’s box. I only had to microwave a serving with just enough water to hold and provide a medium for heating/cooking the rice. After everything was cooked and warmed up enough, I added a serving of Soy Yay and the flavor profile was enhanced. It was like I had sticky or curry rice or something.

Wild Harvest rice cooked with Soy Vey's BBQ Sauce
Wild Harvest rice cooked with Soy Vey’s BBQ Sauce

I also happened to think it made a nice combo with the La Tortilla Factory white corn tortillas. The tortillas were firm, chewy, and a true mix between a corn and white flour regular tortilla: the size and compact characteristics of a corn tortilla mixed with the soft chewiness of a white flour tortilla.

La Tortilla
La Tortilla White Corn and Wheat Tortillas

Barilla also had some featured products in this box. Yes, there was a box of Farfalle and a small bottle of a beautiful green colored pesto, but I didn’t get a chance to try them out yet. I made it a priority to try out two products from their Mulino Bianco line.

Pasta and pesto
Pasta and pesto

These Galletti cookies were actually shortbreads, and featured a rooster emblem with scattered sugar crystals on the surface. They melt in your mouth, but they are pretty dry, though lightly sweet. Would have paired well with a coffee or English tea.

Shortbreads with little roosters on them :)
Shortbreads with little roosters on them πŸ™‚

I absolutely loved the Sfilati breadsticks. They offered a great crunch, savory tomato flavor, and were such a warm, eye-catching color. I added them to a crockpot veggie bowl one night and things were taken to the next level for sure.

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Sfilati
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CRUNCH!

Last month’s box of oatmeal was a feature from Better Oats, but this month’s box was from Pure Grain. The flavor was just plain/original, and I’m not sure why Spongebob was on the front, haha.

Tagalong Oatmeal
Tagalong Oatmeal

The oats were easy to prepare much like any other instant oatmeal packet. One of the bowls I had was prepped in lab, when one of my colleagues had some leftover Girl Scout cookies sitting at a table. I took three Tagalongs and added them to a warm mug of oatmeal, right as it finished its cycle in the microwave. Melted to perfection, as flavored instantly.

Mint Mojitoooooo
Mint Mojitoooooo

Skinnygirl K-Cups were also a feature in this month’s box. I liked last month’s Peach Bellini flavor, but Mint Mojito has a great flavor profile as well. Just like with PB, a little packet of stevia goes a long way in truly bringing out the minty freshness of this flavor. It is a refreshing hit to the back of the mouth!

Dandie's Marshmallows in Dreaming Cow Grass-Fed
Dandie’s Marshmallows in Dreaming Cow Grass-Fed Blueberry Cardamom Yogurt

An item that I believe was featured as a sample in this month’s box was a vegan marshmallow packet by Dandies . They were the original flavor, and so soft to the touch/taste! Actually, they tasted much like the real thing! I topped them on a blueberry Dreaming Cow yogurt, which gave my “after dinner snack” an extra boost.

Mutti Polpa
Mutti Polpa

A can of purΓ©ed Mutti tomatoes was provided this month instead of a tube of tomato paste like last time. Looking at the ingredients again, I was amazed by how the only ingredient was fresh purΓ©ed Italian Roma tomatoes. I literally dunked the can on top of some cut vegetables for my crockpot dinner one night, and by the time I got home, the tomato purΓ©e was well-cooked and coated over the vegetables. I didn’t need to add any sauce afterwards because everything was now so deeply flavored!

Minced tomatoes in my crockpot bowl!
Minced tomatoes in my crockpot bowl!

I had to pass on the Goya lentil soup even though it sounded fantastic. The thing that prevented me from trying it out was the fact that it contains chicken stock. Ah well, my lab mates took advantage of that!

Lentil soup, with chicken stock.
Lentil soup, with chicken stock.

Which of these products would you try and what would you make?

April Degustabox

April Degustabox

This month’s Degustabox had a mix of familiar favorites and interesting new ones! Laying everything out, I couldn’t decide what to try first!

April's surprises!
April’s surprises!

I decided to try the Lovely Candy Co. Caramels first, since I remembered how much I loved the fruit chews from this brand when I first had them back in October.

caramels
When has a caramel NOT made a day a little bit sweeter? 🍬 🍭 ☺️

They were easy to chew, had a gentle sweet flavor, and were so irresistible that it was impossible to refrain from eating the whole bag in one go.

