Disclaimer: I was provided samples from Buff Bake and all opinions are my own.
I’ve had Buff Bakespreads before, but when I tried my first Buff Bake protein cookie, I wasn’t sure what I had put in my mouth…
I didn’t want to waste it, but as I was eating it I couldn’t help but think I had made a mistake in my choice of a morning snack. I thought I was being adventurous for trying a protein cookie different from the likes of Lenny & Larry’s, but to my disappointment, I regretted not picking up their white chocolate macadamia flavor from the campus bookstore…
I expressed my dissatisfaction on Instagram, and to my surprise, Buff Bake actually reached out with a response to immediately send over some fresh cookies to try! They commented that the cookie I had purchased had an older packaging, and that I needed a proper introduction to their product (okay, so I added the last part, but I’m sure they wanted to redo the first impression…)
They immediately sent over five different cookies in crisp, colorful packaging. I was shocked by how quickly they came too…within two days of their commenting on my Instagram! Oh, which flavor to begin with?!
I would say the Lenny & Larry’s version is still my favorite (specifically if it comes out dense and chewy in the middle, because sometimes even they come out with fluke cookies…), but Buff Bake’s version was pretty good too. Definitely could see this paired with a glass of hot chocolate—the perfect sitting-by-the-fireplace holiday snack.
I then moved on to the birthday cake flavor. This one came with frosting on the top as well, but only a little in the middle? I don’t have an explanation…
I’d say my second most favorite was Chocolate Donut.
If I have to pick between team vanilla or team chocolate, I’d go with vanilla only because I can’t handle dark chocolate or chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. That was the case with Chocolate Chocolate Chip. While it had a dense texture and was full-flavored, it was just too much chocolate. There, I said it.
And finally, I gave WCPB another shot. I still found it slightly drier and stiffer compared to the other flavors, but compare to the one I originally had, it fared much better.
It had a quirky shape and lotsa chocolate chips, but it added character.
This month has been stressful and extremely busy for me to say the least, and finding outlets of comfort has been quite a challenge! I do feel like I have been able to give myself self-care when absolutely necessary, such as when a 20 min power nap turned into a deep sleep session of 2 hours on Thursday, but working through two rigorous powerpoint presentations non-stop for a month can wipe ANYONE out…
Needless to say, my weekends have been uneventful for the most part, since I’ve been having to devote all the “free” time I have to staying close to lab or home. I’m hoping I can fill my weekends up with more restaurant outings and LA exploratory activities, but right now I am powering through the home stretch!
At least I’ve found a some source of comfort from some new foods as of late.
Reginald’s Homemade was kind enough to send me four flavors of their unique nut butters. Of the four jars, I tried the cashew butter first, atop some Siggi’s yogurt.
The cashew butter was flavored with cinnamon and molasses, and you could tell molasses was definitely mixed in due to the thick consistency of the butter.
The nana honey peanut butter was just as smooth, but a bit more runny than the molasses flavor. It definitely had a banana scent, but it wasn’t overwhelming in the taste. Honestly I thought this flavor tasted mostly like regular smooth peanut butter, but it was fresh and creamy nonetheless!
The wedding pretzel crunch peanut butter said it had “lite crunch” on the jar, but this flavor was ALL crunch. There were tons of salted pretzel sticks thrown in, but I couldn’t not any distinct white chocolate flavor. While I was hoping for a decent mix of chocolate chips mixed up with all those pretzels, I wasn’t too disappointed considering this jar was maxed out when it came to varying textures.
My favorite flavor in regards to texture was the bourbon pecan flavor. This jar was literally glowing, and the pecans were ground up just right so that the pieces were just the right size.
This was one jar I could easily eat by the spoonful, but I also added it to a mug cake with yogurt mixed with amazing grass greens.
I also ordered some more cookie dough from The Lion’s Pack, and had ordered it while I was in Tulsa so it would be waiting for me when I got back to LA earlier this month. I had fun reviewing the flavors on Instagram:
Campfire Cookie – one of my favorites! It had chocolate chunks and graham cracker dusting. It looked sooo pretty, and the good looks matched in good taste!!
Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough – So, Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough…I found the Cap’n Crunch pieces to be stale-tasting, and overall didn’t help the cookie dough taste any better. The colors were fun though.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Good ol’ chocolate chip. A classic that often is taken for granted. But I have to say that The Lion’s Pack chocolate chip cookie dough is insanely good! The chocolate chips are small and melty, and not overwhelming at all! Sometimes sticking to the basics is good 👍🏽
Snickers Bar Cookie Dough – Too many peanuts, and not enough nougat/caramel with this “Snickers bar” flavor cookie dough.
