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?

October’s DegustaBox!

October’s DegustaBox!

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

october-haul
October’s haul

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

bagelchips_cinnamon
Hometown Bagel Bagel Chips – Cinnamon

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

bagelchips_
Hometown Bagel Bagel Chips – Garlic

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

sirachaalmonds
Crown Nut Co. Sriracha Almonds

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

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

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

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

chews
Sooooo chewyyyyyy

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

My least favorite product hands down were these Energems.

energems
Energems…eeek

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

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

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

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

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

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

wasa
Wasa Thins – Sesame & Sea Salt

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

palowhitecheddarcheese
Palo White Cheddar popcorn

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

numi_tea-1
Numi Tea Assortment

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

numi_tea-2
Numi Tea – 8 different flavors

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

pasta-and-protein
Barilla Set

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

crockpotveggieswithmarinarasauce
Crockpot veggies with marinara!

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

jones_pumpkinpie
Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda

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

Which of these October DegustaBox items would you try?

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