The PR Bar was also a product I was familiar with.

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PR Bar Yogurt Berry

I was a fan of the Chocolate Peanut flavor, and found this Yogurt Berry flavor just as enticing. It had a subtle vanilla coating with a melt-in-your-mouth texture filled with berry pieces, almost like having berry cream-filled cookies!

I’ve also had the Better Oats oatmeal brand in the past, but it was the first time I’ve seen their new packaging. At first I didn’t realize it was the same Better Oats company I was used to seeing being sold in green-and-white colored packaging.

better-oats
How to amplify your oats.

The flavor of the oats was Maple & Brown Sugar, but I added some pumpkin spice-flavored greens protein (which mixed well with the oats, and allowed for a thicker texture which I love!) and some Lingonberry jam for a more hearty, sweeter bowl of warmth.

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A Europe trip is in the cards later next month (!!) but I’m wondering if we should stop in Sweden πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ πŸ€”…this Lingonberry jam (a Swedish delicacy) is very convincing #ImaginingBreakfastsInSweden

The Lingonberry jam was definitely a new try for me, but after reading more about it I learned it was a Swedish delicacy. The flavor of the jam itself was not too sweet, and even though it had a fair mix of plump red berries, the consistency was smooth, pourable, and not too thick at all!

These Wilton Candy Salted Caramel Drops were also a new find for me, and certainly a winner.

candy-melts
“Straight up ate these little Wilton Candy Melts, because what PhD student has the time (and the patience) to melt candy πŸ¬πŸ˜‚??”

One could display patience, melt them to a more liquid consistency and pour it over delicate and already-beautiful looking desserts, but a hungry girl like me prefers to eat them drop by drop. Each drop packs a huge punch—I found them to be REALLY salty, and they even had a slight crunch to them also.

Dinners this month had some flavor help thanks to Nando’s. I loved seeing a bottle of Nando’s in a Degustabox again, and was eager to try this garlic flavor.

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“When you mix a baked sweet potato with garlic Nando’s Peri-Peru sauce, your tastebuds are in a treat for something both nourishing and magical πŸ πŸŒΆπŸ˜‹”

It was labeled as being “medium spicy”, and doused over a hot sweet potato, it definitely had a kick to it. The bowl also featured cooked cabbage, sliced carrots and yellow squash discs. Yum!

Another condiment product featured in this month’s box was a fancy squeezeable tomato paste.

tomato-mutti
Looks like paint—but this is edible!!

I had not heard of the Mutti brand previously, but according to the old school toothpaste/paint packaging, this double concentrated tomato paste was made purely from tomatoes of Italian origin. The tomato paste could have even passed as a dark crimson colored paint!

This month’s box also featured a number of drink items. Depending on what subscribers prefer, this month’s box either included Skinnygirl Peach Bellini Green Tea K-Cups, or instant coffee from Cafe Bustello and a can of Zenify natural energy drink.

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Tea anyone?

I took the K-Cups with me to lab since I could make use of them there with our Keurig. I’m mostly a coffee drinker nowadays, so I didn’t think I’d be in love with a green tea K-Cup, but I have to say this flavor won me over. When prepared hot and with a packet of stevia, it’s certainly a sweet treat! There’s nothing green about it—certainly all peach!

I’ve had Cafe Bustelo coffee before, but it was my first time trying out their instant packs.

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Easy as 1-2-3!

It’s almost too simple to prepare, as I literally have been heating up a mug of water for about 2 minutes, then add a packet of the intant coffee with stevia, and voila! A smooth, flavorful cup of coffee that’s easy on the wallet.

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How to make coffee, fast.

The Zenify drink I sampled was the “Zero” version, which contains 0g of sugar. The ingredients are basically sparkling water, erythritol, citric/ascorbic acid, and added vitamins. In addition to being sugar-free, it also contains no caffeine (to balance out the instant coffee I suppose!).

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Zenify Zero

I love how it had a refreshing taste to it due to the carbonation, but knowing that it also served to work like green tea due to it containing a similar combination of antioxidants made me appreciative of it a bit more. I also think it’s pretty cool that the company pledges to work against polarization and intolerance by donating 5% of its profits to the Coexist Foundation.