Monster Cookie Dough – The Monster Cookie dough actually tasted awful. The cookie dough itself was fine, but the “monster” candy pieces tasted somewhat bitter, chalky, and just did not fit. I literally had to pick them out in order to enjoy the rest of the dough.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough – It certainly had some spice, and some white frosting strings. It was a pretty good flavor, which I think could have tasted even better with some other holiday-themed add-ins…oooh, gum drops and candy cane pieces perhaps??
Unfortunately, the packaging wasn’t so well put together with this shipment—one of my jars came cracked at the lid!
Ah, January is almost over, and I’m hoping that with it, I’ll have less stress on my plate and more comfort with not just from food, but in life overall!
Which of these peanut butter flavors would you try?
Which of these cookie dough flavors would you try?
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 😀 ).
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.
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.
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 😛
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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 😉 !
Last week was a shocker and after Tuesday, it seemed like there was a cloud of sadness everywhere that just would not dissipate. I am glad that people are still talking about politics, since I honestly believe that despite the strong emotions it can bring up, it is extremely important to bring awareness and question things that have a huge impact on how we live our lives.
I also was feeling from physical exhaustion that prevented me from running higher mileage that week. My body craved extra rest, and I obliged. I’ve been pulling long hours in lab as well, so the extra rest was welcomed on all fronts.
Saturday ended up being a rest day, and a day that my running team and I scheduled as a day for volunteering. We helped organize maternal and baby goods for a non-profit that distributes these items to low income expecting and first-time moms. It was a Saturday morning well spent, and obviously I had worked long enough to build up a strong appetite for lunch.
Since I did want to go home as soon as I could, and face plant into a pillow for nap time, I decided to stop by a plant-based foods cafe in Culver City since it was on the way. I originally came by Make Out Everyday over Labor Day Weekend, but they were unfortunately closed at that time.
I was in luck this time however. I used my ninja photography skills (haha) to capture the elegant interior decor, but the cashier had noticed a man outside who was going out of his way to get the perfect picture capturing the cafe’s logo from outside! I’m so glad that wasn’t me, haha!
It took a while for me to decide what I wanted to get, as there were all sorts of smoothies, latte “potions”, wraps, salads, sandwiches, small bites, bowls…I went with a bowl (no surprise) even though I was debating between that and one of the wraps.
My bowl of choice was the Mexican bowl, which had chopped lettuce, quinoa and rice mixed with chipotle crema, sunflower chorizo, and a dollop of mashed avocado. The garnish was fabulous too…I’m not sure what that watermelon-colored root vegetable is called, but it certainly looked pretty!
The portion sizes are small, so I wouldn’t recommend coming in with a voracious appetite. If you do, you may have to order multiple plates which doesn’t sound bad, but this place isn’t McDonald’s cheap either…
Sunday was a long run day in Santa Monica so I didn’t have to worry about waking up super early to carpool with my running team. After the run, I immediately went home and crashed. I planned to get some work done, but that didn’t happen to the extent that I had wished to. Oh well, I don’t think the time went to waste since I slept so soundly throughout the day and was sleepy enough to go to bed (for real) around 8:30pm.
I’m not surprised one bit that I craved so much sleep this week. I don’t see how anyone could have issue with that 😉
I’ve made it clear on this blog time and time again that I am a self-proclaimed bar queen. But I’ve been thinking about cutting back on the bars, and exchanging them with breakfast meals I’ve been missing—like a hot piece of toast smothered with nut butter or oatmeal with nutella and granola. Every time I do think about going on a “bar break” though, I ended up learning about a new flavor of a bar or a new bar brand, and FOMO sets in. I immediately have the desire to try it!
That’s what happened this past week when Quest Labs released a new trial flavor that they restocked after first selling out—Mocha Chocolate Chip.
I got a box, and when I tried bar one out of twelve, I was actually very pleased with how it tasted and its chewy, soft texture. It has a subtle coffee smell, and crumbly chocolate chunks are mixed throughout. While it was appreciation at first bite, I grew bored of the bars as the week wore on. I felt “compelled” to eat them because I didn’t want them to go to waste, but I feel like it also got in the way of me being flexible with my morning foods.
Along with this MCC bar box order, I decided to get one bar of the waffle-flavored cereal bar since I missed out the first time Quest Labs released it.
It smelled a lot like maple syrup and the cereal part of the bar did not cause my mouth to go dry like many cereal bars I have had in the past tend to do. Overall, I like the flavor and it was of a decent size, but I was relieved I didn’t have a box of them to worry about!
As much as I love bars, I think I’m going to take a break from my “box a week” pattern. There are some days I do honestly crave a protein bar, but I want to see if I can get away from being constrained to specific ones over the course of a week. I think it’ll be good to change things up like this, as it will be more of a mental relief than a physical one…though I don’t think my body would mind the change either. I’m not making promises though—I just want to try to see if I can relieve myself of this thing that has become routine.
