September Degustabox Review

September Degustabox Review

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

Another month gone by, another Degustabox received and reviewed!

As much as I want to say I really found all of this month’s products spectacular, I have to be honest and say I was actually underwhelmed (if not disappointed) with most of the products this month.

Degustabox September
Degustabox September

Compared to previous months, this month’s box seemed to come with less items than the norm. There were also a couple of items I had to pass on because they weren’t vegetarian-friendly.

I had to pass on these...
I had to pass on these…

The Post Shredded Wheat Frosted Mixed Berry cereal contained gelatin, I obviously couldn’t have the can of Wild Planet Albacore Tuna, and the Goya Rice Pilaf with Toasted Orzo Pasta unfortunately was made with chicken stock. At least I could depend on my lab mates to make good use of these items!

Of the snack items I received this month, I was glad to see a sample pack of Natural Sins coconut chips! I actually was able to review products I received directly from Natural Sins a while back, and I loved the chips now as much as I did back then. My only wish was that the bag had been a bigger one instead of a sample size pack.

Natural Sins Coconut Chips
Natural Sins Coconut Chips

The SunRype Fruit to Go strips turned out to be my most favorite items from the month’s box. I had both the Apple Wildberry and Apple Strawberry Watermelon flavors while I was working in lab (haha, I had to sneak it over to my lab bench so I could continue to work and avoid fainting from hunger). Overall, I found the texture to be appealing as well as the flavors, but the watermelon was my fave.

Sun Rype Fruit to Go
Sun Rype Fruit to Go

Another snack I enjoyed while being cooped up in lab were these Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Mash Bread Crisps. I brought them with me when I had an overnight stay earlier in the month.

"Hard to believe that September is pretty much almost over, and that in a span of one month, I checked off three more over-night stays in lab and an overseas conference trip!! These Angelic Bakehouse bread crisps may not compare to the plates of churros or vegan paella I had in Spain, but they did get me through that rough first week I had this month in lab!"
Hard to believe that September is pretty much almost over, and that in a span of one month, I checked off three more over-night stays in lab and an overseas conference trip!! These Angelic Bakehouse bread crisps may not compare to the plates of churros or vegan paella I had in Spain, but they did get me through that rough first week I had this month in lab!

Yeah, they probably would have tasted better with some dip or salsa on top, but they were just fine on their own too. And for what you would think would be a tough, coarse bread crisp, it held onto the salt pretty well, as I was able to detect that for sure.

I gave the King Arthur Flour Essential Goodness Lemon Bar Mix to my sis, since I assumed she’d have more time and freedom to use a kitchen and test out the bars.

Actually, it worked out pretty well since our friend was visiting my sister for her birthday, and they ended up making them over the weekend of my friend’s visit—simply only needing to use eggs, butter, water, and a baking pan.

Lemon bars!
Lemon bars!

They made the bars in a bread loaf pan, and due to the compact size, they commented on how the crust was thick and slightly burnt at the bottom. This didn’t affect the taste though, and my friend liked how the crust held everything together while still having a flaky texture.

The Reese On the Go Fruit Quinoa Cups I received however, were a major disappointment. I guess I should have been prepared since the flavor was a Papaya Goldenberry mix, and my opinion may be slightly biased because papaya is not exactly my favorite fruit…

Reese On the Go Fruit Quinoa Cup ~ Papaya Goldenberry
Reese On the Go Fruit Quinoa Cup ~ Papaya Goldenberry

After tasting a spoonful, I couldn’t stomach the rest. I hated wasting it, but the flavor combined with the soaked quinoa texture was far from appetizing.

I’m usually not let down by the made-for-cooking products that are usually provided in these monthly boxes. Since Mutti’s partnership with the Degustabox brand, I’ve become a fan of their purely tomato-based products, and don’t have much to critique on this large bottle of tomato puree I received.

Mutti Tomato Puree and a veggie bowl with
Mutti Tomato Puree and a veggie bowl with Lee Kum Kee Korean BBQ Stir Fry sauce

I forgot to take a picture of a crockpot veggie meal I had with this, but the bowl was made up of a similar vegetable medley as the one I used in combination with the Lee Kum Kee Korean BBQ Stir Fry sauce.

Lee
Lee Kum Kee Korean BBQ Stir Fry sauce

I wish I could say I had no qualms about this sauce either, but I wasn’t fully sold. The sauce looked like a thick, vinegar-based sauce (much like this sauce I received from a previous Degustabox that I absolutely loved), but it actually came out of the packet like a runny soy sauce. The flavor was a strong, smoky one, and I feel like it just didn’t mix well with my vegetables or sit well with my stomach. I’m assuming it would probably make a good marinade, and it’s probably one of those products where only a little bit is necessary to go a long way.

When it comes to these monthly boxes, it can definitely be a challenge to guarantee that everyone will be pleased with the contents every single time. This month’s box may have not hit my preference too well, but hopefully October’s box will fare better πŸ™‚ !

Which of these products would you try?

August Degustabox

August Degustabox

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

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

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

August Degustabox
August Degustabox

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

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

Pasta Chips - Rosemary
Pasta Chips – Rosemary

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

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

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

Sharwood's
Sharwood’s Creamy Coconut Korma topped on steamed vegetables

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

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

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

Goya Golden Maria
Goya Golden Maria Sandwich Cookies

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

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

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

N
NuttZo 2go – Chocolate Peanut Pro

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

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

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

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

SunDrops
SunDrops Milk Chocolate Candies

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

Goya Original Tostones Chips
Goya Original Tostones Chips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

stuff
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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…)

cookiethins_browniebatter
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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.

brownie-thins
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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!

kala_tropical
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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.

waffle_
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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!

waffle__
“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.

mutti_tomato_sauce_
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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.

karma_h20
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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…

seasalt
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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).

cinnabon
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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…

cookiedough
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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.

june_box
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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.

go-chi
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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.

sirkensingtonketchup
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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.

craft ginger ale
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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!!

 

ritz_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.

bean_Cris
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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.

waffle
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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˜‰ !)

tiny waffle
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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!

apple
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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.

bottles
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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.

sfilati
Sfilati
IMG_0438
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.

prbaryogurtberry
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.

felix-lingonberries
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.

peri-peri
“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.

peach-bellini
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.

cafe_bustelo
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.

tru
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!).

zenify
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!

hummus
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.

cookiethins
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…

boboli_crust
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!

energems_
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!

β™₯

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.

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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.

honey_ginger
Ginger Honey Tea Crystals

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

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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.

grillpressedeggplantwrap
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.

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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˜›

kala
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.

loacker_noirorange
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.

loacker_coconut
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.

honey_straws
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.

wise_popcorn_white_cheddar
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.

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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!)

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Beanitos – Hint of Lime

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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