 As for the products I was unable to try, the Chiridos cricket snacks and Wild Planet canned chicken since they obviously contain meat products. My labmates enjoyed them though!

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Garbanzo bean hummus I have yet to make.

I could have made some garbanzo hummus this month to share with my co-workers as well, but didn’t get a chance to in time for this post! Seems easy enough though—the hummus flavor packet simply says to add a can of Bush’s Garbanzos.

Coffee or tea?

Do you prefer jam or nut butter on oats?

March DegustaBox

March DegustaBox

How is March ALREADY AT ITS END?! How is my visit to see my cousin an event that occurred a little over a month ago, and did I really just run a sub-4:00 hour marathon only this past Sunday

Well, I guess we truly are approaching the end of March, seeing as I’m writing up another DegustaBox review! My box for March came packed with a bunch of goodies!

DegustaBox for March '17
DegustaBox for March ’17

There was a a good balance of sweet snacks and savory staples. Of course, I went for the sweet-flavored stuff first! This time, I went straight for the Loacker biscuits—“Gran Pasticceria Tortina Dark”

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A “Hazelnut Tartlet?”

This wafer-based biscuit is described as a “hazelnut tartlet” and has a smooth, creamy dark chocolate shell over a melt-in-your-mouth wafer cookie.

The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!
The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!

The other cookie-based snack was this bag of Mrs. Thinster’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins. Apparently more exotic flavors like Key Lime Pie and Cake Batter are available, but these chocolate chip crispy cookies irresistible.

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Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins

The chocolate in these cookies had a mild, sweet flavor, and a buttery, crisp cookie base.

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Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins Close-Up

I was pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized, peanut butter and jelly-filled croissant among this month’s mix of items! The bread itself was sweet and soft, and reminded me of a cake you’d find in an Asian bakery.

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7 Days Croissant Peanut Butter and Jelly

The filling on the inside didn’t look like a lot, but it was just enough.

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A PB&J Croissant?? Which master genius came up with this idea πŸ’‘?!

I remember having the Sweet Oat & Flax Good Thins crisps as part of my December DegustaBox, and so I was elated to see that the sweet potato flavored ones were included in this month’s box.

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Nabisco Good Thins The Potato One ~ Sweet Potato

The sweet potato chips were light, crispy, sweet, and extremely light in density.

Boboli Pizza Crust was also included, and at first I was like, what am I going to do with this? Since I share a kitchen with an elderly couple (my landlords), I don’t do much heavy cooking. Plus, I wanted to see if I could utilize this large, dense disc of bread for a meal besides pizza…

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It’s hard to tell but there’s about half of a 12″ Boboli pizza crust at the bottom of this (what seems like) a veggie-dense bowl!

As a result, I added it to my usual veggie-dense crockpot dinner bowl, as well as into some split pea soup that also had tofu cubes thrown in.

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Boboli crust in soup and with veggies (topped with mustard)

The crust was soft, chewy, not super cheesy (even though cheese strands were clearly visible), and I even had portions of this 12″ crust on its own when not thrown into the dinners seen above.

One item I didn’t particularly favor was this Lemoncocco drink:

lemoncocco
Lemoncocco

It has Italian origins, but the drink itself has a “milky” appearance. It is essentially coconut water with a hint of lemon, but I thought the citrus flavor was overwhelming and made the drink taste slightly bitter.

Another product I had an adverse reaction to were these Energems. At least I did at a previous time. With this in mind, I decided not to give these a try. I brought and left them in lab, and my co-workers made use of them—I think some of them benefited from the caffeine boost!

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Energems, eh no thanks!

These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!

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Such pretty packaging colors & font!

They were lightly sweetened, and had a mix of textures, but they were still easy to eat. Not only were they easy to consume, but they were also colorful and the box had the most gorgeous packaging!

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This Paul’s Finest Quinoa bar dazzles like a gem. And the fact that it’s sweetened with honey 🍯🍯🍯 ??? Aw man, so good!

The small box of Goya Quinoa Blend that contained black beans, bell peppers, and spices mixed with white quinoa and brown rice held enough grains to make four weekday lunches.