When Saturday rolled around, bars were the last thing on my mind. I spent the majority of the day in downtown SaMo and was especially hungry for Mediterranean food at Hummus Bar Express.
Downtown SaMo surprisingly wasn’t packed. My guess was that everyone was heading in the direction of DTLA for tailgating and the football game. I took this golden opportunity to my advantage, and ordered myself a veggie plate that came with hummus, babaganoush, 8 falafel pieces, and a large slice of not pita, but laffa bread.
All was good at this moment—the falafel was green and crispy, the hummus smooth and thick:
And the bread…the bread I could eat for days…
It was a flat, pliable piece of bread that tasted good with everything. Even the falafel! If I ever come back to Hummus Bar Express, I don’t think I would object to ordering just the laffa bread with maybe some babaganoush on the side…it was that good!!
Have you ever felt the need to take a break from a food routine?
Disclaimer: I was not provided compensation except for product samples for review by Legendary Foods, and all opinions are my own.
Nut butters that literally taste like melted blueberry cinnamon buns or pecan pie? Almonds powder-coated with spicy and tangy seasoning? These are only some of the creative food products being rolled out by Legendary Foods, and they have quickly been making their rounds on social media.
I wanted to see what the hype was all about for myself, and asked the company if they could send me over some samples to try. Within a few days of moving to my new place, I received a small-sized box with two mini jars of nut butter and two almond packs. The small size of the nut butters made them especially attractive for eating straight out of the jar, and that’s exactly what I did.
My favorite out of the two was Blueberry Cinnamon Roll. It had chunks of blueberries swirled into an cashew paste spread that had a touch of cinnamon.
It wasn’t as thick as a regular nut butter like peanut, almond, or even regular cashew butter, but even with it’s more fluid, spread-like consistency, it was a suave snack on its own. The Pecan Pie was just as delicious, but the blueberry flavor was the overall winner for me since it had a less nuttier texture. The pecan flavor had the appearance of a thicker nut butter, most likely due to all the pecan chunks mixed in.
I was provided with two almond packs to try, but I was only able to try one of them. Buffalo Blue Wing was the only one, since Cheddar Bacon obviously made itself unattainable for me.
I was actually quite surprised by how large the almonds were! And even with their large size, they had a commendable coating of seasoning around them. They had a mighty crunch as well!
After consuming these samples, I wondered why more companies didn’t make smaller nut butter jars to begin with? Just like it’s possible to find single cups of ice cream at the grocery store, why is it rare to find snack-size PB jars? (I don’t count pouches since I feel like so much of the nut butter in those things goes to waste cause you just can’t get it out)! Any company that does that and goes against the grain is legendary in my book 😉
Do you prefer nuts like almonds and cashews in their sweet or savory form?
Disclaimer: I was provided samples for review by ANSI Nutrition. All opinions are my own.
It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago, I tried these bars for the very first time.
Well, not the bars you see pictured above, but rather the original ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar flavors that are no longer produced. After looking back at my old review, I realize that I paid most of my attention to the soft, doughy texture of these bars.
But things have changed over the past 2+ years. I was contacted by the company to do a review of their new flavors, since they had a major revamp since I last tried them!
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is no longer in production, but I found my new favorite to be Chocolate Truffle.
The bars, while still having a soft, doughy texture, now have a coated chocolate layer on the bottom.
This addition I feel adds more character to the bar…and also makes for a good oatmeal topper since the chocolate is quick to melt!
The Chocolate Peanut Butter was a satisfactory flavor in my opinion.
It could have been an even better flavor if I didn’t see this oozing out.
I’m thinking it was just oil condensation since the wrapper was sticky as well. The ingredients list was all either plant/milk-based, so this was more of an aesthetic flaw than a taste one.
My least favorite flavor was Raspberry Truffle. I wouldn’t mind if they brought back the Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake.
The raspberry flavor had a somewhat bitter flavor, and overall with the chocolate coating actually tasted quite bland.
I think it’s safe to say that Chocolate Truffle was a winner of a flavor, but Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry Truffle were not the best of improvements. I think bringing back Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the Strawberry Supreme flavors, while keeping the Chocolate Truffle flavor, would be a trio of flavors worth having around!
When it comes to protein powder, I prefer using it as a thickener for yogurts and for making smoothie bowls since I am unfortunately not the owner of a fancy blender or Nutribullet. Of course there are so many other ways to incorporate and utilize protein powder, but I stick with what I know best most of the time 😉
However, I was nudged to try to find other ways to use protein powder when I was sent a sample kit of Bob’s Red Mill protein powders. Since they came in flavors like chai, vanilla, chocolate, and unsweetened protein fiber, the variety was a reason in itself to experiment.