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Goya Quinoa Blend

It was very simple to prepare with the microwave. I simply added a serving of the mix into a bowl, filled it to the level of the grains with water, and simply microwaved it from 7-12 minutes. I added a small, sliced Yukon gold potato that was also microwaved ~2 minutes. I cooled off the mix in the fridge in lab, took it out around lunch time, and any excess water that was there right after microwaving had been absorbed by the rice.

quinoa-and-potato
Taking some days off from running has helped me in regards to gaining some free time for meal prep! Vegetarian quinoa by Goya, mixed with a boiled potato has been working as a satisfying lunch πŸ˜‹ helping me power through the rest of my work day πŸ’ͺ🏽

The potatoes did a good job of absorbing the flavors, and overall made for a nourishing lunch!

The last product in this month’s box I have yet to try is this chickpea pasta:

chickpea-pasta
Tolerant Foods Organic Chickpea Pasta

I plan to soak a serving in water overnight before I plan to use it for lunch, so that it can respond well to a spin in the microwave. I’ll have to add my own spices and toppings, but I think this pasta will be a new favorite of mine since I expect it to have a naturally nutty, rich flavor thanks to those baby chickpeas πŸ™‚ !

Which would you rather try from the following: the quinoa snack bars or the quinoa-rice mix?

January Degustabox

January Degustabox

Having a hefty box of goods from DegustaBox to start the new year was something I was very excited about!

january_deg
January’s DegustaBox

It was a half miss/half win for me this month in regards to these products. I couldn’t have a couple due to the ingredients, but the ones I could consume were good (despite some of my critiques, haha) on many accounts!

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I normally don’t think about buying microwaveable popcorn from the grocery store, but having the option to have it as a snack for three weeknights was a nice change in routine! This kind was lightly buttered, but had quite the kick of salt. It made procrastinating with Netflix a whole lot easier and fun, haha.

jollytime
Jolly Time – Healthy Pop Butter Popcorn

I also got a small pack of Entenmann’s Little Bites in Party Cake flavor.

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Entenmann’s Little Bites ~ Party Cakes

The cakes were super moist and glistened at the top, and took their calorie density seriously. Only four are provided in a pack that’s 190 calories. They are called “little bites” for a reason, but I think only putting in four miniature cakes in a packet is disappointing. And no frosting either…ah well, at least each “bite” was delectable πŸ˜›

party_cakes
Soft little bites.

The Berry Good Smart Kids bar I had wasn’t one of my faves. The bar was a cereal-type bar, dusty with berry pieces mixed into the bar. I think the powdery coating is what made me not appreciate this bar. The texture was just too rough for something you’d think would be chewy, especially if berries are involved.

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Smart Kids Bar ~ Berry Good

Unfortunately, I had to skip out on trying three products this month. These Organic fruit chews were one of them, as they contained gelatin.

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Go Organically Fruit Snacks ~ Fruit Medley

These Welch’s fruit chews might have tasted nice, and while they didn’t have gelatin, they did have confectioners glaze/lac-resin, which is derived from secretions from the lac insect. So I had to pass on these as well…

welchs
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks ~ Strawberry

Then there were the Cello Parmesan Whisps. Their website was actually very informative about their cheese making process and what types of rennet they use as far as if it’s vegetarian friendly or not. They even had a descriptive FAQ page, but unfortunately for me, their parmesan cheese wasn’t listed under the list of their cheese products made with microbial rennet. So, I had to pass.

whisps
Cello Whisps ~ Parmesan Cheese Crisps

I’m pretty fortunate to have always-hungry co-workers though! I brought the packages to lab one day and everything was eaten by the time be day was over. I guess I should also add that one of my lab mates is a six-foot tall guy…”always hungry” is an understatement I suppose!

The ginger sugar was an interesting addition. I think it’s made by the same company as tiger balm because the ginger tea box came with this handy dandy promo flier.

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A flier for Tiger Balm?

The crystal packets were packed individually, and contained a generous amount of honey crystals to mix into hot water for a satisfying cup of tea.

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Ginger Honey Tea Crystals

The crystals themselves look like rice puffs close-up, but they had a sharp, sweet flavor.

crystals
They look like rice puffs!

When I first saw this box, I immediately thought my breakfasts for the month were set…well, if not breakfast, then at least after-dinner desserts!

hungryjack_
Hungry Jack Complete Pumpkin Spice Mix

This box is the complete package—you just need to add water to get the mix going. For convenience sake, I scooped a quarter cup out and mixed it into a mug with water until I got a thick batter. I then microwaved it for about 2 minutes. The result was a soft, doughy cake that I then proceeded to top with coconut milk-yogurt mixed with pumpkin spice-flavored greens. Ah, twas delicious!

I absolutely loved the Alo Light drink, and didn’t expect it to be so refreshing! It had aloe pulp, and it had a jelly-like consistency, so it reminded me of those jelly cups or jelly cubes that they add to drinks at boba places. I had the whole bottle within minutes, and shared my love for it on Instagram, even though I was on my way to lab all stressed out. 

alolight_refresh
ALO Refresh Light

The same day I felt stressed, I came back needing a nourishing dinner. I had the option of using either one of these two spice or sauce mixes.

spicesandsauces
Time to season and spice things up!

I chose to have the One & Done seasoning mixed in with my crockpot cabbage bowl with squash and red bell pepper. I also added in a grill pressed eggpant wrap from Trader Joe’s. It came with a cup of tahini sauce that I added into the bowl, and with the seasoning + sauce, it was an instant flavor party.

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Trader Joe’s Grilled Eggplant Wrap with seasoned cabbage, squash, and pepper

I’m sure when I try the McDonnells Indian Korma Curry Sauce (an Irish product suitable fr vegetarians, based on the package!), I’ll love it as well.

Which of these products would you try to kick off the new year?

December Degustabox!

December Degustabox!

With all the cooking ingredients in last month’s Degustabox, I was elated that this month’s box featured a lot more snack-ables—including some sweet treats (hellooooo cookies πŸ˜€ ).

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December’s Degustabox Delectables

The Purely Simple baking mix and frosting pack were an interesting find in this month’s box. I haven’t seen this in stores yet, but I’m glad to see that global brands like Pillsbury are attempting to make products that stray away from using artificial ingredients.

purely_simple
Pillsbury Purely Simple White Cake & Cupcake Mix and Pillsbury Purely Simple Buttercream Frosting Mix

I didn’t have time to bake with them personally, but I thought it was a good idea to drop it off at a holiday cookie decorating party my running team was having. I did try a bit of the frosting mix though…in some oatmeal.

frosting-oatmeal
Frosting oatmeal…? I try πŸ˜›

For some reason, I thought that the frosting mix would “magically” turn into frosting…because that’s what it’s supposed to do right? Haha…I honestly did not notice any difference to my oatmeal after adding a tablespoon or so of the mix. So now you know.

It was the first time I tried roasted fava beans, thanks to Kala Beautiful Beans. These were crisp, salted, and peppered, and added SO much texture to my crockpot bowl already full of shredded cabbage, eggplant, and bell pepper. The whole bag didn’t fit the bowl, so I had to add more as I ate through the contents of the bowl πŸ˜›

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KALA Beautiful Beans – Simply Peppered Beans

I’ve seen the Good Thins brand around lately, the last time being when someone from the next door lab had the sweet potato ones for lunch. This box was “the oat one”, specifically the sweet oat and flax.

good__thins
Good Thins – Sweet Oat & Flax

Each crisp was perfectly square, and had bits of flax seeds peeking out. They definitely had a malty, sweet flavor to them, and while they made for the perfect snack on their own, I’m sure they would have tasted spectacular with some dip.

A lot of people have been getting sick in my workplace, but these Ricola lozenges weren’t something I was too keen on sharing.

ricola_1
Ricola Herbal Immunity – Honey Herb Lozenges

They were Honey Herb flavored, and the packaging went on forever, haha! And while each lozenge has no artificial colors/flavors or GMOs, as well as being packed with Swiss herbs and ginseng, they could be treated and eaten like candy.

lozenge_
Really, it’s just like candy.