The furthest I went with experimentation was using the unsweetened protein fiber to make a warm, dough-y cake topped with Hershey’s Kisses. All that went into this bowl was one packet (a typical serving size scoop), a packet of maple and brown sugar oatmeal, and some water and almond milk. It didn’t have any flavor on its own (not even the oatmeal helped surprisingly), but with the Hershey’s kisses I was able to get some spreadable chocolate distribution going. Looking back however, I think this fiber could easily have been used to make a microwaveable pizza crust, and even sturdier oven-baked pizza crust.
For the rest of the powders though…they were destined to be a part of pro-yo creations. I also tried them mixed with just water to see how the flavors held up on their own.
Out of chocolate and chai, chai had the best flavor profile, and even smelled like a warm tea blend upon opening the packet.
The vanilla flavor was the only flavor I received in a standard size bag, and I literally went through it in about a week!
I was adding it to oatmeal, in addition to yogurts, and even used it to make a smoothie bowl with almond milk, and topped with a very liquid serving of peanut butter (more like peanut juice?). You can even see the chia and flax seeds swimming around!
Do you find protein powder to be a necessary staple or just another product pushed by the fitness industry?
It’s almost November, and it’s still hot here in Los Angeles. How is this possible? Was it really this hot last year around this time? I guess I’ve been too busy to notice lately!
I did have some time (surprisingly) last Friday to stop by the grocery store before heading home and spending a good night in. The week wasn’t as exhausting compared to the two weeks prior, but I always welcome a good break, no matter how small!
My Friday night in obviously also meant time to try a new ice cream—and Talenti Peppermint Bark fit the bill.
Unfortunately, it seems like Talenti tends to melt pretty quickly compared to B&J’s. It took me about 40 minutes to walk home from the grocery store, and even after putting the gelato away in the freezer for less than a half hour, still turned out to be more like a peppermint-y milkshake pint. Which isn’t bad if you think about it, but when you plan an ice cream night, you expect ice cream 😛
I woke up on Saturday feeling refreshed at 7AM. I was in and out of lab before 1pm, and decided to head out to Westwood to get myself some shave ice to cool off from such a hot October day.
Chilly Ribbons was my destination, and to my surprise, it was pretty empty for a late summer-esque afternoon.
The guy behind the counter was very helpful, and explained that you pick your shave ice flavors and size, go to the topping bar for toppings, and then come back for the weigh-in and to pay for the frozen treat.
I ended up going with a 7oz. medium cup with green tea and cake batter flavors. For my toppings, I added in strawberries, rainbow sprinkles for fun, cookie dough pieces, a random piece of grass jelly (that black thing), strawberry poppers, and mochi.
I ate this inside, and tried to compare it to my shave ice experiences from longago. Haha, neither were too long ago, but it was nice to once again get a hold of some shave ice!
After cooling off, I attempted to go shopping but did not find anything worthy of bringing home to closet, haha. I left soon after since I had dinner and concert plans with a friend later that evening, and I wanted to have plenty of time to freshen up for that!
Earlier this year, I was super excited to finally get a hold of the very popular Eat Nakd bars of the UK, and sample the assortment of unique flavors via the sampler box sold through Natural Balance Foods.
The bars are vegan, unprocessed, and are described as simply being fruits and nuts “smooshed” together. They are the definition of iron rich foods, and and looking at the (short) ingredients list for each bar, nothing could be closer to the truth 😉
Even though I already tried the sampler box before, NBF was gracious enough to send me a box to enjoy again! You can read my original review of the sampler box here!
They also threw in a flavor that’s not included in the sampler box, and obviously one that I have yet to try—Bakewell Tart!
I wasn’t sure of what a Bakewell Tart is composed of, let alone what it looks like, but after a quick search online I immediately found it to be an delectable-looking dessert that consists of a jam and “sponge” almond layer in a shortcrust shell.
But I guess all you really need to make a Bakewell Tart is dates, cashews, and raisins 😉
The outside appearance of the bar matched that of most of the bars in the sampler collection. It tasted like there was some earthy flavoring to it (maybe cinnamon?) and I think if the bar was warmed up for a bit, it would come out smelling like a freshly baked tart 🙂
I decided to add the bar to a weeknight proyo bowl, consisting of lemon greek yogurt mixed with protein powder, and a generous dollop of coconut-almond butter. After a heavy-workload Monday, coming home and being able to dig into this bowl was fantastic! I certianly hit all macronutrients with this bowl creation 😉
Which Nakd Bar flavor is your favorite/which flavor would you like to try?