I actually can’t recall the last time I had jam or jelly…it’s been all nut butter for me lately. If you don’t eat PB&J sandwiches regularly, the thought of buying jelly or jam from the grocery store doesn’t seem to stick around (pun intended!).

strawberry_jalapeno
Smucker’s Fruit & Honey – Strawberry JalapeΓ±o Fruit Spread

I received a small jar of Smucker’s Fruit and Honey fruit spread in strawberry jalapeno (yes, jalapeno), which has been sweetned naturally with honey. I think that because of the honey, the spread wasn’t as thick as a regular jam. It did taste sweeter though, which for this flavor was off-set by the jalapeno bits. While at first this mix of flavor profiles was fun, it got annoying pretty quickly. After a while it seems like a chore, having to avoid the jalapeno pieces once they start to get tiring.

The Loacker biscuits were insanely delicious!! Overall, I preferred the coconut flavor over Noir Orange, but both flavors rocked.

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Loacker Gran Pasticceria Patisserie – Noir Orange

I love how the coconut flavor had a generous amount of coconut flakes over each biscuit, and that the coating was milk chocolate. The noir orange coating was a dark chocolate, and even though it was a wafer cookie, it had a bumpy puffed rice texture. The nutrition was not as “bad” as one would expect either—120 calories for 3-4 biscuits, but nothing stopped me from eating more than that in one go.

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Loacker Gran Pasticceria Patisserie – Coconut

I’ve always preferred cookies to be chewy, so I never was a huge fan of Chips Ahoy! growing up. When they came out with the chewy version, I was all about those, but it’s been a while since I first had them in elementary school!

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Chips Ahoy! Thins – Cinnamon Sugar

Many years later, the brand is still going strong with a “thins” version of their cookie, which are flatter and crispier, almost like thick, kettle-cooked potato chips. This particular flavor was cinnamon sugar, and it was impossible to complain about there being a LACK of cinnamon sugar! There were even white chocolate chips thrown in. Overall, I liked the flavor, I just wish they were chewier of course.

Another sweet treat was a small bundle of Honey Acres honey straws. There was an assortment of flavors that included clover, lemon, orange, raspberry, and mint chocolate. The mint chocolate was my favorite since it had the thickest consistency of all the flavors.

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Honey Straws, yum!!

I ate them on their own, but they could easily be added to tea or on top of oatmeal for some extra flavor and sweetness.

I first tried Wise popcorn when I received my first ever Degustabox back in June. This month’s box included a giant bag of their white cheddar popcorn, but I couldn’t confirm if the enzymes used to make the cheese they use to flavor the popcorn were microbial or rennet based. So unfortunately, I couldn’t sample the popcorn myself, but at least my lab-mates got some free food out of it.

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Wise Popcorn – White Cheddar

One odd product in this box was a microwaveable 3-minute meal with a mix of flavored grains. The flavor was noted as “beef burgundy”, but I looked at the ingredients list multiple times and did not see the words “beef” or “meat”. I was certainly surprised, but I didn’t want to take a chance on it in case the natural flavors were of animal origin.  Yet another product left for my co-workers…

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A meat-less meat product?

There were honestly many great finds in this month’s box, which made up for the few products I couldn’t fully enjoy. Well, I must say that if there are at least three different dessert items that are equally great-tasting, then my needs are met πŸ˜‰ !

Are you a cookies or crisps/chips kind of person?

November DegustaBox!

November DegustaBox!

November’s DegustaBox arrived on my doorstep the afternoon I returned from So Cal VegFest, and this month’s goods was a good mix of cooking ingredients, snacks, and drinks. I had to forgo the jerky and Haribo gummies, but everything else I dove right into.

degusta
November’s DegustaBox

There were two flavors of Beanitos white bean chips included in this month’s box.

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Beanitos – Nacho Cheese

Of the two flavors, I liked nacho cheese the best. The chips reminded me of the Doritos of my childhood class parties and picnics, but had a much smoother texture (in other words, no risk of mouth abrasions except for if the corners hit the gums!)

hint-of-lime
Beanitos – Hint of Lime

Another fun savory snack a part of this collection was a small packet of oLOVEs

oloves-basil-garlic
Oloves ~ Basil & Garlic

I thought the packaging was adorable (the olive in the bottom corner is saying “kids & adults love ’em”), and the olives themselves come without pits and coated with flavor. These were lathered in basil and garlic.

The Honees Drops were one of the first things I tried when I began my DegustaBox partnership.

honees
Honees – Honey Lemon

I liked them then, and I certainly like this honey flavor now. If you feel a cold-weather induced itch in your throat, pop one of these in your mouth and let the menthol take over!

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Sharwood’s Tikka Masala – Creamy Tomato

I was also excited to incorporate another cooking sauce into my meals. Sharwood’s creamy tomato tikki masala sauce honestly could have been eaten on its own, but it made my vegetable dinner bowl taste that much better. I do recommend that it’s used to flavor drier vegetables, since I had some watery vegetables in this bowl and the sauce became slightly watery as well.

cherry
Nib Mor – Cherry

To compliment the savory, I also received two sweet snacks. Nib Mor’s superfruit chocolates in cherry and blueberry flavors had a good mix of dried fruit on the inside.

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Nib Mor – Blueberry

I noticed this especially with the blueberry flavor. I wasn’t too keen on the dark chocolate, but I can’t argue that this chocolate is highly heart-friendly.

As for drinks, I received two cans of his beverage…

ginger-beer
Bruce Cost GingerBeer

This Bruce Cost Ginger Beer tasted so refreshing after spending a few hours in our lab office refridgerator. It had a spicy ginger kick, and I actually enjoyed it despite not being a fan of ginger ale in the past.

The Ponti Balsamic Vinegar sauce was a pleasantly surprising addition.

ponti
Ponti Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

I knew right away that I would be using it to coat crockpot veggies, but I had no idea how THICK the consistency was! I was practically in awe, and two servings coated my veggies generously. Obviously one of my prettier crockpot bowls to date πŸ˜‰

toriani
Toriani Salted Caramel Medium Roast Coffee

I was the happiest to find K-Cups for coffee in this month’s box! I’ve been spending more than I’d like from outside coffee shops lately, and seeing that my lab office has a Keurig, I knew that these Toriani Salted Caramel Coffee K-Cups would save my wallet as well as make use of our little coffee machine πŸ™‚

*As a side note, DegustaBox subscribers will receive either coffee or vinegar in their box, based on their preferences!

They taste a whole lot better with creamer and some stevia, but in it’s black form, it has a strong caramel scent that tends to waft through the entire office and has everyone wondering where the smell is coming from, haha.

poppyseed
Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing

I did not get to a chance to try Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing just yet, but part of me feels like I can only do it justice if I get some peaches to pour this on…apparently it tastes good on peaches? I think I’ll pack it with me to take on my Friendsgiving trip this week!

Would you incorporate any of these products into a Thanksgiving recipe? I’m thinking I’m going to use the poppyseed dressing to top some mashed potatoes or sweet potato rings!

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!

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October’s haul

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

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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 πŸ˜‰

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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?

September DegustaBox

September DegustaBox

With the start of a new month, I was anticipating a hefty box to be at the door at any moment…

haul
September DegustaBox collection of items!

And when this month’s DegustaBox came, I couldn’t contain my excitement!

There was only one item I couldn’t have because it was non-vegetarian (the
BustaNUT! Maple Bacon Flavored Peanuts), but everything else was up for grabs.

The first thing I tried was the Toosum oatmeal-based bar, and it instantly became one of my new favorites. The flavor I got was acai and cranberry, but the soft cookie-like texture is what sold me. I haven’t seen these in stores though, so I’m going to have to be on my toes and really look out for any more flavors of these!

toosum_cranberryacai
Toosum Bar – “Bites with Benefits”!

The BustaNUT! Bourbon Flavored Peanuts were peanuts packed with flavor, obviously waiting to be “busted out” of the package.

bustanut-barrel-lickin-good-bourbon
BUSTANUT! Flavored-peanuts

I only had the Bourbon flavor (it doesn’t actually have alcohol) and left the Maple Bacon flavor one in lab. I found the package half opened the day after I left it…someone must have been real picky, haha.

One of the most useful items from the box was Hak’s Pak One Pot Cooking Sauce. It was essentially made for crockpot cooking, and I was the most eager to try out this item out of everything because it was so crockpot-friendly! My crockpot meal was cooked for about 5 hours, and when I came home I piled everything up high on a flat plate. I was ravenous, and seeing the sauce soaked into the pores of my sweet potato discs, shredded cabbage, and cooked bell pepper was making my mouth water.

crockpot-sauce
Hak Pak’s One Pot Cooking Sauce

In my last box, I had a beverage that I also hydrated with after a long run. Even though that was an aloe-based drink, both that beverage and this month’s featured tonic water truly hit the spot.

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Sparkling Bitters – Grapefruit Mint

I try to take my long runs easy, going at a pace about a minute slower than I want to race, so I don’t worry too much about dehydration. But sometimes, even a slow long run can induce a strong thirst. I’ve always been able to calm this thirst down with a tall glass of ice cold water, but lately I’ve noticed sparkling water does the trick too. This month’s bottle of Sparkling Bitters came in the grapefruit mint flavor, and that spicy citrus, yet refreshing aftertaste was the perfect post-13 mile stabilizer.

I also received another Honey Bunches box, this time the honey cluster flavor. I used to be in love with Honey Bunches for a short while in middle school, doing so much as to try every flavor in the cereal’s family, and after exhausting the boxes of each flavor I came to realize that I honestly was a bunches fan. When my hype for the cereal died down, that’s when the Just Bunches! cereal line came out, but I was too jaded to try it.

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Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted

This time around, I may have gotten the unlucky box that was filled primarily with flakes over the bunches, which reminded me how much I do miss the bunches!

the-english-provender-co-luxury-lemon-curd
The English Provender Co. – Luxury Lemon Curd

The English Provender Co. provided three of their curds/chutneys to try, and while I could have spread these on bread, muffins, or bagels, I chose to top them on Greek yogurt cups. Lemon curd and vanilla Greek yogurt is one combo that can’t be messed with. As I was eating it, I realized that this could easily be mixed as a filling for pie crust!

the-english-provender-co-sweet-tomato-chili-chutney
The English Provender Co. – Sweet Tomato & Chili Chutney

The remaining two jars were chutneys, and while I thought the tomato flavor was too savory for my liking, I enjoyed the caramelized onion flavor.

the-english-provender-co-caramelized-red-onion-chutney
The English Provender Co. – Caramelized Red Onion Chutney

I could actually see each thinly-sliced onion ring, marinated in a sweet, dark purple colored preserve. Now this is a chutney I could see being dollop we’d into small pieces of crostini and served atop a silver platter as an appetizer at a fancy dinner.

I first saw this cookie brand at Starbucks, but it was this month’s box that introduced me to their small shortbread cookies!

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Michel et Augustin Shortbread Cookies

Both flavors of the Michel et Augustin shortbread cookies I received were packed with smooth, buttery flavor and a crisp chocolate texture for their chocolate chip shortbread. I was more sad than I should have been after I consumed both!

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Michel et Augustin Shortbread Cookies (w/ chocolate chips)

The featured item in the box this month were Zolli Drops hard candies. They are are sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher. They remind me of flattened-down versions of Brach’s hard candies, and are just as fun to snack on as a bag of popcorn. Actually, these mixed in a bag of popcorn doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…

zolli-drops
Zolli Drops!

My favorite snack item was hands-down the PopCorners Carnival Kettle chips. These tortilla-chip look akin have a texture and flavor akin to mini, flavored rice cakes…except they are flatter, crunchier, and bolder in flavor. I could not stop eating these, and had these after a particularly exhausting, energy-draining day. No regrets, because this bag was oh so worth it.

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PopCorners Carnival Kettle chips

As far as sweets go, I’d say this month’s DegustaBox did an excellent job with its offering. I didn’t immediately come to this conclusion, since at first glance of these Entenmann’s Little Bites Chocolate Chip Muffins, I was doubting how “luxurious” all these food items really were.

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Entenmann’s Little Bites Chocolate Chip Muffins

But these small baby muffins proved me wrong. They were extra soft and chewy—like cupcake balls without the pretty icing and sturdy dowel.

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So soft-looking!

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I honestly felt like I was spoiled this month with the different products I got. In fact, I have yet to try two items by the time this post publishes: Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce and corn & quinoa pasta.

I’m looking forward to having the pasta in future crockpot dishes, as a base for marinated veggies.

items-not-tried-yet
Still need to try these!

The Nando’s sauce is something I’m looking forward to try as well. I think it will definitely come in handy when I use up my apple cider vinegar and will need a new flavorful liquid to flavor my veggies with. And for some reason, I’m curious to see how it would taste poured over pizza…

Which of these items sounds the most appealing to you?

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